Thursday, December 28, 2017

New blog

As I wrote before, I have had capacity issues on this blog site.  So, I’ve started a new blog for 2018.  I hope you will  continue to follow our adventures - whether it is with us camping in our Airstream or chilling at our tiny house in South Texas, or housesitting around the world.

The new blog is...

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 1, 2017

November update and December plans

Reids on the Road 2

November update —

We spent most of November in our RV community called Retama Village.  Highlights of the month were visits from our traveler friends Tony and Jenny, finishing up a 6-month camping trip from Nova Scotia, all the way to Alaska, south through California, then on to visit us in very far south Texas.  Our daughter Alexis also visited us for a few days around Thanksgiving. We love having visitors.  We took our guests to beautiful South Padre Island for a few days at the beach, and to Mexico to do some shopping.

We also took the Airstream out for a few trips.  We hope to do this periodically while we stay in Retama Village, as a way to get to know Texas better.  We went to Falcon State Park where we visited a bird sanctuary and saw lots of exotic birds.

While in Retama Village, George stays busy with projects around the house and with some social events with others in the community.  I do water aerobics daily and have joined a line-dance class!  W

We have also been busy as we prepare for our presentations in Rochester, Minnesota in January/February.  We will be speaking on “retiring and traveling the world on a shoestring budget” to the library’s fundraiser and to various civic clubs.  We also made a collage of photos from our 25 housesitting assignments as our latest wall art.

December update —-

George’s sister and her husband will be visiting us in mid-December.  We are looking forward to their visit.  Then, we are off to Panama for our next housesitting assignment.  We will spend Christmas there, staying in a condo overlooking the canal.  Another one to check off from the bucket list!

While our daughter Alexis was visiting us, we took advantage of her computer technology skills.  She helped us set up our new blog.  We will start posting again in mid-December.  It is named ‘  Hope you will follow us.  We will be able to attach photos once again.

Cheers! George and Karmen

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October review and November plans

To - Reidsontheroad blog followers,
As I posted before, I have used up all my web capacity for photos on this year’s blog.  I will create a new blog in January.  Meanwhile, here are a few updates, sans photos....
On our way back home (to South Texas) in early October, we stopped by an Airstream dealership in Austin, Texas.  We fell in love with a 25-foot Flying Cloud Airstream and traded in our 2012 22-foot Airstream for it.    Our old Airstream had served us very well, traveling with us all over the USA, Canada, and parts of Mexico.  The new one’s 3 additional feet make it seem so much roomier.  
We left the old Airstream at the dealership and drove 5 more hours south to Mission, where we have our tiny house.  After a few days, our new Airstream was ready to be picked up.  We decided to turn the trip into a tiny vacation.  We stopped first in San Antonio and stayed near the downtown, strolling the Riverwalk and enjoying the sites of that historic city.  The next day we picked up our new Airstream.  (This reminds me that we really have to name it.).  We took off for the Texas Hill Country, just west of Austin.  We spent a few nights in Johnson City, home of LBJ, whose ranch we visited.  This is also Texas wine country.  We did some wine tastings and then stayed overnight (free) at a winery outside of darling Fredericksburg through Harvest Hosts.  This Harvest Host site, like most, did not offer any electricity or water hook-ups.  That was ok as we needed to test the Airstream’s ability to “boondock”.  We woke up after a night off the grid to a dead battery.  So, we took it back to the dealership to get it fixed.    Good thing we discovered this while we were close to the dealership.
Back in Retama Village in Mission, Texas, we spent crazy weeks busily getting the house ready for our first guests.  We had a small shed built on to the back of the tiny house to store the garage-type “junk”.  What a relief to move charcoal grills, bicycles, camping gear, tools, etc from our house to the shed.  We had a shower door installed and finished buying furniture.  All, just in time for our first guests’ arrival.  Tony and Jenny, roadie friends from Nova Scotia, arrived with their R-Pod camper.  They spent a few nights with us here, parked and hooked up in our driveway, then all of us went to South Padre Island for a few days, camping near a marina.  Then, back here to show them the sights around here.  A highlight was a shopping trip to Progreso, Mexico.
Tonight we will be dressing up for a Halloween party at our village’s clubhouse.  Should be fun.
George is going to visit our daughter in Todos Santos, Baja California for a few days.  (Home of Hotel California).  Then our other daughter will come down from Rochester, Minnesota to visit us for a few days around Thanksgiving.  We hope to host more friends and family throughout the winter.  We are also busy applying for more housesits.  We may spend Christmas in Panama.  
While we are here in Mission, we plan to take short trips with the Airstream to discover new parts of Texas.  We are going to buy a Texas State Park pass and stay in as many Texas state parks as we can.  There is a lot to see!  
If you haven’t done so already, please send me your email address so that I can send you a link to my new blog in January, once I get it created.  Send your email to me at -
Thanks again, for following our adventures!  
Karmen and George Reid 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

