Saturday, April 22, 2017

And We're Off Again

During our winter stay in Mesa, AZ,, I take a break from writing our blog.  We had some visitors, took some hikes, and generally did our normal wintry things. But the most time-consuming and expensive thing we did was to trade in our 30' Class A motorhome for a fifth wheel.  Of course this involved also buying a truck.  Here's our baby when we picked it up at the dealership.  It's a Northwood Fox Mountain 235RLS.

As soon as we got it home, Ron went to work installing solar panels and controller, as well as an inverter/charger with remote controller.

And the work didn't stop there.  He moved all the wiring to install four AGM batteries and reinforced the bin floor for a generator.

Except for the batteries, we ordered all this online.  Imagine the poor UPS driver who had to deliver the generator!

He also installed towel racks and coat hooks, and converted the pantry into a closet by removing shelves and adding a clothes rod.

On April 12th, we left Mesa and traveled 150 miles to our new lot in the Escapees Saguaro Co-op in Benson, Arizona.  This is actually our second lot.  The first was completely empty and we upgraded to one that is almost empty.  This one has some concrete and pavers, but the reason for the move was the orientation of the lot.  The first lot faced southeast and the afternoon sun hitting the side of the RV was a killer.  This lot faces west which works out much better for a fifth wheel with no windows in the front.

The first thing we did was weed, just like we do in Mesa.

But for poor Ron, the work continued with hanging things (pictures, clocks, more hooks) and fixing up the imperfectly positioned pavers and edging on the lot.  He added a shelf in a large cabinet next to the door.

This involved staining the shelf and supports, which I could understand, but I think only he would stain his hat rack which was a slightly lighter wood.  After all, it will be covered by hats!

Sometimes he did relax a bit.  Notice how he placed the things on the wall so he can lean back in his favorite resting position.

We've been here for 10 days and are leaving tomorrow.  Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until this evening to take pictures.  The lots here are leased and any improvements to the site are added to the cost of the lease.  The maximum building size, which is elegantly referred to as a casita, is 288 square feet.  They range from shed size . . .

To very substantial, with park trailers instead of RVs.

Note - the park trailers are not added to the lease and must be removed or sold independently when a lease is terminated.

This is one of my favorite casitas in the park.

As members of a co-op, we all have to pitch in to make the park a success.  Because we are rarely here, we work with the landscaping committee.  Ron and I worked on the area around the clubhouse this visit.

And finally, here's the view of the Dragoon Mountains out the rear window of our fifth wheel.

Tomorrow we're leaving here for New Mexico where we plan on hitting many of their state parks.  Hopefully, I'll soon catch up on reading other blogs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

2016 Year in Review

We left Mesa in April and spent two gorgeous weeks in Sedona where we enjoyed several hikes.  My perennial favorite is the Teacup trail with its view of Coffee Pot Rock. 

Continuing north, we stopped at several national parks, beginning with the Grand Canyon. 

Then we joined up with sister Diana for visits to Zion,

 Bryce Canyon,

 Capitol Reef,

 Grand Teton,

 And Yellowstone.

We said good-bye to Diana and moved into Idaho where we saw a marriage proposal at pretty Upper Mesa Falls.

 We spent awhile in central Idaho, loving the beauty of Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains,

Then moved on to western Montana’s Bitterroot Valley.  The Blodgett Canyon Overlook view reminded me of Yosemite Valley.

 After crossing Lolo Pass back into Idaho, we stopped to admire the giant Western Red Cedars in DeVoto Memorial Grove.

Then we continued north through Idaho.  After stops in Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint, we hit our northernmost point in Bonners Ferry where we hiked to pretty Pyramid Lake.

 We traveled southwest across Montana to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.  Straddling Montana and Wyoming, it’s a spectacular place.

 On our way south, we drove through Wind River Canyon and stopped in Poudre Canyon.   We spent two weeks in the Denver area to celebrate Ron’s birthday with his family.  We enjoyed several nice hikes including the Fountain Valley trail among the red rocks in Roxborough State Park.

 Bishop Castle, located southwest of Pueblo, Colorado, is a very unique roadside attraction and one man’s lifelong project.

 After stops in perfect Salida and Pagosa Springs, we hit New Mexico, where our highlights included Abiquiu Lake . . .

 And nearby Ghost Ranch where we hiked the Chimney Rock trail.

 We made a stop in historic Santa Fe, and then moved on to Cochiti Lake where we visited Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks NM.

 One of the highlights of our summer travels was the spectacular Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

We finally made it to the interesting Cat Walk in southwest New Mexico, which just reopened in May after a disastrous flood in 2013.

 From Silver City, it was a fairly long day trip to Gila Cliff Dwellings NM, but we had never been there so off we went.

 And our last high point before returning to Mesa in late October was a return trip to awe-inspiring Chiricahua NM.  What a place!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Home, then not

We made it back to our winter home in Mesa, Arizona, before the end of October.  We were surprised to see our lemon tree (what was left of it) had broken off near the base.  This was an opportunity to bring out the manly tools.

Ron and our very helpful neighbor Dean got busy digging and cutting.

But I was shocked at the method they employed.  I really thought this couldn't end well.

Well, I was wrong since the stump didn't budge.  So Ron just kept digging and cutting until he got it down below ground level.

But within a week, I was off again, this time flying to PA to visit my father.  We had a lovely week.  About a year ago, he took up a new hobby - target shooting.  Here he is with his long-barrel 22.

Don't mess with this 95-year-old.  He hit the target 25 out of 25 tries at 30-feet.

I also shot 10 rounds with not quite the same results.  I missed all 10 times, but I did hit the target of the guy next to me.  LOL

My daughters came for the weekend - what fun!  Walking around the neighborhood, we were surprised at the fall foliage still hanging on in early November.

My father is a fan of trains and photography, so he enjoys sitting along the tracks.  He took me to a small town that built a cute shelter for people like him.

We hit the jackpot when two trains passed while we were there.

In central PA you still see the other end of the transportation spectrum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


We made one more stop before getting back to Mesa for the winter.  We spent 10 days visiting our lot in the Escapees park in Benson, Arizona.  Here we are parked on our nice empty lot.

While we were there, the nearby old west town of Tombstone held its 'Helldorado Days', which began as a celebration of the town's 50th anniversary in 1929!  We had to go see the parade.

As expected, there were lots of beautiful horses.

Along with an appearance by the US Calvery.

Hot bath and a stiff drink for 25 cents - what a bargain.

The Shriners in their tiny cars had to avoid the presents left behind by the horses.

There were lots of lovely old west costumes.

But also some I didn't understand like these out of Alice in Wonderland.

And this Mardi Gras float.

This cute little cowboy was really fast at retrieving the thrown candy.

More beautiful horses.

And another mystery - a girl with a whip!

 Wow!  If it isn't Joanna Brady!  (Only funny to readers of the J.A. Jance books.)

Even the members of the VFW were mounted.

Ron got a kick out of the two-wheeled Allis-Chalmers tractor.

And I was appalled that the Rodeo Queen painted the hooves of her horse.

I loved these fluffy horses.  So cute.

As you probably know, Tombstone is infamous for the gunfight at the OK Corral which pitted Doc Holiday and the Earp brothers against the Clantons and McLaurys. Sure enough, here come the gunfighters now.

Later, we caught up with Wyatt and Doc at the courthouse.

What fun!