Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On The Road

Monday morning after the family reunion,  we were rolling the Castle down the road by 8:30 for our travel day of about 140 miles, from Kingston, Oklahoma to Keene, Texas which is just outside of Cleburne, Texas.  If you’re still lost, Cleburne is a few miles south of Forth Worth, just off I35W.  Our travel day was about 3 hours.  We pulled in to the RV Ranch of Keene and got set up, then called and left a message for Carolyn, a woman Jim went to high school with.  Many people in his class (Caprock High in Amarillo, Texas, class of 1970) have reconnected through Facebook, getting ready for their 40th class reunion in July.  Carolyn and her husband, Earl, live near Cleburne, and Jim wanted to get in a pre-reunion visit.  Carolyn called back and then stopped by to pick us up for dinner at a local Burleson favorite, Babe’s.  We got to meet Earl and their “adopted” daughter, Roz at dinner.  Guess who both forgot to bring their cameras to dinner?  But it was a fun time anyway! We enjoyed getting to meet Roz, who is now a History teacher and basketball coach at Midland High School.

Yesterday morning, we drove out to Earl and Carolyn’s place in the country.  This land has been in Earl’s family since 1871, and what a beautiful place it is!  Carolyn took us on a short tour around the place before we went off to lunch in a nearby town at a favorite local BBQ.

Later on, Earl and Carolyn came over for dinner and we visited more.  Much too soon, Earl and Carolyn announced they needed to get back home and we said goodnight.  What a great time we had with our visit!  Carolyn and I have quite a bit in common, so we hit it off right away, I really enjoyed talking to her, and hope we can spend more time with them both at some point down the road.

This morning, it was time to wrap up our time in Keene and head back out again.  We were on the road by around 8:15 for our journey to Amarillo.  We ran either the dash air or the generator and house AC for much of the 377 mile trip, so our fuel efficiency wasn’t all that great.  I think we were getting a little over 9 mpg before we turned on the air, and about 7.5 with the air on.  We stopped at Wichita Falls along Highway 287 to fill up at a Love’s Travel Stop.  Sixty-some gallons and $187 later, we were back on 287, heading towards Amarillo.  Just at 3:00 this afternoon, we pulled in to the Oasis RV Park, our home for the next month.

While we’re here, we’ll be getting together with more cousins, and of course, high school friends before and during the Caprock High School Class of ‘70 Reunion!

There are, of course, things that need to be done with the car and motor home too, while we’re here.  Just a few days before we left Colorado Springs, we got a rock hit on the windshield of the Saturn while we were driving along I-25.  The windshield cracked, so we need to get that replaced.  We also have to do a heavy-duty cleaning job on the car and motor home, because we got into loose gravel and tar on the road today.  Life on the road – there is always something!

I’ve found a few pictures from the past few days to share:

Cousins, aunts & uncles at the Family Reunion:

Ellie 001Ellie 025_1

                                                                                                                          Ellie 039


Ellie 010l                                                          Ellie 036

                                     Jim 011

This is Earl and Carolyn’s house with a porch that goes on forever.  The house clearly reflects the love and joy this family shares!


  A family of wild turkeys lives in their pasture:


There are several dogs, cats and kittens around the house and yard - this little one really wanted to adopt Jim!


In a small town nearby is Earl and Carolyn’s favorite BBQ, where we showed up for Tuesday’s Lunch Buffet.   That’s Carolyn in the lower left corner of the picture below:

bbq and carolynEllie 030_1

Ken, this is for you – a picture of Jim’s lunch plate:








We are happy to be out and about, enjoying the warm (!) summer weather.  Maybe we’ll get a little rain in Amarillo tonight or tomorrow!  I’m still enjoying the heat, though, and I’m not tired of the high temperatures yet!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Jones Family Reunion

