Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A trip down a small piece of The Santa Fe Trail

We decided to take a day trip from Raton NM to Cimarron NM, which is a small part of the Santa Fe Trail.  They are not far apart, but for about 40 minutes, all you see between them is wide open land, with a few herd of cattle here and there, interspersed with some deer grazing.  Unlike the desert, it was all green though, so not bad to look at, I guess.  A few houses from time to time (always amazes me how people live “out in the middle of nowhere”?).  Anyway…our first stop, was Philmont Scout Ranch!

The National Scouting Museum at Philmont Scout Ranch is 140,177 acres (or 219 square miles).  It is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest national High Adventure Base.  Since 1939 more than one million Scouts and leaders have explored the rugged trails, high peaks and incredible landscape.  All of the land has been donated to the Scouts, starting with Mr & Mrs Philmont, in 1938.  The museum was quite impressive, as was all the beautiful buildings surrounding it.  We have family that have been in scouting for many years, and hold it in high regard, as well as Jack was a scout in his youth!

On our way into the town of Cimarron, we saw an old cemetery, so of course I had to stop!  Mountain View Cemetery had gravestones dating back to the 1870’s, maybe even earlier, as many were wearing off.

Time for lunch, so we headed into to town, and having done my homework, knew to go to the St. James Hotel!  It didn’t disappoint!  You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but inside, this sweet 1800’s hotel was “done up right”!  The Lambert Restaurant was fully decked out in all it’s “cowboy finery” with steerheads above the large fireplaces and photographs of Wild Bill Cody and Annie Oakley, along with a beautiful old safe that had been used at the “Unofficial Bank” - since Cimarron didn’t have one in the 1800’s!

After our delicious lunch, we strolled through the lobby and the lower floor of the hotel to see the rooms set aside that Jesse James, Bat Masterson and Pancho Griego used when they were frequent guests.  Quite nice, even for today, let alone back in 1872!

Afterward, we went to check out the Aztec Mill down the road, but it was closed.  Cool looking Mill, to bad…

As we drove out of town, we made one last stop at the  NRA Whittington Center.  Boy, did they have an entrance!  One very long drive, with every state flag, blowing in the wind (and was the wind blowing that day too!).  Super nice folks there, and quite a nice little museum and gift shop.  They had quite a collection of antique guns and rifles, including one of Annie Oakley’s.

All in all, it was a fun day, and I’m glad we went!  Tomorrow we are off to Colorado!

...On the road to Colorado,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Thursday, May 16, 2019

...and we are off!

We are finally off on our 2019 Summer trip!  It's taken weeks of  s l o w l y  getting ready to depart.  It's different now, having a house and an RV.  Having moved a lot of our belongings into the house, now having to move them back into the RV...remembering what to bring, what we don't have to now, etc.  It's all good...just different.  With a shorter trip, and with the weather doing it's wild and crazy things, we changed our plans (several times) too.  I had really wanted to do the eastern seaboard this year, traveling all along the coastline, all the way up to Maine...but after seeing what Mother Nature has been up to, we decided it was best we stay away from that, we will first head out to New Mexico, then over to Colorado to visit some friends, on to Nebraska, then in June we have a Tiffin Rally in Wyoming, then we plan on heading into Canada.  All this depends on the weather of course!  The only "reservations" we have is the one in Albuqueque because of the appointment for the RV and the rally...the rest is "go with the flow"! 

First stop turned out to be a bit more interesting than planned.  We just wanted an "over-night, no-frills" stop.  I found what I thought was a cheap, albeit, perhaps interesting, pull over, called the Crystal Forest Gift Shop in Holbrook AZ.  It was just outside of Winslow, which was about halfway to Albuqueque.  The write up said you could park for free, or it had electric for $10. It also said it had pull-thrus.  We thought for $10, the electric was worth it.  So off we went.  It was confusing.  On one side of the road was the boondocking, pull-thrus; on the other side was the electric, all back-ins.  Ugh.  Oh well.  The parking lot was surrounded by large petrified logs...different! 

We also  ended up visiting  Gray's Petrified Wood Company down the road, which was interesting. 

One thing about traveling to places you've been (a number of times), is a feeling of "coming home again", and finding your favorite places!  We have a mechanic in Albuqueque that we have gone to a number of times that knows our baby well, and we trust, so we come here every couple of years for an oil change and tune-up.  It's Advantage Automotive, and they are great!  While we are here, we always have dinner and breakfast at our two favorite spots too!  Range Cafe in Bernalillo for dinner, and Wecks for the best breakfast ever! 

We left there as soon as possible, as the KOA (right next door to the mechanic) was way to expensive! and headed out of town!  Best place we could find was another KOA, in Raton, on the boarder to Colorado.  Nothing much here, just a place to stay en route to our friends. 

We had planned on spending Memorial Day/week with our friends, but found out yesterday that plans have changed, and now we won't be seeing them until June.  So, I spent all afternoon trying to find us a place for the holiday!  After about 30 calls...FINALLY I got us a place that seems nice, and new to us, in Alamosa CO, so should be interesting.  Phew!

...on the road in New Mexico,  Marie

Thursday, March 28, 2019


For the past month or so, my older sister Bette has been staying with us.  She's my last sibling, and I treasure our time together.  She practically raised me while I was young, and I spent many a summers with her and her family.  When we were older, we also had some great adventures together...the kind only sisters know how to get into!  ha ha

Most of our years have been in San Diego CA, and she has a young son buried there.  My brother's children still live there and we try to get together with them and their families as often as we can.  This last week, before she needed to return to Tacoma, we decided to rent a car (our little truck only comfortably holds two) and take a short trip to San Diego and visit the family, check on the mortuary to discuss future details, etc. and to see all the changes in the city since she had last been (many, many years ago).

What a wonderful visit we had!  After first checking into our hotel, Jack and I met up for drinks with my favorite work colleague who took over from me after I left.  It's always fun to catch up with James to see whats going on with the Zoo and everyone and get the "inside skinny".  No matter how long one is gone from work, you still miss it...

The following day, we took my sister to the Zoo, I bet she hadn't been in over 15 years!  Well, it's "Spring Break", Saturday, and a sun-filled, you can imagine the crowd!  Just the kind of day my old boss loves to see!!  ha ha  The parking lot was full, full, full and it wasn't even 10am yet!  That was OK, we weren't in any hurry, and didn't need to see every square inch.  The Zoo was prepared and the lines weren't long.  We took the bus tour first, then just took our time wandering around until she was tired.

From there we just started to drive around the city.  What fun!  She used to live in Pt. Loma, right across and up the hill from the Naval Training Center.  You could look right into the Center itself and watch the sailors drill.  (I used to wave at them while I washed my sister's car when I was 14).  So, I couldn't wait to show her Liberty Station!  To say she was amazed, is an understatement!  So was I, the first time I saw what they had done to it!

Driving along the downtown area, along the Embarcadero, seeing the old Anthony's Fish Grotto gone always hurts my heart.  If you have ever lived in San Diego, you know that it was an icon that it was here forever, and now it's gone.  Sad.  We went to the "Unconditional Surrender" statue and stopped to see the National Salute to Bob Hope (which I hadn't seen before) - such a cool memorial.

The other big change, is Old Town.  Another place she had lived was right above it, and she knew that area well.  I explained to her how the Bazaar Del Mundo lost it's lease and that they decided to change it's look to what it might have looked between 1821-1872.

By then we were hungry and decided to call it a day and stop for an early dinner.  Our favorite fish place is Kings Fish House in Mission Valley, and thank goodness, it is still there!  ;-) 

The next day we were meeting the family for lunch in the valley at the Wood Ranch BBQ.  My niece surprised us and was able to get the whole gang there!!  All 20!  Wow.  It sure was great to be able to see everyone.  The only ones missing were a couple of great nieces and a great nephews who were either out of town/state working.  Such a lovely family we have.

Afterward we made a run out to Carlsbad to see the Ranunculus Flower Fields.  My sister had never seen them before, and I remembered that they should be in bloom this time of year.  I thought she would enjoy the sight.  Jack and I used to come up here often when we lived here.  We were amazed though, how much the area had built up around the fields!  "Progress", don't you just love it?

We then took the leisurely drive back down all along the ocean side.  We swung by Belmont Park too, as Bette's first husband used to own the roller-coaster there at one time.  When I was a little girl, she used to take me on it.  I sure thought I was special, since my brother-in-law owned the roller-coaster and I could ride it all I wanted!  ;-) 

Monday morning we had an early breakfast at our most favorite breakfast spot, the Hob Nob Hill (another icon) then drove out to Cypress View Mausoleum.  We were able to meet with a very nice lady and get everything settled quickly and then be on our way back to Arizona.

We flew my sister back home yesterday.  I'll miss her sunny disposition, her wonderful cooking, her sweetness and most of all her loving company.  As I've shared before, sisters are special people, and I've been blessed with two.  I never forget to thank Spirit each day for that (and for the brother that I had).

Memories can be wonderful things when shared with loved ones...I'm glad I had the chance to do this with mine....thanks for coming along with us!

...kicking back in Arizona,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Monday, March 11, 2019

Show Time!

