Friday, October 4, 2013

End of Summer! Back to where we started

It has been a very different summer for us, in that we have been on the move more than ever before! Lots of changes in plans...the jello that are plans are made of got stirred and stirred again.
We travelled many miles this summer, with both vehicles and then a side trip with just the car. I haven't added up the miles and the fuel gallons yet. Save that heart attack for later this winter when I don't have anything else to do. I knew that this summer and next summer were going to be the heaviest travel years yet, however I didn't realize how physically taxing it is to be a non stop tourist! :} When we started the summer we spent the month of April in the Texas Hill Country. The first stop was at Kerrville, and we attended the United States and Britain Sporting Clay Championships at San Antonio. Then it was on to


 Fredricksburg, where we toured the LBJ Ranch and Stayed next to the Fredricksburg Airport at the Lady Bird Johnson RV Park. I learned a lot about him as President and the Power of the President on a working ranch. Pictured here is his Ranch house and Air Force 1/2...right outside in the Driveway! Who knew he had a full airstrip right out in the pasture!

We Spent some time in Thackerville Oklahoma where they have a beautiful new RV Park and the 2nd largest Casino in the world. DH enjoyed having the area Fire Department right across the street from our site, where we had front row seats to their training. While there we got tickets to a Doobie Brothers Concert. It was great!

In the latter part of June and July we wandered about in Michigan, up the coast of lake Michigan and had a stop at the Little Sable Lighthouse point, the destination where our Oldest son got married.


With the price of Diesel being up this summer and  the large amount of miles that I planned for us to go...once we landed up in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan on the Whiskey Bay of Lake Superior, we left our Coach and headed out back south and around to the west into New York, with stops to see Niagara Falls, and beautiful destinations clear across the rest of the country through New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine to the town of Bar Harbor where we had Lobster Rolls for lunch and
 sat and listened to the roar of the sea at Thunder Hole. A spot that roars at certain times according to the tides.

 From there we ventured on up into New Brunswick where things are a whole lot different. Signs for Wildlife are lots bigger and all the speed limits are in Kilometers!
 We drove across Quebec, Montreal and Ontario in Canada and Stayed in Several cities. We stayed on the border of New Brunswick and Quebec, and then drove to the outskirts of Montreal.
 Passing through Toronto, we re entered the USA at Sault Ste Marie Ontario, two very weary travelers and one very weary dog!
 On leaving the Upper Penninsula we meandered back down to Grand Rapids and spent a couple days looking around. Visited President Gerald R Fords museum, Library and Burial site.

 The Blue Ox facility was a stop over in Pender Nebraska on the way to Indiana this spring. The return trip this fall was capped by a stop over in our home state where the faces of the Presidents are majestic. We had several majestic visits while there. Our RV Park around Rapid City South Dakota is the Happy Holiday RV Resort.
 It is right across the street from Reptile Gardens...and along with the beautiful flowers we attended some of the Reptile Shows too.... he's pretty majestic!
 When we stayed up at Brimley in the U.P. the city that we did most of our shopping at was Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. We found the Sault Locks where all the Commercial Ships pass through the Straits from lake Erie and Huron to Lake Superior and back. It is very interesting and we spent several afternoons watching the boat traffic.
 The views in the Upper Peninsula are awesome and I would definitely return. The weather was fantastic and we met many really nice people. Our park in Brimley was across the street from a nice casino, next door to a great golf resort and our neighbor had a boat at the bay and Dan went fishing with him quite a bit. They played golf three times a week.
After we left Michigan we retraced the route to Indiana and drove across the bottom of Minnesota to South Dakota.
With the summer winding down, we made our way across South Dakota with a few stops, Mitchell to see the Corn Palace, The Wall Drug for free ice water! The old 1880 town west of Murdo....where lots of memorabilia from the movie Dances With Wolves is located. We travelled through Wyoming to I 25...stopping at Buffalo and KayCee to visit Chris LeDoux's Memorial Park and stopped in Casper to visit with some friends who are tonight sitting in 20 inches of snow! We headed on South to Cheyenne in the rain right after the great floods in Colorado. It was a waiting game and a guessing game as to whether we would try to go around Colorado to the East or Right down through the Center of it all.... by the time we got ready to go, it was decided to take our chances with the big highway and the evidence of the severity of the Colorado situation presented it's self when we got down around Ft. Collins and Loveland.

