December 2013 – With our house deal settled in early December 2013, we turned our attention to how we might join family for Christmas and also get ourselves south ahead of deteriorating weather.
We concluded that if we wanted to travel to Saskatoon for Christmas, we were better to fly than drive the mountain passes. A little research revealed that it was about the same price to fly from Vegas to Saskatoon to Kelowna and back to Vegas, as to fly return from Kelowna to Saskatoon. With a convenient weather window, a plan was hatched and we packed up and started the three day drive to Vegas. There we would meet with our friends Larry and Bev (who relocated to Vegas from Cayman) and leave our RV in storage while we spent Christmas with family in S’toon……..in the freezing cold.
The drive through southern BC and eastern Washington was quite pretty with dry roads, so we made it to Pendleton, Oregon the first night. Walmart parking lots are a great convenience generally allowing overnight RVers with an expectation you might spend a few dollars in their store. This convenience is allegedly owed to the Walmart founding family (Walton) tradition in the early 60’s of taking an annual cross country RV vacation.
From Pendleton we headed the next morning into the dreaded Dead Man Pass, where, a year earlier, ten people were killed in a horrific bus accident. This was easy to envision as we drove through 30 miles of heavy fog on sheer ice roads at 30 to 40 miles an hour while semi trucks zoomed by. The fog continued on and off to just north of Salt Lake City where Walmart again accommodated us. In the morning we awoke to the heaviest fog yet, minus 13 degree Celsius temperatures and a wonder if we would get on the road any time soon. Fortunately we were close to the highway from where we could hear vehicles moving and decided to venture out. Half a mile ahead of us on the highway the fog had lifted and we were on our way.
A leisurely day took us to Mequite where a casino was our boondocking host, leaving a short remaining drive the next day to sin city (Vegas). As we decended from the high plateau of Utah and Northern Nevada, temperatures climbed and we were past the risk of snow and freezing our on-board water and sewer lines. Our first day in Vegas was taken up cleaning the RV of all of the road dirt and preparing for our trip back to Canada. It was a relief to have the unit safely parked out of the weather knowing we could continue our trip without ice and snow as a further concern.
We flew back to S’toon for Christmas. On New Year’s Day we flew to Kelowna where our son Devon and his friends joined us and did some skiing while we set up security systems and house checking before a final flight to Vegas. It feels good to have a home base again, although we have lots of organizing and other projects to complete before we are settled.