Friday, December 25, 2009

12/25/2009 – Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all and a special thanks to our service men and women who keep our country safe and free!

Today we had a neighborhood Christmas dinner at Harrell and Tommie Sue’s.  We volunteered to fry a turkey and also bring stuffing and gravy.

Here’s the turkey waiting to jump into a pot of hot oil.


Ken is waiting for the oil to heat up to the right temperature.


The turkey takes a plunge into the hot oil.


The turkey is seen here enjoying the hot tub.


And here are a few photos of the neighbors visiting and enjoying a wonderful meal.






Sunday, December 13, 2009

11/29 – 12/13/2009 – Hanging Out at Valero Estates

The blogging is slowing down as we settle into our winter habitat at our lot in Valero Estates.  Last year we put up 3 bird feeders and (so far) we have cut down to just one.  Here’s a photo with a red cardinal and titmouse enjoying a meal on the feeder.


Ken saw Dr. K in San Antonio and found out that there are improvements in back surgery since we last saw him the spring.  Last Monday he had an RF procedure and epidural steroid injection, but he’s been pretty sore compared to last year when he had the same procedures.  We’ve both been in for physicals at our new doctors and are very impressed at how complete they are compared to the doctors in Coeur d’Alene.  I have three tests scheduled for next Friday and Ken will be seeing a skin doctor after we see how the back doctor appointments work out.

This past Tuesday, our friends Bob and Dori, arrived to stay until after Christmas. 


Dori barbecued some wonderful pork ribs for an early dinner today.


Bob is very artistic and I had a project in mind for him.  We had a beautiful sunny day today that was perfect getting to work on it.  I printed out a picture of what I had in mind and cleaned off the rock that would be the backdrop for our address sign.  Bob did a wonderful job on it!  Can you guess the street number of our lot?  Here’s the outcome:


Saturday, December 12, 2009

11/28/2009 – Return to Valero Estates

After enjoying Thanksgiving in Wylie, we made the return trip to Spring Branch, TX where we will spend a majority of our winter.  We have found some good doctors in the San Antonio area and Ken will be going through some medical procedures and possibly avoid back surgery.

11/24 – 11/28/2009 – Wylie, TX

We moved to East Fork COE campground on Lake Lavon to spend Thanksgiving with Chris, Laurie, McKenna and Kendall.  It was a pretty nice day and Chris fried a turkey out near their pool.  This photo is a view from the gazebo looking toward the back of their house.


This photo is of our granddaughters Kendall and McKenna.


And here are the girls with their cousins.  Back row: Dillon and Chandler  Front row: McKenna, Savannah and Kendall.  Ken is seated to the right and Chris is in the background.


There was lots of good food served and we didn’t go away hungry!

11/19 – 11/23/2009 – Van Alstyne, TX

Before going to a campground near Chris and Laurie’s house, we spent a few nights camped at the home of our friends Terry and Sylvia.  We had an enjoyable visit with them and also took the truck up to Sherman to have it checked out where Chris works.

11/15 – 11/18/2009 – Spring Branch, TX

We arrived at our lot located in Valero Estates in Spring Branch, TX and spent the next few days getting tools unloaded before heading north for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11/12 – 11/14/2009 – Travel Days

Ken’s back finally got to feeling better and we left Benson on November 12th.  We had 3 overnight stays on the way to our lot in Spring Branch, TX:  Deming, NM, Balmorhea, TX and Segovia, TX.

11/10 – 11/11/2009 – Benson, Arizona

Behind our RV on the next lot down, there was a huge agave plant and this hawk seemed to be a regular to perch on it.

Hawk-Far Hawk-Close

Sunday, November 8, 2009

11/4 – 11/9/2009 – Benson, Arizona

We left Catalina State Park in Tucson and headed to Escapees RV Club’s SKP Saguaro Co-op Park on the morning of November 4th.  On our way there, we took on diesel at Fry’s on Tangerine Rd and when we arrived in Benson, we filled our propane tank in town.  We then set up on our site in the park on lot 10 which used to belong to our friends Fred and Bev who are the very first people we met at this park 6 years or so ago.  After lunch, I walked down to the clubhouse to check things out, and found our friend Susan.  We both like to work on jigsaw puzzles and she helped me hijack a couple of puzzles out of the building.  So far…one solved and returned!

