Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dancing Through Beautiful Fall Weather 2010

     It's hard to believe we've only been here six weeks today, so much has happened.  Since this was our last summer managing campgrounds, we decided to leave our 5th wheel on our lot in Casa Grande at the Roost and downgrade to a smaller and easier method of travel.  We're in our eleventh year of fulltime RVing and love it as much as the day we started, if not more and we definitely look forward to more traveling.  To facilitate that we've purchased a used 27 ft. Class C Winnebago Warrior.  It was set up exactly the way we wanted and we got a great deal on it.   We also traded the truck in on a used Honda CRV.  It will be great for geocaching and we can tow it flat behind the Class C. Gary already has the solar panels moved over to the Class C, along with the four golf cart batteries.  He also got it all wired for the DISH TV system.  We have the inverter and a tow bay system yet to go.

     We did an overnight shakedown trip to the Eloy airport about 25 miles from here and everything ran great.  We also enjoyed the early morning skydivers and found two geocaches while there.  The only downside was Rusty's crying until 2am, but he'll get used to the new house and bed.
     We enjoyed a day trip to Sabino Canyon in Tucson, a beautiful desert canyon.  We also stopped at the De Grazia Gallery in the Sun, a truly unique and fascinating art studio.
     My quilt class and guild has started and we're doing some fun and different projects.  It's kind of like the first day of school, as snowbirds gather from all over the country.
     Gary's pool league is also in it's fall session.  He's enjoying getting back to that with some extra tournaments thrown in.  He's won one and placed well in some others. Sadly, the golf course across the street is still closed and up for sale.  Gary has enjoyed some golf though at the other courses.
     We've even been dancing once to the Needham Twins and their super music and attended a house party with Gary Allegretto and his great music.  I took a harmonica workshop from him the next day and really enjoyed that. It's always fun to try new things.  He has put the same workshop on for children in the Katrina area and after the Tsunami as well. 
     I'm seeing an ankle and foot specialist here, who has given me one cortisone shot and will probably do another in Dec.  He also started me on Celebrex.  It has helped decrease the swelling and I'm wearing a brace most of the time.  Unfortunately, it hasn't eliminated all the pain, if I'm on it a lot. His evaluation of the arthritis was the same and says the answer when it gets too bad, will be an ankle replacement. If that doesn't work, fusion will be the only other option, so I'm holding off as long as I can.  I do now have a handicapped parking hanger, but then so does half of AZ, it seems.  There are times though when it really helps.
     We weren't going to work this winter, but when I was offered a seasonal job at See's Candies, I thought it might be fun.  It has been and will only last another six weeks.  As a holiday give center everything is prepackaged, so I just have to try and avoid the samples we give out, (not always easy).
     The weather was still very warm when we arrived (high 80's and 90's), but has now settled into a very comfortable pattern of days in the 70's with lots of sunshine and nights in the low 40's.  We were actually 37 yesterday morning.  That's OK, we love being able to use and enjoy the electric blanket.
     We'll be going to Quartzsite in January and plan on some other short trips this winter, as we continue to explore and enjoy Arizona.  We want to spend some time in the Bisbee area and I want to revisit Organ Pipe.  So much to see and so little time, but we enjoy every day.
     Even with our travels with winter, our mail can still come here and they'll hold it while we're gone.  Once again, our address until spring is 3241 S. Montgomery Road, Casa Grande, AZ 85293
     Here's hoping everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We definitely have tons to be thankful for, most of all our wonderful friends and families. 
     Thanksgiving hugs and love,
     Dancing through the Fall........   Katy, Gary, Rusty and Spicy

