Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The BLOG is back for a few weeks. Sue and I are back on the road completing the trip as was planned this time last year....better late than never.

We closed down the traveling and BLOG in April of this year due to family health issues. In my last blog I had mentioned that my sister had suffered a stroke. Well the fight is still on for her but as time has passed she has fought the good fight and is doing really well. She is continuing her weekly rehab assignments with noted progress. She is currently getting around on her feet utilizing a hemi-walker and a lift chair in her home. Left arm is still a work in progress and not very useful as of yet, but hope is that as time passes there will be improvement with this limb also.

The fact that Sue and I had our new home close to our families was an additional blessing when my mom became ill and had emergency surgury. She made an early morning trip to the emergency room with pain and vomiting. She was found to have a twisted colon resulting in removal of a chunk (20%). Was able to be with her during her week long hospital stay and then she stayed a week with us at our new home. Her recovery went well and she is actually doing better than she has in quite some time.

Now....enough catchup....to the present......
A shot of Sue with a big ol smile (kind of hard to see, but it's there) in front of the sign coming into our place of stay for a couple of nights. Location is Coeur d" Alene, Idaho. What a beautiful spot next to lake Coeur d" Alene. Enjoyed the lake front and the down town area. Found a street full of antique shops. Did not buy much which is usually the case, but have a great time browsing and reliving the past. Typically we spend enjoyable moments figuring out what the various contraptions are, how they were used and marvel at how our ancestors accomplished the many laborious and intriquite processes with such fantastic results. Living was a little rough back then, but in many ways much simpler than todays technological tangle. Focus was on food and shelter, not worrying about personal ID thieves.

The Endeavor in it's slip at Blackwell Island 
Waterfall in the park
 This little RV was a blast from the past. Renovated and shiney vintage 1937
Not sure the year of the boat that was attached to the RV, but it was very shiney also

A couple of shots of Lake Coeur d Alene
Well...down for the night after agreat day of travel smooth roads, no traffic and no wind. Beautiful weather to boot. A quick nap at Walmart in Butte Mt and the best that we have encountered. Grass lawn to set our chairs and a nice moutain view...Sue posted a pic on Facebook.
Will post this for now with more in a couple of days when we have a 2 day layover in Medora ND. Will visiting Roosevelt National Park just north of there.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Travel and blog will be put on hold for some time. The past 3 weeks have been spent in Nebraska supporting my sister Rose as she recovers from a stroke. She will be 55 this week. Way to young to be fighting thru something such as this.
We came back to the rig just today so that we can pilot it to our Nelson Nebraska house closing on May 1. I guess it was meant to be that we contracted this house close to our families. No way expected Rose to be the one that would need the support.
My sister was released fron ICU this past Tuesday and accepted into a lengthy rehab period in the Madonna unit in Lincoln Nebraska.
The next few weeks/months we will support her in any way and as long as necessary.
We currently still have the July camp host job in Washington state that we hope to keep, but time will tell.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wife is back and heat is on.

High Life........

Sue flew back from Minden, Nebraska (helping her mom get into her new assisted living unit), great having my partner back.

We definitely are no longer shaking off winter chill, Phoenix is setting heat records for this time of year. Averaging 15 deg over typical, should be 80 high (nice), hitting 95 (hot). While Nebraska and Colorado are enjoying 60s and 70s. What is the deal with the weather??

Attended our 2nd spring training game, against SF......win 5 to 2. Met and visited with our old friend and realtor from Littleton. Guila, her daughter, "Tesla" and husband, "Randy". They were at the game as part of a spring break vacation.