Wow, here it IS already the second week of March!  They say "time flies when your having fun", and they are right!

For the past three months I've been in rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals!  When the Theater Group said that being in the show was work, what they really should have said was that it was a full-time commitment!  It wasn't work (that's what I did for most my life) this was FUN, but it sure is a commitment of time (and energy!).  With four single numbers, plus three group numbers, I was in rehearsals every day, many back-to-back.  It sure was great exorcise too!

Finally, it was time to perform!  Four nights, to sold out audiences!  My sister and her granddaughter surprised me and came down from Washington and Las Vegas for the weekend to see it, what a delight that was!

Out the door for "Hey Big Spender"; "Shout"; "Hey Big Spender"; Bye Bye Blackbird"; "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend"; "9 to 5"
 Each night the audience was so fun to watch and see their reaction to our performances.  I was told that Thursday night's (first night) were usually the quietest, and Saturday's (last night) the rowdiest.  Well, Thursday's was WILD!!  They were great!  My first number was Big Spender, where we are dressed in saloon girl outfits and try to get the attention of the "gentlemen spender".  After he has made his "selection" and walks away with two gals, I walk to the edge of the stage and eye someone nearby and have a line "How 'bout it palsey?"  Well, that first night, the man that I picked, dropped his jaw and then burst out was great!  Made my night!

We ended each night with the song Up Town Funk and get everyone up and dancing with us.  It was a lot of fun, some nights people really got into it and even outdid us!!  Who said "old people act old"??  Not this group, I'll tell you!!

"Uptown Funk"
After the last show, we all brought food & drinks and partied and "let our hair down"!  That's when I really had fun...both the director and choreographer came up to me and told me what a gem I was and how much they enjoyed having me in the group!  They can't wait to have me solo next year, etc, etc.  Sure made me smile a lot!! 

Two days later, I hopped a plane to New York to be with my son.  Brrrr...  What a change going from 70 degree sunshine to 19 degrees and snow!!  I had dug out every bit of warm cloths I own (which isn't much) and layered!   ;-)  I sure was pretty to look at...but not something you wanted to stay outside in for longer than you had to!!

These guys came for breakfast and dinner each day at my son's back yard!

On Saturday, my oldest granddaughter had her "Sweet 16 Birthday Party" with her best friend.  It was cute.  About 20 girls and one (brave) boy, all dressed up.  Her mom rented a local place and decorated it with balloons, streamers, etc.  They played music and games and had pizza, hot wings and had a lovely cake.  They took funny pictures of each other and giggled.  Us three grandmas sat and reminisced about how different "today's kids are".  ;-)  It was sweet. 

Two days later, my son and his wife and I headed to Boston for his court hearing.  One that has been postponed several times regarding him bringing in his licensed gun from NY to MA.  Massachusetts doesn't have a reciprocal gun law.  It's more complicated than that...but that's the simple version.

After getting there bright and early, as we were told, the judge tells us to come back the next day, as he has an appointment that day.  We do.  Then, once again, the judge tells us, that he is going to postpone the case, as another one has take precedence - an officer involved shooting from 2013.  Ours will take place - April 1st.  Ugh.

We've paid for an apartment for the week, flown me in, taken time off from work, etc.  but the court doesn't care...  So, I flew back to Arizona!

...Just in time for another party!  Theater "Thank You Party" -  fully catered by Dave's BBQ, with a DJ for dancing!  I was so happy to be able to make this!  I had heard about it, and was told that it was "the party of the year!"  Well, they weren't exaggerating!  So much fun!!  The DJ played most of our numbers and we sang/acted them out - but made fun of them!  It was a hoot!  Then, and in between, we danced and danced and danced!  I haven't danced that much in years!  It didn't matter if, or who your partner was, that's one of the reasons I love this group!  ;-)  Everyone is so very friendly, and happy!  Best party ever!

Now, it's time to settle down and get some more things down around here...then before you know it, it will be time to hit the road again!  Yea!

...kicking back in Arizona,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

So long 2018!

This was a short, fast, odd kind of year for us!  One, along with many, it seems,  that we are glad to be done with!  So much seemed to happen, and not happen for us...

The happen...was we changed our status!  From the beginning we have been "full timers" - on the road constantly, moving from one campground to another, without really having any home base except a long stop-over in Washington to renew our licenses and see family and doctors.  This year, however, we decided that after 6 years it was time to slow down a bit and get a "home base".  We are not ready to quit...just ready to stay put for a few months now instead of traveling all 12 months.  For us, that's a big change...and a fun one.  Another adventure, if you will.  That change took months to do, to buy, to move in, etc. and in truth, it's still taking us time to unpack!

