THINGS I FORGOT TO TELL YOU – and homeward bound!

QUICK EDITING NOTE: WordPress has gone to a new editor that is experiencing some issues, so the formatting is a little off from what I wanted.

Every road trip I forget to share something from our trip that I really wanted to share, so since our last day/s is mostly the exact same route each trip heading home it seems like a good time to tell you what I forgot.

It drives us CRAZY that RV Parks advertise FREE Wifi, BUT it is so slow that you barely can get a text message out on our iPads or Macs.  We have been struggling for years to post our blogs, send/receive emails, and upload pictures. Our best bets were the local McD’s, “I’m Lovin’ It!” Last year we bought AT&T’s Hot Spot service for the month we were on our fall road trip as it only then cost $35 a month.  It worked well!

This spring AT&T upgraded our service that now includes 30GB of Hot Spot service per phone per month and its FREE with the Unlimited Everything (except Hot Spot) Family plan we use; and an added bonus our rate went down about $4.50 per phone line per month!!! 

Coming from California where the speed limit is only 70mph on the interstates in unpopulated areas, small two lane highways tops out at 55mph with a few exceptions, and trucks and vehicles with trailers only get to go a maximum of 55mph it is always surprising to see the speed limits in other states.  

Most of the states in the south and midwest have a maximum of 75mph with some at 80mph; this includes trucks (18 WHEELERS!!!) and vehicles with trailers!!!   I only go a maximum of 65mph pulling the car behind the motorhome as Chevrolet recommendation is not to exceed 65mph when pulling an Equinox. 

Now here is a funny sign we saw over and over again in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.   No seriously you have to tell people they can’t go SLOWER than 40mph on a freeway………well yes they do need to tell people not to go less than 40mph as we came upon several cars really quickly that were going about 40-45mph!!!

I LOVE my Retirement Quilt my Wifey made in 2015 from some of the silk ties I had worn everyday to work for the last 46 years!!! The quilt is one of my favorite scenes of America from our motorhome windshield. Here are some shots from this trip Sandi took for me as I was driving; these shots are from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Nevada.

Here is some thing cool! Nevada and a few other states have built over and under passes for the wild animal migrations.

There are three wild animal migration overpasses on I-80 and two on highway US-93 (we normally take when heading east) from Wells to Jackpot Nevada.

One of my favorite rest areas is on I-80 (old US-40) the “Lincoln Highway” in Eastern Wyoming. We didn’t stop this year as we needed to keep moving due to the snow coming soon, but Sandi got a pic for me as we sped passed it.

Back in Pawhuska, Sandi got me a slice of Pecan Pie from Rea’s Bakery at the Mercantile!!! Oh, it was SO GOOD!!!

Gas Prices are a LOT lower outside California, but the grades of gas do add to some confusion to the pricing. Which one do I use??? Why isn’t there a national standard, it in the first place would make California gas cheaper!!! Well GM (our car) and Ford (our motorhome) manufacturers both state NOT to use E-85 unless your vehicle is a “FlexFuel” vehicle. I didn’t use the “eblend” in Iowa/Nebraska as I wasn’t sure and would only have save 5 cents a gallon. Our lowest priced gas was in Oklahoma City at $180; with an average price outside California of only $2.27. We filled the car up the last time in Wendover Nevada at $2.45 (full tank when we got home as it is pulled), and the last tank in the motorhome was in Sparks Nevada at $2.55.

Have those favorite fast foods??? Well when EVER we go across Nevada we stop at the Elko Nevada Taco Time!!!! Taco Time use to be in Santa Clara when we were first married, but the franchise shut down their operations. We do stop at some Taco Time’s in Oregon and Washington states, but none compares to the Elko Nevada store.

The last thing I want to share is that America is Hiring!!! In every city, every town, everywhere we saw “Now Hiring” signs in windows, electronic sign boards and billboards.

Nebraska in ONE DAY, SNOW in Wyoming???

We changed our plans but once more.  I always look at the weather three to four days ahead to make sure we have no surprises!   Well “The Weather Channel” app showed snow across about 300 miles of Wyoming, but if we canceled one of our stops in Nebraska and go 1/3 the way across Wyoming we would be ahead of the snow.  Plan was going great all “Highway Alert Signs” were stating that snow would begin at 11pm tomorrow night, so we would be ahead of the snow!!!   Oops, as we are right before Rawlins Wyoming the last sign changed to say the snow would begin 11pm TONIGHT lasting until 9am TOMORROW!.   This would mean possible snowy icy roads.  We got checked in at our RV park and the wind picked up….I’m mean REALLY picked up.  It was NOISEY and shaking the motorhome all night.  I woke up at about midnight, looked outside and yes there was indeed snow!!!   With about six inches of snow the next morning it was CLEAR that we weren’t going anywhere as it was going to be snowing on and off all day; to top it off I-80 was closed in various sections to the Utah border. 