Managed to find a softball game, courtesy of Jim Doerr a team mate from the senior team that I have been playing with the past couple of years. He has wintered in this area for several years, actually turns out to be just a few miles from our park. Had lunch with Jim which got us talking softball and Jim commenting on his playing Tuesdays and Fridays, invited me along for the ride.
Well what I got into turned out being enjoyable, but seemed like past years of youth.......everyone lines up, teams are selected and Rod is the last one to get on a team..no one wanted the new kid. I got in the last swing though, with a couple of sharp singles which set up the out field playing in on me so that the blast that went over their heads wound up being a triple. Nice bat plus some catches and a put out at third. Not a bad day considering I had not touched the gear since the last game of last August. Of course soreness set in the next day and I earned every stiff muscle.
 Jim and I
 Triple coming up....suckers
This next little adventure is one of those experiences that was not expected but exciting in that the opportunity presented itself and we jumped on it. Did not ever imagine that I would be checking camel racing off the bucket list, but ostrich racing on the same day..........what a score!!!!
And now.....a quick picture of some desert beauty. Spring blooms are every where.
Road Rash.......
Along with the spring blooms comes the spring pollen and am I suffering. Do not recall struggling this much with scratchy throat and runny nose..........keeping stocked up on kleenex is a must.

Friday, March 20, 2015

3/20/15  Have had a pause in the Endeavor journey due to some life changing events (good ones)!!!!

High Life......

Closed up the ship and took the shuttle (vue) to the outer parameter of space.....Nelson Nebraska. Just a few miles north of Superior (where my mom lives). The new objective.....believe it or not....to look at a home to purchase. I know at the time we were beginning this adventure, we did not have the intentions of having another home for some time, not knowing where we might like to settle. Things change.....Sue and I have felt that we should be near our mothers and spend more time with them as the years seem to be flying by. As I write Sue is still in Minden Nebraska (north of Nelson app 60 miles) helping her mom (Luella) get moved into an assisted living facility. So as the decision was feeling like the right one, I began doing web searches of available properties that would give the following...close to our moms, acreage, nice house, out buildings for storage and wood working shop, low cost. We came across what we feel will satisfy all requirements with some work to be done. The below are pics of the property that we will be closing on come May 1st. With the help of our advisory team (my sisters, mom and brother in-law), we were able to weed through some properties long distance (my brother in-law took a stack of pictures and sent them to us for the long distance review)and finally made the 1200 mile trip to look at and eventually put a contract on this place in Nelson. Has 2 acres, 3 bedroom, 1 and 1/2 bath, ranch style with full walk out basement, 1275 sq ft main, 1275 sq ft basement, built in 1978 and has been fully updated in the past couple of years.  Price is 1/4 of what we got for our place in Colorado, so have the extra change to put up the buildings that we desire and make it what we want.....this including an RV storage structure.
 Main upper level door and walk out basement
Vaulted ceilings in main living area
New kitchen and hard wood flooring
Redone main bath
Nicely finished basement
We had not considered Nebraska due to the winters, but we feel that we can have our cake and pie and eat them both. This being the piece of property that we were hoping for allowing us to keep the motorhome to continue travels in between the Nebraska springs and falls. We like Phoenix for winter and we still have the Colorado cabin for extended summer stays in the rockies. We feel that we now have everything, including being closer to the family when it is needed.
So....with the house in work and Luella making her move, we have not been around to pursue further Arizona adventures. Soon to continue though.
Oh yea......did stop at the Sky City casino (west of Albuquerque) on the way back to Phoenix and walked out with an extra $1100.
Road Rash.....
Have been missing my partner, comrade, team mate, navigator, co-pilot, hiking buddy, etc. She will be flying in this Monday..so I will again be complete.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

3/5/15   Geeeeeez.....March, it has been nearly a month since I have updated, regretfully......time is flying.

High Life.......
Have not made it to Cave Creek or Sadona quite yet (as I had mentioned in last post), but lots going on to keep us busy.

On sight......we did a biscuits and gravy breakfast with a couple that all of a sudden had us introduced to everyone. Sue now knows the Monday sewing club gang. She has been invited to come and share her sewing experiences (might wind up teaching the group).
Myself, I simply was asking about some possible tournament activities and now have been throwing horseshoes most mornings with the horse shoe group which includes the past Wisconsin runner up state champ.  He throws "V" shaped horse shoes. I commented on them not looking like the game name (horse shoes??). He came back with them being "camel" shoes. Again I mentioned "horse" shoes and I was immediately made aware of the fact that they are legally sanctioned shoes....no matter what a person might want to call them. I think they had magnets in them.......