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dancing Into Fall 2010

Dear Friends,
    We arrived “home” at RoVer’s Roost at 8:30am Oct. 3rd.  We’d left Meteor Crater at 4am to drive thru Phoenix early on a Sunday morning.  We’ve found that to be the best time for towing, or maybe I should say the least worse time, considering it’s Phoenix.  We had a fun two weeks on the road traveling down here, leaving Evanston on the 20th of September. 
    Before we left, we made a trip to Orem, UT to return AL&L equipment.  On the way, I shot some gorgeous pictures of Utah’s Fall colors.  Leaving Evanston, we spent the first night in Bar Nunn, WY at our friend, Betty’s house.  I used to work with her about 20 years ago at Wy State Hospital.  Where does the time go?   We parked in her driveway and had a great visit.
    The next day we headed for South Dakota and stayed at Wind Cave National Park, just outside Hot Springs, SD.   We were geocaching on the way and imagine our surprise when we signed a log on the WY-SD border right after friends from Casa Grande had signed it.  More coincidence, even though we were going in opposite directions, they pulled into RoVer’s Roost  the same day we did, about 3  hours after us.   
    The campground at Wind Cave was beautiful with wild turkeys wandering thru and buffalo close by.  It’s the largest maze cave in the world with over 100 miles of tunnels on three different levels, all under 1 square mile of earth.  Pretty amazing!  After that we left to tour Crazy Horse Monument.  It was our first time there and we really enjoyed it.  The museums are fantastic and we even got to bring a chunk of the rock they blasted away for our little rock and cactus garden.   We also revisited Mt. Rushmore.  Where there had been a large parking lot when we were last there, 15-18 years ago, is now a 6 story parking garage.  Time marches on.  As always, the monument is very inspiring.
    When we set up the 5th wheel at Wind Cave, the motor for the front leveling jacks quit working just as Gary got them extended.  He checked everything he could, including all the fuses he could see and the motor without finding the problem.  When he called the company that makes the jacks a tech support person said it was most likely the switch and told him the part he needed to replace and an RV dealership in Rapid City where he could most likely get it.  They had the part and the next day we drove up to get it.  Rapid City was about 55 miles from where we were camped and we had planned on towing the trailer up there after 2 days at Wind Cave, but without being able to lower the jacks, that wasn’t happening. 
    We went straight to the Drivers’ License bureau first and had our renewed licenses in about 20 minutes.  After picking up the part, we drove over to our mail forwarder, picked up our mail,  and saw our little box in their store that has been our address for the past 10 years (3213 W. Main St. #115 Rapid City, SD 57702).   The other place we had wanted to go was Badlands National Park and Wall Drug Store.  We had taken the dogs with us, so we decided since we had to drive to Rapid City to get there anyway, to just keep going and see those things the same day.  The Badlands were beautiful and between thunderheads and sunshine peeking thru, we had some awesome views. 
    The third day at Wind Cave, Gary tackled the switch and as we started to remove the old one, he had to unwind and remove 3-4 feet of electrical cable connected to the switch.  He discovered an inline fuse part way down the cable and sure enough, the fuse was blown.  He replaced it and the old switch worked fine.  We called the RV dealership and they said we could mail the part back to them for credit.  We decided at that point to take a day to rest before leaving Wind Cave,.  Resting was easier when we knew we could lower the jacks when we were ready to leave.  
    Then it was time to head south.  We went through Nebraska and stayed at Elk’s lodges in Sterling, CO, Rocky Ford, CO, and then spent three days at the Elks in Las Vegas, NM.   This was a new area for us and we enjoyed local Hot Springs and then spent a day at  Pecos National Historical Park and Santa Fe. 
    Our favorite spot in Santa Fe was the Loretto Chapel with its miraculous spiral stairway.  The chapel there had a design flaw, a conventional stairway to the choir loft could not be installed without adversely impacting the diminutive chapel’s seating capacity as well as it s aesthetics.   Seeking divine guidance the Sisters prayed to their patron saint, St. Joseph the Carpenter.  As legend has it upon the ninth and final day of the Novena a mysterious carpenter arrived to design and construct a circular stairway to the chair loft.  The tools upon his donkey were just a saw, a T-square, a hammer and tubs in which to soak the wood.   His miraculous stairway includes 33 steps in 2 full 360 degree turns.  The stairway has no center support nor is it held from its sides.  Its full weight rests on its final tread.  Upon completion the carpenter disappeared without seeking payment.  No records have been found of the purchase of the materials with which the
stairway was build and many sisters believed the craftsman to have been an embodiment of St. Joseph.  Engineer and architects continue to marvel at the stairway.  There is no known duplication of its design and it even made it’s way onto Ripley’s Believe it or Not. And there’s a geocache there!
    Leaving there we made a long drive to Meteor Crater, AZ, where we had worked in 2005 and 2006.  Friends we met there had just returned and we spent a few days visiting them, as well seeing others we had worked with.  It was a relaxing and fun 3 days.  Having some extra time while there and full hook ups, we even got the dogs groomed. 
    That pretty well covers our trip south to AZ.  It was a round about way covering 1839 towing miles and almost another 600 sightseeing miles.  It reminded us of what we enjoyed most about this lifestyle and we look forward to more traveling miles in the future.  Although we may be in and out a few times, all our mail can be sent to us here at the Roost through next April as far as we know now.  The address is:  3241 S. Montgomery Road,  Casa Grande, AZ 85193.  We’ll let you know when we head out for our summer travels.  Take care everyone and we look forward to seeing our snowbird friends who will wind up here later this Fall.  You know we  had to be doing some Geocaching on our trip and we managed to pick up 57 caches as we traveled.  It’s not easy to do when towing a 5th wheel and looking for large parking and turn-around areas.  We moved a travel bug from Germany that’s trying to get home and now have one from Austria to place.  As usual, we
found unusual spots and met some interesting people while caching.   
    We’ve gone from snow in the mountains as we moved from the forest to town in Sep, to the mid-90’s degrees here today. 
    Dancing into the heat,  Hugs, Katy, Gary, and of course Rusty and Spicy too!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dancing Through Summer 2010

