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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Colorado bound

We really enjoyed spending a few weeks with Tom and Darlene.  We met them a few years ago in Creede, CO at our first Newell rally and have become close friends.  No, more like family.  They are selling their beautiful home in Mesa and have already bought a neat place in Wittmann out in the desert.  Tom plans to build a huge bus barn and workshop if the county ever issues him a permit.  One morning Tom and I hopped in his golf cart and helped a neighbor build a small “bunny barn”.  His wife is planning to raise rabbits and in the summer Arizona heat they will have to use a swamp cooler to keep them happy and breeding.

We spent lots of time helping them move and setting up the new house.  Cindy helped Darlene pack boxes and move stuff.  I just kinda stood around with my arm in a sling.  Other than that it was a fun time.

But the temperature is getting into the 90’s and it’s time to head to the mountains.  So we pulled out and drove up to Durango, CO.  Really nice here at 6500’ with temps in the low 70’s and nights are in the 40’s.  Yesterday we drove up to Silverton, well Cindy drove.  She did pretty good once she relaxed her death grip on the steering wheel!  Had a nice lunch in Silverton and walked around town.  The town shops aren’t officially open until Sunday so most of them were busy painting and fixing up.  We did find a nice jewelry shop and found a couple Zuni indian necklaces we’ll give to Ella and Eva.  Got them at 1/2 price and the nice lady gave us sterling chains for them.  Hope Ella likes them for her birthday.

Silverton down in the valley

Then we drove home and hit the grocery store.  Today we’re just hanging around the coach taking care of “house stuff”.  Cindy’s washing clothes and I’m working on one of the awnings.  While driving through north Arizona with 30-40mph winds one of the awnings started to open.  So I stopped and Cindy helped me to tie it down.  I think I have it figured out how to lock it better.

Tomorrow we’ll go to Church and then drive out to Pagosa Springs.  There is a campground there that sounds nice.  If we like it and they have availability we may change our plans and stay there a month or two instead of driving out to Oregon and Washington.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Frozen crystals

Before we left Ella told me she wanted a “crystal thing” like in the movie Frozen.  Well today Tom took us to visit with one of his neighbors Calvin.  He is retired and has been rock hunting and collecting for over 10 years.  He has an unbelievable collection of crystals, minerals, fossils, etc. in his house.  But on the walkway to his house are a few pieces of petrified wood.  These are about 2’ in diameter and 3 or 4’ high!  Amazing.  His backyard has piles of rocks everywhere that he has either collected himself or bought from overseas.  Quite a bit of his rocks are very rare.  We spent about 2 hours listening to his stories.  He is very knowledgeable about geology.  He let me cut a couple pieces and let Cindy polish them.  They came out quite nice too.

Not far from Toms house near Surprise are fields of roses.  They grow the bushes to sell and are beautiful to see fields of red, pink, yellow, and white roses.  Today we saw the workers on these wheeled carts laying on their stomachs working on the bushes.  There was another worker who pushed these covered carts along as they needed.  I snapped this shot with my camera while we were driving past the fields.

We’ve been busy helping Tom and Darlene move from their house in Mesa to the new one.  Saturday we had a ground breaking barbecue for Tom’s bus barn he is building in the back yard.  Had about 25 people over and bbq’ed bacon stuffed burgers.  Cindy cooked gumbo and bread pudding.  Not much was left over.

Oh yeah, clumsy me tripped and split my elbow open like a watermelon.  Had to go to urgent care.  The doctor took over 2 hours to clean it, put 5 stitches, and then apply pressure for about 20 minutes so it wouldn’t bleed.  That hurt the most.  So for the next couple days I had my arm in a sling and couldn’t do anything.  But it’s much better now and I can use it.  Just need to be careful.  Get the stitches out on Monday.
That's it for now.  We plan to leave next week, probably Tuesday morning.  We'll drive over to Durango, CO for a week or so.  Then we'll start heading back to Louisiana for a month.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bleeding moons

It was with a heavy heart that we left Paincourtville on Friday morning in the rain.  We have enjoyed our winter stopover.  It has been fun spending time with family and friends.
Thursday afternoon we went to Ellas school to watch her perform in their Easter Angel Choir.  All of the kindergarten and 1st graders had fun singing their hearts out.  Even Eva seemed to enjoy it.

We drove the first 2 hours in rain then it cleared up.  Stopped over in Beaumont for the night and met up with Rudy and Carol for dinner.  Saturday morning drove over to Kerrville, TX for a night or two.  Cindy talked with the lady at the office and scored a free night so we stayed until Tuesday morning.  We tried to rent a car Monday to sight see but there was nothing available.  But we did stop at a rest area for lunch and saw some pretty flowers:

 Oh yeah, the truck is in the shop getting repaired from a slight mishap while I was loading the RZR in the back.  The straps holding the ramps up broke and I had no choice but to gun the throttle.  Well I made it into the truck but couldn’t stop in time.  Broke the rear windshield on the truck and dented the rear panel.  So had to leave it for repairs.

We had a nice drive as I decided to drive 60 mph.  It helped the fuel mileage since I was getting 8.5 mpg.  We stopped for the night north of Tucson in a trailer park that advertised big rig rv parking.  Yeah right, the 70’ pull through was about 20’ short and I had to back out of the spot and squeeze through the turns.  Oh well, we just need to check out our stops before we pull in.  Gotta remember that.
Thursday around lunch we pulled into Tom and Darlenes new place in Wittmann, AZ.  Nice place out in the desert just west of Phoenix.  They previously lived in a nice subdivision in Mesa and once Tom retired he wanted to leave the city.  Yep, he’s out of the city.  Chickens, horses, goats, rattlesnakes, etc.  But it’s nice and quiet out here and they love it.

Tom and I went to Canyon raceway to be the pit crew for his son in law Jon.  He has a modified stock car he races.  He did well starting in 14th place and moving up to 4th place but unfortunately blew his transmission so couldn’t finish.  Oh well that’s racing.  It was fun to watch the different classes of cars race from the sprint cars to dwarf cars to stockers.

I’ve been helping Tom with a few little projects around the homestead.  They’re getting carpet put in today so we’ll help them move some furniture in tomorrow.  Last night I drove with Tom over to north of Prescott to buy an 8.5 x 20’ enclosed trailer.  We got back just in time to enjoy the blood moon.  The skies out here are incredibly clear and bright.
That's it for now.  We're just enjoying spending time with friends and enjoying the nice weather.  It's been in the mid 80's and in the 60's at night.  Really pleasant but DRY!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Getting ready......

To roll the wheels and head out to more adventures.  We plan (unless nothing changes) to head out on April 4th west on I-10.  Our plans are to head out to Arizona to visit Tom and Darlene at their new estate.  Tom recently retired and they are in the process of moving out of the city into a country place.

Ellas favorite ride

I think Mawmaws too!

Ella took this picture.  Pretty good photographer!

The newest addition Anna

Over Ella's Mardi Gras break we flew out to Disney World for a few days.  We have been to Disney World a few times with Scott & Mike when they were much younger but being boys we have never taken time to do "girl stuff".  So we were on a quest to see all the princesses.  And I think we did.  All were in Magic Kingdom except for Anna & Elsa the newest stars of Frozen who were at Epcot.  OK Mickie, what's the reasoning for that?  After using our last tickets to get into Epcot and finding out there were NO fast passes and the wait time was 4-1/2 hours to see them couldn't Disney figure out a better way to do that?  And NO Elsa paraphernalia for sale anywhere?  HUH?  OK, I'll play nice.
While Cindy was figuring out any way to see Anna & Elsa a dad passed by and told me that we could see them in the gift shop at the end of the line.  So we did see them but Ella didn't get to meet them and get their autographs.  But what do you do in Epcot with a 5 year old?  We made the best of the day but would have rather spend the day at Magic Kingdom.
Anyway it was a great trip and we all enjoyed it immensely.
Saturday morning we packed up and headed to the airport.  The flights were good except for trying to exit the plane in Charlotte.  We had an hour layover but someone was taking their sweet time gathering their carryons and it took us 15 minutes just to exit.  Then we had to rush from one end of the airport to the other end.  Finally reached our gate and found out it had changed.  So we rushed back 8 gates to sit down and catch our breaths.  And just after we sat down we started boarding.  Poor Ella had a tough time keeping up with us and slept the entire flight!

Oh by the way I'm officially old now.  I turned 60 on the 19th!  We spent a nice day boiling crawfish with our kids at Scotts house.  It's really nice to have everybody together.  Then we had someone come clean the carpet in the coach and we drove to Baton Rouge to have dinner with Mike and spend the night.  We ate at Romans Cafe and all had Lebanese cuisine.  Very good and even Cindy liked it.

Now we're just finishing up with items to be able to head out.  Cindy is spending the remaining time with her mom and aunt Lou and I'm finishing up with my projects and putting tools back in storage.
Today we get to pick up Ella at noon and spend the day with her.  Yay!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Disney World here we come!

I guess it’s time for another update.  We’ve been so busy I’ve almost forgotten about the blog.
Cindy has been spending quite a bit of her time with her mom and her aunt.  I’ve been keeping busy working on the coach.  And on weekends we’ve been spending time with our kids.

We took a big leap of faith when we traded up to this coach last March.  We didn’t plan to be back to Louisiana until late fall.  So any problems we would have would either have to be done on the road wherever possible or wait until we made it back south.  Luckily we had minimal problems and were able to repair those on the road.  Most campgrounds won’t allow any repairs at the campsites but we did spend time at a couple friends where we could do a couple things.  Or were able to sneak in a quick repair when needed.
But any updates or big repairs would have to wait until we made it back.  Fortunately we have a great spot here in Paincourtville.  I have access to a 40x40 barn to use as a workshop.  This has come in real handy working on things.  Thanks to the quality of Newells we haven’t had any big repairs.  The biggest update was the LiFePO4 battery system and I’m happy to say I finally have the inverter charging the battery like I want.  I’ve moved tools and spare parts into the basement where the old batteries were.  It’s really nice to gain so much more room once I pulled out 1000# of batteries!  The LiFePO4’s weight only 400# and are giving me about twice the capacity.

Wednesday we are taking Ella to Disney World for a couple days.  We fly out Wednesday morning and will spend Thursday and Friday at Magic Kingdom then fly home on Saturday.  We surprised her last weekend but like any 5 year old it took her a while to understand that it would be more than a week before we would take the trip.  Yesterday she was really excited talking about the trip and looking at maps on a guide book.  It’s gonna be a fun trip!

Eva is really growing and becoming more aware.  She is starting to “talk” and look around more.  And Ella is such fun to watch how much she loves her little sister.  After her soccer game last weekend when we got back to her house Eva was crying so she ran into the bathroom to wash her hands.  She told me she had to hurry because “she had baby work to do”!  She ran to Eva and calmed her down by talking to her and consoling her.  So much fun.

It’s getting almost time to pack up and start traveling again.  We’ll leave sometime after my birthday.  I’m going to hit the big 6 oh in a couple weeks and hope to boil crawfish with our kids.
We’re thinking of going east this spring maybe over to Richmond and then D.C.  but we’ll be back in June for a few weeks for Ella’s birthday and dance recital.  Then we head out where it’s cool for the rest of the summer.