Despite the Crazy World Blessings Abound
I love it when God blesses me with answered prayers. I’ll get to that story in a bit. We left our home in Shingletown, California, a little more than two weeks ago for our Winter 20/21 snowbirds’ road-trip. Getting out of California is a blessing, but we haven’t experienced warm weather yet. We are currently in Cornville, Arizona. Our water froze two days in a row. Despite the afternoons being very pleasant, temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees, the mornings are chilly.
When our water froze the first time, the projected low was 34 degrees, so Tommy didn’t think there was a need for precautions in that area. After it happened, I read the Thousand Trails paperwork. The publication informed campers that the Cottonwood temperatures usually listed on the weather report are always slightly higher than Cornville, where the park actually is. When you look at a listing in any RV app for the Verde Valley Thousand Trails RV Park, it says that it is in Cottonwood. An FYI for you fellow RVers, when trying to put the address into Google Maps for directions, Cornville kept popping up, and I thought it was incorrect.
Where Thousand Trails Parks are concerned, Verde Valley has the most spacious sites we’ve ever experienced. I added this park to our itinerary when we decided to leave home a week early, and I am so glad that I did. It is the only dedicated Thousand Trails park in the entire state of Arizona. The other affiliated parks are Encore RV Parks, which aren’t free to stay in with our membership. All you Thousand Trails owners know what a large financial investment it is initially. If you are frugal like me, getting the biggest bang for your buck is essential.
If you are an RVer or a future one that has been considering joining the Thousand Trails family, I’ll briefly explain how the membership works. We have what I believe is called the Elite membership, which gives us access to hundreds of campsites across the country. We upgraded from the basic membership last year because the Elite allows us to stay for 21 days in the parks before moving on. We can go right to another TT location. With the basic membership, we were only allowed to stay for a week, and once we stayed for four days or more, we weren’t allowed to camp in any park in the system for a full seven days.
After making cross-country trips in our motorhome in 2018 and 2019, never staying longer than a week in any one location, we were ready to take a more leisure pace. There are more opportunities to get to know your fellow campers or full-timers in the parks with an extended stay. COVID put the Kibosh on that in 2020. Before this crazy year of lockdowns, face masks, and social distancing, it was common to be walking past a neighboring campsite, say hello, and be invited to sit by the fire and enjoy a beverage with complete strangers. The camaraderie is one of the best parts of RV travel. We miss it terribly.
The beginning of this year’s trip was supposed to include a two-week stay in Sun City, Arizona. I would leave Tommy and Paddy there for one week and join my pal Susie in a Scottsdale Resort. For years, my pal and I have vacationed together for my birthday week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I can’t wear a mask for four hours on a plane, so that trip went out the window. Hence, the Scottsdale plan. It would have been a short flight for Susie from San Jose to Scottsdale, and she’s okay with wearing a mask. But, once California went to Purple or Tier 1 Corona Virus guidelines, Sue wasn’t comfortable making the trip. I didn’t blame her one bit, and I canceled our Scottsdale timeshare reservation.
You may be wondering where the blessing is that I referred to earlier in my post? If you aren’t an RVer, you may not grasp how amazing this is, but I’ll share it with you anyway. Once I knew that we no longer needed to stay in Sun City, an Encore Park that would cost us about $280.00 for our two-week stay, I wanted to stay longer in Verde Valley. With a spacious site and plenty to do in the area, including enjoying hiking trails, I wanted to utilize our 21-day option. Not only was it going to save us money, but it would also save a lot of hassle. We could only stay in an Encore park for two weeks and then we couldn’t camp in another one for a week. We are staying at the Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort in Mesa, Arizona, for the holidays. It’s very close to my mom’s new house in Apache Junction and my brother’s home. We would have had to move three times instead of once. Between the fuel and camping savings and not needing to pack up and move, this would be a win, win.
When we checked in here at Verde Valley, I asked the man at the front gate if we could extend our stay. He didn’t see anything available on the computer. He didn’t think the odds of someone canceling their reservation were good. I prayed fervently that God would provide a way for us to stay. On our first full day here, I walked to the office and once again inquired about a more extended stay. I told the man working the front desk that we would be willing to move to a 30- amp site if necessary. He told me that he didn’t move people from 50 to 30-amp sites and that there wasn’t anything available for a 21-day stay. He did give us three more days, and I was happy to get them. When I apprised him that I would be praying for a cancellation so that we could stay longer, he pretty much told me that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in the Mohave Desert of that happening.
If you know me at all, you know I’m not a quitter, and I don’t give up easily. On our second morning here, I took one of the nature trails, not knowing where it would lead me. Low and behold, I wound up behind the office. I decided to pop in and ask how park employees would recognize that we were hoping for a longer stay if someone canceled. There was a different man in the office. When I explained the situation to him, he told me that he might have to move us to a 30-amp site to accommodate the more extended stay. Apparently, he didn’t have the same rules as the first guy.
