Yeah, We’re All Tired of Hearing About Covid-19

But that doesn’t mean we’re all tired of sharing our personal experiences about it, right?

I’ve thought long and hard about this particular post, but in the end decided to go ahead and write it. As I write this, we’re in yet another surge (this one spurred by the Delta variant), with numbers of infections in many states higher than they were at the 2020 peak. There’s a lot of discussion going on about whether to get vaccinated or not, for all sorts of reasons. We’ve met people who got the shot (actually, I love that the British call it “getting the jab”) and those who say they will not. We have people we love on both sides of that particular debate, and I won’t be arguing for or against it here.

Instead, I thought I’d shed a little light on how one particular full-time RVing couple finally got their jabs.

When the Covid-19 vaccine started to become available, we were in Yuma, Arizona. Some RVers told us they were telling the medical people they were Arizona residents (using the RV park address) so they could get the vaccine. But we didn’t have a smart phone nor the handy-dandy app telling people the jab was available and letting them set an appointment right then and there. Without those apps, appointments were nearly impossible to get.

When we got to Pahrump, Nevada, we thought about driving to Las Vegas to get the Pfizer jab. Same thing. No appointments were to be had.

We kept washing our hands, using sanitizer, wearing our masks, then doubling our masks. We only shopped for groceries and supplies. We avoided RV park clubhouses and tried to keep ourselves healthy by hiking our favorite nearby hilltop.

As the weather warmed up we went north, stopping for awhile in eastern Oregon. The manager at the RV park helpfully provided us with the local phone numbers to set a vaccination appointment, but because we had to leave before we could get the three week follow-up dose, we didn’t start the regimen. 😦 So close!

We had a two-month stay reserved in far western Montana, and I vowed to set vaccine appointments as soon as we got there.

All that stuff I was hearing on the news had been true for us: hard to figure out where to get the shot, appointments filling fast when we found them. Now I was discovering how tricky it was to figure out what “eligible” meant: did we have to be citizens of the state or not? Would they ask? If they did, would they ask for a driver’s license or accept the RV park’s address?

I found an appointment in Idaho, then Bob found appointments in Kalispell. The Walgreens in Kalispell was offering the Pfizer vaccine, had two appointments available within the week of our arrival in the state, so we booked them.

It took us nearly two hours to drive to Kalispell from the RV park where we were staying, so we booked a hotel room for two nights: the night we got there, and the night of the vaccination, just in case we needed to lay low rather than travel that day.

I’ll make the story of our vaccination as brief as possible. Being very thorough people, and nearly neurotic instruction-followers, we stopped by the pharmacy the day before to make sure we knew where to park, where to go inside, and when to arrive. Fifteen minutes early for paperwork, we were told. Go to the window over there unless it’s closed, then come over here to this counter.

Got it.

We arrived thirty minutes early, got our paperwork completed, then ended up waiting nearly an HOUR while they “processed the paperwork.” Usually the reticent one, I’d finally had enough and started demanding answers.

To shorten a long tale at least a little, our paperwork was ready, but the “window” people hadn’t talked to the “counter” people… Within minutes of demanding explanations, we were taken back and given the jab.

Bob didn’t feel it; I did, but no more than any other shot. Later I felt my arm (that “soreness at the injection spot”) but a couple of baby aspirin and I was fine.

We had Moose’s pizza followed by ice cream sundaes, then relaxed in the hotel room, watching the distant Rockies get a late-spring shower of snow.

The hotel experience was awful. We’d stayed there before while visiting Kalispell because they don’t permit dogs (our allergies mean we have to avoid pet-friendly properties), but this time the service was terrible: not enough towels or toilet paper, no shampoo, etc. etc.

So when we returned three weeks later for our second jab, we stayed at a different hotel and had a much better experience. We also were processed through the vaccination at Walgreens much faster and easier.

Side effects? Same as before. Bob didn’t even feel the needle go in (“Did she really give me the shot?” he asked me later) while I had soreness in my arm, maybe a little more than the first time, but nothing a couple of baby aspirin didn’t take care of.

Plus more pizza and ice cream. 🙂

I’ve often posted about how living on the road is different from living in a sticks-and-bricks house. Getting the vaccine and its follow-up shot is just another example of the extra challenges we full-time RVers face.

At least now we can say, “Whew! An extra layer of protection against a very deadly virus.”

But what about staying in areas where people don’t believe getting the vaccine is a good idea? We’ve learned having a good sense of humor is key. We tell them, “We’ve got the vaccine, so we’re now injected with the government’s tracking system.” When we add, “This means the government not only knows where we are but they know who’s standing nearby, you know,” they always back up to give us a little more space (social distancing is good).

Hopefully getting a booster vaccination will be a much faster, smoother process. We’ll let you know!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Covid-19 on the Road

Our previous post described one of the awful things that happened to us during 2020…. We survived getting rear-ended in our Jeep, though my back will probably never be the same. Certainly many people have been through much, much worse in the last eighteen months or so.

We’ve spent that time mostly trying to avoid contracting Covid-19. Venturing out to hike in Nevada’s Spring Mountains kept us relatively fit through part of last winter…

…but we were also surprised how many others had discovered this relatively out-of-the-way spot. The last few years we’ve seen the occasional small RV parked out here, but this past winter we saw more than ever. Maybe word has spread through some of the van-camping and boondocking apps…?

Regardless of how they’ve found these spots, a few boondockers seem to think the big outdoors is their personal toilet. I’ll spare you photos of that particular travesty, but the other trash left around what had been nearly pristine desert was maddening.

Some RVers have always used their rigs to advertise businesses or opinions, usually through window decals or bumper stickers. Every now and then, though, somebody goes the next step, showing their true commitment.

Continue reading
Posted in On the Road | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Wham-Bam: No Thank You, Ma’am!

Long-time readers of our blog know that occasionally we “go dark.” Often it’s because we’re someplace where wifi isn’t reliable, but during 2020 it was hard to stay motivated to write — not just this blog, but anything else.

And for a lot of reasons, none of them good.

Like many full-time RVers, our adventure turned into what I call a “bad adventure,” rather than the good ones we had hoped for when we headed out on the road nearly a dozen years ago.

Everyone I know has had the worst year they can remember. Ours was, too. And COVID-19 was just a part of it.

Just as we started to acclimate to the stormy weather the pandemic has brought into all of our lives — eating out less often, shopping only for necessities, figuring out how to stay in shape when hiking or biking wasn’t possible —

Slam! Bam! Our world was flipped around.

more

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2020 Best EATS!

What a whacky year. Hopefully COVID-19 didn’t touch you, your family or friends in 2020 — and won’t in 2021. The pandemic certainly caused all kinds of changes to everyone’s “normal,” and when you live on the road as we do, “normal” is already mostly off-kilter from everyone else’s “normal.”

We visited many of the same places as last year, but because we had to order to-go rather than eat-in we ordered some different things and tried some different restaurants. Hard to eat our favorite Ham and Eggs O’Brian breakfast from Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma when you have to eat it from Styrofoam teetering on your lap in the crowded front seat of a Jeep, right?

Sadly, we lost a few favorite places. T+D’s Restaurant in Baker, Nevada, closed when the owners decided it was time to retire. Katy’s Korner in Cloverdale, Oregon, has been replaced by Antonette’s Kitchen South. We’ll miss both! And the Bulldog Diner in Rufus, Oregon, was closed when we stopped — whether it’s permanent or not, it did lead to our finding a new place down the road.

It’s sad for the restauranteurs, who have had a very difficult year, but the upside for us was discovering new eateries. In some cases, we tried the usual spots and weren’t as impressed, so ventured out. We were thrilled to have the Pie Hut in Sandpoint, Idaho, recommended to us — it comes into the Best list with THREE entries! You’ll see a few other new names in this year’s list… I’ll let you find them 🙂

So whet your appetite, forget about your woes, and join us as we present the 2020 Bob and Ellen’s BEST EATS Awards!

BEST BREAKFAST

  1. Ham and Eggs O’Brian at Brownie’s Cafe in Yuma, AZ
  2. Sirloin Steak and Eggs at Bob’s Texas TBone Restaurant in Rufus, OR
Bob’s Texas TBone Restaurant, Rufus, Oregon
  1. Steak and Eggs at Shari’s in Meridian, ID
Shari’s Restaurant, Meridian, Idaho

BEST BREAKFAST BURRITO
Goldsboro’s Bakery, Yuma, AZ

BEST CORNED BEEF HASH
Brownie’s Cafe, Yuma, AZ

BEST SOUPS

Chicken Tortilla Soup at Jimmie K’s Diner in Yuma, AZ

Taco Soup at Minnie’s Montana Cafe in Thompson Falls, MT

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID

Pie Hut, Sandpoint, Idaho

BEST DRINK [Nope, no alcohol here!]

Strawberry Lemonade at The Smokehouse in LaGrande, OR

Smokehouse Restaurant, LaGrande, Oregon

BEST APPETIZERS

Steamer Clams at Hook, Line & Sinker in Garibaldi, OR


Hook, Line & Sinker, Garibaldi, Oregon

Fried Ravioli at Nicco’s in Pahrump, NV

Cheesey Garlic Bread at Bit of Italy in Nampa, ID

Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

BEST SALADS

Best Side Salad

  1. Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID
Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

Best Spinach Salad

  1. Shari’s Restaurant, Nampa, ID
Shari’s Restaurant, Nampa, Idaho

BEST PIZZA

  1. Ronnie’s in Yuma, AZ
  2. Moose’s Tavern in Kalispell, MT
Moose’s Tavern, Kalispell, Montana

BEST SANDWICHES

Best Burger
International Cafe, Austin, NV

Best Reuben

  1. Buffalo Cafe in Whitefish, MT
Buffalo Cafe, Whitefish, Montana
  1. Chalkboard Cafe in Wallace, ID
Chalkboard Cafe, Wallace, Idaho

Best Panini
Heather’s Special at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID

Pie Hut, Sandpoint, Idaho

BEST SEAFOOD

Halibut and Chips at Sea Baron Food Trailer in Garibaldi, OR

Sea Baron, Garibaldi, Oregon

BBQ Grilled Oysters on the Half Shell at River View Dining in South Bend, WA

River View, South Bend, Washington

BEST DINNERS

Best Fajitas
Jalapenos in Nampa, ID

Jalapenos, Nampa, Idaho

Best Comfort Food (Tie)

  1. Scalloped Potatoes and Ham at Minnie’s Montana in Thompson Falls, MT (Bob)
Minnie’s Montana Scalloped Potatoes
  1. Chicken Pot Pie at Montana Minnie’s in Thompson Falls, MT (Ellen)
Minnie’s Montana Chicken Pot Pie

BEST ITALIAN DINNERS

Best Spaghetti
Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID

Spaghetti at Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

Best Lasagna
Nicco’s in Pahrump, NV

Best Pasta
Maryland Blue Crab Ravioli with Housemade Pesto at Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID

Maryland Blue Crab Ravioli with House Made Pesto at Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

BEST DESSERTS

Best Tiramisu
Bit of Italy, Nampa, ID

Tiramisu at Bit of Italy, Nampa, Idaho

Best Fruit Pie
Marionberry Pie at Alice’s Country House Restaurant, Tillamook

Alice’s Country Restaurant, Tillamook, Oregon

Best Cream Pie

  1. [Tie] Chocolate Cream Pie at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, ID
Chocolate Cream Pie at Pie Hut in Sandpoint, Idaho

and at The Smokehouse in LaGrande, OR

2. Peanut Butter Pie at Hook, Line & Sinker in Garibaldi, OR

Best Chocolate Cake
Chocolate-Blueberry Cake at Alice’s Country House Restaurant, Tillamook, OR

Chocolate Blueberry Cake at Alice’s Country Restaurant in Tillamook, Oregon

Best Hot Fudge Sundae
Hought’s 24 Flavors, LaGrande, OR

Hought’s 24 Flavors, LaGrande, Oregon

NOT THE BEST BUT WORTH MENTIONING
Alligator Bites at Icons Grill in Yuma, AZ: You don’t get many changes to eat alligator, especially out west. This was tasty and worth trying, but other than that it wasn’t anything special.

Icons, Yuma, Arizona

Yep. It’s a much shorter list this year, with our very best meals coming out of our own kitchen, thanks to Chef Bob 😉

Pan-Seared Netarts Bay Oysters (from JAndy Oysters) with Cheesy Broccoli and Corn on the Cob
Ham and Eggs with Potatoes and Toast
Garden Salad with Shrimp and Mussels

What about you? What kinds of great (or not so great) experiences have you had with road food this past year?

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Book Saga Continues

…with good news and bad news. First the good news: they’re back! Last I checked, all of my ebooks are again available.

The bad news is that in the shuffle all of my reviews (all four and five stars, I have to say) have vanished. I’ve been in touch with my publisher and Amazon about this, but it’s uncertain whether those reviews will ever be viewable on Amazon again.

So I’m hoping if you or your friends have read any of my books that maybe you’ll take a few minutes and type a review to let others know about these books. It takes years to build readership and reviews make a difference, including yours.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for other RVing authors and books, please take a look at the interviews to discover more RVing reading pleasure!

And keep watching this space… more non-book adventures will be posted soon, including our popular BEST EATS! Annual List of the best restaurant food we found during the year.

I promise!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Case of the Disappearing Books

Sometimes real-life hands us our own mysteries. After writing them for awhile, you’d think I’d be thrilled to have a real life mystery drop in my lap.

Not exactly.

I’ve been quiet here but active in other places online, promoting my latest Rollin RV Mystery, Superstition Victim.

The other day I was on Amazon (where I’ve been buying and downloading hundreds of books since the pandemic hit) and checked my author’s page.

Low and behold, my Rollin RV Mysteries were gone.

Vanished.

As if they had never been published and uploaded to Amazon.

My heart nearly stopped. For a woman who never had children (or pets) of her own, my books are my creations, my children. I had that same panicky feeling I got once when my niece went seemed to disappear in a large department store. When I found her hiding under a clothing rack I didn’t know whether to scold her or hug her.

Where had my books gone?

I found the direct link for the book, and plugged that into the browser. Nope. Just a “Nothing here” page.

My heart kicked into gear. Then up a notch or two. Pounding, pounding.

Over the next few days I tried everything I could think of: e-mailing Amazon, e-mailing and filing a fix-it ticket with Lulu, the publisher I use to get my book files distributed around the Web.

I thought to check Kobo and Barnes and Noble — my books are still there.

Whew. My heartbeat steadied, at least a little.

Maybe all was not lost.

But what was going on?

I tried re-formatting the files and uploading them again. Waited a day or so. Superstition Victim reappeared, minus the one review a blogger had posted for it.

Since then it’s all been quiet on Amazon. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t lost some sleep, fretted to Bob about it.

“I wish there was somthing I could do about it,” he said. Well, there was. We went for ice cream, which always helps.

Yesterday I learned Lulu had decided to switch distribution services. Putting on my Betty Rollin/Sherlock Holmes hat, I deduced this was likely the culprit, but had no proof.

Today I found a forum where fellow Lulu users were suffering the same fate: their books had suddenly vanished from Amazon. And someone posted that Lulu had responded to their fix-it ticket saying the “one- to two-hour” job had turned into something a lot bigger than that. (Obviously.)

So… to those of you who’ve been clicking links to check out my books only to wonder where they are, I apologize. I don’t know where they are.

But they’re supposed to come back.

The mystery might be solved and the perpetrator identified, but we’re still waiting for justice.

And trying to stay patient, something we have all learned a little bit more about in these crazy pandemic times.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Catching Wild Critters

…on camera, that is! You won’t find me trying to get closer than the inside of our Jeep to this rattlesnake, which we came across on our way to a favorite hike this past spring in Nevada:

This was just our third rattlesnake, and this time it was in the wild and posing prettily, which made it perfect for leading off this post about seeing the wild things on our travels.

I won’t cover them all here, just those we’ve seen in the last few months (otherwise you’d get far too bored because the post would run way too long). Continue reading

Posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Birds, Cool Experience | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Wanted: Energizer Bunny!

We’ve been relatively lucky when it comes to RV issues (our fifth wheel was only run into once when it was parked, by a woman disoriented in an RV park (it’s a long story), our Class C bumped a picnic table once… although we did have a flat tire just outside Whitehorse, Yukon, and a few while moving the fifth wheel [yes, a few, on one relatively short trip, but that’s yet another story]), so after more than a decade of full-timing we were probably due.

We’d just driven our Class C a short three-hour drive from outside Boise, Idaho, to LaGrande, Oregon. We stopped at a rest area on the way but never left the rig and never turned off the engine (this is an important detail).

We stopped for gas, turned off the engine, and when Bob turned the key to re-start the engine, it was dead. Completely. No turning over, nothing. Continue reading

Posted in Hiking, Interesting Stories, RV Parks & Lifestyle | Tagged , | 4 Comments

What Happened, Anyway?

So why did I end up dropping off the blogosphere for so long?

Lots of reasons. As I described last time, we’re still traveling, still having more adventures than I could document even with regular postings.

Every day we have at least one adventure. Continue reading

Posted in Attractions, Birds, Interesting Stories, Superstition Victim | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Blog-Cation

A few of you have noticed we haven’t posted much in the last several months, though we did manage to get the word out about our favorite places to eat (food always comes first, right?). Thanks for checking in on us.

We’ve been out and about, moving from here to there and back. Visiting a few new spots but mostly looping back around to places we know and love. Continue reading

Posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Cool Experience, Hiking, Insects, National Parks | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments