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November 2009
I think I've discovered the secret of life.
You just hang around until you get used to it.
Charles M. Schulz
November 23 - 30, 2009
Monday, November 23. Frisco and I had a 45 minute walk this morning along the canal. I planned to go one direction, cross over and come back on the other side but I kept trying to avoid man with a very large pit bull mix. We ended up passing each other anyway and he had control of the "Chico". Usually, there are few people and dogs out there.

We took care of some chores today; washing the car, cleaning screens, and grooming Frisco.

Wednesday, November 25. Happy Birthday, Tracey! Frisco and I just got back from a 45 minute walk along the canal. Guess we started out early enough that we didn't have to dodge the big dog this morning. I don't think he's a bad dog but he is allowed to run off leash, is part pit bull, and I just don't trust him. While we were walking, I tuned my iPhone to my favorite Madison radio station, WORT, and listed to the news and then my favorite music program, Bill Malone's Back to the Country. How nice!

Yesterday, we signed the lease at The Highlands at Brentwood. They sure do cover all of the bases and have a lot of rules but none of them unreasonable. We also setup a storage space for the RV and got our remotes to get us in the security gate. After taking care of that, we drove by the house and saw Paula loading up her van with stuff. It sounds like we might be able to get the keys on Friday.

I did some grocery shopping this afternoon, boy was the store crowded! I bought a sirloin steak for dinner and marinated it for a few hours before Mike put it on the grill - YUM! YUM!

Thursday, November 26. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!

I baked a sweet potato casserole (Monica's Sweat Potato Suffle recipe, written at age 9) and made a broccoli salad before heading to Nan and Dale's for dinner. Nan went to put the sweet potatoes in the oven and discovered a leak in the turkey pan, the juices were dripping steadily out of the pan. She and Monica rushed off to the grocery store for another pan. That little crisis set back our dinner time by an hour but that really wasn't a problem for any of us, we were just having a nice time and enjoying the day.

Dinner turned out wonderful and we had lots of varied dishes to taste. After dinner, some friends of their stopped over, Mike and Stella. Stella happens to be from my home town of Stoughton and only a year younger than me, so we found that we knew many of the same people. It sure is a small world - we have learned that there are many people from Stoughton living in the area or that spend the winters here. Guess we won't be alone when we get back here for longer stays.

Friday, November 27. Frisco and I had another nice walk this morning. When I got back home, I got busy and cleaned 2 of the day/night shades in the bedroom. They all need it badly as the only cleaning they have gotten is the recommended vacuuming now and then. I wasn't sure how to go about it, so have done some research on the internet. One suggestion was to use a mild cleaner (I'm using good old Basic-H) and a cloth and just wipe them down, so that is the method I tried. They turned out nice but it was a lot of work and took a long time. I think the remainder will be taken down and soaked in a tub in the mild cleaning solution - I'm actually going to have a tub again. The carpets and upholstery will be cleaned professionally in the next 2 weeks.

We were kind of hoping to hear from Paula that we could get into the house today, but she called to say that she wasn't quite finished and would probably be done by tomorrow evening. Neither of us felt much like just hanging out at home, so we called Allan and Sharon to see what they were up to. They were out and about and hadn't had any lunch yet, so they came by and picked us up and we headed out for some BBQ. Had a great conversation over lunch, stopped by Sprout's for a little shopping, then came back home.

Sunday, November 29. Paula called yesterday afternoon about 2:00 and said they could meet us at the house and give us the keys. Randy showed Mike around all of the mechanicals and Paula showed me some last minute items.

We parked the motorhome in front of the driveway and proceeded to load just about everything from it to the house. About 2 hours later, we took the motorhome over to tuck it away in the parking spot that we reserved. It's too bad that we have to pay for it while we are gone, but we didn't want to take the risk of not having it available when we come back.

I proceeded to clean and do laundry and attempted to get organized. The laundry had really piled up because I wasn't about to pay to do laundry this week at the park when I was going to have my own again shortly. I also had to wash some bedding that was packed away in the motorhome.

Frisco is quite confused but behaving very well. His bed and food were the first things we brought in, so hopefully he got the idea.

Neither of us slept very well during the night - a strange place with strange sounds.

Nan and Dale stopped over this evening, brought us a housewarming gift of a bottle of wine and a Christmas cactus plant. How nice! We had some tacos for dinner and sat around talking in our sparsely furnished living room.
November 16 - 22, 2009, Mesa, AZ
Monday, November 16. Grrrrrrr! The alarm went off at 6:00 this morning and we proceeded to unhook and get the motorhome to RV Renovators by 8:00 to have the seals on the roof done and to have a few other things taken care of. They would probably be working on it most of the day, so we decided to take a drive and check out the Apache Trail, a historic road that goes from Apache Junction to the Roosevelt Dam.

We're so glad that we decided to do that because it took us most of the day and we thoroughly enjoyed the drive and the scenery. It is about a 40 mile drive with 23 miles of dirt road. It winds and climbs through the Superstition Mountains to an elevation of about 7,000 feet. Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, and Roosevelt Lakes can be seen from the roadside - they are unexpectedly beautiful, a deep blue in color - the hillsides are filled with various shades of green and reddish brown, so the lakes provide an intense contrast. The 40-mile drive took us 3.5 hours as we made many stops along the way to enjoy the sights.

Back at RV Renovators, they were just finishing up on the roof but they recommended that we not drive it tonight as the sealant is still very soft and even a 25 mph drive can cause it to run and not stay in place. They got no argument from us - we're plugged in to their electric and we're tired - a quiet night with nothing to do kind of sounds good to us. They also repaired the wing window in the bedroom - we had purchased the part in Forest City but learned that the window had to be removed in order in install the replacement part.

Another item on the list was to get the hot water to flow to the kitchen sink - it has been getting slower and slower and was barely a trickle recently. That turned out to be a buildup of calcium in the water line and had to be flushed out. We also learned that the preventive measure for that is to drain the hot water heater periodically and to flush fresh water through it. A carpet cleaning was also on the list but we will have to arrange that for another time. I'm kind of glad that didn't work out, as it is real dusty at this place.

What a day! I'm tired! Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 17. Last night when Mike took Frisco out around 8:30, he was surprised to see 4 cop cars, lights flashing, and they were restraining 2 young guys. One of the policemen told Mike that they had run from them. After he got back, we watched out the window for quite a while but there really wasn't much happening. We learned this morning that the place had been broken into on Sunday night. Someone cut the fence and tried to get away with one of the sand buggies on the property but an alarm went off and a neighbor confronted the person.

We filled up the motor home with propane and settled up our bill ($1300) and headed back to Desert Vista and got settled in once again. We were both anxious to get showers but decided to put up our new UV shades first. They need to be trimmed a bit for a better fit but we want to let them hang for a day or so to get the wrinkles out first. I tested to see if they really do provide privacy. Mike stood about 3 feet from the windshield and I couldn't see him at all.

Monica invited us to dinner tonight so we got to see her apartment and meet her cat, Al Pacino Ursino. Her apartment is cute, nicely furnished, and just big enough for her and Al. She made a beer in the butt chicken that turned out to be delicious, and a very tasty broccoli salad and green salad. I brought some garlic mashed potatoes. We had a great time!

Wednesday, November 18. Frisco and I took a nice, long walk along the canal this morning. The canals were built for transporting water throughout the area and they have a wide path on either side that can be used for recreation (walking, running, biking). There is an access point about a block away from the RV park, a nice place to walk and keep away from the traffic.

I also spent some time cleaning out my kitchen cabinets. When we had the motorhome in for repairs on Monday, they traced the water line to the kitchen sink and in doing so, left behind a lot of dust and insulation particles. It gave me a good reason to reline the shelves and reorganize my spices and under-sink storage.

This afternoon, we went to the insurance company and got our homeowners policy, then headed to our new house to sign the papers (I should say the title, as it is treated like a vehicle). We're feeling pretty darn good about being homeowners again! After seeing the house again, we both feel we will be very comfortable there and the price is definitely right, providing us with a very affordable living arrangement in a nice and safe community. We had a nice visit with Paula and Randy and learned a bit more about the house and the community.

Friday, November 20. Other than transferring the titles on your mobile home yesterday, we didn't do much but hang out at home. It felt real good to spend most of the day at home as we haven't done a lot of that lately.

This morning after a nice, long walk with Frisco, Allan and Sharon picked us up. We headed to Cave Creek, north of Phoenix and Scottsdale to the Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour sponsored by the Sonoran Arts League. Each of us selected a couple of galleries to visit. Allan and Sharon were both interested in visiting artists that worked in pastels, as they are both pastel painters. Mike wanted to see photography and tinted photography and I wanted to visit glass and metal sculptors. In addition to those, we saw beautiful jewelry, gourd art, watercolors, acrylics, pencil drawings, whimsical sculptures, and we even met a very friendly burro named Jessie. Not only did we see some beautiful art but a wonderful sampling of desert homes and yards.

We stopped at the Tonto Bar and Grill in Cave Creek where we had a delicious lunch overlooking the beautiful golf course framed by mountains. The area is beautiful and I can see where many of the artists get their inspiration. It was a wonderful day with the Freys and we look forward to the next outing with them.

Sunday, November 22. I started my Saturday with a few garage sales. There are lots of the but not a lot of good stuff - it was Saturday, so things were probably pretty picked over. Most of the people I saw were speaking Spanish and they were really loading up on stuff. I arrived back home empty handed. The rest of the day was spent just hanging out at home and fixing a good dinner.

Today, we did some shopping at consignment stores and at Ikea. We found a couple of sofas that we liked but decided to hold off until we get our stuff out of storage in Florida. The current owners are leaving a few things there, so we will at least have a bed to sleep in, recliners to relax in, and a table and chairs to eat at.

This evening, Dale invited us to join them for a prime rib dinner with the family. As usual, dinner was excellent and we had a great time with them.
November 9 - 15, 2009, Mesa, AZ and Puerto Penasco, Mexico
Tuesday, November 10. It was a very enjoyable weekend with Nan, Dale, and Monica. It all started with the long, but uneventful 212 mile drive to Rocky Point on Saturday. There's not much to see but desert along the way as we traveled through the Sonoran Desert National Monument and part of the Organ Pipe National Forest before crossing into Mexico. There, it was the usual scruffy looking border town of Sonoyta and then 90 miles later we pulled into Rocky Point. We checked in at Seaside Condo rentals, picked up the keys, and headed for Las Olas #4 in the section of town called Los Conchas, an area of privately owned homes and condo units on the beach about 2 miles from town.

After unloading the truck (this was something, as Dale had the entire bed of the truck full, complete with huge logs to have a fire on the beach and enough groceries to fill the refrigerator - he is not a light packer). We had a few hours to enjoy the beach and had a nice dinner of salad, my homemade lasagna, and some french bread that happened to become very dry through the trip.

On Sunday, after a nice breakfast, we headed to the Old Port section of town where the fish markets and other fares such as pottery, silver, and blankets are sold. Little did we know that a Harley Rally was being held in town this weekend, making it a pretty busy place, although most of the activities were on Friday and Saturday. We located Hugo, a waiter at Debbie's Restaurant that Nan and Dale had met about 5 years ago on their 1st trip here. He's a heck of a nice guy, was quite happy to see us all, and made sure that we got good food, good drinks, and his usual great service.

Back to the condo, we had another great dinner of steak, baked potato, cauliflower, and shrimp au gratin.

On Monday we drove around Rocky Point to see the north side of town where there are lots of high rise resorts along the beach. We thought we would check them out and maybe try one of the restaurants, as I had come across some reviews and coupons. There was nobody around at the 2 resorts that we stopped at and all of the restaurants were close. We learned that they are only open on the weekends. Back to Old Port, we had a bite to eat and arranged to pick up fresh shrimp to take back home with us the next day. We were all ready to spend some time just relaxing.

The tide had gone out when got back to Las Olas, the rocky coast was exposed, so we spent some time beachcombing. I didn't find much but a few pieces of beach glass. Reading, relaxing, napping, or just hanging out was the activity for the remainder of the day.

After loading up the truck this morning, we checkout out of the condo and went into town to pick up the 50 pounds of shrimp that Nan and Dale bought to take back home. We have learned that when it comes to food, Dale insures that he has plenty of it stocked up. As we were leaving the city, we stopped at a traffic light and happened to be right in line with the crosswalk signal. It has a timer on the top and a figure of a man walking on the bottom. As the timer counted down the time to cross the street, the figure walked faster and faster and was at a run for the last 10 seconds. We all just cracked up laughing and planned to go back to get a video on the way out of town but you know how that goes. I happened to find a video on YouTube, so here goes - hope it works. Mexican Crosswalk Signal

It was a long drive back home and we made a stop at Ajo, thinking we would have a bite to eat at the Ajo In The Wall Restaurant, a place with a catchy name that is located in the town plaza, but we decided not to have lunch there. At Gila Bend, we stopped at the Space Age Diner, a unique looking building that houses a motel and restaurant. It was a great decision, as everyone thought the food was quite good and the service was excellent too.

By the time we picked Frisco up (he stayed at Monica's friend, Ariana's house), it was 7:00 and we were ready to be back home.

Wednesday, November 11. Thanks, Veterans for your service to our country and hope you all had a nice Veterans Day. We spent the day relaxing, doing a few chores, catching up on phone calls, and having a nice grilled chicken dinner. Not much more to say than that.

Friday, November 13. Yesterday, we went to gather information about insuring the new house - no problem - it's very affordable and we will just call them on the day that we sign the papers. That too is a very simple operation as all we have to do is for them to sign the titles over (a title for each side of the double wide mobile home) and go to the motor vehicle department to get it registered in our name. This seems incredibly funny to me but what the heck. It's all about keeping life simple these days.

I wanted to check out the Mesa Market Place where I had learned that a vendor providing RV sunshades had a booth. The website said it was open on Thursday afternoon, but when we got there, that wasn't the case. So we had a bite to eat and then went to check out the downtown area of Mesa. There isn't much there except a natural history museum that we will have to visit some day, a convention and art center, and several churches including the Mormon Tabernacle.

After doing laundry and the usual house cleaning routine, we headed back to the Market Place. We found a sunshade vendor but not the one I was looking for. We traipsed around the perimeter and it seemed like we walked for miles and saw the same items over and over again. When it came time to go back to the car, we ended up walking for miles again because we didn't note which entrance we came in - lesson learned - they all look the same.

From there, we had some lunch and then headed to a consignment shop to look at furniture since we will be needing a few pieces for the house. I've also been researching ways to get our stuff from the storage unit in Ocala to the house in Mesa. So far, it seems that the best approach would be to have a moving company handle it - the cost is about 1/2 of what it would be if we fly or drive there and haul it back. No decisions yet.

Saturday, November 14. Happy Birthday, Patty! A cold front has come through this area and them temps were down in the upper 40s during the night and a high of 73 is expected today. We also saw a bit of rain this morning when I took Frisco for a walk, just enough to show on the car and windows.

We took a drive to Surprise today, as I located some RV Quick Shades for the motor home. I've been researching this for a long time and finally found exactly what I wanted. The way we are parked, we get the sun coming in the front of the motorhome all day long - it gets real hot and the drapes don't help a lot. The fabric is a mesh UV protection fabric that also provides privacy (we can see out but others cannot see in). Unlike most of the UV protection shades that are mounted on the exterior with clips and snaps, these are mounted on the inside windshield and driver/passenger side windows and are held in place by high tech suction cups. I'm anxious to get them installed but will hold off until next week after our repairs are done on Monday.

Surprise is about 40 miles to the northwest from Mesa and the route we took (Hwy 60) is not freeway the last 1/2 of the trip and took us through the suburbs; Peoria, Glendale, and Sun City, so it seemed like a much longer drive. Surprise is all a newer development withl new roads, shopping centers, and construction. We picked up the shades from the dealers that winter at the Happy Trails RV Park, a huge RV, park model, casita, and golf resort that was developed by Roy Rogers, thus the street names; Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Pat Brady, Trigger, etc.

Tonight we watched the new version of the movie "Pelham 123" with Denzel Washington and John Travolta and we both considered it to be quite good.

Sunday, November 15. We started to get things put away today as we will be taking the motorhome in for the roof sealant work tomorrow.

This afternoon we went to Nan and Dale's and watched football and had a delicious ham dinner with them and Monica and Dylan.
November 2 - 8, 2009, Mesa, AZ
Monday, November 2. Moving day. Our week at Good Life RV ended today, so we packed up and headed east for about 3 miles to the Desert Vista RV Park, where we will settle in for a month ($450/month). We found several others parks that charge less but none are as nice as this. The park is small with only 65 sites, they are quite large with level concrete pads, plenty of place to park, and the facility is beautiful.

This evening, we went to meet Monica's friend, Ariana, that will be keeping Frisco this weekend when we go to Rocky Point, Mexico. She is sweet, has a little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Princess Caroline and they got along just fine.

Tuesday, November 3. We invited Sharon and Allan to tour our new house today, so they joined us for lunch before we showed them the house. We're so excited, we have to show it off to someone and it met their approval.

After they left, Paula took us to the office to introduce us to the staff so we could get the application for lease - they will then do a background and financial check before they approve us. The office occupies space near the golf course and the view is beautiful. The greens are well maintained and there are tables, chairs and a small bar on the patio overlooking the course. We then stopped to see the clubhouse that contains a TV room, nice kitchen, library, and rec hall that leads to the pool in the back. All is well maintained and kept very nice.

When we had the motorhome in for service in Forest City, they recommended that we reseal the seams along the roof and replace and reseal the skylight. So we headed to LaMesa (where we bought the rig) to schedule the service, but they can't get it in until December 15 and they charge an arm and a leg. We're done with that place - they are unfriendly and not very accomodating - and this isn't the 1st time we have felt this way.

We drove on to RV Renovators, not too far from where we're staying, and they were so friendly and welcoming. They are eager for our business, have 30 years of experience, and their prices are reasonable. We will take it in on the 16th.

Now it's nap time - I think the heat is tiring us out a bit.

Wednesday, November 4. There is nothing on the agenda that will make us go anywhere today - we're both looking forward to a day at home. We filled out our applications for the lease and will drop them off tomorrow.

After breakfast, I started to wash the motor home - boy, does it need it. The last bath was before we left Wisconsin - not good at all! It was either cold, rainy, or we weren't allowed to wash in the parks we were in, so it just didn't get done. Mike took care of bathing Frisco and then helped me finish up the RV wash job. It feels great to look out of clean windows once again.

It's kind of cloudy today, although it is still quite hot - up in the mid-90s. We have a nice little tree in our site, but there are a few hours every afternoon when we have to shade and can't sit out. It looks like a cooler trend is coming this way later in the week.

Saturday, November 7. It's 4:45 and I'm sitting here at the computer - Yuck! I thought I'd had enough of that during my working life, it's not supposed to be happening now. I've been in a period of wakeful nights and early morning wake-ups lately - it's time to get out of that pattern.

Thursday was spent taking care of chores, housecleaning, and grocery shopping. I got the grill out and fixed a very nice dinner, realizing that we missed the flavor of grilled food. It's been over a month because the weather wasn't real conducive to enjoying the outdoors. I've been enjoying sitting outdoors with a book or magazine lately.

Created on 11/02/2009 10:46 AM by bridge
Updated on 11/30/2009 09:09 AM by bridge
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