Another thing that happened was that one of my sweet sisters passed away while we were in Texas.  It wasn't totally unexpected, just earlier than expected, and never news one wants to get, no matter when or where you are.  That news changed our direction and our summer.  The one thing that being RV'ers are good at.

We were also able to take our "vacation" this year.  Something we like to do, but can't always do.  This year we were able to take some friends with us, and show them "our favorite island", Maui!  They had never been, and it was such a joy to show them Hawaii and to celebrate Jack's 75th birthday in style.  After such a hectic time, this was a nice relief.  Especially knowing that we were coming back to a house full of boxes to unpack!

What didn't happen...was a lot less camping.  We only camped from June to October, which is a really short time for us.  We left late due to first the house buying, then because I broke a molar and had to have it fixed before hitting the road.  Then, we had to be back by October because of our reservations for Hawaii.  Oh well, like I said, a strange year...

Here are our stats...

We stayed in 22 campgrounds for a total of 70 nights  (we stayed with family all the other nights)

Total campground fees $2,030.67  (that averages about $29. a night, which is a little less than last year's)

Mileage for the RV:  6,254
Mileage for the Toad: 9,005

Gas for the RV:  $2,865
Gas for the Toad: $1,143

Propane: $82

Maintenance for the RV:  $7,958
Maintenance for the Toad: $1,161

Both vehicles reached their "over 100,000 mile" mark and needed the full work up, so got it from front to back...ouch!

Next year's plan? be on the road more than this year, that's for sure!  ;-)  But as to "where"?  That's a good we keep asking ourselves...with what all the bad storms and fires did to this country, we just may head to Canada!  We shall just see...

...sitting back in Arizona,  Marie

Sunday, December 23, 2018

December Daze...

Where does the time go?  Being "stationary", it seems like time flies faster than when we are "on the road"!  Last blog, we just got back from Hawaii, and now, here we are at the end of December already!  What have we been doing?

After we painted the wall, and hung some of the art, it was time to "update" our couch.  It just didn't fit in with our new look!  I wanted it to be a plain (off) white.  I've gotten into Pinterest lately, so turned to it, and found a number of blogs on how to reupholster using cotton drop cloths.  Sounded easy enough.  So, two drop cloths, a bunch of Velcro, seam binding, and two weeks later...a "new couch"!   I have a love of 1950's tablecloths, and have collected a number of them to use in sewing projects.  I used several for the arm rests and pillows (reversible), and will again on seat cushions for my dining chairs when I tackle that project (soon).  It's not perfect, but we like it, and it beats spending hundreds of dollars on a new couch!  ;-) 

Thanksgiving brought my older sister Bette out to visit us for a week.  What a treat that was to have her here, even if only for a short time.  We invited another couple to join us for our very small feast and had a lovely Thanksgiving for our first one in our new tiny home.  I was so busy being the hostess, I forgot to take pictures!  But the day was lovely and we all had a great time!

 She and I went flower and plant shopping and had a ball!  She loves plants as much as I do, so I was saving that trip for when she was here.  I have a ton of pots & containers that needed filling, so, off we went to the store to gather up soil and various goodies to fill them.  Oh what fun we had!  Ran out of money before we ran out of ideas...

The week went by way to fast, the sun was shining brightly and each day I took her out and showed her our great park and tried to entice her to move here from rainy, cloudy, cold Washington...hee hee..

December brought the chance to sell some of our stuff!  Twice a year Happy Trails has a Yard Sale!  So...we drug out all our goodies and did our best to sell, sell, sell!  Well, I think the Goodwill did better than we did!  We did manage to sell some (about $100 worth) but not as much as I sure would have liked, but, what we didn't, we mostly hauled off.  My friend Delores has introduced me to "Swip Swap" and others, it's an online selling app that I've been pretty successful with.  I only use it for the larger pieces, as it's not worth it for me to to take pictures and then meet up with someone for items less than $25 (in my opinion).  I've sold about half my items this way...sure wish the other half would go, as I need the space!!  ;-)   It's fun though and you get to meet some nice folks too.  I've also held on to the cloths I'm selling as we have a big clothing sale in January and I'll give that a try next.  What the heck?  Right?

Did I tell you I joined the Theater Group here?  Well, we've started getting ready for the 2019 production.  The theme for it is "Starry, Starry, Night".  I'm in 4 spots.  At our holiday party, our costume designer was talking with each of us, then was asking around if anyone knew how to sew?  Of course my hand went thing I know, I'm helping with reversible satin, 2 color vests!  Oh boy!  As my daughter laughingly reminded me, I have a tendency to "jump right in" and then the next thing I know is I'm in charge!  Oops!
Told her, "Oh no, not this time, I don't know enough about this stuff to ever be in charge, no thank you!"