Let me stop here for a moment to say; I love crossing Nebraska, as a kid I thought it was just one more corn field or cows to look at next to the freeway. As an adult I always enjoy crossing Nebraska. I-80 follows the Platte River and the Platte River Valley for nearly 200 miles. There are tons of small ponds and lakes along the interstate, yes with fields of corn, soybean, alfalfa, hay, COWS, etc. We generally jump off a few times a day to enjoy the small towns, but this trip was straight through shot.

Now back to the SNOWY time in Rawlins and beyond. We had plenty of food, so not a problem….until the propane started going down real fast!!!   Not being able to go to a propane dealer this was an issue as our furnace runs off propane!!!   Fortunately the RV Park Sandi found and we stayed, Red Desert Rose, sold propane and was able to fill our tank.  We have LOTS of linens stored under our couch, so we got out the five full size blankets and three throws, bundled up and watched a movie and some TV shows.   

The Red Desert Rose RV Park is DEFINITELY on our RV Park List!!!   They were fantastic, welcoming, and accommodating!!!   They could have really got us as we were stuck, but no they had a great nightly rate.  When we had to stay a second night they didn’t even charge us for the cable TV or the third person!!!   Oh, and their propane was ONLY $2.50 a gallon….and when they were filling the tank it was 27 degrees with 25 mph winds.

Our puppies were real champs too, they weathered the cold and snow.  They weren’t fans of the mini blizzard conditions as the snow with winds of 25-30mph wasn’t real fun!!!   Our puppies have done a lot, seen a lot and have been to 22 States and British Columbia, Canada!!!   Franklyn will be 3 on October 25th, and Harriet turned two this week on September 9th!   How many states have you been to in your lifetime!?   Next spring they will be adding 7-10 more states!   

Back to the SNOW!!!!   We got up, accessed the situation not only in Rawlins, but the balance of I-80 to the Utah border.  The weather radar was showing more snow on the way for Rawlins, and light snow about 100 miles down the road.  We used as I said “The Weather Channel” app and (Wyoming Department of Transportation) as our guides.  Our biggest priority of course was safety, not speed or how long it took us to get to drier weather.  To add even more fun to our day, WYDOT was doing construction closing down to one lane in each direction; so now we are sharing one side of the freeway; so imagine seeing an 18 wheeler heading towards you on snowy roads just feet across the safety cones.  

I told you about two weeks ago back in Flagstaff Arizona, how Little America is a BIG tradition for our Family. So thinking they wouldn’t stop at Little America in the middle of a snow storm for ice cream……well YES WE DID!!! The snow had stopped a few hours. You wouldn’t believe how busy it was with truckers and travelers. I had to stand in a line of nine people to get our chocolate/vanilla ice cream swirl cones. Here is a shot of the kids playland at Little America like I never seen it before…..and hopefully never again.

It took us nine hours to go only 250 miles to Salt Lake City, then it was clear sailing across the Great Salt Flat to West Wendover Nevada!!!   We started our day at 8am in 25 degrees, and finished our day at 6pm in 70 degrees.  

We all three talked about our experiences of crossing the Great Salt Lake.  Betty can’t get over how big Wendover Utah/West Wendover Nevada are today, compared to the first time she went through in 1947, when her Family was moving to California.  West Wendover has changed a lot since my first crossing n 1964 (I don’t remember the VERY first crossing in 1957 as I was 2).  Here are some shots of West Wendover today!

This Cowboy, Wendover Will, has been welcoming travelers on US-40/I-80 to West Wendover since 1952.  The new Will installed in 2004 doesn’t wave his arms, but his original self did back in 1952. My parents and brother immigrated to the United States from Eastern Canada, passing the original will on September 19, 1952.

