Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A New Chapter

Do I even remember how to write a blog????  It's been over a year since I  attempted writing, but today's event calls for an update!

If you follow Facebook, you already know that today we traded in our full-time RV'er status for the ever popular "Part-timer" or "Any-timer" with the purchase of a house at the Escapee's North Ranch community near Congress, Arizona.

What in the world????  Well, we've been slowing down in our travels over the past few years.  Hence the lack of updates to our blog.    We thought we'd get leased lot at the Escapees Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, Alabama.  But last winter was pretty brutal with cold, rain and even ice.  Hey, we didn't sign up to be freezing cold....so this year we decided to try Arizona again.  We've been to Apache Junction, Mesa, Peoria (or Glendale), Bouse (Quartszite) several times over the past eight years and enjoyed these experiences a lot.

Long story short, once we arrived at North Ranch, we were hooked.  At first we thought we might buy a vacant lot, but that didn't work out.  Once we started thinking and talking about our thoughts, we found that buying a house, if we could find the right one, might be a good idea.  After all, we keep hearing that interest rates are going to go up again, and we're not getting younger.  At some point we are going to find it necessary to hang up the keys to the RV and stay put.  Not that we're there yet - I think we've still got a few miles to travel.

If you're wondering where in the heck North Ranch is, we are about 6 miles south of Congress, Arizona; or about 13 miles northwest of Wickenburg.  Or, if that's still got you guessing, we're about 75 miles northwest of Phoenix.  The elevation here is right around 2700', a little higher than Phoenix, but a whole lot less than just 35 miles up the road in Prescott.

Anyway, back to my story....So, driving around the area, we spotted a house for sale that looked interesting.  We contacted the real estate agent ( who is an Escapees member) and looked at the house.  Hmmm.....definitely needs some work and TLC.  But the price was workable, so here we are!

The "end" of the house with the window awnings faces the street. 

The back of the house, the windows in the center of the picture are in the dining area.

The living room/dining area has a gas fireplace used for heating.  Floors are light oak laminate.

The kitchen is equipped with an electric range/oven, microwave, dishwasher, side by side fridge/freezer, and a nice breakfast bar!

There are two bathrooms, a large master bedroom, and an office/den.  Outside there is a shed/workshop, and on top of that building there is an open deck where we can sit and see the surrounding mountains and desert!

We have our work cut out for us since the previous owners were smokers with health issues.  That translates to lots of cleaning, minor repairs and painting.  The plan is to move our motorhome over to the full hook-up spot on the lot and going to work on the house.  We have very little in the way of furniture right now, but for this winter the goal is to get the cleaning, repairing and painting done.  If all that happens and we still have time (oh yes, and a little money), we will start in on the furnishing and decorating.

Our plan is to continue to travel during the summer - to Amarillo and Colorado Springs primarily, but also to anywhere that catches our fancy and doesn't break the bank.  Once summer turns to fall, we'll head back to our Arizona nest.

When we're not working on the house, I'll be continuing to line dance here at North Ranch; currently I'm an assistant teacher with Pat McFall as the lead.  I'm also taking a ladies' shooting class at the Wickenburg Sportman's Club which we joined this fall.  Jim participates in their competitive matches when his time allows. I've signed up to teach line dancing at the Escapade in Tucson in March, and Jim will be helping with customer service and transportation.  We're looking forward to meeting lots of new neighbors as well as connecting with friends who are passing through the area.

If you're in the area, stop by, we'd love to visit!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

From the Mountains to the Ocean

When I log on to Blogger.com, it tells me my last post was May 28.....well that's not so long, really, is it?  Not yet 3 months since my last post!  Well,  yes, we've put a few miles on The Castle since then, that's true.  We'd just arrived in Colorado Springs then.  This year we were so priviledged to be able to attend my sister and brother in law's 40th wedding anniversary party.

Ann and Bob:

We also got together with Marilyn and Ed Dray, along with Ginger and Jesse Haman over at Mountaindale one afternoon.  Of course there was the routine medical stuff that goes on every year.  We also made a trip up to Fort Collins to see our Granddaughter Elyse, as well as a day in Denver to visit Cameron, Calib and Kellie, along with their Mom, Allie and step-dad Loyd.  What a great family, and all 4 of the grands have grown into such amazing young adults.

As soon as our Colorado visit was complete, we were due at the Escapade in Gillette, Wyoming.  Pat McFall and I were scheduled to teach line dancing, while Jim was assigned to the Customer Service and Transportation teams.

Jim was hard at work every day:

Whew!  What a whirlwind week that was.  Jim ended up staying on the job all day, every day.  Pat and I practiced and taught beginning through advanced line dancers for about 3 to 4 hours every day.  We were really ready for some down time after that week.  But we sure did enjoy visiting with many friends we haven't seen for awhile, plus making some new friends!

After Escapade, we made a visit to Janna and Mike in Montana.  This was our first visit to stay at their place, after being assured that Michael could help us get our 40' Phaeton up that  half-mile long driveway:

We arrived late in the afternoon on a rainy day, concerned that the driveway would be too muddy to navigate.  But Janna assured us it wasn't that bad, so on we went.  Michael was waiting at the bottom of the driveway.  We'd unhooked the car before getting to that point, so he sent me on up to the house in the car, while he got into the motorhome to guide Jim along the way.  Once up the driveway, the last task was to turn around so we'd be facing down the hill for our departure.  That all worked out just fine, and we really enjoyed our time visiting for about 6 days.

Idaho Falls to see nephew Bill and his wife Rhonda was next on our agenda.  They have a big lot east of town with a 50 amp electric hook-up and water, so we were set for a nice visit with them.  Bill is a fire captain on the city's fire department, but he had several days off during our visit, so we got to do some fun things, like floating down the Snake River in a drift boat one day.

One evening, they set up the portable trash can kilns and we got to do some Raku and Horsehair pottery. Rhonda used to own a pottery shop in town and still has several kilns and many pieces that can be glazed for the Raku and Horsehair processes.

While we were visiting them, I took Jasmine to a local veterinarian to have a lump on her shoulder checked out.  She ended up having surgery, so we stayed a few extra days to make sure all was O.K. - and it was.  The lump was not definitely identified, other than to make sure it wasn't anything to worry about.

We had a short travel day leaving Idaho Falls - all the way to Twin Falls, where we spent a few days sightseeing from our base of operations at Rock Creek County Park.  That's a lovely little spot for a few days with very nice walking trails and a great disc golf course.

Our next destination was Oregon.  We stopped overnight at the Caldwell, Idaho Elks Lodge before traveling across the Central Oregon Highway, #20.  That took us to Burns on for an overnight stop, then on to Redmond where we stayed at DeSchutes County Fairgrounds for a week.  Jim spent a couple of days completing the "Ale Trail" in Bend, while I provided designated driving duties for him.

We took some scenic drives, including one hair-raising trip over McKenzie pass, a very twisty-turny road that has some really awesome scenery along the way.

Next along the way was a a stop in Sutherlin, Oregon with a week's stay at Timber Valley, an Escapee's Co-op park, nestled in a pretty valley at the edge of town.  We got some sightseeing done, as well as visiting a few Oregon Wineries, with Jim doing the driving for me this time.

And at last, we've arrived at the coast.  We found a spot at Port Orford RV Village, about 2 miles from the beach.  We'll be here for about a month, doing some beach combing, along with relaxing and catching up on naps and reading!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On The Move

After a fast two months in Amarillo, Texas, we've pulled up the jacks and checked the roundness of the Phaeton's tires once again.  Our time in Amarillo went by in a flash this year!  I think one major reason was that we got there early in April and winter hadn't quite finished up yet.  We spent a lot of time waiting for warmer weather.

I got involved with the Amarillo Senior Citizen's Center line dance classes, so that took up some of my time.  I learned several new dances, met some wonderful people, and had a great time.

We had several maintenance issues to take care of, mostly minor.  Somewhere along the way, our motor for our front electric shade went out, and we managed to get that replaced in Amarillo.  Our door entry handle broke, so Jim fixed that.  One day when I was getting ready to give the dogs a bath, I turned on the faucet, but nothing came out of the "hot" side.  I'd read in Judy's blog, Travels with Emma where a check valve in the hot water line had failed.  I mentioned that to Jim, and he was able to replace it within about an hour - hot water again!

The most important issue left to fix is our front air conditioner.  It started tripping the breaker.  Jim did some diagnostic work and got it sort of working, but it still needs some attention.  We have an appointment this week to have new batteries installed, and the techs will take a look at it then.

Besides fixing things and dancing, we spent time with our daughter, Robin, her son Jacob and husband, Paul.  They moved to Amarillo last summer and are doing very well in their new home town.  Of course there are many friends we like to spend time with there too, as well as friends passing through.  We got to spend a little time with Deb and Rod Kendall when they stopped by on their way to Colorado.  Lynette and Mac McHenry also came through to see their daughter, and we got to meet her when we had lunch with them.

Vickie and Don Crow are our hosts when we stay in Amarillo.  They have a full hook-up RV site on their property, and they invite us to spend our time in town camping at their "resort".  This year they got us hooked on the cable TV series "The Walking Dead".  That's not normally the kind of show I like, but after the first two episodes, I was hooked.  We ended up watching every episode of all 3 seasons on their Apple TV set up.  Fun!  Now we're waiting with everyone else for Season 4!

Today was our travel day; we got started a little after 8:00 this morning heading north to Colorado Springs.  We're settling in to our usual spot - the Colorado Springs South KOA in Fountain - right between the interstate and railroad tracks!  Even though there are other campground options in the area, none are as convenient as this location, so we keep coming back.  All we know right now is there are new managers this year, so I'm not sure what changes might have taken place over the past year since we were here, but it looks pretty much the same.  I think we've got a pretty decent site this year, at the end of a row, not too close to the interstate.

We'll be here for the month of June.  If you're coming through the area, give us a shout.  We need to be in Gillette, Wyoming on June 27 to get ready for the Escapees' Escapade - I'll be teaching beginning line dance and Jim will be helping with transportation.  While we're here, I hope to do some line dancing, and we also have a lot of friends and family to see.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rockport Visiting

Once we got past the shoe-horn fit in our site, spent way too many hours fiddling with our little portable satellite dish, and got the Castle reasonably clean and organized, we were ready to get to the visiting.

This is our site, and yes, those trees are every bit as close as they look!  In fact, there is a branch just a few inches from the window behind Jim's chair. Yesterday, a confused squirrel evidently saw another squirrel sitting on a branch right in front of him and tried to jump over to join that squirrel on the other branch.  Trouble was, it was his own reflection, and he jumped right into the window.  Scared the squirrel - and Jim!

Our Amarillo friends, Vickie and Don, are still here, but will be heading back home Wednesday morning.  We've been spending quite a bit of time with them while they're here.  Yesterday we rode the ferry over to Port Aransas and met them for lunch and a little shopping.

When we got back home, Janna called and said Michael was awake and they were out for a ride.  They stopped by for a short visit, not nearly long enough, but we did make plans for them to come over for a dinner soon.  For my readers who don't follow their blog, Michael is working on an oil drilling rig construction project in Ingleside.  Janna is spending a lot of time working in her quilting studio which is set up behind their motorhome over at the Palms RV Resort.

Today was our day to get caught up with laundry, grocery shopping and more house cleaning.  I got in an hour or so of line dance practice as well.

There are other friends here at The Drifters, Pat and John from Colorado Springs.  Jim and I both worked with Pat at Colo. Spgs. Utilities and we all retired around the same time.  Now she and her husband John are full-timing and have spent the winter here.  We've visited with them briefly since we've been here;  I know we'll be getting together again before we leave.  I did stop and visit a couple of times today as I was walking the dogs.

This evening, we went back over to ICW RV Park to a shrimp boil hosted by Roy and Judy.

That's Roy standing, their friend, Tom in the blue hat, and Jim with his back to us:

Roy and Tom might have been watching the shrimp boats heading out for the night:

While we were waiting for this feast to be ready,

I wandered around and found some interesting things to photograph:

Judy and Vickie enjoying the conversation:

Buster was getting tired:

And the sun wast about to set:

So we said our good-nights and came home to rest up for another day of fun and visiting tomorrow.