The park being named "Pioneer" RV park, of course there had to be a "Pioneer" days celebration. The activities group had several days of happenings. We did a pot luck, poker run, the mentioned breakfast, represent your state parade, Liberty wildlife birds of prey presentation.
The Nebraska entry was very interesting
Peregrine Falcon
I Want a Screech Owl
The gun range next door (Ben Avery Gun Range) to the park had 3 days of a national shooting competition. Sounded like the 4th of July on the other side of the hill for those days. We went to check it out and found that all competitors were required to dress in historical dress of the old west for the competitions. Was way cool in the way the competition was held. There were several settings of staged old west scenes (as shown below) that had the shooters running from window to window, a couple shotgun blasts, then grab the lever action rifle for a few shots and then finish with pistols. Was way better than what we saw at Tombstone. Cool quick draw contests.
Thought I had a UFO sighting the other morning. I am generally (OK always) up kinda early (OK really early) so I go out for a "before sunlight" walk. As I was returning, I caught what seemed to be a very bright flash of light in the darkened sky out of the corner of my eye. I gazed at the spot that I thought the light came from and nothing......I guessed that I was delusional (nothing new). Continued walking and after a few minutes thought I saw it repeat, again out of my full vision, but was sure that there was something. Then in the sky at where I was looking this time, a very bright flash, then nothing. At last, this is the real deal. Another flash........cool, only this time I detected an audible kind of roar. Then it dawned on me.....I was experiencing my first night balloon flight. The light and sound was the burner activation as it was maintaining altitude. A little dis-appointed in that the object was no longer "unidentified" but it was another first and still kinda cool.     
Spent 3 days at the PIR (Phoenix International Raceway) to partake in our first RV rally. Another great time and very educational for "still" newbies. To many seminars to be able to attend them all but the ones that we did attend were very helpful and thought provoking. The best was the last when the freightliner manufacturer had some reps to go over our motorhome chassis makeup and some good dos and don'ts. Now know that I have some further maintenance to get done plus some things that I need to stay aware of.  Also was able to get some minor pieces/parts at some great discounts. Another first was attending an outdoor concert in February. Temp was 66 deg for Super Diamond, a tribute to Neil Diamond.
Have never been a NASCAR fan, but I must say that the facility was very impressive. There is the first race of the season here in a couple of weeks, might attend so it can be added to the "done it" list.
Road Rash.......
Having some issues getting my blood testing done. I had been told by various medical folks that I would be able to go into any lab and get a simple INR (blood coagulation test) as long as I paid out of pocket. Well......not so, I could not get a test without a drs written request. I did get it done finally utilizing a close urgent care unit. Wound up costing me $150. I can get tested over the next couple of months for around $5 so that will not be so bad. I will be on my own if my testing should come back out of whack, which luckily it has not. But.....even if it did, I have been at this long enough to know what I would need to do.  Will get through this for now, at least until we get back to Colorado in May to meet up with our new primary care physicians. One of the many things that we are experiencing and learning from as we go.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2/16/15 Mid February is on us, our 2nd week in Phoenix and we are enjoying every second. Other than a couple of days of wind (really just a heavy breeze) the weather has been super. Lots of sun, upper 70s and lower 80s with mid 50s at night. I would actually say paradise so far. With the weather news consisting of winter storm after winter storm in the northeast (now cold and ice more south), it really makes us appreciate the sun and 80 as we take our daily walks through the park.

High Life......
Met with my nephew Max and his girl friend Rose for breakfast. They moved here from Nebraska a couple of months ago. They are both very busy as they are successfully carving out their piece of Phoenix. They were able to find jobs and an apartment in a very short amount of time. In fact Rose is working double duty. We have plans to get together and hike Camel Back which is a local peak that is a must do for locals and visitors. Waiting for the go ahead from the youngsters as their free time is much harder to come by.
Used this trip to run by Talking Stick Resort. This is the facility that was constructed a few years ago to accommodate the Rockies spring training. In addition to the practice and game fields there is a casino (seems to be a casino around every corner now days) that we did a quick checkout of. Was there long enough to get our playing cards and loose $20.............maybe 10 minutes. Plan on more casino time (can I afford it??) and a few of the spring training games.
In the mean time Sue and I have had no issues in keeping busy. It is very easy to be content with a chair, book and sunshine, but we do have goals of things more active. We found a peak (Pioneer Peak) that is easily hiked from our RV location.
Views from Pioneer Peak
A view of the RV park from Pioneer Peak
My Sue enjoying the views from Pioneer Peak
Have been doing bike rides and found a local tennis court.
Did a day trip to Prescott Arizona. Was a nice drive through some of the back country but was a little dis-appointed in Prescott. Spent a couple of hours in the historic district, but nothing special in our opinions, but hey....that is what we are all about. Checking these things out for ourselves so we know.
Have plans this week to head east and do Cave Creek and Apache Junction. Again....lots of history and hiking to be found.
Also planning trips to Pleasant Lake, Sadona and will take a few days to go hike the Grand Canyon.
In addition to our physical activities have been partaking in some of the weekly activities that are coordinated by the parks activity group. Bingo, ceramics, wood carving...(yea, yea...remember that this is a 55+ plus park and these activities gives us a chance to meet our senior neighbors). Our latest event was what they call "Zingo". A version of bingo that is played with a deck of cards. There are teams of 4 that gets 13 cards as the deck is divided up. Then the caller pulls from the deck so that you can play your cards as they appear. The first one to play all cards yells "Zingo" and wins the pot (as determined by the quarters and dollars contributed by each player for each game). I actually won twice and came away with a $10 profit. Better than I did at bingo.
Again, this allows us more group time and the chance to meet folks from around the park.
Road Rash........
This is easy this week. Almost incited a riot at bingo this last week. The older crowd did not appreciate the moment that I took in the middle of one of the blackouts and yelled...."stop the game....my dobbers dry"!!!!! For those non bingo folks, you use what they call a dobber that is filled with ink to mark the numbers as they are called. Probably should not show up at bingo night any more. No sense of humor.
Note.....this story is fictitious.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Jan 27 (update 2/4).......The Endeavor is anchored in Las Cruces for tonight, smooth drive from Fort Stockton.

