This was the third year in a row that we’ve spent our winter in Lake Havasu City, AZ. We love it there and have made some great friends! We were scheduled to depart May 1st but were delayed due to a health scare. I had to have a follow up on a routine mammogram so we didn’t leave until May 7th. BUT, everything was negative on the testing, so we were thankful and incredibly relieved with the outcome! Medical stuff really is the only struggle we deal with as full-timers. When you’re always the new patient and trying to handle routine stuff it’s quite challenging. But, we manage!
We headed North with our ultimate destination being Newport, OR. On the way, we traveled through Northern California and connected with my middle school band teacher and his wife (who was the chorus teacher). Mr. and Mrs. Rollins (who now insist I call them Dave and Jennie – this was hard!), were gracious hosts to have us over for dinner. It was a great visit after 40 years! These teachers were incredibly instrumental in my life and to be able to sit and visit after all of these years was really special. To tell stories, relive some of our moments together and just really take time to realize these special connections is indeed what makes our hearts full.
After visiting with Dave and Jennie (see, I did it) in Folsom, we continued north through southern Oregon and then over to the coast. Oregon is beautiful and we really enjoyed the drive with the lush green scenery. The roads good and the trip went very quick and easy until it didn’t…. As we turned off of interstate 5 to go west our Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) gave a warning that we had a low tire. It indicated the driver rear tire on our toad vehicle (a Jeep Grand Cherokee) was low. We slowed down and exited within 5 miles of the warning. It had continued to drop, so we knew it was probably a legitimate reading.
We get out of the coach, check the tire, and yep, it’s definitely leaking. We limp a bit further to a truck stop where our plan is to use our on-board air compressor and air hose to air up the tire and see if it will hold. Well, that was a GREAT plan, until we realized the air hose was about 6 inches short to reach the back tires. UH? How did that happen? :). So, we unhooked the toad and pulled it forward to use the air hose. Now, while this is going on, we’re discussing the fact we may need our spare. This would be quite a process. Our spare is under the floor of the back area of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Behind the jeep is our bikes, inside the jeep is our foldable golf cart (aka Lucy). Plus the ramps, the seat for Lucy, the steering wheel, etc. You can imagine our reluctance to just change the tire!
After a few discussions, more air, more discussion, more air…. We decide it’s holding well enough that we’ll drive to a tire place. So, Roger drives the coach and I drive the car. He goes direct to our new home for the coming month and I stop in Corvallis for tire service. They fix it, all is well! I’m off to connect with Roger. And yes, later we did stop at Home Depot and get a longer hose!
We arrive at Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort for our month-long stay. The minute we crossed the mountains that are ~30 miles from the coast the sun was blocked and it was drizzling. This weather continued for 30 days! The resort was beautiful, the area is amazingly pretty, but I could not live there all the time! We were right on the ocean with a view of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Again, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. The rocks in the water, the cliffs, seeing sea lions and seals all the time, the food, the beer…. But…… the weather :(.
We entertained ourselves with great food that included us making oysters on the treager grill! This was quite an experience given we’d never done it! We also visited the tidal pools, the nature center, went whale watching, visited Lincoln for some outlet shopping and again… restaurants to sample fish and chips from every single place we could! Who knew you could get Salmon fish and chips?! It was here in Newport that I discovered a love for sweet potato fries! For whatever reason, I’ve never liked them. Now, I’m hooked!
Next, we went further north to Anacortes, WA. This was an amazing stop! We met our dear friends Pat and Colin from Montana and were able to do whale watching, bike riding, sightseeing in town, a ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and more sweet potato fries with fish and chips!
The whale watching was amazing because we got to see 3 of the 5 species of whales! We saw Orcas (Killer Whales) on a hunt and kill, Gray Whales, and Minke Whales. It was the second time Roger and I had been on a whale watching tour for Orcas and the second time we saw and a hunt and kill. I’d say our luck is excellent!
Our ferry ride to Friday Harbor was beautiful and the San Juan Islands are definitely something everyone should see. We did not take the time to go to Victoria BC. We wanted to, but with Maverick and our limited time there we decided to skip it. It’s always hard to decide what to do and what to save for a potential future trip. Sometimes, we know we’ll be back. But others, we really don’t know if we’ll make the journey. Anacortes is great example of somewhere we loved, but we’re not sure we’ll go back given the distance and we’ve been there already.
