Sunset on Grayton Beach

Sunset on Grayton Beach
Sunset on Grayton Beach

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Keeping busy in the new year and Happy Anniversary

Well I've been continuing my Pickleball playing and even tried out for a tournament with a friend here in the RV park. We unfortunately did not make it into the tournament but we had a great time. Along with that Glenda has been attending her Line Dancing classes on Tuesdays and Saturdays. She really enjoys that activity and she's really good. We also started a couples Country Dance class which is not my favorite thing to do but I am trying and making some progress.

We also celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary on Jan. 21st. It was a relaxing day and we went to dinner with our friends Ron and Patsy. We ate at a new place called San Tan Flat. Click the link for photos and menu. Here are some I took while there.







There is indoor seating and outdoor seating with fire pits. It can get a little cool in the evening. If you sit outdoors you have to stand in line to order your food and pick it up. We opted for indoor with a waitress. We took a stroll outside and noticed some great placards with quotes from Jefferson, Webster, Franklin and other fore fathers of the country. Interesting stuff to contemplate.





We had a wonderful time. So glad we decided to try it out. We'll definitely be going back again.

We had such a great time on our hike with our friends Steve and Mona Liza on the Jacob's Crosscut trail and we hadn't been out hiking since then so we invited Ron and Patsy to go with us on the same trail. It has a nice elevation gain and great views near the Praying Hands rock. It was a warmer day that day and full sun. Perfect for a hike.

Praying Hands rock

Four Peaks without snow

Tall Saguaro

There is a sea of Cholla around the mountain near the trailhead so we had to have some fun.

Help I'm stuck in the Cholla

Once we got to the Crosscut trail intersect with Treasure Loop we took a few more photos.

Ron and Patsy

Top of the world?

Couple of mountain men

Downhill skiers?

We always have such a fun time with Ron and Patsy. After our hike we took them to a Chinese restaurant what we went to with Steve and Mon Liza. (Thanks again for turning us on to this place...love the food.)

Yesterday our street here at the park had a get together. All and Barb a couple of sites from us held the event at their site. All grilled a pork loin and everyone brought a side dish to share. Another perfect day for a get together. Great friends and great food.







After the get together the park had a S'mores event in the parking lot near the Park Office. I like graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallows so off we went. Our next door neighbors, Ken and Sue, were going too so we walked over with them. We took our bag chairs and sat near the tubs where they made the fires to roast marshmallows. I worked hard at making the perfect toasted marshmallow.

Perfect

Yum Yum

Me, Glenda, Sue and Ken

As the sun went down there was a very cool sunset.


Sue is the Line Dancing instructor at the park so she got Glenda and a few other women to get up and dance to person playing the music. Sam and the Band. Sam is the only one in the band. He played both country and rock.



They were wonderful entertainment for those at the party. Glenda had a fun time. After a while it was cooling off quickly so we headed home. So nice put down some roots for a while and enjoy the desert weather while making friends. So many fun things to do. Only two more months here and we'll be on the move again. We plan to spend some time in California and Nevada in April and May before heading to Utah and the National Parks. Looking forward to seeing our RV friends, Steve and Debbie in March and we need to get some more hiking in with Dave and Faye. I know Glenda and Faye will soon be doing some horseback riding with a Groupon special. Can't wait to get started on new adventures.








Friday, January 15, 2016

Rainy week, hike with new friends and Quartzsite

After we got back from our holiday visit I came down with a cold and the weather in our area due to El Nino turned rainy for about a week. We had planned on getting some hiking with with our new friends Steve and Mona Liza Lowe. Side note:We met them at Cave Creek with our friends Faye and Dave and Ingrid and Al for a nice get together of bloggers.



At least the rainy weather gave me a chance to get over my cold. Well during the week Mona Liza messaged me ad asked if we could get out for a hike before they left the area. Fortunately the weather was to improve the day be fore they were to leave so we decided to hike a combination of the Jacob's Crosscut, Prospectors View and Treasure Loop trails.

This was the view the day before our hike
 
Our view the day of the hike
 
Glenda and I started at the trailhead and Steve and Mona Liza started from their site at the Lost Dutchman SP. We met at the intersection of the Jacob's Crosscut and Treasure Loop. We headed toward the mountain and then made our way up the Prospectors View trail toward praying Hands.
 
View back down the trail of Four Peaks Mt with some snow

Praying Hands on the left
 
We had a great hike and wonderful conversation getting to know Steve and Mona Liza better as friends. This is exactly why I wanted to be a full time RV'er. Folks are so friendly and interesting. I still can't get enough of the landscape here in AZ.
 




