Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Post For 2009

This has been a very memorable year. Cheryl retired on January 5th and on the 8th we left Oregon for an extended winter vacation in Arizona. We met a lot of new friends that showed up again this year. Upon returning home in April, we joined the local chapter of FMCA (Family Motorcoach Assocation) called the Rim Rock Roamers and went on 4 rallys with the group over the summer and again met new friends. In June, we took another extended trip, this time going back to Siouz City to see Keith and Caroline and their families. While there, we hooked up with Tony and Dutch Ball that we met here in Arizona and spent time with them also. That took up most of our summer.
In November, we left Oregon again for the warmer climates of the southwest and arrived in Mesa on the 1st of December for our winter stay and will be here until the 10th of April and then head towards home and do it all over again. We haven't done much exploring yet. We are waiting for Keith and Caroline to show up in February so we can show them the sights.
The more time we spend here, the better we like it. We have looked at several houses, but won't commit to anything until we decide what we want to do with the house in REdmond. We do have the winter to think about it, but we are leaning towards selling it and relocating to the southwest for the winter and then using the motorhome for summer travels to the "north" country. Time will tell.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas In Mesa, Az

What a nice and relaxing Christmas day in sunny Arizona. We both slept in and discovered that Santa made a visit during the night. The morning was spent opening a few gifts and enjoying a Mimosa or two on the patio. Our Christmas dinner was anything but traditional. It started out as a hamburger barbeque with Dutch and Tony Ball (friends from Sioux City that we met here last year) and it quickly evolved to a full blown potluck barbeque in the pavillion. We were joined byEd and Donna (from Ontario, Canada) Mike and Sharon (from Colorado) and Ken and Judy (from Ohio). Our dinner consisted of Bloody Mary Burgers, potato salad, baked beans, chips, all the condiments, and ice cream, blueberry pie and lemon merangue pie. Of course there were the usual libations before, during and after the meal. Although the temps weren't that warm (only in the mid 60s) the sun was warm and it was a wonderful way to meet old and new friends. Now, we have to decide what we want to do for a non-traditional New Years dinner.
We also got to see Toni and Jim via SKYPE. She flew back to Williamsburg, Va to spend Christmas with Jim before he deploys to an unknown location where there is a lot of sand. He knows, but can't tell anyone. All in all, it was a very nice day.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

One More Week Until Christmas

It's hard to get into the Holiday spirit when the sun is shining and everyone is in shorts and t shirts. We went into downtown Mesa last night and saw the LDS Temple Square light display. Wow, what an impressive sight. Over 750,000 lights. They start the middle of October placing the lights in the larger trees and the 1st of November, over 3000 volunteers show up and approximately 10,000 hours to get everything in place and lit up. These are just a few of the pictures of the displays. A lot of my nighttime pictures just didn't turn out well enough to post. They estimate that over 1,000,000 visitors tour the grounds each year. Concerts are free and are different every night. Tomorrow, we will go again and listen to the Holiday sounds from Tonga and Samoa.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sunshine At Last (And No Wind)

Finally, after a week of cooler than normal temperatures, the sun is back out and shining. It is now shorts and t shirt weather. At least for a couple of days and then the forecast is for a day of rain before the weather warms up again.
Believe me, I'm not complaining about wearing a sweatshirt outside when I look at the weather in Redmond and see the sub-zero weather and snow on the ground.
Tomorrow we will go out to Cardinal Stadium to look at new motorhomes. You notice, I said look and didn't say buy. LaMesa RV is going to have over 100 motorhomes on the lot and it will be fun to just look and drool over the new models.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stormy Weather

Rocking and a rolling all night long. We just didn't have blustery winds, but we had gusts upwards or 50 MPH throughout the night. Today is just exceptionally cool, but the skies are clear and the winds moderate. I expected to see torn awnings this morning when I looked around the park, but all I saw were overturned bikes, and chairs and of course the patio mats were not where they were left yesterday. I did have to bungee the dining canopy down to the picnic table to keep it in place and did have to crawl under the coach to retrieve a tire cover but that was all. The weather is suppossed to start clearing today and tomorrow and get back up to the normal temperatures again. I'm ready!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Dreary Day In Arizona

Rain, rain and more rain to come. It's not even close to short and t shirt weather (yet). Cool, breezy and rainy. That's been the norm for the better part of this last week, but next week looks more promising. But looking at the weather at the "sticks and bricks", this is downright pleasant.

Yesterday we went to Mesa Marketplace. It's billed as a swap meet - flea market. Really, it's all retail stores of every kind imaginable under 1 1/4 miles of cover. It's always fun to go and see what is there as it changes every week as new vendors come in and others leave.

It's hard to believe that it soon will be Christmas. Palm trees decorated and yard decorations in the sandy yards aren't quite the same as up "north". But, it will do for the forseeable future.

We did decorate the coach with a cute little tree that was made for us by good friends, so it is rather cheery.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Winnebago Has Landed

Cheryl and I were both getting a little antsy and wanting to be stationary so we called Mesa Spirit and asked if anyone was in our spot and the answer was no, so we told them to hold it and we would be arriving early. It felt good to be getting "home" again. We spend part of yesterday and today getting everything set up for the winter. Dining canopy, hammock, barbecue and cleaned the inside of the coach from top to bottom.

The dogs even remembered how to get to the dog run. I guess they were happy too and not have to be on a leash all the time when outside.

When we left last spring, we left our bicycles next door along with our large garbage can. The only thing we had to do was to wash the dirt and dust off and pump up the tires and now they are ready to go. There are several of our friends from last year that are already here and when checking in at the office, inquired about several others and they are due in prior to the 15th of the month. I can see the Mexican Train Domino games starting up. Tomorrow I will call Qwest and get hooked up on DSL and not have to fight the slow internet at the park.
We will spend the rest of this week relaxing before we take the little car and go exploring the area again. We may have seen it before, but we will see it again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Los Algodones Mexico

What a wonderful day. I learned who has the best gold prices, the best silver prices, the best dentists, the best optomotrists, who has the best prices on trinkets of all kinds, the best prices on pottery and who offered the best food. Moments after we crossed the border into Mexico, we were inudated with offers for dentistry, glasses and souveniers. We did learn that you don't pay the asking price but bargain with the sellers. We did purchase a few things, but not until we had pretty much toured the 4 block area, including alleys and back streets. We pretty much just smiled and said "no thank you" and tried not to be rude NorteAmericanos.
We had a wonderful lunch at Papalos and listened to a one man Mariachi band. Actually, he was pretty darn good. I tried to get a video, but it didn't come out too well, so it got trashcanned.
If there is one dentist in Los Alodones, there are 200. And the same for pharmacias and eye doctors. The lines in the pharmacies were long with a lot of Canadians and Americans with their bottles of prescription medicines to be refilled at bargain prices. We visited with one couple that had their eyes examined ($10) and went back in 2 hours and picked up their glasses for less than $100 each and that included designer frames.
When it was time to return to the US, we joined the long line and slowly snaked along until we got to the US Border. Our wait wasn't too bad, only 45 minutes. But during the height of the snowbird season, we were told the lines could be up to 3 hours before you get back to the states.
All in all, it was a fun day and we will go back the next time we are in the area.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving In Yuma

We arrived in Yuma, Az on Tuesday with a new GPS unit guiding us along the way. Cheryl went to KMart in Lake Havasu and bought a Magellan to guide us along the way, but this one didn't reconginze where we were and told us that the RV park that was next door to us was 3.6 miles away. Needless to say, it was returned. Now, we have another Garmin that we bought at Staples. It's not named Ethel, this one is Sammy.

Yesterday, we took a little side trip to San Luis Colorado in Mexico. We kept hearing about all the Americans and Canadians that go there for dentisty or prescriptions. I coudn't figure out where they all were. We were the only "Anglos" there. Come to find out, it was the wrong town and nobody goes there due to the dangerous conditions. We should have gone to Algadones which is across the California border and 5 miles south to Andrade, Ca and walked across. We will do that tomorrow and see what it is all about.

On the drive south from Lake Havasu to Yuma, we noticed a lot of RV resorts along the Colorado River in and around Parkerr, Az. It looks like a real interesting place and we will put it on our "to do " list for next winter.
The RV park that we are in is close to the freeway for easy access. Nice friendly people here, and they even brought us a Thanksgiving 'goodie" basket yesterday.
We will look for a nice buffet restuarant for Thanksgiving dinner later today and maybe explore the surrounding area or just relax and watch a little football and nap the afternoon away.
I haven't figured out how to place a photo is the appropriate spot, but the one above is from San Luis Colorado.
More to come.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cross It Off The "To Do" List

You can't go to Lake Havasu without seeing the London Bridge. Now, we've done it and we can cross it of the "to do" list. We did the whole tourist thing and perused the tacky little shops under and around the bridge. While it was interesting to see the bridge, there isn't any reason to go back and do it again. Lake Havasu City is a lot larger than I thought that it would be. It runs on for miles and miles, but then, they can't build any farther west and east is BLM land so it just runs along Hiway 95. We did take a spin across the lake on the Dreamcatcher to the Indian casino on the California side of the lake for dinner and of couse a couple of hours of slot entertainment. It was interesting to see the lights of Lake Havasu from the other side of the lake. Today is just going to be another "kick back" and relax day. We'll stay here tomorrow also and then on Tuesday start working our way to Yuma for a few days before venturing east towards Casa Grande and Tucson.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The "Ethel" Saga Continues

She died a horrible death. Yesterday when we left Bakersfield, she announced rather proudly that she lost the satellite signal. We didn't think to much about it at the time due to the haze and smog but after 100 miles and no signal, we surmised that she died. Cheryl called Garmin on the cell while we were going down the road and they tried several things and suggested that when we had internet to call back and they would try a couple more things. After 45 minutes with the Garmin tech today, they agreed that she died and that for a proper burial that I would need to send her back and they would send me a new one. Unfortunately, we won't have an address for another 3 weeks, so until then - it's off to WalMart of Kmart or somewhere else and to purchase the most inexpensive one that I can find. After relying on the GPS, it's the pits to go back and read road signs and maps.
We were going to spend last night in Barstow, Ca, but after looking at the primitive and I mean primitive RV facilities, we opted to keep going. We actulally wound up in Laughlin, Nv at the Riverside Casino Rv Park. It worked for one night, but I don't see how people can spend the entire winter there. We did Casino a bit of course.
Today we took the scenic (tongue in cheek) drive to Lake Havasu, AZ and found a nice and clean park. It's rather new and not a lot of amenities, but super nice people and nice level sites. We'll be here for 4 days awaiting the repair of our Motosat satellite system. They will do it on site either late Sunday or Monday morning. We spent most of the day relaxing in the sun and enjoying the warm weather. Tomorrow, we will unhook the little car and go exploring and see what is in the area.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oranges, oranges and more oranges

The RV park is the middle of a 500 acre orange grove. There are 200 spaces for RVs. Although the oranges aren't quite ready to pick yet, they are wonderful and sweet. The park encourages the "guests" to pick a grocery sack full during their stay. We will be in Bakersfield another day before we head towards Barstow and Lake Havasu. Although I am not a Buck Owens fan, we want to go see his Crystal Palace museum and bar. I might just have to have sample their dining menu.
I'm still roughing it. The satellite dish will not recognize the satellites, so we will have to go to a Motosat dealer in Lake Havasu and have it reprogramed. We found out that it will work in Oregon and Washington as is, because it will pick up the older satellites, but new ones have been launched for the southern US.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A review of the last park

It is really a resort and not an RV park. If you enjoy a good wine, there are 51 wineries within an 11 mile radius of the park
When we left today to head further south, we stopped and got diesel and at the same time had the coach washed. They have an automated wash and it did a decent job, not perfect, but a lot better than it was. We only made it as far south today as Visalia, Ca. Bakersfield was our destination, but I didn't want to mess with the rush hour traffic, so we stopped early. Unfortunately, we can't use the satellite due to the trees, so we get to watch a little over the air TV tonight. In other words, we're roughing it.
Tomorrow, we will go to Bakersfield for a couple of days. We picked out this park for our stay.
There is a storm coming in with cooloer temps and rain forcasted, so it looks like a nice place to sit and relax. We aren't on any schedule and have plenty of time to get to Mesa, Az since our reservations don't start until Dec. 10th.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Off The Road For A Couple Of Days

It's time to relax for a couple of days now. We've dodged the snow going over Mt Hood and over the Siskyous heading into California. So, now we'll just sit for a couple of days. It's too bad that Cheryl and I are not wine lovers since we are in the middle of the Napa Valley and all the wineries. We're not unhooking the tow car, we're just going to relax. Cheryl is happy since the resort that we are staying at is on an Indian reservation and they have a casino and a shuttle from the park.
Now, Ethel II and I are going to have a little chat. Not only does she show my speed, but she also shows the posted speed so I can't even "fudge" a little. Cheryl used to be my navigator, but now she's becoming a nagivator. I'm wondering if I can turn that setting off.
Tomorrow, we'll start working our way down to Bakersfield and then over then over towards Barstow. Why Barstow? I don't have a clue, except that we've never been there and need to see what's there.
I'll post more later when there is something more exciting going on.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We Lost "Ethel"

We lost Ethel and don't have a clue where she is. OK, Ethel is our Garmin GPS and we won't leave home without her. Sometime between the 14th of October and now, she has come up missing. We've scoured the house up and down as well as the pickup and the PT and she's nowhere to be found. We're thinking at this point, that she's been kidnapped by some unscrupulous nefarious person. So, it looks like tomorrow I will go "Ethel II" shopping. If she ever shows up again, we'll give her a good scolding and relegate her to Cheryl's Honda and not let her go in the motorhome again.

We've just about got the motorhome packed. Most all of our clothes are packed as well as the fridge and pantry. About the only thing left is to take out Cheryl's sewing machine and quilting supplies. Then it's on the road Tuesday as soon as we get the Scotties back from getting groomed.