   Another summer has almost come and gone, with less than 3 weeks left for us.  Overall it’s been a good summer, once we got past the flooding, snow and rain.  It’s also been bittersweet, as we’ve given notice that this is our last summer here, as Area Managers for AL&L.  This is our fourth year here and with three previous years at Ledgefork Campground, two others at Meteor Crater and Maine plus the Escapee Parks we workamped at, we’re ready for some free time during the summer to travel.  We look forward to more exploration of Oregon and Washington, new adventures in northern Montana and Canada, and attending Summer rallies.  With all the family around, Evanston and Salt Lake City will always be on our map to visit on our travels.
    As many of you know, we had a goal of hitting our 1,000th geocache by our 10th anniversary of fulltime Rving on 9/ll.  We hit and passed that goal this month and currently have 1,026 finds.   We know new geocaches await us as we continue Rving. 
         Gary has had fun with the Senior Center pool tournaments this summer, placing in almost all of them.  It’s the only time he has a chance to play, so he’s looking forward to getting back to town and daily playing, and then to Casa Grande with pool tables close by.   He also continued playing golf on his old league in Evanston, once a week.  Currently they are in 1st place with 2 weeks to go. 
    I entered several quilts in the Uinta County Fair, held in Evanston, WY.   I was most pleased to win two Reserve Grand Champions and one Grand Champion.  I learned how to do redwork embroidery by hand last winter, so was surprised when my redwork sampler quilt took an Overall Grand Champion.  
    We enjoyed having Arizona friends Julie and George come by to camp for a few days, as well as local family and friends  that took the time to camp with us this summer.  That’s always what we enjoy  most and will most assuredly miss the most too.
       Please don’t mail anything to us in Evanston, after the first of September.  We’ll move into town in mid-September and hope to be on the road around the 20th.   When we leave here, we’ll head for South Dakota to renew our driver’s licenses and visit the Badlands and Crazy Horse.  Then we’ll work our way South through Colorado and New Mexico.  We’re aiming  to arrive back at our winter home at Rover’s Roost, in Casa Grande, AZ sometime in October.
    Dancing through Summer,
    Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty and Spicy

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dancing Along the River

   What a Spring we've had!  Friends in Evanston kept telling us they'd had more snow in May than they'd had all winter, and that's not what we wanted to hear.  We originally hoped to be in the forest around May 10th and finally made it on May 26th, just before Memorial Day, when we had more snpw and cold weather.  It made it easy to get away for the 5th, 8th, and high school graduations of Robert's children.  Cory, Robert's oldest, has since left for Korea, where he'll spend the next seven months with his Mom's family attending a University over there.  What a great opportunity for him!

      The week after Memorial Day, the temps soared up to the high 70's.  I know our friends in Arizona will find it hard to believe that these temps were too hot, but it was certainly too fast!  Saturday, June 5th, we moved four of our campers to higher areas, as their spots on the river went under water.  On June 6th, the water was rising and around noon Gary moved ouir rig forward in our space about 40 feet, to avoid the lowest area.  Between 7 & 8pm the river rose another foot and we decided we better get to high ground, while we could still drive our 5W out of there.  Culverts were getting backed up and water was starting to wash out portions of the campground roads.  We moved to one our group areas.  It's about 15 feet higher and actually overlooks our regular site.   The next day, our site was completely underwater, except for the area where we had put our supply tents.  The forst service brought in help and sandbagged all along our

         We wound up closing 5 of the 6 campgrounds along the river. They stayed closed all that week, until crews could get in and repair sections of the roads the following Friday;  They did a great job and we reopened all the campgrounds on the 11th, just in time for another weekend of snow.  We stayed where we were until June 15th, when we moved back to our site.  It sure was nice to get back to our water and sewer hookups again.  We love being right on the river, as long as it stays in it's place.  The other major problem this Spring has been trees, either being taken down, due to the bark beetle infestation, or falling down and being uprooted, due to the spring snows, excess rain, and decreasing windbreak.  We've had two major campgrounds closed all spring   We got our last hosts in last Friday to open one.  The other one opens today.  We have another remote campground that we took a host into on June 4th.  On the 7th, a small bridge washed out leaving her stranded.  The only way in was a very rough ATV road.  Our district ranger took a radio, extra drinking water, a generator, and gas into her, as she elected to stay there during the two weeks it took to reopen the road into her campground.  She had her 15 yr old son with her, so wasn't completely alone and day hikers came through as well.  At this point all of our campgrounds are open and the weather is expected to be gorgeous this weekend.  It's back up in the high 70's, and while we're keeping an eye on the river, the worst should be over and we're hoping the floods don't happen again.  Thank goodness, we haven't had any major property damage and most importantly no loss of life or injuriesl   As we've all heard on the news, many other places have been much worse.
    Otherwise we're doing well.  My ankle has healed well and while there's still some swelling, I'm no longer limping, unless I overdo it. 
    For the third year, we attended the National Fallen Firefighter's Memorial Golf Tournament in Utah, where Gary played with the Evanston Fire Department's team and I helped with the tournament and spoke briefly at the luncheon.
    I haven't done much quilting, with moving our rig around, but have completed a couple small projects.  We've seen family and are looking forward to several spending some time with us this summer.  Gary's son was her with his family, including our miracle grandson,  Bowdie, who was one year old on the 25th of June.
    We're enjoying our Verizon wireless service, allowing us to get e-mail at our cell phone reception site, about 3 miles from here.  We got a small netbook that is easier to handle in the truck, than our fullsize laptop. We've done a little more geocaching and are sitting at 979 caches.  We should make Gary's goal of 1000 by September.  For now summer is here, we haven't had snow for 2 weeks, the moose and deer (with fawns) are moving around, and life is good. 
    Dancing along (& away from), the river................
    Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty, and Spicy

