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. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Colors....

Sometimes they are in the eyes of the beholder! I know that orange, red and yellow are some of my favorites.... but here in Williams and the Grand Canyon we are taking advantage of other natural colors. We took advantage of the beautiful weather and took and long drive to Grand Canyon National Park. Then we unloaded the spoiled house dog and set out down a rim trail for a nice long exploring walk along the edge of the Grand Canyon.

 This was our first trip on our own, and we took our time, walked at our own pace and found many views and vantage points that we didn't see on the tour the first time.

The shade in along the forest path, made it almost chilly. By the end of the morning I was wanting to shed my coat. It was a great 3 mile walk in the fresh morning air.

If you look really closely at the picture on the right, you may see a small little character with a bushy little tail. He is a Cliff Chipmunk and KayCee was very interested in them! The banana yucca was very thick and healthy too, benefits of the rainy season. Fall colors are vivid here. Brilliant blue sky, and the rustic reds of the geologic wonder. The Colorado River flows at the bottom of this vast canyon and although I wasn't able to get a real good picture, the emerald green water was beautiful to the naked eye!

Being on our own in the car, we went to some view areas that we hadn't seen before -
The far peak over our shoulders in the distance is 9 miles straight across the canyon to the north. It was a very clear day for pictures.
We drove East along the south rim of the canyon, where we found a picnic table for lunch. After resting and having a sandwich, we turned back towards Williams. Exploring the surrounding area to the South of the canyon was fun too. Lots of things to do and see for everyone.
 A Trading Post along the way, looks to have some very interesting wares. Love their Sagauro Cactus!Very low maintenance lawn decor!  

Not a close enough wildlife encounter, so when we got back to Williams, we pulled into a place called Bearizona! We visited there the year that they opened and my my but they've really added and improved.
 The drive through portion of the visit gives lots of opportunity to see many animals. The walking part of the visit within the walls of Fort Bearizona is good for young and old.
The white wolf was trying to bury this bone! A sighting of a few white buffalo should mean I would have some good luck. I hope this is true!  None of these animals are afraid or pay much attention to the cars...they just go about their business, some more comical than others.My favorite of the day is the Kindergarten Bears and the  chickens and goats in the barnyard.
 The chickens are fancy and had eggs in their nests.

The goats climbed the benches for your attention!

 They are a hoot! All the animals and visitors alike have the change of seasons on their minds....Halloween is coming soon.

 They are showing some spirit and involving the community in their fun, inviting folks to dress up and visit their park. Although our visit here in Williams Arizona is quickly coming to an end, we will most definitely be back. Lots to see and do and the community is so friendly. We were invited to a Mexican Feast at the Catholic Church, put on by the Knight's of Columbus last night and that's the way we topped off a wonderful fall day! It was very good. I always like it when I don't have to cook!

This RV Park is also a motel, with some unique rooms, made of train cars and caboose's. This is my view from the windshield. Beyond is into a forest. These folks have a quiet business on the edge of town, and stay pretty busy. DH has a spot in a golf tourney at the local golf course on Monday and then we will be on our way. We have enjoyed our stay here very much. You can't beat this fall weather!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Goodbye September - Hello Fall!


Just like that!..... Or that's the way it seems anyway. Our September was jam packed with travel and from Montana to Indiana...from Indiana to Colorado and on to Arizona. The business was getting our new home on wheels tended to in Indiana, at the factory where it was made and also the paint factory where it was originally painted. After 13 days we had most of the issues taken care of and learned a whole lot as to how these coaches are built from the ground up. We will be returning to Indiana in the spring to have more things done and a portion of our coach repainted. They have all been very good to us and I don't dread going back there.

While we were waiting around for them to do things to our coach during the day, we took some side trips. One to the shores of Lake Michigan and the day we picked to do that it was raining and windy, causing the waves to crash up on the beach.

We left Elkhart on the run. DH was invited to participate in an annual Trap Shoot/Golf tourney with his older brother in Wray Colorado and we didn't have any days to spare! We stopped off in Nebraska just overnight to drop off some things that we've been toting around and unneeded.

