BEST of the Best!

Regular readers of this blog know we post an annual Best Eats list — where we list all the best restaurant meals.

Notice I wrote “restaurant meals.” That’s because our best meals over all, by a longshot, are those Bob makes at home. It’s a great way to balance the less healthy restaurant meals with some delicious nutrition, like this Fried Cabbage and Veggies over Rice Noodles:

Give me salad any day when it’s Spinach Salad with Wild-Caught Shrimp:

Bob’s specialty is spaghetti. He makes it from scratch, and it’s always amazing. When we found lobster tails on sale at a local market, well… awesome!

Why go out for wings when you can get them exactly the way you like them?

Even a staple like Ham and Eggs takes on new flavors. Bob adds a bit of his special mix to the eggs (green onions, leeks, sweet peppers and probably other things I’m missing)… add some vine-ripened tomatoes and a multi-grain English muffin on the side, and you’ve got a breakfast you won’t find anywhere else:

I’ve written before about how much we love getting local foods in areas where we’re staying… and to peek ahead a bit, we’ve been along the Pacific Coast where Dungeness Crab and oysters are plentiful. We’re eating our fill of Crab cakes — here with an egg and barbecued bakes beans on the side:

And for a variation, with oysters and crab meat as sides:

What are your favorite home-cooked meals? If you’re cooking in an RV, do you make different meals (or make the same meals differently) than you would in a conventional kitchen?

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RVing Alphabet — Yours FREE!

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of full-time RVing, you realize there’s something else you have to figure out. We’re in our ninth year now (!!! very surprising, considering we’d never RVed before) and the timing seemed right to pull together some of what we’ve learned.

RVing Alphabet covers some of the normal stuff (like — how full-timers get their mail on the road) to the more unusual (why not being a xenophobe is a good thing for RVing), to the kinds of things most RVers don’t discuss except among themselves (like dealing with the Lords and Ladies of the Laundry Room).

RVing Alphabet is free via Smashwords here:

For those of you who think about full-timing — let me know what questions the book didn’t answer.

For those of you who are full-timing (or are frequent RVers) — I hope you’ll add your comments and insights! I’m sure you’ve got your own RVing alphabet, and we’d love it if you’d share it.



Posted in RV Parks & Lifestyle, RVing Alphabet, RVing Books | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Where Oh Where…

…have Bob and Ellen gone? The blog has been quiet, but we’ve been busy.

Over the winter we left Yuma for southern California and were mesmerized by how green the desert and hills looked after all the rain that had fallen in the months before.

It might not look like much, but that stretch of desert is usually a delicate shading of brown, tan, and beige. We passed several cars and trucks at pull-outs where people had come out to peep at the desert flowers.

Though full-time RVing means giving up chores like raking leaves and painting the house, we still have cleaning and waxing to do:

We plan our next travel routes, and Ellen squeezes in some writing (she’s putting the final touches on an e-book about full-time RVing… watch this space!).

Plus we acquaint ourselves with the neighbors, like this male California Quail, perched in a tree, which is something we hadn’t seen these local quail do before…

…or this Small Milkweed Bug creeping around a citrus bloom…

…and this House Finch…

…lizard (soaking in the sun)…

…another lizard (resting in the shade of a potted geranium)…

…or this California Thrasher, which sat on the top of this trellis or nearby
bushes and sang to us until he eventually got lucky 🙂

Unlike the thrashers, scrub jays and quail, this Black-Headed Grosbeak was an unusual visitor to the neighborhood (at least when I was watching), so I was glad to capture this image of it, listening to hear if its song was getting a response:

Sitting in the same spot for a couple of months meant finding ways to make things look new, and what better way to do that than experiment with the camera settings?

And just when we thought we’d met all the neighbors, we noticed this bird perched high in an evergreen tree… a Black-Crowned Night Heron! And it wasn’t too eager to stir from its nap for a better portrait:

What’s all that buzzing? Bees. Everywhere. So of course… I had to try, right?

But wait… this isn’t a bee! It’s a White-Lined Sphinx. Yep, a member of the moth family. Didn’t know a moth could be pretty, did you?

We were amazed one day to see about a hundred (yes, truly; I’d post the video if this site allowed it) baby California Quail hustling along the hillside behind our site. Here are a couple of them, waiting for the signal from an adult that it’s safe to make their mad dash:

See what you miss if you’re not paying attention? Here’s a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, sipping a bit of nectar:

This Green Heron had lost the bright orange feet it had when I saw it a few weeks earlier (without my camera, of course), but it still struck a proud pose…

…as did this stunning turtle, catching a few quick winks in the sunshine:

Good thing it caught the rays it could… late June in Southern California turned very hot. Outside Temecula we were under a Heat Advisory for a couple of weeks, spending days inside with the air conditioning on while temperatures outside soared well over 100 degrees day after day — all the way up to 108!

What do do? Well, we went out as the sun set. And of course we ate great food. More on that next time!

Posted in Animals, Birds, Flowers, Insects, RV Parks & Lifestyle | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Cool Stuff

Sometimes you just find cool stuff when you travel…

…like the toll road around Denver. Good thing I saw a sign early on that said they take a photo of your license plate and then mail you a bill for the toll, or we would have been confused by these empty booths…

…and these signs:

They wanted our money, told us how much, but nobody was around to take it. We watched our mail and — finally — a few months later, we got a bill, which we were able to pay quickly and easily online. The future of tolls is here!

Now imagine you’re taking a peaceful nap in the passenger seat. You’re suddenly awakened by a blood-curdling scream from the driver. Your eyes jerk open and this is what you see through the front windshield:

IKES! Just kidding. That’s not how I spotted this rig begin towed. But it makes a funny story, huh?

If you travel near El Centro, California, in the winter months, you might get be surprised with an impromptu air show from the famous Blue Angels Navy demonstration flight crew! This past March wasn’t the first time we’ve been delivered with this unexpected gift, which is awesome even from the highway miles away:

Or you could be tooling along the road just about anyplace in the US and spot a painted water tower. It’s a sure sign of a proud community — even a tiny one like this one, in southern New Mexico:

Maybe it’s something in the air in New Mexico, but we also spotted a few decorated bushes in the median of an interstate. It’s hard to make out the details, but more than one American flag is tied to this one, along with some tinsel and other flashy objects:

Nothing much beats seeing a stunning old building. For some reason they scream, “Fix me up! I’m a hidden treasure you just found!” This one in Ohio was left to die when a major re-routing left it on a curvy, dead-end road:

At least one attorney and a title company have spaces in this old building, which sits in downtown Port Clinton, Ohio. Yep, a port town in Ohio — up along Lake Erie’s shoreline. Someone answered the call to fix up and maintain this brick building, keeping a bit of the area history alive:

Nope, you never know what you’re going to spot when you’re traveling down the road. Somewhere along I-76 in eastern Ohio or western Pennsylvania, we ended up behind this fascinating compilation. Why tow the red pick-up truck if you can stow stuff in its bed, then haul it in the back of a bigger truck?

And as for this little critter… well, all I can say is I’m glad we got to see a true Beach Bunny out at the end of the Outer Banks in North Carolina:

There are a lot of reasons to RV…. seeing cool stuff — especially unexpected cool stuff — is one of them!

Posted in Animals, Cool Experience, Interesting Stories, On the Road | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Escapees with a Good Book ;-)

“She’s done it again. Ellen Behrens has created a can’t-put-this-book-down mystery,” writes Marcella Gauthier in her review of Yuma Baby for the Escapees Magazine.

This review means more to me than most because it’s by a fellow RVer for fellow RVers. The Escapee RV club has (so I’ve heard) about 50,000 members all over the country, and I’m happy to be among them. But when Marcella called me “a favorite author of the RVing community,” in her column, I glowed.

Writers are advised to imagine the ideal reader while we’re writing, and it’s helped me. Several readers have told me they feel as though I’m Betty (I’m not, though we’re pretty similar in some ways) and that I’m “talking” just to them (I am). RVers have sent notes and posted reviews saying they appreciate the details of their RVing lives finding a way onto the page, because so few other novels do this, so few other characters in fiction are RVers.

All of this is to say that I’m humbled every time someone sends an e-mail, stops me at an RV park, or writes a review saying they enjoyed reading about Walt and Betty and their Rollin adventures.

It’s easy to lose heart when you spend so much of your energy inside your own head, wondering if anyone will understand the words the come out, much less enjoy them.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Posted in RV, RV Parks & Lifestyle, RVing Books, Yuma Baby | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Yuma Winter

We didn’t get to Yuma during the 2015-2016 winter season except for a brief stop-over on an otherwise snowy trip north to pick up our Jeep (has it been over a year already?!?!), so we were more than ready to spend some time there in late 2016 and early 2017.

It’s a good place to unwind and practice my photography… Continue reading

Posted in and Critters in General, Animals, Birds, Cool Experience | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Big Guns

Every time we re-visit someplace, we try to see something different. This past January, while in Yuma, Arizona, we decided to take a day off from running the fitness trail and drive up to the Yuma Proving Grounds, which is about twenty miles north of town.

The directions say, “Turn at the big guns.”

Next step: stop at the visitor processing center for vetting before entrance onto the proving grounds. The Army officer and staffers in the office were fascinated with Bob’s late-1960s Air Force experience and we were given our visitors’ passes after a short wait. Continue reading

Posted in Attractions, Cool Experience, Interesting Stories | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments