Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

So long to lots of memories, A new chapter begins

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

The end of an era,  March 4 and we say good bye.

Howmany states?

Howmany states?

So long Voyage,  it's been a great 7 years!

So long Voyage, it’s been a great 7 years!

The Winnebago Voyage has served us well and now it is time for a new owner to enjoy her as much as we did.  We drove the Voyage through all but Kentucky, Wyoming and Rhode Island in our 5 years on the road with her.  Several states we drove through but did not spend a night so they don’t get stickers.

Ready, Set, Go......

Ready, Set, Go……

Finally,  we are all loaded, the bikes and car are ready to roll.  We left the dealership about 10:30 am with us following a transport guy named Frank who wore a really big cowboy hat and headed to New Mexico where we will officially take ownership of our new home.  As soon as we made the first turn out of the dealership, Frank was taking the next right turn and cut it really short, barely missing an electrical box!  This isn’t going to work so quickly I direct Paul to turn and head for the highway while our home, our livelyhood and Frank head to the Fueling station.  We will meet Frank and the chase car in New Mexico,  following is way too scary!  As it turned out we made a stop in Payson for some lunch and decided to wait for our home.  From Payson to the New Mexico State line we lead the caravan,  probably a bit slower than Frank and Al wanted to travel but it is our home and we always travel a bit slow.

Snow in Arizona

Snow in Arizona

The drive was beautiful as we stayed off the interstate until just before the border.  Once we stopped at the Welcome Center, took a quick picture of us and Frank at the border we headed to Gallup where we will take possession of our new home!  Once we hit the interstate, Al took over and we had trouble keeping up with them!  The new rig goes up the hills really well.  We made it to Gallup,  signed the papers and in a rainstorm we took our first steps in our new home!  We only went 50 miles to Grants where we will spend a couple of days just relaxing and getting to know our new home.  We needed our new fireplace last night as it got really cold!  We need to head south again soon!

I wonder how long it will take to fill another map in our new Winnebago Journey?  Happy travels to us

Good Morning Monday!

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

7:30 am we are awakened by a really loud noise followed by an air horn right outside our window!  The good news is it was not our rig that was being tortured, the bad news is a brand new huge 5th wheel and a new owner Motorhome are both going to be spending more time at La Mesa RV for some body work!  The 5th wheel was being newly delivered to the dealership and the driver backed right up into the front of the Motorhome waiting in line to enter service at 8:00 am.  The motorhome was pretty new also.  Both Paul and I had a sick feeling after looking at the damage and thinking how awful it would be to wreck our new home!  I guess that is what the insurance is for.  I hope we don’t need it for a very long time!

We are almost completely moved into the new RV, now I just need to be able to find things.  It looks like everything fit ok, but we don’t have all the extra space we thought we might with a rig that is 5 feet longer!  It is time to purge again.  The Dealer has been great and it looks like all the fixes will be complete today and we can be on our way tomorrow.

Driving this Yacht is going to be pretty scary so we will be sticking with the interstate until we both feel comfortable.  Next stop is Selma, NC!

Here it comes…..

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Happy 30 years to me…

Sold

 

After 5 years of living and loving our little home on wheels I really wanted to be a grownup RVer!  We bought a Brand spanking new 2014 Winnebago Journey; 41 feet of luxury living on wheels.

Right side

Right side

Left side

Left side

And now for the really good stuff!

The kitchen table

The kitchen table

Can you see that shiny huge refrigerator behind me?

Thats just the refrigerator part, the bottom drawer is all freezer!

Thats just the refrigerator part, the bottom drawer is all freezer!

It is a large 3 door residential refrigerator so now I can have more than 2 kinds of salad dressing open at one time!  Can’t wait to really fill it up with goodies.

40" TV with a electric fireplace below

40″ TV with a electric fireplace below

This will be our main heat source when we need heat.  How romantic!

White!  ouch! Duke will use a blanket  for a short time until I get used to paw prints as part of the decor!