I’m not sure why they keep calling it the “Jones Family Reunion” – no one with the current last name of Jones comes to them anymore, there aren’t many left alive now, and the few that are alive live far away and can’t make the trip.  But, whatever, it is still the Jones Family Reunion and it is an annual event in Jim’s family. This year we met in Oklahoma where Jim’s Aunt Ruth and Uncle Wayne live.  People started arriving on Friday evening when we (read Jim) grilled hamburgers.  Ruth baked a couple of cakes and we got together for dinner at Ruth and Wayne’s place about 15 miles outside Kingston, Oklahoma.  There were about 35 people here for the main event which took place yesterday at the Enos Community Center.  We ate, talked, played games and talked some more.  Then we migrated back to Ruth’s house where we talked more, ate more, and talked more.  It was a wonderful time!    This morning we all met at a local restaurant in Kingston for breakfast where we ate more and talked more before most families had to get on the road to return to their homes in Dumas or Lubbock Texas, or Durant, Oklahoma.  The families from Gainesville , Texas and Moore, Oklahoma left yesterday afternoon and weren’t able to join us for breakfast today.

After breakfast, we came back home to the Castle to relax and start our preparations for travel day tomorrow.  We’ll be driving about 140 miles to Keene, Texas where we’ll meet with some high school friends of Jim’s.   I had a question from Karen on my last post about cooking in the crock pot while we travel. Yes, we have the inverter on while we travel.  I use my computer on AC power, so I need to have the inverter since the computer battery would only last about 2 hours.  That allows me to use the crock pot too, very handy! I set it in the sink to avoid possible disaster if we have to make any sudden turns or stops.  The only drawback is once the food starts cooking, we get the wonderful aroma of whatever’s cooking, so we get pretty hungry by mid-afternoon.

Late this afternoon, Ruth and Wayne and Jim’s cousin Rusty came over and we had take-out Mexican food.  All the guys visited while Ruth and I worked on some genealogy updates.  I always seem to get motivated to pick up my research again when we attend these family events! I have a subscription to, so I keep my files online there.  This weekend  I’ve added close to a dozen new  records, mostly from Jim’s family.  It’s interesting that for some family lines I find plenty of information, and other lines just seem to appear seemingly from thin air.  Ruth was able to provide some interesting tidbits about the Jones family, so I have some new hints to follow.  Jones was Jim’s mother’s maiden name, and following that line back, it seems that at least some people in this line were Native American (Cherokee), and possibly took part in the “Trail of Tears” journey that began for the Cherokee in North Carolina in 1938.  It’s thought that at least 46,000 Native Americans were removed from the South to Oklahoma in the 1930’s, opening millions of acres of land for settlement by whites.  Like many African American slaves, many Native American Indians took “American” names such as “Jones”.

We’ve enjoyed our short time here, yes, even the 98 degree heat!  But,we’ve especially appreciated the time we’ve had to reconnect with family we don’t get to see very often.  I haven’t gone through all of our pictures yet, but I will have some to post in the next few days, including some of the food we prepared.  Although, to be honest, the food disappeared almost faster than I could snap pictures.  Just a little sample – this is what was left of a 10 pound Brisket early yesterday afternoon (Yes, Jim was in charge of preparing the Brisket):

Ellie 027_1

We’ll be ready to roll sometime tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Travel Day and More

Yesterday morning we were at Fenton Ford in Dumas before 8:00, hoping to get our overdue (just a year) inspection on the motor home done and get on the road towards Oklahoma.

Ellie 003

We got right in, I think we interrupted their morning coffee routine, but the guys in service didn’t seem to mind.  The plan had been to go east from Dumas on Texas 152 and get on I-40 at Pampa, but after hearing about the storms in Oklahoma City and construction, on I-35 South, we opted to go south on US 287 and take the 335 loop around Amarillo, follow 287 to Memphis, (yes, that’s Memphis, Texas) and head east  on 256 from there.  We stayed on the back roads all day, avoiding most interstates.  It was a good decision, traffic was almost non-existent, the scenery was, well – it was what it was:

Ellie 008

And before long, we crossed another state line:

Ellie 011

The weather was cooperative with hardly any wind and no storms, so we just kept going, and decided that we would just finish the trip and get on to Lake Texoma State Park in Kingston, Oklahoma.   We arrived just after 4 and found our way to the park office.  Oklahoma state parks are interesting – they don’t publish a whole lot of information on their web site, and they don’t take reservations at their campgrounds.  But the parks we’ve visited have been really nice.  We are on a site with full hook-ups, parked on a concrete pad with a picnic table and charcoal grill included.  We’re on a little peninsula of Lake Texoma, so we are almost completely surrounded by water.

Our front view:

Ellie 028

And our back view:

Ellie 030










Our travel day was just about 400 miles in 7.5 hours, and our fuel mileage averaged around 9.4 mpg for the day.  When we got parked and set up, we ate our crock-pot pork tenderloin that had been cooking in green chili salsa all day.  Then we just settled in for the evening, knowing that the next few days will be very busy with Jim’s family reunion.

This morning, we got our routines taken care of and drove over to Jim’s Aunt Ruth & Uncle Wayne’s place about 18 miles from here.  They weren’t expecting us until this afternoon, so it was a nice surprise for them. We had a lot of shopping errands to handle, getting food and supplies for the reunion on Saturday.  The 4 of us piled into Ruth & Wayne’s van and we headed off to Dennison and Sherman (Texas) for the shopping.  Two Walmarts and a Sam’s Club later, we had most of the food that will be prepared.  Jim is in charge of the brisket, so we know that will be good!

Most of the family will start arriving on Friday, and the main reunion day is Saturday.  We all usually go to breakfast on Sunday morning before people start heading back home.  We know it will be busy and fun for the next few days before we head off to more adventures. 

Oh, and I’m happy to report that I have my wish for warm weather!  As I’m writing this, it is just after 6 p.m. and the temperature is 97 degrees!  Woo-Hoo!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Travel Day – Colorado Springs to Dumas

Yes, back “On The Road Again.” We missed the family before we lost sight of their cars leaving the campground on Sunday evening, so it was a sweet/sad morning for us both as we finalized the wrap-up and got ready to roll yesterday morning.

We were up early, and as soon as I made the bed, I piled all the stuff that rides there on it. Steering wheel table, my Wii Fit board and Guitar Hero guitar, a fan and all the little stuff from the credenza. With our showers done, I packed away the vacuum cleaner in the shower where it rides. The floors were cleared and ready for the slides to come in, coffee made, drank and things cleaned up.

The campground office opened at 8:00 and we were waiting at the propane station for a fill-up before final departure. We used about 12 gallons of propane while we were in the Springs, lots of cold mornings! I’m sure I’ll remember those as we spend the summer in the south! Finally, around 8:30, we were merging onto Southbound I-25 for today’s destination.

Coming down Raton Pass into Raton, New Mexico, this was almost our last look at trees and mountains for awhile:

Ellie 138

At Raton, we turned left at Highway 87/64 East towards Clayton, New Mexico. We’ve traveled this road many times over the past 25 years. And every time has been through miles and miles of road construction. Someday, but not in my lifetime, this will be a nice, 4-lane highway. It was an easy drive today without a lot of traffic and reasonable weather – not too hot, not too windy. Just right. Somewhere along that road, I fixed us both a sandwich, and of course, fetched drinks and snacks as needed. We made one quick pit stop to walk the dogs and check things out – all good.

Early in the afternoon, we crossed another state line – haven’t seen this sign in a couple of years!

Ellie 144

Trees and mountains were replaced by:

Ellie 148


Ellie 147

Around 3:30, we pulled into the little Texhoma Park just as we got to Dumas, Texas. This is a parking lot with a few electric poles, but the city provides it for a free overnight stop. Since we haven’t been in our home state for 2 years, our inspection stickers are a year overdue. We’d made plans to stop overnight here to get both the car and motor home inspected. While we are here, we got the chance to have dinner last night with Jim’s cousin, Weldon and his wife, Tammy. Also joining us were their son Seth, daughter Lindsay and her husband Ja’Miah, their 15 month old son Cas. What a great group! We went to a local Mexican restaurant for a very good dinner, thanks again, Weldon! After dinner, Seth brought his 3 Mini Schnauzers over to meet our kids. Ja'Miah and Lindsay also brought their Great Dane (who is 5 times the size but thinks he’s the same as the little ones) to join the fun! We hope they all can make it to the family reunion this weekend!

Today, the journey continues!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Extraordinary Day

The past few days have gone by quickly!  More visits with friends and family, getting prescriptions handled, Weight Watcher meeting, cleaning and organizing, and a visit to drop off some things to the local Goodwill with a trip to the local laundromat thrown in for good measure.