 We spent the weekend parked at the Fairgrounds at Yuma Colorado and DH got to see his brother, one sister and brother in law. It was great weather for their tournament and a good time was had by all when we met for breakfast on Sunday in Yuma. The visit was too short, and they all had to get on back to work.   We continued on to Colorado Springs for a few days, where he played golf with a friend of ours at the Famous Broadmoor Golf Club, the site of many pro Golf Tournaments. The second morning there we woke up to Revoli from Fort Carson just across the road and Snow on Pikes Peak! After three days, the weather threatening rain and storms, we bolted to the south, stopping in Albuquerque for an overnight then on to Williams Arizona. I'm so glad that our plans are written in Jello! The plan was to be at our Winter home the 1st of October, but the weather this year is making my job difficult! It is 108 there today and the triple digits of this week caused me to call and postpone our arrival. We are now going to check in there on the 9th and hope it's 10 degrees or so cooler by then. This is a quiet little park here in Williams, the daytime high today is set for 79 and the nights in the low 40s. We drove into Flagstaff and explored a bit on Sunday and DH hit the local golf course here today.Saturdays are for watching a little "Husker Football" and we are enjoying the slow pace and mild temps here after a whirlwind busy month.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

In the Beginning...

After being here in Elkhart Indiana for one week, we have learned a bunch about the RV Industry and also an Amish area of Indiana.This is our first trip to Indiana. No better place to be on 9-11-12. This town is resiliant and survived the crash of 08. Some things are very fascinating and other things make a lot more sense seeing them in person! These people here at the Thor Service Facility have been absolutely fantastic to us. They have addressed all of the issues on my list...and fixed many more things that weren't on the list! They assigned us our own technician and he has worked on our coach all day every day Monday through Friday. A couple of the big issues, the big Carefree Awning won't come out and go back in with the switch. They have tried several things, replacing the motors and other parts not finding the problem. A factory engineer from Carefree Colorado came over yesterday and they worked on my coach until they traced the problem. We are staying here in the lot over the weekend, as no one works on the weekends. Our back yard may not be too pretty right now, but we have all the comforts of home.  Sunday afternoon we will go to Bremen Indiana to the Paint Factory that painted this coach...They are going to buff it and work the problems out with the finish. Then we come back over here and they are finishing up fixing the awning. Yesterday while talking to our technician, we discovered a big crack in the windshield at the top right corner. If it weren't for bad luck, we'd have none! One more thing that they will do when we come back Monday or Tuesday. A new windshield, and a treat to a hotel while they keep it in the shop to cure after it's installed. I just want all this done and I'd rather be here than out on the road to deal with other dealerships to get these things fixed. Every day this week my wake up call has been at 5 am. Our technician shows up to take our coach to his bay at 7:15. We have all day to explore the area and experience all the special offerings of the Amish people in the local surrounding communities. 
 Monday we took a tour of the Thor factory where our coach was built and they build 6 on Monday Wednesday and Friday and Tuesday and Thursday they build 7. Not all just like ours, but other models and makes. It is really strange to see these chassis being driven around from one lot to another.
 Very early mornings with a chill the drivers sitting on a box, with a stocking hat on, zipping through the lot from point A to point B.
This is what the beginning looks like. Our Coach looked just like this before it had walls or a floor. The next thing is the floor. It is tiled completely and the rest is built up from there.
 They are totally white before they are delivered to the paint factory about 30 miles from here. It was a very interesting tour. In having a new 2013 model, we can relate to many of the things that we learned about. On Tuesday we toured the National Motor Home Museum, Hall of Fame and Library. A beautiful facility and well worth the three hours we spent there. If you ever have the opportunity to do so, it is a must see for every RVer. I even saw the 1954 Spartan Trailer that my folks owned and lived in when they brought me home from the hospital. That was top of the line in that day and age and they pulled it behind the car all over the country as my dad was in sales.
 We have shopped and ate in several Amish Communities. Shipshewanna, Middlebury, Wakarusa, Nappanee and Goshen.

 Today we took a ride in the country and stopped in a small local Cheese Factory. The yards and the flowers are beautiful and the countryside is really green here. They have had more rain. Night before last it rained gently on the roof most of the night and shortly after 7 it broke and cleared to be a beautiful fall day.

 We have enjoyed this state and I would come back here to have things fixed on our coach.  Hopefully we will have all of our issues fixed and when we are satisfied with the results, we will be on our way back west. Today we are having a day off from the hustle and bustle of the RV Industry. Elkhart is a rebuilding community from the massive lay offs and repression of the collapse of 2008. In talking with some folks here, there are jobs if one wants to work. Many of these technicians are older, solid folks that have lived here forever and they kept their jobs. Our tech. has worked here for 10 years. South of here are plants that make UPS utility trucks, and there are manufacturers of all kinds of travel trailers and fifth wheels.
  Nappanee has their Apple Festival this weekend. Fall is in the air!

They have a compound called Amish Acres that is decked out in all the fall colors and decorations. This area is bouncing back and slowly but surely will thrive through the eyes of the RVer once more.