Friday, October 31, 2014

Yes, You Can

You really can find a bedspread online that is what you want and that is not a comforter. It did come with pillow shams and extra pillows we really didn't need. But we are happy. And, after placing the order last Saturday, it was delivered on Thursday. Isn't it pretty?

Happy Halloween, everyone. I really haven't enjoyed this holiday since becoming a teenager. I didn't really enjoy putting together costumes for our boys and I hated it when I had to wear a costume at work. But lots of adults are into the day. Our RV resort, Canyon Vistas, is decorated for the occasion and had a dance night. Needless to say, we didn't go, but we did check out the resort decorations after dark.

During a quick stop at Fry's today, we saw two employees decked out for the day.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Are We Doing?

              We are excited about our new winter home and anxious to move in.  I am not-so-patiently waiting for the concrete to be poured for our RV pad and car port/patio and parking space.  We probably won’t be able to move in till the end of December, after the RV pad cement cures for 4 weeks.
              We aren’t “hanging up our keys”, however.  We still plan to be long-timers, though not full-time RVers.  For six years before we moved into our RV full-time, we spent about half the year traveling.  The last time we spent less than a month traveling in our RV was in 2002. 
              The day will surely come that we are either unable or not interested in RV travel, but we don’t see that time coming very soon.  We are already planning next year’s travels.
              For the past 6 years we have been spending our winters in either Arizona or Texas.  In many ways, our life won’t change much.  Now, we will be living in our winter home during those months, instead of in our RV.  The home is better-insulated, so we won’t be as tied to the heat index in Arizona as in the past. We will be 10 miles further east than in the past—closer to some hiking, further away from other trails.
              We are making new friends and missing our neighbors in Valle del Oro.  But we know, we will soon have good relationships here, as well.  It is a new chapter in our lives, though not too different from what we have been living.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Furniture Arrives

It is really fun to buy furniture to fill a small house! Monday, we finalized the purchase of our winter home. We had already done a little shopping and price-comparison for furniture, so Wednesday we bought what we needed from American Furniture Warehouse. That company has been in Colorado for years. Jake Jabs has now opened two stores in the Phoenix area. We were delighted when we learned it would be delivered today.

This is what the interior looked like when we unlocked the door this morning.

A few minutes later, this truck pulled up out front.

Adam and Chris were quick to begin unloading the furniture and bringing it inside.

When I say quick, I mean quick. They ran everywhere--at least until they came inside with an item of furniture,then they were slow and careful.

After placing the couch, they opened it and showed us how the hide-a-bed worked.

Soon the bed frame was assembled.

The table was put together.

Here is our table and chairs. We have a leaf to expand the table so it will seat 6 when we have company.

Here is our living room. We are still waiting for one end table and a cabinet from American and two LaZBoy chairs.

After we put the sheets on, this is what our bedroom looks like. We still need a spread. So far, our shopping has shown that we can buy comforter sets that include 4 to 6 pieces or a quilt. What happened to good our bed spreads?

We had been given a window of 9:15 to 11:45 am for the furniture delivery. Chris and Adam called about 8:15 and arrived at 8:30. They were done by no later than 9:30 and did a great job of setting up and explaining everything. We were very pleased.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

They Don't Understand

John and I are a team. We make our decisions together and don't act until we are in agreement. In fact, we usually can anticipate what the other will say or think because we almost always think alike. I don't know how a couple can be full-time RVers if they don't agree about most things. You have to really like each other as well as love each other and you have to agree most of the time to make that lifestyle work.

For a good part of our married life, we have worked together in one way or another. We do have different responsibilities in our common life--John does most of the driving, though not all of it. He hooks up the electric, water and sewer systems of the RV while I take care of leveling and setting up the inside. I do the cooking. He washes the dishes and we do the laundry together. I am largely in charge of indoor cleaning.

While I handle our finances, we make financial decisions together. That has been true all of our marriage. (It must have rubbed off on our sons. Both of them have wives who handle the finances.)

