Apache Junction, AZ High 57 Low 39
As 2015 comes to an end and 2016 welcomes us with open arms, we want to wish you a very wonderful new years. May the year be filled with good times creating memories with old friends, new friends and family.
Apache Junction, AZ High 54 Low 38
The week before Christmas actually got a little busy for us. Tuesday Jim finally got his stitches out and is starting to feel so much better.
Wednesday we got up early and went to Walmart to get some grocery shopping done before the hoards descended. In the afternoon we went to see Aunt Happy. She had been in the hospital for a few days with bronchitis but other than a cough she was feeling good again. Her doctor told her she was probably going to live forever. Didn’t make her real happy but she does feel good.
After our visit we headed over to Costco. Jim has the most amazing luck at getting great parking spots even when the whole lot is full and people are prowing for spots. We were in and out in less than an hour.
Christmas Eve we met up with Toni and Doug for lunch at La Stalla’s restaurant. It was wonderful. And so good to see them again. Last time we saw them was in North Dakota in October. Thanks for the picture Toni. I didn’t even haul out the camera. Toni also brought us some homemade goodies.
After lunch Jim and I went across the street to check out the Chandler Tumbleweed Tree.
This unique tradition began in 1957, when Chandler resident Earl Barnum raised the idea of a tumbleweed tree after he saw a similar one in Indiana built out of cone-shaped chicken wire with pine boughs stuck in the holes. Chandler is the only city in the southwestern United States that has such a tree.
How is it done?
First, members of the City's Park Operations Division gather tumbleweeds from the outskirts of the City. With Chandler's rapid growth fewer stretches of empty land are within the City limits, which makes it harder to find tumbleweeds in large quantities. So, the Park crews must start collecting the tumbleweeds earlier each year. Nearly 1,000 tumbleweeds are collected each year and are used to adorn a 25-foot tall wire frame. Then, the tumbleweeds are sprayed with 25 gallons of white paint, 20 gallons of flame retardant and dusted with 65 pounds of glitter. The tree is later adorned with approximately 1,200 holiday lights.
Croft and Jim
Norma, Paula’s Mom and Jim
Paula and Croft
I tried to take a picture of the beautiful full moon.
We had a gorgeous sunset.
Our Christmas decorations (these scared Skittlez to death when Jim was putting them together. She barked and barked and wanted in my lap.)
Hope all of you had a safe and peaceful Christmas.
Apache Junction, AZ High 58 Low 45
What would it have been like to raise Jesus Christ? Joseph was a humble carpenter when God gave him the responsibility of being Christ’s father. While traveling the road to Nazareth, Joseph reflects on experiences he and his small family have had so far and on the significance of his Son’s mission to become the savior of the world. Even though he was often overwhelmed, Joseph was always loyal to God and to his Son, Jesus Christ. How will we follow his example this Christmas season?
Apache Junction, AZ High 54 Low 38 December 18, 2015
El Nino is definitely being felt all over the country and here in Arizona it’s much colder than it has been for the last couple of years. I’m just grateful that the sun is shining during the day.
Jim brought out our Blue Flame heater and the girls are overjoyed. (That would also include me.)
We had lunch with Jan and Bill last week. First time we’ve been out to eat since Jim’s first surgery. I suggested Sal’s Gilbert Pizza because I really wanted an Italian sausage sandwich. Definitely a good choice. We had so much fun visiting and catching up. Felt so good to be out of the house and not headed for the doctor’s office.
On Monday Jim got his drain taken out. What a relief. He is feeling so much better now. He’s able to walk again and is building his strength back up. He even went to Walmart with me for the first time in almost six weeks and was able to walk the entire way. He gets the stitches out next Tuesday and then we should be done.
He is back to driving again but I am also going to continue to drive. I’ve gotten comfortable with it and I want to keep that feelling just in case.
Now for the big test. Let’s see if this will post with pictures in it.
I really am not a computer person. I tried to download Open Live Writer and kept getting a message that it couldn’t load to my PC and the next time I kept getting error messages. So I gave up and did some browsing and then closed down the open tabs and there was a panel that said do you want to save your blog and finish.
