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April 2009

Do all the good you can
By all the means you can
In all the ways you can
In all the places you can
At all the times you can
To all the people you can
As long as ever you can.

John Wesley

April 1 - 5, 2009
Wednesday, April 1. Happy Anniversary, Rita and Dennis! We've not accomplished much since we settled in here at Casa Grande. Yesterday, we took a drive around the town to see what is here and we found not too much. A small historic area in the old downtown has several old stone buildings, very interesting constructions. On the southeast edge of town there are huge malls, you can shop for anything your heart desires.

While Mike took the Jeep in for an oil change this morning, Frisco got a bath and nail trim. He wasn't a happy camper and tried to hide in a corner whenever I called him, so I had to coax him with a treat. It's a good thing he is forgiving and it didn't take long before he was trusting again. This afternoon, we took a bag of clothes to donate to the Salvation Army store and stopped at Petsmart to stock up on Frisco's dog food. Unfortunately, they don't carry our brand so will have to add that to the list of things to pick up in Tempe tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2. We headed to Phoenix today to shop and to go back to Val Vista Village to look at a park model that we had looked at before. We're kind of thinking of making a lowball offer. After looking and talking to the agent, it sounds like they are holding out for more money. Guess we will check back in a couple of weeks, as the end of the season is now and they might want to dump it before they have to pay lot rent again.

Our shopping included stops at the Desert Rat for a spare tire cover, Petco for Frisco's food, and Trader Joe's to stock up on some essentials. I really think their prices are reasonable. We've been doing too much shopping this week.

Friday, April 3. While walking with Frisco this morning, a man told me to look at the Burrowing Owl
burrowing owl that was out in the field. It was a bit too far away to see in detail, but sure enough that was the object I'd been seeing every morning. This morning there was a bonus, a baby sitting next to it. I'll take the binoculars and might get a closeup view.

We did household chores this morning to get ready for Pat and Roger's visit starting tomorrow, they're coming for our annual spring vacation together.

Saturday, April 4. By 8:00 this morning we were headed for the airport in Phoenix to pick up the Hoovey‚??s. We headed straight back to Casa Grande after experiencing several detours on the freeways. We then spent the day catching up on the past few months, relaxing by the pool, having *bleep*tails, a good meal, and lots of good conversation. We all retired and watched the Lucy and Desi movie, ‚??The Long Trailer‚?Ě from our beds.

Sunday, April 5. Started the morning with a good breakfast. After that, we drove to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument where we took the guided tour of the ruins of the Hohokam people. They were a hunter gatherer people that lived in the area for several thousands of years until the 1400s. The remaining structure is believed to have once been as high as 5 stories and may have been used for astrological purposes. Several low walls are also evidence of homes that gave the people privacy and shelter from the elements. What is left of the main building is now protected from the elements by a tall, roofed structure.

In the afternoon, we headed to Phoenix where we showed Pat and Roger Val Vista Village and walked through some of the park models and the trailer that we first looked at. Still considering, although it is old it has lots of updates and is in good shape.

From there, we went to Nan and Dale's house where we met up with Monica and all 7 of us went to see Dale Chihuly‚??s glass sculptures on display at The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix
. We decided on an evening tour so we could see the glass in the afternoon sun and with lights illuminating them. From there, we headed to Dale's favorite burger joint, Mac's for a delicious burger and beer.

April 6 - 12, 2009
Monday, April 6. Today was spent hanging around Casa Grande, including a stop at the mall to do some shopping and lunch. Back at the RV park, we spent some time at the pool. It has been real windy but we were somewhat sheltered from the wind there. For dinner tonight, we grilled shrimp and had a salad and dessert.

Pre-dinner *bleep*tails, wine with dinner, and an after dinner drink resulted in it getting pretty silly and having lots of fun and laughs.

Tuesday, April 7. I dropped Frisco off at the boarding kennel this morning then we loaded up the car to head to St. David for a couple of days. When we checked into one of the cute 2-bedroom casitas at the Western Horizons park ($63/night), I was informed that members are not allowed to leave their RV in one park and use one of the rentals in another park at the same time. They did make an exception and allowed us to stay, otherwise we would have had to make some different arrangements. The casitas are cute and well furnished.

Off to Tombstone and a stop at the Boothill graveyard and Big Nosed Kate's Saloon where we were greeted by a friendly cowboy and we a beer. We wanted to take Pat and Roger on one of the primitive roads and to see the Rattlesnake crafts place that we had discovered on our last visit to the area. Since they were only open until sundown, we decided to head there before seeing the rest of Tombstone. It was a big hit and we all spent found something to spend money on before heading back to Tombstone.

