RV Travel Adventures

Welcome to Just Around The Bend our travel  blog. As we go about our adventures we are hoping to see and experience some wonderful places and meet a lot of interesting people. One of our challenges on the road and living in our little caravan is to stay fit and eat healthy. One would hope that the time factor is on our side and we can be creative in our cuisine keeping it healthy and tasty. Another fun goal is to visit every National Park on our journey in our 24 foot Navion Sprinter. see ya on the road!

Happy Trails,  Jeff and Liz   ♥

HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT

HOVENWEEP: Indian ruins are fascinating and the history is incredible. The harshness of this country makes you wonder how in the world did these people manage. The ruins are mostly destroyed by looters and the test of time, but definitely worth a stop.

Our Next Exploration is Monument Valley, Natural Bridges, Mexican Hat and The famous Goosenecks S.P.

Cheers Jeff and Liz

Arches National Park- Canyon Lands and The Needles

Leaving the Swell we headed for Horse Thief BLM Campground, a beautiful drive 20 miles from Moab heading towards Canyonlands National park on Hwy 313, eight miles off of Hwy 191. The campground is very beautiful, campsites are nestled in amongst pinon pines and Utah juniper with panoramic views of the upper high dessert.

Sites are large and very private and just $10.00 a night. Amenities are again very clean pit toilets’, fire ring and a camp table. Just 8 miles up the road was Dead Horse S.P. and Canyon Lands N.P. and the Island In The Sky Section. Mountain Biking is abundant and the bike trails are everywhere and amazing. Jeep and side by sides are everywhere, but all trail riding and back road jeeping requires a permit.

We decided to bike from Moab to the Arches visitors center on our Blix Electric Bikes, the bike trail is paved and so much fun. Speed limit was 20 miles per hour, to funny because you could go a lot faster down some of those hills and we might have. It was so much fun we continued down the bike trail all the way to Hwy 313, In all we biked 21 miles and found about 8 geo caches ALONG THE WAY.

Arches N.P. requires you to make reservations to visit during the day time. BUT, if you enter the park at 5pm, you dont need reservations. So that’s what we did and worked well for us, less people and parking was great. Arches is so far in our travels a mind blowing experience of amazing wonders. This is our second time to visit, never gets old.

We spent a day in Canyon Land – The Needles and hiked to Indian ruins and lots of petroglyph’s. Very unique landscape and much different from Arches.

We tried out the Plant Based food in Moab and what a treat. It happened to be our 27th anniversary so we went a little crazy finding the best food ever. We first tried Quesadilla Mobilla and ordered the Vegetarian Quesadilla, no words can describe how good these were and I will be making these at home from now on -YUM. Oh no we aren’t finished, we were advised to try the Rainbowls Food Truck and order The Gold Knob Nachos made with plant based walnut taco meat with cashew cheese sauce, incredible. We were so happy we found such excellent Plant Based food. The finale was The Garage, a hip ice cream store we had visited on our last visit. The owner offered to make us both affogatos with their signature coffee, no words again so darn good. What a great Day! After all of that indulging we headed out to hike some trails and find some geo caches.

NEXT: Due to a weather anomaly (THATS WHAT THE RANGER TOLD US) we headed from the dessert to Blanding, Utah and luckily got a RV site at Blue Mountain RV and Trading Post. The wind advisory was 29 to 60 miles an hour and 20 degrees at night. We tucked in and stayed pretty warm, but our RV was litterly rocking all night long with 40 to 50 miles an hour wind gusts, it was scary.

CHEERS JEFF AND LIZ

NEXT HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT

The San Rafael Swell Utah – BLM camping

Its April 1, 2022 and we are fully loaded, probably overloaded if you know us headed to our first BLM experience at the Swell. We have given ourselves two days to reach the Swell. Stopping at a truck stop in Winnemucca, Nevada for our fist night and our second night at Rowley’s Red Barn in Santaquin, UT. This was a Harvest Host location and a lot of fun with great ice cream. We woke up early to snow capped mountain views and hurriedly headed to The Bonneville Salt Flats. First impressions, Flat, Vast and super white. Encompassing approx. 40 square miles and 7 miles long, you can drive on the flats as far as you can see. Very unique, you got to visit just once.

The drive from Nevada into Utah is definitely a high dessert experience, rolling hills, sage brush and sand dunes, surrounded by snow topped glacier carved mountains. Its mile after mile of sand and sage yet with this said there is a peaceful beauty. We headed down route 10 to Castle Dale and headed East into the San Rafael Swell. We stayed in a BLM campground named N. Swinging bridge. Amenities were a actual clean pit toilet that didn’t smell and cleaned daily , a picnic table and a fire ring. NO water is available in the whole area and we were twenty eight miles from a paved road. At $3.50 a night not bad, we were very prepared for this and only one other camper in the campground, very peaceful.

The next 2 days we spent exploring petroglyph’s and pictograph’s, hiking through slot canyons and even a dinosaur foot print. The views and the rock formations were incredible. the roads are ruff, wash boarded and dusty. We especially loved the Little Grand Canyon view point.

Next Stop Arches National park

Cheers for Jeff and Liz

PS: Not everything is perfect on the road. We had to buy a new battery for our Honda CRV that we tow, but luckily we were in Santaquin and not in the middle of Swell. Otherwise all systems are working great.

SHAKE DOWN AT THE METOLIOUS RIVER

We have returned to our absolute favorite camping spot at Camp Sherman, Oregon. Nestled along the glorious banks of the Metolious River. This visit is a shake down trip to work out any bugs, possible problems and to make sure we have plenty of supplies and very important kitchen gadgets we (me) think I cannot live without. If you read our last blog you know we sold the Artic fox trailer and Tundra Truck and purchased a 2018 Winnebago Navon.  Our next adventure is Utah, visiting the Big 5 and any other National Park or parks or Indian Dwellings that are along our path.

The weather here in Bend has been a bit chilly -28 degrees at night, good time to make sure heater, refrigerator, hot water, Micro and slide out all work. First night no HOT water, actually no HOT water until we returned home 3 days later.  Ok good thing we were shaking down!

Next day I decided to make bread to see if the solar panels could handle that much power usage. The solar was plenty to mix, rise and bake the bread, the problem was a misty rain came in that afternoon and our solar didn’t get a chance to build it self back  up. The next day was the same, misty cold drizzle, the good part the generator helped us and we were fine for heat and lights. Oh by the way the bread turned out amazing.

Friday the sun finally is out and we have solar and a Ranger at our door advising us they are going to dynamite some trees along the river just down from us so BEWARE. Well let me tell you he should have advised us to wear earplugs, it was the loudest bang we have ever heard or felt, boom it shook us a good one. Later we walked down the river to see the damage, it was extensive..

Except for the hot water all systems are a go, we will spend the next two days exploring the trails and hunting mushrooms, one of our favorite things to do.

Stay tuned for our Utah Big 5 Adventure

Cheers Jeff and Liz

PS: Update on Truma Hot Water Heater- a bi pass valve was turned the wrong direction, simple fix ,der.

Winnebago Navion – Our new Adventure

Hey friends, we have changed gears and shifted in a new direction. For those who don’t know us we are Jeff and Liz and to our loyal followers welcome back. We are excited to share our new adventure with you all. After much discussion, many pots of tea and crunching numbers we decided to put our 25P Artic Fox up for sale. After many miles, many great memories and RV Adventures we found just the right buyer to continue the Artic Fox’s Journey. Now your wondering what the heck did we do!!! WE purchased a 2018 Winnebago Navion, 24 D on a Mercedes Chassis. Jeff had been shopping and crunching numbers searching all over the USA for just the right fit and price. We found our dream Winnebago, no not in Oregon or even a couple of States away, but in Florida. We have never been to Florida and didn’t really realize at the time how gosh darn far Florida is. But being crazy adventurers that we are, we packed our Honda, notified our family of our crazy idea and set forth to Florida. We decided if we were going to drive that far to pick up our RV we would make a grand trip out of it. It all turned out quite wonderfully as we got to spend a night with our cousin Denny in Arizona, our Son in Law, daughter and grand kids in Ft Worth, Texas and finally arriving in Florida.

My first reaction at seeing our new NAV in person was oh my its really Bougie. We were both so pleased that our purchase was everything we hoped and in perfect condition. Now our first NAV adventure begins. We decided to work our way down the coast to Pensacola Florida and stayed our first night at the Elks Lodge to work out how the heck all of these fancy new buttons and switches work. That took two days, I told you its fancy. We used our Honda to day trip in Florida , visiting The Blue Spring State Park, famous for viewing over 300 manatees, spectacular and explored the Gulf Gulf Islands National Seashore, National Park. From Florida we headed to Goose Island State Park in Texas spending several days exploring the Aransas National Wildlife Area. We were on a little bit of a time line as we wanted to make it to Ft Worth Texas for our Grandsons golf tournament and of course Christmas with our family.

