We spent the weekend at Jet Blue Park, aka Fenway South. Jenn and Andy flew in from Ohio and we had a great time watching baseball, sitting by the pool and generally carousing around Fort Myers. On to Chokoloskee!
Ali and Jenn with Wally
Us at Jet Blue Park
Ali, Jenn, Scott and Andy with the Green Monster in the background.
The Raven Lunatic!
This was our favorite watering hole on Pine Island!
We’ve been camped on Pine Island, west of Ft. Myers for the past week. Not much in the way of a beach on the island, but we do have a great trail for walking/biking, an array of tiki bars in walking distance, a resident bald eagle that perches atop the cell tower, and a nice pool at the campground. We have gotten off the island a few times to connect with family (all from Colorado!) and check out some local beaches. We are here for about another week, before venturing a bit further south.
Paul and Mary (my aunt and uncle), Us, Ed and Cheryl, and Costal Dayz owners Lisa and Greg. We enjoyed trying many tasty beers at their brewery in Ft Myers.
Visiting Rena and Barry (Scott’s aunt and uncle) on Sanibel Island.
Today we took a ferry from Pine Island to Coya Costa State Park. Beautiful and uncrowded beach.
Scott taking the plunge. I got in for a few minutes. Kind of chilly!
This guy! Gopher tortoise.
We got to check out Siesta Key and Sarasota for the last couple of days. We met Matt and Anne in Siesta Key, had a great evening and then drove back to Foxy via Sarasota where we had lunch with Susan and Bob. We also found time to get a round of Mini Golf in… Alison won….AGAIN….but they had alligators and we got to feed them with a long fishing rod. So that was cool!
Alison and Susan
Alison feeding the gators
Alison, Scott, Anne and Matt on Siesta Key.
It wasn’t that warm!
Me and Matt outside the hotel. Just like high school!
Foxy arrived in Tarpon Springs, home for the next month. I Immediately cruised down to hang out with Jessie who was running the National Small College Rugby Tournament at Eckerd College in St. Pete. Beautiful setting and it was great to spend time with her.
Foxy in his new home for the next month!
I saw this guy when I stopped at a bar in Clearwater Beach.
Me and Jessie
Fun Rugby tourney, the team from Carolina Coast won it all!
Team Blitz had a wonderful one night stay at The Finstuen Castle in Houston. It was great to catch up with Jon, Anne and Sandy, if only for a few short hours. We then headed to Baton Rouge for New Years Eve…where we promptly went to bed at 8 O’clock after realizing we were not gonna party like rockstars into the New Year! We did wake up to fireworks at midnight. We tried to check out the town on New Years Day but EVERYTHING was closed. This morning we woke up early to deal with a leaky camper tire. We headed to Port Allen Tire at 9 AM, they TOTALLY took care of us, changed the tire (that’s the tenth tire we have purchased so far on the gap year between the truck and camper!) and sent us to Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun Meats for breakfast (Thank you Charlie and Sandy)….a few Boudin balls and cracklins later we were set! We almost bought everything in the store! We made it to Florida, currently camping at Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Jon, Anne, Scott and Alison
In the words of Tom Petty…”Louisiana Rain…” Seriously???
Another new tire…
Cracklins and Boudin balls!
Taking in the coast in Rockport, TX. This town was ground zero for Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and they are still rebuilding from the storm. We’ve been touring around, eating seafood and enjoying our guests 🙂
Christmas dinner in the camper!
Padre Island National Seashore.
View into our beach cleanup trash bag!
Daniel getting his Junior Ranger Badge! (2nd out of 3 on this trip!)
Check out those Junior Ranger badges!!!
Manning the guns on the USS Lexington
Dale on target!
On the flight deck
Looking the part!
Rockport Maritime Museum
At the Boiling Pot awaiting our crustacean invasion!
At “Big Tree” – a 1,000 plus year old Live Texas Virginia Oak that is the 2nd biggest tree in Texas.