We also had a life experience when we visited the Predators of the Heart. It’s a wolf encounter where we also got to see other animals that were rescued. Everything from tortoises to sloths, to opossums, to cougars. The wolves were definitely the highlight though! We got to pet them and walk through the woods with them in the safety of their huge enclosure. Their hair is much more course that I imagined. And thick! Our encounter included them approaching us to become familiar and then we could pet them with some guidance. While they are becoming familiar with, then licked our faces! And, our guidance was to stay still and not make sudden noises. Well, let me tell you, that was a experience having the wolf lick your face and remaining “calm”. Later, we were interacting with them and one yawned right next to my head while we were eye level. I didn’t react, but my heart was racing!
The entire visit there was about 3.5 hours and worth every bit of the time and money! I would highly recommend this experience if you’re in that area!
Next up, Colorado baby! We traveled through Utah, had a bit of a scare with a check engine light and then on to Grand Junction. The check engine light was minor and Freightliner in Northern Salt Lake had us in and out very quickly. We overnighted on the way to GJ at Walmart and Cabelas. We don’t do this often, but sometimes when we are driving straight through and just need to “park” we do look for these safe places. We’ve never had an issue, and we are generally not alone! This time, we were joined by an old friend…. a tanker from Air Products! LOL
We stayed in Grand Junction for 3 weeks and got to see friends and family. We didn’t get to see everyone, but we loved being back in the valley. We did make a quick car trip to Evergreen for Jed and Libby’s annual 4th of July gathering. It was awesome to see our friends and reminisce!
In GJ, we even had a surprise visit from our full-time RV friends Rick and Kathi while they were on their way from Lake Havasu to Wisconsin! That was a bit of an out of body experience seeing them in GJ. You know, it’s weird when the worlds collide! We tried to show them all of GJ in 4 hours :).
The only down side to being in GJ was the weather! It was over 100 degrees some days. Thankfully, we squeezed in a long bike ride on a cooler day and made good use of our air conditioners! This made us even more thankful when we headed to Gypsum to see Pat and Gary! The altitude makes all of the difference!
We stayed in Gypsum for a few days and really enjoyed our time with Pat and Gary. Our extended family came to visit for the weekend and we enjoyed the full house! Then, we headed to Central City. Just outside Denver, but at 8500-foot elevation, we were loving the cool temperatures both day and night! The campground there is nice and the scenery is amazing, AND, the sun shines every day! We made a day trip to the Denver Zoo to relive part of Laura’s childhood and saw Lion King at IMAX. We used to have a season pass to the zoo and it was one of Laura’s favorite things to do and of course, Lion King was wildly popular when she was little. It was a bit of time warp for us! We drove by our old houses and couldn’t believe the changes!
While we are in the area, we were able to have dinner with some of Roger’s cousins he grew up with and then attend his Aunt Audrey’s 90th birthday celebration! Aunt Audrey is very special to both of us and we had planned our entire year around this celebration and it did not disappoint! We got to see many cousins that Roger hadn’t seen in 20+ years and meet/re-meet their children and their children’s children. Audrey is an amazing woman that is the kindest person you’ll ever meet, she raised remarkable children and her sense of style is just icing on the cake!
Being in Colorado just always feels like home! As the title of the blog says, it’s really a place where we follow our hearts and feel settled. Colorado is special to us for so many reasons! It’s the place I moved to when I was 22 and didn’t know anyone. I moved there for work and it was the first time I had lived alone. I met Roger within weeks and then we started dating (that’s another blog for another day), then we married and had Laura. It’s where I started college, realized traveling for work was “normal”, owned our first house…. The list goes on and on. And, it’s where we still have many family members and friends that we love and really enjoy spending time with!
After the party on Sunday, we headed East. As I prepare this blog, we are parked in Omaha Nebraska. We are quickly passing through the area on our way to La Crosse Wisconsin to see our friends Rick and Kathi. They summer there and we were going that direction so decided to visit them. It will be another “out of body/world colliding” experience to see them outside of Lake Havasu!
After La Crosse, we head to Nappanee, Indiana for our annual service on the coach and we will do a factory tour to see how the Newmar’s are made! We are very excited about this! While the coach goes in for service, we’ve rented a VRBO in Charlevois, MI. We have heard SO MUCH about this area and are excited to see it. We are only there for 4 days, so we’re thinking of this as a scouting trip for a future stay with the coach.
After Nappannee, we go to Cleveland to see Laura and Chad for a month! And, Roger will get some alone time with Laura and Chad while my Mom and I go to Hawaii for a couple of weeks! Yep, there will be a blog about that for sure!
After Cleveland, it’s off to the Newmar rally in Syracuse. They are planning 1,000’s of coaches!!! Then, down to PA to see friends and ultimately to Florida to “winter”. We decided to try Florida for winter this year to allow us to spend more time with my Mom and family. It will be good to experience a different area and decide for next year!
If you see us in the area, please reach out! HUGS to all!