Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Memories...remembering old ones and making new ones...

 There's the old saying "you can't go home again"...but this week I did, sort of...and it was really special. 

Several months ago our RV Club announced that they were planning a group trip to Lone Pine CA in October.  I was thrilled!  Lone Pine and Inyo County is where my Dad and Grandpa grew up and where I have wonderful memories of!  I haven't been back there in many, many years and to be able to go camping for several days, would be such a gift, so I immediately signed up.  

As the time came closer and closer, so did the Covid Virus and more and more people canceled.  As it turned out, the "group event" pretty much canceled and only three rigs ended up going!  It went from 22 rigs down to just us 3, but we made the best of it anyway!  Driving there we hit headwinds of 16-18 miles an hour, and in the over-night stay in Needles, that night, gusts got up to 30-60 mph.  We were rock'n and roll'n! 

Our stay in Lone Pine was lovely though, sunny and clear.  The first day was a bit windy, but after that it was pretty calm.  Our first outing was a drive into Bishop to check out the "big city" with the first stop at Schat's Bakkery.  They have been around since before I started coming here as a kid!  Family owned for generations...and still wonderful!!  The BEST Sheepherders Bread ever!  Can't go home without a loaf!  


After wandering around the rest of the town, we stopped for lunch then headed out to see the Manzanar National Historical Site.  They have really built this up since I was here, showing examples of of what the housing buildings looked like, outlining the areas of how many they had, rebuilding the basketball court, fire station, and a few other buildings.  They uncovered the garden and pond.  At one time they housed 10,000 people of Japanese ancestry there. 





From there we drove over to the Fish Hatchery and walked around it.  It was closed, but we could still walked around the outside and enjoy the ducks and the beautiful grounds.  When I was a kid, my friend Margie and I used to walk or ride our horses up here all the time and talk with the ranger and visit.  We just loved it up here. 


We then drove over to where my Grandfather's property was and tried to check it out as best we could without trespassing to much.  Gone were all his houses and orchards as well as the creeks.  He used to have one big creek and two smaller ones that ran down from the Fish Hatchery (from Mt. Whitney) right through his property, but they were all dried up now...sad to see.  Looked like the property was split up into individual lots (he had 3 acres) with a few Cottonwood trees left here and there and not much else. 


The following day we spent driving around and hiking back into the Alabama Hills where they made over 400 films.   Growing up, I knew that my Dad had been an extra and had even taught some actors how to ride horses in some films "somewhere" in the hills, but I never knew where, nor paid much attention to it really.  It wasn't until a few years ago when I began hearing about how Lone Pine was famous for a number of films that I put it all together!  Dad used to sing us a lot of the cowboy songs that they did in those old movies and tell us stories of how old Hopalong Cassidy didn't even know how to ride a horse at first and other funny stories with the Indians.  Wonderful old memories.

The next day we went to the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine and was really amazed at just how many films, the kind, and who all came here to be in them!  I really had no idea!  It's a great museum too, they really had a ton of exhibits with an extensive collection of real movie costumes, movie cars, props, posters and other memorabilia.  They have a Film Festival every year that is suppose to be quite something that I think our group is going to book for next year, so who knows, maybe we will be back!

You may not "quite" go home again, but after 60 years, this came pretty close, and pretty sweet...thanks for the memories...

...on the road in Lone Pine California,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos

The Campgrounds we stayed at were:  Needles KOA and Boulder Creek RV Resort 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

To hot or to cold?

 Well, I guess I must truly BE an "Arizonian" now...as our trip to California's Dana Point proved that anything cooler than 85 degrees, and I'm cold!  So, here I am, packing my bathing suit, shorts, sleeveless blouses (and one pair of long jeans with two long-sleeve blouses "just in case of cool nights") getting all ready to enjoy days sunning on the beach, swimming in the pool, walking along the harbor, enjoying the wonderful "Southern California weather"!  Right?  Wrong!!  Was I in for a surprise!  Mist, fog, cool wind, haze and damp air is what we had!  I LIVED in those jeans and two long-sleeved blouses...and almost bought a sweatshirt!  Boy, have I changed since my days of living in San Diego!  ha ha  What a wimp I've become!  My friends kept telling me it wouldn't take me very long to "get acclimated to the dessert" and I guess they weren't wrong.  Wow...