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wyoming Snows 2010

      We left Casa Grande on Gary’s birthday, April 25th for a week of travel on our way to Wyoming.  We started out at Navajo National Monument and hiked to viewpoints for the Batatakin Indian Ruins.  The ancient cliff dwellings are always impressive.     Next we went to Monument Valley, where we stayed in their primitive campground with views of the mittens, seen in many of the old westerns.  By then I was craving a Navajo Taco, having spent a couple days on their reservation., and we had wonderful ones from their hotel dining room.
     From there we went to Natural Bridges.  We stayed in their overflow area for larger trailers and enjoyed the loop drive to see bridges.  We has a VERY windy down day, just relaxing.  Then we were off to Goblin Valley State Park in Utah.  We spent 3 great days with Pam and Jim, Gary’s sister and brother-in-law.  We drove to Green River, Utah for dinner and caching.  The Crystal Geyser geocache took us to the largest cold water geyser in N. America.  It was created through a drilling accident in the 1930’s.  We weren’t lucky enough to see an eruption, since they vary from 8-22 hours apart,  but it was still impressive.
     We spent our last night in Utah in the AL&L Office driveway., in Orem, UT.  The next day we got the company truck and one 4-wheeler, which I drove on to Evanston, while Gary towed our rig.  We stayed with Riki’s family for the next week.  Although tired, we had to turn around and attend  all day classes on water sampling and civil rights, as well as  pick up 2 more 4-wheelers the next day.  We were ready to relax by the time that was over.  The lot where we usually parked has been sold, so we searched through our in town friends and  were able to park our 5th wheel and open the slides by Smith’s Auto Body.  Martin even offered us electricity, which has been great.  It was nice staying at Riki’s, but it’s always nice to get back into our home.
      We're still in Evanston, WY, waiting for the snow to melt, to get into our campground.  They had over 30 inches in the mountains last weekend and another 6+ inches this week.  We only had a couple inches here in town and it's all melted.  The good part is the waiting gives us time to get my ankle taken care of before we get too busy.
       I finally saw an orthopedist about  my ankle that has been sore and swelling off and on for several months.  As I feared, it’s osteoarthritis, with added stress from a 25 yr. old fracture.  The degeneration is pretty complete between the bones, with little cartilage left.  There was also a large bone spur on the front of the ankle.  I  had arthroscopic surgery on the 14th, to remove the bone spur and clean up any other jagged edges.  This should relieve some of the pain and hopefully buy some time.  Fusion or a total ankle replacement are probably in the future.  Total ankles haven’t been as successful as hips and knees, but are improving all the time.  It certainly wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I’m sure we’ll adapt.  It’s a good thing we hiked the Grand Canyon last fall.
       Cory (Robert's oldest son) graduates this year.  We were able to attend the high school awards assembly.  Cory got awards for architecture, computer programming and will wear a special honor cord for the National Forensic League (Debate), with his cap and gown.  He’s leaving for S. Korea the middle of June, to stay with Anna’s sister.  He’ll  go to school for 6 months there, studying the language and culture. Keegan, Riki's oldest boy, is only a sophomore, but earned top honors for the math department, out of the entire school.  He was also honored by the University of Wyoming, as one of the top 100 sophomores in the state and will attend a three week summer institute program at the University of Wyoming campus, in Laramie
      Last Saturday we went to Salt Lake to see our little Bowdie, born 6/25/09, at 1 pound, 1 ounce, 12 inches.   He’s over 13 pounds now and doing great!  We were finally able to hold him and passed him back and forth to enjoy his smiles.  Their family plans on camping with us this summer, & it will be fun    to have them all there. 
     As I mentioned in the last travelog, our cell service ranges from patchy to nonexistent at our campground, but we do check our phones every day or so, so call and leave a message if you’re in our area.  We’ll be at Stillwater campground on Utah State Hiway 150, between Kamas Utah and Evanston, WY.  We’d love to have you stop by and spend some time with us. 
      Dancing (& dodging snowflakes) toward summer……………………………….
Hugs, Katy, Gary, Rusty and Spicy

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time to Dance North Again - 2010

     The semi-annual migration of the Snowbirds heading North is in full swing and we'll be joining soon.  We're staying here a little longer his year.  We decided that there wasn't any reason to head North early just to sit through the April snow storms.  Instead, we've opted to enjoy one of the nicest times of the year in Arizona.  Our weather has been in the 70's most of the time, with a few 80's thrown in, when we've needed to run the air conditioner. The prickly pair, cholla, and hedgehog cacti are all covered with buds.  Hopefully they'll start blooming while we're still here.  It should be quite a sight with the wet spring we've had.  Our "backyard" (aka desert over the 3 1/2 foot wall behind our rig)  was covered with purple flowers a couple weeks ago.  It was so green, it looked like it needed to be mowed.  That's changing as it warms up.
     It's been a fun Winter.  Gary has enjoyed not working and got used to it real fast.  He played a lot of billiards, between the clubhouse here, the Senior Center in town, the league he was on, and local tournaments.  After placing 3rd, 3 times, he was tickled to win one of the local tournaments Easter week.  Of course he's played golf, but not as much with the course across the road from us being closed this winter.  We've heard it may be in escrow, so hopes are high it will reopen next year. 
     I've been very busy with quilting.  I enjoyed 3 days at Quilt Camp, just north of Tuscon, on the way to Mt. Lemon.  Landscapes were a new experience for me and after taking a challenging workshop with thread painting and bobbin work, I completed three of them.  I also did a totem pole that was very different from anything I'd done before.   I joined the ladies here at the park in a few beading projects and made a couple new bracelets that were fun.  I also learned redwork embroidery this winter.  There's always so much too do and despite not working, it seems there's never enough time.  The park started a book club this winter.  We were a little late in the year getting it off the ground, but are looking forward to next year. 
     We also enjoyed our geocaching experiences and are now up to 944 caches found.  We may hit that 1,000 mark by September after all.  We really enjoyed the Geocaching BOF rally in Quartzsite and met a lot of new cachers.  Five couples from our park also attended a fun caching event in Florence.
     Dancing also played more of a role in this winter's activities.  We enjoyed some good bands and fun dances at a local RV park, about 10 miles from  us.  We plan on continuing that next year and hope to get more couples from our park involved.
     Healthwise, we're doing good.  I had a brief scare, with 3 skin biopsies, but other than keeping an eye on one of them, everything was good.  Gary started out with a hearing test at a local health fair, that turned into a three week period of ear drops (which really hampered his hearing), until they got everything cleaned out.  Other than a slight loss of hearing, we already were aware of, he's doing fine.
     Our last couple weeks were sure different plan we planned on, when a good friend of Gary's had a cardiac cath and then bypass surgery.  Unfortunately, his wife has severe MS, so between driving and being there to assist her, while he couldn't do any lifting, driving, etc., we spent most of the time at their house in Casa Grande.  We were glad to be able to help, but having left most of our packing and organizing for the last couple weeks, we had to take turns getting things ready with someone staying at their house.  It made for some interesting days and nights.  
     We'll be leaving here on Sunday, April 25th and heading toward Monument Valley for a couple days.  Then we'll meet Gary's sister, Pam and her husband Jim, for a few days at Goblin Valley, UT.  This is always a fun spot, with lots to see and do.  We plan on going through Orem, UT on May 3rd to pick up our company truck and supplies, and then on to Evanston, WY.  If the weather allows, we'll be out to the forest the next week to start cleaning up.  Forest crews have removed more trees, so we understand there's a lot to do.
     We'll be at Stillwater Campground, site #4 again, located on Hiway 150, between Kamas Ut, and Evanston, WY, between mile markers 45 & 46.  A reminder that we don't get good cell phone reception there, but do check our messages almost daily.  Please leave a message if you're coming in our direction, so we can make sure to be there.  (At least 1-2 times a week, we're gone for the day.)  The easiest way to get to us is to take I-80 to Evanston, WY and then Hiway 150 32 miles south from there.  The road "over the top" from Kamas, UT usually opens up around mid-June.  Our campgrounds do not have hook ups, so arrive with full water tanks and empty holding tanks.  There is a dump station nearby and once the water is on, you can refill your tanks.  Prices in our campground this year will be $16.00/night, half price with a Senior Access Pass.  We love to have friends drop by, so let us know if you're in our area. 
     Please don't mail anything to us at our Casa Grande address after April 15th.  Please use our daughter's address from now until the 1st of September, (401 Twin Ridge Ave.  Evanston, WY 82930)  Of course our S. Dakota address always works, but only gets forwarded to us once a month. 
     Dancing north with the snowbirds............................
     Hugs, Katy Gary, Rusty, and Spicy