Driving Miss Angel

Her name is Angel … “Of course it is”. A response we heard more than once from the many people across North America when introduced to our wonderful dog Angel. Her sweet face and mellow disposition would draw them in. Especially the kids. So fluffy.

Today Angel is gone.  She crossed the Rainbow Bridge, her last journey in a well travelled life. We are beyond heartbroken. Many readers of this blog know she made it through some serious scrapes over the years but in the end, at the age of 15, she simply and quietly let us know it was time.She came into our lives in the spring of 2009 at the age of 7 along with her “brother” Rags.  Two wonderful furballs to enrich our lives.  We dreamt of our walkabout including them both but sadly Rags passed away too soon.  But Angel accompanied us faithfully all across North America for almost four years.

Angel made it to the four corners of the continent. When hiking with her in the touristy areas, especially in Canada, several different Asian groups asked if they could take a photo with her. We joked that she had become a sensation throughout Asia.

Dad, can i drive?

On the beach at St George Island

Boating in Everglades National Park

Being serenaded in Key West. “Angel, sweet Angel” was the refrain of the song

The Vermont farm animals were very interesting.  Her first piglets!

First mate on a whale watching boat off the north coast of Nova Scotia.

Chasing fallen leaves on the Buffalo River

She loved the car.

At the beach in San Diego

Autumn leaves in Portland

Hiking outside of Sedona

Its raining!

Trying on hats in Mexico

High in the Canadian Rockies

On the Alaska Highway

Hiking in the Yukon

Visiting her Husky cousins in Alaska

Deep in Denali National Park

Only sled dogs allowed here. Denali in the background.

Latitude 66.33  The Arctic Circle

Photographer’s assistant

At home in New Mexico

She was fierce until the very end.

We love you Angel, rest in peace.


Island Girl in Puerto Rico

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Although I made a quick stop in San Juan a few years ago on the way to a cruise, it has been many more years since I have spent more than a few days in Puerto Rico. Let me state up front that since my little camera died just before my trip the photos taken by this island girl in Puerto Rico were taken from my phone (there are a few from my niece’s phone) and should not be compared to the fabulous photographs that Hector normally includes in our posts. But on to my trip.

PuertoRico -36PuertoRico -6Just as I was thinking that I needed to plan a visit to my family, my friend Katherine from Atlanta called me to tell me that her daughter, Kirstin, was going to get married in San Juan and invited us to the wedding.

We knew that we would be in the Southwest at that time of year, so I purchased a ticket from the Phoenix airport and we made our way to that city before my flight. Unfortunately, Hector had to stay behind to take care of Angel.PuertoRico -2

The wedding was to take place in Old San Juan, my favorite part of the city, so I booked an Airbnb apartment a couple of blocks from the wedding venues. Upon arrival, I took a taxi to Old San Juan thus avoiding driving or parking, which can be quite a hassle there due to the narrow streets.

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To the Arctic Circle and Back in 2015

What a year!  We travelled to the Arctic Circle and back in 2015.

cartoon529-2Be warned, this is a looooong post.  But we hope you enjoy a quick tour back through this most wonderful year with some of Hector’s favorite images.

Island Girl traveled a total of 12,345 miles.

We stayed in 88 campsites (29 of them were overnights and 61 were dry camping).

Visited 10 States, 2 Canadian Provinces and 1 Canadian Territory. And 6 veterinarians in 5 states and 1 Canadian Territory.

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A Tale of Two Cities

Our arrival in Portland was the start of a flurry of activity: cleaning out Island Girl inside and out, vet visits, shopping, visits and outings with friends and a flight to Miami and back.  So here comes a tale of two cities.

portand-100-3On our way to Portland, we stopped by the Blue Beacon to have Island Girl and the Coquí washed. Though we were planning to do further cleaning, this initial wash was a way of getting some of the excess Canadian and Alaskan grime off both vehicles.

portland-118We also replaced a damaged wheel cover on Island Girl and while we were at it removed the valve extenders on our back tires as a precaution (we have heard of many problems with these).  We went with some simpler valve extenders, a little harder to use but more durable.

portand-100And we stopped at the auto glass repair place to get the windshield and sunroof on the car replaced. We finally had a clear windshield, after months of staring at a bullseye! And the tarp and duct tape sunroof is gone!portand-100-2

portand-4portland-117portland-116Our friends Tim and Becky generously allowed us to park Island Girl on their property near Portland.  We spent the next several days emptying out Island Girl’s basement compartments and generally cleaning out all the nooks and crannies inside and outside, removing much of the dust that had accumulated there from driving on all of those gravel roads in Alaska and Canada. What a summer!

Best of all this gave us the chance to hang out with Tim and Becky. We enjoyed several get togethers to catch up on our lives since we saw each other last winter in San Diego.

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Happy Thanksgiving

angel-100-2We have so much to be thankful for. Our family and friends, our health, the new friendships we have made amongst the fulltime RVer and blogger communities.  We are also thankful to live in a country where all are free to express their opinions, and for the opportunity to live our dream and explore this beautiful continent with our faithful and fierce companion, Angel.angel-100

talkeetna 70Today we are especially thankful for the people who toil in the fields and harvest the food we are about to eat.

And last but not least, I am thankful to have such a loving husband who is cooking our wonderful Thanksgiving meal!

Happy Thanksgiving!

~ Brenda and Hector



Angel Update, Its Been A Long Week

Without getting into too much detail, here is an Angel update.  Lets just say its been a long week here at Camp Lopez. Angel  001

As we’ve mentioned Angel has been dealing with a bladder illness that we’ve assumed was cancer and she’s generally been doing really well on the medication she’s been taking.  We took her to the vet here in San Diego for what we hoped would be a routine follow up since the meds can have adverse side affects.  We found out that she had elevated calcium levels in her blood, a very serious matter.

After some diagnostics it was determined that she had a small tumor on her parathyroid gland causing it to overproduce calcium.  The good news is that it can be surgically removed, the bad is that it is a delicate operation with potentially complex aftereffects.  When the overproducing gland is removed, you get the opposite problem, calcium levels are then too low.  Also very serious.

Angel  002In spite of our concerns we decided to proceed to remove the tumor.  We took her to the dog beach on a stormy Monday for a frolic by the ocean and the surgery was last Tuesday morning.  The plan was to keep her in the hospital for a few days to monitor her calcium levels and let her other glands compensate and return her calcium levels to normal. Usually this takes about 3 days.

Angel  004The surgery went well and the first few days went pretty much according to plan.  But unfortunately things have been going a bit sideways and we aren’t out of the woods yet.  Her calcium levels dropped, she has had some seizures, her calcium levels have not yet returned to normal, and her recovery is going slowly.

So we wait and worry and remain hopeful that all will be OK.  Thought we’d share this quick update with Angel’s friends and ask your continued good wishes for our furry friend’s recovery.

Hector and Brenda

A Quick Hop to Miami

Miami is where most of my family lives and it had been a while since I saw them. And although I was worried about leaving Brenda alone to deal with potential Angel health issues, we decided that Angel was doing better and I should go.  So Brenda stayed in Tucson at the beautiful Catalina State Park with Angel while I took off for a quick hop to Miami.

It was a busy but very fun week surrounded by people I love.  What could be better?!

My spunky Mom and my Bro and Sis

My spunky Mom Rosa and my Bro Gus and Sis Ana Rosa

My lifelong buddy Al and his adorable honey Bonnie were my gracious hosts.  Al and I went off to Golden Rule Seafood to load up on just a few stone crabs.  Oh sooo good.

Brother Gus and his friend Leslie came over to Al and Bonnie’s and not one little crab survived the experience!

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Our Annual Denver Pit Stop

Almost a year passed since we stopped in Denver last November.  And what a year.  In the winter we traveled around New Mexico and Arizona and settled for a while in Southern California, in the spring we headed north mostly on the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington, in the summer we visited Vancouver Island, Vancouver (the city), and beautiful National Parks in Western Canada, and in early fall we visited more national parks in Montana and Wyoming.   Whew!

8000 miles on the RV, who knows how many zooming around in the Subaru, three Canadian National Parks in two provinces, eight US National parks in eight states, one trip to Miami for a wedding, and lots of great adventures later it was time to head back to Denver for our annual pit stop.

rv-repair-road-sign-nut-1-copyIsland Girl had been running hot when going up long grades causing us to have to drive slowly and carefully to avoid overheating.  This overheating problem had been getting progressively worse, so we scheduled a thorough check of our radiator along with our annual oil change and RV chassis service right as we arrived in Denver.  Hoping to get all the major RV service over with and then enjoy our stay at Cherry Creek State Park.

Meanwhile we’d made plans with many of our friends and family and were really looking forward to some quality time with them.  Starting with Hector’s cousin Roy and wife Cindy who we stayed with while Island Girl was in the shop.

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Portland and the Columbia River Gorge

portland  071portland  001Our last stop in the Oregon area was Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, although our campground was located by Stevenson, Washington, on the other side of the river.  As we drove inland towards Portland we came to a detour.  Turns out the direct road was closed and the police were diverting everyone.  So we had to take the long way around.

stock-illustration-20342509-robberBut, since Portland was on our way, we had planned a couple of errands on our way there. One was a stop at Camping World. We had an unfortunate incident at our last campsite – one night someone stole our barbecue and our one-gallon propane tank – just like that. We were both pretty furious about it, and it was the first time anyone ever lifted something from our site – after a year and ten months of fulltiming. Ugh!

81lJ1qRg+wL._SL1500_Even with the detour we still had time to stop at Camping World and buy a replacement barbecue and propane tank, as well as some water filters. We also stopped at the Blue Beacon to have Island Girl washed. Not bad.

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Mt Hood Oregon

portland  013Our first day we took a driving tour of the area, including the Fruit Loop, a loop drive that goes through “approximately 35 miles of orchards, forests, farmlands and friendly communities” on both sides of the Columbia River. What a great idea to create and “event” that connects these places for visitors.

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Mt Adams Washington

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