Heading for home in our new RV, we left Ft Worth a day before New years Day as a storm system was heading our way. We spent our first night in Davis State Park, getting to view our first wild javelina’s. I’ll give you a list of of our journey to home, instead of going into such detail for each stop.

Rock Hound St Park, New Mexico – Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, Arizona – Joshua Tree, California – Our daughters in Waterford, California – Lake McClure, California – Chacewater Winery, California – Brookings (Elks) Oregon – Florence (Elks) – Oregon – Tillamook Blue Heron French Cheese Factory, Oregon and finally home!!!

We soon became very familiar with our new NAV and I had to say I personally love to drive it. I am only 5 feet tall and to find a vehicle to fit me with comfort and safety is very important. Its loaded with amenities making our lives easier. Our next adventure is a shack down trip to Camp Sherman for a few days, but right now its snowing so as soon as it gets a little warmer than 20 degrees we will head out. Then comes the next big trip, I am so excited, we are headed to the big 5!!! Please stay turned as its going to be exciting.

Cheers – Jeff and Liz

Florence Oregon – 2021 Road Trip Adventure

Our oldest daughter is getting married on June 26, 2021. So what do we do, we make a RV adventure trip out of it. Well we have to drive from Bend, Oregon to Central California right, so why not RV our way to the wedding. We packed our trailer and decided our first stop would be Florence, Oregon, yes right on the beautiful Oregon coast. What I didn’t tell you was that we left 28 days before the wedding so we could explore our way down the Oregon coast to Napa Valley and then to Waterford, California. Hey its a wedding, so lets make it fun, right.

Why not make a travel adventure out of an upcoming family wedding? This idea spurred us into loading up the trailer, and leaving three weeks earlier than the official wedding date. Hey, y’all! This is an adventure and it is time to start having fun again! So, we left home on May 31, 2021 and headed to our first shake down stop in Florence, Oregon for five whole glorious days…….

We are camped at the Elk’s camp ground, just outside Florence, about a mile out of town. Note – must be a member to use their facilities. The camp ground itself is very clean, quiet, and well maintained. The camp hosts are super friendly and helpful. Sites are multi sizes, lots of pull-thru sites and back-in sites for larger rigs. At $25.00 a night its pretty reasonable and includes water, electric and a state of the art dump station. The restrooms are extremely clean, including very nice showers with lots of hot water. Bonus! Each site is separated by greenery and oversized shrubbery, which makes for lots of privacy. I would say its has a very geriatric vibe. Honestly our grand children would be bored here, not much to do for kiddos but the beach is only 1 mile away, so that’s a plus.

Speaking of beach’s, if tide pools are your thing, this is the place. From Seaside, Oregon towards the California border at Brookings there are 27 Oregon Coast Rocky Intertidal Sites to explore. Oh, what fun! I’ll name you a few of our favorites:

Yachats State Recreation Site

Cape Perpetua

Strawberry Hill

Our very favorite is Bob Creek – lots of agates, star fish, crab and sea anemones. Also great for whale watching!

Walking the streets of Florence and the fun shops is a must and I would highly suggest having lunch or dinner at Homegrown for a delightful experience. Everything is made fresh, homemade, local, and organic…so delicious! We ordered the fish tacos and a chia seed burger with a side of the best clam chowder we have ever had, hands down.

Our next stop is Alfred A. Loeb State Park.

Stay tuned for more adventures…

Cheers from Just Around The Bend – Jeff and Liz

Spinach, Chicken Tortilla Bake

I have been preparing this dish for many years and it is still one of our favorite go-to casseroles! Besides being healthy, it is delicious, nutritious, and pretty quick to assemble. It was originally a Weight Watchers recipe, that I received at a Weightwatcher’s meeting, over ten years ago. Now the tricky part; since we have decided not to eat meat anymore, I needed to tweak this favorite recipe to remain as good as the original, yet stay in our vegan guidelines. It was actually not difficult at at all! After a few tries, I accomplished the vegan conversion and again received a big thumbs up from Jeff. Serving size for this casserole is 8… well not in this house-hold… 6 maybe, with a vegetable, or a side salad. The original Weightwatcher’s recipe is simple, yet so good, that I am going to give you both versions. The Weightwatcher’s version is called: ” Spinach, Chicken Tortilla Bake.” If you eat meat, try this version, it is so good. However, if you are a vegetarian or vegan you will not be sacrificing any flavor if you try the vegan version. Heck, try both!