We’re in our final countdown mode, with departure  only about 12 – 14 hours from the time I’m starting to write this.  Now that I’m looking back, these past few weeks have flown by! As we always discover, we haven’t seen as many people, done as many things, or gone as many places as we thought we would this time.  However, we’ve had the opportunity to connect with many family members and friends, get some necessary items checked of the list, and enjoyed ourselves greatly.

But today will live on as one of those, “I remember when…” days in our lives.  For the first time in many, many years, all of our grandchildren came to visit at the same time!  For lots of reasons and circumstances, it just hasn’t worked out that everyone could get together on the same day.  But today, all four of my oldest son, Zach’s children, their mom, Allie and her husband, Lloyd,; Jim’s daughter Robin with her son Jacob; and my younger son, Josh and his friend, Melissa, all came to visit us.  It is putting it mildly to say it’s been a special day for me.

Saying “See Ya” to them all has been hard for me today!  Even though I know it won’t be long before we get together again and the time goes quickly, the kids are growing and changing so fast, even if we were here all the time it would be hard to keep up with them.

My oldest son, Zach and his former wife, Allie’s oldest daughter, Elyse (on the right below), is 15 now and has a learner’s permit to drive.  Kellie, at 12 (on the left) is the youngest girl:

Ellie 034

Their twins, Cameron (in the red shirt) and Calib (in the white shirt) are 14 now, and were featured in one of my recent entries when they were honored in a continuation ceremony going from junior high to high school:

Ellie 001_1 Ellie 004_1








Jacob, Robin’s son, is 12 now and was also featured recently when he graduated from 6th grade to junior high:

Ellie 005 Jacob’s mom, Robin:

Ellie 032

Elyse, Cameron, Calib and Kellie’s mom, Allie with her husband Lloyd:

Ellie 033

Son Josh and his friend Melissa:

Ellie 031

We’d planned to grill burgers, brats and hot dogs on the grill with all the traditional sides to go along.   But Mother Nature put a halt to that plan by bringing a cold front through this weekend, complete with high winds, hail and rain.  So we went with Plan B – several extra-large carry-out pizzas.  Of course, about half an hour before the kids arrived, the clouds went away, the sun came out, and the rain went away! Doesn’t it just figure.  Oh well, it was a special day no matter how the food arrived, if it even arrived, or what the weather brought.

All too soon, it was time for everyone to head off in their own directions and we hugged, with promises to stay in touch through the blog, Facebook, text messages, phones and e-mail. (Isn’t Technology wonderful!)

Our pre-travel list came out and we got busy getting things done after everyone left.  Now, about all that remains to be done are those few items that must wait until nearly time to go.  The black and gray tanks have been dumped and treated, the fresh water filled to about 40%, all the glass in our cupboards wrapped, refrigerator bars in place, sliding pocket doors secured, Pressure Pro tire monitors in place and checked, solar panels locked down,  all tire guards removed, cleaned and put away,  mirror and windshield covers removed and stowed, outside patio items put away, oil and other fluid levels in the car and motor home checked.

Tomorrow morning we’ll have coffee and then clean the pot, roll up the carpet, make sure everything is secure, roll over to the propane station and get filled there, and then head on down the road.  Our destination is Dumas, Texas, where we’ll stop for the night and get our state safety inspections done on the motor home and car.  Jim’s cousins, Weldon and Tammy, live there, so we’ll meet them for dinner.

On to new adventures in the lives of Jim & Ellie, Justravelin!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Busy Days

We are getting things checked off the “must do” list before we leave the Pikes Peak Region this coming Monday. The solar panels are installed and have passed their first test. Our medical, dental and vision needs have been taken care of. The Castle has been polished and we’ve cleaned out and organized much of our “stuff”. Our phones have been updated and we can (usually!) manage to answer and make phone calls.

While Jim was visiting with his friends on Tuesday, I took the opportunity to run my own errands and get a much-needed pedicure. I also took the dog’s recent shot records to their “regular” vet’s office so they can keep their records updated. When I left that office, it was with a rather costly bag of regular medications we use for them! Flea & Tick med, Heartworm med, and Jasmine’s med are not cheap. But we’re set for the next 6 months so that's ok, they are worth it!