This RV Dealer has major problems and those rigs were mighty wet. Our heartfelt good thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected after that terrible crisis. My jello got stirred once more because I had full intentions of taking a drive up through the Colorado Mountains, visiting Estes Park and the Elk on the Golf Course. The closest I would get to an Elk this year is this highway sign!
Two weeks were spent in Fountain Colorado...where I caught up on some laundry and rest and the other half went and played golf at Castle Rock and Country Club Colorado. I'm always reminded of the sacrifice that our Service Men and Women make to keep our country safe when I am right across the road from Fort Carson. The Army Post that my son called home when he was in the service. A couple of the rigs in our Resort was the home away from home to some of these soldiers. They, to my delight had some 4 legged friends that they tended and kept them company. It warms my heart that they train to kill and train to survive and they have the hearts to care enough to own a pet during an unsure time.

We began the trek south on Monday... we have made a stop in Raton and we are currently in Deming New Mexico. We have a Maintenance Appointment at Tucson to get the Coach ready for winter. We will spend a week there and move on to Yuma to put things away from the summer and fall and move on into winter...... Stay tuned!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tucson in the Spring

Making it into Tucson on Sunday was a great relief and smart idea, since Mother Nature decided to cut loose with an angry plan, unleashing horrible wind and cool temps on Monday. The wind and dust was for about 24 hours. Sleeping has been wonderful with the cooler temps.
We stayed inside and only had two slides out because it blew so hard I thought it would blow the toppers off. Today it was a lot better and we took a ride in the Sanoran Desert, up in the Saguaro National Park to see how the desert is waking up after a long winter. DH is now of the age to get a Lifetime National Park Pass for $10, so we stopped in the Visitors Center where he signed up and we spent a few minutes watching a story about the desert orated by some Native American people, explaining what the desert means to their people.
Most of the flowers and Cacti are just beginning to bloom here and I think it will be next week before everything will be in complete full bloom, but we got some pretty good pictures today anyway. It was a very cool day for a ride so we continued on down to Green Valley South of Tucson to check out a couple of Golf Courses and then returned to Lazy Days Campground.

We took hamburgers up to the pool and used their gas grill to grill our supper.

Hope you enjoy the Cacti and Flora from today.

Tomorrow will be another ride to the East and North to see some other desert territory that we haven't visited before.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The End of the Season at the Palms

Well, let me see if I can remember how to do this! Oh yeah, I think it's like a bike and most of the time they can't shut me up, so I'll apologize in advance for the ramblings of a crazy lady!

Once more, I'm cleaning, organizing and packing up the coach. I turned my mail box key in today, and very proudly too, since I thought I had lost it and would be a $25 charge. The winter has drawn to a close here in Yuma and  all of our friends on Antigua Street, and just about every where else here in the Palms RV Resort has headed for home. Basically all of the friends from Canada have started the trek to the north to cross the border by their 183 day deadline. Us the are staying here in the south have not quite been convinced to make the trek into the unstable weather that plagues the middle of the country. We have had a great time with our group.
Now the weather is fantastic. Warm and sunny and not too windy. Great Pool weather.

As the rigs have pulled out and the group gets smaller, we have shared lots of hugs and smiles and yes, tears eyes have done their share of leaking. The darn sun is just too bright in the mornings! haha.... We have turned new friends into old friends and I have no doubt in my mind that we will meet up again.

Today we had the coach and car washed and waxed. It's so nice to have all the desert dust and dirt washed away. They are calling for plenty of wind next week so I imagine my clean will only last until then. But for a few days, it'll sparkle! Thanks Dave's!
 I've been scrubbing on the inside and getting things packed for summer travel. DH has been stowing the outside things underneath and we will be ready to pull out on Sunday the 7th.

Everything has it's place when you live in a small space like we do. Not room for clutter or hoarding of anything...however I have a case of coffee creamer and DH has our fridge full of bargain Easter Chocolate and Liquor Flavor Chocolates. Not much room for food....we have been on a Taco Stand mission, trying several local taco stands and restaurants in town. Then we also have to visit our favorite burger places and fish locations.

