From Old AZ to Cold Mazie:

We began our trip from AZ to Mazie knowing that when moving North the temperatures would be cooler. And even though we are big babies we made the trip to have special time with Micah and the rest of the family. Emily's family has three girls with March birthdays: Micah, Coralyn and momma Emily.

The trip was just over 1,000 miles and we had 8 to 10 days to get there. So, we obeyed Craig's rule and kept our mileage down to 200 miles per travel day and mostly staying two nights per stay. We choose this route to avoid traffic with 800 miles not on freeways. We skipped Death Valley as we will explain later. This path is very peaceful and not as ugly as some might think!

Before we left Phoenix we saw Ellen's knee doctor for a check up. The doctor's PA says Ellen is on schedule for a normal recovery. However, Ellen still has a lot of pain when moving. We appreciate your continued prayers.

We dry camped at Casino Arizona before we left. Last time we stayed a night at the casino there were dozens of motorhomes. This time only five. It used to be free for as long as you wanted, but too many RVer's abused the privilege. Now it is free for one night. To stay a second night you have to earn 300 points, whatever that means! So one night and we were off to park in front of cousin Bob and Barb's home.

Our first day of traveling took us to Quartzsite's Discount Solar. We got a good reference to this business and stopped to discuss solar panels and batteries. We don't dry camp too often but thought it might be a good idea to get one panel to keep the batteries charged when Ellen is shopping and Pete is in the MotherShip in the parking lot (yes, we do this very often!). Rick from Discount Solar said forget the solar panel, just get new batteries. We have AGM maintenance-free batteries. They have lasted seven years but they are now worn out. We'll get a new set next year.

From Quartzsite we got off the freeway and headed north to Lake Havasu City. This is the Colorado river just beyond Parker, Arizona.

The Elks at Lake Havasu has very wide, level sites with new gravel. Hookups are water, sewer and 50 amps and a view of the lake in the distance (about seven miles). We spent two nights and toured the city where we had spent a night camping on our honeymoon 42 years ago.

Next stop was Colorado River Oasis RV park. It is a very nice family owned park. Usually a park needs concrete pads for us to give it a 4 rating. This park gets one as it is so well maintained in a lovely setting right on the river.

We have been to Bullhead City and Laughlin many times but didn't remember this beautiful walking bridge just west of the Colorado River. It is new or we are old!

Now, what about Death Valley? First, the National Park Service predicted no Superbloom this year. While the valley got lots of rain it was too late in the season. By the time the wildflowers would poke their heads out, the sun and wind would burn them out. We wanted to see the Superbloom.

Second, for months the MotherShip has had a stutter on a hard uphill pull. We didn't cherish the idea of having to get service in Death Valley. So, we stayed in Las Vegas Saturday and Sunday to get service on Monday. Two months ago a semi-truck driver told us the problem was most likely the fuel filter. We had it changed in Mesa, Arizona just days ago. But the stutter remains. The Mesa service center noticed a burnt sensor on the transmission but could not fix it.

We have not really cared for Las Vegas, see What Happens in Vegas. We love it now. It has six Smashburger restaurants!

We stayed two nights at the Hitchin' Post Motel/RV Park. It was okay: nice pool, gated park with full hookups and cable TV.

Monday came and the Allison transmission company could not get us in for service. So, we bypassed Death Valley and headed through the lonely desert. For the most part we had Highway 95 to ourselves. At this point however, the highway patrol signaled us off the road to let these trucks carrying huge dump trucks pass.

Shortly after that we saw this accident which we think was unrelated to the big trucks, but who knows.

Due to our unscheduled 2-day stay in Vegas, we caught up with our plan by traveling 317 miles to Hawthorne, Nevada. We stayed a day at Whiskey Flats RV Park. It is a nice place to spend the night.

The next day we arrived in Reno, Nevada 132 miles from Hawthorne. We once again proved that Craig was right. 449 miles and not staying two stays was exhausting and took some fun out of our journey.

We took two days to recover in Reno. The first night at Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. The next morning we got our transmission sensor replaced at Smith Power in Sparks, just east of Reno.

The second night we dry camped at the Reno Elks Lodge. We had a chance to visit with Bill, a good friend and client from 30 years ago.

Next door to the Elks is Alice's Pet Parlor. Mandy took a chance with Alice and lost three pounds.

One travel day left to get to Chad and Emily's house. It was only 117 miles, but it was a little slow at Verdi, Nevada on the 80. This was the most congested traffic we have encountered in 11 years. The 3-mile jam took just over an hour and a half. Yes, we averaged 2 mph, when we were moving at all.

This is as close to the snow as the MotherShip ever wants to be.

This building is just across the street from the Safeway in Grass Valley, California. At Grass Valley we once again left the freeway behind and followed the back roads to get to our destination.

Check out the weather at each leg of our trip. The temperatures in blue are what they were before we started the trip (March 5th at 3:30pm). However, the Lord blessed us each day of our travels with sunshine and warmth. The temperatures in the sunbursts are what we enjoyed.

We'll celebrate the girls' birthdays and then be heading back to our house in Atascadero.

With love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy