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

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.

CRANE PRAIRIE CAMPGROUND – OREGON

Crane Prairie Reservoir is a man-made lake located about 42 miles southwest of Bend in Deschutes County, Oregon, United States. The reservoir is named for the cranes that thrive in its habitat and for the upper Deschutes River prairie that once covered the area before the dam on the Deschutes was constructed in 1922. One of the most scenic lakes in Central Oregon with amazing fishing and large open campsites.

Cons: Mosquitoes and tree stumps in the lake- good for boat repair shops, bad for your prop.

Crane Prairie is a great place to go if you are wanting to catch large fish, I caught a 22 inch trout myself and many more fish 18 inches and above. The locals call these giant fish cranebows, this year was a very good fishing year for us. We were lucky to reserve site 113 right on the water’s edge which enabled us to scoot are boat right up to the shore line, which saved us having to load it on its trailer everyday. The view from our campsite was poster perfect, with bird life abundant, eagles, asprey and hundreds of white pelicans. The campsite itself is dry camping with a rustic table and an even more rustic fire pit, but lots of room for 2 rigs, a boat trailer and a 25 ft RV. With clean restrooms near and a very nice fish cleaning station you are all set with all of the amenities you need. I especially noticed how quiet it was at night which made for a very relaxing camping experience.

Senior Pass price was $8.00 a night and we stayed a whole week.

Talk to the employees at the lodge as they will help you figure out where the fish are and what they are biting on at that particular time of the year of your visit. Very friendly and helpful staff and they know the fishing tricks for Crane Prairie and have a well stocked store for all of your camping and fishing needs.

CHEERS UNTIL OUR NEXT ADVENTURE JEFF AND LIZ

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CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK – CALIFORNIA

Our life goal is to visit as many National Parks as we can. National Parks draw you in with splendid beauty, history and protected wildlife. We chose Santa Cruz Island as the park rangers advised it had lots of hiking, animal life and spectacular cliff edge views.

Channel Islands National Park comprises 5 ecologically rich islands off the Southern California coast. Anacapa Island has trails to a 1932 lighthouse and clifftop Inspiration Point. Santa Cruz Island’s many sea caves include the vast Painted Cave. Santa Rosa Island features rare Torrey pines. Thousands of seals gather at San Miguel Island’s Point Bennett. Southernmost Santa Barbara Island draws nesting seabirds.

We began by pre purchasing our tickets the day before through Island Packers Cruises – 805-642-1393 – info@islandpackers.com. You are required to call for reservations and they fill up fast. Super friendly and very helpful people, from making reservations to boarding the boat. At $52.00 a person for round trip tickets it was a bargain, Highly recommend.

So the very early morning began our trip. Up at 5 am packed a lunch, snacks and water bottles for a full day. Water is available at several camping sites but no food, snacks or vending machines available. This is a very remote and protected island twelve miles from the mainland. The catamaran ride from Island Packers dock to the island was spectacular. Smooth sailing, lots of dolphins diving out of the water following our boat on either side. As we approached the island I felt like I was in a Jurassic Park movie. The dock was safe but rustic and no building in site just beautiful hills blooming wildflowers and the deepest green terrain I have ever witnessed. Just approaching the dock was breathtaking, wow what would the rest of the island be like.

We opted to join a 2 hour ranger walk to get a real feel of the island. Highly recommend as he directed us to trails and viewing of wild island foxes, explained the abundance of wild flowers and the protected island scrub jay, also where to view the world largest sea caves. After the tour we set out on our own following the trail map the ranger provided us. The trails were well marked and led to pristine beaches, views of rugged mountains, pure paradise. We decided to stop and have lunch on a cliff overlooking a sea lion rookery and sea caves. Hard to eat when the Ravens wouldn’t stop begging us for food, but rules are do not feed the animals, the birds just dont know the rules. As we continued our hike we periodically came upon small gray foxes as large as house cats and were not frightened by us all which gave us great photo opportunities. The island fox is only found on 6 of the 8 Channel Islands and found nowhere else on earth. They would walk up to you within feet without any fear and they are adorable.

No cell coverage allows for shear peacefulness of this island with only the sound of the rhythmic waves, salty breezes and over 2000 species of plants and animals made us want to stay for longer. We had a full day of hiking over 6 miles and it was now time to head back to the dock. What a wonderful day and we would definitely do this again, possibly a different island next time.

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CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND

Tucson Arizona The Presidio District

Leaving our camp site at Gilbert Ray we decided to explore the city of Tucson. Where to start, its a very historic town with tons of Artisans and unforgettable restaurants. My husband knowing me well had spoken with the camp host who directed us to the best farmers market in Tucson, right down my ally for sure. The farmers market was spectacular with Artisans with pottery, hand woven rugs, art and amazing food, so much fun. Next we headed downtown.

As we parked our large truck in a legal parking spot we spotted a costumed Spanish soldier walking and asked about his costume. It turns out we were right next to the Presidio San Agustin Del Tucson Museum and the most northerly spanish fort. Today happened to be living history day and there was lots of action going on from soldiers shooting muskets to cannon fire. The volunteers were dressed in period costume and some making some great tasting homemade tortillas,cactus jams. salsas and soups with plenty to sample. A priest toured us around the fort with lots of information about life in the time period. We even got to view a 2000 year old Native American pit house.

Our next exploration was to find the beginning of The Turquoise Trail and great luck it began outside the walls of the FORT. We picked up a self guided brochure at the Presidio Museum and proceeded to walk the 2.5-mile loop trail through downtown Tucson. The trail highlights structures and sites of historic interest and is marked by a turquoise stripe on the sidewalk.

We would highly recommend visiting downtown Tucson if you are in the neighborhood, so fun and informative.

On our walk on the Turquoise Trail Jeff just happened to find a sampling of yes Organic Gelato and I have to say was outstanding.

Just A Sample

See You Next time from JUST AROUND THE BEND

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CHEERS