We've still been working on projects.  The latest is my craft chest.  I inherited my Mother's amour.  She had it for many years, and I've had it for about 50 years.  It was a nice cedar one, but it's been kicked around from house to house and suffered a lot of heat and cold and abuse, and showed it.  It needed a lot of repair work.  Jack always was ready to get rid of it, but it's the only thing I have of hers.  I asked him to fix it, and to put shelves inside and thus, turn it into a craft chest for me.  He did a great job.  I then sanded the whole thing and then painted the outside and voila!  New craft chest!   I was then able to unload two very large boxes into the chest.  Now I can see, and get to all my wonderful crafts easily and joyfully!  Yea!  The only thing left is I want to decoupage a design on the front.  I just haven't found the right one yet. 

Being "alone" this year, it hasn't felt much like Christmas to me, but we did do one thing that was very special.  Our friends told us about a Christmas show called the Celebration of Christmas done at a church in Phoenix.  It has flying angels, live animals, singing, great costumes, etc.  I had shared that I had always wanted to go to the one in Garden Grove CA at the Crystal Cathedral and never made it (and now it's gone).  So, they organized a small group of us, and got tickets and we all went there and then afterwards all went to dinner.  What a great night and wonderful show!  The theme is, people are stuck at the airport on Christmas Eve, with all the flights cancelled due to weather...and various stories with various couples...ending of course with the story of Christmas.  Just beautiful.

We finally did put up a couple of decorations outside.  That's it for this year though, we will do more next year.  2019 will be a better year, for us and for everyone!  Cheers!


Friday, November 16, 2018


Yes, even people who spend their time “leasurely traveling” around need a vacation!  For us, it means getting away from the RV and camping - so we hop on a plane and stay in one of our time share places.  This time, it was a week in Maui

A week isn’t very long (for us) but we took some friends along with us, and booked two suites.  Our friends had never been to the islands before, and when we heard that, we couldn’t resist taking them along!  It’s so much more fun to share the adventure with others.  It was also Jack’s 75th birthday, so that added to the celebration.

Having been before, we were excited to show John and Delores all around.  The weather was glorious, and we didn’t waste a moment after we arrived.  First stop, downtown Lahaina!  Lunch at Bubba Gump’s for fresh sea food and a “toast” to celebrate our stay.  A nice walk around town, taking in all the lovely views.  It didn’t take Delores long to buy her first souvenir either!

High on our list of “to do’s” was a luau, and that was booked before we left.  I had talked with someone from the time share and set it all up and got us VIP seating for the best one on the island, The Old Lahaina Luau.   I had read about it, and was excited to see it.  We had done one in Kauai, but not in Maui, so this would be new for us as well.

The night of the luau, our hosts met us and we all got our pictures taken, then were escorted to the luau and were greeted with orchid leis and cocktails.  We had our own server throughout the evening that never left our side.  Our seats were the BEST!  The only ones in front of us, were the ones sitting on the floor (no thanks, to old for that!).  The entertainment, the food, the drinks, the atmosphere, everything, was just wonderful.  We really lucked out on the weather too, as it was right on the beach, and we didn’t even need our light sweaters we brought.  Such a great night.

The following day, we took them on the road to Hana.  I don’t think they liked it as much as we did.  Delores isn’t much for winding roads - even if the scenery is beautiful.  I thought that if we took it slow, and stopped a lot, she would be okay, but, not really.  Oh well…we still loved seeing it (again).  It’s some of the prettiest part of the island, I think.   We did stop at one new place this time, and that was at MauiWine.  Delores, John and I did wine tasting.  We all agreed…pineapple wine is not for us.  Oh well, it was fun trying it.

Jack wanted to celebrate his birthday at Slappy Cakes a pancake house.  So, that’s what we did!  It’s a unique restaurant where you can make your own pancakes on a griddle in the middle of the table and/or order pancakes as you do at other places.  While we ordered ours, Jack made his.  He had fun playing with the shapes of his pancakes, making faces, and his “age”, etc.  He may be 75, but he’s still a kid at heart!

The week went by way to fast.  Beautiful days with lovely sunrises and sunsets and even a rainbow or two.  But, all good things have to come to an end (or so they say)…so on the plane we came home, once again. 

We are now back in Arizona, nose deep in settling in to this new tiny house of ours.  Still finding things we’d forgotten we had, wondering where we are going to put it now, or do we get rid of it…and in between it all, planning our next adventure!

…kicking back in Arizona,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at: