Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy to be Home

This posting will be shorter than usual, since we haven't done a lot since we got here.  It's time to slow down and relax.

When we made our reservation to come here to Wilderness Lakes, they had said they didn't have sites for us after 10/30.  So we came in and requested to be added to the waiting list to stay longer.  Two days later we were notified we can stay until November 11th, so we went ahead and put up our screen room.  YAY.  We haven't had it up in about a year, so it took us a while to figure out how to do it again.  LOL.  It is so nice to sit out there and not be bugs.  Mary arrived the same day, and brought us a gift from her stop at the Wall Drug, in South Dakota.  Wall Drug was made famous many years ago as the Free Ice Water Store. 
Marla, you didn't think they existed.  It's a Jackalope!  We haven't named him yet.  On Saturday we went to the Family Center to play "candy bar bingo", and we won four candy bars!  Not a bad day, I'd say.  The weather was very pleasant, so
we relaxed in the screen room that evening. 

On Sunday, we drove down to Garden Grove Elks for Pizza Sunday. 
Despite how it looks, I really wasn't trying to scare our dear friend Robert when I took his picture. 

The band was very good, and we had a great time line dancing.  As you may remember, we did get to do a little dancing the night we were at the Elks Lodge in Fort Smith, Arkansas, but we didn't get to dance a lot.  We danced a lot more yesterday.  It was really WONDERFUL to see so many dear friends.  Sherrie & Ron, it was grand being with you.  We missed you so much when we were away.  Ron, I was so sorry to hear of the death in your family.  Our prayers are with you both at this difficult time.

It was great to see Pastor Paul
and also Irene & Don.  She still dances circles around him, but they are so sweet and cute together.

We wished we could stay longer, but since we both have problems with night blindness and needed to get back here before dark.  Before leaving, Jim had to have one dance with Sherrie.  She never knows what to expect from him, so it's always funny to watch.  I'm not sure what he said or did to make her laugh, but it must have been good. 

It's a good thing we left when we did, because there had been an accident on the 91 freeway, and travel was slowed, by a police car looping back and forth on the road.  As it was, we were just turning into the RV Park as it got dark outside.  The dogs were glad to see us, and we were glad to be home.  It was a great day.  
Today Tony came to visit us and, of course, brought his wonderful dog Woody.  It will be wonderful having them here for a few days.  YAY!!!! 

As I said before, traveling was wonderful, but for now, we are sooooo happy to relax and stay put for a while.  For those who are thinking about traveling, do it while you can.  Don't put it off, because nobody knows what the future holds.  God has given us a wonderful world, and we should enjoy as much of it as we can.  Stay well, and keep the rubber side down.  Happy Trails everyone.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Home Sweet Home

We are now "home" at Wilderness Lakes in Menifee, CA.  It feels sooooo good knowing we won't have to pack up and move again in a couple days.  This trip has been incredible, and we loved all of it, but we did get tired, and are happy to be home for now.  Here's the details of the last few days of travel.
We left Benson, and drove to the Wal-Mart in San Tan Valley, where we had been told we would be able to spend a night.    When we went inside to ask where we should park the RV, we were told instead that we should not park there overnight as the local police would ticket us if they saw the RV there.  I called Matt to find out where else we might be able to stay overnight.  He suggested we drive to his house and just park out front of the house for the night.  We arrived and he opened the garage so we could hook up to his electricity.  Since he had us park on his side of the street (on the left side) we were able to put the driver's side slide out (the living room slide) but we decided not to risk sliding out the bedroom slide as it would be out into the road.  We sure
didn't want some drunk driver to slam into the head of the bed while we were in it!  This is the front of his house.  The silver car on the left is Shannon's and the car on the right belongs to her cousin.  Later that day I baked a cake for Matt's birthday.  He is now a vegan, so I had to find a recipe for a cake using no eggs or dairy.  It was really pretty good.  We went to a restaurant for dinner where he was able to have a pizza with no cheese. 
We saw this unbelievable sunset in San Tan Valley that night.

As I have already mentioned, we are falling in love with the beauty and the calm, quiet of the desert, so now I want to include a few pix I took in Arizona.  It is really awesome.  The sky is so blue, and the air smells good.   

In Arizona, they decorate the over-passes above I-10.  Some are very colorful.  We really got a kick out of them.  On Monday morning we left his house and drove west to Quartzsite for one night.
As you can see from the picture on the left, the area is already beginning to fill up for the winter. 
We were also treated to another awesome sunset in Quartzsite Monday night.
After one night there, we continued west to the Elks lodge at Indio, CA.  They have quite a few RV sites, with electric and water hook ups.
The folks there were very friendly and we had a really nice visit in the lodge.  We got up this morning and packed up for the last day of our journey. 

Just had to include a shot of the palm trees out in the desert.  This next picture is of the over-pass at Cathedral City.  Much of the landscape here is dry and brown, but some is very pretty, and some is even quite green.
As you can see above, there are many wind turbines in the Palm Springs area, but it seemed to us like the number has increased a LOT since we left here in January. 
These pictured above have a different base, and we don't remember seeing them before.
This picture above is a dinosaur statue at the Cabazon Outlet mall.  Cute!!!  We usually don't travel this many days in a row, but we really wanted to get here, so we could get settled in and stay in one place.  This makes four days in a row of travel.  Even the dogs looked like they were tired of being seat belted for travel. 

The picture on the left is on Highway 79 on the way from I-10 going down to Wilderness Lakes.

The three pictures above are at Wilderness Lakes.  The last one is the Mini Golf course.  It looks like it has been re-surfaced and upgraded.  We look forward to many games of golf while we are here.  We are also looking forward to the Saturday games of Candy Bar Bingo.  Yummy!  We found a wonderful site, with 50 amp power and plenty of green grass behind us over by the Pickle Ball court.  The dogs love going over there to run and play. 
And last, but not least, here is the RV, all set up here for the next three weeks.  There is also an adult pool in the area behind the RV, beside the pickle ball court.  The country store is just a short way up the road from our site.  The people across from us are scheduled to leave tomorrow, and Mary is arriving tomorrow too.  I'm hoping she will get here in time to get into that site before someone else does. 
Praise God, we have had a truly wonderful trip over the last nine and one half months.  We have seen family and friends.  We visited beautiful places.  We met many fantastic people along the way.  We had all kinds of adventures, from my 50th class reunion to visiting Mystic Pizza in Connecticut, and "Mayberry" in My. Airy, NC and so much more.  Now we are safely back home in Southern California.  We are incredibly grateful for all of the trip.  Thank you God, for the opportunity to see so much of this great country.  Please people, enjoy America.  It's God's awesome gift to all of us. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Friday, October 16th

We are now in Benson, AZ, but I would like to report on the last few days.  As I mentioned in my last post, Pastor Ric and Wonderful Wendy came over on Tuesday and we played Mexican Train before we had a delicious dinner of roast pork with roasted potatoes and carrots and apple sauce.  Wendy made a delightful peach-upside-down cake, since Jim doesn't like pineapples.  It was great.  On Wednesday Ric & Wendy drove up at 10:30 am to ask us if we wanted to take the RV to T or C for an oil change that day.  Willie ran to the door to greet them, and apparently twisted his ankle or leg.  Shortly after they left, he began limping and whimpering.  At first we assumed he must have stepped on a burr that Jim might have brought in, but we didn't find one.  I gave him a baby aspirin and when they came back at 11:30 to pick us up, he was eager to go, but still uncomfortable.  Jim lifted him into the back of the car, and we drove to T or C to have lunch at the A&B Drive-in.  This place makes the BEST Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich I've gotten in any of the 41 states we've been in, and again it was a total winner!!!!  After that Ric drove us to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  We saw this picture in the visitor's center.  The second picture is Wendy looking at a diorama. 

After the visitor's center, Ric drove us through the refuge to try to see some birds.  Because of the extreme drought, we didn't see as many as folks usually see, but it was still very beautiful there.  We did see quite a few geese, and one majestic crane! 

Ric spotted three white cranes behind a lot of shrubbery and trees, but I was not able to get a good picture of them.  There was an interesting debate about what was a bush and what was a tree.  Wendy said a tree has to be over 30' ......she has rules!!!
Last but not least, we saw a dead rattle snake in the road.  I'll never get any closer than this to one of those critters.

 It was a great day, and Millie loved riding around with the window open (only going about 10mph) and seeing everything outside.  When we got home, both dogs fell alseep almost immediately!  LOL.  I had prepared a meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner, so all I had to do was put them in the oven for an hour and we had a nice dinner again.  In the morning we got all packed up and left Arrey to drive to Lorsdburg, NM.  We love the sites in Hatch, NM. 

I can't believe it, but I am falling in love with the desert!   It is so beautiful, and the colors change with the seasons.  As I have said many times before, God is an awesome artist!

We spent the night in the sorriest KOA we've ever seen.  There wasn't really anything BAD about it, just nothing good to talk about.  We got up this morning, and our Tire Minder that we bought at one of the rallies we attending this spring alerted us that the rear tire on the passenger side of the car was down a little.  Jim put air in the tire and we hooked it up and began our travels for today.  We got almost to Willcox, AZ when the alarm on the Tire Minder went off again saying we had a leak in the same tire.  Jim decided to take the very next exit to check it out.  We couldn't find the leak, but we were blessed to find that there was a place at that exit called Dick's Auto Service.  He removed the tire to find the leak, and sadly, it was a small gash in the sidewall.  He said he could TRY to patch it, but Jim knew that was not a good idea.  He replaced the tire for us......then we got the much needed oil change on the RV done.  I want to give them a 5 star rating as the service was excellent, and the price was very, very reasonable.  We would recommend them to anyone needing automotive, or RV repairs when in this area.  Also we found them pleasant and efficient at their work.  All Good!  The only bad part was, that I probably should have had them do an oil change on the car too, but we wanted to get back on the road, so we didn't.  I really feel blessed that God let us know the tire was getting low before we got out in the middle of nowhere, and Jim would have had to change the tire in the heat. 
Now we are at the Red Barn Campground for two nights.  We will see if we can get the oil changed on the car somewhere here in Benson tomorrow, before we go to visit my son on Sunday.  Stay well, and keep the rubber side down as you enjoy this beautiful country.  God Bless America. 
After I closed this post and had dinner, we took the dogs out for a walk, around 6:30 pm.  About 20 minutes later it began to rain.....very heavily, with much thunder and lightning.  Willie was terrified so he hid under the bed, and Millie sat by me on the couch.  It knocked out TV reception, so we relaxed and chatted awhile, then read for the rest of the evening.  It let up enough to take the dogs out again around 10:45 pm, and then the TV worked so we watched the 11 pm news before going to bed.  About 2:45 am we were awakened by the renewal of the storm for about 2 more hours.  Finally it let up around 5 am.  Also, we were closer than we thought to the I-10 freeway, which is noisy all night long, AND a train went by about every hour.  Obviously we didn't get a lot of sleep, so we will take it easy today.  I did two loads of laundry, and will probably finish my book today.  That concludes this entry.

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015......still enjoying New Mexico

Good afternoon dear friends.  I apologize for not finishing this tale until today, but yesterday was a rough day, and we were exhausted by the time we stopped for the night.  Many of you may know that I-40 is famous for terribly high winds and gusts, and yesterday was one of those days.  We ended up stopping at rest areas along the way.....FOUR times before we got to Belen, where we made camp for the night at a Wal-Mart store. 
But to go back a few steps, before going to the RV park where we stayed one night, in Vega, TX we spent a couple hours at Groom, TX.  There is an awesome cross there that stands 193 feet tall, and on a clear day can be seen from FIVE miles away on I-40. 

These are just a few shots we took while we were there.  We had been there five years ago, but now they have an eight minute video of the story of the crucifixion that brought me to tears.  It was really incredible!  We bought a video while we were there, but have not watched it yet.  I think this DVD may be about the building of the wonderful cross here in Groom, TX.  We were really impressed that this marvelous place is located in a town of only 587 people!  We proceeded to the campground and arrived in moderately heavy rain.  Across the street was a Mexican Restaurant called Roosters. 
We didn't go there to eat, but we thought it was cute so we took this picture.  In the morning we got back onto I-40 west and proceeded into New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment.  Our first comment, which we have noticed each time we have come through this state is that the roads are MUCH better than we have encountered in ANY other state we have been to.  We could not check in at the RV Park in Santa Rosa until 12 noon, so we stopped at the Welcome center, which was decorated up for Halloween and had some images of what New Mexico is known for, like aliens and dinosaurs! 

After leaving there, we stopped at Russell's Travel center, where we visited an antique car museum.

Not everything there was an antique, but it was still a pretty cool place to visit.  Then we made our way to Santa Rosa, and set up in a nice site, where we had full hookups AND cable TV.  How sweet it was!  We drove over, by car,

to see their Big Blue Hole.  It was interesting.  I usually include amusing pictures of Jim, but it seemed only fair to put in one that lets you have a laugh on me this time.

We tried to find the Power Dam, but were not sucessful on that.  Alas, we did see a very old, historic church.

I need to close for now, so I will get back to this later.  I shut this down because we had company arrive to visit us.  It was our dear friends Pastor Ric and his wife, wonderful Wendy.  She told me to go ahead and finish this, but I think people are more important than a blog, so I closed for a few hours.  We ended up going out for dinner tonight.  Tomorrow they are coming here for dinner with us.  I'm hoping to teach them to play Mexican Train (our favorite game of dominoes).  Now back to the travel news.....We drove from Santa Rosa to Belen yesterday, in the  dreadful high winds I had mentioned earlier.  It took us six hours to drive 150 miles with the rest breaks we took along the way.  Jim said he felt like he had Popeye arms from fighting the wind all the time.  As always, we begin each morning with prayer, thanking our Father God for all our many blessings and asking Him to protect us as we travel.  I have NO doubt whatsoever that He had His hand on the wheel keeping us safe in the dangerous winds.  
We saw these horse riders at a gas station we stopped at yesterday, near Las Lunas.
Despite the winds, New Mexico is a very beautiful state, and I
would be remiss if I didn't include a few shots taken on the drive through this Land of Enchantment.
Today we woke up to a beautiful morning, and had a very pleasant and safe trip south on I-25 from Belen to Arrey, NM.  To those of you not familiar with this town, the name is pronounced like a-ray.  That seems funny to me, but it's their town, so they can pronounce it any way they want to.  This park is not fancy, but has everything we need, at a price of only $10.00 per night plus electric.  That's very reasonable.  We drove to the Array Cafe for dinner with Ric and Wendy, and on the way back here tonight we were blessed with an awesome sunset.
 As I said, it is amazingly beautiful here in New Mexico.  I wish we had more time to spend here.  Wednesday, we are going to a famous bird sanctuary with Ric and Wendy.  We always meant to go there when we were here as WorKampers, but never got around to it.  YAY!  We will take lots of pictures to include in the next blog post.  That's all for today, so have a grand week.  Stay well and safe, and enjoy this beautiful land.  God IS the greatest artist of all times!