Konyaaltı Beach at Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

I've been looking at Sri Lanka as a possible destination

Yesterday, I mentioned that we would like to travel somewhere different next winter. Despite the current world situation, I'm still optimistic that will happen. I've been looking at Sri Lanka as a possible destination.

Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, southeast of India. Population of around 22 million. It had a growing tourism business up until 2019 when terrorists scared everyone away and tourism was only just starting to pick up as things had returned to normal again over the last year.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mexico next winter?

Just a lazy day here at the ranch yesterday. I spent some time getting my new phone set up and figuring out how everything works. Not that much different from the 3 year old Samsung, but certainly a few new bells and whistles.

It was too hot and windy to do any painting, but it has cooled off a bit today so we should be able to get back at it again.

How to Plan Your First Cruise

Going on a cruise is an exciting adventure enjoyed by everyone from honeymooners to families and retirees. More and more millennials are discovering the joys of cruising as the Cruise Travel Report indicated in 2018 - the percentage of this generation that stated they "definitely will" book a cruise for their next trip increased from 63 to 70 percent over the previous year.

For those who'd like to try cruising for the first time, planning can be a challenge, simply because there are so many options to choose from, like where do you want to sail, which cruise line should you travel on, which room to choose, and so on. There's a lot you need to know in order to make the best decisions, but these tips can help you plan the trip of your dreams.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Ruth and I went out for a bike ride before it got too hot or too windy. We ended up doing the same route we had done the other day, but in reverse. Again, only about 6.5 miles (10.5 kms) but enough to get some exercise. As we are now trying to get out on the bikes more regularly we will up the distance.

It's been pretty warm the last few days though, and windy. Highs around 86F (30C) and it's supposed to get even warmer than that later on this week.

Staying Healthy and Strong on Long Trips

While you likely aren’t heading out on a long trip right at this moment, it doesn’t mean you can’t start planning ahead and prepare for when things do get back to normal and travel is once again possible. While long trips can be lots of fun, giving yourself extra time to really explore and get to know the destination at the same time can be tough on your body. The last thing you want to be dealing with is getting sick while on vacation, or suffering from aches and pains that prevent you from doing all the touring and exploring you had planned on.

With that in mind, there are simple tips and bits of advice that you can follow that will help you to stay healthy and strong even on a long trip. So, let’s take a closer look.

Monday, April 27, 2020

This is rattlesnake territory...

We set off for a windy hike yesterday morning. When you've got a few thousand acres to explore, it's not difficult to put on a few miles and not even get close to seeing everything there is to see.

We had been told to watch where you are putting your feet... it's rattlesnake season and the prairie rattlesnake is fairly common in these parts.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Change of plans

Much of the world has had a change of plans over the last 6 weeks, and we are no different.

Originally, we were supposed to head up to Kansas City, Missouri where we were to hop on a plane and go visit family in Ottawa, Ontario for 10 days. Then fly back to Kansas City and drive the motorhome up to Cabri, Saskatchewan where we were going to spend three months working at Cabri Regional Park.

But all of that went out the window.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Another day on the ranch

We woke up to a strong north wind yesterday and the wind got stronger as the day went on. Fortunately, it was a clear blue sky. But even with the high of around 68F (20C) it felt cool all day.

We did get out for a short hike. I didn't measure it, but it was probably about 3.5 miles (5 kms). Oh, but before that there were chores to do. First up was to bottle feed a calf!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Home on the range... for the next week or more...

A few years ago while in Mexico, we met our friend Tracy. She was living in Puerto Escondido at the time, and we spent quite a bit of time together. We met her and her mother Joy when we got together in Puerto Vallarta a couple of years later.

Tracy had mentioned at some point that her family owns a ranch near Amarillo, and that we would be welcome to park there if we were ever headed that way. Yesterday, we took them up on that offer!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Sherman's repairs are complete!

You haven't heard from us for a couple of days because there hasn't been much to say. We had been parked up for three days and two nights in the mechanical garage parking lot. Well, we were actually parked inside the garage during the day... and outside at night.

Once again, S&L Auto Repairs in Amarillo looked after us well. Head mechanic Ismail did the repairs along with his assistant Isaac. The bill was not cheap, but it was about what I expected.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Stuck in Amarillo

But not for long.

We had some major repair work done at S&L Auto Repair here in Amarillo exactly two years ago. We were happy with the work and the guys who did it, so we purposely took a little bit of a detour to return here and have some more things looked at.

Since the last work was completed, we have done more than 20,000 miles of driving, some of it on very rough roads. Sherman has actually held up quite well, all things considered!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Airport camping

We said goodbye to Guthrie, Texas and headed further north. Not much to stop and see along the way in this part of Texas, but it's still interesting nonetheless.

This time, we had a pretty strong headwind... good thing, because it would make more room in the tank for some upcoming cheap gasoline! Ha... there is a bright side to everything!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

A visit from the local Sheriff...

Had a quiet Friday night in Hamlin's sports park. We planned to set off at around 10:00am, and before we did so I checked the pressure in that one tire that we had repaired a few days ago. To my surprise it was zero. Yes, a big fat ZERO!

Bob came over to give me a hand and brought his bigger compressor. We figured we might be able to hear where it's leaking if we put some air in it. But as we took the wheel cover off, we quickly realized where it was coming from.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Lots of free overnight spots in Texas

Our original plan was to overnight in quite a few of the Texas State Parks, but since they closed we have had no problem finding good free overnight spots.

