Our Adventures

Welcome to the adventures of Larry and Connie Farquhar.

January 2019 Expenses

ExpensesWhen we started researching the possiblity of traveling full time in an RV, I was concerned whether we could afford it. I apprecated reading other people's blogs that included any expense related items. It helped us plan accordingly and gave us a better idea of what to expect finanically while traveling. We learned that we had a good chance of surviving, provided we worked seasonal jobs.

To help educate others contemplating this lifestyle and concerned about finances, I kept and shared most of our expenses. At least I did for the first few years we were full-timing. To that extent, I'll try to start sharing some of our expenses again. These are most of the day-to day living expenses, which can be controlled. It doesn't include regularly scheduled expenses.

January 2019 Expenses

 Auto: Fuel

Dining Out

Entertainment

Groceries

Motorhome: Camping

RV: Fuel

RV: Repairs

Misc

 $82.50  $189.50 $112.50 $414.50 $869.00  $95.00 $0 $638.00

 

Notes:

  1. Camping fees included 2 weeks at RV Park in Apache Junction, AZ - $392.00
  2. Camping fees included 1 week reservations at Theodore Roosevelt NP in North Dakato for this summer - $49.00
  3. Camping fees included 1 week reservations at Aune Osborn CG in Michigan for this summer for 2 sites - $428.00
  4. Misc includes purchase of replacement 10-wheel Tire Monitoring System - $490.00
  5. Misc includes purchasing 2 new outdoor chairs and an outdoor recliner - $148.00
  6. Average Price for Diesel:  $2.68/gallon

 

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Biosphere 2, Arizona

Biosphere 2, Arizona Biosphere 2 near Oracle, AZ

We stayed in Quartzsite for only 20 days this year. When we left on February 5th, we decided to spend the next couple of months in southern New Mexico. We stopped for 3 days at the Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ family campground. This RV Park gets very busy during the winter months, as "snow birds" migrate south away from the cold snow. We were fine with staying in their dry-camp area.

During our brief visit, we spent one day having lunch and visiting with old friends Nancy and John Grindley. Connie worked with Nancy at a dentist office in Louisiana back in 1992-1997. They've stayed in touch and we get to visit every few years. Our other day we finally did something we've been saying we were going to do for the past 20+ years. We FINALLY visited the Biosphere 2 near Oracle, AZ.

Biosphere 2 (Biosphere 1 is the planet Earth) was built in 1986 to research and develop self-sustaining space-colonization technology. Within this 3.14 acres of glass-enclosed facility, there were two human missions between 1991 and 1994. 8 scientist were sealed inside the Biosphere without any outside support (other than communications). They had to grow and sustain their own food, water, and oxygen for their 2-year mission living in this sealed environment. In 1996, the Biosphere changed hads and it's purpose. Since then, the facility has been used for research on a variety of topics dealing with Earth. There are now separate areas for a rain forest, ocean, tundra, and desert. For each area, scientist can control various factors (humidity, temperature, moisture, etc.) to see the results. While I'm glad we visited the Biosphere 2, I was a tad disappointed. I was hoping to learn more about the space-colonization aspect of what it was originally developed for. The current experiments on our climate, plant growth, etc. while important, just doesn't excite me.

We had heard about the New Mexico Annual Camping Pass for it's state parks. A non-resident annual pass was $225 ($100 - $180 for NM residents). This allows us free camping in any New Mexico state park for almost 13 months. They key is to buy the pass after the beginning of a month. It's then good until the end of the same month a year later, giving you almost 13 months on the annual pass. Since we have other plans for this summer and next winter, we''ll only be able to use it for 2 months this year.  We can stay at a state park free dry-camping for 14 days. Then we can move to another NM state park and do 14 days there. We plan to get about 60 days worth of camping for the $225. In our case, this works out to $3.75 per night. However, for $4 more per night, we can have an electric RV site (if available). There's 34 New Mexico state parks (not all have camping). Imagine having the annual camping pass and staying at a different state park for 2 weeks all year long. All for the $225 cost of the pass.

