Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve, 2009

We were slow getting up this morning after the long day yesterday.  We still had to put away everything we brought, and organize the MoHo. 

We were invited to Ron & Ethyl’s house in Sun City Grand for a New Years Eve party.  We had to go shopping for some snacks and desserts.  Believe it or not I had to buy a bottle of sparkling wine.  Poor planning on my part.  I did buy a nice bottle of Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut, which was on sale at Fry’s Marketplace for $7.99.  What was surprising is that it was the same price as Barefoot Brut.  Some prices seem to have increased substantially.

Bob & Maggie picked us up about 6:00.  We stopped to pick up the pizzas at NYPD Pizza, which was really crowded.  They make authentic New York style pizza that you fold in half to eat.  Then we drove on to Ron & Ethyl’s house. 

Don & Maxine were already there, so we poured some drinks, and talked up a blue streak.  We hadn’t seen then since last March, so there was a lot to talk about.  The only downer was that Allan & Sharri weren’t there to help us celebrate.Bob trying his drink IMG_0124 IMG_0123 After about an hour, with the guys watching football, and the women talking, we put the pizzas in the oven.IMG_0121We did a good job of polishing off a great amount of food as we waited for the New Year.  At Midnight we watched the ball drop in NY, and then we went home.  We don’t seem to have the stamina we used to when we were younger.

Happy New Year to everyone, and may 2010 be a great year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On the Road Back to Happy Trails in AZ

We're back the MoHo at Happy Trails in Surprise, AZ.  We'll be here until March 1, then we're moving to Casa Grande, AZ, near Tucson.  We'll probably make at least one trip back to SoCal to have the flooring installed, but we don't know when.

This morning we had the good workers at PCM, the support company here at Laguna Woods Village, came out to fix our dishwasher.  We tried to use the dishwasher on Monday, and it filled with water but wouldn't start the wash cycle.  I called, and they scheduled a repairman to come out on Wed. morning.  He showed up at 9:30 and had the dishwasher working in 30 minutes, including testing it to make sure it worked through all of the cycles.  This is one of the big advantages of living in a Co-Op, they take care of the maintenance on the appliances.  And they take care of all of the outside maintenance, so we can be gone for 3 months without any worries.

Then we finished up some last minute clothes washing, loaded the car with Pearl and the stuff we needed back at the MoHo and off we went.  Right into a major traffic jam going through the Santa Ana Canyon, go old Hwy. 91.  It seems that most people took off work early for the New Years, and headed out of town.  And there was a steady drizzle, so that slowed everyone even more.  It took us over 3 hours to get out to Palm Springs.  After that everything went smooth.  We arrived at Happy Trails a little after 9:00pm AZ time(We lost an hour at the border).

Tomorrow we’ll talk with our friends and decide what to do on New Year’s Eve.  Oh, and I’ll probably watch some bowl games.  Tough time of year for us football fans!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Decision Is Made

We continued to look for flooring for the house.  We found just the right one.  We looked at a lot of different brands, including Wilsonart which is what we had in our house in Turlock.  We settled on Armstrong Grand Illusions Cherry-Natural.  Consumer Reports ranked Armstrong #1 in laminates.  And this is a premium 12 mm which is thicker than most.  You know how they rate levels of quality with good, better, best? This one is premium, which figures….RSL3022_1It was a relief to finally make a decision.  We then went down to visit Linda’s Mom, Lois.  We wanted to see her before we left to go back to Surprise, AZ.  And we wanted to help her put away some of the Christmas decorations and her tree.  Her house looked really nice for Christmas, with a lot of ornaments and decorations that brought back memories of earlier Christmas when Linda & I were dating.  And no one does a better job of organizing and packing than Linda.  Just ask Jeni about her move!

That’s it for today.  Tomorrow we’ll probably head back to AZ in time to celebrate New Years with our friends if we can get a couple of loose ends tied up.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pearl Looks Pretty & A Surprise Visit

Yesterday was a bad day for our dog Pearl, and today wasn’t much better.  Yesterday she was poked, prodded, and got a shot.  Today she went to the groomers for a bath and a pedicure.  She hated both visits, but she feels and smells much better.  And she’s starting to act more like her old self.  The antibiotics seem to working.

After picking her up at the groomers, we got a surprise visit from our daughter, Dr. Jeni.  She wanted to see our new kitchen, and she wanted to look for something to fill that empty bike box she got for Christmas.  Matt & Suzanne, & Linda & I went together to replace the bike that was stolen back in Oct.  With her short stature, the size of the bike was important.  We went to three different stores, and she narrowed the choices down to a Electra Townie or Schwinn Searcher.  We’ll continue to look for the best bike when we get back to AZ.

We had a little time left, so we asked Jeni for input on the new flooring we’re going to put in the house.  We’re going to replace the carpet with laminate flooring in the living room, dining room, kitchen, hall, and two baths.  The only rooms with carpet will be the two bedrooms.  Now that the kitchen cabinets are in, we want something complimentary, but not matching.  We’ve come close with a couple of samples, but we going to keep looking.

Jeni started back to Matt & Suzanne’s house, and we relaxed with some TV and leftovers.  Oh what an exciting life we lead.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Little Change of Plans

We planned to go out and shop for our new floors for the house in Laguna Woods Village.  That would finish off all of the remodeling we’re doing right now.  But, our dog Pearl, has not been feeling well.  So we decided to take her to our Vet in Garden Grove.  They are open on Sundays.  The Vet has a very different arrangement in that they don’t take appointments, its first come, first serve.  We got there around 11:00 and checked in.  There were several people ahead of us, so Linda called Valerie and went over to visit with Iris & Violet while I waited with Pearl.  After a 2 hour wait, it turned out that she has a urinary infection.  They gave her a shot, and we took some pills home.  Hopefully, that will cure her.
After that we stopped at one store to look at flooring, but we still haven’t made a finial decision.  The kitchen cabinets are a little darker than we expected, so the original maple floor we had chosen is too light.  Now we’re looking for something a little darker, like a natural cherry.
We didn't have lunch because the vet appointment took a while, so we opted for an early dinner.  Since we missed out on the good food a Pei Wei on Wed. night, we decided to bring some back home for dinner.  We had to have the lettuce wraps.  If you’ve never had these at PF Chang’s or Pei Wei, we strongly recommend them.  They’re consists of  chopped chicken with veggies with a special sauce placed in a lettuce cup.  Crunchy and savory, they’re great.  Because it was a cold day, I ordered the Hot & Sour soup, and then we shared an order of Mandarin Kung Pao Chicken.  A great meal, and my fortune cookie was really good.  It said I will have a long and comfortable retirement-perfect!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After the Big Day

Naturally the day after is a little bit of a let down.  We slept later, read the paper, watched a little TV, and generally relaxed.

