Sunday, March 27, 2011

AAAH SUNSHINE

IMG_0543 I am such a desert dog.IMG_0544

HOW COULD YOU!

DSCN0557 I cannot believe that Mom would subject me to such a horrible thing as a bath. I didn’t do anything to deserve this. And since it’s a medicated shampoo I have to leave it on for at least five minutes. Such humiliation. At least I don’t look like a drowned fluff ball like some of my friends.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

OUR NEW FAVORITE BAR AND GRILL

Those of you who blog, know that when you are following a blog that can lead you to other blogs that they follow. I’m really not sure who’s bog I was reading when I discovered Diana's blog. She had a post titled More Fun In AJ. That immediately caught my attention because we are currently in AJ. (I messed up the link to Diana's blog so please see her comment below for the correct address.)

IMG_0535 She mentioned a spot that she had found called Superstition Skies and that on Wednesday nights Brant and Kerry, a county duo, played and there was dancing. Yes! So I got in touch with her and on Wednesday night we showed up at Skies and got to meet Diana and Phil.

IMG_0537 They definitely have good taste in music. And talk about being the best dancers on the dance floor. I told Diana she was the envy of every woman in that place because she and Phil look so good together.

B & K are excellent and we are so looking forward to going again next Wednesday.


video

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MEMORY LAPSE

It seems that we “older” folks are not the only ones who have senior moments.

IMG_0525 Last fall we had MCD shades installed on our motor home and we really love them. I hated the curtain thingie that came with the coach and was so glad to throw it in the garbage can. The new shades come with a day and a night shade and are operated by two power switches. Really wonderful for traveling or for when we are parked.

IMG_0524 But this morning our night shade refused to go up. It would go down even thought we didn’t want it to go down any more. And the day shade worked fine. Jim tried a couple of things without success so he called the company that installed the shades and got transferred to George.

IMG_0528 George knew exactly what had happened. The shade motor had a memory loss. (I never realized that motors had a memory but after listening to his explanation it made sense to me.)

 

IMG_0531 George walked Jim through the process of resetting the memory and the shade works. Wish every repair on our rig was that easy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

RED CARDINALS JAZZ TRIO

IMG_0516 Every Friday at The Springs where my Aunt Happy lives, they have live entertainment. Last Friday she wanted us to come join her and we picked up Judy and headed over. Aunt Happy’s friend, Gretchen, joined us at our table.

IMG_0517 The group was called a jazz trio but actually they played a lot of swing music from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Some of the songs I recognized, others I had never heard before. We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed ourselves. Some of the people got up and danced and it was so fun to see them enjoying themselves.

Aunt Happy doesn’t dance any more because her balance isn’t very good and she really worries about falling. But I understand she and my Uncle Don really “cut a rug” when they were younger. Good memories.

HOWDY PARDNER

IMG_0521 We stopped at Circle K and found this cowboy getting something to quench his thirst. This is in the town of Apache Junction.

CAN I HAVE A BITE?

Mom, will you share with me?IMG_0484

AMOCOCO

Amococo-Aerial-credit-Dan We are always on the lookout for unique, or different experiences. And my sister found one for us. Off we go to the Mesa Arts Center.

IMG_0488 Amococo luminarium is a sculpture people enter to be immersed in radiant light and color. Amococo is inspired by the beauty of natural geometry and by Islamic architecture.

 

 

IMG_0501It features winding passages of small domes inspired by repetitious forms found in the bazaars of Iran. All of the individual pieces have been cut and glued together by hand in Nottingham, England.

 

IMG_0499 I guess I don’t have the feel for art that this exhibit required. I am missing that artistic gene that could appreciate this type of thing and sad to say, so is Jim. Judy and Don felt the same way. The ushers recommended we stay inside for 20 minutes but 10 minutes was enough for us to realize it just “wasn’t happening” for us.

COMPROMISE

IMG_0485 We spend quite a bit of time here in Apache Junction. We are close to three lakes which means Jim can go fishing whenever the weather and the crowds allow. I get a chance to read and think about all the things that I should get done. We are close to my sister and my aunt. The weather is generally really nice. However - - -

I would like to be on the move a lot more than we are. That’s just my gypsy nature. But since Jim has to do all the driving (I know, I know, I need to learn how to drive this thing), he likes to sit still for longer periods of time. This is known as compromise.

This seems to be the major issue that we have had to work through since we started our full time lifestyle in January of 2009. Spending 24/7 together (except when he’s fishing) hasn’t been a problem for us. I totally enjoy his company. Learning to live in a very small space hasn’t been an issue. Agreeing on where to go next – no problem.

IMG_0487 But how long we’re going to stay in one place, we’ve reached a tentative agreement. I will stay still as long as I can stand it and when I say enough, Jim is willing to go somewhere else for awhile. I do try to find places where he can fish though.

So what compromises have you worked out in your RVing lifestyle?

Friday, March 18, 2011

LAKE PLEASANT

DSCN0522 Jim and I had driven up to Lake Pleasant in the truck and thought it would be a wonderful place to stay for a week or so. On our way back to Apache Junction from Las Vegas we decided to spend the night there. We had hoped to stay at the State Park but it was full so we went to the campground at the marina.

DSCN0526 There are some beautiful sites at this campground and we were lucky enough to get one. Had a gorgeous view of the lake without an RV in the way.

However, and for us this is a big one, they charged us $5 per girl. And that’s an additional charge every night you want to stay. So instead of paying $25, the site actually cost $35. I just don’t understand why there’s an extra charge for pets.

DSCN0530 We had overhead entertainment while we were there.

 

 

 

 

DSCN0539 I thought we weren’t going to have a very good sunset because it was so cloudy but I was pleasantly surprised.

 

 

DSCN0542

DSCN0533 The sites are back in so we did have to unhook. But since we only had 70 miles to go the next day we had plenty of time to get ready to move on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WILDLIFE OVERPASS

IMG_0475 Driving towards Las Vegas I noticed a coupe of overpasses that didn’t have any roads connected to them. That made me curious as to what their purpose was. And what a great idea it is. Here is part of the article I found documenting the first bighorn sheep to use the overpass.

Years of research, planning, and development showed early signs of success when video and still photographs captured two ram bighorn sheep crossing the recently completed wildlife overpasses near the Hoover Dam.

It marks a small, but significantly meaningful achievement that Arizona Game and Fish Department and Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) officials hope will minimize the impacts of desert bighorn sheep fragmentation through the Black Mountains and improve traffic safety.

When word arrived almost a decade ago of the planned widening of Highway 93 and the Hoover Dam Bypass effort, Game and Fish personnel pondered the fate of bighorn sheep throughout the range.

The Black Mountains bighorn sheep herd holds the largest contiguous desert bighorn population in the nation.

Fragmentation and habitat loss remain the leading cause of wildlife extinction. A four-lane highway in this area was going to increase the “barrier effect” for bighorn sheep, making it even more difficult for them to cross safely from one side of the highway to the other and raising concerns about the long-term sustainability of the herd.

With several underpasses already planned for wildlife, the problem wasn’t just whether the crossings would be in the right locations; it was whether those underpasses would be used by bighorn sheep.

What they discovered was that while many bighorn sheep approached the underpasses, few actually used them to cross the road. It was time to think like a bighorn. It became clear that these animals wanted to remain high, and crossing under a road wasn’t their preferred option. Bighorn sheep prefer to remain above potential dangers. Crossing under a roadway is avoided by bighorns because it is a great location for predatory animals.

So the overpasses were created and appear to be a success. I am so happy that somebody took the time and effort to think about man’s impact on these sheep and were able to come up with a solution.

LEAVING VEGAS

IMG_0464 Monday morning we hooked up and headed back towards Apache Junction. It was sad to leave friends but we know we will see each other again before too long somewhere on the road.

 

IMG_0467 The new bridge over Hoover Dam is complete but when we came over it on our way to Las Vegas it was dark. This time I was had the camera ready.

Look at how low the water is below the dam.

 

IMG_0472 This is the approach to the bridge.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0474 This is the view out of Jim’s window as we’re crossing the river. Once again – notice the water line. The view out my window was of the concrete wall on the bridge.

 

hoover dam Because of the concrete sides, you don’t really have any idea of how high up you are. I found this picture of what the bridge looks like taken from an airplane.

 

IMG_0478 We took Highway 74 down through Wickenburg. This highway is known as Joshua Tree National Highway and the scenery is gorgeous. Lots of traffic and mostly a two lane road. Tonight we are going to stay at Lake Pleasant.

Monday, March 14, 2011

DESSY’S STEAKHOUSE

I really must not have felt good because I forgot to publish this post. So it's a few days (like 9) late. But it was a great place and great company.

Sunday was our last day in Las Vegas (at least for this trip) and since we had to cancel dinner with Steve and Peter on Wednesday because I felt so cruddy, we went out to Dessy’s with them for dinner.

Had a great dinner, we all ordered the senior petite sirloin which came with a baked potato, the all-you-can-eat salad and soup bar, your drink and dessert for $9.99. And the steak was really good.

Peter had never been inside a motor home before so after dinner we went back to our house to see the girls and take a tour. He is from Holland and said it felt like being on a yacht where every space is utilized. He was really impressed. Steve had seen it last year when we parked in his drive way.

IMG_0454 Steve and I have been friends since 1968. One of those friendships that has continued to stand the test of time and distance.

Peter is on the left in the white shirt and vest. Steve is on the right.

A LAZY DAY

After all the excitement on Friday with the roller coaster ride, I figured Jim’s heart could use a day of rest. We watched a little TV, Jim played with his new DroidX, and I read. We went to Blueberry Hill again for lunch and then headed out to the hospital to see George.

He is doing even better than when we saw him a couple of days ago. Still has many weeks of rehab to do but he was able to walk a couple of steps with help which is amazing. And he was so excited because he got his beard shaved and he felt like a new man again. It was so wonderful to see him feeling so good and the relief was visible in Sharon’s whole being.

We met up with Jerry, Janice, Jeri, and Terry at Bahama Breeze for appetizers. The weather was so perfect and we sat outside enjoying the sunshine and the company. The food was fabulous. Jeri’s blog I think will have pictures. We were too busy eating and visiting to remember to take any pictures.

We plan on leaving Monday to head back to Apache Junction. Jim has some fishing to do and we need to get our mail sent to us. We’ll be heading up to Death Valley the first part of April.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

WHEE!!

ROLLER COASTER 1This one is all Jeri’s fault. Terry wanted to ride the roller coaster at New York, New York and Jeri absolutely refused to ride with him. Guess who was more than willing to step up to the plate and take her place. Do these guys never grow up?

And definitely not to be outdone, Janice volunteered Jerry to go with them.

ROLLER COASTER 2Friday morning we all met at the roller coaster and we women kissed our men goodbye in case we never saw them again. We then waited and waited for them to finally survive the ride. They had so much fun it was hard to keep them from going back again and again.

After the ride we all donated a bit more to the casino and made plans to meet for dinner at the Seafood Buffet at Sam’s Town. Another wonderful meal with great friends.

 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ROAD RUNNER RV PARK

IMG_0433 Just wanted to share a couple of pictures of the park we’re in here in Las Vegas. The rates here are based on the size of your rig – they have different size sites. With tax we are paying $125 a week which I think is reasonable for this city.

IMG_0434 The sites are close together but we can put out the slides and the truck fits. The people are friendly and the office staff is really nice and helpful. We would definitely stay here again.

SOUL FOOD

I’ve been feeling lousy the last couple of days. Mulberry Trees are in bloom and I’m sure they are the culprit. I had a sore throat, lost my voice, and my nose has been running like a faucet that won’t shut off. I spent yesterday whining in a whisper to Jim until he couldn’t stand me anymore and went down to a casino for awhile. Today the voice is back, throat is okay, but the nose still won’t quit.

I finally worked up the energy to take a shower and then decided I wanted to go out for dinner. We couldn’t decide what we wanted to eat. You know how that goes, nothing quite sounds like what you really want. Jim finally decided he wanted some fried chicken (not KFC or Popeye's or anything like that).

IMG_0441 I got on line and found some good reviews for M & M Soul Food Cafe and off we went.

IMG_0437 The reviews were right on. We started off with corn fritters that were to die for. I don’t particularly like corn fritters but these was beyond good.

IMG_0438 Jim ordered the fried chicken and I ordered the pork chop. For our sides we chose yams, red beans and rice, green beans, rice with gravy and cornbread dressing. The only thing that we wouldn’t order again was the cornbread dressing. The yams and green beans were by far the best. I would go back and just order sides even though the pork chop and chicken were also good.IMG_0440

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

GOOD NEWS

Our friends, George and Sharon, who live in Death Valley have been going through a pretty rough time. Sharon is the cancer survivor who puts on the Death Valley Walk for Life each year that we volunteer at. This year’s walk is going to be April 16 & 17 and we’re headed up that way to once again see if we can be of any use.

On January 28, George became gravely ill. Sharon took him to the hospital in Pahrump, NV and they flew him to the hospital here in Las Vegas. He had several things go wrong, his kidneys shut down, his lung collapsed, he got a blood clot that went to his lung, and several other things. He was on life support and about three weeks ago Sharon had decided that it was time to let him go.

The next day when she got to the hospital he was starting to improve. They were lowering the amount of oxygen they were giving him and eventually were able to move him to a regular hospital bed. But he had a relapse and he had to back to ICU.

