Monday, August 30, 2010

Project Time

As I mentioned before, we stayed on Ted and Mary Ellen's property during our visit outside of Show Low. Ted kindly came up with a project that Ron could help him with while we were there.

Here's Ted assembling the plumbing for under the planned pump house project.

Ron showed his skill with a hammer.

Then he sent Ted to town for supplies so he could have ALL the fun.

They got all four walls up before we left on Sunday. Pretty nifty, huh?

Mary Ellen invited us and several others for a terrific dinner on our last night. Here are the guys - Pete, Walter, Roy, and Ron.

And the girls - Heidi, Joey, and Sally - who, like the three wise monkeys, see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil. Aren't they just a wild and crazy bunch? Actually the women were so boisterous that the poor men couldn't even talk.

My assignment was to arrange the fruit plate. I think I did a good job. Hey, maybe I do have some artistic talent. Or maybe it only appears when food is involved.

Heidi said she didn't understand our compulsion to take pictures of food. As Joey's daughter, maybe she's just too young to appreciate our fascination with food. (Or maybe she just doesn't have a blog to try to fill.)

Although I missed getting a shot of Mary Ellen and Ted at the dinner, here they are the next morning - still smiling. They are standing in front of one of their many juniper bushes which seem to be juniper trees in this high desert environment.

Carol asked if the desert was all green this year from the plentiful rainfall. The answer is yes! In fact we have never seen it so green - just look at the grass in this picture. This is not cultivated, but native grasses.

Then on Sunday, off Ron went in a cloud of dust while I followed in the car at a clean distance. One time we didn't disconnect on our way in and the car looked like it had gone though a dust storm.

We were sorry to leave since we have so many good friends there - most of whom we have known for years through the WIN organization. But as every good RVer knows, there are more adventures waiting just around the corner and we need to experience all we can.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

More Show Low

Show Low received its name when C.E. Cooley and Marion Clark decided there was not enough room for both of them in their settlement. The two men agreed to let a game of cards decide who was to move. According to the story, Clark said, "If you can show low, you win." Cooley turned up the deuce of clubs and replied, "Show low it is." (Taken from the website of the city of Show Low.)

I thought about Mr. Cooley when we followed this rainbow down the main street of Show Low - Deuce of Clubs Avenue.

Our friend Jon has a couple of Alpacas. I have to admit they're pretty cute, but I don't really understand why anybody would want one.

This one has a poodle look going on.

One day we took a very short hike that was surprisingly accessible right in town.

Taylor joined us and thought we were funny with all our hiking gear when the trail was only about a mile long.

With all the rain they've had this year, the wildflowers are beautiful.

And Carol kindly had us over for steak and chicken one evening - YUM! Connie (on left) assisted with the event.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Show Low Fun

Actually, we're not in Show Low, but between Show Low and Concho off Arizona hwy 61. We have friends who summer up here in the cool at 6700 feet, and some who live here year round.

On Saturday, we finished our climb up the Mogollon Rim to our destination.

We had no time to spare since we wanted to be here for the weekend to celebrate our friend Pete's 80th birthday.

And here's the birthday boy himself.

Pete is a legend with our WIN group. Although there are a lot of very helpful individuals in the organization, Pete is in a league of his own. First of all, he is a mechanical genius, but, even more amazing, he is always ready and willing to share that knowledge to help others with no thought of reward for himself. He is beloved by the WINs as evidenced by all the cards he received on this special occasion.

When he finally decided to replace his trademark work hat, somebody who shall remain nameless (Joey) picked it out of the trash and had it bronzed as a memorial. (Okay, it was spray painted, but it's the thought that counts.)

Here's Joey our hostess for the Saturday 'Happy Hour' where we enjoyed hot dogs with sides and trimmings. She was assisted by her daughter Heidi (no picture, sorry) and Jon (shown here) who was the hot dog grilling specialist.

We were really happy we arrived in time for the event.

Some of the happy hour participants.

Mary Ellen and Ted, who generously are allowing us to park on their property, have to be the most photogenic couple ever. They were in charge of the rest of the weekend. For more pictures on their blog, click here.

As evening fell, we moved to Ted and Mary Ellen's . . .

Where we continued the celebration with a fire. However this is not just an ordinary campfire, but what is referred to in the WIN group as a WIN candle. Ted prepared a log by cutting it into eight pie shaped pieces, leaving a couple inches uncut at the base. A piece of duct tape is twisted and inserted into the center to act as a wick. If you are Ted, you then squirt it with a little lighter fluid to ensure a good start.

From left are Mary Ellen, Ted (with Rebel) , Sally (with Annie), Sue, Sherri, and Pete's legs.

And Barb, Sally (hey, she was in the last picture!), Patricia, Don, Barbara, Donna, and Norm.

Once the candle burns down some it can be utilized to toast marshmallows or, for the more adventurous, as a means of gambling. Each participant ponies up a dollar and bets on which piece of the pie will fall first. It might be necessary to bring in an accountant to calculate odds and payouts.

Then on Sunday, Ted and Mary Ellen hosted a barbecue with scrumptious pulled pork sandwiches. Carol seems to be having fun talking to Bob and Pete.

From left, Sue, Sally, Taylor, and Donna are in a deep discussion. If you look closely, you can see Ron in the background going back for seconds on the food.

It was a truly amazing weekend and a fitting tribute to our wonderful Pete. We love you, Pete!

Friday, August 13, 2010

And We're Off!

Today, (yes, on Friday the 13th), Ron and I finally left the 110 degree heat in Mesa and headed for cooler climes. When anybody would ask us where we were going, we just replied, "North and uphill." We're on our way to visit several friends outside of Show Low, AZ at a blessed 7000 feet. We thought we would make it in one day (184 miles), but after loading up and the stress of leaving, we only made it to outside of Payson at 5728 feet.

We actually took the same route last year when we left for the summer, but that was in May. The drive is very scenic, but nicer last year when everything was in bloom.

We settled in the same National Forest campground among the impressive ponderosa pines. The campground is aptly named Ponderosa campground.

They have sites that are more scenic, but we just took a pulloff so we didn't have to unhook. When we were here last year, we saw lots of unusual and colorful birds. This time all we saw were robins and goldfinches. I guess the others were migrating.

Even in the dead of summer, I managed to find a wildflower to capture for the blog. I have no idea what it is. Anybody?

I love the look of the alligator juniper trees with their distinctive alligator-like bark, but they also often have areas where the bark seems to have fallen off, reveling a smooth skin. This one was doubly interesting since it looked like one of the scary trees in the Wizard of Oz.

We have already discovered a problem with long-term RV storage. We knew that if an RV is stored for the winter in a cold area, it must be winterized. What we didn't realize is that in hot summer areas, it needs to be 'summerized'. As you know, we had no intention of staying in Mesa this long, but at some point, Ron did drain the fresh water tank. However we didn't think about the water heater. Wow! Did we have some bad-smelling water. Ron drained it, getting a shower in the process (note to self - don't forget to release the pressure by opening a faucet, after turning off the water pump.) After he refilled the water heater, the smell decreased, but is still pretty obnoxious. We're not sure what to try next. Any ideas?

After dinner, which was cooked with bottled water, we took a walk to enjoy the cooler temperature. I like how the mushrooms push aside the dirt and pine leaves to claim their place. Our fellow WIN member Will could tell us if this is edible. Unfortunately, he's not here so we left them alone.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Pardon me while I brag about how clever Ron is. The situation was this - With limited seating in the RV, sometimes we sit at opposite ends of the sofa with our feet up and sharing the center.

The problem was that one end only had a small section of wall for back support . . .

Which made it an effort to stay on the sofa and resulted in ungraceful falls like this one.

Ron cut a board the proper size and mounted it firmly in place. (I did help with the covering project.)

Which made a nice, sturdy back support for me. What a guy! (You can tell he's really bored, right?)

We also got to watch our neighbor get all these lovely solar panels! How exciting! The power goes right to the grid and if he contributes more than he uses, he gets paid! I wanted to sign up immediately, but Ron wants to see how it all works out for Cliff first.

Both his house and ours even face north so the panels are on the back - perfect!

We're starting preparations to leave and hope to be on the road next Friday if everything works out.