Oh, and speaking of Texas State Parks, they are re-opening their day use areas as of Monday! Great news for those of us who like to get some exercise and fresh air.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Fortunately, this kind of thing doesn't happen very often

Went for a 5.5 mile (9 km) power walk before leaving Santa Anna, Texas. Not the most scenic area, so didn't take any photos. But at least we got some exercise in.

We woke up to a strong south wind that was forecast to get stronger as the day went on. We don't normally like driving Sherman on a windy day, but when it's a tailwind, we will take the extra gas mileage!

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Good guys at Flores Tire and Auto in Brady, Texas!

We continued slowly north today. We stopped in at Lake Brady Park just west of Brady, Texas but there weren't a lot of areas to walk so it didn't look like a suitable place for us to overnight. While we were there, I checked Sherman's tire pressures.

The left rear inner tire has had a slow leak ever since we plugged it four months ago in Mexico. I've been keeping an eye on it, and I've had to top it up once a week or so. But lately, the slow leak has become a fast leak!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Heading further north

It seems the worst of the cold weather front is over as of today, so we are slowly heading further north.

Yesterday, we walked around the town of Llano (pop 3,200). Nice little place. Then, we drove up towards Brady (pop 5,300) and found a nice little highway rest area for the night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A beautiful Texas scenic drive...

We took the bikes out for another ride yesterday morning before we left the beautiful Stonewall area. It was a bit cool... I even had my winter hat and gloves on! But it turned out to be a beautiful blue sky day with a high of about 62F (16C).

We went out for an hour and did 9 miles (14.5 kms), but that including stopping along the way to take a couple of photos.

Monday, April 13, 2020

We needed to switch things up a little bit

We've probably power walked 60 miles (100 kms) in the last ten days. And while that's good for the aerobics, it's also good to get some different types of exercise. Yesterday, we got the bikes off. We needed to switch things up a little bit, and there are lots of places to bike around here.

This is such a beautiful area of Texas. And there are so many back roads that have hardly any traffic on them.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Snake! In a split second I backed away.

We went out for our daily 6 mile (10 km) power walk yesterday morning. Despite the fact that the state and national parks are closed, there are still a lot of places to walk in this area.

We are right beside the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, and on the other side of the river is the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Site.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Luxury Riverside Boondocking

With most public facilities closed, we are left to find places to overnight on our own. We're pretty good at that, but we also use the iOverlander app to get some ideas. It tends to list a lot of Walmarts and private RV parks and they are definitely a last resort for us, so we have to filter through the listings quite a bit.

But occasionally we come across something worthwhile. In this case, the listing was titled "Luxury Riverside Boondocking". So we drove over there yesterday.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Our pet butterfly

We always make an effort to get out for some exercise. Every day. It's at least a 4 mile hike of some kind and that's the minimum. In fact the last few days have probably averaged 6 miles (10 kms) per day.

And of course the terrain makes a difference. Some places we are trekking through the brush, and other places we are power walking on a paved pathway.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

We do have a plan...

Yesterday morning we received notification by email that Texas State Parks were all being closed to the public by 5:00pm that day.

We went out for our morning hike and discussed what that meant for us. We had planned on using some of the Texas State Parks while making our way north. The only time it looked like it was going to be a problem was the upcoming Easter long weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Sherman needs some minor repair

A few days ago, Sherman began acting up. Nothing serious, and I recognized the symptoms right away. The idle seemed high and erratic. And, the "Service Engine Soon" light had come on.

I checked the error code, and sure enough it was exactly what I figured. Sherman needed a new idle control module.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sherman's 10 year old batteries are still doing fine

This last few days of dry camping have been a test of Sherman's now 10 year old Trojan batteries. It was in March of 2010 that we bought our new T-105 6 volt batteries. I knew they had a good reputation, but never expected them to last ten years.

I'm sure there has been some deterioration, but they are still doing fine!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Rain rain, go away...

Rain is in the forecast on and off for the next several days but we still get out for some daily exercise. We set out with Bob and Denise just before 10am to do another few miles of trails.

Although it spit with rain a few times, we were actually pretty lucky.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Could be a bread baking day tomorrow!

Some states have taken the drastic measures of totally closing all of their state parks.

Here in Texas, they have taken a more logical approach. Each state park has their own rules as to how they limit the number of people coming into the park. We are at Hill Country State Natural Area where they have very few campsites to begin with, and they are really well spaced apart. Campers with reservations are allowed into the park, and then they limit the number of day users and when that limit is reached that's it.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Finding places to overnight

We stayed our first night in Texas at the rest area on the I-35. The tourist office there was closed, but they gave a 1-800 number if you needed any info. And the bathroom building was open because truckers stop in as well and use the facilities. And they left the WiFi on.

On Tuesday, we filled up with gas at $1.70 USD per gallon ($0.64 CAD per liter). Sherman is happily full of cheap fuel!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March Expenses

Not a bad month, mostly because we sat at the Las Palmas Midway Inn for the last ten days of the month. That kept our entertainment expenses low, and because of the coronavirus we didn't eat out very much.

But, we did do some stocking up for the trip north. Mostly because we wanted to spend as little time as possible doing any grocery shopping, so Ruth had made a bunch of meals and froze them... in fact, the freezer is totally full. We also stocked up the liquor cabinet because most things are quite a bit cheaper in Mexico.