In between all of these activities, we’ve had time to have some fun, too. Yesterday we had a special opportunity to get together with fellow full-timers, Ed and Marilyn. We’ve followed each other’s blogs for quite a long time, and met each other in person 2 years ago at the RV-Dreams rally in Branson, MO. They come to Colorado during the summer to enjoy the beautiful climate here, but we missed their arrival last year, we were gone just a little while before they arrived. This year they’re here a little earlier, so we made plans to have lunch together. We met them at a Safeway Grocery parking lot so they could leave their truck while we drove to the downtown area. We went to one of our favorites: Jose Muldoon’s where we sat on the patio to enjoy our meal:

Ellie 001

It was at least a couple of hours later after a great meal and wonderful conversation that I thought about the parking meter – luckily, we beat the “meter maid” and didn’t get a ticket, even though our meter was expired! We weren’t ready to say farewell to these good people, so we took them on an informal, mini-tour around town, pointing out some of my personal history in the area. We ended up over in “Old Colorado City” (known to me as “the West Side”), at Jim’s all-time favorite store, The Barbeque Mercantile. While Jim was browsing (read drooling) through all the wonderful barbeque tools and temptations, I visited with the shop’s owner. They have a wall sculpture of Michael Garman’s work hanging behind the register. I’d heard his gallery, featuring Magic Town” had closed due to his failing health, so I asked the owner about it. She told me that Mr. Garman’s health has improved, and his gallery is still open.

One topic that came up during the afternoon was things to do in the region. I asked our friends if they have been to Bishop’s Castle yet, and they said they had not. So, for their information, and for anyone else who might be interested, here is a link to some information about this most interesting and unusual place, located near Wetmore, Colorado along Highway 165. It’s been several years since we visited, time just seems to get away from us here. But, it is definitely worth a visit, and the drive getting there is beautiful.

After a fun afternoon, it was time to part company with Marilyn and Ed, at least for this visit. We know we will see them again down the road, and meantime we’ll be in touch through our blogs and Facebook. Meantime we wish them safe and happy travels!

Before we leave, we still have more visits with friends and family scheduled, and a short list of more “must do’s”. And we’re still enjoying each and every day!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

System Test and Other Activities

One of my activity goals while here was to participate in the Weight Watchers “Walk-it Challenge” which was basically an informal challenge to walk 5K (3.1 miles).  Today was the day my friend and former walking partner, Karen, and I had decided we would do our walk.  This morning I left at 7:00 to be at her house by 7:30 so we could do our walk before it got hot.  Does it count if we stopped halfway through and had a quick latte at Starbucks?  Of course!

While I was gone, Jim unplugged us from the power pole at 8:00 a.m. to start testing the solar system.  When I got home, he pointed out that we had 5 fans, several lights, one TV, 2 computers, a router, and various other small electric things running and here was our Xantrex power monitor reading:

Ellie 002 

The green light for the inverter is on, indicating the inverter is running and providing AC power.  The orange Batt. Full light is lit, indicating that our batteries are fully charged.  The meter also shows a full charge. 

Outside, he showed me the Solar Monitor:

Ellie 004This monitor tells us what type of charge we’re getting, and we can change the monitor‘s input to show our house battery volts, solar charging amps, or engine battery volts.  The number displayed, 22.2, is the solar charging amps.  This number varied all day, depending on how much sun we were getting.  The lowest number I saw was around 8.7, and the highest was just over 23 amps.  The day started out mostly cloudy, but by noon or so, it was mostly sunny.  The less sun, the fewer amps and vice-versa.

The house batteries varied from fully charged to nearly fully charged for 8.5 hours today.  We discovered that the air conditioners do not run on the inverter, so we just left the windows open and 5 fans running all day, along with the computers, TV, lights, etc. 

We’ve declared the test a success!  We are very pleased with the performance of the system.  The controller is very smart, it automatically adjusts the charge from bulk to taper to float as needed.  Need an explanation of all that?  Well, my simple mind can only grasp the basics, but as I understand, bulk is when the batteries need the most charging, taper is when they are nearing a fully charged state and should not receive a full blast of power, and float is when they are all charged up and just need maintaining.  Once we plug back in to AC power, the controller senses that the system is no longer needed and it just stops charging.  Late this afternoon it finally got too warm to be comfortable with the fans and open windows, so we shut the system down, plugged in to power and started up the air conditioners.

In other news, we invited our kids over for an impromptu cook-out today, so they all accepted – why not, free food!  Daughter Robin, grandson Jacob with Robin’s special friend Paul and his daughter Arianna, along with son Josh and his special friend Melissa all arrived in time for burgers, hot dogs and sausages on the grill.    I added some fresh veggies on the grill, and we all enjoyed a great time together. 

Yesterday, after my Weight Watchers meeting and a breakfast with friends Ken and Anne, I asked Jim if he would mind stopping at the Verizon store so I could look at some of the newest smart phone offerings.  We have the “New Every Two” option on our account, and we were eligible for an early phone upgrade now.  I had a Blackberry Storm, didn’t like it at all and inactivated it several months ago.  We keep seeing where our friends and kids are getting smart phones, so I wanted to see if one of those might work better for me.  What I didn’t like about the Blackberry was primarily related to the touch screen – I had a terrible time typing on that thing!  I also thought the operating system was slow and difficult to navigate.  Robin was showing us her phone a couple of weeks ago and I liked the feature she has with a “regular” keyboard that slides out from behind the phone.  She was showing us some of the apps she has and I thought it looked fairly easy to use.  I’d been shopping on the Verizon web site, but wanted to talk to someone in person and actually play with one of the new phones to see if I could easily use it.  Well, we ended up walking out a couple of hours later with two Motorola Droids!  I was surprised that Jim decided he would get one too – of course the “Buy One, Get One Free” promotion helped him make that choice!

We spent most of the afternoon poking around on our phones and shopping for apps.  I can already tell we will be shopping for awhile – there are a huge number of them out there!  Need navigation, weather, shopping lists, coin flips, games, flashlight, sports, news, calculators?  Yes, there’s an app for that!  Many are free, many cost a small fee, but whatever you need, I think there’s an app out there!  Oh, yes, and we did figure out how to make and answer phone calls!  You can even scan bar codes in a store and comparison shop to see what the item costs at other stores!  There is a world of difference between the Droid and the Blackberry.  So far, I’m really glad we made the leap.

And, last but not least, we heard from fellow RV-Dreamers and fulltimers, Ed and Marilyn.  They have arrived at Mountaindale Campground just across the Army base from us, where they will be spending most of the summer.  Luckily, they arrived this year before our departure date, so we will be getting together with them this coming week!  The last year or so, they got here a little later, and we missed them.  I’m so glad we will have the chance to get in a visit this year.

Busy, but happy!

Friday, June 4, 2010

We Are Solar Powered!

Did you think we’d completely sold out to the 50 amp power pole?  Not entirely…Even though we’ve been tethered for a while now, the discussion of boondocking (also called dry camping) has not stopped.  We needed to gather our resources, do some research, then find the time and assistance to get ourselves more prepared. 

When we lived and worked here in Colorado Springs, we got to know Eric VanDenHoek and his wife, Madeline.  Eric and Madeline both worked for the Utilities where Jim and I also worked. One day, however, Eric quit his job there to devote his time to his new business venture, Turbo’s Mobile RV Repair.  Eventually, the business grew so much that Madeline also quit her job to help with the business.  Now, whenever we are in town and need work done on our Castle, we call Turbo’s.

Jim’s research of solar systems led him to AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon.  This company comes recommended by several of our friends, and once Jim checked a few other sources, he decided this was the company we wanted to do business with.  He called Eric and found that Turbo’s had not dealt with AM Solar before, but after a couple of phone calls, the deal was set up and a date chosen for installation.

Just about 9:30 this morning, I heard footsteps on the roof, and went out to investigate.  I found Eric and his tech, Aaron, had arrived and were getting things set up for the day:

Ellie 003 

Eric holds the first panel while Aaron looks on:

Ellie 012_1

Notice that blue, blue sky?  That equaled a very sunny, hot day, I think the warmest yet this season!

Not a lot later, there are 3 panels on the roof.  Eric is checking it all out:

Ellie 016

Soon, all four 100 Watt panels were up!  Yes, the panels can be used laying flat, tilted the way they are shown here, or tilted the other direction. 

Below, Eric looks over the wiring situation, preparing to pull cable:

Ellie 020

On the opposite side of the Castle, the controller is installed in the upper left of the battery compartment:

Ellie 026

Aaron is fishing more cable to Eric as he gets the Solar Monitor set up:

Ellie 027

It was a very long, hot, hard day for Eric and Aaron, but our solar system was finally all installed and Turbo’s Mobile RV was ready to clean up and go home:

Ellie 023

The next step for us is to test the system.  That will happen over the next few days. 

If you ever find yourself in the Pikes Peak Region and need service on your RV, we highly recommend Turbo’s.  They are fast, efficient, fair and honest.  Thanks, Eric, for a great job.

We are getting things done!  All the necessary medical, dental, etc., appointments, tests and check-ups are done!  But, we still have places to go and people to see.  As our time here gets short, it seems like the list stays about the same.  No matter, we can handle it all, but we’ll be ready to make sure the tires on the Castle are still round pretty darn soon!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day and More

Ellie 012 Back in April when I was at Camp Taz, we attended “Tales of The Crypt”, which is part of the Columbus, MS celebration of Pilgrimage, an annual Southern celebration.  To prepare for “Tales”, juniors at the Math and Science School in Columbus pick someone who is buried in Friendship Cemetery and do a research project about that person, including a costumed presentation which is acted in that character.  About a dozen students are chosen from their auditions to perform their presentations at the annual event, held  during evening hours at the cemetery during Pilgrimage.  Both of the times I’ve attended, a group of three students enacted Columbus’s version of the beginning of Memorial Day.  As I researched yesterday, I discovered that Columbus is just one of many cities that claim to be the origin of Memorial Day, the observance of honoring those who have lost their lives in service to our country.  In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, NY the official birthplace of the holiday once known as “Decoration Day”.  In the Columbus, MS, version, in April, 1866, an association of women decorated the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers.  I particularly remember the poem by Francis Miles Finch, entitled “The Blue and The Gray”, which was inspired by this group of women who bravely ignored the anger of the time and honored the dead of the Union Army as well as the Confederate Soldiers buried in Friendship Cemetery.

Whatever the beginning, whatever the current custom, Jim and I join in honoring all of the men and women who sacrifice so much for our country.  Although neither of us has lost a direct relative in battle, we both have ancestors and current, close relatives and friends who either have or are serving our country.

As I do every day, I took the dogs out for an early walk yesterday morning.  I’d noticed a hot air balloon off in the distance earlier, but when we went out, the balloon was right over our heads.  I really should have gone in and grabbed the camera, because just a few minutes later, the balloon landed right next to the RV park, nearly on I-25.  I was mesmerized!  I’ve seen balloons take off, and in flight, but had never seen one land.  It was fascinating to watch as the chase vehicle arrived, crew members jumped out and the process of safely deflating and folding up the huge balloon ensued.  What an interesting and fun way to start our day, but no pictures!

We enjoyed a quiet day at home, no picnics or gatherings!  Instead, we took advantage of a reasonably cool morning to polish the Castle.  This time there was no wax involved, basically, we were just cleaning off the accumulated dust and grime from the past few months.  As usual, several people who walked by invited us to clean their rigs after we finish with ours.  We just smile and mention they probably wouldn’t like our hourly rate! That usually brings a laugh, but they just keep walking by.  After all the activity, we spent the rest of the day relaxing!

Today brought more relaxation and a few errands.  A while back, I heard about a sugar-free Margarita mix, and today we finally took the time and opportunity to go to the opposite end of town, to the one liquor store listed on the product’s web site as a distributor for Baja Bob’s sugar free cocktail mixers.  We came home with several versions, now I’ll have some choices for Weight Watcher point-friendly happy hours.

We’ve enjoyed a couple of days with very warm temperatures, now we’ll have another couple of days with a cold front moving through.  No matter, we’ll enjoy ourselves anyway!