So now I’m going to see if this will post.
I don’t understand but it worked. I didn’t do anything except click a couple of times and then give up.
Apache Junction, AZ High 75 Low 48
Saw the surgeon today and everything is looking good. Depending on how much fluid drains from the incision in the next couple of days, Jim will get the drain taken out either Friday or next Tuesday. Things are definitely getting back towards normal. He’s not in much pain which is really good.
Here’s a picture of me driving the truck. Notice the white knuckles.
Now my only problem is that I will have absolutely nothing to blog about. Really kind of sad when Jim’s health is our only excitement. But in reality we are enjoying the wonderful sunshine and warmth of being in the southwest during the winter.
Any of you interested in Bloggerfest 2016? Here’s some good info. George Yates and Jan Mains are in charge this year and it should be a great time. Please spread the word for us.
Apache Junction, AZ High 78 Low 43
Sitting in the surgery waiting room my attention span is about as long as gnat. I have a book, a word search puzzle book and my phone. I pick up one – read two pages. Put it down, work part of a puzzle, put it down. You get the idea. The problem is I sat in the waiting room from 7:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. That’s a really long time.
But I found something that really held my attention. I started reading the comments that people have left either on FB or on the blog. But I didn’t just read the comments – I spent time thinking about the people who wrote them.
Many of you I have met in person and that makes it easy for me to remember the good times we’ve had together, the problems many of you have experienced or are experiencing, and the hope that we will meet again in the future.
There are also many who comment that I have not met and yet I do know you from the wonderful blogs that you write. Those of us who write blogs (at least the ones I follow) put ourselves – the good and the bad- out there and hope that everyone understands and accepts.
I am so grateful for all those comments. They lift my spirits tremendously. I know I don’t comment as often as I would like but I do read your blogs and enjoy finding out how your day or week has been going and what you’ve been doing. It doesn’t matter if you’re out exploring or you’re living life and facing whatever it brings. You are all important to me.
Surgery waiting rooms are filled with tension. Everyone is on edge waiting to hear how their loved one is doing. Sometimes the news is good and others it’s not. A gentlemen sitting near me got the news that they could not remove the tumor from his wife’s lung because the cancer had spread into the lung walls. Another family found out that their father’s heart bypass had gone really well. But no matter what, the nurses and administrative staff that helped everyone were kind, compassionate, and cheerful. They made all the difference in the world. No matter how many times they had to explain something it was always done with a smile and patience.
I use valet parking at the hospital. It’s cheaper than parking for that many hours in the parking garage and it’s a whole lot easier. But what really makes it fun, is when they pull up in our big diesel truck and this short old lady comes over to get the truck from them. They always ask “Is this your truck?” I love it. And I want you all to know that I am doing a pretty darn good job of driving that truck now. I’m even doing better at parking it but still not very good. However, I will gladly let Jim do some of the driving as soon as he can.
And speaking of Jim – he is doing really good. The surgeon said that it was an easy fix and he should be doing much better within a week. Ask me in a week and I’ll let you know if that’s a true statement. I left him in his room under the influence of some really good drugs and came home to take care of the girls.
I think I’ve rambled on long enough. Thanks again for all the comments and encouragement. So greatly appreciated.
Apache Junction, AZ High 73 Low 39
We (or I should say I) had a really wonderful Thanksgiving at Rod’s house. The food was fabulous but Jim couldn’t eat and he slept the whole time we were there. He’s just not hungry and if he doesn’t eat that really messes up his blood sugars. So it’s been interesting trying to get him to eat.
Monday I took him to get his cancer scan done. Tuesday we saw the cancer doctor and came out of his office on a big HIGH. Don’t have to see him again for six months and that is always such a relief.
We also saw the lung doctor on Tuesday and his breathing is okay but she wants him to do some pulmonary rehab as soon as he’s able.
Then today was our visit with the surgeon - LOW. Jim is still in a lot of pain and his incision is draining constantly. After checking him out the surgeon made arrangements for Jim to be admitted to the hospital in the morning for surgery. He explained that a lymph node is leaking and it needs to be repaired surgically. He should only be in overnight and he will come home with a drain like he had last July.