Spinach, Chicken Tortilla Bake

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups of roasted chicken

1 Cup Uncooked spinach chopped

1/2 Cup cilantro chopped

1 Cup Herdez Salsa Verde

1 1/2 Cups fat free ricotta cheese

6 mission carb balance whole wheat tortillas – fajita size

2 ounce (1/4 Cup) Monterey jack cheese shredded

1/3 Cup Diced Green Chilies )1 small can)

INSTRUCTIONS

Toast tortillas in a dry skillet until toasty, set aside. In a medium bowl mix chiles, salsa verde and ricotta cheese together. Place 1/2 cup of the Salsa Verde mixture in the bottom of a 8 X 8 inch casserole dish, spread evenly. Layer, toasted tortillas, chicken, spinach and additional salsa verde mixture. Should make 3 layers. Top with the shredded Monterey jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Top with sour cream and salsa or any of your favorite toppings

Now for the Vegan version (and believe me its super good also).

Vegan Spinach, “Chicken” & Tortilla Bake

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups of beyond burger or any vegan meat substitute you desire

1 Cup Uncooked spinach chopped

1/2 Cup cilantro chopped

1 Cup Herdez Salsa Verde

1 1/2 Cups extra firm tofu – drained well and crumpled

6 mission carb balance whole wheat tortillas – fajita size

2 ounce (1/4 Cup) Vegan Monterey jack cheese shredded

1/3 Cup Diced Green Chilies )1 small can)

1/3 Cup sliced black olives

INSTRUCTIONS

Toast tortillas in a dry skillet until toasty, set aside. In a medium bowl mix chiles, salsa verde, sliced black olives and firm tofu together. Place 1/2 cup of the Salsa Verde mixture in the bottom of a 8 X 8 inch casserole dish, spread evenly. Layer, toasted tortillas, chicken, spinach and additional salsa verde mixture. Should make 3 layers. Top with the shredded vegan Monterey jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Great topped with salsa.

NOTE: I HAVE TRIED THIS CASSEROLE WITH CORN TORTILLAS AND IT WORKS FINE, JUST MAKE STRIPS OF THE TOASTED TORTILLAS TO LAYER WITH (USING THE WHOLE TORTILLA MAKES SERVING MORE DIFFICULT AND MESSY). I FIND IT BETTER TO SLICE THE TOASTED TORTILLAS IN WEDGES, ALSO.

CHEERS FROM JEFF AND LIZ

MICRO GREENS HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS

Micro greens are small shoots of edible plants, such as micro green kale, carrots, mixed salad, radish, peas, the list is endless depending on your preferred taste. Sometimes I grow four different micros at one time. WE eat through these faster than rabbits. The difference between micro-greens and sprouts is that Micro Greens grow in soil and sprouts in water away from light. M. G’s are planted in soil or a soil substitute such as felt or rock wool. M. G.’s are harvested by snipping the stem just above the central stem above the soil. The seedlings will only have two small flat leaves (called cotyledon leaves) and then they will grow their first set of true leaves in which I clip just below the true leaves. I get about three cutting with peas, not with kale, lettuce etc. All my greens have been mighty hearty, growing two to three inches with in less than two weeks.

Micro Greens are nutrient power houses and delicious in salads, soups, top your pizza and especially good in sandwiches. They are incredibly easy to grow and within two weeks you are harvesting. I use the soil method as I use my home grown compost material with great results. Simply fill a container with soil, water a little and pack the soil down a bit. Make sure you use a container with no drain holes. Now your soil is moist not soggy. I use a 10 X 10 inch plastic grow container I purchased from True-Leaf Market. I evenly sprinkle 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of micro seeds on the top of the soil and gently press them into the soil. The soil should not cover the seeds , you want the seed to nestle into the soil. Spritz gently with water and cover with another grow container so your seeds can germinate in the dark. I then spritz them twice a day and cover. This takes about 4 days. When the micro greens begin to sprout I then remove the cover and place them under a grow light. Some say you dont need a grow light in the summer, I prefer the combination of grow light and natural light with great results. You can also place them in a sunny window or patio. Remember once the first set of leaves have reached 2 to 3 inches you are ready to harvest.

I especially like True-Leaf Market seeds and products. Their prices are reasonable and high quality seeds and products. They will answer questions and have info tutorials. Trueleafmarket.com

So find a container, even a plastic yogurt container will get you started, fill with potting soil water a little , sprinkle some seeds and spritz with a little water twice a day, dont forget to cover until the sprouts begin to show themselves, its that easy and yummy.

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

JEFF AND LIZ

STEHEKIN WASHINGTON CAMPING IN OUR BOAT

What if you had an idea to camp in your 19 foot boat, drive 55 miles on Lake Chelan to reach your destination of Stehekin. Only way to get to Stehekin is by a Ferry, your personal boat or I guess swim. A very isolated but magical location well worth the journey.