George is not a quitter. Last Saturday he was strong enough once again to be moved to a rehab room. Sharon was feeding him his meals because he wasn’t strong enough to hold the fork. He is now progressing in leaps and bounds. We had lunch with Sharon today, Tuesday, and then went over to see George. We were amazed at how well he looked. He’s put on some weight (he lost 1/4 of his body weight) and today he was able to feed himself most of his meal. He and Jim talked about fishing, of course, and even the doctors are amazed at how well he is doing.

We are so very very happy for them. He wants to be back home in Death Valley in time for the walk so Jim told him he could supervise and order him around like I do. He thought that was a great idea.

ETHEL M CHOCOLATES

Monday morning the weather was looking rather dreary so I called Jeri to see if they wanted to make a visit to the Ethel M. Chocolate factory in Henderson. Never heard of Ethel M. chocolates before and thought it could be an interesting outing.

IMG_0429 Forrest Mars, son of the founder of the MARS Candy Corporation which makes M&M’s and Mars bars among many others, retired In 1981 and moved to Henderson, NV. There he created Ethel M Chocolates to honor his mother by creating a line of gourmet chocolates that reminded him of how he learned about quality chocolate making.

IMG_0428 He created the Mars candy bar in 1933 while living in England. When he returned to the United States, he developed M&M’s in 1940. The M&M’s were modeled after a candy that he had discovered while living in Spain. I couldn’t believe that those candies had been around that long. He was also responsible for launching Uncle Ben’s rice.

IMG_0431The factory was not very busy when we were there but they were getting ready to make caramel apples and we got to watch them spread out their pecan brittle. The factory has a series of pipes, conveyer belts and tanks that hold 20,000 and 35,000 gallons of chocolate. That’s a whole lot of chocolate. At the end of the tour you got a small sample of their wares.

None of us bought any of the chocolate which was quite expensive. I much prefer Hershey’s milk chocolate or my very favorite, Brach’s Peanut Clusters.

ethelm9 The cactus garden that is outside the factory was nice and I’m sure it would be beautiful when it is in bloom or at Christmas time when they put lights all over the cactus.

The whole tour only took maybe 15 minutes at the most but we knew there was a storm moving in with predicted wind gusts of 50 mph. We figured we should head home in case we needed to pull in slides.

VIVA LAS VEGAS!

Vegas = friends, eating, friends, gambling, friends, eating.

We are settled into the Road Runner RV Park. Our friends, Carol and Steve, pulled out on Saturday and we pulled into their spot before they were out the gate. With NASCAR in town and just being Vegas, the RV parks are full so we were very grateful to get this affordable spot. This also puts us close to friends and the excitement of the strip and downtown. And no, we don’t need a code to get home at night.

ellisThursday night we headed for Ellis Island to celebrate Jeri and Terry’s anniversary. And how else do we celebrate – with food. We were going to check out their BBQ but with an hour wait we decided to head for the restaurant. Jerry and Janice grab us a number for the restaurant and our wait was only about 5 minutes. After dinner we donated a little money to the casino and then headed for home.

linda and ed Friday night we headed down to Boulder Station and had a wonderful time with the group for Karaoke. Linda and Ed are the stars in this group. They can really sing and the rest of us were really good at clapping and hooting. Kept us up way past our bedtime.

IMG_0421 Saturday morning we moved into our RV spot. Saturday evening, Jeri, Terry, Jim and I headed down to the strip to see what we could see. I didn’t have the camera with me so I’m taking some of Jeri’s pictures to add to my blog. We took a drive down the strip to the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign that you see in all the movies.

IMG_0422 Then we went back and parked at the Paris so we could walk around and see some sights. Had dinner at a “French” restaurant, Le Burger Brasserie. The names on the menu were French and the prices were probably what you would pay in France, but the food was pretty basic American. Good but the company was better.

belagio_thumb[2] Jeri and I left the guys in the Paris and walked over to the Bellagio to watch the fountain display. We wandered into Caesar's and then went back to round up the guys and head for home. We’re still donating.

blueberry Sunday – Jim joined the group at Sam’s Town for their champagne brunch. I’m not big on breakfast buffets so I stayed home and had my toast. Sunday was kind of a lazy day. Jim had to watch the NASCAR race on TV and after the race he and I went to a Blueberry Hill Restaurant for dinner. Great waitress, lots of good food and the most wonderful chocolate, chocolate layer cake for desert. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the cake before it was GONE.)