September review; Plans for October, 2017

To ReidsontheRoad blog followers,   As I posted before,  I have run out of capacity on this blog for photos. I will start a new blog (with lots of photos) starting in January.  Send me an email at with your email address so I can send you a link to the new blog in January.   Meanwhile, I will post monthly updates (without photos).  :(   September -- Hard to believe that we started September way up north, with my aunt an uncle in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.  After spending a few days with them on their farm, we had a "holiday" with them at a cozy cabin in Jasper National Park, British Columbia.  Just lovely.  From there, we had glorious drives through the Rocky Mountains, ending up in Idaho.  We met up with our roadie friends Tony and Jenny who are from Nova Scotia.  We camped with them in Idaho, making day trips to view the beautiful scenery there.  Unfortunately, smoke from their many forest fires hid the grandeur.  We happily discovered Harvest Hosts.  It is a RV membership ($40/year) whereby we can camp FREE at wineries, breweries, museums, organic farms, etc.  As soon as we became members, we stayed in 10 locations.  All were unique and fun!  What a great concept!  We have been trying to see as many USA National Parks as we can.  The biggie - Yosemite - was still on our list to see, so we made it happen on this trip.  Joining up with Tony and Jenny again, we stayed a few nights in the northern, alpine section.  Then, down to the Yosemite Valley for more breath-taking scenery.  The day after we left the northern section, there was a 9-inch snowfall, trapping all the campers there.  We just dodged that bullet!  From there, we visited and camped at Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park and were dwarfed by the amazing, gigantic sequoia trees there.  Then, on back through the desert, staying at several fun Harvest Host sites - a fun 1950s diner, a schoolhouse converted to a brewery/restaurant, and a winery.  Then, to Austin, Texas where we bought a new Airstream!  This one is brand new and is 3 feet longer.  We traded in our old one, which has really been a great trailer but is now a little road weary.  Now back at our tiny house in south Texas, we are busy with getting the house ready.     October --- We will pick up the new Airstream next week in Austin, and will turn that into a week camping trip - with plans to stay a few days in the Texas Hills wine country, in an RV park and one night at a Harvest Host winery site. Then, our friends Tony and Jenny will join us here for a few days.  We plan to show them around the area, including a day trip across the Mexican border, and a few days on South Padre Island.  We still have a lot of honey-dos to complete in the house, but it is coming along.   Remember to send me an email with your email for the next blog.   I'll post again at the beginning of November.    Thanks again for being loyal readers!!!! Bonkers - if you are reading this, send me your email please.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Contacting ReidsontheRoad

If you would like me to notify you when I start the blog up again in January, 2018, please email me at

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Status Update on ReidsontheRoad Blog