Little did we know that the town closed up right at 5:00 so we weren't able to see many of the shops. We did walk around and window shopped and saw the old historic buildings. For dinner, we stopped at The Longhorn Restaurant where we had a delicious meal and a prickly pear margarita. The margarita was quite tasty and the most beautiful shade of pink that I have ever seen.

Wednesday, April 8. Happy Birthday, Sharon! The first stop of the day was in Tombstone for breakfast, then we took the road through Bisbee and on to Naco, Mexico, a very small border town that was a bust! After talking with a couple of shopkeepers, we found that there are no tourist areas that offered the usual border town stuff and that's what we were looking for. We talked with one of the customs agents when crossing back into the US and he recommended shopping at Nogales and he told us where to find the safe area of town.

An hour‚??s drive later we were there. At the visitor center on the US side, we got information about where to go. The sales people were all over us and they sucked us into the shops and were haggling over prices. We were told that they are struggling financially because of the media reports of violence at the border towns. We bought a few pieces of pottery, some jewelry, and a blanket. At a very nice little restaurant, we had a free margarita with a snack.

Back in the US and on the way to St. David, we stopped at Daisy Mae‚??s Stronghold in Sierra Vista for dinner.

Thursday, April 9. Reb's Diner in Benson was the breakfast place this morning. The food was delicious and the place was an original in the area. Before heading back to Casa Grande, we took a detour and drove east through the Texas Canyon so our guests could see the crazy boulders balancing on more boulders.

Back at the RV park at Casa Grande, we spent the afternoon relaxing and napping. For dinner tonight, we ordered a pizza and then played a few games of Euchre. The guys were on a winning streak and skunked us the first game, beat us by 7 points the second game, and won the last one too.

Friday, April 10. Another day hanging around home. The Hoovey's will be flying back home tomorrow, so Patty and I did the laundry, made a run to the grocery store but spent the rest of the day here. We all caught up on our phone calls.

It has gotten real windy again with predictions of gusts up to 40 mph and even the chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. It wasn't a good afternoon for hanging out at the pool.

We topped the evening off with several games of Farkel.

Saturday, April 11. It did rain during the night and we woke to puddles on the streets. It is the end of our week with our great friends. The RV park sold fresh, warm, homemade cinnamon rolls this morning and they were delicious, reminding me of mornings at my Aunt Eleanor's house in Stoughton. There also was a craft sale with several very nice products. Pat and I both bought some Zuni Indian jewelry.

We decided to go back to the laundry and take care of all of the dirty sheets and towels we had used over the week and it was nice to get that out of the way.

Pat and I tried to redeem ourselves after our terrible Euchre losses the other night. This time, we won 1 game and came close on the other 2. Then it was time to take them to Phoenix and the airport. We did stop and have a nice soup, salad, and bread lunch at Buca di Beppo. What a great time we always have together.

Sunday, April 12. Frisco and I walked a little bit early this morning and I saw the burrowing owls, some quail, a peacock, and the donkey.

Nan and Dale invited us for Easter dinner today and we got there around 3:00. Had a great time hanging out with them and Monica. Nan surprised us by taking our photo while Monica broke Cascarones over our head. In Mexico and the American southwest, there is an Easter custom revolving around cascarones. They are eggshells that have been carefully hallowed out, painted, filled with confetti, lavender or sage and then resealed with tape. They are taken out on Easter morning, when the object is to catch your loved ones by surprise and hit them over the head with an egg. As the insides rain around you, you are blessed with the love, luck, and new life of the season. None of us had ever heard of the tradition, but apparently they were sold at the store that Dale works at.

Our dinner of ham, cheesy potato casserole, cauliflower, broccoli salad and fruit salad was delicious. Nan is a great cook and we were so glad to be able to spend the day with them. Our goodbyes this time will have to last until we get back to the area again, as we will pull out of Casa Grande tomorrow or the next day.

April 13 - 14, 2009
Tuesday, April 14. It's 6:00 am and I'm sitting at my computer - those darned peacocks had me awake an hour ago. That is one thing I won't miss about this place and if I ever come here again, I will try to get a site as far away from them as possible. Oh well, it's moving day and we need to started early because we have an appointment in Yuma to get the oil changed on the motorhome.

Yesterday was a work out, cleaning, packing up, and relaxing day. We did go to Best Buy to look at computers again but ended up walking out of there without one - again. I guess my old clunker is going to be around until it crashes.

It has been one of those challenging days that RV'ers have every now and then. We were all ready to leave before 9:30 this morning and the darn motorhome wouldn't start. Mike checked the battery connections and found one to be loose. After getting replacement parts and trying it again, it still wouldn't start. The neighbor came over and offered his jumper cables and it still wouldn't start.

Several calls were made to our extended service company and roadside assistance and it looked like we would have to be towed. While making arrangements at a local RV dealer for service, the technician thought it sounded like a battery problem. Mike took the battery out, took it to Walmart (we purchased it only a year ago) to have it tested and found that it was NO good. They replaced it at no charge and it worked, the motorhome started up on the first attempt.

Four and a half hours has passed, the wind is gusting like crazy, and we're both tired, so we will stay 1 more day. Not a fun experience but it all worked out in the end.

Casa Grande to Yuma, AZ, 177 miles April 15 - 16, 2009
Down the road again! And we did it by 8:30, a big accomplishment for us. The trip was uneventful, traffic not bad, although we headed into the gusty wind the whole trip. Our 1st stop was at Fisher Chevrolet where had the oil changed and the motor home lubed and checked over. All went well and no problems were found.

We checked into the Kofa Ko-op RV Park ($18/night), an Escapees park where the sites are leased, then the owners rent them out. The park is very nice and clean, the sites are large, all having about a 2 foot decorative brick wall around the perimeter and a patio slab. Many are landscaped and have storage buildings. This is a citrus growing area, so the air is filled with the sweet smell of citrus. We will stay for a couple of nights. The plan is to go to Algodones tomorrow to have our teeth cleaned and possibly eyes checked. We've heard good things from the locals so will have to see how it goes.

Thursday, April 16. Off to Algodones this morning and we had no problem finding a place to have our eyes checked. Optica Algodones has 6 different shops in the small town and Jorge took care of us. We selected frames, had our vision tested, and returned in 3 hours to pick up our new glasses, at a cost of $449 for both pairs. They had a great selection of name brand and designer frames, state of the art equipment, high quality lenses, and friendly, helpful staff. All in all, a good experience.

From there, we headed to the office of Dr. Salinas, the dentist that cleaned our teeth 3 years ago. They were short staffed today, so we weren't able to get in until tomorrow. Just down the street, we stopped at the Dr. Valenzuela Dental Group and had our teeth cleaned by the hygienist. Again, we both felt confident with the cleanliness of the place and experience of the staff and it cost $60 for both.

We stopped at a few of the shops but since we have been to Mexico 4 times in the past 2 months, there really wasn't anything we felt like shopping for. We had some lunch and a margarita at Pueblo Viejo and headed back home. Getting through customs was no problem and a short 15-minute wait.
April 17 - 19, 2009
Friday, April 17. We made the drive from Yuma to Desert Hot Springs today, an uneventful trip through the desert. As soon as we left the RV park, we could see huge clouds of smoke off to the west. As we got closer and closer the clouds were almost black and you could see the red and orange flames at the base. We never did determine what was burning although we speculated that it could have been old railroad ties as we did see a trainload of ties heading in that direction.

Also, along the way, we passed large groups of motorcycles heading east and every few miles there was another group of 10-20. Curious as to where they were headed, Mike asked a guy at a gas station and was told they were off to Yuma for a Prison Run - an annual fundraiser for children's charities.

We arrived at the Catalina Spa & RV Resort (Coast to Coast - $11/night). We just down the street from the pool that has mineral springs - looking forward to trying that out.

Saturday, April 18. Chores and errands day. An unfortunate thing about living in this small space is that you can only carry so much with you. That means that you run out of clothes and groceries quickly. Since our refrigerator is bare, we have to stock up on essential groceries again.

We mapped out a route that would accomplish all of our stops including Best Buy so Mike could check out the computer deals, Barnes and Noble so we could get a book on off-road trails, Trader Joe's and Walmart to exchange the water filter that exploded on us this morning. I discovered it as I walked past our site to check out the laundry and heard a loud rushing sound. I followed the sound to the water hookup and realized that one end of the filter was no longer connected to the hose and water was gushing out of it.

Back at the ranch, we relaxed and had a nice dinner of grilled salmon and a yummy salad.

Sunday, April 19. Hummingbirds have found our feeder. That sure didn't take long.

I just got off the phone with my cousin, Jonnie, bearing unpleasant news of her grandson Colton's emergency surgery yesterday. It sounds like the poor guy might have Crohn's disease and we sure are hoping that isn't the case but he had acute peritonitis caused by a perforated bowel. My heart sure goes out to Colton and his family and we are praying that he recovers quickly.

Joshua Tree National Park was our destination for today. We entered the park on the northwest side from the town of Joshua Tree and followed the Park Boulevard until we reached the Geology Tour Road that went straight south into the park and was a dirt road that required 4-wheel drive. Mike was thrilled and I really enjoy getting back where not many others can go. A map that we received at the Visitor Center indicated 16 different stops along the way to view the various geological features of the park.

Wildflowers were blooming along the roadsides and although I can‚??t identify them they were of all colors and sizes; bright orange, yellow, white, purple, blue, and pink. They ranged in height from very short, low growing to about a foot tall and most of the blooms were smaller than a quarter. We even got to see some blossoms on a Joshua Tree. We also spotted a few lizards, a ground squirrel, and lots of birds.

The drive took us about 2 hours and it was hot, hot, hot and dusty, dusty, dusty. We were glad to get back home to the air conditioning.

Yuma, AZ to Desert Hot Springs, CA, 176 miles
April 20 - 22, 2009
Monday, April 20. We just got back from the mineral pool and ohhh, did that feel good. The water comes out of the ground at 130 degrees and is cooled down to make it comfortable. It was very calming and relaxing.

While sitting at our computers at the dinette this morning, the little Anna's Hummingbirds, both male and female have been frequenting the feeder. They are so cute!

We have nothing planned for the day, other than to just do what comes to mind.

Wednesday, April 22. It's been a lazy week. Yesterday, we did drive to Beaumont and Mike bought a new laptop computer. I will use his Mac and give up on my old rattletrap Toshiba. So the afternoon was spent with Mike getting his new computer setup and I have been uploading photos from CDs and DVDs to Sugarsync, an online storage site for photos and documents.

Frisco has been having a ball at the park's dog run. This afternoon he met Joey, a Chihuahua mix, and they really liked each other - didn't want to quit playing.

We started this morning at the pool again and it feels so good. After that, we headed to Desert Hot Springs to checkout the town - there isn't much other than the usual grocery stores, K-Mart, Walgreens, etc. Neither of us really felt like doing much, so we headed back home to read, compute, Sudoku (thanks to Judy, I'm hooked), etc.

The temps have been in the upper 90s this week and I think it is kind of draining our energy. Today it is hot and windy. It looks like we are in for a cool down as we head to the coast tomorrow.
April 23 - 26, 2009
Thursday, April 23. We made it Oxnard today, no problem. The sky was an ugly brown, dusty and windy all the way to Pasadena, then cleared up a little bit. We are glad to be getting out of the desert and back to the clean air of the coast. Mike did a great job driving through LA and we were both thankful that we could be traveling in the middle of the day. Traffic wasn't bad.

We arrived at Mary and Lance's house and introduced the dogs to each other to determine if they would get along ok. Garbo was a bit upset at first but was very accepting and we decided that all would be ok.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening catching up on the last year and a half. It's so nice to see them again, we sure enjoy their company and our long time friendship.

Friday, April 24. Lance had a Spanish class in Ojai this morning, so we all went with him and checked out the area while he was in his class. We drove to Lake Casitas park where there will be a vintage trailer show going on tomorrow. There were some already setup but many more to come.

After Lance's class, we went to Botillo's Restaurant for a delicious pizza, then strolled the main street of Ojai and did some window shopping. Back home in Oxnard, we had a great dinner of stuffed pork tenderloin, grilled potatoes and zucchini, and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Saturday, April 25. Mary and I left the house at 9:15 this morning, met up with 5 of her Red Hat Society friends and went to Thousand Oaks to the Gardens of the World. The 4.5 acrea gardens are privately owned and were created to provide an educational tool to the community.

We took the self guided tour and strolled through the Japanese garden with its peaceful pagoda and Koi pond. Following that was a Mission courtyard with a beautiful 3-tier fountain that's purpose was for humans to drink from the top layer, horses drank from the middle layer, and chickens and pigs from the bottom layer. The walls surrounding the courtyard had beautiful paintings of the historic missions along the El Camino Real trail through California. A French garden was next with the formal clipped hedges and several water features. An English and Rose garden was next with a beautiful assortment of perennials and good smelling roses. An Italian garden followed that and was located on a terraced hillside with rows of Cypress trees framing a beautiful "chain" fountain. After our garden tour, we headed to PF Cheng's restaurant for a very nice lunch and good conversation.

This afternoon we all went to Lake Casitas, where a vintage trailer meet was being held. There was an assortment of bright and shiny Shasta trailers, airstreams, silver streaks, and a couple of motor homes. The people were all friendly and eager to tell stories about the history of their trailer and their experiences with restoration.

From there, we stopped at Ventura where an Arts Walk was held along the main street. Artists had their wares displayed along the street and in many of the stores and restaurants. At a Martini bar, we had a *bleep*tail, then stopped at a small Mexican place for some dinner.

It was a fun and very busy day.

Sunday, April 26. Happy Birthday, Walks! Today was another very nice day spent with our great friends. It was a lazy day, relaxing, reading and just hanging out together. Mary and I did go to a garden center and picked out some stuff for an area of her yard.

I fixed Ben and Jill's Mediterranean pasta for dinner tonight and it was well received.
Desert Hot Springs to Oxnard, CA, 170 miles
April 27 - 30, 2009
Monday, April 27. Happy Birthday to Me! Mary served up chocolate cake complete with candles and ice cream for breakfast, a very nice treat! Most of the day will be spent on the road to San Francisco but my best gift will be seeing Ben, Jill, and Ruby again. It has been 13 and a half months since we've seen them and that is waaaaay to long. We're also excited for Ruby and Frisco to meet. Even though we got him in SF back in September of 2007, they weren't able to meet because Frisco had kennel cough. It will be much better this time.

It was nice to receive phone calls from Pat and most of my brothers and sisters today and several e-mails and facebook greetings from friends.

The trip was uneventful, such a beautiful drive through the agricultural country all the way until we got to San Jose. We saw fields that were being prepped, others with new growth, and many that were being harvested. Crops included Romaine lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, and lots of grape vines and wineries. We pulled in at the San Francisco RV Resort a little after 5:00 and were setup in our site shortly after. It's cold and windy here, guess we shouldn't have expected anything different. They gave us a nice site way at the far end and just across the street from the cliff overlooking the ocean.

Ben, Jill, and Ruby showed up with pizza, salad, beverages, a beautiful carrot cake and a gorgeous flower arrangement. It was great spending time with them again. The dogs got into it a couple of times, maybe they didn't have enough time to get to know each other before being in this small space. We had a great reunion and are looking forward to spending time together in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, April 28. Today was an R and R day for us, I guess that 5 days of activity kind of wear us out these days. I got us registered and was quite happy to find that they had given us a 10% discount on our stay and that means a savings of over $100. I chatted with Elaine in the office for a bit and greeted Gail as he was doing the trash run. Later in the day, we stopped and talked to Dorothy and Jack. The place looks the same, although it has definitely been cleaned up a lot, the buildings are freshly painted.

I spent a lot of time today trying to figure out the Mac. I've decided to give up my old Toshiba and use Mike's G4 iBook. Yeah, right. It was quite a challenge, but I think this old brain will be able to handle it.

Wednesday, April 29. It's another bright, sunny, but cool morning. It feels good to look out over the ocean and see the waves rolling in, the pelicans flying along the coast, and an occasional hang glider. I'm hoping that we will get to see whales again.

We had lots of laundry to do, had to catch up on over a week's worth. It is real expensive here, $2.25 per wash and $1 per dry. Mike took care of the cable on the engine battery on the motor home. We had a couple of incidences on the way here when it didn't want to start up, just made clicking noises, but usually after several attempts it would start again. He thinks the old cable or the cable connection is bad. After replacing the cable, the starter still didn't want to work, so it's back to the drawing board on that project.

I'm plugging along on the Mac, learning as I go. I'll have to update the photo gallery one of these days.

Jill invited us for dinner tonight and we had a great veggie lasagna and salad, topped off with birthday cake. We had a great time with the exception of a battle between the 2 dogs, probably over treats. Hope things improve.

Thursday, April 30. Mike fiddled around with the battery project again. He took the battery (new within the last month) to have it checked and found that it is fine. Because he still thinks the problem is with the battery, he re-cleaned all of the connection points and it has started on every attempt since then.

I washed the front part of the motorhome today because it was loaded with bugs and really needed it. Rain is predicted for the next 4-5 days, so I didn't really want to wash the whole thing. We're thinking that the rain will clean off the roof and we won't have to get up there to wash it. Are we getting lazy or what?

After ordering a new regulator for the grill, we tried it out this evening and it seemed to solve the problem we were having with the grill not getting hot enough. The chicken turned out delicious.
Oxnard to Pacifica, CA, 373 miles

Created on 04/01/2009 07:06 AM by bridge
Updated on 05/21/2009 12:01 PM by bridge
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