Stehekin is located at the head of Lake Chelan, there are no roads connecting this tiny community of 75 permanent residents. A fifty mile scenic journey in which you can reach Stehekin only by foot, horseback, your own boat or by passenger ferry boat. We opted to use our own 19 foot boat and boated the fifty miles exploring the shoreline as we traveled. The panorama of stark steep mountains took your breath away. The beauty of this country left us speechless. It actually only took less than 3 hrs to reach our destination and well worth it. A fee of $5.00 a day to dock your boat was a good deal as we were also camping on our boat. Cheap Digs with a view to remember. Fortunately we brought our Blix foldable electric bikes to explore with. Bikes are available to rent or you can bring your own highly recommend for exploring.

First Stop :

The Stehekin Pastry Company and log cabins are located two miles up the Stehekin Valley Road from the boat landing where the Ferries let off passengers. The bakery was built in 1989 and has a homey rustic feel besides the aroma of home baked goods and killer coffee and espresso. Delicious Cinnamon rolls the size of a small dinner plate for $2.25, pastries, cookies, ice cream, I could go on and on. The selections are varied depending on the day you visit, we visited everyday for 6 days, need I say more. The bakery is very considerate of those with special dietary concerns ( low carb and gluten free) are also very delicious. Their from scratch soups, sandwiches and quiches are also delicious with people coming from a far just for the goodness. As we headed back towards the boat dock one more stop a mere mile from the bakery was mandatory. Karl’s Garden!!!

Second stop:

Another hidden gem called THE GARDEN. Owned and fully operated by KARL a BAREFOOTED ORGANIC GARDENER.

Karl is amazing with a fairyland entryway into his garden lined by gorgeous flowers as big as your hand. You immediately feel transformed to another land with the aromas of flowers, goats he raises for yogurt and cheese, to the bees buzzing everywhere which help with his honey harvest. OK lets start with the goats: He raises them for making the most incredible creamy Chevre cheese (plain or herbed) or homemade yogurt flavored with his incredible honey he harvests on site. He uses the goat poop to fertilize his gardens which appears to be on steroids. Everything is on steroids I think even the bees were bigger . His garden is seasonal with homemade cosmetics, holistic medicine to some of his own bakery goods. A bit about Karl, he owned a Organic bakery called the honey hole located in Wenatchee years ago. Get him talking and you can learn some fascinating garden and baking tips. We left with our bike bags overflowing with giant beets, kale, fresh honey, chevre and fresh made goat yogurt. I myself was in organic heaven, Jeff wasn’t to far behind..

Stay Tuned for part Two of our Stehekin Adventures CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

NOTE: We visited Stehekin in early August 2019 beautiful time of year for perfect weather.

PANDEMIC 2020

Forty Three days we have stayed home, stayed away from friends and family and survived. Jeff and I have as everyone should, taken this pandemic very seriously, besides our children would kill us if we got sick. So what have we been doing, you ask?

Painting, finishing projects that have been on hold for years, cribbage, puzzles, Planting a garden, going on lots of walks and cooking. I am very lucky in the fact I have Jeff as he is a lot of company and loves projects. So needless to say we have not been bored. Jeff took over the sewing machine as we made mask for us and family members.

In our neighborhood of over 300 + homes we hardly ever see many people or children. Wow ! there are sure a lot of people now, joggers, bikers, dog walkers ,children riding on anything with wheels. The yards have never looked so good as people seem to have a lot of extra time on there hands. We have had groceries delivered and picked them up at Fred Meyer as they are not charging seniors for grocery pick up. We have twice phone ordered a pizza from Little Pizza Paradise , our fav to help support the owner in these times. We are doing a lot of reading and research into plant based diets as we are moving in that direction with are diets. We have new heroes in Dr Greger. Dr William LI, Dr Campbell, Dr Dean Ornish, Dr Esselftyn and the folks at Forks over Knives. We are spending a lot of time in the kitchen trying to learn new cooking methods with our lifestyle. Jeffs brother Richard has had heart surgery and is learning a lot of the same methods. We are Dehrating more than ever, getting ready for when we can hit the road with our trailer again. We have whole meals dehydrated and lots of greens, herbs, lemons, limes and fruit in general. WE ARE DEFINITELY NOT BORED.

As we are entering into May with no set script for everyday life we are continuing are careful measures and cautions. We hope that you are all safe and well out there. We are lucky to live in a smaller population center of Central Oregon which hasn’t been hit as hard as some areas. Please stay SAFE AND WELL. CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND.