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 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