Yesterday, we left Tucson and made our way to Pancho-Villa State Park in New Mexico (31.823488,-107.6412882,642). This is near Columbus, NM on the Mexican border, south of Deming. We purchased our Annual Camping Permit and will be here for at least 12 days. We got the last electric site, so it's costing us $4 per night (with the pass). The Pancho-Villa State Park is near the location of the old Army Camp Furlong. This is the site of when General Fransisco (Pancho) Villa raided Camp Furlong and the nearby town of Columbus in 1916. This resulted in General John Pershing entering Mexico 6 days later and pursuing Pancho Villa. General Pershing took 10,000 troops on a 500-mile expedition in pursuit of Pancho Villa - without success. There were a few "firsts" for the U.S. Army during this campaign. 1) This was the fist time motorized transport had been used in action, and 2) Camp Furlong became the location of the first U.S. Army Airfield, using cloth covered by-planes.

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2019 Travels Begin

2019 Travels Begin Our temporary home in Quartzsite, AZ
We don't like to make many reservations, as it forces us to stick to a schedule. We prefer the freedom to go and stay as long as want, changing plans as needed. A reservation prevents this. However, we know there are certain places and times of the year when a reservation is required. We just weigh our options and "might" make a reservation if it's a busy holiday and there's not many alternatives. Although reservations for staying in Apache Junction are desireable, we don't usually make them. There's hundreds of RV Parks in Mesa and Apache Junction, there's county and state parks nearby, and even dry camping in the desert a little out of town.
 
Earlier in the year, we did try to make a reservation at Brookhaven RV Park for the month of December. There was some confusion, as they were between managers. But I was told we could have site #22 from November 28th to January 1st. I felt something wasn't right, as they never asked for a credit card. Regardless, we arrives on the 28th as planned. And I was correct, they didn't have a reservation for us. Site #22 was now taken by the new manager. But they ofice ladies felt real bad (the same thing happened to them last week). They managed to find us a place for the month.
 
When January 1st came up, we had planned to move on. But we had to stick around for a couple more weeks for our annual doctors check-up. We talked about just going out to the desert near Paralta Trail and boondocking. But the weather was getting cold and having electric would be nice. We got lucky and found a site at the Budget RV Park for two weeks.
 
On January 15th, we made our annual pilgrimige to join our Escapee RV Club "Boomer" friends in the desert near Quartzsite, AZ. This year, they club moved to a new location. I had mixed feelings about this move. The Boomers had been going to the same spot for over 20 years. We'd been joining them almost every winter for the past 18 years. However, it turned out to be a better location (we were at 33.769978, -114.169179).
 
This year, there were MANY new members and this was their first time attending this annual event. But we still met up with many old friends. It was a couple weeks of fun in the desert, with potlucks, a chili cook-off (Connie won 3rd place), wine tasting, classes and discussions, 4WD trips, morning walks, dog parade, dancing under the stars, movies on the side of a RV, and much more!
 
Currently, our Boomer event is over and almost everyone has left. We're still here for another week. We usually stay until we're out of water and the holding tanks are full. Our record is 23 days without dumping. We've been here for 15 days. We're not sure where we're ging from here. But I think we're leaning towards exploring the southern part of New Mexico. We'll have about 2 months before we need to be in Reno, NV.
 
While sitting here in the desert, we made a little more plans on our summer travels. We've identified many places we want to go to, which dictated the route. We have a good idea of our timeline, as we wanted firm reservations for the July 4th holiday weekend. We know we'll be at the Theordore Roosevelt National Park (South) on July 2nd. Between April 26th and July 2nd is all flexible. We did decide to add Lake Louise/Banff in Canada on the planned route.

 

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Winter 2018/2019 Adventures Begin!