Monkeys in a nearby tree that encouraged climbing!!!
Kelly, Dale and Daniel
Daniel finishing up the requirements for his 3rd Junior Ranger badge of the trip!
San Antonio Christmas! The Alamo, The Riverwalk, Sea World…everything is bigger in Texas! It was great to meet the Jacobsens in San Antonio and then travel with them to Rockport on the Gulf Coast. We had a great time, a great Christmas dinner and a great visit. Daniel got his Junior Ranger Badge at The Mission at San Jose. We had a Christmas tree, lit Hanukkah candles and carried on!
All of us at The Alamo.
Alison and Daniel at The San Jose Mission.
Scott and Kelly at the San Jose Mission.
Stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp.
We also visited Sea World, this is the before photo on the river rapid ride…we were all a lot wetter by the end of the ride!
Dale and Daniel
The roller coaster (Daniel went at least 6 times and is now an official fan of roller coasters, much to Alison’s joy)
Ali and Daniel
Happy Thanksgiving! We have spent the last two weeks driving through Gila Bend AZ….seven times! Alison and Valerie drove up to Flagstaff and took the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon! Always a beautiful place. We then congregated at the Yuma Blitz Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks a ton to Howard and Nancy for hosting. It was great to see everyone. Scott helped Jenni move into her new house on Sunday, another spontaneous cousinfest. Foxy is getting chassis work done, Val is safely back to Boston, and we hope to be on the road this afternoon toward Tucson.
Chilly but sunny day at the south rim.
Ain’t it GRAND!
On the Grand Canyon Railroad – Kokopelli Car
With the moms in Phoenix!
Yuma Blitz Thanksgiving! Lisa, Jenni, Nancy and Patti
Scott and Howard
Val, Phebe and Howard
Al and Val
Scott and Phebe
Moving day at Jenni’s house with the Blitz cousins!
Meerkats at the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix
Nice day to peruse the cacti!
Cholla, saguaro, and prickly pear…oh my!
Foxy at Ann and Cliff’s in Yuma. They win the award for best driveway camping spot to date. Water, sewer and electric hookup and free laundry 🙂 Thanks for the hospitality, and thanks to everyone who travelled far and wide to be part of the Arizona Thanksgiving festivities!
Just back from Puerto Penasco, Mexico. Enjoy the photos…
Full of “mixed nuts”
Making cheesecake with Dad
It was as good as it looks!
Scott making shrimp scampi
Dad and Rex soaking up the sun
Phebe and the band. Ay Carumba! Hey Baby, Que Paso, Que Paso, Que Paso!!!!
Me working on getting Montezuma’s Revenge.
Ann and Cliff
Roy and Rex
Scott and Linda at the Pirate Bar
Cocktails at Armando’s
Baby Shark! Doo doo da doo doo.
We enjoyed 4 nights with Al and Diane in their “happy place” of Jojoba Hills. I have been hearing about this RV Park for almost 20 years and it did not disappoint. Friendly people, lovely grounds, and so much to do. I can see how Al and Diane fell in love with it, and why they go home to their RV there year after year.
Happy campers! My former in-laws (but forever family) Al and Diane have been RV living for over 20 years. Great role models!
The world’s hardest mini golf course!
Finally, someone who appreciated my Pats shirt.
Scott also got to meet up with his college roommate JJ while we were in the area. These two look like they would never get into any trouble together 😉
We rolled out with 6 new CDs of road tunes from Big Al the DJ. Much fun.
Next leg of the trip is two weeks with family. Foxy is staying in Yuma while we travel around AZ and down into Mexico.
We spent two nights in the Cottonwood Springs area of Joshua Tree. Beautiful desert and wonderful company with Greg and Anita coming out to camp for a night. It’s fun to be embarking on a stretch of family visits for the next several weeks, hopefully we remember how to act around other people!
Group shout with Greg & Anita, us, and Wilma
On the Mastodon Trail
Greg was an awesome geologic guide to hike with!