White! ouch!
Duke will use a blanket for a short time until I get used to paw prints as part of the decor!

Paul is stressed from writing the check,  Duke is wondering what was wrong with his last house!

Paul is stressed from writing the check, Duke is wondering what was wrong with his last house!

The bed looks pretty now! I have already banned these fancy items to the storage compartments!

The bed looks pretty now!
I have already banned these fancy items to the storage compartments!

 

It's comfy!

It’s comfy!

No more laundrymats!  Yeah!

No more laundrymats! Yeah!

Now I have to figure out where everything is going.   Everything is bigger but the layout is so different so I will be spending the next several days trying to fit our stuff in the new cupboards!  The storage underneath is huge, infact one of the slide out trays is big enough for a full size mattress so I’m thinking we have a guest room now!  It is so pretty inside I am not sure we fit in but once we get settled and get our stuff into it and the showroom feel removed we are going to be happily moving about the country again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hint of what we will be doing…

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

2014 marks 30 years of marriage and 5 years living our dream of discovering this wonderful country.  We have many things planned for this year to mark the milestone.  Our anniversary is the end of April, but 30 years is a long commitment so I feel that the celebration should be more than one event.  We have pondered a cruise, did that but maybe to a more exotic place?  We could mark it will Diamonds?   I’m always in favor of that one!  Maybe a European vacation? The list has been growing and the first of our celebrations will be disclosed tomorrow……

How do you choose?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The resort lifestyle definitely suits Paul and I pretty well.  We have been here about a week and haven’t even touched the surface of the things we enjoy doing here in the desert.  So far I have read 1/2 a book,  walked several miles, rode my bike,  visited many friends, had dinner with others,   checked in at the sewing center, relaxed by the pool,  enjoyed the spa, watched the stars at night and washed the car!  Paul plays pickleball every morning and then heads off to visit another dealer.

The things we still wish we had time to do is I would like try are  hiking, stained glass and tennis  some golf and a baseball game or two- maybe next year.  We will be leaving the resort tomorrow as we relocate in yet another area of Phoenix/Mesa.  Stay tuned…..

Resort Lifestyle

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

We have been wondering about Southern California and parts of Arizona since we left Campbell in December and now we have landed in Mesa for awhile.  We came back to Val Vista Village today and it feels very comfortable.  We have been here the past four winters and really like the resort lifestyle plus Mesa is a big city with all the city stuff.

Not with this wife!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Paul has always wanted to go to this place near the Salton Sea called Slab City .  He wanted to go there and spend a winter – are you crazy?   This is dry camping with no services for miles!  I think the closest Walmart is about 90 miles!  You have truck in any extra water,  it is land that has been abandoned by the government and people are living here year round!  I had read about it, heard others talk about it and had no interest in seeing the place and especially going there to stay for any length of time.  My dad suggested we take a drive there on Sunday from their place in Yuma where we have been visiting this pass week.  So we did!

Slab City is located right outside of Niland, CA and upon arriving at the entrance to this little community is the main attraction,  Salvation Mountain.  A mountain that has been created by a man and some helpers out of hay bales and adobe clay and then he paints it!

 

Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain

I forgot!  Just before you arrive at Salvation Mountain is a tiny building and a sign near by stating ” If a car is parked here, do not disturb”  That’s interesting!  No one was there so we stopped and immediately you hear running water.

Slab Shower 1

I had read about the public shower from a spring near by.  I am thinking a spring where you can get into the pool and float around!  Nope,  It is a cement tube pouring into a drainage with a ladder.  The floor is cement,  nature is all around, the water is cold but it is definitely flowing with enough power to get you a shower to rid all the dirt!

Slab showerI didn’t need a shower but I did want to feel the water!   Back to the mountain.

Salvation Mountain

This is crazy!  It is a painted mountain that you can walk on.  There were lots of people here, mostly like us just curious but there were a few that were here for the spiritual experience.  To me it looks like Candyland!