Winter 2018/2019 Adventures Begin! View from Secrets Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica

Okay, I haven't been keeping this blog current, have I? It just seems there's no time to work on the blog. I have other (higher priority) tasks to get done first. Although Connie and I aren't working the summer of 2019, we still have "work" that needs to get done. We still work as independent contractors providing various computer, website and email services. I finally got caught up enough to work on this blog.

Well, what have we been doing these past 2 months? A bunch! After leaving Colorado, we headed to South Lake Tahoe for a company meeting. After a week there, we Alabama Hillsdrove to Lone Pine, CA and stayed at Tuttle Creek Campground (36.565211,-118.1290207) in the Alabama Hills.This is a quiet BLM campground for $4 a night with a senior pass. The Alabama Hills is an interesting place at the base of Mt. Whitney. MANY movies and TV shows have been filmed in this area for the past 80+ years. In addition to the numerous television shows, here's a list of 370 movies that were filmed in this area.

When we left the Lone Pine, CA (Alabama Hills) area, we headed to the Desert Eagle Family Campground at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, NV. We met up with friends Bob and Joyce and spent a week exploring and playing games. We had originally planned to only stay a couple days, then move to a boondocking area near the Valley of Fire State Park. But it was still pretty hot and the electricity for air conditioning was very welcomed.

Seal Beach RV Park, CAAfter only a week in Las Vegas, we moved over to the Seal Beach RV Park at the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, CA. Connie's brother, Brian, was getting married to Ronda on November 10th. We greatly enjoyed visiting Connie's family and attending the wedding. Daughter Cindy and husband Matthew came in for the wedding from Phoenix. Daughter Leslie and grand-daughters Kaylee and Khloe also came in for the wedding from Seattle. So the Farqhuar's had a little family reunion at the same time. We really like the Seal Beach RV Park. It's just having to deal with the terrible LA traffic (freeway parking lot).

Around the middle of November, we moved east to Borrego Springs and met up with Bob and Joyce again. Bob and Joyce are "part-time" Rvers, who travel about 6 - 8 months out of the year. They still have a "bricks and sticks" house in Florida. This is the same couple we traveled to Alaska with in 2015. We usually meet up somewhere every few years. We stayed a couple weeks near Borrego Springs on Rock House Rd, (33.302825, -116.280553) boondocking with Boomer friends from the Escapee's RV Club. Over the course of two weeks, about 15 RV's attended the Thanksgiving event. The weather was great, except for the day we had the turkey day potluck. The high winds drove us indoors. During our visit, we went into Pam Springs and spent the night with co-workers Jake and Csilla Stamm. They came out to visit us another day in the desert and got exposed to the "rough life" of dry-camping in the desert.

Costa RicaAround the end of November, we headed out towards Apache Junction, AZ. We stopped for the night in Quartzsite, AZ (dry camping at 33.666778, -114.174121). While Connie and I went into the Brookhaven RV Park, Bob and Joyce went into the Lost Dutchman State Park. Since we had been having generator problems, we wanted electricity to keep the residential fridge running while Connie and I took a vacation for our 40th anniversary. Our gift to ourselves was a week's vacation to Costa Rica! We stayed at the Secrets Papagayo Resort in Gunacaste. This was an all-inclusive resort, so all food and drinks were included. This makes a more relaxing vacation for me. While here, we did a couple all-day excursions into the rain forest. The first day was 14 hours long and took us to the famous Arenal Volcano near San Carlos. This is an active volcano, and actually looked like a volcano. We were lucky to have a clear day and see the volcano from different angles. Our day trip included a boat ride on Arenal Lake to see the volcano, lunch at a wonderful restaurant (with a traditional Costa Rican meal), then we spent hours taking a hike in the rain forest. Luckily, there wasn't much rain, but we also didn't see many animals. The "Eyelash Viper" was the most interesting to see. Especially since it's the 2nd most deadly snake in Costa Rica. We "kind of" saw a Sloth, but all we really saw was a dark brown spot in the trees. The walk through the rain forest included many hanging bridges. Overall, the hike was nice, but not overwhelming. Afterwards, we headed to some natural hot-tubs with volcanic hot water. Then it was on to a good dinner, then the 3.5 hours trip back to the resort. That trip home was a killer!