Scott & Greg. Out-laws!!!
A Joshua Tree.
Yes…I hugged it.
Sunrise on the desert.
The full moon was still up at dawn.
We are now parked with Al and Diane in Jojoba Hills, for our last 4 nights in CA!
We’ve had a great week here in Monterey Bay, watching the otters and birds, enjoying the beaches, and catching up with friends. This areas is incredibly beautiful, with the deep water bay (it drops off into an underwater canyon that is 2 miles deep) creating amazing habitat for critters on and off the land. Lots of photos to share before we head inland to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park today.
Otter photos first! These are the highlights of about 300 photos…
Momma with baby otter is about the cutest thing ever. We saw this pair at the end of a boat safari trip up the Elkhorn Slough, a 7 miles long muddy tidal inlet.
She made a quick swim off with her pup after I got a couple pics. The naturalist we were with said the little guy was only a few days old.
An older pup that was looking for his mom. She popped up and gave some very loud yelps and they were soon reunited.
He quickly snuggled right back up. Apparently a pup of this size is close to weaning and going off on his own.
Just checking out the boat!
Us on the boat!
Sun bathing seals
This guy was hanging out with us when we were sitting on the jetty at Moss Landing Beach. Not sure who was watching who.
We had an awesome two days hanging out with Sharon and Julian, eating, hiking about and watching the local critters. Love you guys and can’t wait to have a future RV meetup 🙂
On our hike with S&J, we got to see an Acorn Woodpecker. I have a pretty short birding bucket list, and this guy was on it! He makes holes to stash his acorns in. There were 3 woodpeckers working on 4 trees and they were putting up quite a supply.
Acorns! This was only tiny area of one tree. I can’t imagine how many there were in total.
We spent a fabulous day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Really interesting place with stunning displays, and a focus on conservation, particularly keeping plastic out of the ocean! This is the kelp forest which was two stories tall.
Lunch in Monterey, with some input from the Monterey Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” app. You can download it to learn more about what is being harvested sustainably in your area.
Another day we went up to Santa Cruz! The amusement park was closed, which means I didn’t get to drag Scott on a roller coaster!
But we did find a pirate themed mini golf course!
I won’t brag about my winning margin.
Oh, and another highlight…Foxy got a bath! And boy was it needed. These guys removed a lot of bugs.
Yosemite National Park was outstanding. It was difficult to leave but the journey continues with great days ahead! We stopped in Fresno on the way out of the Park to visit Adam, Karen, Louie, Ari and baby Leo. Grandpa Larry was also visiting which was great. After a great lunch (thanks guys!) we continued on to Marina, CA, just north of Monterrey. On Sunday we travelled to Levi Stadium in Santa Clara to watch the Niners absolutely destroy the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are not a bad team. SF will go deep this year. Their defense is scary good. Ok, I’m done with the football critique now! The Monterey area is great and we are looking forward to the week here.
Scott, Alison, Cousin Adam, Karen and Leo.
Scott, Alison and Uncle Larry
The beach that is 500 yards from our RV resort!
Fun times visiting Bethany and Will in Ukiah and touring the wine making facility that they are working in for a few months. We made it out to Mendocino and up through the Anderson Valley wine region, as well as taking a side trip to Sacramento. Tomorrow we head to Yosemite.
Getting the tour! So many huge tanks filled with wine in various stages.
We got to taste several wines, and learn a bit about the process. Bethany and Will spend their days mixing and adding things to the tanks, of which their are hundreds! It is a very scientific and massive production process.
We got to spend a night with Scott’s friend Chris in Sacramento! Fun to catch up.
On Saturday we went wine tasting at a vineyard that is part of the wine family B & W are working for. These are all of their brands on the signpost.
We then headed out to the coast, where we added 3 gallons of gas to the truck for $19.70…yes, that is $6.56 a gallon! CA gas is pricey!
At Anderson Valley Brewing, playing disc golf.