Besides the adjustment to the weather, it wasn't to bad...California is still more "controlled or locked down" than Arizona.  Almost all of their restaurants are only serving outside.  They have set up some tenting at some areas, but that really only consists of "tops" with the sides up and the breezes still coming in at you...cold, especially at night!  We did manage to hunt down a couple that did have indoor seating...The Chart House being one, along with Harpoon Henry's.  We lucked out and was treated to a wonderful 4-course dinner and drinks at The Chart House by our hosts at our Time Share. Yum!

We booked a two-bedroom so friends could join us, and our faithful couple, Lupita and Lew took the time to drive up after work and stay Saturday and Sunday with us, bringing all kinds of goodies for us to enjoy as well!  Of course we talked for hours and hours, almost forgetting to go out to eat!  It never fails to surprise us how much time passes since the last time we all got together....how does that happen?

My two nieces and nephew also made the trip up as well, and we met them in Carlsbad.  Love that town.  Always so pretty there.  Used to think we would wind up there to live someday...guess it wasn't in the cards...

We did enjoy lots of nice walks along the Harbor and into San Clemente.  Friday night gave us live music along the harbor while we ate ice cream and enjoyed watching the sunset over the harbor...

We ended our last day with a wonderful lunch visit with some dear friends that we hadn't seen in years and years!  We had some good laughs at how we all have gotten "gray hair" now!  ;-)  So fun having long-time friends!  

So, now it's back to "the homestead"...and, it just doesn't seem so hot anymore!  ha ha  Heck, it's only 103 this week!  Fall is almost here and won't be long before the "outdoor parties" begin, yea!  I'm ready...

...kicking back in Arizona,  Marie

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A couple of brief "cool" trips...

Deciding to stick close to home this year, have left us pretty much "hiding out" in the air conditioning of our home here in the heat of the Arizona Valley. Not fun. Other than going to the pool in the mornings, doing a few home projects, it's been pretty boring, to say the least! We were starting to get cabin fever! This is the first summer we've NOT traveled, and I can honestly say, I really, really miss it. Reading the various blogs and articles about how crowded campgrounds have been, how much the campground fees have gone up, how difficult it has been to even get a reservation, and then if and when you do, what was there to do and see because so much is closed, made travel seem like a senseless and frustrating expense. Along with everything else going on right now, it wasn't one we decided to take on. So, we asked ourselves, "what can we do to get out of here, yet not go to far?" We own a time-share, and had saved up points that we had intended to use this year, along with my niece and her husband, to take a nice big trip to Spain and Portugal...but, that wasn't going to happen now, so I "banked" what I could, but some, I had to use now. So, we chose a week in Sedona AZ right away, and a week in Dana Pt. CA in Sept. Then we began looking into where we might be able to camp close by, yet "cooler" than here in the valley. The first place we could get a reservation was in Payson AZ, for a week. All the other areas in the local mountains were booked solid.

We've been to Sedona a number of times before, so this was just going to be a relaxing, change of scenery get-away. Luckily, the restaurants and shops were open so it made getting out and about a bit more enjoyable. Their pool was also open, so we enjoyed that as well. The temperatures were only about 15 degrees cooler, but enough to make walking around during the day possible. It was the first time we'd been out walking around in months, and it really felt good1 Sedona is a pretty place, even to just look at. I was glad we went. 

The following week after we got back was our camping trip to Payson. We actually had been to Payson many years before. I remembered the Mongolian Rim and the Natural Bridge and the cute little town. We had stayed in a cute cabin then as it was before we had an RV. Since we were going to be here for only a week, I didn't see any reason to bring out toad, just the RV. The campground was small, and to our disappointment, not as many trees as we had hoped, and not as "cool" either. The temperature here was only about 10-12 degrees cooler than in the valley, which didn't make for sitting outside for more than a few hours in the morning feasible. I regretted not bring the toad after all, since we ended up being inside the RV more than I had anticipated, but, even still, it was better than being in the Valley. 