Salvation Mountain 3

 

He calls the little path on the left the Yellow Brick Road.  Salvation Mountain 1

There are even places for you to walk into.  The mountain has windows to let light into these interior spaces.  Reminds me of the Winchester House,  lots of structures without any end.  Salvatioon Mountain 2                                                                                                           My dad contemplating the art.

Ok,  enough pictures, now on to where Paul thought we could live for a winter.

Slab Community

A desert junkyard where everyone is a collector.  The area had so many RV’s of all sorts parked everywhere.  Many had full yards and some had full yards of stuff!  There are no rules here,  come as you are and live!  Crazy!

Slab community 1It was a great adventure to check it out but Paul is going to have to save this bucket list idea for another wife!

 

 

 

Life in the slow lane

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

We have been hanging out in the desert sand near the town of Quartzsite.  We have been here many times and every time I ask myself WHY?  There is lots of dirt, retired people, dirt, sunshine, dirt, junk to look at, dirt, RV stuff to buy and dirt!  Quartzsite, Arizona,where you can spend days just looking at the stuff others have brought to sell here.  It is a garage sale on steroids which is not my favorite thing to do, besides I live in a space that does not allow a lot of extra things.  We come here to catch up with people we have met along the way because Quartzsite in January is where lots of RV clubs and groups converge.

We spent our first week here at a Rally, that is what they call these get togethers in the desert where we found several couples that we have met in our travels.  It was very nice, good music and food for 2 days.  We also went to Blythe, California for the Blythe Bluegrass Festival.  It was a beautiful day and one that was good for catching a little Vitamin D while listening to groups playing their music.

fiddle, bango, base fiddle, acoustic guitar and mandolin

fiddle,banjo, base fiddle, acoustic guitar and mandolin

We listened to about 5 bands while enjoying to fresh air and a bit of people watching! This festival was definitely a relaxed day!

Multi-tasking!

Multi-tasking!

 

We moved in the desert to a different section of dirt, this one we pay $40 for 2 weeks for the priviledge of having somewhere to dump our trash and get fresh water if you are willing to wait in line.   Here we have 4 rigs of friends from San Jose and we hang out, read books, play cards, watch a little TV, walk, and sometimes we go into town and check out some of the junk! I even took some time and built a puzzle.

1000 pieces, actually 998!  I lost two pieces from moving it about in the RV!

1000 pieces, actually 998! I lost two pieces from moving it about in the RV!

Thrifty ice cream is the treat of Quartzsite.  There are several spots to get a scoop and it is so good.  I am not a big fan of the desert but I always look for the bright spot and this 2 weeks in the desert and seeing friends, making new connections and that scoop of ice cream is it for me!

Paul is still talking about this!

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

We made it to Arizona, or at least we have been there!  We are parked along the Colorado River in California across the river from Arizona.  We have to drive to Arizona if we want a loaf of bread or even a beer!  Weather is great, life is great, blah, blah, blah!

On the advice of friends and people we just met we decided to drive to the Desert Bar which we were told is down a dirt, desert road for 5 miles.  Sounds crazy to drive 5 miles in the dirt for a drink, but OK,  I’m game!

about 2 miles in this is what we see - miles of desert and lots of cars going to the bar!

about 2 miles in this is what we see – miles of desert and lots of cars going to the bar!

This is definitely out there!  5 miles off the highway and nothing in between except an occasional cactus and a couple worn out RV’s near a shooting range!  Yeks! Finally we find this place.  It is only open from October thru April on Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 6 pm!

There is no cell service, they do have a well and lots of solar panels!

There is no cell service, they do have a well and lots of solar panels!

I was thinking more a shack!

I was thinking more a shack!

The place is totally self sufficient and you can’t tell!  There is live music, people from all walks of life and they pour a mean Bloody Mary!  You only need two!  The restrooms are very interesting.  The women’s has an amazing view and the mens is a one room cave!

Not sure what the buckets were for!

Not sure what the buckets were for!

Really!

Really!

The stalls are made out of solid sheets of steel and the back wall is the mountain!

We spent a couple hours visiting with some new friends and listening to some fun music and then it was time to take the trail back to civilization.

On our way back to California we see signs that say watch for the Burros and we saw a couple!

Check this out!

Check this out!

Good thing he has a girl picked out!

Good thing he has a girl picked out!

Paul saw this and had to stop!  He says it was touching the ground.  Paul is so impressed he will probably be talking about this in July!

 

 

 

 

Can you believe it???

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

I keep checking my calendar and reviewing my dates because it just doesn’t seem possible that 5 years ago we walked away from “normal” and into this world of roaming about the country.   Is it what I expected in 2009?  What is my favorite place?  What do you do all day?  How long are you going to do this?  are some of the questions that I get asked often and mostly I can’t answer them.

Where are we today?

Pretty nice place to call ‘home” for a few days!

Is it what I expected?  I don’t know because I am not sure what I expected.  We were at an interesting part of our lives, I love to travel, our kids were off in college, Paul worked 80 miles from home and the economy was going to Hell!  I do know it was the right decision and I have no regrets.

What is my favorite place?  This one is the hardest because “home”  was/is a pretty amazing place.  It is a big city with lots of congestion, people from all walks of life and political problems but the weather is spectacular and that is where my kids have chosen to make their lives!  So, home will always be San Jose but being able to visit all these other amazing places is an experience I cherish.  I love the south for the amazing food,  I love the northeast for the beautiful nature, New York City is an amazing place to just hang out,   the northwest is very peaceful.   The southwest can’t be beat January- March.  The beauty of this lifestyle is that I don’t have to choose because my home has wheels and Paul will drive me anywhere I want to go.

What do you do all day?  Hmmm….  walk, read,  sit in the sun,  watch the birds, play fetch with Duke,  laugh, write this blog, take pictures, sew, crochet, play games on the computer, watch tv, clean house, make dinner – mostly what everyone else does except I don’t go to a job.  We have done some jobs on the road but mostly I enjoy life without being especially productive.  Of course we do some amazing thing but there is so much more to do.

How long are you going to do this?  The original commitment was 5 years but within the first year we both knew that was not going to be enough.  There is just so much to see – we have been across the USA twice and will be working on our third trip this spring, we have traveled to the northwest twice and into Canada,   we have spent several winters in the warmth of Arizona, seen many NP’s, swam in the Great Lakes, climbed tall mountains, driven on some beautiful roads,  but we haven’t seen every state or everything in most states so we are now thinking we will stop when we are tired of seeing and doing new things – maybe never but who knows!

So after 5 years the questions are still unanswered but there are some things I do know:  I love being able to discover new places; take a walk at 11 am, sleep until 10 every day or wake up at 6 (that doesn’t happen often other than to pee!); decide to move to a new area whenever I want;  I need to see my girls often and as soon as I leave I miss them even more;  my friends will always be there for me and seem to enjoy seeing me as much as I do;  life is simple, the stuff in it makes it hard; I don’t have to be busy; two people can live in 350 sq. ft and not kill each other – it does help that we like each other!;  and I don’t have time to clean this house anymore than I did a big 22oo sq. ft one!

This year is the first year that we left San Jose and don’t know exactly where we are going.  We have a sketch but only a couple commitments so I am thinking we will see and try lots of new things this year.  Currently we are in Parker, AZ – actually across the river from Parker in California!  The weather is beautiful and my view is amazing.

When things start thawing out in the rest of the country we will head east where we have tickets to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Allstar week and then we head north to cooler temps for the summer where the girls will join us for a week in Old Forge and then it is to Maine for the fall.  After that we think we may try Florida for the winter!  See, it is a very busy lifestyle!

It is a different way to live and once you start it is hard to even think about going back to “normal” so for now this is my normal and  I look forward to another 5 years.