And climbing trees 🙂
In the tasting room with the “Beer” (part bear, part deer)
Stopped to check out the sunset on the way home.
We then dropped of the kids who had to get up at 5:00am and went to the Ukiah Speedway, right next to our campground, and watched the races. Very entertaining! I’m considering it my warmup for the Daytona 500 in February, which Scott tells me is much bigger.
With Scott in Phoenix for a few days, I set about exploring Portland. I was only here one other time, about 20 years ago, and it was much like I remembered, only bigger, and displaying all of the good and bad signs of urban expansion. One thing I really love about cities out here is that they have huge expanses of green space in the city. Portland’s Washington Park is over 400 acres and reminded me a lot of Stanley Park in Vancouver BC, with trails, forests, gardens and attractions. It was a great place to explore.
Enjoy the pics…
A huge highlight of Portland was getting to reconnect with a close friend from high school. Susan and I had been completely out of touch for 25 years, and had a great time catching up and rehashing a few old tales from the glory days!
Powell’s City of Books has to be the greatest independent bookstore in the world. Covering an entire city block and boasting over a million books, it is a place you could (and should) get lost in. I love the way they subcategorize and highlight staff favorites on the shelves. The Pirate section was a great example with subcategories including “Shiver Me Timbers” and “Avast”. I ended up leaving with a minute to spare on my parking meter and 4 more books to fit in the RV: Perfect Mile, The Oregon Trail, Jimmy Cater: A Full Life, and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. I never even made it to the fiction section!
The Rose Garden at Washington Park
Rainy day Pho! YUM!
The Japanese Garden, described at “nature in its most perfected form”.
Some of the leaves are turning already.
And of course, coffee! People here must run on coffee with so much rain, I know I would if I lived here. Anyway, this was a particularly lovely swan on my latte.
Scott is back now and we will be spending the next several days in Newport, OR, a little further down the coast.
Foxy’s last ferry ride for a while! Coupville to Port Townsend, WA. We got the front row seat on the boat and enjoyed the view from inside the truck. Lots of tight corners and spaces as the photos show below. Had a fun time in Port Townsend, including meeting up with my old friend Steve!
Just getting into line at the ferry was tight!
Foxy on the boat! At least 6 inches to spare.
Our view from the truck, coming into the Port Townsend dock.
Fun lunch and reunion with Steve! It had been about 15 years or so. Where does the time go?
Port Townsend…could have been Portland, ME. What a cute town.
And yes, with all this wet weather, I am starting to identify as a duck.
We have had a great 2 weeks in Juneau, Brian and Cathy have hosted us in their cul de sac and we have enjoyed using a house kitchen and washer and dryer! We explored the Mendenhall glacier, Auke Lake, the Alaska Brewing tasting room and the Breeze In for donuts!!! We took advantage of the “big city” and made multiple trips to Costco! We ferry to Skagway tomorrow and then head south….just in time, it’s getting cold up here!
The Alaskan Brewing tasting room….good beer!
Paddling in Auke Lake, Cathy photo bombing behind us!
We towed Cathy in after her swim.
And then she pulled us!
Donut window at the Breeze In!
Scott and Smokey having a stare down!
Two photos of the Mendenhall Glacier. This one was taken yesterday, the one below was taken from the same spot 7 years ago. The shrinking glacier is obvious…
Us at Nugget Falls.
On the shore of Mendenhall Lake
Brian and Cathy looking good!
Cathy and Alison on the East Glacier trail.
Scenery on the East Glacier Trail.
This is a video of a Coho Salmon jumping up a beaver dam near Mendenhall Glacier. If you have your audio on you can hear the crowd respond when he makes it.
These guys had already made it up and over the beaver dam.
Humpback Whale statue in downtown Juneau.
Tonight will likely be the last 11pm sunset we see for quite some time! Tomorrow we leave Fairbanks and begin the trek south. Our plan is to make it to Juneau in a week, but the Alaska Marine Highway is currently closed due to a strike that started 8 days ago. Hard to know what will happen, but for now we will being making our way toward Haines in the hopes that the negotiations will pan out before we are set to sail on 8/9. If not, we will figure something else out. We are getting quite good at that on the road!
It’s been a fun few days here. Brian and Cathy drove up with us from Denali so we got to enjoy an extra night (and decadent dinner at The Pump House) with them before they flew home. Since they left, we’ve been taking in the local sights and doing a bit of touristing. Sadly we won’t catch the northern lights. The season officially starts a bit later in August, when there is a little bit of actual darkness, now it just still gets kind of dusky for a few hours.
On campus at University of Alaska Fairbanks.
They have a pretty awesome botanical garden on campus which includes the official seed gene bank for a variety of sub arctic berry plants, rhubarb, peonies and mint. They also had an experimental dye garden for coloring yarn and other textiles.
Scott with the Alaska giant cabbages! Sadly we were not allowed to taste anything.
Yesterday we hiked the Angel Rocks trail on our way to Chena Hot Springs. Gorgeous views from the granite “tors” that were created by volcanic activity and then exposed through erosion. (Header photo shows several of the tors we hiked around.)
On the rocks.
And the reward at the end of the hike…Chena Hot Springs. A wonderful place to soak and relax.
Today we visited Gold Dredge #8. This behemoth was built in Philadelphia, shipped piece by piece, and reassembled just north of Fairbanks. During its 26 years of operation it mined 600,000 ounces of gold as it made a very slow 4.6 mile crawl and dig through the area. The process for excavating gold in this area is wild, including removing about 150 feet of surface soil and gravel, then injecting water to defrost the permafrost, before flooding it so that the dredge can float and scoop rock for sluicing (rinsing with water) to harvest the gold. The whole process is basically the same as panning for gold: scoop, shake, rinse, collect!
Which is exactly what we got to do at the end!
Waiting to see what we got.
Whoop! $53 worth! About half a gas tank. This is probably not our get rich quick strategy.
Our tour ended with a talk about the Alaska Pipeline, which moves a lot more money around these days than the gold industry. To date the pipeline has carried over 17 billion barrels of oil across the state, from the oil field in the north to Valdez, AK, the northernmost ice free harbor in North America.
And a few photos from around downtown Fairbanks tonight…
Success…we found a recycle bin! Recycling on the road has been a bit of a challenge, but we have been doing ok. It helps that we only buy aluminum cans since that seems to be the most common bin we happen upon!
Technically we are past the end of the Alaska Highway, but this milepost marks Mile 1523 from the start of the road in Dawson Creek. We will be back on it tomorrow…southbound!
We spent the last four days in Denali with Brian, Cathy, Phebe, Jenny and Susan. We rafted the Nanana river, we hiked Mt. Healy in the rain and saw a cow moose with her calf right by the trail. All in all we had a great time. Phebe and her friends went back to Anchorage, while we drove with Brian and Cathy to Fairbanks. It was the first time driving with other people in the truck while we were towing. Blue is getting a checkup as I write. All good so far!
Rafting the Nenana
Jenny and Phebe
The rest of us!
The whole crew in our “mostly dry suits” after the trip.
Scott, Ali, Cathy and Brian in front of the Denali sign.
Fireweed on the trail up Mt. Healy.
Us at the top.
We decided to pose with the bear outside of the visitor center at Denali.
From the deck of the Alpenglow restaurant at the Grand Denali Lodge, that’s the mountain we hiked, Mt. Healy. The Nenana river below.
There you go! Putting the “Ali” in Denali!
We had a fun day in Anchorage, visiting with friends and family, after a morning of restocking on supplies (Yay Costco!). We are heading south this morning to Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula, which will be home for the next two weeks. Gonna hit the clam beds and try to fill the freezer with halibut!
Scott’s brother Brian happened to be in town playing in a disc golf tournament, and Jessie came down from Talkeetna where she is raft guiding this summer. Blitz reunion!
