Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Out With The Old, In With The New

AJ, AZ   Rollercoaster Weather – 99 last Friday and 83 Today

Jim and I sold our house in Billings last year and have been trying to decide if we were going to make any changes in our RVing lifestyle. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years.

Over the years we have had a Class B, three fifth wheels, a motorhome, and a travel trailer. We learned that we are definitely not motorhome people. There are a lot of reasons we prefer a fifth wheel over a motorhome but a couple of the major determining factors was how much Jim missed his truck and the fact that if we wanted to take the boat with us in Montana, I drove the truck and pulled the boat and Jim drove the motorhome. Just not for us.

So we went back to a fifth wheel and eventually started leaving the fifth wheel in AZ year round and traveling in our much smaller travel trailer. That really works for us. However, our fifth wheel was getting older and things were starting to fall apart. It was time to make a change.

So out with the old:  (thanks to Ginny for the pictures)

goodbye fiver

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And in with the new:

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Our new is a 2018 Forest River Cedar Creek Cottage Destination Trailer. It’s 40 feet long with three slides. As the name implies, this is not a trailer that you move around the country but leave it sitting in one place. We love the park we are in and the people who have become our friends and family. I think we have become snowbirds.

Packing up the fifth wheel and unpacking in the Cottage just about did us in. We did survive and are now pretty much settled. Still can’t find a few things but they’re here somewhere.

I tried taking pictures but none of mine turned out very good so I am posting pictures from the Forest River website.

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The dining area – has an extra leaf and storage in the chair seats.

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The kitchen island

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The dishwasher

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Additional counter and cupboard space

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Love the big deep sinks.

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Just look at this pantry

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And what’s not to like about this fridge

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The sofa couch

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Power recliners

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The TV and fireplace are across from the recliners

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This shower was a huge selling point

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The bedroom has a closet with hookups for a washer and dryer but it has become Jim’s closet for us. Jim had to do some remodeling for me in the bedroom. I couldn’t reach the hangers in the closet. So he took those out, put in a bar that he lowered and built a shelf over it for me.

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We really love our new home and are already looking forward to returning in the fall.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Jim is Amazing

AJ, AZ   High 103  Low 72

We are still in Apache Junction where it has definitely warmed up. Our high yesterday was 105. The RV park is really getting empty. There are a few folks left but more leaving every week. Ginny and Mickey are here because of doctor appts until after Memorial Day so we have company here on the back row because we won’t be leaving til after Memorial Day either.

This has been a very sad year here in our RV park. We have had four of our friends die and at least two more are in the hospital with serious problems. I know we are getting to that age when death comes more often, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept.

We have been beyond busy but the reason for that will be in another post. In between all the busyness we have lots of doctor appointments. Appointments for Jim, Rocky Joe, and me.

RJ’s second surgery on his mouth was a success and he is now our toothless wonder dog with no holes in his mouth. He is 100% Jim’s dog. He tolerates me if he has no other choice but if Jim is anywhere around, I get deserted. We think the barking is getting a little better but we’ll know more when we try to do some sightseeing on our way north.

I established a primary care doctor down here and she decided to do some blood work. I’ve now seen a kidney doctor and a urologist. I like the urologist but I am not at all impressed with the kidney doc. So I will continue to drink lots of water which is what he told me to do and worry about finding a different doctor when we get back. I still have one more appointment with the urologist.

Jim is the amazing one. At least that is what all his doctors keep telling him. He is now in REMISSION from his lung cancer. It has been five years since his surgery and he only needs to be checked once a year. That is about the best feeling ever.

I’m also glad we’re done with the oncologist. They were bought out by another cancer group and even though Jim has been going there for five years, they wanted all of this paperwork filled out. I don’t understand why they couldn’t just transfer his information but I was willing to fill some of it out. But they went crazy – they put a wrist band on him like they do in the hospital. Then half the paperwork was dealing with being admitted to the hospital and they wanted his signature on everything. We were not going to the hospital, we were going to spend five minutes being told everything was great. I think the final straw for me was the fact that they wanted to know who our mobile phone carrier is. At that point, I told Jim we were done with paperwork and he was not going to sign all of that stuff. So he took it back to the desk on our way out and said see ya. Just ridiculous.

His pulmonologist and his cardiologist both said his blood work is fabulous and his breathing is really good considering he is minus half of his left lung. His internist is amazed at his great blood sugar levels. So he is done with his doctor appointments and good to go.

Skittlez needs a quick visit with her doctor and they both need nails trimmed.  We’re slowly getting things ready.

Need bearings packed and tires and axles checked on the Bungalow. Truck got an oil change and tires rotated. It’s really hard to remember all the things that need to be done when you’ve been in one spot for so many months.

Look at what my dear friend Jeri made for me. I love it.

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We are still having some beautiful sunsets.

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Until next time – safe travels and great adventures.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Meet Joseph W. Peters

Apache Junction, AZ – High  92   Low 63

(We met Joe back in February but I just read his book.)

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We were getting ready to go into PetSmart when we noticed this gentleman using his walker to push the dog food he bought out to his car. Jim stepped up and asked if he could help him load it into the trunk.

We visited with him about his dog for a few minutes than I noticed his WWII hat. I thanked him for his service and he then told us about what he did during the war in the Persian Gulf.

He was fascinating. What a story this man has to tell. His mission was to deliver war equipment and supplies to Russia through Iran. President Roosevelt knew that Russia could not fail in their bid to conquer Iran and stop them from coming to the aid of the Nazis.

Joe has written a short book (only 77 pages with lots of pictures) about his experiences. Because so little was known about this command, the Library of Congress asked him if they could put his book in their files.

He was a mechanic working to keep the big trucks and equipment running in freezing winter and the boiling summer. One day the temperature reached 136 degrees.

He said that it got interesting when they were making deliveries with the British used to driving on the left side of the road, the Americans on the right side, and the Russians down the middle.

He received the first Russian Medal for providing supplies to the Russians. He was presented with an award from President Clinton in the Rose Garden. He was also invited to go to Moscow to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the “Victory in WWII.”

There is so much more to the story and I would highly recommend reading his very interesting story at the following link.

The Persian Gulf Command and Aid to the Russians as I lived it

Joe in Iran in 1943

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Thank you Joe for your service.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Little of This, a Little of That

AJ, AZ   It’s been really hot – in the 90’s. But today is going to be much better.

Rocky Joe is healing nicely from his surgery. However, he still has a small hole in his mouth and we will probably have to have that closed. He’s still barking so we don’t go anywhere very often.

We did leave him alone so we could go have lunch with Paul at Babbo’s. The guys had calzones and I had the Steak Panino (without the cheese of course). Fantastic. The bread is incredible. I gave Jim a bite of my sandwich and guess what he wants the next time we go. They also have Italian Sodas which Jim loves. Too busy eating and visiting to remember pictures.

I’ve been working on our tax returns. I guess after 35 years at IRS, I just cannot work up any enthusiasm for getting them done. I really do want to get them filed this week though. Wish me luck.

Jim has been catching a couple of times. He and Mark caught these beauties. We had a fish fry thanks to Wendy.

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He and Marv are out fishing as I write this so I’m hoping they are going to turn it into a catching trip.

RJ (Rocky Joe) hates to be separated from Jim. He has become his constant shadow. When Jim leaves him with me, it takes hours for him to settle down and quit complaining. Today it took him almost three hours and he finally ended up sitting on Skittlez. She is so patient with him.

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A dog that got away from her owner came into the park and charged at Jim and Skittlez. I’m pretty sure that she just wanted to play but not knowing for sure and the fact that Skitz is scared of everything, Jim bent down quickly to pick her up and lost his balance. Skinned himself up really good but was able to get a choke hold on the other dog and I got Skittlez. The owner showed up immediately and I got Jim in the house and cleaned up his wounds. He’s still a little sore and stiff but doing okay.

We’ve been to visit Aunt Happy a couple of times. She is still going strong. Slowing down but her mental capacity is still amazing.

I’m making travel plans for when we leave in May which is fun. And that is life at the Dixon’s house.

Update – Taxes filed!!!  Weather is so much nicer.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Out and About

Apache Junction, AZ  - High 62  Low 53  Rain

I am so thankful we have understanding neighbors here in AJ when it comes to Rocky.  Because they are, we are able to go out and do a few things. We try not to be gone too long because I’m sure all the barking gets really nerve wracking. I do know that he will curtail a lot of our sight seeing when we get back on the road but we will do the best we can.

We had a chance to meet up with friends for happy hour at Rustler’s Roost. The restaurant and bar sit up on the hillside and offers a fabulous view of the valley.

Jeff, Tina, Mike, Deb, Terry, Jeri, Janice, Jerry, me and Jim

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After drinks, food and visiting, it was time for us to go home but Jim just had to go down the slide.

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There is a slide from the upstairs bar down to the dining room area. Almost everybody went down the slide but not me. With my bad ankle I don’t take any chances. Once our group got the fun started, everybody in the bar wanted to take a turn going down the slide.

Jeri got this great picture of Jim

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Fun times.

Then on Friday six of us from here in the RV Park went to do an Escape Room Adventure. Once again, we did not escape and since Jim and I seem to be the only common denominator in our three tries, it must be us. 

Mickey, Ginny, Jim, Pat and Polly

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Even though we didn’t escape from the Wild Wild West Room and it is so frustrating, we still had a great time and I would do it again.

We also met up with the RV group again at Organ Stop Pizza. If you’ve never been here you really need to make it a must stop. The organ is magnificent. And everybody really liked their pizza. Some of the group had ice cream sundaes for dessert. Jim was in that group and he said he’d go back just for the sundae. We sat upstairs where the chairs have backs. Down on the main floor, the seating is on benches.

Once again I didn’t take any pictures, so this is one from the web that shows how huge the restaurant is as well as the organ.

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Hopefully we’ll be able to have one more get together before everyone scatters. I know lots of folks are headed to Escapade in Tucson but we aren’t going.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

We’ve Been Busy–But I’m Not Sure Why

Apache Junction, AZ   High 67  Low 42

After our arduous trek through Organ Pipe, we returned to our spot at Santa Fe RV Park. We had a wonderful time while we were on vacation, but it always feels good to get “home”.

First order of business was to catch up with friends here in the park and out to lunch with Paul. We went to the Mongolian Grill and chowed down on lots of stir-fry.  We also met up with Paula at Red Robin. Made Paul join us again – somebody has to take charge of his social calendar. We also went to see Aunt Happy who is still doing as good as always.

Sunday, I got a phone call from Faye inviting us to Sunday dinner at their place. She and Don are parked at the RoadRunner RV Park here in AJ. No way I’d turn down dinner with friends. She had stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer that were marvelous. And she also had marinated soda crackers. I know that sounds strange but they were so good. And easy – so it’s something I can do. Dinner was ham sliders, potato salad, and deviled eggs with avocado. Delicious.

Check out the recipe at crackers.

crackers

Second on our list was a follow up doctor appointment for Rocky Joe. The growth on his side did not look any better and the vet said it needed to be removed and sent for a biopsy. We decided that while he was under, we’d have the hole in his mouth fixed. When a tooth was pulled earlier, it left a big hole that never healed over. Bacteria and other icky stuff can go up in the hole and into the sinus and cause real problems with infection. Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday.

rockySurgery went well. He did have to have another tooth removed, so he’s down to only three teeth. It hasn’t affected his ability to eat though. He goes back in a couple of weeks to get all the stitches removed. Now we need to decide what we’re going to do with his barking when we’re gone.

We bought a Barkwise Vibration collar. Janna said that they had really good results with Emmi. We aren’t doing so good. He could care less that this thing is vibrating around his neck and that there’s a sound that is supposed to distract him. Jim talked to customer service and they told us that it could talk a week or so before results happen so he is still wearing the collar. They offer a 45 day return policy so we’ll see if any changes happen in the next few days.

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I had a doctor’s appointment mainly to check on my anemia and to establish a doctor down here. I was very pleased with Dr. Lea.

My computer died. It would not connect to the internet and nothing Jim or Paula or Paul suggested worked to fix it. After several days, Jim ended up taking it to Best Buy for help. I was worried it was fatal and I would need to get a new computer. But the guy was able to fix it by resetting some drivers (whatever that means) and didn’t charge us anything. In the meantime, I’ve gotten way behind on reading blogs and I may never catch up.

Haven’t taken many pictures lately. Have a couple more adventures to blog about later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Organ Pipe National Monument

Why, AZ   High 79  Low 57

After leaving Yuma, we headed for Why, AZ. We were going to boondock while we were there but I decided I wanted a really long shower so we pulled into the Hickiwan RV Park. What a great park.

We only had one day to spend in this area and I wanted to see Organ Pipe National Monument. We took the pups with us so the neighbors wouldn’t complain about Rocky barking the whole time.

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We stopped at the Visitor’s Center and watched the video on the monument and the Sonora Desert.

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Organ Pipe NM covers 516 square miles and was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937.

There are several drives you can take to see parts of the monument and we decided to do the North Puerto Blanco – South Puerto Blanco loop drive. You need a high clearance vehicle for this 41 mile road.

I read that this route takes four hours and I should have known better, but we like adventure. Well, this one was not fun. It took us almost five hours to do the 41 miles because the road is beyond rough. Jim was lucky if he could do five miles an hour without shaking us out of the truck. Our back and neck muscles were sore for a couple of days after this adventure.

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The first ten miles weren’t too bad but then the road turns into a one-way road and once you start down it there’s really no turning around to go back.

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The Organ Pipe Cactus Biosphere Reserve is a first-generation biosphere reserve created in 1976 for the conservation of the unique resources representing a pristine example of an intact Sonoran Desert ecosystem.

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We didn’t see much wildlife. We saw one coyote who moved too fast for me to get a picture. And we saw a couple of birds. This one I actually got a picture of. I’m pretty sure he’s a Phainopepla according to the information I got from the visitor center.

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We expected to see a lot of Organ Pipe Cactus but that’s not the case. Organ Pipe like the warmth and cannot grow in a cooler or cold climate. There are several Organ Pipe in the monument but not in the numbers we expected. They do grow very abundantly in Mexico. The few that are in the United States are protected by being in the National Monument.

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We did not see any drug smugglers, illegal immigrants, or Border Patrol agents but there are several of these signs throughout the park.

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There are also water stations identified by these flags provided for people walking through this area.

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More pictures of the scenery.

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Bonita Well where we stopped for lunch.

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Driving along the South Puerto Blanco portion of the loop takes you right along the Mexican border. The truck in this picture is driving on Highway 2 in Mexico and that is the fence that separates us.

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A little further up the road, the Wall starts.

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There are a couple of much shorter drives and next time those will be the ones we take. I really would like to come back and spend a week in this area.