About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


It was von Multke who said “No plan survives first contact with the enemy“ but I really prefer “Ch Ch Ch Changes” from David Bowie to describe what this week has been like.

We arrived in Goliad Texas at a really nice RV park called “Angels in Goliad”, a Passport America park just on the outskirts of town. Goliad, which is about an hour and a half from Goose Island, made for an excellent rest stop after struggling through some of those fine Texas back roads and being beaten around by the ever present wind. Our plan was to unwind in Goliad for a couple of days and do tourist stuff in the area before heading down for our hosting gig. We dropped a note off to the coordinator at Goose Island and proceeded to do our plan.

The photo is from the web site,
our camera's memory card is
apparently on walk-about.
First off it seems, at least to us, few outside of Texas know of the Fannin massacre. We have all heard of the Alamo but few know that about two weeks afterwards, Gen. Santa Anna ordered the execution of over 280 troops who had been under the command of Colonel James Fannin; troops that had surrendered after a two day battle on the plains between Goliad and Victoria. Coupled with the Alamo, “Remember Goliad” became another war cry during the Texas revolution. 

Two days of lounging about came to and end and we were off to Goose Island for what we thought would be two months of learning how to be birders while meeting new people. Here's where it fell apart. The coordinator had apparently not read our note from two days previous nor had told anyone else we were due in as on arrival we were met with blank stares and no real idea of where we would be setting up. The coordinator was not at the park yet so we were handed a map with some sites circled to go check out as possible places to stay.

To cut the story short and to avoid the urge to use this blog for venting, let's just say after the coordinator's arrival four hours later, we were informed there would be no full hookup sites available for us and we would be expected to utilize a dump station for the duration of our stay.

We returned to Goliad in a bit of a daze to regroup. The long drive had allowed us to get past the disappointment and disgruntlement so what remained was a commitment to turn this trip into something good.

First problem: find a new camping spot. While the Angels park was nice it was still in a very small town with limited resources. Our membership in Thousand Trails solved the problem in a wonderful way with the Medina Lake Resort, northeast of San Antonio. We'll be here for three weeks doing tourist stuff and perhaps fishing just a little bit. We'll search for another area as we get closer to March.

Have some more good news but I'll wait until the details are firmed up. The song may be right but I dislike playing it too often.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Deming, Marfa, Del Rio and points between

When I first began research into full timing I had a little notepad beside me and when a place struck an interesting vibe with Chris or I we would write it down. We call it our RV'ing bucket list and we've actually managed to nail two the first year we are on the road.

I know, doesn't seem to be that much but when you consider that we both tend to follow shiny things, concentrating on a specific destination with no other purpose than to shorten our bucket list, it can really be quite difficult.

This trip's first bucket list entry is the Adobe Deli in Deming, NM.
Actually located about 10 miles outside Deming via 2 country roads in a 50+ year old grade school and looking like something you would expect in an Australian outback. Known for a good selection of dishes and all of them very good, Adobe Deli is usually the first recommendation received when you ask a local on where to eat. We went there and yes, the food was good. Not stellar mind you but definitely on the up side of good. (Chris: NY Strip, Dennis: Porterhouse) What was stellar however was the ambiance.

We snagged only a few shots of the place and unfortunately it was too dark inside to really show the countless stuffed animals on every wall, ceiling and even in displays on the floor. The critters surround you so if you feel like you're being watched – there's the reason.

Thanks to Chappy Trails (who have since left the road), and their blog for finding this gem.

We would like to contribute to someone else's bucket list by highly recommending Irma's, a very small Mexican cafe offering the usual fare but also some regional dishes that knock your socks off. Irma's is located downtown, just off the main drag and can be easily overlooked with the understated exterior. On sitting we were offered the traditional tortilla chips and salsa but instead of the usual red salsa, we had a chipotle verde salsa with a good amount of heat and a rich smokey flavor.

The main entree was a chicken and beef dish similar to the street vended tacos we saw back in Wenatchee. Similar to but no where as utterly delicious as what we had. Meat that was tender and juicy enough to melt in your mouth, succulent roasted jalapenos and green onions topped with some really fresh avacados, Oh, and fresh – I mean made that evening fresh, soft corn tortillas.

Yea, I really liked this place.

Leaving Deming heading east we sailed through Las Cruces, got tangled in the spaghetti that is El Paso and finally made it off the interstate to Texas highway 90 which is a very nice two lane road, smooth for the most part and adequate picnic areas to stop and smell the creosote bushes.

Our first destination was Marfa and the mystery lights.

Thanks to Nikki and Jason Wynn of “Gone with theWynns” we had our second bucket list item. Located out of town to the east is a Viewing Center for the Marfa Mystery Lights. It is also the only real rest area along that stretch of road (read that overnight camping y'all). While we did see some faint lights once it became dark, try as we might we could not get a photo. You'll just have to settle for the daylight shots. Worth it? If it is along your way, definitely. Not so much for a specific destination.

Our bucket list recommendation? In Alpine which is about 20 or so miles to the east of Marfa is Penny's Cafe. Styled as a 50's/60's diner with checkerboard floor tiles and the shiny stainless steel outer shell, Penny's offers simply good diner food at a very good price. The staff were outstanding and Chris and I were constantly expecting Flo to walk around the counter at any moment.

We've come to our decompression stop in Del Rio near the Amistad Recreational Area.

This wasn't a planned stop other than it met our 4 hour driving limit. It was pure unadulterated luck there was space available at the Laughlin Marina FamCamp. Beautiful, quiet, peaceful with friendly neighbors with a bit of something in common. A nice place to sit back and enjoy the sunset.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


After a week of decompressing, actually more like drying out after 3 months in Oregon (hey, we can shut the bathroom door again!), we made the trek to Quartzsite Arizona for the annual RV show. I think I might have mentioned we are heading to Rockport Texas for a hosting spot and the timing looked to be working out durn near perfectly. It wasn't.

We hit flood repairs, construction, accidents and just plain stupid drivers. Added to that stress was the actual condition of the road. I could not believe people actually commute on the concrete or paved highway that frankly was rougher than some gravel roads we've been on. The only thing missing was the thrown rocks – oops, spoke too soon, looks like we'll have a chip to repair as well. What started out as a planned four hour no stress trip turned out to be a six hour ordeal – one I hope never to repeat.

I'm pretty sure it was the drive that played the biggest part in a case of a very dark mood that I struggled with during most of our stay at Quartzsite. Formed on those rough roads and heavy traffic that was I-10 in and around Los Angeles, the mood was then firmly established by the total frustration in finding the location of the Xscaper Convergence and then as a total neophyte trying to determine what protocol, if any, is used to find parking other than the every man for himself approach. In retrospect, this was the first meeting of this type so there were bound to be growing pains (such as trying to do a seminar alongside the interstate) but as one who was stuck out in the hinterlands it was not a pleasant time. We skipped the 2nd day altogether feeling as outsiders to some sort of pre-established clique.

No matter, we came to Quartzsite for other reasons too.

Quartzsite is a town and among RV'ers a rather unique happening. Initially unbeknownst to us, we had arrived a full day before the grand opening. Serendipitous is what I call it as this early arrival allowed us to walk the flea market area and visit other points amid comparably small crowds. Not just a little strip mall sized thing, this was acres of trinkets, souvenirs, parts and food spots. The grandkids are in for a few treats once we get to a place to mail them and I sort of stumbled upon a few myself. Unfortunately nothing we experienced prepared us for what occurred the next day – the official opening of The Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show.

We arrived about a half hour before the official opening and attendance was what you would expect in an average well attended county fair. By opening the crowd had doubled. Every hour it seemingly doubled again and I'm sure whatever figure I used I would probably still be underestimating the mass of humanity stuffed into the main tent.

There was the lotion to relieve pain, oils to make you healthier,, blender displays and I swear, almost every Ronco product, gadget, and kitchen helper sold “As Seen on TV”. Oh, and there were a few RV booths for trinkets. You certainly could outfit an RV fully with what was available just in the big tent and you might even be able to build one from scratch if you combined with all the booths surrounding.

We must have spent the better part of four hours looking at rigs, touring the tents and sampling some of the food. We didn't get much but by the end of it all I found I had overcome my dark mood. I mean really, how could anyone stay down with a sunset like this.

Next stop: Deming, NM by way of Phoenix, Tucson and a few choice stops along the way

Thursday, January 7, 2016


I do so love to drive our RV. Our little Excursion is responsive; needing only the lightest touch on the steering wheel and I often describe driving the rig to my wife as more of a dance and never a chore. Unfortunately the dances on our trip to the south have been more of a rumba than a smooth waltz with only short patches of smooth pavement scattered among a predominantly cracked and potholed highway.

Hyped as the "Trees of Mystery"  (Not sure why)
Over the past three days we've covered over 800 miles and I would love to say we've seen some stunning scenery and all sorts of critters but... It rained. It rained from the north. It rained from the south. Well, you get the idea; it was wet.

We had originally intended to travel the Avenue of the Giants and see the giant redwoods but, you guessed it, weathered out. I'm sure we could have taken the drive but we were getting a slushy rain and the temperature was taking a nose dive – so there will be other chances. The glimpses we did see along the 101 were enough of a tease to ensure our return someday. 

I for one would really like to see the north end of these southbound elk.

Our first stop was in the dark gloom just before sunset outside of Willits, CA at the Golden Rule RV Park and while I would like to write a review, I can't. It was dark, rainy and what I'm sure is a fine RV park just off the Old Highway 101 but for us it was a break from watching the windshield wipers going back and forth.

We survived the spaghetti mess that is San Francisco crossing the Richmond bridge and running through the outskirts of Oakland and Alameda on our second day. We even spotted Coast Guard Island, looking nothing like the place where I went to boot camp nearly (gasp) 40 years ago.

We eventually made it to I-5, which is long, straight, bumpy, smooth and for the most part windy. Oh, and did I mention rain? Yes, it was raining – AGAIN. No wait, again implies it stopped at one point, I should say it was raining STILL.

Near Coalinga is the Sommerville Almond Tree RV park. Located sort of behind the Jayne Truck Stop, the park offers a respite from what can best be described as a most boring stretch of I-5. The truck stop is old style, not one of those fancy travel plazas where it looks like a big shopping mall and during our stay, appeared overlooked as a place you can do a semi-quiet dry camp. I mention this stop because for just a brief moment the rain stopped and the clouds cleared away for the beginnings of what was going to be a wondrous sunset. I was in the process of getting the camera out when the pitter patter rain drops began again to strike the roof of the rig. Before I could get to the edge of the park to take the planned sunset shot over the almond trees, the spill gates were opened and within what I swear was less than a blink we were back to full monsoon conditions.

Ah, our final day of travel. Our goal has been to get within one day of travel from the Escapees Convergence this month and the Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails park meets our goal. The only obstacle? The Grapevine. (Yes, I know NOW there's a probably better route, yesterday? Not so much.)

So, in the rain we began the long grade into the Grapevine. Traffic was light probably due to the weather and those on the road were actually driving as if there actually were hazardous conditions. Rain drops became larger and larger as we went into the mountains and just as we were reaching Gorman – snow.
Heavy, slushy, sticky snow that brought the faster traffic to the same creeping speed as our little motorhome. It all stayed that way until we passed the summit and were well into the 5% downgrade.,

The road to our campground brought us through the town of Acton, whose main street was covered by flood waters 4 to 6 inches deep in places. There were some minor rock slides to wend around and the ever present fear we may get stuck in a place where we could not turn around. Obviously we did make it will be sitting still for about a week as we take a break. 

Oh, and the sun did rise today. I leave you with a shot of the San Gabriels dusted in snow.