Also had a nice visit with Scott’s old residency friend Paul.
We then spent some time watching the fishing action on Ship Creek (header photo) and although we didn’t see anyone reel in a fish, there were a couple of salmon being filleted at the bait shop when we came out after dinner.
One of our shopping scores…head nets! Just let those mosquitoes try to get us now!!!!
We have been off the grid the last few days visiting Bethany and Will in Syringa, ID. They are raft guides on the Lochsa River this spring. No cell phones, no internet….WooHoo! We spent Tuesday checking out Selway Falls and running errands in nearby Kooskia. On Wednesday, Will guided us down the river. We had a blast and made new friends, Ashley and Dan were on their honeymoon from Orange County, CA and Robin and Taylor joined us from Portland, OR. We all had a great time in the wet, wild rapids! Ali and I got to join Bethany in the 2 man raft at the end of the trip. Today we packed up and took a hike with Bethany to Weir Creek hot springs before heading back to Missoula for the night. Tomorrow we are off to Glacier National Park.
Scott and Bethany above Selway Falls
This is what raft guides do on their day off!
Our 3 boats on the Lochsa
Will in back guiding, Ali and I right in front of him going through Lochsa Falls. Note the green wave!
The almost Oh Shit moment!
Dan getting nailed in Pipeline rapid. No one fell out.
Bethany and Eric in the 2 man raft.
Approaching the wave!
Us in wetsuits at lunch, Bethany photobombing!
Our guides! Will, Bethany and Jonas.
Alison, Bethany and Scott in D2.
All of us in guide camp.
Been several days chock full of rugby and reunions here in Missoula! Scott got to reconnect with some college teammates (Colin and Ashby) and we had a great time watching the matches and joining in the festivities.
Rugby gatherings never disappoint, bringing together such a fun community of genuine people (many in spectacular costumes). It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, a guy in a tutu, a woman with a moustache, or if you are roaming around in an inflatable pig costume. There is a place for everyone, everyone plays well together, and no one seems to question anyone’s choice of self-expression. It’s a pretty good model for society!
Anyway, a few pics from the festival as we roll out of town to meet up with Bethany and Will!
Colin (left) played at Oxy with Scott…no shortage of good stories with these guys.
The Saturday night party. Gives a little sense of the size of the Fest.
At the field. They had 8 pitches set up to accommodate dozens of teams from as far away as Alaska.
We ended our time in Missoula by hiking Mt Jumbo with Colin. The wind was fairly spectacular, but the view from the top was well worth the trek!
You all know the saying…I’m not allowed to say much about what happens in Vegas, but suffice to say, we had a great time. Aerosmith did not disappoint. What a show! Shout out to Tom And Cindi for making the trip down. Now off to Lake Mead for catching up on some sleep.
Rolled into Black Bart’s RV Park in Flagstaff today. Scott has been waiting to stay here since he first spotted it in 1995.
Fun day with a couple guest appearances from AZ folk. Scott’s mom, Phebe, as well as cousin Lloyd. We enjoyed some sunshine and a fun dinner show here at the campground. Nice to have most of the day to lounge about thanks to an early departure this morning, and to gaining an hour when we crossed into AZ!
One more drive day tomorrow will get us to Lake Havasu and 90 degree boating weather!
Trip Log: 250 miles
Day 2- Big drive today…300 miles from Raton, NM to Grants, NM. We stopped for lunch at Fiesta Balloon Park in Albuquerque and met our buddy Gordon. Great to see him! Smooth sailing so far. Flagstaff tomorrow!
Camping tonight at a KOA that happens to be in the middle of the El Malpias (Badlands) lava field. Pretty views of the surrounding hills with lava in the foreground.
Long drive day meant we had to get gas “hooked up” to the camper. Got go to the pumps with the big boys and use the long handled squeegees to clear the bugs of our windshield!
Guests, Places, Tastes
Adventures, Guests, Wildlife
Guests, Places, Tastes
Adventures, Guests, Places