When we got back I continued to look into other campgrounds in the mountains for reservations. Friends were going to Show Low area, and I kept trying, but I could only get a couple of days at a time, or at another one, they wanted $75 a night and I just won't pay those prices! Our friends here wanted to go with us, but she doesn't like "switch-backs", so I started looking closer, at Flagstaff. Found a campground there that had two sites for a full week at a great price so we booked them for mid August! Crossed my fingers that it was a decent place... Turned out to be a great place and a great time! Our sites were near each other. Our friends had a bit more shade than us, so we ended up playing cards in the afternoon and having dinner at their site each night. Lots of wonderful pine trees and a super nice camp host that we even invited to join us for dinner one night. What a funny campground though...more like a puzzle than any I've ever been to! The camp host, Diane explained that it was built in the 60's when RVs were a lot smaller, so when they started getting bigger and needed bigger sites, they had to start tearing down some of the sites and combining them to make them big enough for some of the larger rigs...this, they are situated every which way! Some are side-by-side, some back-in, pull-through, or pull-in! It looks very confusing, but, I guess it works! We liked it so much that after a week, when our friends were ready to leave, we weren't, so we went to Diane and asked her to work a miracle and see if she could figure out a way to find us a spot for another week! She jiggled this and that and did! We moved and stayed another week...I was just able to stretch out our food supply for the extra 7 days! Yea! Once again, we hadn't brought the toad, as our friends had their truck, so didn't see the need! ha ha 

All that is left now is the trip to Dana Point later in September.  That's along the beach, so that should be different.  We have friends near there who we will be seeing as well, so we are looking forward to that trip as well.  I don't think we have any more camping trips planned until late October with our camping club...but one never knows!  Cabin Fever may strike again...stay tuned!  

Until then, kicking back in Arizona,   Marie

Friday, June 26, 2020


Well, here it is almost the end of June and I'm writing my first blog of the year!  Ugh.  "Normally" we would have been on the road almost 2 months by now and I would have had lots of adventures and a number of things to share...but noooo, we are GROUNDED here in our Arizona home.  ;-(   Like so many others, the "COVID 19 Quarantine" has us sitting around, waiting to see when, where and for how long things will open up to if we can even go anywhere this year!  IF we do, how far?  By the time campgrounds "open up", they will be so crowded, with "limited space" and extra people wanting to travel this way now, will there even be availability?  Everything has been changed because of this virus, so much is closed, that is it even fun to travel?  What will there be to see?  To do?  It's taken all the fun out and left a whole lot of stress in it's wake...not what RV'ing is all about...

In between time, hanging around the house has been a mixed bag.  We are getting some much needed or wanted projects done, but after awhile, I have to admit that is even getting a bit boring...There are only so many books to read, movies to watch, things to paint, sew or glue...  (albeit, some of them fun to do).  We have spent some nice time with some friends that we haven't had the opportunity to before, because they usually don't hang around here either, leaving late spring as well.  A number of folks who even have homes in other states have decided to stay here as it is safer than traveling there.  Many left right away, along with the Canadians, as they had to by order of their health providers!  Many lots are empty, so it's pretty quiet here, but we still get a lot of walkers and people riding their bikes.  They closed all the activity centers right away and just now reopened them, to the resident's glee.
Sewing curtains, Display box for my sand collection, and decoupaged a trunk with our travel maps

Made a fun "Directional Sign" of some of our favorite locations!

The weather has finally gotten "hot", meaning most days are in the triple digits by noon.  Our mornings are still lovely and most the time Jack and I sit out on the back porch with our coffee, but by around 11:30, we are closing up the house and turning the AC on!   What I'm NOT used to, and am trying to brace myself for tho, is the "monsoons" that I've heard so much about, but never have been here for.  They tell me that happens in June-August...high winds and heavy rains - big time!!  Which, when we are gone and all of our outdoor belongings are all tucked away is no big deal, but now, that is not the case, I'm really not looking forward to it!  Yikes!!  I guess we just shall see...

Another "up-side" is that I joined a water-aerobics class six days a week.  It's been a nice refreshing thing to do, people to meet...and I've already lost three pounds without dieting!  Yea!

Well, I guess that's enough whining for one day...truth be told, we are all in the same boat, so to speak.  I just had a bad case of "feeling sorry for myself" while I was looking out the window at the empty street and wishing it was the window of my RV and I was sitting in the front seat while we were driving to somewhere really cool... Here's to dreams to come...for all of us!

...hanging around Arizona,  Marie

Friday, December 27, 2019

End of another year...

Here it is almost the end of December, another year gone, another decade really.  We are about to enter 2020...and I for one, am ready!  How about you?  This has been an interesting year for me...a transitioning one, and one of a number of personal "happenings" that makes one take a step back.

This is our first full year of being a "part-time" RVer.  Six months on the road and six months here in Arizona.  I like it, but it takes some getting used to after being on the road full-time for over seven years.  Once again it's a different life style.  For one thing, you've got the "packing & un-packing" thing to deal with.  How much double "stuff" to you keep in the RV and in the house?  It seemed to take days to load, as I was always remembering one more thing to load...and even then as we traveled, I would discover something I left at home!  Once we arrived home, I'm forever trapezing back over to the RV for something that's still in the RV!  Thank goodness it's parked right next to us!

Even planning the trip was different, as it was for only six months instead of a year.  Where to go and how long to stay at each location?  We had decided to go to an RV Rally this year as we hadn't been to a Tiffin one in years, so that became our focal point, from there we determined the rest of the trip.  We then decided to head to Canada, and since we've only really visited the area around Calgary, we decided to explore further east, then head on over to Calgary to visit our friends again before coming back down into Washington to spend time with family.

Looking back over the summer, I have to say that the highlight of the trip, for me was our time in Canada, especially the last part through the Okanagan Valley.  I really had no idea that Canada had a "wine valley" and that it was so good!  It was such a delightful experience, one I hope to repeat someday.  Spraining my ankle early on made sight-seeing difficult for most of the summer, but this little surprise at the end our our Canadian visit made up for it!

Since we've been back home, we've been BUSY!

I have been trying to finish putting my house in order by completing the "change-over" from the Southwestern look it came with to my Country look I want.  I started by repainting a couple of patio chairs I had purchased last spring, to match the other turquoise ones I already have.  Then I also repainted a window frame I had, to turquoise and filled it with some of my photos and hung it on the porch wall, added a couple of pillows, completing the porch!

While we were outside...we got tired of being poked!  All around the yard were very large Agave plants (these people loved the Southwest, I'm telling you!).  Well, after so many pokes, we said "enough already!"  So, we dug them all up, and went to our friendly nursery and bought "pretty plants"!  Two purple fountain grasses that are kind to the legs when we walk by the RV and two Texas Sage (Salvia) with a Tecoma Stans Yellow Bells in between.  So much nicer now.  Yea!

I then moved into the house...I have been collecting a variety of old style wood chairs to go around our butcher block dining table, so now I needed to sand and paint them, along with matching seat pillows (of course!)  I wanted each one to be different, and to go along with my Fiesta ware dishes!  That turned out to be quite a job, but looks really cool.  Once that was done (4 chairs later), on to our built-in buffet.  It had a Southwest color scheme...ugh, had to go!  Now, it's white (like the walls, with blue edging to match the opposite wall.  Phew!

Jack has joined a couple of HOA committees, along with a couple of fun clubs, so that is keeping him out of trouble too!

We also were able to fit in a couple of fast trips...one to Las Vegas for the Thanksgiving holiday to my niece's.  My sister flew down, and now Jack's nephew and family has also moved there, so now along with my cousin, we have quite a gathering living in Las Vegas!  We stayed for four days and had a lovely time...even got in a little hiking into the Red Rock Canyon Park!

My most favorite boss ever, the CEO of the San Diego Zoo Global retired recently and they gave him a couple of surprise send-offs (one at the Zoo and another at the Safari Park).  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to say good-bye and get one last hug from him, so we drove down that morning and attended the afternoon one at the Safari Park in Escondido.  It was a happy/sad occasion.  He is one of the finest gentlemen I have ever had the privilege of knowing...and will be greatly missed by many.

The Theater Group has already started for the season, and I've been assigned one lead number, six back-up numbers, and two all cast numbers!  I'm either going to be exhausted and thin or dead by the end of February!!  Wish me luck! 

I've even managed to decorate for the holidays this year!  Drug out all our decorations from the shed, rummaged through them and figured out what I could scale down to fit into our tiny house (from our large house we used to have), and not look to "over done"!  Having another "tradition" too...our Annual Holiday Soup Party!  We used to hold one every year for our friends when we lived in Escondido.  I would make about five different soups and about eight different breads and have around forty to fifty family and friends over for the evening.  It was quite festive.  It will never, ever get that big here, my tiny house could never, ever hold so many!  I'm starting out with a dozen people and two soups and four breads!  We shall see how that goes!

As I always do, on my last blog of the year, here are the stats from our travels....

We stayed at 36 campgrounds, for a total of 138 nights on the road
Total campground fees: $5,238.02 (including the rally and Colorado State Park Pass for the year)
(That averages about $37.96 a night, which is pretty typical for us.  We stayed a week with our friends in Calgary and another one in Washington with family, which is also typical.  If you factor those in, that would raise the per night stay up to $42.24.  But for being in Canada most of the time, you have to also adjust the dollar rate too, back down that comes!  ;-) 

Mileage for the RV: 7,000
Mileage for the toad: 8,687 (all of 2019)
Gasoline for the RV: $3,480
Gasoline for the toad: $1,256
Propane: $24

...kicking back in sunny Arizona,  Marie

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Checking Off a Bucket List!

I'm not sure when I first learned about the Horseshoe Bend in Page Arizona, or why it has taken me so long to finally get to it, but all I know is it's a place I've yearned to go see for myself for a long time.  I've seen tons of pictures of it; it seems like "everyone" has been there - done that" but me!  How on earth have I not??

I know I've been to the Page area a number of times, I guess I just didn't realize it was there!  "Best kept secret"?  Wow, anyway, when we started our trek back towards home, I told Jack I had one last request - to swing by Page in route so we could see Horseshoe Bend.  I tried to book us into an RV Park in Page, but no such luck, all full.  So he suggested Kanab, "its only an hour and half away, no big deal, we can drive it in the truck".  So, I booked us four days in Kanab to be on the safe side, weather-wise (and we love this town).

We picked the day and set out early.  We got there around 9:00 a.m.  and already the parking lot was half full.  Grabbed our water and camera and began the hike.  They warn you it's 3/4 mile each way, but they don't tell you it's up and down a steep hill in soft sand!  It was already about 80 degrees by the time we got to the Bend.  Looking over the edge, half of it was still in shadow.  I took some pictures but began climbing (like all the other kids) along the rocks for better views.  Once we found the area best we could, we waited for the sun to move to get the best shot with the least shadow.  People watching was also fun. Lots of "selfies" of all kinds, different languages, several tour groups, all ages from infants to late eighties and every clothing style from mini to long dresses and suites!  Fun to sit back and watch it all.

my "selfie"
Finally we decided that the sun was about as far as it was going to recede with the rock overhang and I snapped as many shots as I thought I could get with the lens I had with me, and back we went.

By now the temperature was probably around 85-90 degrees, so we took it slowly, and when we reached the top, was grateful for the shaded bench!  It had a nice cool breeze as well, which was much appreciated.

I had made a picnic lunch, but it was still to early to eat it, so we just brought it back home and had it here!  What a glorious trip it was, the drive wasn't long at all because all along the way you see red rock hoodoos and canyons that is Utah's beauty!

This was our last stop before "home for the winter"...I dare say, we saved the best for last!

Catching up in Arizona,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Pink and Red all over

Utah is one of my most favorite states and the Kanab area especially as it is central to the views I love the best.  All the red rock formations and canyons to climb and photograph that just draw me in like a magnet.  Each time I'm here I find new areas to explore.

This time was the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.  After seeing the Sand Dunes in Colorado, I was curious to compare them and to see if they were indeed "pink".  Well, I wasn't disappointed, they indeed were pink, and depending on the sun, they can go from light to a dark red.  The biggest difference I found, was how soft the sand was - almost like baby powder!  I just wanted to run my hands through it all the time, but it sure made walking through it quite a challenge I can say!  ;-)

The other difference too, is this is for dune buggy and motorbike riding, while the Colorado Sand Dunes were not.  There were areas here where people slide down as well, but not like in Colorado.  These are not nearly as high and more suited for the driving sports.  They were fun to watch.  I was envious and wished I was 30 years younger and out there with them!  Good for them...

While driving back from the sand dunes, we spotted a fenced in spot that caught my eye, that I just had to stop and see what all was in there!  It looked like a small totem was standing guard over an enclosed pond area.  Very cool looking.  I did a little internet snooping and found out that this used to be a campground once, but got closed down by the fish & game due to some ducks on the pond eating a snail (Amber Snail/endangered species).  The totem is actually made of cement...but sure looks like it's carved out of local stone, even after all these years...sure was a pretty little area, maybe it paid to fence it all off!

Catching up in Arizona,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/