Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another Year


It’s been a quiet week here at McDowell Mountain. Just riding our bikes almost every day and finishing up some chores. Jim got the oil changed in both vehicles and I am almost done polishing the Lazy Daze.

The day after Christmas we had a nice visit from blogger John (Just Finding Our Way) and his wife BJ. Anyone who comes bearing sugar cookies, snicker doodles, and freshly picked citrus from their yard is welcome to stop by anytime! We were following each other this past summer and fall in the Pacific northwest and southern Utah but never connected so it was great to finally meet.

We moved sites again, and have to move once more on the 1st, but will get to stay in that one until we leave on the 15th.


Another nice view, with lots of rabbits and birds to entertain the cats.



And speaking of birds, I braved near freezing temps the other morning to join the ranger-led bird walk on the Nursery Tank trail. I was surprised to see such a big group.


Being a man-made tank continually pumped with water, this area attracts many birds and animals looking for a drink.


Although we did see quite a few different birds, (which I may or may not remember), one of the guys in the group spotted this freshly dead javelina under some trees. If you look closely you can see the arrow stuck in it’s side. Bow hunting is allowed but not in this part of the park, so they guessed it was hit and maybe ran a long distance before succumbing to the wound. Very sad to see.


I don’t normally do a recap of our year on the blog, since it is all there to look back on, but after reading Geogypsy, Bayfield Bunch, and Wheeling it about their Anza Borrego group, I got to thinking about this past year and how it was probably our most social one yet. We left McDowell on January 1st, met up with Debbie, spent almost the entire month in Quartzsite, dividing our time between the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous and the Lazy Daze group. Then we moved on to Mittry Lake near Yuma, where we were met by various friends coming and going for the entire month of February.

While there, Laurelee suggested we come to the Lazy Daze get together in Morro Bay, CA in March. We hadn’t yet made plans for the spring or summer, and on a whim decided to go and then continue on up the coast, all new territory for us. Debbie joined us and we had a fantastic time along the CA coast, visiting San Francisco, wine country, then north to OR and WA.


We managed to find some good inexpensive or free places to camp, parked on friends’ property in several places, and met up with a number of bloggers and friends who travelled with us on the Olympic Peninsula. It was an excellent summer.

One of our rare happy hours filled with lots of laughter. I know Karen, Suzanne, Carla, Kim, Jim, Debbie, and Chuck will remember this evening at Mora campground near Forks, WA.


We then spent some time in Idaho and Grand Teton National Park before moving on to southern Utah where we met up with the Box Canyon gang for some boondocking and hiking in Torrey and Virgin, a great way to spend the fall. We were very fortunate to have had generally good weather almost every place we went.

It was an amazing year, meeting new people and reconnecting with folks we had met before. We had a few medical issues to deal with but nothing that slowed us down (yet). The interesting thing about hanging out with other RVers, many of them fulltimers like ourselves, is that we all tend to respect each others space and privacy, and don’t feel the need to spend every waking moment together. The above happy hour was not the norm, as most days we all went to our respective “homes” for dinner and relaxation following a day of hiking or sightseeing, either on our own or with the group. No pressure.

In our old life we had a small circle of friends with whom we played racquetball or biked, and went out to dinner with on weekends. We have made more friends and met more like-minded people these past 6 years than we did in our 30 years of living in Pensacola. Maybe we were just too busy then with jobs, home ownership, aging parents, etc, to make the effort. Out here it seems so easy.

So we end the year in the same place as last year, enjoying the Sonoran desert at McDowell Mt. Park, alone and anonymous for a change. We have met a few nice people here, though, and our friends Jim and Allison arrived at the nearby RV park in Fort McDowell yesterday, and will be joining us here for a mountain bike ride this afternoon. Maybe we’ll even break tradition and do something for New Year’s Eve. 

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy 2015! Can you believe another year has gone by?



  1. Hopefully, we will renew our friendship this winter when we hit AZ.

    Wishing you two a wonderful 2015 also!

  2. Totally agree with that feeling if mutual respect if privacy when you travel with other full timers. I love that this lifestyle can be both social and private at the same time. Have totally enjoyed following your travels this year especially since you hit many of the places we love and/or want to go. Here's wishing you a great and healthy 2015!

  3. It wa the best of times.....Love that your year in cap ended with a beautiful sunset.

  4. Your trip up the coast of California and on to Washington and Oregon is one I'm longing to do. Sure wish I could have joined you and Debbie for that trip. Loved following your time with the Box Canyon Gang. So much fun. Very happy the medical issues haven't impacted your life and travels. Beautiful sunset. Happy 2015!

  5. You did have quite a year. I actually like reading people's recaps. I guess I should do that again. Sorry you'll be leaving before we get back to Mesa. Happy new year to you and Jim.

  6. Happy New Year Gayle (and Jim!). It was nice meeting you and look forward to hiking again with you sometime!

  7. It's been a great year! Thanks for all the beautiful photos of your hikes in places I'll probably never go. Happy New Year to you and Jim, and I hope 2015 will be the best year yet. :)

  8. Love your year-end wrap-up and the sentiments about like-minded folks. Thanks for the memories of a wonderful summer. See you soon!

  9. It's been fun tagging along on your 2014 journey. You've hit some spots of genuine interest to us. I'm not sure how you've scored all that time at McDowell RP. I have yet to manage a res there. AZ sure has the best sunsets. Cheers to lots more fun adventures in the New Year!

  10. I will never be able to open a pickle jar again without thinking about that happy hour! If I have half the laughs in 2015 that I had with you and Peterman in 2014, it will be a really good year... "Love ya, mean it!" ;-)

  11. I, too, enjoy reading blogger's year in review posts. It reminds me of all the enjoyment I've had reading the original posts. Happy New Year to you both.

  12. Six years, great for you! We just finished 6 mos! McDowell is where we'll be staying in April. I've enjoyed your blog over the months. Happy New Year to you both and many, many more!

  13. Glad you are still enjoying McDowell Mountain Park, we were supposed to arrive tomorrow in Space 80 but wimped out due to the cold weather. Hope you have a Happy New Year and stay warm!

    1. Wise move not coming here today. Cold and raining! Next week looks excellent, though.

  14. I can't believe another year is gone, but isn't fun to lay out the 2015 calendar and start planning. It has been enjoyable following your 2014 adventures and meeting in Zion to experience the trail. May you have many more trails to complete in 2015. Happy New Year!

  15. I picked you up when you were leaving Morro Bay and have so enjoyed your travels ever since. Your photos are inspiring. Yes, it has certainly gone by fast! We are both looking forward to the balance of social and private time that seems to be the norm in this community. A very Happy New Year to you and Jim, and best wishes for an active and adventurous 2015.

  16. You had a very social year:) It is amazing how many wonderful people you meet on the road. We, also, have a bigger social circle on the road than we ever had back in the day. Someday soon we will actually meet face to face instead on our blogs:)

    Happy New Year! Wishing you the best for 2015!

  17. You two really got around. Glad you got to explore the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Although cold, I pray it wasn't snowing like it did in the mountains here. Hope to catch up with you somewhere in the desert, or beyond. Happy New Year.

  18. Happy New Year! Thank you for the advice and sharing your adventures with us. Wishing you both a healthy and joyful year!

  19. Wow a whole year! I think I started bugging you with bike questions right around this time last year. I have enjoyed following your around the west and hope to run into you again this year.