No matter if it is a simple taco stand in a parking lot, or a fancy sit down steak house, we always enjoy the fare and the company is excellent.
KayCee knows something is up. She can always sense when we get ready to move and then when we are ready to pull out she really gets nervous and excited. Everyone has told me that I better get ready to climb in her kennel, as she has taken over my chair. We'll just see when it comes time to turn this chair around and point the nose east! She usually wants her kennel then. In the meantime, I have to cover my seat!
Tomorrow will be the last day that we will take time and lounge by the pool. I will truly miss that. Now the focus will be to add a bunch more states to our list, traveling to the U.P in Michigan and beyond, have a visit at the Thor Factory for some fixes to the coach and maybe see some eastern fall colors. We are much more settled and satisfied with our home on wheels, it's just time for maintenance and care. Much easier done at the factory service center than at dealerships that are focused on their own customers.

I hope you all will bear with me. We have basically been hanging out here playing and shopping and that makes for a boring story. Hopefully in the coming summer months I will be able to provide some better pictures and stories!  Blast off is in about 34 hours!
Next Stop..... Tucson and blooming desert!!! :}

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Great Fall Visit to Nebraska - We're Off Again!

We had a very busy and fun packed fall visit to Nebraska. The addition of one of the Brown Boys back home made the visit fun and so much celebrating that we barely had time to breathe! Our oldest son Kyle moved back to Nebraska from Colorado Springs this past year and relocated his Farm Management Business.

 Now they reside outside of a large town and close to family all around. They volunteered to host both Thanksgiving and our Family Christmas.... one week apart so that we wouldn't miss it!
We even had Family Pictures taken on the day that we celebrated Christmas and believe it or not.... the 1st of December we were out without coats.

Fall Colors were in full swing when we finally arrived. Not much chill in the air yet. Great weather for watching wildlife and watching Football. Deer and turkeys share the golf course with the golfers which I watch from my back door. Our youngest son coached his son's football team this year and it was a wonderful Sunday afternoon game.

Nebraska is the driest state in the nation currently. The crops were stressed severely and many chose to chop their corn up for cattle feed. The stocks got baled. At least they could use everything. The Pheasant population is very bad this year...due to several reasons, and DH chose not to hardly hunt in Nebraska at all. We need moisture and maybe that will come back, but right now it's best to leave it and let Mother Nature heal the hurt.

A couple of short hunts with the Boys and KayCee was all that they did. DH did manage a couple of week-end hunts in Colorado with friends, but they didn't have much better luck. Clearly a down year for Pheasants, and not a great year for Nebraska football either.

Tonight there's a blizzard raging in Nebraska and we are sitting in Sioux Falls South Dakota, waiting for a clearing to head south! There's a couple of inches of snow on the ground and it's very cold. Tomorrow we will attempt to make our way through Nebraska and head down the road towards our winter home in Yuma Arizona.

We have enjoyed our visit with family and friends. We want to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year! The Adventures are about to begin once more.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our 2012 Travel Year Recap

I think this has been the most packed year that we've experienced since we retired! Very busy and a lot of miles. Hard work and incredible amount of money. Are we satisfied? Never.... Lots more to see, and lots more to do. Many many more places to explore and our life is not following directions! It's a good thing that plans are written in Jello because we've had to stir it more than once this year.

We started the year out west with warm breezes and sunshine at Yuma Arizona. It has become our winter home over the last few years. It seems more like the country we're used to because of the agriculture and farming operations there. We made several trips south of the border to Los Algodones, Mexico to shop and experience the Mexican Culture. We left Arizona in April and moved up to Pahrump Nevada where we made several trips... some into Las Vegas..... and a trip to Nebraska and back just with the suburban.

After a nice visit with family and friends, we returned to Nevada and 116 degrees. It was time to start our summer exploring and with those temps, the sooner the better. Plans to stop at Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah were scrapped as we tried to escape the blast furnace of the desert. Plans were then stirred up again seriously when we got to Boise Idaho. We had been discussing getting a smaller coach and found one that suited our needs so all plans stopped right there and after a large depletion of funds, we moved into our new home on wheels!

 A 2013 Thor Tuscany, it has all of the options that we wanted, 4 slides making it lots wider, but 7 feet shorter! We tightened up the loop at that point and didn't make it out to the Oregon Coast as we planned, but I was not going to miss our time in Montana and we travelled up into British Columbia to visit some dear friends. They also came to Kalispell and spent the day with us, and to see our new coach.