After our hike we decided to meet for lunch. Steve and Mona Liza had been to a Chinese restaurant in AJ and Glenda and I had not had any Chinese food since being here in AZ. The food was very good and the conversation even better. I'm so glad we got the opportunity to see them again and share some experiences. Looking forward to seeing them again down the road.

Our friends Steve and Debbie are in the area now from spending the summer and fall in California with family. They're meeting RV Dreams friends in Quartzsite, AZ about 140 miles west of our park. I saw their post on FB and commented that we'd like to see them so they invited us to drive there. This was a perfect opportunity to see how they were getting along dry camping(boondocking or camping without hook ups - electricity, water or sewer) in one of the largest and most popular areas for dry camping in AZ. It just so happened that the big RV Rally in Quartzsite was going to take place the next weekend. I've been wanting to do some upgrades to our rig so we could do some dry camping in the future and Steve has his rig all set up and functioning.

I had to see what it's like there and what the rally might be like. Glenda and I made the drive on Wednesday and arrived abut noon. Steve and Debbie grilled some burgers and I brought some beers to try. The food was fantastic and so were the beers. :-)  Steve gave me a quick tour of his rig with the portable solar panel, portable generator and his inverter. The inverter makes 12v power into 110v power so you can run appliances like the microwave, TV, hair dryer, coffee maker, etc. Then using the solar panel and generator you can maintain a proper charge to the RV batteries. You don't want to run them down too far or dead, of course. Steve gave me some great information on the components I would need that he had. It looks like I could do a basic upgrade for about $1100. Compared to a full solar upgrade of over $8000. I just don't know how much dry camping we might do so small steps are better.

After lunch we met some other folks camped nearby and then we decided to go into Quartzsite and check out the early arrivals before the big rally. It's really just a big flea market with all kinds of RV related products. There were also some RV dealers onsite so we took a look as some motorhomes.


 
 
 
What we saw wasn't even close to what it will be like this weekend when the rally gets into full swing. The rally is from Jan 16 to 24. Steve and Debbie are in an area south of the town that is for long term dry camping. It's BLM land(Bureau of Land Management). The long term areas are called LTVA(Long Term Vacation Area). There are water sources for refilling your water tank and dump stations for emptying your holding tanks. It costs $20 per week to camp there due to the services they provide. The area is pretty barren like you would expect in a desert setting. Not the most desirable landscape for a long term vacation but I guess if you're looking for cheap living this would be the place.
 
We had a great visit and I'm so glad we've had the opportunity to share some time in Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico and Arizona with them. We're both Class of 2014. That means we started our fulltime lives in 2014. Debbie is a wonderful blogger and photographer. Steve is my tech guy. Thank you so much for the invitation and information. Looking forward to seeing you again in March.
 
 
 




 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Catching up...Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, 3floyds and lots of driving

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. After retiring last fall 2014 we have driven back to IL/IN to spend Christmas with family and friends last year and again this year. We rented a car and took 2 1/2 days to drive back to celebrate the holidays. My brother let us have his bedroom for a few nights while we were in town.  He has a very nice home and has done some great upgrades to the kitchen and the bathroom. We really appreciated his hospitality. Once we got into town we went to my Dad's assisted living apartment and spent some time each day with him. We tried to get him to come to my brothers home on Christmas eve but he refused to go. He didn't feel comfortable getting out side and now being in a wheelchair after having the broken hip last year he felt it was too much trouble so we took dinner to him Christmas eve and a breakfast casserole o Christmas morning.

We had a good visit and appreciated the time we had to be with him. He's 90 years old now and no one knows how many more years we'll have to spend together. Since my brother is still working(until May 1) and lives in town, he has taken on the responsibility f watching out for Dad and does an incredible job. I'm grateful for the things he does while I'm off traveling in my retirement.

Dad and his two boys


Dad still is able to do many things for himself but being in assisted living allows him more freedom and some privacy that he couldn't get in a nursing home. With technology today we have the opportunity to Face Time once in a while too. Dad's really likes his smart phone and computer.


After seeing our friend, Beth, when she was visiting her mom last month here in AZ we set up a little party of the OLD running group. Beth has a very nice apartment in downtown Bloomington, IL and graciously opened up her home for the party. Everyone brought some snacks and beverages and had a wonderful evening reminiscing and catching up.

Kent, Tammy, Beth, Jana and me

Unfortunately Katie couldn't stay for the photo and Jeff couldn't make it but we all had a good time.

On Christmas Day afternoon we headed to Streamwood, IL to visit our daughter, Heather, SIL Paul and grandson Aiden for a few days. Unfortunately I didn't get many photos of the family except these.

Heather was under the weather

Glenda made some cookies

Aiden watching movies on the IPad

Aiden playing games



We had planned on watching Aiden overnight after Christmas so Mom and Dad could have a night to themselves. However, Heather got the flu right after we got there and plans were cancelled. The good thing was we got to spend more time with Heather and Paul that we wouldn't have had.


Aiden couldn't hold still for a photo

In preparing to come to IL/IN we decided to go to a Beer/Wine shop to fine some beer for my brother and family that they couldn't get in the Midwest. As I was looking at the beers a guy walked by and I stopped him and asked him what he would recommend. I ended up with a Four Peaks Kilt Lift'r Scottish Ale. It was a big success. Then while in line checking out, a guy behind us heard us talking about going back to IL/IN and he said we should look for some 3Floyds Brewery beer. This beer is only distributed on IL, IN and MI. So while in the Midwest visiting I got my SIL to take me on a beer run to find some. The most sought after beer for 3floyds is Zombie Dust. Hard to get since the stores only get a limited quantity and only 2 - 4 times a month. Well luck was not on our side for Zombie Dust in IL but I did score some other 3floyds that I knew I would like.(Jinx Proof, Robert the Bruce, Yum Yum, Deesko, Gumball Head and Alfa King).

On December 28, Heather and Paul had to go back to work and Aiden to Day Care(he calls it school) so we left that morning to drive to our daughter, Sommer's home and the other grandkids...Jasmyne, Brooklyne, Caden and Ryleigh. Of course the weather decided to turn ugly and it made a 2 1/2 hour trip into a 4 hour trip but we made it safely. It was great seeing the rest of the family and catching up. Even our SIL's son, Mason, was there for a couple of days before heading back to school in Grand Rapids, MI.

Of course, our daughter had to work a couple days that week so Glenda took charge and we got some groceries to make some meals and cookies for them. The weather stayed cold and windy and reminded us why we didn't want to do winters in the Midwest anymore. Of course I didn't get any good photos of the family but the most important thing is spending time together.

Random photo of kids hanging out


Back to beer, the 3floyds brewery is in Munster, IN and they have distributing in the South Bend, In area so while in IN I asked our SIL, Todd, if he wanted to go with me on a beer run to see if I could score more 3floyds and possibly some Zombie Dust. Since he had some days off we set out the next morning on our quest. The very first beer/wine shop we stopped at I didn't see much in the way of 3floyds so I asked a stock person if they happened to have any Zombie Dust. He looked at me and said "Yes, I do but it's only one 6 pack per person". I said I'll take one and so will my friend. I scored 2 six packs just like that. OK, I had a bit of an obsession with this beer at this point but really wanted to take some different beers back here to AZ to share with friends. I ended up with 2 cases of beer overall. That should do it. 

Zombie Dust

After our beer run adventure we hung out and played card games with the kids, watched football and ate and ate and ate. It was a great visit and looking forward to going back in the spring to see Jasmyne graduate from high school and then spend time with us in Utah.

Well December 31 was the day we had to start back to AZ but we didn't want to do it in more than 2 days. I knew they would be  looong days but I was ready to get back home and we needed to turn in the rental car on January 2. We calculated that it would be two 13 - 14 hours days. We packed up and got on our way after good byes. We made a reservation at a hotel in Weatherford, OK that night. It was a very nice Fairfield Inn by Marriott. Fortunately we gained an hour from Eastern to Central time. Then the next morning after a quick breakfast(free) we continued on. Again we picked up an hour from Central to Mountain time. The roads were great but everywhere we drove through had snow on the ground from a previous snow storm a few days before.




We even had to make some detour on I 44 around St. Louis, MO due to flooding from the Mississippi River. The snow that fell in OK, TX, NM and AZ was rain in the Midwest before temps started to go way down therefore flooding. We didn't allow it to deter us from our mission.

Over all it was a great trip to see family and spend the holidays together. We miss our family and we know they miss us but everyone is making an effort to stay in contact and make the most of the time we have together. Thank yo to our family for opening their homes to us and putting up with us. :-)

We brought back some great memories and unfortunately I brought back a cold with cough and scratchy throat. Yesterday was the worst day but feeling better today. One good thing is the weather here in AZ is going to be rainy all week so I don't have to worry about missing out on my outdoor activities. Also I was able to spend some time writing this post. It was a long drive there and back but it's always worth the effort to be with family.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.