Late in the day the kids called, and we met for dinner at Lucille’s BBQ in Cerritos.  They serve genuine wood smoked BBQ, and it’s really good.  Linda & I shared a combo platter of BBQ Beef Ribs & BBQ Brisket.  It came with two sides, which we chose baked pototoe & creamy coleslaw.  Matt had the combo of BBQ Tri Tip & Pulled Pork.  The ladies were really good, ordering salads with dressing on the side.  They’re really working hard at cutting down on the calories.

Jeni’s Christmas present for Matt & Susanne is a feature tree for their backyard.  So after dinner, we went to Home Depot to see what they had.  Matt found a Guava tree that he wanted, so into the truck it went.  Let’s hope he waters it well enough for it to survive.  At least plants at Home Depot are warranted for a year against loss, so at least he has a backup plan.

We then visited Lois, as Matt had to pickup the tools we gave him.  Mom’s house sure is decorated nice.  She even put up her hand painted houses this year that brings back some good memories.  We actually stopped by for a piece of special coffee cake her neighbor makes at Christmas that we had no room for the day before, but we were to late.  No, Mom didn’t eat it, her dog Misty did.  We hope she enjoyed it, because it’s really good.  Now we’ll have to wait until next year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Is Finally Here!

Christmas is always special with our families.  And as the years have changed on the calendar, so has Christmas changed.  Now it’s about the Great Grandchildren.  And that’s what makes it so much fun.


IMG_1485 IMG_1421

Of course some of us don’t grow up very fast.

IMG_1436Everyone had a great time, and as usual Santa Claus was very generous.  Everyone contributed to dinner, which was outstanding.

When the day was over, we all took a deep breath, and began thinking about 2010!

Here’s the link to the Picasa Album with all of the pictures:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Well, it’s Christmas Eve and now it’s time to relax. NOT! We still had a couple of presents to buy, and one of them was a very hard decision.  We went to 6 or 7 different stores looking for just the right item.  There was a lot of pros & cons, but finally we just decided to wrap up an empty box.  We let someone else try to figure it out!

We’re done, done, done.  All of the presents and boxes are wrapped, and we’re waiting with great anticipation for tomorrow.  Normally we would be with my Mother and her family on Christmas Eve, but this will be the first year we can’t.  My Mother passed away this spring, and it’s the Holidays that bring back so many great memories.  We always enjoyed Christmas Eve with the Whitfield side of the family, and they treated my Mother very special.  There will be a hole in the festivities this year for us and the Whitfields.  Mom, we’re still thinking of you in our hearts.  Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Closer to Christmas, & Pretty Pictures

The day started very chilly.  In fact, there was frost on the grass this morning.  In monitoring the temperatures in Surprise and Laguna Woods, they have been very similar for the last two weeks.
Linda finished wrapping the presents we had left, and we loaded them into the car to take to Linda’s Mom’s house, where we’re having our family Christmas celebration.  It was good to see Lois again, and of course it was fantastic to see Pearl again.  We had missed our dog for the last week in AZ.  Lois took very good care of her, but it wasn’t the same for us being in the MoHo with Pearl.  We brought her back to Laguna Woods, where she’ll be comfortable during the Holidays.

We still had a couple of presents to buy, but I couldn’t make up my mind.  We did meet the kids at Downtown Disney to take their annual pictures for Grandma’s wall.  Every year the grandkids get together for pictures, and now it includes the great grandkids for another picture wall.  The kids though that we could get a good background at Downtown Disney.  Well, we forgot that it’s the high tourist season, so it took a while for everyone to get there, park, and then meet up.  But we all made.  While we were waiting I took a couple of pictures of Violet: 

You would never guess that she’s inside a Lego Block!

After everyone got there we decided to try using the anniversary logo for a background: 

IMG_1399 It didn’t really work very well.  So we moved on to the area around the Rainforest Cafe:
IMG_1410IMG_1411A little better, but we don’t know how they’ll look on the wall.  We’ll have to wait for the final decision with Grandma.  The kids were starving by then, so they had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, while Linda and I headed for home.  We were going to have dinner at Pei Wei, but it was closed so we shared an In & Out Burger, always a good choice.
If you want to see all of the pictures, check out our Goggle Album here:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Road Traveled Often

We loaded up the car at the MoHo. Linda had most of the presents wrapped. They filled the back of the Pilot, but I could still see out the back window, so I guess we succeeded in cutting down this year.

As we were leaving the wind started coming up and the sky looked very dark. The weather report said we would have high winds and a little rain. Well, it was correct. The rain wasn't bad, but the wind was there on the whole trip, and especially bad by the windmills in Palm Springs. I guess they know where to place those. On the news there was a dust storm North of Casa Grande that caused a traffic accident with 3 deaths. You have to track the weather when you're traveling. If we were in the MoHo we would have pulled over and parked.

We stopped at the Mountain Quail Cafe in Quartzsite, a nice family type restaurant. The special was Swiss Steak, which Linda ordered, while I had the Chili Burger. Both were very good, and Linda even got some carrots, her favorite vegetable, with her meal. I had to settle for french fries. Darn.

The house in Laguna Woods Village was fine, but very cold. We turned on the heat pump, unpacked our clothes and settled in for a week. We will really enjoy spending time with our family over the holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2009

John & Linda Both Shop Till They Drop

I'm starting to feel better, so we braved the crowds together. This makes it much easier, as I can drop Linda off at a store, go to a different store, and then come back and pick her up. It's funny thought, I can get done much quicker than Linda.

We're almost done! Linda started wrapping presents tonight, which is quite a chore in the small size of the MoHo. She does such a good job, with little special touches on some of the presents. This year we're using the same wrapping paper on all of the gifts from us so it'll be easy to watch when our presents are being opened. Sometimes it gets a little confusing.

We did discover a great deli, Jason's Deli (No relation to Jason Kalla, darn). It's a chain, but it has great sandwiches, homemade soups, and when you finish your lunch, there's a free ice cream cone station!. Check the web site for a location near you. We had the Hot Pastrami, which they split for us, and it was very tasty, and nice and lean. And did I mention the free ice cream?

We're planning on heading back to Laguna Woods tomorrow to get ready for a great family Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

John Overloads on Football, Linda Shops Till She Drops

Since I'm still under the weather and we had more shopping to do, I stayed at the MoHo and Linda went shopping on her own.

It was a good day to watch football. With our new Sony TV, we get HD on the over the air antenna. And the local channels were showing the AZ Cardinals vs the Detroit Lions. It should have been a slam dunk for AZ as Detroit has only won only 2 games this year. AZ pulled out to a comfortable 17-0 half time lead. After half time, it all fell apart and it ended up tied. An exciting 4th quarter ended when AZ scored the good ahead touchdown with less than 2 minutes left. Then the AZ defense held Detroit, so they won the game!

There was 2 good afternoon match ups. The SF 49ers at the Phil. Eagles, and the Cin. Bengals at the SD Chargers. If SF loss the game, AZ would be the Division Championship for the 2nd year in a row, which made the game interesting. Boy was it cold in Phil. which played to Phil. benefit. SF did lose, so AZ is the Champion. But they're going to have to play a whole lot better in the next few games to be ready for the playoffs.

The Chargers game was really good, with a lot of back & forth. The Chargers won it on a field goal in the final 3 seconds of the game. SD looks like a lot better team than AZ. But only time will tell. This is the time of year when every game gets interesting and means a lot. And with the new TV in MoHo I get to see a lot of detail.

Of course Linda was out braving the crowds. And boy was there a lot of people out shopping. You would think that we're getting closer to Christmas. She accomplished a lot, but I'm not allowed to share any details. You'll have to wait until Christmas!

I was feeling better after resting all day, so I made an easy dinner of tacos. And we watched more Christmas movies that we had DVRed. A good day, even though we weren't together.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

John Come Down with Linda's Cold

I woke up this morning with a drippy nose. Hopefully it's not a full blown cold. Just what I needed right before Christmas. But Linda's taking good care of me, so I know I'll feel better soon.

This morning I helped Ken & Peggy move a dinette set to their new home, which is very nice. And we met two of his new neighbors. A very friendly neighborhood. It's amazing how much we can put in the Pilot. Buying that car was one of my few good decisions.

Linda went with the rest of our friends to the Goodyear Marketplace. It's an open air swap meet with vendors having tables with everything imaginable for sale. But she didn't buy anything. I guess she needs my input!

We met for Lunch at Red Robin, where Linda and I shared a Whiskey River BBQ Chicken sandwich. It's amazing how much money we save by sharing our meals and drinking water instead of iced tea. The beverages at Red Robin were $3.00 a piece. And a half of lunch is more than enough. We're both trying to slim down a little. If you enjoy Red Robin, don't check the nutritional information on the table. I think their burgers are around 1200 calories without the french fries. Darn! We're really going to hit it hard after New Years, since they have such a good fitness facility here at Happy Trails.

After lunch we parted ways with our friends, and (guess what)....continued Christmas shopping. Linda did all of the heavy shopping while I sat in the car nursing my cold and reading a book. I always keep a book or two (Ellery Queen) in the car for such circumstances. And Linda prefers to shop on her own without me bugging her.

We came back home for dinner (Trader Joes Orange Chicken), and Linda waited on me hand and foot. Hopefully tomorrow I'll feet better. Keep me in your prayers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Our First Happy Hour

The day started with a little repair work on the MoHo. Our Aqua-Hot was not working properly so I looked on the website for a technician. I found a certified tech living right here in Happy Trails! I called him, and 5 minutes later he was here at the lot with his tools. I was expecting the worst, but after crawling into one of the basement compartments, opening the doors on the Aqua-Hot, and adjusting a few things it was working perfectly. As I went to get my checkbook, he said no charge! So I gave him a bottle of very good wine (Louis Martini Cabernet) and we called it even.

Now, you're probably wondering what is an Aqua-Hot. Most RVs have propane heaters and water heaters. However, we have an Aqua-Hot system that uses electricity when we're hooked up, and a diesel burner when we are boondocking, or need a little extra heat. So if we're taking a very long shower, we never run out of hot water! Pretty neat. Now if I could only figure out how to increase our water pressure, I would really enjoy it. The diesel burner is what was broken, and as cold as it's been here at night we needed for some extra heat.

After that I went to the store and Linda decorated the lot, to get ready for our first happy hour. We invited Bob & Maggie, Ed & Judie, and our neighbors from across the street, Ken & Peggy. They have just closed on a house in Sun City West, and were waiting to sign the papers. They are so excited.

Everyone had a good time. We served BBQ meatballs, chips & salsa, salami roll ups, candied pecans, and assorted chocolates.

After that, it was a quiet evening with some TV. And an another day in paradise passes by.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Shopping

The day started with a visit from Bob & Maggie. Linda had lost an earring at their lot last night, and Maggie found it. HooRay! We had a nice visit. It so great to spend some time with our friends, and find out what they have been doing since last winter.

After we parted, Linda & I took off to do some Christmas shopping. I know what you're thinking, its about time. Well, we don't like to rush into things to quickly. Plus we're not to good on making decisions. We started off at Sam's Club, and struck out. Then we went to Costco in Peoria, and we did a little better. Then it was on to the Arrowhead Town Center, where we picked up a couple of things. But we're far from done. So you know what we're going to be doing over the next few days.

Hopefully we'll be done by Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heavy Appetizers and New Friends

It was a quiet morning as Linda is still recovering and building up her strength. We watched a couple of Hallmark Christmas Movies that I had taped.

This afternoon we are meeting for a Happy Hour with small plate type appetizers at Maggie & Bob’s motorhome. They also invited another couple from Monaco Northwest, Ed & Judie. The staying here at Happy Trails for the winter. I decided to shop for some food we could serve tonight. I went to Sam’s Club and I didn’t find any appetizers, but I did find some pretty carnations, and a locally made Cranberry Orange Brunt Cake from Cafe Valley Bakery.

So on to Trader Joes for the appetizers. I ended up with a frozen Tomato & Pesto Flatbread. We also added a vegetable tray with homemade dill dip, along with the brunch cake. I took a bottle of Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon to share.

It was a pleasure to meet Ed & Judie. They full timed for a while and live in Welch's, OR, near the top of Mt. Hood for part of the year. We had a lot of great conversation, and good food. When it got a little cold, we moved into Bob’s motorhome for more good talk. An excellent evening with great people and good food.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cleaning Out the Pilot

We had a little excitement this morning, as Linda checked the website,, which we have been using for years to post our Christmas lists for everyone to check out. It’s a neat site and we’ve become very dependent on it over the years. Well, it was down this morning, going directly to a domain registry site. Linda called Matt, Matt checked the site for contacts using the cache, and gave us a phone number. Linda called, and an hour later the site was back up with all of our data intact. Whew!

We still had the Hope Chest in the back of our Honda Pilot, so we journeyed out to Jeni’s condo. Now we’re both in Phoenix area, but we’re on the west side in Surprise, and Jeni’s on the east side in Chandler. It takes almost an hour to cross town, and get to the condo. And we though L.A. was bad.

On the way we stopped at Arizona Mills, an outlet mall to do some shopping. We weren’t impressed. I like the outlets near Palm Springs much better, and Linda doesn’t like outlets at all. I bought a couple of pairs of khakis at the Haggar outlet, but that was it.

Linda found a listing on Craig’s List for some garage shelves, so we called, and met the owner at his house. He turned out to be a retired policeman who was a full time RVer. We enjoyed talking with him and bought both of the shelves. He evened delivered them to Jeni’s condo. The only problem was that I had to put them back together and it a little struggle. Next time I’ll pay more attention to how things are put together.

After that, we decided to go out to dinner. Jeni chose a restaurant called Firebird, and it was very good. Jeni is on a strict diet, but she knows how to order from any menu and stay on course. She’s really working hard, and we know she’ll be successful. We got home about 10:00, a long day for us. The weather is warming up, but the nights are still cold, so we’re running our heater at night and in the morning. Hopefully it will continue with the warming trend.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Catch Up Day and a Great Dinner

We were slow getting started this morning but then Linda moved into high gear. She cleaned everything up, put everything away, organized the shed, and made everything ship shape. John did some shopping at his favorite store (Trader Joes) and handled the heavy chores.

At 5:00pm our good friends Bob & Maggie Lawlor picked us up for a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse.IMG_0485

It had been to long time (last April) since we had seen so we had a lot to catch up on. They are staying here at Happy Trails too. In fact it was hard to get all of the words out, so we adjourned to their motorhome for after dinner wine and chocolate. It can’t get much better.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back to Sunny (Hopefully) Arizona

We woke up Sunday, and took it easy. Linda was feeling better, but we didn’t want to push it. She still had a little headache, and her stomach muscles were sore, but as the morning wore on she began to feel stronger. So we decided to head out for our return trip to Happy Trails.

We had lunch at Chipotle and then stopped at Matt & Suzanne’s house on our way out of town to pickup my Mother’s old hope chest. It was one of the remembrances that Jeni wanted to keep. It fit in the back of the Pilot. That car has come in handy many times.

Then it was on to the long and boring drive to Surprise. We were entertained on the trip with our satellite radio. We listened to some Christmas old time radio shows and sang along with some traditional Christmas songs (be glad you weren’t there).

We arrived in Surprise about 9:00pm (remember the 1 hour time change) stopped by Fry’s Marketplace to pick up some homemade soup for a late supper. The MoHo was still there and waiting for us. We watched a little TV and then it is off to bed. Hopefully Linda will continue to get better.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Quiet Saturday

We were planning to head back to Happy Trails today, but with Linda still not feeling well, we decided to delay it a day.

We caught up on the wash and put some stuff away in the new kitchen. Did I mention that it rained most of the day? I took advantage of the change of plans to go out to Hemet and visit with Matt, Suzanne & Wrigley their dog.IMG_0652Here she is with our Pearl, trying to learn from the expert on how to relax with style!

They had started to decorate their house for Christmas. So we all jumped in Matt’s car and went out to Lowes to get a Christmas Tree and a new light for outside of the garage. Matt and I also worked on the sprinklers (in the rain) to make sure they were working right. All in all, a very nice visit.

After a very slow drive home (did I mention it was raining) I reheated some leftover pizza for dinner, and then settled down for a Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel. A good day, because Linda’s is starting to feel better.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Change in Plans

My day started with a bang with a phone call from Linda. Remember, she’s watching our nieces Iris & Violet while Valerie & Rick took a quick trip. Well, she came down with the flu overnight. She was really hurting, so I quickly drove over to help out. The kids were wonderful, and Linda’s Mom, Lois, came over to help out too. Between the two of us the kids survived.

It’s amazing how much a difference a year makes. Last Christmas one of Iris’s main presents was a large automated pony that you can sit on and it moves like a real horse. She didn’t like it at all, and wouldn’t even touch it. Look at her now:

IMG_0111 IMG_0109

She loves the horse and rides it all the time. And she shares it with her dolly and her sister. How great is that.

That’s about all that happened today. Hopefully Linda has the 24 hour flu and will be better tomorrow. We were never able to get our flu shots because of the shortage, so we are probably more susceptible to getting sick. But Linda’s has a strong system so she’ll probably be OK, but if you have not got your flu shots yet, don’t procrastinate any longer. There’s more vaccine available so it should have be easy to get two, the seasonal vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Kitchen is Almost Complete!

The installers came this morning at 7:30am. We didn’t know they were coming, so we weren’t prepared. I was still in my sweats! They started right in adding electrical outlets, light switches, the famous facet, the garbage disposal, reinstalling the dishwasher, and the refrigerator. We were still waiting for the stove and the microwave to be delivered. They finally got here at 2:00pm, and the guys went right to work finishing the installations. Here’s the results, looking towards the south wall:IMG_0105 As you can see, we partially tore down the wall to create an expanded counter. The frig and stove were moved to the south wall. Here’ a picture of the window area facing west:IMG_0103 To get the added counter space and cupboards we removed the guest closet from the corner. The two corner cabinets are lazysusans , with two shelves that spin. Here’s a picture of the famous sink and facet":IMG_0107 And you can get an idea of the granite. Here’s a close-up:IMG_0106 The color is a little off because I’m using my I-Phone for the pictures. There’s no dark spot in the middle of the picture. But it gives you the idea of how it looks.

So the kitchen is done. Except for the lights and skylight that are going to be redone and some pendent lights over the bar. Oh, and of course the floor, which is currently wood subflooring. We’re having a hard time deciding what to do with the flooring, laminate, tile or a combination of the two. That’s next.

Linda’s off taking care of our niece’s two girls, Iris & Violet. So I’m on my own tonight. And I’m sitting here writing the blog. I had a frozen beef and bean burrito for dinner. Do I know how to live it up or what!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

We Have Granite Inside the House

In the past we’ve enjoys views of granite in Yosemite National Park.Bob & Kathy Yosemite 5-11-2007 7-49-58 PM Now we have granite countertops in our kitchen. They came, they cut, they molded, they glued, and finally we have all of the counters in beautiful granite.

We had to leave in the middle of the day to go to my hip Doctor for a checkup. The x-rays showed that the hip has finally healed. Any pain or limping left is due to an inactive lifestyle. He said I had to go out and beat the heck out it, with no limitations. So I guess I’ll have to get out of my comfortable chair and put down my computer and get out there and do some things. Hooray.

On the way back to the house, we got a phone call from the installers asking where the facet was. DUH. We bought a sink, but no facet. Sometimes I think I’m going brain-dead. We stopped a Home Depot and got a nice single handle facet with a pull out spray head and rushed home. The installers looked at it, saw that it needed one hole, and handed it back to me. I guess they just needed to know how many holes to drill. I could have told them that over the phone, and it would have prevented a lot of stress.

Since we don’t have a kitchen yet, we went out to dinner at Sandella’s Flatbread Cafe. We had the pesto chicken flatbread. It was ok, but it’s probably not someplace we’ll be returning to soon.

The weather has cleared up, but it’s still cold with a high of only 57. There’s a possibility of rain this coming weekend. California needs the rain, but it doesn’t have to be this cold. It’s not winter yet.

Tomorrow the new appliances arrive, and hopefully the installers. More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cabinet Installation Day

Tuesday dawned clear and bright, but boy was it cold! John got up early because he didn’t know when the workers would get here. Naturally they showed up about 10:00am.

Then it was hard and fast work for them. All three of the workers were Chinese, and they just kept measuring, assembling, installing, leveling, and then put the finishing touches on. We kept out of the way, until we realized we had everything but the kitchen sink! Out we went looking for an under mount stainless sink that was in stock. We found one at Pacific Sales, and hardware wonderland. Boy, are sinks expensive. In order to get it, we had to drive to the warehouse in Whittier, across the street from the entrance to Rose Hills. Mission Accomplished!

When we got back to the house everything was done-Amazing! Here’s how it looks today.IMG_0097 This is looking towards the sink area. The stove will be on the left where the cooktop used to be. The area on the right is the breakfast bar area. Hopefully, granite counterops will go on top of the plywood soon.IMG_0096Here’s another picture where the stove will go and the refrigerator will be on the far left. They did all of this in one day. WOW.

In the evening we went to the Leisure RV Wheelers Club holiday dinner. It was very nice and we met some new people here in the village. They have some interesting trips planned, but we’ll be at Happy Trails until April, so we’ll miss most of them.

Tomorrow we’re supposed to have the granite installed. We’re anxious to see the results.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Rainy Day Monday

We woke up to rain, which lasted all day. Since it was raining so hard, they called and postponed our installation of the kitchen cabinets until Tuesday. Big disappointment.

Around 10:00am, our contractor, Ted, came to complete some of the work in the kitchen. He had to remodel a wall and move some electrical outlets to facilitate the new cabinets. He also textured the drywall he had installed to match the other walls in the living room.

While he was working, we took Pearl to Lois’s house so that she would be comfortable with all of the activity going on. We also took the opportunity to help Linda’s Mom decorate for the Christmas Holidays. It was a lot of fun, except for the tree lights. They’re always difficult. The house looks really festive, and it helped put us in the Christmas mood.DSCN3065 It was sad coming back to the house without Pearl. But we know Linda’s Mom will take really good care of her, and she’ll be glad to be out of the way.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Brunch with our Northwest Friends, then a Long Drive

The day started bright and early, at 9:13 for church. Here at Happy Trails they have their own church. This morning there were about 450 attendees. They have a very large choir that is really good, a pair of retired ministers that are very down to earth, and great music. We met Don & Maxine(Max) at church, and after the service we picked up Bob & Maggie at their motorhome and drove to Chandler to have brunch at On the Border.

We met our other good friends, Alan & Shari, and Joe & Phyllis. It was great to catch up with our friends whom we haven’t seen since last winter. We stayed way after the food was gone, just talking and making plans. Don & Max are from Lake Oswego, OR, and they stay at their home in Sun City Grand. Bob & Maggie live in Bellingham, WA, and stay at Happy Trails. Alan & Shari are staying at their cabin at Lake Mayfield for the winter. And Joe & Phyllis live in Bellingham, WA, and stay at Palm Creek in Casa Grande, AZ.

After the brunch, we dropped everyone off, and went back to MoHo. We packed up some essentials, loaded Pearl in the car and headed for Laguna Woods. It was an easy drive with light traffic until we hit a lot of wind by the wind machines in Palm Springs. We’re glad we weren’t driving the MoHo in that wind. But we made it safely to the village and unloaded everything. It seems like we just left here!

We have an appointment on Monday to have our new kitchen cabinets installed. We’ll probably stay there for about a week to get the remodel finished, then we’ll head back to Happy Trails.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Saturday Night with the Limeliters

Our friends, Alan & Shari Kainu flew in for a visit today to attend a concert with us. We have spent the last 2 winters together at Happy Trails, but this year they decided to stay home at their cabin on the Lake Mayfield. We’ll miss them. Here’s a picture from last year with their Granddaughter Madison.IMG_0526They came by Happy Trails to visit with some friends, and they stopped by to see us. We really owe them a debt of gratitude because without their help, we wouldn’t have the lot we’re living on this year.

We started the evening with dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I had the Spiedino di Mare, a scallop and shrimp entre, and Linda had the Chicken Bryan, topped with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and a lemon basil butter sauce. They were both very good, and the company was terrific!

The concert was Glenn Yarbrough and The Limeliters.glenn limeliters

I’ve been a fan since the 60’s. Unknown to us Glenn has had 6 surgeries on his throat over the years, and he’s basically lost his voice. But he did tell some interesting stories about the early years. The current Limeliters (none of them are the originals) were very good, singing the old songs and injecting some new ones, including Power and Glory, which honors the firemen of 9/11 that really moved the mostly older crowd.

It was a great concert and an even greater evening with our friends.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Vendor Day & a Visit with Jeni

Today was he vendor day here at Happy Trails.  A number of small businesses buy tables to display their goods.  A lot of it is handmade, including jewelry, paintings, a lot of different sewing goods, and retail people selling items that would appeal to owners in Happy Trails.  The event draws a large crowd, with the parking lot full and cars parking down the street.  And more than half of the shoppers arrive in golf carts!

Here’s a picture of some of the outside tables.IMG_0081It looks comfortable, but when we got up this morning the temperature was 37 degrees.  So the premium tables for the long time vendors were inside the ballroom.IMG_0082 We wandered around not buying much.  I renewed our Sam’s Club membership with a bonus of a $20 gift card.  We weren’t sure we were going to renew, but the location here in Surprise is 1/2 mile away and they have good prices on gas.  Costco is about a 20 minute drive away, so it made sense to renew.  BTW, gas here is about 50 cent cheaper than in CA.  Gas at Sam’s is $2.43 a gallon.  We did get a couple of little things, but nothing exciting.  I was disappointed that Linda didn’t some of the unique clothes such as hand painted blouses, quilted jackets, and decorations.  But they’re be another sale next month.

We bought over some things from the village for Jeni and I wanted to get them out of the car (they rattled) so we drove down to Chandler to drop them off.  After we got there and unloaded everything, the women took off.  Two hours later they were back with bags.  They found this small shop called My Sister’s Closet and they both bought some new clothes.  I guess I shouldn’t give Linda a hard time about buying stuff again!

We were late getting back to the MoHo, due to the shopping and bad traffic.  Poor Pearl was late getting her dinner.  She didn’t seem to notice, as she was asleep on the bed when we got home.  Since it was so late we just had soup and sandwiches for dinner, and settled down to watch the final show of Monk, one of our favorite shows.

The weather is going to continue to be cold for the next week, with rain predicted for Monday and Tuesday.  We’re heading back to Laguna Woods on Sunday to check on our kitchen remodel so we’ll miss the rain here, but probably catch it in SoCal.

Tomorrow is a busy day.  We’re going to meet our Northwest friends for dinner and a show.  We’ll share more of that in our next blog.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

An At Home Day

Just like when we lived in our house in Turlock, there are days when you have to maintain and clean MoHo. Linda had a great plan. She made a list of stuff she needed and errands that needed to be done, then sent me off. This kept me our of her hair while she did all of the hard work.

Linda took everything out of the cupboards and cleaned everything. John went to Wal-Mart, the cleaners, got the car washed, and stopped at the hardware store to rent a carpet cleaner. So now everything looks like new.

While the MoHo was in storage John had a new Sony 32” HD flat screen TV installed. It didn’t turn out the way Linda pictured it, but the TV picture is really nice. John’s going to have a little more work done to improve the fit of the TV to the cabinets when we get back to SoCal.