Arenal VolcanoOur other day excursion in Costa Rica was to the Rincón de La Vieja Volcano National Park. Here, we spent the entire day being "adventurous", It all started with a 1/4 mile water slide down the mountain through the jungle. Wow! That was more excitement than I expected. Then we had a demonstration on pottery making, some Costa Rican coffee tasting, a sampling of traditional food. One of the highlights of this trip was the doing the zip-lines. There was a series of 7 zip-lines over/through the jungle, with the longest being over 1460' long. We had a blast! By now, we were pretty hungry and enjoyed another wonderful meal. This time, it was actually raining in the rain forest, so we didn't get to make the hike to a large water-fall. While others in the group went on a horse-back ride, we choose to take the wagon ride in the rain instead to the mud baths. While not really "baths", we had to sit in a sauna for 15 minutes to "open the pores", then we covered ourselves in hot mud. After letting the mud dry, we rinsed off with VERY COLD water. From there, we spent the next 90 minutes in volcanic heated hot pools. The hottest was over 106 degrees, which I could only last a few minutes in. Finally, after another long day, we made the 90 minute bus ride back to the resort. Exhausted, it felt wonderful to have another fantastic meal and sit on the beach with a relaxing drink.

Connie on the Zip LineYou can see all the photos form our Costa Rica vacation in our Photo Album here.

For our vacation, we made the day's drive from Apache Junction, AZ to Torrance, CA. It was less expensive to fly out of Los Angeles. We spent the night before leaving and after returning with Connie's parents. After our return to LA, we made the day's drive back to Apache Junction, AZ. This is where we're currently at. We've been catching up on some computer work and doctor's appointments. We'll be here until the middle of January. We'll spend Christmas with daughter Cindy and her husband Matt. Then it's on to our annual pilgrimage to Quartzsite, AZ with our Boomer Escapee RV Club friends. From February 1st on, we don't yet know what we're doing, or where we'll be. Ahh - the freedom!

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The Blog is Back!

Although we haven't been keeping this Blog active, we are still traveling full-time in our motor home. This blog isn't read much and has been replaced with "Facebook". Connie prefers to write her journal on Facebook.

For the past couple years, nothing special has happened with us. We still worked in Colorado during the summer for about 6-months, then spent the winter 6-months in strolling around the deserts of Arizona and California. The biggest issue was our 10KW generator stopped working during in February 2018. We had been having starting issues with it for years, but one morning, she just refused to start. The problem was very intermittent, making solving the issue difficult. It would start fine one day, then refuse to start the next. A month later, it would start for many days in a row, then wouldn't start at all for the next month.

After having a couple repair techs look at it, the generator is finally working again. It was as simple as a loose wire on the starter. But it took $850 of work to finally get someone to realize this!

Just last month, we had a water connection come apart. For a few days, we couldn't get water in the RV. After we left Dillon, Colorado from working this past summer, we stopped at a RV Repair place in Salt Lake City. I knew where the connection was that came apart, but it was behind a panel and I couldn't get to it. The repair perfromed a miracle and reconnected it with a new clamp, all while working in the blind! He attached the new clamp simply by touch, in a very cramped space. And it was only $105 to have it repaired! So the RV is working 100% again and we're ready for this winter of 2018-2019.

I guess the big news is, Connie and I won't be returning to work in Colorado for 2019. Actually, we're not going to be working anywhere. We've decided to not work next year and travel parts of the USA that we've neer been to. So we'll be pretending we're retired next year! We plan to travel across the northern portion of the USA from Seattle to Michigan. Then maybe head south. We don't have a timeline or definite plans. Just the way we like to travel!

Not working next year and traveling is the main reason I'll be starting this blog up again. Even if others don't read it, we use it as our historical record of where we've been. So if for nothing else, this blog is for us.
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