Sunday, January 31, 2010

Last Day of the Month

It's hard to believe it's already the last day of the first month of 2010! It has simply flown by. I sent Tom an email today to wish him a "Happy Birthday!" tomorrow, but made him a whole year younger as I subtracted his birth year from 2009... Obviously I haven't got 2010 imprinted in my brain yet.

We spent a lazy restful day to day (finally!). I did do a few loads of laundry and fixed some spare ribs for dinner, but that's about it.

We've been watching the Grammy Awards tonight on TV. It really makes you feel old when you not only can't relate to any of the music -- but you don't even recognise any of the songs...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

We've Got to Get Out of Here!

Sunset at the RV Park tonight --

I don't know whether it's something in the water or something in the air, but whatever it is, we're going to have to leave this place before I am exhausted! Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I am not crazy about cleaning. In fact, though I like to have things clean and tidy, getting them that way is not my favorite occupation.
So whatever is going on here is rather scary! We've pretty much cleaned and polished, or had cleaned and polished, everything inside and outside of Auntie Violet during the last few days. Which left the rock-guard for the Toad looking pretty bad in comparison (it sits on a rack that fits on the back of Auntie Violet when we are not driving the RV). So today, of all things, I was out there with a spray bottle of Armor-All cleaning both sides of it!
Which let to Armor-All on the dash in the Toad, and the doors, and the console, and the steering wheel....
My body can't take much more of this. I hope the mail gets here on Monday so we can head on down the road...!

Friday, January 29, 2010

And Today She Gets Her Wheels Polished!

Working on a back wheel --

And on a front wheel --



No doubt about it, Auntie Violet is struttin' tonight! Another fellow came by this morning offering to polish her wheels (I think we must have a mark on our site like the hobos used to have on the mailboxes of houses where they could mooch a meal!). This fellow said they polished semi-truck tires in the spring (to get off the winter's gunk) and in the fall (to seal them before all the winter's gunk...) and then did a circuit of RV Parks in the winter-time.
The two of them spent most of the afternoon working on the wheels. In the meantime we ended up washing all of the inside windows and screens and finally getting the last of the dust off from the ranch and from Quartzite. Then of course had to do all of the mirrors. That led to polishing all of the interior cherrywood with oil -- it was so dried out. Since we had the vacuum out to clean the dust off of the screens, Forry went ahead and did the floors which meant I needed to scrub the kitchen and bathroom tile.
Auntie Violet may be feeling pretty spiffy tonight, but the two of us are tired!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Auntie Violet Gets a Bath

Yesterday we noticed that an RV catty-corner across the street from us was getting washed and waxed. A while later one of the fellows came over and handed Forry a flyer about their RV cleaning business. Auntie Violet hasn't had a bath since we were at an RV Park last January at Newberry Springs, California. Forry and I spent two days doing the job -- and were we ever sore!
We talked it over last night and decided the price was right. Forry called them this morning and they said they would be here in about an hour. Mickey came with two other fellows and it took them just a couple of hours! And they washed and waxed the Toad as well! (I think most of their business must come from RVers seeing others get their rigs done because later this afternoon the RV across the street was getting a bath.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


One of the movies I've been wanting to see is Avatar. I was pretty excited when I saw on the sign board here at Riverside RV Resort and Hotel and Casino that there was also a cinema theatre as part of the complex -- and that one of the five movies they were showing was Avatar!

Tom and Juni wanted to go to the buffet at the Aquarius for dinner tonight, so since we knew the movie was an hour and one-half long, we decided we'd better go to the two o'clock show. 3-D has changed since the last time we'd gone to a 3-D movie. Instead of those cardboard glasses with one red and one blue lens, they gave us actual glasses that looked like sun glasses. And they could be worn over regular glasses.

So we took the shuttle from the RV Park down to the casino, rode the escalator to the second floor; stood in line and bought our tickets ($8.50 a piece for seniors); stood in another line and bought popcorn, drinks and a box of Dots (tradition since we were teenagers!); waited in another line (that actually had chairs!); finally were ushered into the theatre; waited another twenty minutes; and finally the previews started.

We started merrily to eat popcorn and Dots and watch the previews -- which were all in 3-D as well. I started feeling a bit queasy. The movie started. Wonderful colors and sweeping vistas that leapt out at you. I swallowed hard and took some slow deep breathes (advice I used to give patients in the ER). Things started getting intense -- the avatar was facing huge monstrous creatures that chased him through the massive fantastical forest. I tore open the top of the Dots box, thinking that even if it wasn't very big, it might keep vomit from splashing onto the persons next to me as I HURRIEDLY excused my self and exited the row! Thankfully there were only two people I had to get by to the aisle.

I whipped off those darn glasses and got to the back of the theatre. It was amazing how quickly things settled down! I watched the rest of the movie standing in the back (over an hour!). Because of the 3-D effects, much of it was often blurry or out of focus, but I could still enjoy the story... Forry said later that he even jumped when one of the projectiles came shooting out towards him during one of the fight scenes.

We met Tom and Juni and had a great buffet dinner at the Aquarius Casino down the street, then Forry watched Tom lose at both blackjack and craps. Juni and I played the slots -- I made a fifteen dollar profit playing penny slots from my five dollar stake! That's about the extent of my big-time gambling.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another Boring Laundry and Grocery Day

I don't know which was crying out more -- the stack of dirty laundry from last week or the empty refrigerator and cupboards? When we are by ourselves, we often will wear the same shirt for a couple of days and we certainly don't change into different clothes more than once a day. But when we're at a rally, we are often outside, so we dress in layers and depending on the activity we may change clothes during the day. Due to all of this AND the inability to do any laundry while we were out in the deseert, the dirty clothes hamper was overflowing!

I have been trying to use up many of the groceries we've had in the motorhome. I do a lot less baking (we're both trying to eat more healthily) then I did in the past, so many of the supplies I've always kept in the house are no longer needed. AND there are good grocery stores almost everywhere we travel!

So, we spent today taking care of both issues. The last load of laundry is now in the washer/dryer ( it's nine-thirty pm). The machine has been going steadily except for the couple of hours we spent going to the Safeway store in Bullhead City. Instead of my usual going around the edge of the store hitting just the produce, milk, meat and juice, I took the time today to go up and down the aisles -- except for the dog and cat food aisle, of course.

In between laundry and groceries, I even got some major cleaning done! It's actually been a productive day -- albeit a boring one!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our LONG Short Trip to Laughlin, Nevada

On the road again --

We were up fairly early this morning getting Auntie Violet ready to move from the desert. We've actually done pretty well this week of boon-docking. We still have a little more than half a tank of fresh water left and both the grey water and black water tanks are less than half full. And we even have some paper plates left!
Before we left, Bobby from Kustom Coach Works came by to give us the estimate (and collect the deposit check) for the new desk and cabinets we've ordered for Auntie Violet. They will get them built so that we can have them installed at their shop in Junction City when we're back in Oregon the last part of May.
We headed north from Quartzite on Arizona Highway 95, meeting up with Tom and Juni in Parker. We had planned to take Highway 62 to California Highway 95 on up to Needles and then Laughlin. Fortunately Tom spotted the one lone low sign saying that Highway 95 was closed twenty miles further! (We later ran into several people at a service station who said they had not seen the sign -- or any other signs -- and drove all the way all the way to the closure and had to turn around and come back.) We then decided to take Arizona 95 which winds along the Colorado River. It actually is a beautiful drive and a route that we had not taken before. BUT, there was a long stretch of construction and only one way traffic -- we averaged less than ten miles per hour. Our quick short trip turned into a very long one. And once we reached Needles, the two-lane road on up to Laughlin was really rough -- in California's near bankrupt state, they are obviously not spending much on their roads!
We're staying at Riverside RV Resort in Laughlin. Juni had made chicken enchiladas yesterday and invited us over to dinner tonight. We were a fairly quiet tired group...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another Beautiful Day

We woke up to an absolutely gorgeous morning. Not only was the sun shining, but it was warm enough even early to be outside with just a sweater. And by early afternoon, the sweater was way too warm!

We had a devotional inside the tent (though it was warmer outside in the sun...) after boxes and boxes of pastries had been devoured. I'm not sure how many dozen they had gone into town to get, but the boxes were stacked quite high on the tables.

We waited until after lunch when Bobby Vodden of Kustom Coach Works showed up to take some measurements of Auntie Violet. The Club had had an "Open House" of coaches on Friday afternoon where people who had done modifications of their coaches invited people to come take a look at what they had done. Forry and I have been talking about taking out the dining table and having a desk built in that space along with some file drawers. We really like the work that Bobby had done in several of the coaches we looked at.

Bobby had some good ideas about how to modify some of what we had seen to fit with what we wanted. He asked some really good questions about the way we function that I hadn't even thought about. He and his partner took measurements of everything and will give us an estimate tomorrow morning. Their shop is in Junction City, Oregon. When we come back to Oregon for Daughter Dawn's graduation from nursing school in June, they will have everything built and ready to install.

After Bobby and Scott finished up, we went back in to the RV show. Yesterday Forry had bought a new water pressure valve from a guy that also makes up water hoses with brass connectors. After he'd thought about it overnight, he decided that he wanted to get some new hoses from him as our water hose is starting to break up. So now we have two new 25 foot water hoses!

We got back to camp in time for a nap before the catered BBQ dinner tonight. An outfit from Havasu City brought in their truck and served a wonderful meal of barbecued pork ribs, chicken, potato salad, baked beans and rolls.

A great many coaches left already this afternoon and evening. We'll head out some time tomorrow morning and meet up again with Tom and Juni on the Colorado River up by the Nevada border.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Clear Skies and Sunshine!

Rick the Music Man --
The group gathers around the campfire to drink wine, eat popcorn, visit and sing along with Rick --

After the sun went down, it started to get cool, but the fun went on --

What a gorgeous day today! The sun was shining when we got up and the sky was beautiful, blue and clear. I got up early and stuck the egg and sausage casserole I had made last night into the oven while we showered. The breakfast potluck was every bit as bountiful as the dinner potluck was last night. Everything from biscuits and gravy to a crock pot full of oatmeal, fruit plates, cinnamon rolls, and several kinds of casseroles.

After breakfast we went into Quartzite to the RV show where we met up again with Juni and Tom. They left the dogs at their motorhome which was probably as good thing as there were several large dogs at the show that would probably found little Izzie as one good mouthful. The good news is that their generator seems to be working!

We did pick up a few things at the big tent -- which is more like the commercial building at a big state fair. There are more kitchen cutlery, food chopper, pot and pan, and health food vendors than actual RV supplies. Forry did find some shut-off valves for the shower and a new pressure regulator for the water system as well as a new telescoping floor mop.

This evening the ACA sponsored a wine, beer, cheese and cracker party. The evening was quite warm -- especially after the storms of the last few days -- and lots of the attendees gathered at a rather large bonfire where we were entertained for a couple of hours by "Rick the Music Man" with his guitar and wonderful singing voice. The man has an incredible memory and quite a repertoire of folk and rock music. There is a bright half moon, the stars were bright, the wine was mellow and the popcorn tasty. Life is good!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It Didn't Rain Today!

Part of the line for the potluck dinner tonight --

The line-up of Alpine coaches towards the west --

And the line-up to the east --

We went to bed last night with the rain pouring down and the wind rocking Auntie Violet. When we walked back from the tent to the coach with our hamburgers, we got absolutely soaked -- my jeans were wet clear through. The wind was blowing so hard it was actually blowing water straight into my ear!

We woke this morning to partly cloudy skies and sunshine. The huge puddles we had detoured around last night were almost totally gone. I am still amazed how the desert can soak up so much water so quickly. I am looking forward to see some of the ocotillos and cacti start to green up after all of this rain.

This morning we had the usual "gearhead" session where people who are having problems with their coaches can get the advice of both the experts and fellow coach owners who have had the same issue. We always learn a lot from these forums -- for example today we found a source for the extra long windshield wipers (36") for Auntie Violet that we have been looking for in vain.

I'm not sure how many people are here -- more than a couple of hundred. Tonight there was a potluck dinner. You've never seen so much food! And it's hard to believe how much food some people heaped on their plates! I had bought a spiral sliced pre-cooked ham, which seemed to go over pretty good. (It always seems like there are lots of casseroles, desserts and salads, but very little just plain meat at potlucks...).

We actually made it through the whole day and evening without rain. Maybe the forecasts of a beautiful weekend are going to be true.

Down Pour -- January 21st

It rained almost all night! Sometimes gently, but most of the time it just plain poured!

It cleared off this morning for a few hours. It was amazing to see most of the puddles disappear! The sun peeped out a bit and we were able to gather in the tent for the Alpine Coach Association Annual Meeting.

And then it clouded up again this afternoon and by four it started to POUR! It seemed sometimes like bucketfuls of water were being thrown at Auntie Violet's windshield.

The ACA club had a hamburger and hot dog feed this evening with a brave crew grilling under the edge of the tent. It was so windy and raining so hard that everyone took their meals back to their coaches to eat. We heard later (after the tent blew down...) that there were tornado warnings out for Quartzite and Tucson.

Tom's generator quit working this afternoon, so after several attempts to get it working, they ended up heading back into town where they could get plugged into electricity. Hopefully they will be able to get the generator fixed.

This is supposed to be the last of the storms coming from California -- the weekend is supposed to be gorgeous. We shall see...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It is amazing how dark it is when you are out in the desert where there are no street or house lights -- it's overcast tonight, so there are not even stars!

We left Casa Grande a little after ten and pulled into the Alpine Coach Association campsite about eight miles outside of Quartzite around 3 PM. We were just in time to turn on the generator and bake some shrimp egg rolls for the Hors d'oeuvres potluck at 4 o'clock. There are a lot of people here and there were enough goodies to fill 3 rows of tables, 3 tables long!

Juni and Tom and the dogs have been in Phoenix visiting Tom's son Tommy. They got in a little bit sooner than we did and saved a place for us right besides them.

There is supposed to be one more rainstorm coming through this evening or/and tomorrow morning, so many of the scheduled rally activities may be changed around. We'll just sort of be playing it by ear. If it's too miserable, we just go into town and to the BIG tent where all of the vendors are.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Raining in the Desert!

There are a series of storms hitting California and the remainder has come our way! We woke to a beautiful sunshiny morning, then the clouds started moving in this afternoon and we had a few brief showers. But now it has settled in to rain, along with some pretty strong wind gusts. We read at one of the museum/parks we were at that the average rainfall in this area is about 11 inches per year. At our ranch in eastern Washington, we only get 7-9! I guess one of the differences is that rain here often comes quite heavily and most runs off...

We checked with the folks over at Quartzite as Tom and Juni called from Phoenix saying it was pouring there! Paul said they'd had a few showers at Quartzite, but the ground was pretty solid (it's mostly rock). He said they had over fifty coaches there already and that many more should come in tomorrow.

We'll shower in the morning, then pack up Auntie Violet and head for the rally.

Monday, January 18, 2010

On to Casa Grande

This morning we drove west on I-10, then on I-8 to the SKP Park near Casa Grande, the RV Rovers Park. We were ready to leave Benson by 10:30 and arrived here a little after 1 PM. This is one of the earliest Escapee Parks, started in 1981. It is a lot tighter than the one in Benson -- you can tell that it was created when the average RV was a greater deal smaller than the ones of today! There are several VERY tight turns Forry had to make to get to our site.

We left Benson a little after 10:30 and arrived here just after one PM. We drove I-10 west, then took I-8 through Casa Grande to the park. The people whose site we are parked in have gone to Quartzite. We will stay here tonight and tomorrow night and then head there ourselves. Tom and Juni headed for Phoenix today to stay with Tom's son Tommy for a couple of days, then we will meet up with them and travel together to Quartzite on Wednesday for the ACA rally.

That is if the rainy weather currently hitting California doesn't get worse -- and it is predicted to do so. The last thing we really want is to get stuck in the mud out in the desert!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tohono Chul

Tohono Chul Park is where Daughter Mary Mae worked as a docent when Scott was in grad school here in Arizona twenty some years ago. I understand from the docent we talked to today that it is greatly expanded from when she was here.

I can't believe that neither one of us remembered to take a camera! We didn't get going very early and seemed a bit disorganized as we we went to Tucson. I think it would be a great place to visit in the spring time, but it was pretty in winter as well.

When we got back I stuck some potatoes in the oven and Forry barbecued some steaks. Juni and Tom brought over a salad, so we had quite a feast. I had a can of WSU Viking cheese with basil that Brother Pat had given me for Christmas which we had for an appetizer with some rosemary cracker bread. Good food and good company!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


It was a fairly quiet day today. Juni stopped by this morning to see if I wanted to go to the grocery store with her. We went to Safeway and stocked up a bit on stuff we will need in Quartzite. I also replenished our supply of cough medicine! (Though I must admit today was a much better day!)

When we got back to the RV Park, we stopped at the office to see if they had any recommendations for restaurants. The gals told us about Gracie's Station, one we would never have found without someone telling us about it. It seems that Gracie was a pioneer woman who ran both a hotel, an eating establishment and a brothel. This restaurant is built on the site of her original establishment... It's tucked away behind the Shell station, almost out of town.

Izzie and Tica came into Auntie Violet this morning -- they have never been in another motor home other then Tom and Juni's. They got pretty excited about exploring a new space. Of course I had to stock up on some doggy treats for them for the next time they come to visit.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I am so tired....

of this stinking cold! All I did last night was cough -- and then cough some more. Today my nose is running like crazy and all I seem to do is sneeze!

Our friends Tom and Juni arrived in their Newmar motor coach late this afternoon and will be staying at Saguaro SKP Park with us until Monday. From there we will start heading towards Quartzite for the Alpine Coach Association rally in the desert.

Tom told me he did not want his cold back.... Even though I am very willing to give it up. Neither Tica nor Izzie seem to have forgotten us. Tica found her way onto Forry's lap and Izzie brought me her ball to throw...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kartchner Caverns State Park

Today we went to Kartchner Caverns State Park, part of Arizona's state park system. I was a bit nervous about the whole thing -- especially since we had signed up for two 1 1/2 hour tours. I'd never been underground before and wasn't at all sure that I would be okay with it.
The rangers are very consientious about protecting the cave -- you are NOT allowed to even take a camera into the cave -- absolutely NO pictures! So you'll have to settle for the postcard I scanned tonight. In fact, you cannot take purses, backpacks, strollers, water bottles, food or anything else in with you! If you wear a jacket ('cause it was chilly outside and you take an open electric train about a 1/4 mile up to the cave entrance), you have to roll it up so that there is nothing flapping and tie it around your waist by the sleeves when you go inside.
The cavern is about 72 degrees year around, but the humidity is 98% inside so it feels like it's about 80 degrees. You go through three sealed compartments, each with a heavy door, before you actually get into the cavern. In one of the compartments, you walk through a light mist that helps to keep lint from your clothes or hair from sloughing off in the cave. You are instructed to stay on the ramp and only touch the hand rail. Every night they wash down the ramps so that any foreign objects from clothes or shoes is washed into special tanks.
There are two tours, one goes into the part of the cave they call the Rotunda and the second goes into another section that they call the Big Room. As huge as these two areas are, they are still only estimated to be about 20% of the cave. The Big Room is only open for tours during the winter; they close it during the summer when the bats return and use it for a maternity ward.
After going on the first tour, I could hardly wait for the second! What a dramatic and exciting place. It becomes very evident that all of God's wonders are not just above the earth!
The first part of the first tour was a bit scary as my glasses took a while to lose the darkening from the bright sunlight outside -- and then they fogged up from the humidity in the cavern! I was very glad to have Forry to hang on to! Once I was able to see clearly, I was too fascinated by the features of the cave to be concerned about being underground. The formation, Kubla Khan, on the postcard above is as tall as a five story building!
This will certainly not be the last cave we explore!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Move That Wasn't

The pyrrhuloxia sitting in the shrubs along the fence (I think it looks like a cardinal who missed out on getting all of the red painted on his feathers!) --

The Bendire's Thrasher that was a new life bird for Forry --

The Black Throated Sparrow --

We were up this morning, but not dressed yet, when someone knocked on Auntie Violet's door. The man at the door gave Forry a note that said the the owners of the lot we were parked at were "coming home soon," and that we should call the office about moving to another available space. So we called the office and the lady gave us a list of potential sites we could move to. She suggested that we go take a look at the various sites and then come to the office to let them arrange to escort us to the new site (this park has staff who MUST assist you to park...).
So after we had gotten dressed, we drove around and looked the possibilities over. There was one lot at the front of the property overlooking the desert. There were several cacti and other brush along the fence that were filled with birds! Forry got a new life bird with the Bendire's
Thrasher and we also saw black-throated sparrows, a Pyrrhuloxia, Gambel's quail, and white crowned sparrows.
We decided that was the site we would like to move to as there was so much bird activity there. We went to the office to tell them our decision, much to the confusion of the two ladies there! It turns out that Shirley, the lady on duty earlier in the morning, had gotten her sites mixed up! The owners of our lot aren't returning until February 3rd -- and we are scheduled to leave on January 18th. So, we didn't have to pull in Auntie Violet's slides and bring up her jacks and move after all!
We did watch a cactus wren this morning in the large ocotillo plant in the lot next door, so this isn't that bad a site!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Amerind Foundation Museum

The rock formations in Texas Canyon near Dragoon, Arizona. These are behind the Museum building in the picnic area --

The beautiful building that holds the Art Gallery --

The Museum building is pretty well hidden in the trees --

I picked up a brochure at the SKP Park office for the Amerind Foundation Museum and thought it looked interesting. So today we drove to Dragoon to check it out. Founded in 1937, The Amerind Foundation is a private, nonprofit archaeological research facility and museum of art, history and culture of Native people from the Americas. It includes an art gallery, a museum store and a picnic area.

The museum and the art gallery are in two beautiful buildings. Unfortunately, they do not allow photography inside the buildings, so I cannot show you any of the beautiful baskets or pottery that they have on exhibit. The museum also tells the story of the Apaches and Geronimo. The transport of these people to Florida and their exile from Arizona for over thirty years was unfamiliar to me. I am more cognizant of the stories of the NW tribes and of the Cherokees. It's always fascinating to learn the stories of the different cultures that make up our nation.

We had some shopping to do at Safeway when we returned to Benson and ended up eating at a Chinese restaurant in the same shopping plaza. We had so much food from the two entrees we ordered that we've got more than enough for lunch tomorrow...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saquaro S.K.P. Co-Op

This morning we moved down the road a few miles to the Escapee Park outside of Benson. We'll stay here for the next week before we head to Quartzite. This is a fairly large park with 297 full-hookup sites and 28 dry camp sites.

We were up early to get Auntie Violet packed up, so didn't do to much after we got settled in here. We didn't bother to hook up the toad -- it was such a short distance, I just followed Forry over.

I did get one load of washing done and a pot of chili made for dinner. Other than that, it's been a pretty quiet day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shoot-outs in Tombstone!

Looking out over Boothill:

A couple of the restored graves at Boothill:

The Earps and Doc Holliday:

The Clantons get the worst of it:

Today we witnessed a gunfight! And then another one! All in fun, of course, as the citizens of Tombstone re-enacted their rather colorful past. There was a skit about a shotgun wedding; one about some cowboys who just returned from the Territorial Prison at Yuma; and then as the finale an enactment of the stand-off with the Earps and Doc Holliday at the OK Corral.

After we browsed through several of the stores -- and drooled over an old squash blossom necklace -- we went out to Boothill, the cemetery made famous in Western lore. The old cemetery has been retored by the citizens of Tombstone in the last several years. There is no admission charge for entrance to the cemetery, but the it costs two dollars for the flyer that identifies the graves...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saguaro National Park

One of the many Cholla Cacti in the park -- this one is Jumping or Chainfruit Cholla.

A close-up of the dangling fruit

The magnificent Saguaro Cactus that the park is named for:

A female Phainopepla (the male looks the same except it is all black) --

Today we took a day trip to the east section of Saguaro National Park. It's a funny park as the city of Tucson buts right up against the boundaries -- the east and west sections are almost "bookends" to the city.

It was a good day for birding. Forry got two new life birds: a canyon towhee and the Arizona woodpecker. We also saw a red tail hawk, both male and female phainopepla, a Gila woodpecker and a gilded flicker.
On the way home, we stopped in Vail at Valeria's Mexican Comida, one of the ubiquitous Mexican food trailers. This one was semi-permanent with a tent set up along side with tables and chairs. I had a pair of great tacos -- one chicken and one shredded beef -- and Forry had a shredded beef burrito that was almost more than he could eat.
It was a fun day. Warm enough for shirt-sleeves, lots of neat cacti to see, and some new birds -- you can't ask for much more.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Today in Benson...

As I predicted last night, today was a fairly quiet day. Except that since he had gone to bed so early last night (he didn't even watch TV), Forry was wide awake early this morning. Which would be fine, except he thought I should be too! Since I had stayed up playing Farmville on the computer (and writing my blog...), I had not planned on an early morning!

I get very aggravated at the mess of maps and RV Park books (Escapees, CampClub, Passpoert America, etc.) plus the Interstate Travel Book that accumulate around my chair when we are traveling. By the end of the day -- especially if we travel across state lines -- it seems like there are multiple maps and books scattered around. We had been looking for a small table or chest with shelves or drawers that we could use between the driver and passenger chairs to keep things organized.

This afternoon we found one that might work at WalMart. It's a darker cherry than the wood in Auntie Violet, but I think it looks okay. It's got one drawer that I can use for maps and then an open bottom portion that can hold all of the books. It's bigger than we wanted, but it wasn't that expensive so I guess we can give it away if it doesn't work out. It came all in pieces in a box, which meant that Forry has spent the past several hours putting it together.

That's the second project he's gotten done -- he also ran the plug-in for the dishwasher down inside the cabinet to a dedicated outlet. No more blowing fuses when he forgets to unplug the electric heater before turning the dishwasher on!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished...

Auntie Violet parked in her spot at Lakeside RV Park in Elephant Butte. See how proud she is of her new Winegard Satellite Antenna in front?

We had stayed an extra night in Elephant Butte thinking that we would take advantage of the hot springs in Truth or Consequences to sweat out our colds. But I couldn't get an answer at any of the places in the brochure we had when I tried to schedule a time... So we ended up staying home in Auntie Violet watching movies.

This morning we left the park about ten and started towards the turn towards the interstate. A pickup pulled up at the stop sign as we approached the corner to turn left. Realizing that we could probably use a bit of extra room to turn the corner, the considerate driver put his pickup in reverse to back up and give us more space. But, he didn't check his mirror and promptly backed into a sedan that had pulled up directly behind him! Of course the pickup wasn't damaged, but there was a pretty good dent in the hood of the sedan...

We drove south on I-25 until we got to Hatch (green chile capital of the world!), then cut across on Highway 26 to Deming where we caught I-10 and went on across the border to Arizona. We dieseled up at Willcox, then came on into Benson where we'll stay for the next few days. Forry was very tired tonight, so we'll probably sleep in tomorrow morning and not do too much. We're both sniffling less today, so maybe this cold isn't going to be too bad...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ah-choo! Ah-choo! AH-CHOO!!

A few days before we left Albuquerque, Tom started coughing and ended up with a case of the sniffles. About the time we left, Forry started coughing and has kept it up the past few days. This morning, I woke up sneezing, and sneezing and sneezing some more! By noon, I quit and actually thought maybe that would be the end of it.

But, by four PM, the sneezing started again. I think it's official. I've caught a cold!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fort Craig and Bosque del Apache NWR

The ruins of Fort Craig:

The Visitor Center at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge:

Some of the many Sandhill Cranes we saw today:

Today we got up very early (for us anyway!) so that we could go to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. It's about an hour's drive north from where we are at Elephant Butte.

On the way up Highway 1, we saw a sign pointing to Fort Craig and decided to check it out. We found the ruins of a fort that had once housed over 2000 Union troops (including Buffalo Soldiers commanded by Kit Carson) during the Civil War. There is nothing left of it except for some stone walls of the Sally Port and crumbled adobe walls and ramparts. It sits on a desolate plain above the Rio Grande. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be stationed there. We walked most of the trail around where the fort had been -- I was pleased I could walk that far without any difficulty or pain!

Bosque del Apache is a great Wildlife Refuge -- this time of year it has oodles of snow geese and sandhill cranes. The cranes were scattered throughout the auto route around the refuge -- we saw many of them feeding and you could hear them all over. We saw two bald eagles and one golden, lots of ravens, coots, shoveler, northern pintail, bufflehead, and mallard ducks, Canadian geese, white-crowned sparrows and two coyotes.

We stopped on the way home at the Owl Bar and Grill for green chile hamburgers and fries. At least Forry had the one with the chile -- I was not that brave!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Outside of the Geronimo Springs Museum:

A couple of the very pretty "fiesta dresses" on display at the museum:

The Geronimo Springs Museum is in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, just a few miles down the road from Elephant Butte. We had heard about the museum from the lady who checked us in at the RV Park yesterday, so after I got a couple of loads of clothes washed, we decided to go take a look. It's actually a pretty neat museum -- it has the usual pioneer relics, but also some mastodon and dinosaur bones. In addition, it houses the memorabilia of Ralph Edwards, whose "Truth or Consequences" radio show was the initiative for changing the town's name from Hot Springs to that of the radio show on its tenth anniversary. The town holds a fiesta every year celebrating the occasion.

We spent a few hours browsing through the exhibits and talking with the ladies who work there, then went in search of a grocery store to buy some orange juice. The only supermarket in Truth or Consequences was abandoned. We finally ended up at a discount store and settled for cranberry juice.

We did see a very unusual mobile home on a sales lot:

It was designed just like an adobe house -- it even had vigas (the wooden beams in adobe ceilings) sticking out the ends!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Heading South!

Tica and Izzie came out in the cold with Juni to tell us good-bye --

The front of Tom and Juni's beautiful home --

Where Auntie Violet has been parked since December 21st --

Today we reluctantly left our wonderful digs in Albuquerque at Juni and Tom's and headed south. We'll meet up with them again in a couple of weeks when we all attend the Desert Rat Rally in Quartzite. The question is: will Tica and Izzie recognize us when we see them again?
We took Interstate 25, stopping at the little town of Lemitar to diesel up. We went on further to the town of Elephant Butte and the Lakeside RV Park where we'll stay for the next three nights. There's a lot to see in the area, from hot springs to ghost towns plus birding at the nearby lake. (Elephant Butte Lake is the largest lake in New Mexico.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Queen Tica and Princess Izzie

This adorable toy poodle is Tica:

And this little imp is her sibling Izzie, a miniature Yorkshire terrier:

We have been well entertained while we've been in Albuquerque by these two delightful young ladies! We had met Tica last year when we camped with Juni and Tom in Casa Grande, Arizona. Izzie is a more recent addition to the family. Izzie only weighs about 3 1/2 pounds. She's nine months old and probably won't get much bigger.
Tica delights in curling up in your lap and having her back and belly rubbed. Izzie is more of a live-wire who only occasionally will get tired enough to be held. She will spend hours chasing her ball -- as long as someone will keep throwing it for her.
She had a favorite squeaky toy shaped like a flower that she would pounce on and worry to death. Just before Christmas she finally worked the squeaker out. We were worried she might swallow it, so Tom glued it in with super glue. Izzie took one whiff of it and would have nothing more to do with it. Even after a few days when we couldn't smell anything anymore, she still totally ignores it.
We've gone from playing with the huge mastiffs at Sister Sherry's to these two miniatures. What a contrast! And each one of them has had their own interesting personalities. But, we're still going to just travel with the stuffed one in Auntie Violet's window!


Friday, January 1, 2010


I have many friends who are glad to see the end of 2009 as it was a very tough year for them. For us it has been a year of ups and downs. We had a very "up" time with Mennonite Disaster Service in Dulzura in March and April. Being the Project Director was a good experience for me. And we met so many wonderful people -- both the people who worked on the project and the people we helped build houses for. We are going to try to visit the Dulzura area sometime this winter and see the finished houses and re-connect with some of the folks.

Summer was both an up and down time. We wanted to be back in the Moses Lake area to be with our friends as Phyllis was finishing her days on earth. While it was a sad time for friends and family, it was also very inspiring to see Phyl's courage and stalwart faith. And it was very gratifying for us to be able to be there.

In the fall, we went through my extensive back surgery and recovery. It has been an exercise in patience for me -- I think having intensive physical therapy like I had with my knees was a lot easier than this being told "to rest and let it heal!" I took off the back brace I had worn for almost two and one-half months on Christmas Eve and have been very pleased that my back feels strong and pain-free.

The coming months will be different for us as this will be the first year since we retired that we will not be spending time volunteering with Mennonite Disaster Service. Because of my back surgery, we have elected to take this year off. That means that we have two extra months of "play time" in the south and southwest. It will be nice if this "cold snap" that is covering the southern part of the country ever lets up!