To make a long story short, Scott, who just happened to be the park manager, was able to extend our stay until December 20th. Someone had a hold on a site that got dropped, and he was able to do some jockeying around and keep us right where we are. The blessing of staying in the park and not having to move from our beautiful 50-amp site is amazing. We can run our fireplace and small electric heaters when it gets cold and save our propane. There will be no packing up to move, and I am over the moon.
You might think that we just got lucky. I don’t believe that for a minute. I believe that God answered my prayers and arranged for things to go the way they did. I’d accepted the fact that if things didn’t go as I’d hoped, we would have to move. Our lives are in God’s hands. I’m so grateful when my plans line up with His. It doesn’t always work that way. But, I’ve learned that His ways are always better than mine.
I’m enjoying the nature trails. There are plaques identifying plant life and lots of room to roam. We had some great Chinese food and did a little shopping in Cottonwood, a short drive away. There is a winery within walking distance with live music and a barbecue on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. It’s a beautiful setting, and I can’t wait to experience it. We can make a day trip to historic Jerome, sign up for a Jeep or winery tour, and I can even go horseback riding. I’m so grateful for this beautiful place. I plan to share a lot more pictures in the coming days on my Facebook page RV Road Trip with Tom, Cat & Paddy. Be sure to join it if you want to ride along with us on our journey. I share lots of information there that helps fellow travelers.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 Believing and receiving. That’s what I’m doing. How about you? Are you bold enough to ask for what you want? I encourage you to pray often. I pray about everything. I even ask God for a good hair day. He loves hearing from you, and He loves blessing His children. If you haven’t already done so, invite Him into your heart and life and experience His mercy and grace. You will be so glad that you did.
Thanks for hanging out with me. I look forward to sharing more travel tips and stories soon.
God bless, Cat
After spending almost seven months getting our new home settled in Shingletown, California, we are finally back on the road. We are officially retired, glamping, snowbirds. In Hollister, we were blessed with some pretty fabulous weather, and I am a cold-wimp. I do not like being chilly. Last week the temperatures dropped so quickly that it even took the folks who lived in Shingletown for decades by surprise. I was wearing shorts and a tank top on my walks one day and bundled up in layers including, gloves and a beanie the next. Did I say that I don’t like the cold?
We’d initially planned on starting our road trip after Thanksgiving. However, we decided to hit the road early and head to warmer climates. Escaping California and our tyrannical governor Newscum was a bonus to our early exit. Sadly, the election proved that there are still too many people in California who vote for the same worthless government officials repeatedly. I told Tommy that if Pelosi and Waters were re-elected, we were leaving California for good. Enough about politics. This is a travel story.
God blessed us once again with excellent house sitters so that we can relax and enjoy our four-month snowbird escape. We are going to put our Thousand Trails membership to good use. I was a bit tired of the drive south on I-5 and suggested that since we were leaving early, we head east and visit our pals in Grass Valley on the way out of California. God blessed us with the best travel weather that we could have hoped for. Tommy did not want to drive our 40-foot motorhome towing our 20-foot trailer with my car in it over any ice and snow. I didn’t blame him one bit. When we left Shingletown on Thursday morning, it was cold but sunny. The drive to Grass Valley was scenic and dry.
We hadn’t seen our good pals Betty and Phil since we visited them at their home in Tennessee during our cross-country trip last year. Yes, believe it or not, they left California for Tennessee and then returned when the humidity was too much for Phil. Now he is ready to leave the state once again. Retiring in the crazy, expensive state of California is not a sensible option. For now, they have a beautiful home on two wooded acres. We had a pleasant visit with them, and our stay at the Nevada County Fairgrounds RV Park was pleasant. The park has a small man-made lake, and despite being close to the highway, it was quiet and tranquil. It was reasonably priced, and we had full hookups. We clampers love full hookups. Throw in a lake for me to walk around to get in my 10,000 steps a day, and I’m a happy camper.
We are headed to Las Vegas to see some friends that escaped California and have a wonderful new home there. We try not to drive more than 250 miles in a stretch to avoid cranky situations, but there wasn’t much in the way of RV parks between Grass Valley, California, and Vegas. I found an RV park in Hawthorne, Nevada, that was great for a stop-over.
The Whiskey Flat’s RV Park is right on Hwy-95, but surprisingly quiet. The receptionist was friendly, and the price was very reasonable. She advised us that the park would be full and that the internet would be slow if lots of folks were using it. Sure enough, we watched the place fill up, and by the time I made my walk around the area, getting my daily steps in isn’t easy on travel days; there were only four spots left. On my walks around campgrounds, I always enjoy checking out license plates to see where people are from. This park had lots of Nevada plates, but Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Montana, and California were represented there.