High Life......
A first encounter as we were driving, had never seen an actual Geococcyx Californianus prior to todays experience. Should have guessed it was in the cards, a couple of miles prior to the encounter we had noted a dead wiley coyote on the side of the road. Looked like he had been run over by a truck with APME ablazoned on the side. Do these clues tell you that we saw an actual road runner?? I had never seen one other than the cartoon version prior to this lively fellow darting across the road in front of the RV.
This RV park has the best view of any that we have ported in to date. Sits on a hill with an overview of Las Cruces city with the Organ mountains in the background.  Not quite the Rockies, but very nice. I even noted a hint of snow in a few of the upper shaded peaks, inquiring hoping to validate that it was in fact snow, I found the park host all giddy (with pictures) of the 5 inches of snow that fell here last Thursday. Actually the second time that mother nature has dropped the white stuff this winter season.
Las Cruces stayover
Same view.....twi-light
Same view.......morning sunrise
Picking up blogging on Tuesday Feb 3........location........Pioneer RV Park, Phoenix. But wait...have some catchup to do.
After Las Cruces, our travels took us to a location 9 miles south of Benson, Arizona..........Kartchner Caverns State Park. Not a bad day traveling, partly sunny, mid 60s. But the weather report had us turning cold and rainey for a couple of days.......imagine that.
The park is set up really great, plenty of room between sites and very quiet.
With the weather turning, we took the first day (the projected less dreary of the coming 2) and tripped to Tombstone hoping that we would be able to walk the streets with out the need of rain coats. The 2nd objective is the tour of the cave so we figured if there was to be a day of torrential rain, where better to spend the time than in the bowels of the cave where we would never feel a drop. Our plan worked to perfection, cloudy with an occasional sprinkle temps in the lower 60s for Tombstone.
Appr 30 miles to Tombstone, enjoyed the history of the various buildings and western antiquties.
Of course while in Tombstone it is a must that you do the shoot out at OK corral.
My newly learned history lesson from the Oct 26, 1881 shoot out experience is this.......maybe my heroes the Erps and Doc Holiday (especially the Doc, after Val Kilmer did such a great job of portrayal in the movie....."I've got your huckleberry") were not such good guys after all. It is not totally clear in the history recall if the bad guys (McLaury's and Clanton's) were even armed. So there leaves some doubt in my mind how fair the fight was. Was interesting history and I came away with the below pic for my blog. Checkout the look that Wyatt (to my right) waas giving me. I guess he did not appreciate the home boy stance. 
    Sue found a couple of new boy friends.
The second day of touring the cave was incredible. Carlsbad Caverns may have the size, but the Kartchner Caverns are less busy and great care is taken to preserve the caves. As the group enters, you go through several heavy doors that are in place to keep the inner environment prestine. The tour guides are consantly turning on and off lighting, this to prevent the heat from the lights effecting the inner temp. As you enter you go through a series of misting sprays, this is to dampen the various lints, hairs, dust, etc that could fall from the bodies of the group. Each night cleaning crews go through the caves and clean/vacuum the walk ways. Of course pictures are not allowed inside, in fact you cannot take anything loose into the caves, jackets accepted. 

 This creek bed was dry on the day of our arrival. After 2 days of record setting rain fall, it was a rushing river.
Did one over night (2/1) in the parking lot of the Dessert Diamond Casino on the south side of Tucson. Did not get rich, lost a little......as they say....had fun.
Arrived in Phoenix at the Pioneer RV Park on the 2nd. The below pictures pretty much say it all.


I do have one story to tell about a gentlemen that we met not more than 30 minutes after we arrived on site. We were walking to the office to do paper work when this elderly lady (will call her Loraine, because.......that is her name) approached us talking a streak that would not stop. By the time we could seperate ourselves and continue our office trek, we found that Loraine and her husband (will call him Ray, because.....that is his name) have been in the park for 17 years. They will be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this year (do not remember when exactly but I am sure that she told us). But what caught my history ear was her bragging about Ray surviving Pearl Harbor. Ray was standing in the back ground tinkering with a plant, Loraine mentioned that he did not talk much about his military experience, but later I was able to set with him and he was very much willing to share his past....and it was very interesting.............
He joined the Navy as a 17 year old. He tried to enlist at 16 (at that time you had to be 18) but the recruiter knew he was lying so he was turned down. Later the age restiction was changed to 17 which he was by that time, so he was in. Wound up as a 2nd class gunnery mate on the heavy cruiser vessel named the USS Northampton. Well, on Dec 6th of 1941, his ship was heading into Pearl Harbor when thay encountered an issue with some cabling going over board and getting tangled in the props. By the time they had the divers get the cabling cut off, they were not allowed in the harbor because it was under attack. The 5 hours that they got delayed due to the repair probably saved their lives. They were allowed in the harbor the next day and they were witness to the after math of the event, fires and carnage all through the harbor. They resupplied and went back out to hunt japs.  Did some research on the Northampton and found that she was sank in Dec of 1942 at Guadal canal in the battle of Tassafaronga. Took 2 torpedoes from a jap sub. Hoping Ray will feel comfortable sharing the further story of the final attack. I am sure that he had to be on board.  
Road Rash........
Too hot, 80 deg tomorrow..........just kidding!!! Loving it!!!!!