Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the Neighborhood

We did want to run into town yesterday to pick up some insurance candy. We were pretty sure there are no kids around the RV resort that might be trick-or-treating, but we wanted to make sure we had some candy in the house just in case.

The community of Fountain Hills is just a couple of miles away from us on the other side of the hill. I had heard it was a very pretty little town with a nice park, so we went to take a look. The first thing we saw was this darling giraffe. With all of the giraffes on Facebook these days, I thought it was very appropriate. (I got the riddle right, so didn't get to post a giraffe on my home page, so I'll put it here.)

There were lots of signs around the lake asking people to please not feed the ducks, but this little boy wasn't paying any attention to signs...

This fellow named Albert, is for our Grandson Micah. It looks just like his...

We were a bit disappointed that the fountain the city is named for was not operating!

But then I saw a sign that said that it went off "on the hour" during summer hours and "on the half hour" in the winter. It hadn't gone off on the half hour, so we were hoping it was just because it's still summer here. We hung around people and bird watching until the top of the hour ---

The fountain actually stayed on for almost fifteen minutes. I'm glad we hung around long enough to see it. Afterwards we went to the nicest Safeway store I have ever seen! It may be that Fountain Hills is next door to Scottsdale, so has the same kind of shopping. The store was huge and it looked like it had gorgeous fresh produce and meat. Too bad we only needed candy bars this time, but we'll definitely be back.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Auntie Violet Gets Purty!

Auntie Violet had a bath last year when we were in Mesa, but the guy was in a hurry to get home and didn't do a very good job.  (I think that's why he gave us such a good deal...). There's a guy named Andy that we met the first day we were here at Eagle View RV Resort. He was doing a detailing job on another rig when we stopped and talked to him. Andy lives and works in Spearfish, South Dakota in the summer time and here in Arizona in the winter time.

Today it was Auntie Violet's turn. The fellows got here about eleven o'clock and spent the next three hours scrubbing and waxing.

They started on the top and worked their way down --

She sure looked nice and shiny when they were finished.

We put the geraniums back in front and re-spread out the rug, moved the chairs back in and set up the road runner. Auntie Violet is a happy camper!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

And the Temperature Drops

That weather system they've been talking about on TV the last few days definitely arrived yesterday evening with its wind gusts. Today it has been more or less cloudy all day and the temperature has definitely dropped. It's already down to 55 this evening. It was chilly enough all day that I just didn't want to go to the pool for exercise... So I didn't.

We did go outside and put out our lights. We have a couple of strands of simulated barb wire ones -- that we got from the folks who made our barb wire heart at the Arabian Show last winter -- that we hung just below the windshield. We also put out our long ropes of lights that go along the sides of Auntie Violet. Besides looking nice, the light ropes are supposed to keep critters like pack rats and mice away...

Last year when we were in Albuquerque, we bought some little critter solar lights (birds and dragon flies) that we've had stored away in one of the basement compartments. Forry got them out
and put them in the pots of geraniums we bought at Costco last week. With our rung down and the lawn chairs out, it's beginning to look like we intend to be here for a while.

We still have to figure out how to mount my "gossips," the twirling crows. The ground is so hard, I'm not sure we could get it stuck in the ground. We may just get a board to drill some holes in to hold them.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Monday

I went over to the office fairly early this morning to mail a letter (had to pay our Washington 1/2 Property Taxes which are due the 31st) and see if a box of mail had come for us. There was no mail (we found out later it hadn't been mailed until today.), but I checked out the advertised "free continental breakfast" situation. It turns out that there are free doughnuts and coffee in the office from 8 AM "until they're all gone." I picked up a chocolate bar for Forry although I figured we'd probably not be eating breakfast there often...

It was sunny and warm this morning, quickly getting up to the 90s. But it didn't last. As the afternoon went on, the clouds came in and it got a bit chillier. It's actually down to 74 degrees this evening -- the coolest it's been since we arrived here. There's a big weather system moving in from the Pacific that they expect to affect weather on the east coast. I think we may be getting a touch of it.

I spent a good couple of hours washing the inside of the windshield and then cleaning up the last six month's worth of dead bugs and dust from the front deck so that I could hang the windshield black curtain. It is amazing how that black screening can drop the temperature by the windshield a good ten degrees the minute it goes up. It should give us a bit more privacy as well. Now you cannot see in through the windshield in the daytime.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

JB Wins!

We started watched the final day of the Professional Bull Riders Finals in Las Vegas this morning at 11:30. There was an incredible amount of support from the crowd at the Thomas Mack Arena when JB Mauney rode. He did ride all six of his bulls spectacularly in the tournament and has become the World's Champion for 2013. I think part of the crowd's attitude may have been the same as mine -- just tired of the arrogant attitude of the Brazilean who has won the past two years. Anyway, it's been great to have CBS Sports broadcasting every night of the finals. It's been fun to watch. It'll be a long drought now until the new season starts in late January.

It got HOT today! It was up to 95 degrees in the shade of our awning. That's a bit too hot, even for me, so we actually turned on the air conditioning for a few hours. By three-thirty it had cooled off to about 90, so since the bull-riding was over, we went over to the pool for a swim. I couldn't get Forry past the hot tub, but I enjoyed a swim and some water exercise. We were the only ones in the pool area, but I imagine that will change as more people arrive for their winter stays.

I spent part of the day reading Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World by Shirley Hershey Showalter. Ms Showalter's memoir tells of her growing up years until she heads for college. (She is the former President of Goshen College.) It is a really good read. The only part I feel bad about is that I bought it as an ebook, so won't be able to pass it on..

This is the view this evening from behind Auntie Violet. The fence in the foreground is actually the edge of the resort property. The RVs you see are in a storage lot across the road.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping...

We have not been shopping for a while. We didn't want to stock up while we were traveling (it's not real easy to find a place to park with 37 feet of motorhome and 10 feet of Toad), so we really needed to pickup some stuff -- like milk for cereal, coffee and some orange juice.

Our intent was to go to Costco, mainly for vitamins, then to Safeway for perishable stuff. When Forry went to look in Toad II for our map of Phoenix, he couldn't find it. I did remember that it was pretty tattered by the time we left the area last spring. So we added a stop at the local Triple A office.

At AAA, we got a new California map; one a combined one of Arizona/New Mexico; a map of Tucson and one of Phoenix. Then the clerk asked if we'd like their two big maps of Phoenix West and Phoenix East. These two big maps are in much more detail then the regular Phoenix map. So now we are re-stocked with maps. They had a nice new atlas of the US as well, but it was a premium for renewing Arizona AAA members only.  I'm glad to know we can get at least get maps for the dues we keep paying AAA every year.

Safeway was our last stop. But of course, once we got home we had to put everything away. That's the part I dislike the most!

Friday, October 25, 2013

We're Here!

187 miles to go according to the GPS this morning --about four hours the way we drive. Of course, the last fifty miles or so, when we hit the suburbs of Phoenix took the longest. There are lots of stop lights when you get into urban areas!

The hillsides here in this part of Arizona reflect the monsoon rains from earlier this summer. There is lots of growth and grass. The bushes all look healthy -- quite a contrast to the drought-stricken areas of southern California we drove through.

We cut off of Interstate 40 and went south on Highway 93. This highway is labeled as Arizona's Parkway of Joshua Trees. There are lots of hills as you go through the Vulture Mountains towards Wickenburg. It's a very pretty and scenic drive.

We pulled in to Eagles View RV Park about 3:30 and were greeted with a grin by Sandy at the front desk, "We've been waiting for you!" We got backed into Site 169, plugged in the electricity and hooked up the water; put down the jack pads; leveled the rig and put out the slides.

We'll unpack other stuff tomorrow from Toad II. The chairs and loungers, my trike, the lights, our road runner and other stuff. We'll put our rug out and hang the bird feeders. Then we'll feel like we're home for a while. But, tonight we're tired. We'll eat our chicken wings and mashed potatoes, watch the bull riding and go to bed!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Very Needed Down Day

When I checked in at the office last night, there was no question in my mind we needed a day off. We'd been putting in a lot of driving hours -- much more than we like to travel in a day. We'd had a pretty close call last night as well, which didn't help. A motorhome towing a red car passed us and then whipped back into the right lane without allowing enough time for its toad to clear us. The red car came within a foot of whacking into us. Something like that can really get the adrenalin flowing!

When we pulled into Blake's RV Ranch to register, that same rig was parked in the registration line by the office. When I went into the office, the driver, an older woman, was registering. I asked her about her rig and said that she'd almost hit us. She was very apologetic, saying she was really tired and realized that she hadn't left enough room. Sounded like she hadn't had the rig very long. We both agreed it had been a long day and it was time for rest.

Forry has gotten so used to getting up early he couldn't even sleep in this morning. He saw a nice buck walking across the hillside through our front windshield in the early morning light. A little later we both saw a large mule deer doe come through the trees and bed down under one of the bushes over on the hill.

It was a warm day in the mid-seventies with a nice breeze. I washed a couple of loads of clothes which dried nicely with the windows and door open. I had picked up a parsnip, a rutabaga, a turnip and some small onions when I last bought groceries, so took a package of round steak out of the freezer and made some stew this afternoon.

We've been watching the second round of the Professional Bull Riders World Finals from Las Vegas this evening. We saw one bull toss a rider over eight feet in the air. Nothing like watching the best of the best. Sure would be fun to be there in person...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Finally, Arizona!

It was another gorgeous WARM morning today. We didn't get a very early start. When I went to take a picture of Auntie Violet, I noticed that the TV satellite was only part way down. I had blown a fuse this morning when I turned on my curling iron (to get my bangs out of my eyes) and then went to make a cup of coffee in the Keurig. You cannot do that when you're only plugged into 30 amp power!

The satellite dish was halfway through its "put down" cycle when the power went out, so I had to completely recycle it -- put it up, let it locate the satellites, then shut it down again. And of course, I had already disconnected the power, so had to reconnect it as well. 

Sierra Trails RV Park is an interesting place. There are several sites inside the wall for more permanent guests, but the overnight sites are in the back outside. These sites are all pull-throughs and at $13.50 a night (Passport America rate), they are a bargain.

We were definitely in the beginning of the Mojave Desert -- there were even a few Joshua Trees on the horizon. You could sure tell this part of California is still suffering from drought. They got none of the monsoon rains that fell in Arizona.

 I tried to get a shot of the Welcome to Arizona sign, but I missed most of it!

Because of our late start this morning, it got late this evening before we got to our night's stop at Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel. We saw this pretty sky as we drove east --

But looking out the back window, we could see this!

It was dark by the time we got to the RV park, it was NOT fun!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Finally, the Desert

This striking little fellow was perched on one of the fence posts on the way out of Merced River RV Park this morning. It looks a lot like Grandson Micah's land tortoise.

Lots more miles of fields and orchards today. It's hard to realize how big a state California is until you drive through it north to south. Though we began to see more and more vineyards today and a few signs near towns stating that they were the raisin capital of the world...

We saw a few vineyards that were covered in light green or white plastic. Varying comments on the internet as to why: to protect the grapes from the sun; to keep the birds out; to keep the dirt off; etc.

This field even has the area between the rows covered. It looks like a sea of plastic --

We were getting great diesel mileage on California's flat freeways. The last diesel fill showed us getting twelve miles to the gallon! That most likely didn't last as we headed east over 4000 foot Tehachapi Pass and into the Mojave Desert.

We are in the desert again. We saw lots of Joshua Trees and even a few cacti as we drove. We are parked at Sierra Trails RV Park, between California City and Mojave.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Miles to Go...

Before we stop and before we rest!

Today we drove as far as the Merced River Resort near Delhi, California. We left Old Orchard RV Park this morning after a stop at their dump site.

It was a long day of driving. California frustrates me so much! I would love it if the farmers down here would label their fields and their orchards. I know they grow all kinds of almonds and walnuts -- we passed the Blue Diamond plant. They also grow all kinds of olives and fruit. We saw trucks, one that we think was loaded with garlic bulbs and another with red beans. We saw harvested fields that I am sure were rice paddies...

The farmers in the Quincy area of Grant County have labeled their fields for years. They get lots of kudos from travelers and I know their Chamber of Commerce gets lots of thank you letters. (They also use their circle sprinklers to power Christmas decorations along the freeway!) I have seen fields around the Willamette Valley in Oregon labeled as well.

We are settled in for the night. Or maybe for two nights. We'll see in the morning.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Old Orchard RV Park

I think that this is perhaps the earliest in the Fall that we've been at Seven Feathers. Most of the time the Christmas decorations are either up or starting to be put up while we are here.

There are lots of hanging baskets of petunias still around, contrasting with the dramatic fall colors of some of the landscaping --

It was foggy this morning. You could not see the tops of the hills. It still hadn't burned off when we left about ten am.

When I was a little girl, I thought that Native Americans made canoes from the layer of bark that peeled naturally from the birch trees and just didn't understand how it would be strong enough. It wasn't until much later I realized they had to cut thicker sheets to use for canoe making...

I like the contrast of the white bark against the plum tree's purple behind it...

A hundred miles or so further down Interstate 5, we crossed the California border and got our first glimpse of Mount Shasta --

At first we saw lots of oak trees and a few junipers. Lots of yellows and golds...

Then as we got into drier country, it began to be small trees with sagebrush...

As we left the last of the Siskiyou Mountains, we got a better view of the mountain.

As we got further south, it was mainly sagebrush and grass with an occasional juniper tree. I think that's the least snow cover we're ever seen on Mount Shasta.

This little volcanic cone is the last of the mountains as we descended a few thousand feet (lots of 6 and 7 degree grades!) into the dry grasslands.

We drove farther today then we like, but are now settled in at another place we usually stop. This park is in sharp contrast to where we stayed the last two nights. Old Orchard RV Park is owned by an elderly, but very nice couple. It has definitely seen better days. But, it's a good place for an overnight stop.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Seven Feathers RV Park

I think I've stated once or twice that Seven Feathers is one of our favorite RV parks. It is in a gorgeous valley with a small stream wandering through. Each site has a patch of grass, a few rhododendron bushes and a concrete pad. It is very clean and tidy.

There was a bit of color on the hillsides as we drove yesterday --

This is looking out over the hills alongside the RV park --

The other thing we like about this park is its lovely swimming pool and hot tub. I am a bit hesitant to use the hot tubs at many of the places we stay -- they just don't look very clean. This one sparkles!

I did have to bite my tongue this morning, though. There was a couple with about a five year old boy and his grandma in the pool. They were very intent in shaming the little boy into putting his face into the water. Lots of comments about "not being a big boy" and "being a sissy." And of course, lots of tears from the kid. I've taught many kids -- and adults as well -- to swim in our pool at the ranch. And if anything, you always want to make it a game and fun with kids. Blowing bubbles and playing games has gotten many a face wet without the kids even realizing what they were doing! Oh, well...

Late this afternoon we took the shuttle over to the Cow Creek Restaurant in the Casino and had their $9.95 Rib Eye Steak special. It's not on the menu, you have to ask for it. It comes with garlic toast, steamed vegetables and a baked potato. I don't know why they don't advertise it. The shuttle driver told us about it the first time we were here and I think we've enjoyed it every time we've stopped.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baby Needs New Shoes...

Fairly early this morning, I followed Auntie Violet and Forry down the street and over the highway to the Les Schwab store in Woodburn. 

 Auntie Violet's tires are showing their age. They are seven years old and it was time to replace them.

Sure enough, when we got to Les Schwab, the six new Michelin tires we had ordered were waiting for us --

We pulled into the truck bay where the Jerili, the Manager introduced us to Al, the fellow who was going to do all the work...

First the front tires came off --

And once they were done, the back tires came off --

The new tires were put on the rims, then they were aired up and balanced --

Al used this little torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts --

Don't those new tires look nice?!

By a little after two, all six tires were mounted and on and we were able to get on our way south on Interstate 5. By late this afternoon we had arrived at Seven Feathers RV Resort near Canyonville, Oregon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Visit to Daughter Dawn's

One really nice thing about being in this part of the world is the opportunity to visit our youngest daughter Dawn and her family at their new home in Keizer. The last time we had seen them -- earlier this summer -- the house was full of packing boxes and the bedroom floor was being prepared for tile. I got a chuckle as we entered the front door. Dawn had planted the raised boxes alongside and had quite a crop of radishes and lettuce growing!

The tile in the master bedroom turned out to be very gorgeous!

You can tell there was a lot of cutting involved in the lovely design. It took Todd and the kids a bit of time, but I love the way it turned out.

Besides a lovely sausage dinner, we were surprised by being able to participate in a Skype call with Granddaughter Havela at Hesston College in Kansas! It was so good to talk to her! She really looks good and seems happy. We also virtually met her lovely roommate, Rachelle.

The house has a different feel and look from the house in Hubbard. Dawn has been able to showcase many of the dolls and other souvenirs she has collected over the years. Kyra and Micah are both old enough to decorate their rooms to match their changing personalities.

It was a good visit!