The last day of 2014! How can that be? I’m growing accustomed to the time warp that accompanies our nomadic way of life. When I think about today being December 31st, it seems like the year flew by. But when I reflect on all the places we’ve been, the things we’ve seen and the people we met in 2014, I wonder how it all happened in just 365 days.
We’ve come full circle – last year we spent New Year’s Eve right here at Hidden Shores with Bruce and Debbie Bednarski and Pat and Kim Chapman. We left Hidden Shores Village on January 2nd last year and drove up US95 to Quartzsite. We parked the coach in a big, empty parking lot, unloaded the scooter and took off to explore a few RV sales lots. We were on a mission to find a new (to us) coach.
The time we spent on the road in 2013 had taught us a lot about full-time RVing. We had a better idea of our wants and needs in a coach. Donna had certain requirements for the floor plan and interior while I had my powertrain preferences. Donna knew I really wanted Cummins ISL power with a side radiator and two-stage Jacobs Engineering compression brake. So we didn’t waste time looking at anything without it.
We rolled on to Mesa, Arizona and visited RV sales lots there. I had my eye on a few coaches for sale that I’d been watching on the Internet. We finally ended up with our Alpine Coach and have been very happy with our choice.
After we bought our coach and completed the transaction in Blythe, California (for tax purposes) we went back to Quartzsite for the big RV show. It was our first time at the show and we learned a lot there. We also spent a lot of money! That’s where we bought our induction cooktop and the new pots and pans to go with it.
We returned to Mesa, Arizona for a long stint. We stayed until mid-April, enjoying time with friends in the area and doing a lot of cycling. When we left, we didn’t go far. We spent some time at Lake Pleasant, boondocked up on a hill with a spectacular view of the lake. Then we moved on to Congress, Arizona where we became members of the Escapees. We made new friends there and had a blast hiking and exploring the desert. We met fellow Alpine Coach owners, Dave and Lynda Campbell there.
When we left Congress, we found another cool boondocking spot near Sedona before we moved on to Flagstaff where we spent a week. Donna had to fly to New York City for a satellite media tour. But she was only gone for one day. We had a rental car for the entire week and visited the Grand Canyon National Park and also found the Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff. Donna did a lot of hiking on the trails near the RV park.
Our next stop was at Lake Powell, north of Page, Arizona. We boondocked on the sand next to the lake at Lone Rock for a couple of days. From there we headed east through the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona and up to Bluff, Utah before we continued on to Moab.
Our timing was poor – Moab had a big off-road event scheduled and the RV parks were sold out. We managed to find a site for one night only before we headed off to Fruita, Colorado (near Grand Junction). We enjoyed our time there. Donna did lots of bicycling and we explored the Colorado National Monument. And Big Al got a transmission service.
Our travels took us west, back into Utah. We stayed at the fairgrounds in Heber, which was a really cool little town, before moving on to Salt Lake City. In Salt Lake City, we stayed at the KOA near downtown with easy airport access via light rail. This worked out great as Donna needed to fly to Phoenix for a conference. We also took the light rail to go out to dinner to celebrate our 8th anniversary.
After Salt Lake City, we spent one night in Idaho Falls before we settled in at West Yellowstone, a few hundred yards from the park entrance. We had a blast there. Donna had bicycling adventures and wild animal encounters in the national park.
In Montana, we spent a few nights off the grid on a friend’s property near White Sulphur Springs. Our next stop was Great Falls where Donna competed in the Montana State Senior Olympics bike race. The race turned out to be a disaster when she did not finish due to tire failure.
We continued westward and found a great free campsite off I-90 near the Idaho border. After a night there, we continued west to Coeur d’Alene where we spent two weeks and were able to cheer on our friend, Allen Hutchinson, who was there to compete in the Ironman Triathlon.
We moved on to the North Cascades and enjoyed time at the Pine Near RV Park in Winthrop, Washington – one of our favorite RV parks. From there we moved on to the west side of the mountains and stayed at Lake Goodwin RV Resort where we spent two weeks and enjoyed many visits with my daughter, Alana, and our grandchildren, Lainey and Gabi.
We worked our way south and found more cool places, like South Bend, Washington – another of our new favorites. Eventually we wound up in Portland, Oregon for an Alpine Coach Association rally. This rally was a precursor to the FMCA rally in Bend, Oregon. We made many new friends at the rallies and caravaned with Dave and Stilla Hobden.
We went back to Portland before we headed south. Our new friends, Scott and Marcia Hicks, invited us to stay at their property on the Row River. It was a beautiful site with full RV hook-ups! Thanks again, Scott and Marcia.
When we entered California, we had a chance encounter with Clarke and Elaine Hockwald. They are fellow full-timers and bloggers. Clarke’s blog was one I’d followed since we first thought about RVing.
Our travels took us to central California where Donna rode in a challenging bike race in Tehachapi before we moved south to another Escapees park near Temecula. This is another favorite place.
We settled in at Mission Bay RV Resort in September and spent three months in San Diego. Whew! That was our year in a nutshell. We covered about 6,200 miles.
Yesterday, I rode my mountain bike through the Hidden Shores RV Resort. I saw trails on a hillside to the north and found a trail head.
The trail led into a sandy wash – I thought it would take me to the hillside.
Before I rode down into the wash, I heard a motorized vehicle. A side-by-side four wheeler came around the corner.
Good thing I wasn’t blasting down the trail on my bike! The driver stopped and told me there were more vehicles coming. He suggested riding my mountain bike on the narrow trail to the east, where I’d be less likely to encounter vehicles.
As I was leaving, I saw a throwback sand rail. This type of dune buggy was popular back in the day – it was powered by a Volkswagen air-cooled flat four-cylinder engine and had VW torsion bar front suspension. The driver went down through the wash. This thing looked like it would be a lot of fun.
Bruce and Debbie arrived last evening. Debbie came down to visit and take a tour of our coach. We’ll be joining them for dinner and New Year’s Eve celebrations tonight.