Des Moines Iowa Region

We always enjoy our visits to the Des Moines region, but we rarely actually go into Des Moines itself.  We generally stay our nights in the town of Waukee and the huge driveway of a friend who’s house sits on a seven acre parcel, next to her parents and the adjoins their sixty plus acres of tall grass.  This year since we were staying four days we stayed jut a few miles away at an RV park, Timberline, where we stayed during our first visit many years ago. Timberline RV Resort has expanded quite a bit the last few years, and has all new facilities. You wouldn’t know that you are just a few blocks from a modern city while you’re on the property.

The older section of the park is heavily wooded, where the new section tress haven’t quite taken hold yet. Like most of the parks we’ve visited this trip it offers a doggie park, our puppies really like being off the leash and run freely.

During our stays in Des Moines we always find something new to visit.  Years ago it was the Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa.  It is a visit that we often fondly remember. The Living History Farms are located on 500 acres. The active “living” farm/community takes you back through 300 years of farming in Iowa.  Did you know that most of the farming methods used in America today came from Native Americans; well if not you need to come and be educated…..or go to Mesa Verde National Park, or any of the other National, State, Local parks that help us learn and appreciate the Ancient and more recent Native Americans peoples.

This year we visited several of the “Bridges of Madison County” Iowa.  These covered bridges take you back to a time when things must have been a lot slower.  The State of Iowa created the “Covered Bridges Scenic Byway” to guide you to these gems. 

The Imes Bridge is the first one on the byway and is just off I-35.  Imes Bridge was built in 1870 and is the oldest of the six remaining bridges in Madison County.  I’m sure these bridges are still standing thanks in part to the craftsmanship in their original construction.  The longest bridge, at 122’ long, is the Holliwell Bridge. Be ready for gravel roads, as most of the bridges are accessed on the old country (well maintained) gravel roads.   

Our journey took us to Winterset the County Seat of Madison County.  Winterset is a beautiful “All American Small Town” with the County Court House in the middle of the town square.  To make it even more perfect there is a “Ben Franklin’s” store on the square that is STILL OPEN!!!!   Sandi took a short tour of the store and said it was just the same as she remembered. 

Winterset Iowa is also the home town of Marion Robert Morrison, we know him as John Wayne.  They have preserved the home and offer self guided tours, we didn’t visit the inside though we did take a few pictures of the outside of the home.  There is also the John Wayne Museum located on the adjoining property.  

Not only is Madison County home to John Wayne it is the birthplace of aviation pioneer Glen L Martin.  When Glen was very young his Family moved to California and he became very interested in kites, especially boxed kites he made in his mother’s kitchen; he actually sold his kites to neighbor kids for twenty-five cents.  In 1912 he began his own aviation company and in 1916 he merged his company with the Wright Brothers; creating Wright-Martin Company  The company barring his name developed and built the first twin engine bomber, the B-26.  Today his name lives on as Martin merged to create Lockheed-Martin. 

Now back to our Iowa visit!!!   We actually were in Madison County to attend a small wedding of a friend.  The ceremony was held outdoors at a winery, following all COVID-19 protocols.  The chairs for the ceremony were setup up in pairs six feet apart, as were the tables for the dinner which was also held outside.  

During our visit in Iowa we noticed that not everyone in stores wore masks, and very few did while outdoors.   This is such a contrast from Arizona where the law is that you must wear a mask when ever you are outside your home unless you are seated and eating.

Restaurants are reopening in the Des Moines area, but slowly.  I noticed that more fast foods have NOT opened their dining rooms, compared to traditional sit down restaurants.  A few McDonald’s are slowly opening up their dining rooms, limiting not only the number of guests, with every other table open and ONLY from the hours of 11am to 2pm.  

We discovered a great Iowa grocery store years ago named HyVee (after their founders Charles Hyde and David Vredenburg).  Today HyVee operates 245 stores in eight mid-west states.  HyVee stores are clean, and fun stores to shop.  Most stores offer a full service meat department, large bakery, an expanded deli/convenience foods, take out dinners and even a Wahlburger restaurant!!!  Outside some stores have a gas station and car wash!!!  

The newest store in Waukee, Iowa has “AisleOnline” drive-up pickup kiosk!!!  I always make sure that I have all my favorite Safeway products before I leave a Safeway/Albertsons’s area, but LOVE that I can also get quality in a clean fun environment when traveling through the mid-west.

The next two days we will be crossing Nebraska!!!

Dorothy, We are in Kansas!

Pawhuska is just minutes from the Kansas border. We literally zig zagged our way from Pawhuska for 205 miles to just south of Overland Park, Kansas.  I kept looking for tornados, Toto, and a witch on a bike….didn’t see one…could even find Auntie Em or Uncle Henry’s house and no yellow brick road.   We did see a highway marker pointing out Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie homestead.  Don’t worry we have already added it to our “Places to See” log, so another trip to Kansas will be in the works.

Our journey took us through small towns that are tucked in the turns of the multiple highways that stretch across south eastern Kansas.  The largest town was Independence, Kansas which is very close to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s homestead. 

I like the Interstates for getting somewhere quickly, but much prefer small highways, especially when they are this nice.  I wish California’s small highways were as nice, I didn’t see ONE POTHOLE!!!…..and the average price of gas I saw was $2.05!!!

We spent the night in an older RV park, Rutlader Outpost RV Park, in Louisburg Kansas.  The park has new owners that are putting a lot of work in to this little jewel.  All sites are pull throughs which is really nice for one-niters, and have full hook ups. 

With a pond, two play grounds, lot of grass, community hall, laundry, and a new expanded doggy playground I know it will succeed…..and I’ll add it to our “RV Parks” lists.  The RV park is situated between several small towns on US-69.  US-69 travels up the Kansas Missouri border so its easy to jump over to Missouri for fun. 

As we were checking out the town of Louisburg, I saw a store named “Market Street” that is the size of a Safeway and located in a newer strip mall, so we had to go find out what it was!!!   It reminded us of a stores that we had in the South Bay of San Francisco Bay Area back in the ’80s. 

It is like an ongoing craft fair and antique shops all in one…..or like an / in a physical store.  We had so much fun walking through the different shops.  I actually took some pictures of a few things that I could make at home for Sandi’s garden.

Here are time lapsed photos I captured as the sun set over the Kansas Prarie.  

US-69 joins I-35 in Overland Park, KS and travels on through Kansas City Missouri in to Iowa.  I tell you I would almost rather be in 55mph traffic on a JAMMED LA freeway than to be on I-35 North through Kansas City Missouri!!!  First of all the speed limit was 65 in Overland Park Kansas, but once we got in to Kansas City Kansas it went down to 55mph……but WAIT!!!   The Interstate went down to ONE LANE and 45mph!!!!   It WASN’T a construction zone, it was just how the Interstate merges and splits with other freeways!!!!   The good news is that the balance of the Interstate I-35 experience was wonderful!!!

Sandi and I were both remembering an Amish Store we went to on our way home from Des Moines years ago.  It was a small, but FUN market with preserves, dried fruits, nuts, spices, etc in bulk.  We both thought it was in Missouri just north of I-70 and Kansas City.  Well we found it and it is actually in Iowa!!!!   It is now larger and even more fun!!!!    It has some Amish small furniture, housewares items, road trip games, unique kid games and more!!!  It even how has a small restaurant and bakery; don’t worry Sandi got us some Amish sweet rolls.  Oh, and yes it really is an Amish store, here is a Amish horse and buggy parked in Buggy Parking.   As we were leaving I heard something on the road and saw another horse and buggy galloping along.

Pawhaska Oklahoma

This is our second time to Pawhuska Oklahoma, home of the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile.  This town is more than just the Merc (as the locals call it).   Pawhuska is an old ranch town, which the Drummond Family has been a part since 1864; the Drummonds call more than Pawhuska as home as they have been involved in ranching and other business within the entire Osage Nation and Osage County. 

This trip we enjoyed lunch at the cafe in the Mercantile.  I had the most popular dish, Soup and Grilled Cheese Sticks!  I had the Tomato Soup (amazing), and my Mother-In-Law (Betty) had the Chicken Noodle; Sandi got the Ranch Hand Sandwich (pulled pork, thin sliced honey ham and pepper jack cheese)!!!

The town is seeing a revival with the opening of the Mercantile.  Along with the Mercantile Rea has opened a Lodge Hotel, Pizza restaurant and Ice Cream Shop named after her puppy Charlie who she lost a few years ago. 

A shop owner just down the street said their business has gone up six fold since the Mercantile opened.  I saw four old buildings within a block of the Mercantile currently being renovated adding even more businesses.   

Don’t come on Sundays as the Mercantile and other business are closed for the Lord’s Day.  On a Sunday you can still enjoy the street art found throughout the town.

Let me know there is a swing bring, and I will come!   This one needs a little more love than its already recently received.  We went only 1/3 the way across, took a look at the muddy creek and said “nah”…….took our pictures and went on to discover more.