John cooked steak and baked potatoes for dinner which nicely finished off the day. Tomorrow is the monthly vendor day here at Happy Trails. It's kind of an arts and crafts sale in the plaza. John will take some pictures and let you know if we buy anything. It’s always fun to look at everything. Who knows, there might be a potential Christmas present there.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Home at Happy Trails

We left Quartzite at a leisurely 10:00am, and made our first stop of the day at Zips Truck Stop. We always stop here to top off the tank on MoHo before getting to Happy Trails. They have the cheapest price on diesel, and very nice facilities. One of the advantages of buying diesel in AZ is that there is a tax break for private coaches, so we save $.08 per gallon. And that's on top of the fact that fuel is about 15% cheaper than CA.

After storing MoHo at El Toro for the last 3 months, the outside was very dirty. It’s hard to wash it in a campground, so we took it to a truck wash in Phoenix. Danny’s Big Rig Resort has everything a long haul truck driver could want. And it washes RVs to! John drove it in a narrow but large lane in a warehouse, where MoHo was hand washed from top to bottom, then sprayed clean, and hand wiped down to remove all the water drops and clean the windows. It looked really good! And John never had to get on the ladder.

Then we went on to Happy Trails. Our new lot was clean and ready for us. With Linda’s excellent directions, John was able to back into the spot on his first try, with some minor back and forth to get it lined up with the concrete patio.


We got out everything, since we’ll be here for 3 months. The lot has a nice shed, with ample room for a bed and its own bathroom(sorry, no shower).



So come and visit us. You’ll have your own private room, and we promise a comfortable bed(not in pictures)

We have a nice patio, and outdoor cooking area with plenty of space for tables and chairs.


Pearl seems right at home.

Tomorrow is an inside cleaning day. Since the outside looks so good, we have to clean the inside from top to bottom.

The weather here is sunny, but on the cool side with cold morning. High 68, low 37.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Back on the Road

We left Laguna Woods today for our Winter home at Happy Trails in Surprise, AZ. This will be our 3rd year at Happy Trails and we’re really looking forward to seeing our friends and getting involved in the community again.

We got a late start due to a meeting commitment at the Village(Geserville). We’re still trying to get a storage spot on site, but they

don’t have a space big enough for us. There was a proposal to inspect all of the current renters to make sure they are complying with the rules. They were going to vote on it today, so John went to the meeting. And guess what-the vote was postponed. So we stayed for no reason.

Since we got a late start, we decided to stop in Quartzite for the night. We’re only about 3 hours away from Happy Trails, but we like to park and setup during the daylight if possible. We should get there around noon tomorrow. You know we like to get an early start in the mornings!

So that’s about all that happened today. Pretty boring, but it feels

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good to be back traveling. By the way, did you see the full moon tonight?


This was taken with my I-Phone, so it’s not real good, but you get the idea. This was taken right outside our front door. We understand why people like Quartzite so much.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Busy Weekend

We spent the weekend helping Jeni get ready for her move. On Friday Linda boxed and boxed. On Saturday she had another garage sale, and then John took the leftovers to the Goodwill. Jeni can barely get her car in the garage with all of the boxes.

On Saturdays in Pendleton there's a farmer's market with local produce, baked items, flowers, and home made crafts. We were late getting there this week so a lot of the booths were gone, but John was still able to get some cookies.

The market is located on the "square" where there's a building dating back to 1880. It was the city hall, but it's to small for that (government has a way of growing over the years), so now it's a restaurant.

There's some good stores and restaurants around the square, including antiques, handmade items, coffee shops, and bakeries. It's a nice place to spend an hour or two, and it's walking distance from Jeni's house.

Back at the campground, it was very active. The campground was full, and the lake was busy with boats and jet ski's. There was a lot of families, and everyone was having a good time even though the high was 93!

Pontoon, or party boats, are very popular down here. They hold a lot of people, and you can swim, dive, fish or party on them. Some even have BBQs on them for cooking.

On Sunday Linda & I went to Greenville for a shopping expedition. There's a nice mall with Dillards, Macys, Pennys, & Belk, a local department store. We didn't buy much, but John got some nice wine glasses at Coldwater Creek. They have a school of tiny fish in the side of the glass. We had a nice Mexican dinner at a restaurant called Don Pablos. Even in the south they have good fresh southwest food. It doesn't measure up to CA or AZ, but it was good after a long dry spell.
So that was our weekend. More later.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time Is Passing Quickly

Here it is already Thursday, and it seems like we just got here. We're very comfortable in our new campground and we're enjoying relaxing by the lake. The weather been a little warm to spend much time outside, but we're hoping we'll get use to the humidity.

Linda has spent a lot of time starting the packing. It's hard to know what exactly to pack before everyone gets here, but she's doing her normal great job. The garage is starting to fill up with boxes, but there's still room for Jeni's car. So we have a long ways to go.

We've done a little shopping, but Linda is still looking for the right outfit. Jeni is making out well though as Linda finds new clothes for her. John been cooking most of the meals, but tonight we went out to Ruby Tuesday's for some great hamburgers.

So that's about it, not much exciting but we're really enjoying it. We know it'll start getting hectic next week. So stay tuned for more stories.

In case you're interested in John's iPhone, he's been adding apps like crazy. The iPhone is part phone, part computer. And you can go to the Apple Apps Store to get some amazing software. He'll highlight some during the coming posts in the blog. This time we'll feature Pandora, which is an Internet radio station that you program with your favorite artists or type of music. John picked Frank Sinatra (naturally), Glenn Miller, Michael Buble, and the Boston Pops. He can choose any artist, or choose a random mix of all of them, and the phone will play just those artists. It's pretty neat, but the iPhone needs earphones to get the best sound. But it does use the battery quite a bit. You can also listen to Pandora on your computer with access to the Internet. More next time.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We Move MoHo to a New Campground

Our week was finally up at the Anderson KOA. Here's a picture of our site, and as you can tell it's mostly rocks. What you can't tell is the bad slope towards the left. We were more than ready to relocate. The owners were real nice, but it wasn't a good fit for our needs with Pearl.

We decided to move to Twin Lakes Campground on Lake Hartwell. It's another Corp of Engineers(COE) facility with 50 amp electricity, good for the air conditioners, and water hookups. We don't have a sewer hookup, but there's bathrooms with showers & a dump station. Here's a picture of our new site, #95.

As you can see, it's very wide and has a sand base. Pearl loves it, and there's grass on the front of it. We're all very happy. We're about 5 miles away from Jeni, and Clemson. We'll be here until August 1, when we get ready to go to the Smokey Mountain National Park. This next picture is the view from our passenger side windows. We also have a view of the lake out the front window.

The campground is only about 1/3 full, but this weekend its sold out. So our views will be partially blocked by new campers in the vacant sites right on the lake. This is one of the problems with a 100% reservation system at a campground. Here there are not any first come first serve sites. The sites can all be reserved. So the locals reserve the best sites right on the lake on the weekends, but during the week there's tons of open sites. But if you want to stay for 1-2 weeks, your choices are very few and they're in the worst areas. We believe there should always be some first come sites available for travelers to use for extended stays. The fees here are $20, or $10 with an access pass. Very reasonable.
John walked down to the lake shore at sunset to get a picture of Lake Hartwell.

Lake Hartwell is huge, with part of it in GA, and most of it in SC. Clemson is right on the shore of the lake West of our location. And I-85 crosses the lake and has bridges over the different channels. Here's a link to maps of the Lake.
The weather has been pretty good, mid 80s with about 60% humidity. But it's supposed to get warmer towards the end of the week, with thunder storms. Hopefully they won't bother us or Pearl to much. We're much happier here at Twin Lakes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moving Sale

Saturday was the big moving sale for Jeni. We helped get everything ready on Friday, and John put up signs about the sale. Jeni had a good system for pricing. She put colored labels on all of the sale stuff, then put up a poster with the pricing by color code. Very efficient.

She had just started the sale when someone from the city came by and asked her if she had a permit! It seems that cities will charge you for anything to make additional money. Whatever happened to free market. Since she didn't have a permit, he took down most of her signs. Luckily she was able to sell some of the stuff before he got there. We wondered if they have to pay extra to have the inspector work Saturday just to check on sales. By the way, the permit is $40, which really cuts into any proceeds from the sale. We were going to have another sale, but we think we'll just donate all of the stuff from now on.

On Sunday we went to Gaffney to the outlet mall. Both of my girls were looking for some new outfits, but John ended up with new shoes, pants, and some shirts. So it was a good day all around. And we had lunch at a new Chipole Grill in Greenville. It satisfied all of our food needs as Linda & John got chicken bowls, and Jeni got a vegetarian bowl. One thing we forgot was that stores don't open on Sunday until 1:30 so that we got there a little early. Some things are different in the South. It did give us a chance to check out the water tower in Gaffney that is in the shape of a giant peach. Or from a certain direction like a giant butt. Look at a peach sometime from below

Friday, July 17, 2009

An Exciting Day for John

We spent most of today at Jeni's house starting the packing. Linda spent the day in the garage organizing boxes and packing books. Jeni spent the afternoon working on her moving sale that is scheduled for tomorrow.

Now John, he did something different. For many months friends and family have been complaining about John's cell phone, and the poor audio. John finally made a decision and ordered a new one. And it came today:

A Brand New Apple iPhone 3G!

Talk about jumping from the dark ages to the newest. And of course he spent most of the day & night playing with it. Just what he needed, another gadget to play with. This will really try Linda's patience.

More on the phone in coming days. And more on Jeni's move later.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Blog to Read

Not much happened today, so we though we would share one of our favorite blogs with you.

Nick Russell writes a blog imaginably called "Nick's Blog". Nick and his wife Terry started fulltiming over 10 years ago. They were living in Show Low AZ, Nick running the local paper, and Terry managing a glass shop. They sold their house, and hit the road.

They started in a motorhome, but sold it for a bus conversion. They needed to some additional income, so Nick started to do what he does best, write and publish a newspaper on the road, so the Gypsy Journal was born. And that's how we found out about them with a subscription to their paper.

A couple of years ago Nick started the blog. He writes a new entry every day about what they're doing, where they are, and a lot of times some sage advice. It's always interesting, and we never miss a day.

So check out Nick's blog to find out what a real RV blog is about. You'll get hooked the same as we are. You can click on the underlined Nick's Blog.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Time In South Carolina

We're starting to settle in. Our sleep patterns seem to be still on Pacific time. We can't get to sleep to early, and we have trouble getting going in the morning. What's funny is that it even affects Pearl. She's slow getting out of bed in the morning.

On Tuesday we had a nice dinner with Jeni. It was so good seeing her in person instead of just talking on the phone. The last time we see her was at John's Mothers Memorial, which was a quick visit. We had dinner at McGee's Irish Pub in Anderson. It's always interesting to go out with Jeni now that's she's a vegetarian. She always finds something to eat on any menu with no problem. Linda and I split a "Steak & Cake". A small steak with a great crabcake. I don't have to tell you who ate what. It came with a twice baked potato and a greek style salad. Great food. It's funny though, we don't remember what Jeni ate-oh yeah, a salad and french onion soup. Ours was better.

Jeni had a Yoga class that night, so we called it an early evening. We did drop off all of the moving boxes we had brought from Aunt Donna to help with Jeni's move. For those of you who don't know, she's taken a position at Arizona State in Tempe. It's call a post doctoral position, and she'll be working with a famous Professor in Special Education for 2 years. It's really a plum job for Jeni, and we're happy that she's moving closer to the west coast. The only down side to the position is that she has to be in Arizona right after graduation, and she teaches her first class on August 17. We were hoping to spend some time together exploring areas on the east coast, but maybe some time in the future.

On Wednesday we explored downtown Anderson looking at the shops. Linda would like to get a new outfit for the graduation, and there's a lot of neat small shops. John even found a wine shop to spend some time in, and an organic grocery where he bought some raspberry jam and pickled beets. We had lunch downtown at a historic Town House. They had an interesting special where you can choose fried chicken, NY steak or prime rib with 3 sides for $7.50. As is our habit, we split fried chicken with pickled beets, homemade potato salad, and peach cobbler as our sides. Every thing was good, but the peach cobbler was a little too sweet.

Jeni was busy that night, so we headed back to the MoHo. One of the problems at this campground is that we're in trees so we can't get our Direct TV. They do offer cable though, but it's hard to watch all of the commericals. Are we spoiled or what.

Tomorrow more planning, and packing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

South Carolina at Last!

Whew, we made it! We finished the trip today. We started in Mississippi, then went through Alabama, then Georgia, and finally South Carolina. We're at the Anderson KOA about 5 miles from Jeni's house.

This KOA doesn't measure up to the fine experience we had in OK. It's an older facility that doesn't handle big rigs very well. The site we have is on a slope and has gravel instead of grass. We thought we were saving money because they were running a special, stay 4 night and get 3 nights free. Now we know why. We'll be moving to another campground on Monday when our week is up.

Tonight we're just staying in the MoHo resting and recovering. Tomorrow we'll see Jeni and figure out our next steps. Pearl is starting to act more normal, which is very encouraging to us. We think this might be her last trip in the MoHo.

The weather here is not as hot as on the trip, a high about 92 with 60% humidity. Much better than OK, but still plenty hot for these westerners used to a dry heat. We run the air 24 hours a day to stay cool.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fulton, MS

Come on, you all know Fulton, MS. HUH! It's a small town just past Tupelo. And do you know who was born in Tupelo? None other the King, the original, Elvis! They have a statue and the home where he was born. And 30 miles east of Tupelo is the Whitten Park campground, one of the Corps of Engineers facilities.