Dear ReidsontheRoad readers...
I have reached my limit on the number of photos I can post on the blog, so I will have to create a new blog. I've decided to hold off on that until January.  So, there will be a few months without the blog.    In January (with the help of my daughter), I will create a new blog called...
Please send me an email if you would like me to send you a link to it when I start up again in January, 2018.  Email is
Just to fill you in  about our recent activities...
* We spent about a week in the Yosemite National Park area with our friends Tony and Jenny.  It is really incredible. The first part of our stay was in the northern, high elevation section.  We did a lot of hikes, seeing outstanding views of lakes, mountains, and meadows.  Then, we went to the lower part, the Yosemite Valley, for another day or so.  When we were there, we learned that the upper part, where we had been the day before, got 9 inches of snow over night.  They closed the road and the visitors there were stranded.  It could have been us!  In the Yosemite Valley, we did more hikes.  We saw the famous El Capitan huge granite peak, and lots of waterfalls.
* From Yosemite, we descended about 8000 feet and camped overnight (free) in another Harvest Host site. This one is a winery/vineyard/event center in the San Joaquin Valley.   We tasted and bought some wine, and picked some veg for the road.
* Back up to the mountains, this time to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park.  Two parks in one.  We camped overnight under the gigantic sequoias.  We saw the General Sherman Tree, the world's largest tree.  About the equivalent of a 30-story building!
* Then, down the mountain again, through thousands of acres of fruit trees - avocados, citrus, olive, peach and more.  Amazing what irrigation can do (and how dependent this area is on water!). We had a long drive, through part of the Mojave Desert, and stopped for the day in Barstow, where we had another Harvest Host stay.  This one at Peggy Sue's 50's Diner!  How fun!  We ate dinner there and breakfast the next morning.  Lots of food, cute Hollywood decor, and cheap prices.  
Going forward......
I will post on Facebook more frequently so you can keep up with our adventures if you would like.  We are ending our summer/fall road trip, and will probably arrive at our new tiny house in early October.  We hope to host friends and family there for the rest of 2017.  Then, in 2018, our tentative plans are...
--Baja California
--Road trip to the St. Lawrence River area (Quebec, Ontario, Upstate New York, Vermont, Maine).  Recommendations of places to go would be welcomed!  
--International housesitting - hopefully in Europe and/or South America
--National housesitting - perhaps in cities that we would like to explore further
--More Harvest Host stays
----and more
Thanks for being faithful readers!!!
Karmen Reid 

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 18, 2017. First day of glorious Yosemite

CAMPGROUND:  Toulmne Meadows, inside Yosemite National Park.  Typical national park campground:  rugged sites, passable bathrooms, no hookups. But location, location, location!  $13/night with Senior Pass.  4 stars out of 5

LOCATION:  Yosemite National Park, in eastern California
WEATHER:  Perfect for hiking.  Sunny.  High 60.  Freezing at night
We got up early from the campground outside the park, and made a dash to one of the campgrounds here inside the park.  This campground is half reserved and half first come-first served. Reservations get booked up a year in advance, so your only option is to get there early, stand in line and hope for a site.  We got lucky. Not only did we get sites, but we got a site near Tony and Jenny.  We'll stay here 2 nights, then move somewhere to spend 2 more days exploring the valley part of the park.
They had record amounts of snow this year. The highway to Yosemite on this higher eastern side was not even open until July 4.  Campgrounds did not open until August 1.  They will close September 25, so the season is very short.  We are at 9000 feet, in the alpine meadow part of the park.  
We hiked one of the trails near our campground.  It is called Soda Springs, named for the springs that bubble up there that are like soda water.
Jenny and I hiked ahead of the boys....
At the spring, George tried out his water distillation straw. It is designed for people traveling where there is not potable water available.  He said this spring water tasted like iron.  
Nearby there was a sparkling river where he tried the straw again.  He said it tasted much better.  We took him at his word....nobody else wanted to try it.  
The hike was beautiful in the meadows, with the mountains soaring around us.  Tony enjoyed a nap in the sunshine....

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September 17, 2017. A gold mine ghost town