We took a ride to Bartlesville, a city about 30 minutes outside Pawhuska.  What a beautiful ride, through rolling hills covered in green grasses.  Bartlesville has almost every type of store you could want to shop and all the restaurants we all love; it is also the birthplace of Rea.

We found a RV park, Settle Inn RV Park and Cabins, just five minutes outside of Pawhuska.   The park has about 30 full hookup spaces and two cabins rustic on the outside, and comfy on the inside.  

Franklyn, one of our two puppies, loves watching outside the window as we travel.  When we lived in Rio Vista he always took special notice of the cows in a pasture right by our house. Today I let him see one up close, he just enjoyed the moment woofing at the cow a few times….the cow just looked back at him.   

To top off our visit was a thunder shower with heavy, heavy rain.  Sandi and I went for a sunset ride last night under cloudy skies.  We ended up at the gate to the Drummond Ranch about five miles the other side of town.  As Sandi was taking some pictures I started feeling a few drops of rain, Sandi continued to take some pictures of amazing clouds as we saw a few flashes on the horizon.  Within a minute or two more it started to rain, so we headed back to the RV park.   The next nine miles was flash and boom, with one flash right above our car and the boom came right with it!!!   Jumping around puddles we got ourselves safely in the motorhome and started taking pictures outside our windows.  Today was a calmer day, but tonights forecast seems to offer another show.

I wanted to end this post with the wildflowers (and some fungus and moss) I found around Pawhuska, enjoy!!! See if you can find Bambi in the last picture, Franklyn pointed him out to me while we were taking some of these pictures.

Across the Panhandle

Several have asked me how we plan what route were taking and where we’re going to spend our nights.   We begin with planning a trip on, inputting our home address and the farthest destination address.  If there are points of interest where we want to stop, (ie.  Pioneer Woman Mercantile) then we will next add those points of interest.  By now we will have a basic layout of the trip, hopefully in a circle so we don’t back track any territory during the trip.  By this point we discuss the trip in more detail, make edits and finalize the route. Screen Shot 2020-08-30 at 3.53.50 PM

Next comes the hard part, where to stay along the route.  If it is a route we’ve been on before we will often stay at a RV park that we’ve enjoyed in the past…and making sure we miss the BAD ones.  What makes finding places to stay the hard part is to make sure you don’t put to many miles in one day, then find a place in that mileage range.

We chose NOT to gamble on finding a RV Park with a space, so we secure a space with a reservation in advance for almost every night!!!  We definitely have our favorite RV parks along I-40 & I-80 our major two routes across the country such as:  


  • Black Bart RV Park, Flagstaff AZ
  • OK RV Park, Holbrook, AZ
  • Trailer Ranch RV Park, Santa Fe NM
  • Bar S RV Park, Mian NM 
    • (Just added to our list!!!)
  • Blaze-In-Saddle, Tucumcari NM 
    • (Just added to our list!!!)
  • Rockwell RV Park, Oklahoma OK



  • Sparks Maria RV Park, Sparks NV
  • Winnemucca RV Park, Winnemucca NV
  • Double Dice RV Park, Elko NV
  • Cactus Petes Casino, Jackpot NV 
    • (we detour around Salt Lake to miss the steep grade on I-80 on the west slope of the rockies)
  • Phillips RV Park, Evanston WY
  • Rawlins KOA RV Park, Rawlins, WY
  • Gothenburg Blue Heron RV Park, Gothenburg NE

IMG_3077We had an enjoyable couple of days traveling from northeastern New Mexico, crossing the Texas Panhandle stopping in western Oklahoma.  We began this leg dropping down from Santa Fe on US-285 which is a fairly straight shot through the rolling hills back to I-40 east.  Here is a shot of US 285 just before we hit I-40.  Is that straight enough?

We spent our last night in New Mexico at a great RV Park in Tucumcari.  This is a fairly new RV park and now on our “Stay at List”.

The park is fairly new and owned and managed by a former Californian who opened the park about five years ago.  This is the first RV Park we’ve stayed at that had horse stables along with RV sites and a nice doggy play land……now the whole Family can come and stay!

Tucumcari is an old rail town, that repositioned itself for Route 66 and is revamping once again.  The town was founded in 1901 and saw a boom when the Union Pacific Railway made it a center point complete with a roundhouse, depot and water tower.

The town’s second life began in 1926 when Route 66 made its grand entrance bringing travelers looking for gas stations, lodging and restaurants.  Today the town is positioning itself as a “Old Route 66” tourist spot as it is just off I-40.

IMG_3079Today we finished up New Mexico, crossed the Texas panhandle stopping approximately 48 miles inside of Oklahoma.  We enjoyed the Texas panhandle towns that line the I-40 and were the old stops on Route 66..  Today we jumped off I-40 to take in the Route 66 town of Adrian Texas.  Adrian was first settled by a Texas Ranger and farmer named Adrian Cullen.  By 1909 more farmers and businesses started popping up, but droughts kept the growth at a slow pace.  The town became a center point in 1926 thanks to Route 66 and soon built a CO-OP grain elevator in 1929 to support the local farmers.  Today the town is home to the area high school and not much more.  Here are some pics of an old Phillips 66 right on the old Route 66.  Note the BENT RED DOOR!!!!

If you ever wondered where the name Phillips 66 came from, as I have now for hundreds of miles, two brothers (Frank and Lee Phillips) founded Phillips Oil Company in Kansas opening their first gas station in 1927.  They decided to name the station “Phillips 66” reflecting public excitement over the building of Route 66.

IMG_1179We ended our day at a KOA in Elk City, Oklahoma.  KOA’s tend to have higher rates, but most of them are the best RV Parks in the area.  KOA’s are also great for road trippers that are camping in tents or want to stay in a semi-rustic cabin.  Elk City KOA is no exception to the nicer rule, with clean level RV sites, well maintained cabins, pool, and two playgrounds….one of which is for the four legged members of the Family!!!   IMG_1177I enjoyed the wooden swing while the puppies did some exploring!!!

Tomorrow we head to north central Oklahoma and the home of Rea Drummond’s Pioneer Woman Mercantile!

Santa Fe

If you have followed our road trips for very long you know that we have crossed America on the I-40 in both directions many times.  This is our fifth time to Santa Fe and our fifth time staying at “Trailer Ranch RV Resort”.   This resort is an adult only park where all guest must be at least 21.  

It is a quiet, clean, well maintained park with a GREAT laundry room that I used this trip; and yes had some more great conversations with other travelers.  Our puppies  enjoy the park’s 1/4 acre and extra nice doggie playland!

We really enjoy Santa Fe and the surrounding area.  This trip we enjoyed more of “The Plaza” a three hundred plus year old gathering place.  IMG_1123El Palaico Real Fortress and Castle was built by order the Spanish Crown in 1610 and has been used by three governments (Spanish, Mexican and American) until 1910.  IMG_1124El Palaico Real is the oldest public building in the United States.  Today the inside of El Palacio Real displays Native American Art, while along its exterior wall there are designated spaces for Native Americans to sell their art and wares.   Note the inside is closed to the public and no Native American vendors are allowed to sell on the streets due to the COVID-19 rules. 

Twice we have taken in the “Taos Pueblo” located 75 miles north east of Santa Fe.  The Pueblo is still an active living community, and at over 1,000 years old it is the oldest  living community in North America.  The Pueblo was under repair both visits, it seems to be a steady occupation for the residents.  The buildings are adobe with some wooden beams.  Most of the entrances of the homes, shops, etc. have doors which were added during the early 19th century. 

During our two past visits we have enjoyed talking to the artist in the small galleries, tucked inside of the thick adobe wall buildings.   We have a piece of pottery art in our home from our first visit.  We were taken back was how proud the young man (about 22) was of the artist with pieces in the gallery.  He didn’t even show us his work….we had to ask him if he had any art in the small gallery, when we saw his art we had to bring a piece home.  

The modern town of Taos, just steps away from the pueblo, has hotels, eateries, shops and more art galleries to explore.

Our last visit in 2016 took us to Bandelier National Monument, located about an hour west of Santa Fe.  We definitely are planning a return visit to the Monument on one of our future trips.  Bandelier was home to Ancestral Pueblo people for over 400 years, until approximately 1550 when they moved on to build a new Pueblo along the Rio Grande as Bandelier could no longer support their community.  Descendants of these great people are still living along the Rio Grande today and are of the Cochiti Pueblo.  

We are so glad our teacher friends from San Antonio told us about Bandelier as we totally missed this jewel our first few times to Santa Fe.  Both Bandelier and Taos are places you want to visit during the spring or fall months as it can get very hot in the summer.  

Speaking of recommendations from our teacher friends, they started us loving “The Pantry” as much as they do.  It is a Mexican/American diner just minutes from the Plaza.  Today we had breakfast for the first time, I actually enjoyed the dinners we’ve had more.  No matter what meal, it is now a Santa Fe tradition of ours.  Tomorrow the state’s regulations allows for inside dining, today we ate in an outdoor temporary dining area.

If Santa Fe doesn’t give you enough with just it’s cultural history, wait until you see all the art.  Art of every median!!!  Here are a few shots of art we found inside of Santa Fe, and this doesn’t take in the paintings, jewelry, sculptures, etc. you’ll find throughout the city.

There is even more art in Santa Fe’s surrounding communities.  One ride we enjoyed our first visit and again this visit is the Turquoise Trail.  The 65 mile trail runs south from Santa Fe and ends up in Albuquerque.  Today we just went as far as the small art town of Madrid.  On our first Santa Fe visit we made a big loop as we continued on the I-40 back to Albuquerque, then back the I-25 to Santa Fe.  We need to focus more on Albuquerque in a future visit, as it is New Mexico’s largest city and is also an art mecca.

These are shots of art we saw today along the Turquoise Trail, oh, and some of God’s art work. 

Just because I love wildflowers so much, I couldn’t resist taking a few shots of some I found while taking pictures of the bicycle art.

Next up is Tucumcari, New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle! 

On to New Mexico

As we travel this road trip we are doing everything we can to be safe, and we are self quarantining.  We are wearing our masks when ever in public.   We have been cautious entering large stores or small stores that are busy, and eating most meals inside our motorhome.   One thing different in New Mexico is that everyone on the streets are wearing masks, not just inside businesses.

The dining restrictions vary not only from state to state, but just as at home the laws vary by community.  I started noticing signing at McDonald’s in Arizona, and other fast foods since that drink carriers are experiencing a national shortage just like disinfective wipes and coins.  By nature we don’t generally get drink carriers or do we use straws as  we have Yeti and Yeti type 30oz cups with steel straws.  The Yeti/Yeti type cups help us reduce paper/plastic waste and we enjoy colder better tasting drinks.

Just like at home, I am blown away by the “Now Hiring” signs in almost every town and every business type; the jobs are out there.  I’m also blown away by the homeless and panhandling in larger towns/cities; if you thought this was only a problem in your community you’re wrong.  The panhandlers I’ve seen are not aggressive, but are everywhere!!!   Early one morning we stopped in downtown Flagstaff so Sandi could take a picture of a wall mural and I could run into a bakery.  My Mother-In-Law didn’t want to get out of the car, so I rolled the windows down a little to let in fresh air as we only be a few minutes and a short distance from the car.  As I left the bakery I witnessed separately two extremely mentally ill homeless individuals (a man and a woman) separately walking down the main street of Flagstaff screaming and talking to someone no one else could see.  When we returned to the car my poor Mother-In-Law told us a crazy man came up to the window screaming at her for a quick moment before moving on to the next car.  How terrifying!!!   Our experience in downtown Flagstaff definitely took a turn for the worse.

IMG_1103One of our favorite Route 66 stops is in Holbrook Arizona. IMG_1101This town has several fun Route 66 sites and a Safeway that is one of the last going east, so a must.  This stop was for deli sandwiches, which we really enjoyed, and a few groceries. To make this Safeway even more fun look what is across the old Route 66 from the store.

IMG_1112We continued on crossing northern Arizona to about 60 miles inside New Mexico where we spent the night at “Bar S RV Park” in Milan/Grants New Mexico.  IMG_1109The RV Park is a quiet, clean, well maintained park with a nice laundry room located in a part of the registration lobby and small store.  Now I said quiet, that is until a train rolls through town, and based on the trains we saw all day they are all about 100  plus cars long.  Oh, and the nicest part of this park has to be the price at only $22 a night.

Like most freeways across the country, Arizona and New Mexico interstates are lined with Native American Casinos.  Most of the casinos we’ve passed on this trip are temporarily closed.  One casino we passed today outside of Albuquerque was actually open, but the huge marque at the main entrance clearly stated “Open Only to New Mexico Residents”.  Oh well, saved me some money.   

Until tomorrow and Santa Fe, Good Night!


When you think of Arizona you’re most likely thinking of the Grand Canyon, Phoenix, Tucson, maybe Sedona, or the desert; well northern Arizona is quite a bit different!   Now I know that the Grand Canyon is in Northern Arizona, but it’s not the only thing!!!   06 25 08_1122_edited-1I personally love the mountains on the east side of the Grand Canyon which are located inside of the Hopi and Navajo Nations.    06 25 08_1129_edited-1I believe that the colors in these mountains out do the Painted Desert; which has its own beauty.  These are two shots I took on our Road Trip in 2008 as we won’t be passing these mountains this trip.

We are staying three nights at Black Bart’s RV Park in Flagstaff which sits at 6,910 feet.   Towering above Flagstaff are “The San Francisco Peaks” topping out at 12,833 feet.   These mountains and the lower range are covered with large conifers such as Engelmann spruce, blue spruce, subalpine fir, corkbark fir (a variety of subalpine fir found only in isolated areas of Arizona and New Mexico), Douglas-fir, bristlecone pine, and limber pine.

Flagstaff is a great place to stay if you like day tripping to the sights.  It is about 45 minutes to Sedona and an hour and half to the Grand Canyon.   Downtown Flagstaff is filled with small shops and eateries and is the center point in the city of the “Old Route 66”. 

One of the joys of road tripping is laundry day, yes it still happens when you travel.   RV Park laundry rooms can be interesting as you never know if its quarters, wash cards or other systems; and the condition of the equipment can be all over the map.  I have seen some great ones and ones that cause me to postpone laundry day as I just can’t do them.  This park’s laundry was clean, just had a lot of “Out of Order” signs on the equipment.  The long wait time for a washer or dryer lead to a long afternoon of laundry.   The upside of this laundry adventure was a young man I met who lives in the park in his trailer as a dorm room.  He is attending Northern Arizona University and found RV’ing a great way to save money on housing, and not have to deal with roommates.  Our conversation took many turns but included comparing how we each are dealing with COVID; we did our best to keep politics out of our conversation for the most part.  One conversation had a lot of twist and turns which lead to him telling me how one of the most enjoyable parts of college is talking with his peers and others.  He shared with me how he belongs to a Church that has locations at ten different colleges and helps “young people of faith” connect and stay connected.  He said the most rewarding  part of this experience is sharing his story with others, and how God and his faith have brought him through trials and tribulations; then hearing their story and encouraging them that there is hope and forgiveness.  Here is a link to the Church’s website that he attends, if you want to learn more:   

Meeting people from all walks of life is one of the most enjoyable parts of traveling for me; this young man was just one great example.  One of my other favorite conversations happened on the same 2008 Road Trip I referenced above and is the reason I haven’t been in a Walmart since June 21, 2008.  Early that June morning I went for a walk to discover the town where we spent the night in Carthage Missouri.  On my walk in this Hollywood Movie perfect Americana Town Square was a woman walking her dog.  We sparked up a conversation as she thought I was looking for a particular business, when actually I was just trying to figure out if the old store front was that of a JC Penney, Sears or Woolworth’s.  She said “it was a Penney’s store that closed along with almost every business in the town square over the last several years.”  Her story went on “my Family owned a Hallmark Store and the building on the corner, there was the barbershop, that was the diner, hat was the beauty shop….well it went on for the entire town square.  I asked what happened thinking maybe a factory left town or something; she replied did you see the Super Walmart well it only took them four years to close the last business of the downtown and now they have inside their store the barbershop, beauty shop, dentist, etc..  The only store fronts in the town square now are state and country medical, dental, mental health, substance abuse services and other social services.  Having seen other towns just off the interstates across this country that are now ghost towns thanks to the huge Super Walmart directly off the interstate.  I promised her that I would never go in Walmart again, and I haven’t.  I’m not trying to put judgement on those that shop Walmart, it is just a promise I made that morning that I intend to keep.

IMG_1098Sorry for the detour, now back to Flagstaff.  Flagstaff is a MUST stop for us when ever we are crossing Arizona on I-40.  Both of our families always stopped at Little America in the middle of Wyoming on I-80.  Why you ask?  For an Ice Cream Cone.  My Family was on the way to or from Ottawa Canada, Sandi’s was on the way to or from Cheyenne/Denver.  For us Little America is just one more place that our lives crossed paths years before we knew each other….and now it is our tradition!   And yes the chocolate/vanilla swirl was as good as always.  In just a few weeks we will be at the original Little America for another swirl cone.

Next up is New Mexico with stops in Milan, Santa Fe and Tucumcari.