We have never stayed at a COE campground, and boy have we been missing out. What a beautiful park, right on the river. We had a long pull through with 50 amp electric and water, but no sewer. And the rate was only $11 with our federal access card. What a bargain!

We finally got off of I-40 as we were leaving Arkansas. We zipped through a little portion of Memphis, TN, and then we were on Hwy. 78 in Mississippi. We love to spell that state. Hwy 78 is a limited access 4 lane divided road that had signs up stating that it's the future I-22. Great road with no potholes.

Tomorrow we should make it to SC. We're looking forward to stopping for a while. This is not our type of traveling. We like to travel 200 miles and then stop for a week and explore the area. And we're going to do that in SC.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Checotah, OK

Boy, it's hot going across Oklahoma. We left New Mexico, crossed the panhandle of Texas including Amarillo, and into Oklahoma. In Amarillo is a famous Big Texan Steak House, home of the 72oz. steak. It's free if you can eat it in an hour, and they have a list of the all of the people who have meant the challenge.

How do people live here with all of the humidity, and tornadoes. Of course, California has earthquakes, the Midwest has deep snow and freezes, and the South has hurricanes. So we guess everywhere has weather problems, no place is perfect.

We made it to the small town of Checotah which is on Lake Eufala. It's a pretty lake with a lot of cabins around it. We decided to stay at a KOA, a chain of franchise campgrounds across the US. We haven't stayed in one in a long time, but the website RV Park Reviews gave it high marks. It was a very nice park, with a restaurant and grassy sites, which Pearl our dog really appreciated after 3 days of rock and sand in the desert. If we weren't in a hurry, we would have spent another night just to relax.

Tomorrow, it's on to Arkansas and beyond!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tucumcari, NM

We're at Cactus RV park in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This is an old town with many memories of Route 66. This RV park used to be the old Cactus Motel. The rooms are boarded up and the parking lot is converted to a RV park with full hookups. The people were very nice, the rate is only $17, and it was just what we wanted for an overnight stay.

We needed a 50 amp hookup so that we could run our air conditioners during the night. The high during the day was 97, and it didn't cool down much at night. We went out to dinner at a local steakhouse and it was good, with an excellent salad bar. Then we drove the old route 66, with all of the old motels and sights. Some were in good shape, but a lot were in ruins. It's not the most prosperous town. They do have a nice looking museum about dinosaurs, but it was closed.

As I mentioned, it was hot. In the afternoon we did something we had never done before. We started the generator and turned on the roof air conditioners. It made a huge difference, as we were comfortable and able to turn off the engine air. John had read in one of the online blogs that the average MPG stay the same.

Tomorrow it's on to Oklahoma. Hotter, and the humidity will start to get bad. We're not as worried though now that we know that the roof air conditioners work so well.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Back on the Road

As many of you know, we had to change our plans on March 31 and instead of beginning our travels east, drove west. John's Mother, Betty, had taken ill, and we wanted to visit the Doctor with her. The diagnosis was not what we expected, they found that she had lung cancer. For the first time since November, 2006, we had to find a storage site for MoHo, and we moved into Betty's house.

After a brief battle, John's Mom passed away on May 9. We were shocked that she went so fast, but thankful that we were able to spend a lot of time with her. Now she's reunited with John's Dad, and in a much better place.

It took us quite a while to finalize all of the details after the memorial service. But we're anxious to get back to South Carolina to spend time with Jeni and get ready for the big celebration of her graduation. Did I mention that our daughter is now a Doctor of Education!!! All of her hard work was successful, and she graduates on August 8.

So we left L.A. this morning. We had move MoHo from the storage lot to Linda's Mom's(Lois) driveway to charge the batteries, restart the refrigerator, and move our stuff back in. This felt strange, as we had never taken stuff out of MoHo for a long period of time. We were aiming to leave by 9:30am, and we hit the road at 9:45, really good for us. The only problem was that John forgot the cell phones and chargers back at Betty's house. So we backtracked to Laguna Woods, picked up the phones, and then started East. We followed I-15 towards Las Vegas, and then caught I-40 heading East. This would be our route for the next 4 days.

As we went over the pass out towards the high desert, guess what? It started to get HOT. But the MoHo was running well and we made it almost to Flagstaff. It was late and we were just looking for a place to sleep so we stopped in a rest area just west of the city. And it was nice and cool since we were at 7300' above sea level. It would the last time we were cool.

Tomorrow we'll head for New Mexico.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Trip Back to Los Angeles

We headed back to SoCal on Wed., 2-4, for a few days. On Thursday John gave a wine seminar for his Mom's church group. It started with a delicious lunch, then John was on. He was planning on a 45 minute presentation, but it stretched to 90 minutes. He sure can talk a lot about wine! There was some good questions, and good discussion. The leader said it was the best attended function in years. We told you the food was good.

The big surprise for both of us was the attendance of Pastor Birner and Freida. Pastor Birner married us 40 years ago, and was our Pastor during our high school, college, and early married years. He also married our son Matt, and his son David was in our wedding. Freida bought some pictures so that we could catch up with family news. David is a serving in the Missionary area managing many of the Lutheran overseas missions. It was so much fun learning of our friends life's.

It was enjoyable staying with John's Mom in Laguna Woods. It's a senior active living development similar to Del Web, with lots of activities. John's Mom works with ceramics and makes many beautiful pieces. In fact, while we were there she gave us a beautiful wine chiller. She also cooked us one of Linda's favorite dinners, pot roast. Thanks, Mom, for a great time.

On Friday we had to leave because John had a Doctor's appointment for his hip. It continuing to heal, but it's still sore and John has a limp when he walks. So he'll have to return in March for another checkup. It sure takes longer to heal when you're old.

One of the Christmas presents the family gave Linda's Mom was a home makeover with the labor provided by the Grandkids. Since we were in town, we used this weekend for the projects. Michael & John put in a new dishwasher, Linda, Donna, Katie & Tif pulled all of the old wallpaper out of the bedroom and bathroom, then on Sunday Michael, Matt, & Suzanne painted the rooms. It turned our really nice, and Lois was happy with the results. And everyone had a great time!

On Saturday John headed out to Perchanga Resort, where Matt works, to attend a wine festival. There was over 80 wineries represented and the event was sold out.

There's was a lot of great food from the 7 different restaurants in the resort, including the new grill at the recently opened golf course, Journey.

There was also a silent auction for the Red Cross, cheese tastings, and more. The event was so much fun, John was glad to learn they're planning to repeat it next year. You can see more pictures here:

After the event, John went back to Matt & Suzanne's house. They recently had some work done in their yard to put in a patio and grass. Some of you readers may remember our entry when John helped Matt put in the sprinkler system. Now the project is complete, except for some plants.

As you can tell, every time Matt works on his landscaping, it pours down rain!

But it did turn out really nice. Now Matt & Suzanne can get a dog!

So it was a busy 5 days, but very rewarding. On Sunday night we headed back to Surprise and Happy Trails to relax and recover.