NOTE --- We have not had wifi for several days, so these next few posts have been delayed...
CAMPGROUND:  Another night at Lower Lee Vining National Forest Service Campground.  
LOCATION:  Outside the entrance of Yosemite National Park in eastern California
WEATHER:  Very pleasant.  High 65.  Near freezing at night.
We scurried around the campground looking for a good site for Tony and Jenny to camp in tonight.  A few campers left, fortunately, and we grabbed a site for them.
We drove to Bodie State Park, a ghost town that has been preserved by the park system.  In the 1800s it was a very prosperous gold mining town.  In 1879 it had a population of about 10,000.
We learned that part of the town was very respectable and conservative, with ladies' lunches, dress shops, schools, churches, and halls for gala events.  
The other part of town was full of bars and rowdy miners.   It had more than 60 saloons and dance halls, along with 3 breweries.  It had a reputation of being one of the most lawless towns in the West.  One preacher described it as "a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion".  
It also had a Chinese section for the poor, discriminated workers.  
The mining started to decline in 1881 and the town was soon abandoned.  
On our way back into town, we ran into Tony and Jenny where they had stopped along the highway for a picnic lunch.  What a great surprise!  We got them settled in their campsite, then took off to start exploring Yosemite.  
We went to the visitors' center in the northern part of the park.  A ranger just happened to be giving an information talk, so we joined up with that.  We stopped by the campground where we hope to get a "first come-first served" site tomorrow night in the northern section of Yosemite. 
We went into town and bought provisions for the next few days in the park.  
Back at our campground, George built anther roaring fire.  Our neighbors had cut down 3 trees today, and gave us a bunch of firewood.  So kind.
DINNER:  I cheated and bought dinner at a BBQ restaurant in town:  ribs, salad, rolls, and soup.  During our 4 nights together, we will do 2 dinners, and Tony/Jenny will do 2.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 16, 2017. A great day in Mammoth Lakes. It was HUGE!

CAMPGROUND:  Another night at Lower Lee Vining National Forest Service Campground.  We talked with some neighbors who come here every year. They say this is the best of this type in the area.
LOCATION:  Outside the entrance of Yosemite National Park in eastern California
WEATHER:  Very pleasant.  High 65.  Near freezing at night.
Today's destination was Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding area, about 25 miles south of here.  First we took the scenic loop to Mammoth.  We drove through tall  pines with snow markers about 15 feet high.  Then, on to The Devil's Postpile National Monument, an interesting formation of rocks formed by lava flows, then glaciers about 80,000 years ago.  (See my tiny head in the bottom of the photo).
It was surprisingly crowded.  We had to wait at the entrance gate, then could not park near the monument.  We had to park in a resort parking lot and then were shuttled to the trailhead to the Monument.  I'm afraid that this is a preview of the crowds inside Yosemite.
On our way out of the Monument road, we picked up a hiker/hitchhiker and took him to the town of Mammoth Falls.  He had been hiking in the forest for several days and was just too tired to walk the 15 miles or so back to his car.  We are glad we did as he gave us some valuable information about places to go later in the day.  
After dropping him off at his place, we had lunch in this brewpub, which claims to be at the highest elevation in the West.  It was huge....I mean epic!
We followed the hiker's suggestion and drove around many beautiful lakes surrounding the town of Mammoth Lakes.  All picture-perfect. There were a lot of fishermen - catching trout.
Then to the base of Mammoth Mountain, a very big and popular ski resort area.  In the summer, they turn the area into a mountain biker's dream.  Bikers take ski lifts up to the top of the mountain, then whiz back down on  mountain paths.  We decided to ride the gondola up and down to check out the views.
It was mammoth!  We went up to 11,000 feet elevation.  We can't imagine anyone skiing down these steep slopes.
Here is a biker getting on the lift....
We were even above some remaining snow....
The views are spectacular....
These are some of the paths that the bikers take....
They were having a bike race, so it was especially busy with bikers.  
Back at the campground, we were disappointed to find that it had filled up with large groups.  All the sites were taken.  People around us were setting up mammoth bars and kids were running around.  Quite different from last night with our quiet German and French neighbors. We are now concerned that we won't be able to find a spot for our friends Tony and Jenny when they arrive tomorrow.  
George built a fire and set up our tripod to cook dinner. This is the first time we have used this in ages...
DINNER:  Hot dogs with sauerkraut and the last of the leftover baked potato from one of our Harvest Host stays.  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 15, 2017. In the forest around Yosemite

CAMPGROUND:  Lower Lee Vining National Forest Service Park.  Woodsy.  Nice sites with rock campfire rings, picnic tables and decent pit toilet.  No services.  With our Senior Pass, $7/night.  4 out of 5 stars
LOCATION:  On the road leading to Yosemite National Park in eastern California
WEATHER:  Sunny.  Much cooler.  High 70
We did some shopping at the market where we stayed through Harvest Host last night - a beautifully ripe tomato, cantaloupe, pepper, homemade bread, and freshly laid eggs.  
As we crossed the Nevada/California line, we started seeing the Sierra Nevadas.  
We drove about 150 miles today.  We passed this beautiful, but dead, lake.  
We kept up a steady climb, and watched the outdoor temperature gauge drop and drop.  The plastic water bottles popped with the change in air pressure.  
We stopped outside Yosemite National Park at a visitors' center for info.  It overlooks Mono Lake, site of many Hollywood films.
 They gave us some helpful information about the area and about trying to get a campsite inside Yosemite starting on Monday.  Our camping buddies Tony and Jenny will join us on Sunday evening.  We will try to camp together in Yosemite for a few nights while touring the park.  Yosemite is one of the few National Parks that is still on our "to do" list.
We found a lovely Forest Service campground for tonight and Saturday night and grabbed a spot since it is Friday, and campgrounds around here fill up quickly.  
Then, we drove around the area on a scenic highway.  We wanted to scout out possibilities for camping with Tony and Jenny when they arrive on Sunday.  The route took us on a loop around some beautiful lakes and resort towns.  Wouldn't you know it - George spotted a brewpub in one of the towns and we had to check it out. :-) 
Back at our campground, we met our neighbors, a lovely couple from Germany.  They are newlyweds, traveling around California and Nevada in a rented camper for 3 weeks.  George shared an Octoberfest beer with them, as they were (horror of horrors) drinking Corona Lights.  Then, they invited us to a bottle of wine that they had brought from Germany.  It was unusual in that it was a white wine made with red grapes.  It was called a Blanc de Noirs from a cuvée from Schwarzriesling and Trollinger.  We had a nice conversation, and they invited us to housesit for their 2 cats next May in Düsseldorf.    We just might do that!
DINNER:  A type of gumbo - with red beans and rice, sausage and okra that we bought at the Harvest Host farm store.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

September 14, 2017. No-man's land in Nevada

CAMPGROUND:  Another Harvest Host site.  This one is an organic farm.  A large operation with corn maze, playground, antique farming equipment, etc.  We are the only ones camping here, and are parked in their huge parking lot in the middle of vegetable fields.  We are really loving Harvest Hosts!
LOCATION:  Fallon, Nevada in west central part of the state
WEATHER:  Very pleasant.  Mostly sunny.  High 80
We headed due south out of Battle Mountain.  We had learned that they hold a huge bicycle race here with bikers from all over the world competing.  Later, we drove on the very part of the highway where they hold the races.  A very long stretch.....
I actually took this picture, standing in the middle of the highway as there was absolutely no traffic anywhere nearby.
The scenery was pretty desolate, much like yesterday.  We drove 250 miles.  We stopped for lunch in a pull-out with a sign telling us that this was the former Pony Express Trail and a village had stood here servicing the riders many years ago.
Lots of sagebrush, an occasional wild horse, some cows,  and a few pronghorn antelopes.  We like these road signs with the cow/bull picture.  It reminds us of the big bull billboards in Spain, advertising sherry.  
In the far distance, we could see some roadwork in what looked like a mirage.  It is an alkaline lake.  Very eery.  When we stopped for the construction, the truck driver ahead of us got out and started talking to us.  He said that this area is a bombing range for the US Navy.  They practice bombing dilapidated military trucks.  Sitting there, waiting for our turn to go, we felt like "sitting ducks".  Thankfully, we heard only one jet.  
We passed by a huge sand dune....
We arrived in Fallon, and found our Harvest Host farm.  The owner welcomed us and told us where to park.  We bought some veg and plan to buy more food from them in the morning.  We spoke a little to the Mexican workers that work here.  The owner told us that this is the 3rd generation of the same hard-working Mexican family.  
DINNER:  Jazzed up ramen with bits of leftover prime rib and lots of match-stick veg.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

September 13, 2017. Desolate Nevada

CAMPGROUND:  Clark RV park.  Typical commerical RV park although the spaces are bigger.  Everything we needed for the night - laundry, great showers, electricity, wifi, good TV, and sewer dump at each site.  $30/night.  4 out of 5 stars  

LOCATION:  Battle Mountain, Nevada - in north central part of state


WEATHER:  Hot. High 90.  Mostly sunny, pretty light clouds


We left our Harvest Host winery site in the early morning, then drove to a rest stop for breakfast.  We drove by interesting lava fields and signs for fossil museums.  There were a lot of springs flowing from the mountains.

 We had planned to stay another day in Idaho at another Harvest Host winery, but we hadn't heard back from the host.  We arrived at a fork in the road where we had to decide whether to stay in Idaho or go south to Nevada.  We went south, and immediatly lost cell service.  Unfortunately, later we learned that there was indeed vacancy at the winery, but the owner couldn't reach us due to the lack of cell service.


Oh well -  on to Nevada.  We are headed toward Yosemite National Park and have to travel south to get there.  We drove through 200 miles of sheer nothingness.  No gas, cell service, food, motels - nothing but a few sad-looking Indian reservations.  

We ended up here in Battle Mountain.  Nothing special but the RV site has everything we need.  It was good to catch up with laundry and showers.  We did some online research on camping at Yosemite and to find other Harvest Hosts on our upcoming routes.   It was a 260-mile day.  This is our route so far on this trip, excluding our detour to Singapore and Thailand....


The theme of the day was eating the bounty of our Harvest Host overnight stays.  This was especially important due to our naughty refrigerator.  For breakfast, we had salmon cakes from last night's salmon.  Lunch was prime beef sandwiches, leftover from last night, too.  Then, for dinner tonight we had sauteed veg from the Harvest Host farm with one of  last night's potatoes.  A tomato salad was on the menu, too, with the freshest tomato we have ever eaten.  Unfortunately, we didn't finish everything, and tomorrow will be round 3 of the leftovers.


The sunset over the other RVs was beautiful...


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 12, 2017. Car and body check-up

CAMPGROUND:  Snyder Winery - another Harvest Host site.  Huge parking lot for the Airstream.  Beautiful vineyard setting.
LOCATION:  West of Twin Falls, in southwest Idaho.
WEATHER:  Very pleasant.  High about 85.  
We awoke to a young elk careening past our window.  We looked at each other and asked, "What was THAT?"  He had run down the lane, and was heading toward a field.  We watched him jump a couple of fences, then try to figure out how to escape from the fenced-in field.  It was quite impressive.
We listened to the sand hill cranes making an unusual noise out in the fields. 
We enjoyed a slow morning at the Kraay Farm.  They even had great wifi for us so we did some catching-up on the internet.  
We picked some beautiful squash, zucchini and herbs from one of the gardens.  
The owner started early in the morning, working in the greenhouses.  A group of school children arrived for a field trip and to "help" do some harvesting.  
We bought some tomatoes from the owner's wife.  
We even took advantage of the outdoor solar shower.  Unfortunately, since it was still morning, the water hadn't warmed up much. Sorry - no "action photos" of the actual shower experience....
Twin Falls was our destination for the day.  A medium-sized city, we thought we would get the oil changed in the truck, and have a MD look at my ankle that hasn't healed from the tumble I took 2.5 weeks ago.  We found an oil/lube store right next to the urgent care clinic.  George got the oil changed; I had x-rays done that show that I don't have any broken bones in my ankle or foot.  That is great news!  I guess it just takes longer for these old bones to heal than it used to!
We found tonight's Harvest Host RV site west of Twin Falls.  It is in the middle of farmland.  The owner has a small vineyard and has created an event center for weddings, corporate meetings, etc.  The gardens are beautiful.  
To support the winery, we had ordered dinner.  We thought it was a regular restaurant, but found out that the owner only opens on the weekends and for events.  However, she said that she always cooks for Harvest Host guests, if they/we would like.  So, we enjoyed a gourmet dinner on the patio overlooking the garden - and had the place to ourselves!   I had salmon; George had prime rib.  It was a fixed menu, starting with a crab cocktail, then Caesar salad, and then our main course.  George's meat was so big that it didn't fit on the plate.  Each of our entrees came with an absolutely gigantic Idaho baked potato, with all the fixings.  We bought a bottle of her wine for dinner.  We have so many leftovers - which is a concern due to our stupid refrigerator.  George tried the rich bourbon custard pie, but could only manage a few bites.  So much for our "free" campsite - since we bought two dinners.  Oh well - we like to support local endeavors and it was a unique experience.