We’re hoping that he will only need the drain for a couple of weeks and then he’ll start feeling better and be able to enjoy Christmas.
Apache Junction, AZ High 65 Low 44
On this Thanksgiving morning I was remembering a hymn we sing each year at Thanksgiving time. I think we need to keep this in mind all year long.
Count Your Blessings
When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done. Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by. When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold. Count your many blessings; money cannot buy Your reward in heaven nor your home on high. So amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged; God is over all. Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.
Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922 Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921
AZ gave us a beautiful sunset last night to begin our Thanksgiving.
And a beautiful moon.
Jim and I want to wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love and good food. We will be sharing this day with Retired Rod and creating more wonderful memories.
AJ, AZ High 68 Low 42
Jim and I really appreciate all the words of encouragement. Sure makes our hearts warm and filled with love.
mb c – Really want to thank you for the heat suggestion. We pulled out ye olde hot water bottle and the heat is making a big difference on Jim’s leg. I don’t need to adjust the seat when I drive the truck. My problem is not being able to see over the front end of the truck so I can’t get it into a parking spot easily. I’m usually at an angle or hanging over the lines.
They’re having military air maneuvers and we saw this jet this morning. Pretty incredible sight.
Apache Junction, AZ High 67 Low 41
We made a visit to the surgeon today because Jim is still having a great deal of pain in his upper right leg and we weren’t sure if that was to be expected. His incision is healing nicely and isn’t very sore unless one of the girls jumps on it.
The doctor explained that the soreness is from the removal of the vein that was used to create the bypass around the blockage. He couldn’t give us a timeframe for how the pain will last but it could be awhile. That means Jim is still taking the pain medication which means he still can’t drive.
And that means I still have to drive. Gives me the incentive to get out and to Walmart by 7:00 am before the crowds arrive so its easy to park the truck.
The pain medications have taken away Jim’s desire for food so making sure he has something to eat for his diabetes can be a challenge. I’ll know he’s getting better when he wants to eat dinner again.
Skittlez makes sure he gets outside every day. It’s his job to take her out and she runs and hides behind his legs if I suggest I take her out. Scooter doesn’t care who takes her as long as she gets to go outside.
It’s been cold and windy here. Sure not typical Arizona Fall weather. Supposed to have sunshine and 70’s the rest of the week. Pretty nice considering what many other states are going through.
Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. But boy am I looking forward to having some turkey.
I was so out of it yesterday when I made my post that I completely forgot about one of the funniest incidents yesterday at the hospital.
The young woman who escorts the patients to the pre-op prep area came down to get Jim. Really a pretty blonde. She looked at Jim and said “I remember you. You were here a couple of months ago.” She must see 30 to 50 people a day and she remembered Jim. Sure made him feel good.
Then when we were in the prep area and the anesthesiologist came in to get Jim’s info. He says – I remember you. Sure enough. Same doctor as we had last July.
But you must admit it’s really not a good thing to have these folks remember you that well. I told the anesthesiologist that as good looking as he was – I hoped I didn’t see him again for many years.
But the really great news is – Jim is home and asleep in his own bed.
Apache Junction, AZ High 79 Low 51
We were up at 4:00 this morning and got to the hospital at 5:30. They took Jim into surgery at 7:30. He had a blockage in an artery in his groin. About 9:30 the surgeon came out and told me that everything went great. He actually did a by-pass on that artery rather than open it up, clean it out, and then put a patch on it. (Isn’t he just cute!!!)
Then it took forever for them to get him a room in the Telemetry Unit so he spent a lot of time in recovery. They finally moved him to a room about 1:30. I visited with him for a little while and when I left he was complaining about being hungry. I knew then he was just fine.
I’ll be bringing him home tomorrow. Oh joy – I get to drive through all that traffic again. But he’s worth it.
I want to thank everyone for all their love and prayers. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for all His love and protection.
Apache Junction, AZ High 78 Low 54
After we got the Bungalow unloaded, Jim took the trailer back to the tire shop. They were really great about everything. (And no Jim doesn’t ever yell. That would be me.)
When they took it all apart they weren’t able to save the axle. It was done for. The service guy looked all over trying to find us an axle and finally found one with all the right parts in Mesa. So new axle, new hubs, new bearings and we also need two new tires. We are very blessed to have made it back down into the valley safely.
He and Jim were able to work a fair deal for both of us and the Bungalow is safely backed into her spot for the winter.
Our neighbors from Canada arrived today. They tangled with a tailgate on a pick up as they were pulling out of the park in Canada and then lost their air conditioner cover during a storm in Washington. Our neighbors at the end of the block had to have their hot water heater replaced this week. There is always something to be fixed or repaired on an RV.
Now that we are back and settled, you won’t be seeing very many blogs from me. I’ll post when something exciting happens or it’s time for an update.
The weather is perfect. The sun is shining. The girls are sunbathing on the warm rocks. Doesn’t get much better. At least for me. Jim will be happy once he gets the boat out on the water. Had a flat tire on the boat trailer and the carburetors need an overhaul but it should be good to go shortly.
Jim’s surgery is scheduled for November 9th so I’ll let you all know how that goes.
Moonlight in AJ
Apache Junction, AZ High 87 Low 62
After leaving our free campground we drove through Las Vegas without even stopping and ended up in Kingman for the night. Then we headed towards Flagstaff and were greeted by this beautiful site. I have no idea what mountain it is but it’s sure pretty with all the snow on the top.
At Flagstaff we headed south on I-17 towards Camp Verde. This was our neighbor’s truck in the RV park in Camp Verde. It’s a 1956 Ford Medium Duty truck on a 1959 Chassis. They pull their Montana fifth wheel with it.
From Camp Verde we only had about 130 miles back to AJ. A nice easy drive down the mountain. It was for about ten miles and then it came to an abrupt halt.
Jim looked at his outside mirror and saw smoke. He immediately got us through traffic to the shoulder and went to check on it. He originally thought it was a tire but we lost the bearing on the left front tire of the Bungalow.
We contacted Coach Net, our roadside assistance about 8:20. They got out information and when they found out we were sitting on the side of the interstate, they sent out a Highway Patrol Officer to check on us and make sure we were safely off the road far enough. I thought that was really nice of them. We were parked at a terrible angle so we had to sit in the truck and only used the camper for those necessary things.
But it kind of went downhill from there. I don’t have any idea what the issue was, but it took almost five hours for the service guy to get out to us. One guy called and said it would be about an hour and a half. About that time, another guy called and said he was quite a ways from us and it would be another hour and a half before he could get to us. Their idea of an hour and a half are not the same as ours.
But he finally showed up and he and Jim crawled under the rig to see how much damage had been done to the axle. Jim saw the problem before we lost the wheel which was a majorly wonderful thing.
They determined that the axle didn’t have much damage and that only the bearings need to be replaced. Next problem – the service dude only had one bearing and we needed two. So off he went to find another bearing and we didn’t see him again for another hour and a half or so. Finally got back and we did a happy dance when we found out he was able to locate another bearing.
He replaced the bearings and 8 1/2 hours later we were able to get off the side of the road. By this time it was almost sunset and we were exhausted. We pulled into Sunset Point Rest Area for the night.
Thank goodness Jim is able to sleep through a lot of noise because the trucks were really noisy and I sure didn’t get much sleep.
We were up early the next morning and stopped for breakfast in Rock Springs. We felt we deserved it. Got back to the RV park about 10:30 and we were so happy to finally be home.
The girls were fabulous. They knew something was wrong and didn’t bother us at all except when they desperately had to go. That was a problem for Skittlez because all the trucks going by scared her so she held it until she was desperate.
Took this picture of them at Sunset Point when they were both snuggled up together in their nest behind Jim’s chair.
We had all the bearings replaced and repacked on the Bungalow in May before we had planned on leaving AJ. Needless to say, Jim is going to take the trailer back and have a long talk with them. I’ll let you know what happens.
Alamo, NV High 78 Low 44
I promised you a post about a wonderful gem that we found but first I wanted to let you know we are back in Apache Junction. Not without some stress but that will also be another post.
So back to the gem. As I said previously, we weren’t impressed with the boondocking site in Ash Springs and headed further down the road. We got fuel in Alamo, NV and continued south on HWY 93.
We noticed a sign that showed RV camping and decided to check it out. So very glad we did.
Pahranagat NWR - 5,382 acres of lakes, marshes, meadows and desert located on the Pacific Flyway (a major north-south migratory route). 264 bird species have been recorded on the refuge.
We drove down a dirt road for about two miles and wondered if we were ever going to find the campground. Finally saw a camp host site and stopped to check in. The camp host came out to greet us and found out she is from Columbia Falls, MT. She was excited to see a rig from Montana roll in.
The campsites are wonderful – looking out over the lake and marshland. Once again they are only recommended for RV’s under 30 feet. I am so glad we have our Bungalow which fits almost anywhere.
And best of all it was FREE. There are only 14 sites and four of them are for tents only. There is also one disabled spot. That leaves only 9 spots for RVs. When we left the next morning there was only one available spot. If you want to stay here you need to arrive early and in the middle of the week.
We pulled into Saguaro RV Park about noon and had the place almost to ourselves. Between 5 and 6 p.m. the RVs started to roll in. One right after the other. Completely filled up the park with many of the rigs coming in after dark. In fact, a couple of them rolled through about 9:30 at night looking for a spot. They ended up out in the parking lot boondocking.
In our seven years of being on the road we have never really been on a path that was taken by so many snowbirds. Just amazing to see all the rigs rolling toward the south.
When Jim was out walking Scooter, he met up with two couples from our park in Apache Junction. Small world. They are moving much faster than we are and will be in AJ before we get there.
We covered about 200 miles and ended up in Ely, NV at the Prospector’s Hotel, Casino, and RV park. We were going to just park at a casino here but we really need to dump and take on water. Once again the RVs started to roll in and the park was full.
We knew we were only going about 150 miles the next day so we got up and had a nice breakfast and Jim dumped the tanks before we pulled out around 10:30. Had to wait for almost 20 minutes at some road construction but other than that the journey was very pleasant.
We had thought we were going to boondock at Ash Springs, NV but were not impressed with the place and kept going further down the road. Sure am glad we did. I’ll tell you all about this wonderful gem in my next post.
Jackpot, NV High 53 Low 42 Windy
We left Craters of the Moon in a fog. Literally.
I love how the clouds sit on the mountains.
We were headed to Jackpot, NV for a couple of nights. Going to meet up with my sister and her hubby who are celebrating their wedding anniversary.
It sprinkled on us a few times but we never really had rain. Nice easy drive.
We stayed at Saguaro RV Park at Cactus Pete’s casino. It’s only $18 a night and offered basic cable. We had planned to dump while we were there but the water was turned off – no idea why and nobody could seem to tell us why – so we didn’t get that job done.
I only took one picture in Jackpot. Nothing to take pictures of and my sister hates to have her picture taken.
Craters of the Moon – High 64 Low 44
We have been to Craters of the Moon a couple of times but this was the first time we stayed in the campground. Once again we had no contact with the outside world which is really kind of nice but I did miss my cell phone.
We had a really nice pull thru site but the girls kept dragging in little black pieces of lava rock in their paws.
During our previous visits we were either rained on or snowed on. This time the skies were overcast but we didn’t get any rain until our last night.
There is a loop drive through the park and we are constantly amazed at the number of people who tear through the park and don’t take the time to enjoy the strange beauty of the landscape. We took our time exploring and pulled over every chance we got to let those folks roar on past.
These little white flowers grow everywhere and are called Dwarf Buckwheat.
How about a Halloween Tree?
We went into Arco and found a laundromat. Desperately needed to get some laundry done. We took Jan’s advise and did NOT eat at Pickle’s Place. We found a deli and had the best sandwiches. They were huge and we had enough for lunch the next day. Jim also ordered an Italian Soda and it was wonderful. I actually helped him finish it and I usually don’t drink anything but water.
If you have never visited this area, you should put it on your bucket list. It really is an volcanic wonderland.