Any time you buy a brand new motor home, you can expect issues. Mostly minor issues, and we had those, but we also had some major issues and it is very time consuming and frustrating dealing with Warranty Issues and local dealers if you haven't purchased the vehicle from them. We had a bunch of things to address, so after visiting with some other friends and touring a new and different part of Montana we took off across the country to Elkhart Indiana..the home of the Thor Corporation and the place where our Tuscany was built! We spent 13 days in the parking lot of the Factory Service Department where they took very good care of us and got most of our issues taken care of. We finally ran out of time due to a prior commitment and had to leave there, making plans to go back there next May, and those are plans that cannot be stirred or rearranged.

While in Indiana we had lots of time to explore that area, an Amish locale, we tasted the home cooked meals, sampled the bakeries and the cheese factories, drove the roads alongside the horses and buggies and learned a little about the Amish Culture. Drove around Notre Dame and spent the night in South Bend. One day we headed up the road and ended up on the shores of Lake Michigan! One of the only days that we had a little rain and the wind was blowing too hard to be a good beach day.

When we went to Indiana we had a good two week cushion before we needed to be in Colorado for Danny to attend a golf tournament with his brother and brother in law, another plan that couldn't be altered, so we did three hard days back across the countryside, dropping in at the sticks and bricks to dump off things that we couldn't haul around anymore!

Finally having the responsible stuff done for a while was a relief. They had a good time at their tourney, and I relaxed, and caught up on domestic stuff. Colorado Springs and the Majestic Pikes Peak, is also a favorite place for me. Right across the road from Fort Carson, a person is reminded of those who are fighting for our freedom, every morning at 6 am... when the sound of Revoli is heard loud and clear! I am never angry or upset with hearing that. There, Dan was able to fulfill another dream, playing golf at the Broadmoor course where he spent a week watching the Senior Open a few years back. I don't think his feet touched the ground for a week! He just had such a big smile! Onward and down we went from there, stopping off at Williams Arizona for a week, as once more the triple digit temperatures were still alive and well in Yuma. Williams is in a mountainous region and about an hour from the Grand Canyon, so we took another trip in to see the wonderful views and peeked in at Bearizona, a new wildlife park at Williams.
In wrapping up our summer, we made our way back down out of the hills, south through Lake Havasu City and Parker along the Colorado River. The desert was greener than I'd ever seen it. Water stood in some of the washes, thankfully not on the roads.

Once more, our new coach is nestled back on our lot at The Palms RV Resort.

 This post finds me at the sticks and bricks, Pot Roast in the oven and transferring our memories onto disc to make room for the next chapter. DH and KayCee Marie are in Colorado hunting pheasants. Our season here is bleak because of the serious drought, the pheasant population is down. We are looking forward to Thanksgiving with family and we are also looking forward to getting back out on the road.

We are still loving this lifestyle. Every month, every day and every year a new adventure. Stay tuned for the next Chapter!!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Another Long Trip Behind Us

Last week the weather in Yuma was bearable, but the forcast for temps to be in the high 90s made me decide to pack it up and head east! Yes, another 1400 miles or so to get away from extreme heat! Sunday morning we were on the road by 7:30 and headed north, back the same way through the desert that we just travelled. Having had a couple of really good rains while we were in Yuma, the washes and low spots had standing water and that's something we have not seen.

The first night we stopped in Gallup New Mexico, and the Second night in Amarillo Texas. Monday was our 34th Wedding anniversary and we went to the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo and had Carrot Cake! It's the best carrot cake I've ever tasted and that was a big treat! We also had a two room suite in a hotel and that was pretty special and I slept really well.  It's amazing how such simple things have become so very important! No big party or champagne or whiskey, just my honey and a piece of carrot cake! Tuesday morning we pointed the nose of the car north. After having a relaxing sleep we got a later start than I wanted, but good weather all the way and not much wind, we made really good time.  By now I am back on Central time, but one thing I have done lately is try to keep my body clock on Central Standard Time. In the last three months we have been in all of the time zones and that tends to mess with my ability to sleep if I try to adjust too much and can't spend time to really settle.

 I honestly think the desert is greener than things here in the Plains States. We need rain desperately around here. The fall colors here however are very vibrant right now...

The trip north across Kansas on Hwy 83 showed lots of harvested fields, this huge elevator being torn down, lots of road construction and trees of red and gold.

Hay bales put up to help feed the cattle for the winter ahead.
It's time for us to attend some little league football games, hug some Grand kids and enjoy some fall weather and College Football Games here in Nebraska. I do hope that we get to see some more moisture before we head back to the desert because they will be out of luck for rain too. Their rainy season will be over and I'm sure we will welcome the warmth in Yuma at Christmas time.