10/31 – 11/3/2009 – Tucson, Arizona

We continued our stay at Catalina State Park in Tucson and I did catch a this photo of a roadrunner in the park…not a very good photo…but what the heck…here it is:


Before leaving Tucson, we had a great visit with Lee and Barb and went to dinner at a fantastic restaurant called me and My Big Fat Greek Restaurant.  We’ll be sure to remember it and go back again.

The next day we spent the afternoon and evening with our good friends and hunting partners from Idaho, Jim and Mary Lou.  It was a great visit and wonderful food as always.  Thanks, JV and ML!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

10/30/2009 – Catalina State Park – Tucson, Arizona

We drove to Tucson, Arizona on October 30th and set up our camp for the next few days in Catalina State Park.  There are nice long pull through sites with water and 50amp electric and lots of space between sites.  It is very reasonably priced compared to other RV parks available in the area and we’ll be here for a few days.  Here is a photo of our campsite:


And here is a Tucson sunset with almost a full moon:


10/27 – 10/29/2009 – Sun City, Arizona

We arrived at the Sun City Elks lodge and set up camp, had lunch, then went to visit Ken’s Aunt Mable.  We always enjoy getting to see her when we are in the area and we take her out to lunch or dinner a couple of times while we’re there so she can get away from the retirement apartment cafeteria food.  This time she had some new equipment for her cable tv provider for Ken to set up for her, and we also moved some furniture around.  I helped get her email set up and working again and bought her a book to help out in the learning process.  This photo is of Aunt Mable holding her dog, Gracie, and Ken:


And a Sun City sunset:


10/26/2009 – Congress, AZ

We arrived at the Escapees RV Club campground, North Ranch, in Congress, Arizona with plans to spend a couple of nights there.  However, a cooling trend was predicted for the next couple of days along with winds, so we decided to stay for just the one night.

10/23 – 10/25/2009 – Laughlin, NV and Trip to Hoover Dam

We left Visalia on the October 23rd with plans to stop for the night in Boron.  By the time we got there, it was still early in the day and we had already toured that area, so we decided to continue on to Laughlin, Nevada.  The following day, we visited with Ken’s cousin Verna and her husband Art then went out to dinner with them.  Here is a photo of Verna and Art:


On Sunday, we packed our lunch and headed out to see Hoover Dam.  In our past travels through this area, we had never seen it and Verna and Art had shown us some photos they had on their computer of the new bridge being built there to route traffic away from the dam.  After crossing the Colorado River to the Arizona side, we came across this unfortunate truck accident at the bottom of the hill:


Here are a couple of photos of Hoover Dam and an informational sign about it’s size:



The next two photos are of the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge as it appeared the day we visited there and of a sign that gives an idea of how the bridge will look when it is completed:



Art had advised us to return to Laughlin on the Nevada side, and we were very glad we did.  Traffic was backed up from the dam about 5 miles to Boulder City of Phoenix people headed home from Las Vegas!  When we got back to Laughlin, we visited with Verna and Art for awhile before returning to the RV to get ready to travel the next day.

10/21 – 10/22/2009 – Visalia, CA

After leaving Fresno, our next stop was Visalia, CA.  We set up camp at the Elks lodge camping area which had upgraded to 50amp service since we last stayed there.  We don’t have any photos from our stay there as we were there mainly to pick up our mail and do a little shopping.  We did have a meal at the lodge which they called a “chili sizer”.  It was what I would call a chili burger and was pretty good.  A salad and root beer float were also included with our meal.

Friday, October 30, 2009

10/19 – 10/20/2009 – Fresno, CA

We left Sacramento and drove to the Elks Lodge in Fresno, CA for 2 nights.  We planned to see Jan’s youngest brother Dean who moved there about 1-1/2 years ago.  After getting set up, we drove to Dean’s apartment, got a tour, and then took him to Red Robin for dinner.  The next day, Dean had a doctor appointment and he asked me to go there with him.  I met him there, and shortly before his appointment, a sign language interpreter arrived to go in with him too.  California has a law where an interpreter must accompany a deaf person to a doctor’s visit.  That worked out great since I don’t know sign language.  After the appointment, Dean took me back to the Elks lodge so he could see our RV.  After that, we took him to a late lunch at In-N-Out Burger.  Dean had never been to one before and really liked their french fries (one of Dean’s favorite foods).  Here is a picture of Dean and Jan:


10/17 – 10/18/2009 – Sacramento, CA

We traveled from Redding to Sacramento, CA and set up camp at the Sacramento Elks Lodge for a couple of nights.  We then traveled to visit good friends Ron and Carol.  Ron updates the RV Elks Travel Guides and we wanted to buy more current issues.  We visited with them for a short while then met Ken’s cousin Jeanne.  Ken hadn’t seen Jeanne since sometime in the 1950’s, so it’s been a long time and we had a great visit.  Jeanne took us out to dinner the first night there…thanks, Jeanne!  The following day, Jeanne and Ken went through old family photos after which we took Jeanne out to pizza.  Here is a photo of Ken and Jeanne:


10/16/2009 – Lassen Volcanic National Park

We packed our lunch and headed out to Lassen Volcanic National Park for the day.  As we got nearer to the park, there was a sign posted saying the road was closed 10 miles into the park.  We asked about it as we entered the park and were told that they were plowing snow and hoping to have it open, but weren’t sure when it would happen.  We stopped at the visitor center and viewed the displays there then continued on to where the road was closed.  There was a short hiking trail which we took, and we did get a great view of Lassen Peak:


Ken is standing by Hot Rock:


We returned to the picnic area and ate our lunch and returned to the visitor’s center to find out the road might be opening soon.  We turned around and went back to where the road was blocked and waited for it to open.  It was well worth the wait.  Here are a few photos from beyond the roadblock.

Lake Helen:


Brokeoff Mt.


And finally here are a couple of photos from the Sulfur Works area:



Saturday, October 24, 2009

10/15/2009 – Turtle Bay Exploration Park – Redding, CA

We arrived at the Redding, CA Elks lodge on October 14th, got set up in our site then headed out to get in our Costco fix.  When we got back, we talked with Laurie and Odel who were camped a couple of spaces over from us.  Laurie handles the membership for the Escapees Boomers BOF and has a fantastic fulltime RV travel blog titled Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road.  They told us about the exhibits in Redding that were interesting and also informed us that the weather would be better on Friday for going to Lassen National Park.

On Thursday, we headed out to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park for a tour. 

As we headed toward the main exhibition building, we came across this strange sight.  Just how often do you see someone out walking their porcupine?


The primary exhibit we wanted to see was called The Art of the Brick which was all art work completed with Lego blocks.  It was pretty amazing.

Here is a human heart:


There was this huge t-rex:


And then there were picture in picture type displays.  There was one titled the future that was of a computer chip in black and white, but if you looked at it sideways, it read “tomorrow”:


Tomorrow Another was called Crowd and it also looked like an eye:


When the artist was setting up his exhibit, he built this lego pencil (spelling out the word “yes”) in the main lobby.


The other big exhibit at the park was titled “The Scoop on Poop!”  It was very well done, with humor, but still educational and tasteful.


This must be the educational, tasteful and humor part here:


This is the Sundial Bridge that crosses the Sacramento River.  It was built to connect the cities walking/biking trails.


10/11 – 10/14/2009 - Grants Pass, Oregon

We left Winchester Bay on 10/11 and arrived at Grants Pass, Oregon later that afternoon.  Our campsite was the parking area across the street from Henderson's Line-Up where we had an appointment the following morning to repair the ride height valve on the RV and check the front tires for wear.  Robert Henderson and his crew do outstanding work and we can highly recommend them.  This was all accomplished early in the day, but due to predicted rain storms south of here, we decided to stay 2 more nights and wait out the bad weather.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10/8 – 10/11/2009 – Winchester Bay, OR

We had a great time at Winchester Bay, OR! We pulled in here having no idea where to stay so we pulled off the road, had lunch, then explored the area. One area had full hookups for $20 a night, but it appeared to be dark all the time. The dry camping areas looked more positive and we found a sight we could stay at comfortably for few days and set up camp. Our major goal while here was to catch some dungeness crab and pig out on them. That turned out to be a very difficult task. After assessing the situation, we drove to North Bend/Coos Bay the following day to see what we could find. We bought a crab pot, propane cooker, and were ready to go back and get the big ones! As luck would have it,we did not have any luck. Out on the docks, we met several very helpful people and we had a great time, but after several attempts, we only captured one very under-sized crab. But…I was determined to dine on dungeness crab! I’m slightly ashamed to say I resorted to buying crab at the local seafood market. Not a bad idea after all! We had an excellent meal!

10/7/2009 – The Oregon Coast

We took a drive north from Newport to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was at Cape Foulweather where we spotted whales. None of them cooperated for a photo, but we did get some pretty good scenery pictures along the way.

This photo is from Cape Foulweather.


A view from Boiler Point.


The Devil’s Punchbowl.


The Yaquina Head Lighthouse


And one more photo along the Oregon coast before we headed back to the RV.