Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lazy blogger catching up...alot has happened

In my last post we had returned from our grandson watching duties and visiting family before the holidays. Those were good days then in December I got a call from my brother that my dad had taken a turn for the worse with his health. It wasn't so much his physical health as it was his mental health. His physical health hadn't been good for a while due to his broken hip and confinement to a wheelchair for the last 3 years. He just started to loss the will to continue on. It was time to move him from assisted living to a nursing home. I got a flight out of Mesa, AZ and headed back to IL to help with getting him arranged and take care of clearing out his apartment. Before I got there my brother had made the arrangements for a room at the nursing home and had that part done. After I arrived we went through his things and mostly donated his clothes and furniture to charity. Dad was having more pain in his hip and with the will to live fading we called in hospice to keep him comfortable. Fortunately, he was coherent enough to converse in between sleeping. He wasn't eating much any more and it was obvious that his wishes to pass were going to be happening in the next few weeks.

Everyone would ask him what they could do for him and all he would say....over and over again is...pull the chain....pull the chain. We knew what that meant. However in our society we don't honor the wishes of those who are ready to be with loved ones in the next life and out of pain. It was just a waiting game.

One good thing out of this was my brother and I had lots of time to share time together. I feel we came closer together as family.

Along with taking care of dad's things we made final arrangements at the funeral home and cemetery for the inevitable.

Well after about 11 days in IL with an uncertain time line on dad's end of life and all we could do was done, I prepared to head back to AZ.

Remarkably the day before I left we went to visit dad and he was very alert and able to talk with us. Something we hadn't been able to do well since I arrived. As dad laid in his bed I kneeled down next to his bed and said my final good byes. Tears and a lump in my throat made it difficult to speak but we were able to express our love for each other and how grateful we were for the lives we had lived together as family.

After a month and 5 days later I got the call from my brother that dad had passed...January 6, 2018

Glenda and I flew back for the funeral and internment. Difficult time for all the family. Fortunately, our daughters, Heather and Sommer were able to attend and my brothers son's...Logan and Parker happened to still be in town from the holidays before. We had a brief visitation and funeral after. A couple of dad's former boating friends, Chuck and Patty from Chillicothe, IL were there too. 

My brother and I took care of dad's final affairs before Glenda and I flew back to AZ. 

I know Dad and Mom are dancing together in heaven and happy to be together again. 

We slowly got back to our lives here in AZ with visits from friends, Steve and Debbie and Faye and Dave. Of course we got back to our card playing with Ron and Patsy here in the RV park. We really appreciate our friends and enjoy the times we are together. Never a dull moment. 

We continue to take part in the activities here in the RV park with line dancing for Glenda and Pickleball for me. However with so much traveling in the last couple of months we also enjoy just hanging out at the park and slowing down some. 

For the last 2-3 years Glenda and I have tossed around the idea of moving from our 5th wheel to a motorhome. We had attended several RV shows in the Phoenix area over the last 2-3 years also. Thinking about dad's life, our lives and future we made the decision to make the change. We had been drawn to the Winnebago brand and at the most recent RV show we attended we found a motorhome that suited our needs and style so we decided to make the move. We found a 2018 Winnebago Sunova 36Z.  Click on the link and 36Z to get a better view of the specs and lay out. It has everything we were looking for with newer technology and equipment that will allow us to dry camp if we desire. We traded in the truck and bought a small car to pull behind the motorhome which makes Glenda very happy. She never did like driving the big truck around if we weren't pulling the 5th wheel. With this new home comes growing pains. We have been re evaluating our belongings and making decisions on what to throw and what to keep. Storage in this motorhome is very different than the 5th wheel. 

Now we have to get the towing equipment installed on the car and motorhome to safely tow the car. We hope to accomplish this in the next couple of weeks. And as typical with the RV industry and RV dealers we have issues that need to be addressed and fixed before we head out for the summer travels. You would think that a new product would be trouble free for a while after the purchase but not so in the RV industry. In addition, the RV dealers are mostly interested in SELLING their product not SERVICING it. What do they consider a PDI(Pre Delivery Inspection)? Air conditioners that won't work, windows that are broken and trim that is in disrepair. They tell you that they check out the RV for 2-3 days before a customer takes delivery.....YEAH RIGHT. 

Now we have to coordinate repairs too before we head out for the summer at the end of next month. 

I'll refrain from mentioning the dealership but if you want to know just email me. Also a funny thing, they called today to have me answer some questions about the SALES experience. I didn't give them all 5's. 5 means excellent. 

One of the cool things we did recently was attend a magic show with Faye and Dave. They enjoy seeing shows and events and invited us to go with them. The show was called Carnival of Illusion and was at the Tempe Center of the Arts and was a small intimate setting with only 5 rows of seats and about 100 folks in attendance. Roland and his wife Susan loved getting the audience to participate. Several audience members were chosen to help with some illusions.

At the end of the show I got chosen to participate in the final illusion where we chose random cards and then in turn we read what was written on them. Mine said "The person who reads this will have facial hair". They certainly got that right. Very fun evening and we were treated with a wonderful sunset and lights on the bridge over the Salt River. Thank you so much for inviting us.

We also had an opportunity to get a hike in with our friends Steve and Debbie while they made a stop in Apache Junction at the Lost Dutchman SP. We've enjoyed so many travels with them and look forward to more in the future. We got a bit of a late start to hike to Massacre Grounds near the SP so we didn't make it all the way before we had to turn back as we were losing day light.

After our hike we went back to their site and they made us a delicious meal and we enjoyed a great campfire. Of course, Steve and I traded some beers and enjoyed some new ones. 

About a week ago we had another opportunity to share time with Faye and Dave by taking them to Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, AZ. This is a desert botanical garden at the foot of Picketpost Mountain.

Dave being the incredible photographer that he is, we thought this would be a great venue for some awesome photos. It was a little cool and cloudy but we made the most of the surroundings and get some mild hiking in around the grounds. Here's a sample.

Enlarge the photos for best viewing
Picketpost Mountain

Such beauty in the desert

In addition to spending time with friends we have also spent time with our son, Chris and his girlfriend, Kendra. 

We continue to spend time with our Canadian friends Ron and Patsy and winter friends Bill and Kay from Wisconsin. Bill and Kay were leaving early to start moving west and north toward Idaho so we all got together for a mild hike and enjoy Aussie Day at Boyce Thompson. They put on a wonderful event including Australian folk music with the Didgeridoo. So melodic and entrancing.

Kay and Glenda with the Didgeridoo

Bark of the gum tree

Palm tree bark

Boojum tree

I know I haven't covered everything we've done over the last 2-3 months including Christmas and New Years. One thing I will say is the kids got me a meat smoker and they got Glenda some essential oils and a diffuser. The place smells wonderful with oil scents and smoked meat.

We've done a pork tenderloin and some ribs so far. More to come soon. 

Thanks for waiting as we dealt with family and new chapters. 
One more month and we begin our summer trek north and west with stops in Nevada for an RV rally and a visit back in the Midwest to see family. (We'll be flying back) Then on ward and Northwest ward. 


  1. Good catch up post. Your father is at peace now, enjoying being back with your mother. I'm just glad you got one last good conversation in. As always we enjoy traveling and doing things with you two, never a dull moment. Good luck with the new motorhome, an industry where the expectations are to have issues. Rough on us full timers for sure. I remember moving from on rv to another, long days of where did we? See you soon.

  2. Thanks Faye. Hard to remember everything. Getting more organized and enjoying the new digs . See you Saturday.

  3. Love the pictures at the arboretum. You guys haven't slowed down much! Love your new home.

  4. Thanks Debbie. Seems like that to us too. We're getting more comfortable in the coach.

  5. Sorry for the loss of your Father but as Faye mentioned, he's at peace now.
    The RV industry is following the footsteps of the Auto-Industry but they forget more people need Cars and Trucks then they do RVs. If they want to stay in business they should send them out the door with no Defects.
    Even changing from one Fifth to another takes getting used to but going to a Motorhome is a big leap. It's amazing how with time we gather things that we really could do without and what works for a trailer doesn't work in a Motorhome.
    Looking forward to reading about your future adventures.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Thank you for your comment Rick and Kathy. Dad is at peace. Seems like all industries don't think about customer service after the sale. We're making great strides in getting accustom to the motorhome. We hope this allows us to travel for many years to come.

  6. Congratulations on your new digs. Yup, growing pains, and you are right, they are never issue free when delivered. It will take time for you to get used to a motorhome and expect a few more surprises along the way.