We are buying a house/park model this fall in Arizona. Over the past couple of weeks, we have had meetings with a salesman, the sales manager, the sales coordinator, a manufacturer representative, and the resort manager. Two of the men looked only at John most of the time they talked. One woman looked mainly at me as she talked. Two of the people were really good at treating us equally and including both of us fully in the conversations. This week, we bought furniture at American Furniture Warehouse and the salesman treated us as co-participants in the purchase.

I don't know if the men didn't understand that women can be equal partners in the purchase of a home and additions that are built there. Or maybe, they don't approve of women in that role. And why wouldn't John be equally interested in the rental agreement here?

If I could train people in customer relations, I would tell them to treat both husband and wife equally, whether or not the two really have an equal voice in decisions. They can't judge from the outside and it is better to err on the side of equal treatment than to offend one member of the couple.

If we were 20 years younger, we would be handling this home purchase in the hours after work or on the weekend or during a short break from work. But we are both 71 and we no longer have that kind of stamina or ability to change focus quickly or multi-task. So this purchase, with the many meetings, has taken up most of our time and most of our energy. That explains why I haven't blogged in a week.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Was I Ever Wrong

On Sunday, October 5, in a blog post titled Busy or Quiet?, I wrote:

It is good to be settling down for a few months. Our reservation runs through March. The resort will get busy in 2 or 3 months, but our life will be quieter than it has been since last April.

Two weeks ago today, we were in Holbrook, AZ, and the next day we drove to Mesa where I made the above-mentioned blog post. On Tuesday, 2 days after that blog, we visited Superstition Views at Canyon Vista to look at the park model/homes they are offering there. We decided to buy a show home.

Two days later, exactly one week ago today, we moved from Mesa to Canyon Vistas. Tuesday, 2 days ago now, we signed the papers and paid for the house. In between, we pulled together the necessary funds  and met with the construction manager to plan the concrete work for the front yard and a workshop, to be built there as well.

Yesterday, we started to look at new furniture. Since we sold or gave away all the furniture we used to have in our Colorado house, we need to start from scratch. Linens, dishes and cooking equipment will also be needed.

Did I say "our life will be quieter than it has been"? NOT. Maybe come January. But we are excited. We can't move there till the concrete out front is poured and cured, but we should be able to move by December.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Summer Summary

We left Mesa, Arizona, last year on April 22 and returned October 3. During that time, we towed the RV 7,515 miles and drove the truck an additional 3,820 miles. That means we drove a total of 11,385 miles. In 2012, we made our second trip to Alaska. That summer, we traveled at least 10,000 miles. All this means, meandering through the middle of this wonderful country we live in can mean driving more than a trip from the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to Alaska and back to Denver, Colorado. No wonder we were tired after our travels this summer.

During the past summer, we traveled through 15 states and stayed in 41 campgrounds. What were some of the sights we saw? In May they included the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin, TX, and the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

We also visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

We were in Tennessee and Kentucky during most of June. First we attended a rally for owners of Mobile Suites RVs like ours. While there we had our RV and truck weighed and were happy to learn we were well withing the maximum weights for both the truck and trailer and we were fairly balanced from side to side.

One of our stops in Kentucky was at the Town Branch Brewtillery, where they make both bourbon and beer. The beer is aged six weeks in bourbon barrels and is probably the best beer I have every tasted.

July took us to Ohio and Indiana. In Ohio, our main focus was on the graves of ancestors.

We had some warranty work done on our RV in Howe, IN, and also visited Amish Country.

We moved on to Wisconsin, where we visited the Cana Island Lighthouse on Lake Superior.

During August, we continued our travels through Wisconsin and took a boat tour to see the Apostle Islands Sea Caves on Lake Superior.

Moving on to Minnesota, we visited the Spam Museum.

Then we were on to South Dakota, where we hiked in Badlands National Park.

September brought us to Colorado and time with family and friends before moving on to Arizona. It was a wonderful summer. Now, it is good to stop traveling for a few months.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

What Have We Done?

Today we made a deposit on a new home! Last Spring we visited Superstition Views in Gold Canyon to look at their casitas. We thought about it over the summer and today we made a deposit on a one bedroom, one bath casita with 719 square feet of space. The house was built last year as a model home. We can move in as soon as the car port and RV pad are put in (and we sign all the paperwork and pay them, of course). This is what is there now.

We are really attracted to this area because we can have an RV pad with full hookups on our lot. Meaning we will have a house and a guest house. There will also be a covered parking area for our truck and patio space. We are going to have a room added to the house that can be used for storage and as a workshop. Superstition Views is part of Canyon Vista RV Resort. Like Valle del Oro, where we have stayed the past 6 winters, and other Cal-Am resorts, we will own the building and improvements but not the land.

We are excited about this purchase. The casita is better insulated than our RV, meaning we can be comfortable even during the warmer months in southern Arizonal, extending the time we can spend here. We will have a place to keep our RV and it can be hooked up to have air conditioning and heating, as needed.

Here are some interior photos. We won't keep any of the furniture you see here, but it gives an idea of the space we will have.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Busy or Quiet?

Our trip to Mesa for the winter took us from Raton, NM, to Albuquerque and on into Arizona. When we arrived at American RV in Albuquerque on September 30, we settled into our site and thought we might almost have the park to ourselves.

We should have known better. The annual Albuquerque Balloon Festival was scheduled for Oct. 3 and 4. As the afternoon wore on, we watched more and more RVs come in. There were very few, if any, sites available by nightfall. The same thing happened the next day. Most of the RVs left and a whole new wave checked in. We decided it would be good to make a reservation the next night at OK RV in Holbrook, Arizona. We had never needed one there before, but is still seemed like a good idea. It was. When I called and asked for a 50-amp site, I learned there was only one available and only because someone had just cancelled their reservation.

This is what the campground looked like when we got set up Thursday about noon.

This was our view out the dining room window as the sun was setting about 6 pm. OK RV is the only park we have been in all summer with this kind of side-by-side hookups.

When we woke up Friday morning, the park was almost completely full. We have never seen it that packed. Glad we had reservations.

Friday we drove on to Mesa and arrived at Valle del Oro about noon. The balloon festival is nowhere near, so it is quiet here now and will be most of the month. Here is what it looks like on our street now.

It is good to be settling down for a few months. Our reservation runs through March. The resort will get busy in 2 or 3 months, but our life will be quieter than it has been since last April.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A Great Place to Stay

RV Campgrounds vary in facilities, space and attractiveness. Sometimes it is nice to have roads of asphalt and RV pads of concrete. Everything is clean and neat. Other times, it is nice to feel you are outdoors, almost in the forest. An RV campground that meets this description is the NRA Whittington Center west campground outside of Raton, New Mexico. Only 4 miles off I-25, it is a convenient place to stop on our trip between Colorado and Arizona. This was where we parked this year.

The views from the campground and surrounding roads are great.

I'm not sure when the campground was built, but the Whittington Center was founded in 1973. Annually, approximately 170,000 people from all over the world come there to participate in one of the many competitive, educational and recreational activities in all shooting disciplines. On 33,000 acres there are 17 shooting ranges for everything from black powder to long rifle to youth hunter education activities. The center also had cabins and dormitories and a 150-seat dining facility. Here are the long rifle and Practical Pistol Combat ranges.

Early in our marriage, John and I tried shooting clay pigeons. He was a fair shot. I was lousy. Here is the shotgun sporting clay range and a close up of the machine that launches the clay targets.

During the time we were there, the Women's Wilderness Escape was taking place.  We saw women and their instructors on this course.

We could walk on all the roads without worrying about someone shooting us. It was very clear where we weren't supposed to go.

Very few people were in the campgrounds while we were there. I did get a kick out of this sign. No beating around the bush here.

The Frank Brownell Museum of the southwest discusses the history of the west, especially of New Mexico. It displays many different firearms.

We have explored many aspects of the Civil War in our travels this summer. These rifles were all in use at that time.

This is the view out the front door of the museum.