It’s great being back on the road in our motorhome. We all missed it, maybe Paddy most of all. Our fur baby has been so lovable since we hit the road. He’s back to sleeping with us at night, something he only did only twice in the months we lived in the house, and sitting on our laps in the morning and evenings when we are in our recliners. He rolls all over the tile floors when I extend the pop-outs before I roll out our rugs. I was hoping to attach a video of him because it’s so darn adorable. He looks SO happy while he’s doing it. I couldn’t seem to drop it in but you can see it on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/ML9ZMPP9N_g
It was nice taking a different route, even though there was very little to see on the hundreds of miles on US-95. Fair warning, if you are traveling between Reno and Vegas, fill your tank before heading out. There was a gas station in Hawthorne, but Tommy thought that Tonopah was closer than it actually was, so we didn’t fuel up there. That led to some extra stress on our journey. When I brought up the fuel subject, and Tommy expressed that he “hoped” we had enough to make it, I was a bit concerned. I found it comical that unbeknownst to each other, we were praying constantly and fervently that we would make it to town without running out of fuel. Once in Tonopah, panic struck when we were almost out of town before we spotted a gas station that we could get the rig into. I’d seen a Texaco sign that said truck stop, and there were plenty of trucks parked at the back of the enormous parking lot, but we didn’t see diesel pumps for trucks. Thankfully, a trucker was walking by, and Tommy asked him where we could get fuel. The two diesel dispensers for trucks are not easily seen, but thank God they were there. The Texaco was the last fueling station for 94 miles, and we would not have made it that far. Tommy never waits until the tank is empty to fuel up. We’ve made two cross-country trips in Buford, that’s our motorhome’s name, and have never added more than 75 gallons of diesel. We put $250.00 in the tank, which got us almost 90 gallons. We have a 100-gallon tank, and despite the gauge reading full with $250.00, we don’t know exactly how close we came to running out. We have vowed never to let that happen again.
Our third stop was Pahrump, Nevada’s, Lakeside Casino, and RV Park. I’m thrilled to have booked a two-night stay here because not only is it gorgeous, but after the LONG drive here, we needed a couple of days to unwind. HWY-95 is well paved, and the inclines and declines are so gradual that you don’t even realize that you’ve climbed or descended thousands of feet. It was strange to be looking at nothing but desert, sand, cactuses and then see a sign that tells you the elevation is over 6800 feet. Throw in the many designated areas for putting chains on your tires, and it seems surreal. God’s traveling mercies continue to amaze us. It’s almost December, and we managed to miss snowfall.
When we arrived in Pahrump, it was a balmy 70 degrees. We passed many RV parks on the way to the one I’d picked, and Tommy was sick of driving, so he started to give me a hard time. I was beginning to think that I’d blown it until I saw this beautiful park. It is situated around a man-made lake. It’s a five-star park but very reasonably priced. It’s as clean as can be, has many trees, and even the full-timers take great care of their spots. I haven’t seen the casino because I can’t wear a face mask. With my claustrophobia, two minutes with a mask on is sheer torture.
I love to gamble, but not enough to endure a mask. Tommy checked the casino out and found it unbearable. He said there was a mask-Nazi working the place. People can pull their masks down to smoke or drink but must immediately put it back over their faces. His glasses kept fogging up so he couldn’t see, and when he mentioned it to the mask-cop, she told him to put shaving cream on them. He asked her if she had any, and she told him no. He said that the smoke was terrible, and he came back smelling like an ashtray after only a short visit. COVID is going to wind up saving us money. If Las Vegas rules are the same as they are here, I won’t be leaving any cash at their casinos either. How is it okay to let people take off their masks to blow cigarette smoke in the air but force you to keep one on while enjoying a beverage?
Today’s drive is a short one to the Las Vegas Thousand Trails. We are excited to see our friends and their new home. I thought that we had to check out on Thanksgiving Day, but come to find out, I’d confused my days of the week. Thankfully, I’d booked the correct dates moving forward. I had a panic attack when I thought I’d messed everything up. I use the RV Wizard app, and I swear by it. If I had looked closely at the days and not just the dates, I could have skipped some scary moments. It’s an excellent application for tracking your trip, including fuel stops, so that you know how far you’ve been, how far it is to where you are headed next, and when you should stop for fuel. You can name your trips, and they are saved on the app so you can look back and at them. It’s a great way to remember where you went and how you got there.
I plan to share our travel tales regularly. If you know someone that is RVing or is interested in doing it, be sure to share my blog posts and invite them to join my Facebook group, RV Road Trip with Tom, Cat & Paddy. I’ll share lots of tips and reviews about parks and travel and updates about mask requirements and other Rona BS. Sorry, but I think these lockdowns and forced behaviors are doing more harm to our countryman and our economy than the disease itself. With a recovery rate of over 99% and an at-risk group easily identified, the pandemic has been blown way out of proportion. This is my personal opinion. Don’t get mad at me if you disagree, and I’ll promise not to be mad at you if you believe masks are called for. One of the great things about America has been the right to voice your opinion. Sadly, that right has been eroding, and the censorship we’re currently experiencing is a threat to life as we know it.
So sorry, there I go with politics again. It’s hard to avoid it in these crazy times. I am so grateful for our health, and our families, and our home on the road. We are more blessed than I can say. I believe that the only way to get through these turbulent and scary times is to remember your blessings, pray regularly, help others whenever you can, and be grateful.
Happy trails and God bless you all.