Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dancing In A New Rig

     Wow, what a year this has been!!!  I guess one new rig wasn't enough, we got another one.  We had been talking about trading our Komfort 5th Wheel that we had been traveling and living in for the past 13 years.  Our plan was to completely go though it, doing a major purge, this year and be ready to start looking in Fall of 2014.  Gary got started when he came back to Casa Grande a couple weeks ahead of me.  He did such a good job, I was inspired and kept going.  I started with the shed, which turned out to be a great idea, since we were to need every bit of extra space in there.
     Then I started looking at what was available on line.  Only looking mind you.  However, I wound  up seeing a very promising rig here in Casa Grande, with the same dealer we had bought our Class C from 3 years ago.   Gary agreed and the next week, we went to look at it.  We found it left a lot to be desired, but ended up looking at another rig at the lot next door.  That wasn't perfect and exactly what we wanted, so we kept looking.  Meantime, we were continuing to go through every cupboard and storage area in the Komfort.  Believe me, it may only have been 30 feet long, but it's amazing how much storage it had and how much we had accumulated in the last 13 years.   We filled up the bargain table at our park and made a couple trips to town with bags of items to donate.
     Kind of like Goldilocks, the third rig we looked at turned out to be just right.  There were many positives, so we told them to work up a price for us.  When that was done, we countered back and forth, until we settled on a deal satisfactory to both of us.  Since we no longer have a truck, part of the deal was that they would deliver the new rig and tow our old one back as our trade.  That meant, of course, we had to have the Komfort completely empty when they came.  We set the date of Oct. 19th to make this all happen and went to work even harder to get the Komfort empty.  Friends living across the road from us were also relocating and offered us a full size refrigerator they had in their shed.  We agreed and moved it into our shed.  I was sure grateful, I had done some cleaning and purging in the shed.  Since I have a full size fridge in Show Low, it will be nice to have one here too, for when we change locations in Spring and Fall.
     It was a very busy and exhausting two weeks, but well, well worth it.  We love the new rig and expect to enjoy it for many years.  It is a 2007 Montana, 33 feet, with three slide outs.  (The 2000 Komfort was 30 feet with two slide outs.)  The floor plan was very different with a rear living room area and a HUGE back window.  Since our lot overlooks the desert, this was one of the things we were looking for.  It also has tinted windows and an Arctic insulation package which will help with keeping it cool as well as warm.  It also has a central vacuum system.  The front closet is cedar lined and there is another closet that is plumbed for a washer/dryer, although we don't plan on getting those.  It came with two TVs as well, so the ones we were using will go to Show Low and we won't have to transport them back an forth.
As you enter our rig.  Note HUGE window & island.

Looking back toward front of rig.  Cupboard under TV has computer station.

Wonderful pantry cupboards.

All 4 dining chairs have storage.  A way to keep papers from our shredder (Bandit), Yeah!
Bedroom with Christmas Quilt on the bed. 
     This has been our  major activity for the past month.  Gary is of course involved with his pool league and tournaments.  I'm catching up on some quilting (now that I can get to my sewing machine again).  Bandit is also back to school and doing well.

"Girly Boots" from a kit at Quilter's Market.
     Besides our regular activities, we managed to squeeze in a day-trip to one of our favorite places, the Arizona Desert Sonora Museum.  We won 2 tickets to this last winter during our Follies raffle.  We decided to wait until this Fall, knowing I would be walking more.  This is located in Tucson and is part zoo, botanical garden, museum, and now aquarium.   Friends Pam and Steve went with us and we had a marvelous day.  The highlight was the raptor's free-flight, where we saw a raven, prairie falcon, a great horned owl, kestrel, and a Ferruginous Hawk, sometimes called a white eagle.  They flew so close to us, their wings brushed our hats/hair.    Here are few pictures.

Ferruginous Hawk

Stretching its wings!
Big Horn Sheep

A young Big Horn sheep balancing on a narrow, tall rock.  How do they do that?
A Rare Crested Saguaro
Garden Eels that slide up and down as they waited for food to come to them in the current. 
    Our park saw the sad demise of one of our saguaros.  It was about 30 feet tall, had many arms, and was definitely the oldest park resident.  We'd had a lot of rain over a couple days.  One of the ways saguaros survive in the desert is to drink lots of water when it rains.  They have a very shallow root system, spreading out as far as they are tall, and only one tap root.  As a result, it became too heavy to support itself and toppled over.  They weight several tons, so the shed in it's path was no match for it.  We were all grateful there were no people, rigs, or cars in its path.
Our new rig is in the background between the cactus and the shed.

     That's going to be all for now.   We are so grateful for all of our friends and family out there and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year.  We love hearing from you  and appreciate having you in our lives.   

Dancing in a new rig....................................
Hugs, Katy, Gary, and Bandit

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dancing In the Monsoons

     We continue to enjoy our summer in Show Low, AZ.  Temperatures were mostly in the high 70's to low 80's through August.  We had almost daily thunder showers, usually lasting 15-30 minutes, once or twice a day.  The rain is comfortable and needed, but I  must say the thunder has been some of the loudest I've heard.  We've been using Rusty's thundershirt for Bandit and he really appreciates it, usually laying down and going to sleep when we put it on him, except for the loudest thunder.  This was our first Monsoon season in Arizona.  Now that we're almost to October, temps are in the high 60's and low 70's most days with nighttime lows in the high 30's to low 40's.  Great for cuddling in under the electric blanket.
     Gary fenced in a portion of our yard, so Bandit can be out and about without being hooked up.  It's convenient for us to, to be able to just open the door and let him out.  We make trips to the dog park 3-4 times a week and Bandit has a nice group of friends there.  He's become more adventuresome and now trots all over the park which is several acres.
     Speaking of rain,  Evanston, WY really got hit with one of those freak heavy rains.  There is an underpass, that goes under the railroad tracks.  Fortunately there is now also an overpass. Heres a picture of it after the rain.  Note the sign says the clearance is 13 feet.

After it drained, they discovered a truck in the bottom.  No one was injured.

     Labor Day weekend was really different for us this year, not having Cowboy Days.   We enjoyed a couple pot luck dinners with our neighbors here at Country Lane.  Residents of  "Happy Corner" got together two days in a row for some great food and fun conversation.  They're really nice and we're enjoying getting to know them.
     I took a quilt class at our local shop in Art Quilts.  It was very different for me and really took me outside my comfort zone.  It was fun though and the resulting product quite different.

I've also pieced several tops that will be finished when we get to Casa Grande and my Bernina.  The Featherweight keeps on going though and works wonderfully for classes and straight sewing.

 I've attended one quilting guild meeting up here and look forward to getting more active next summer.  We drove west to a great quilt show in Heber, AZ last Saturday and followed it by attending a Navajo Taco fundraiser in Pinedale AZ. 
     Gary continues to play in several pool tournaments each week.  He's had a few 2nds and 3rds.and is gaining in confidence.  He hasn't had any luck in finding pool players at the Senior Center.  He has joined a golf group here at our park that play twice a week at a course in Snowflake, about 20 miles north of us.  It's a nice challenging course with 27 holes.  At $6.00 for nine holes, walking, it's very reasonable.
     We took a day trip to Casa Grande and picked up some things we wanted to bring up here.  It was a nice, but long day.  We picked a good day, as the high was only in the 80's, and we missed the triple digits.they usually have.  The quilt group meets once a month for lunch during the summer and we timed it so I could surprise them.  It's always fun seeing quilting friends. had an August challenge of finding one geocache a day;.  We didn't get started until the 4th of the month, but managed finish strong, finding 15 on the last day of the month, for a total of 43 for the month.  As usual we discovered new sights when caching.  One of which was Arizona's only covered bridge in Pinedale, about 10 miles west of us. Oh, the things we learn & the places we see while geocaching.

We also hiked along the Mogollon Rim and Show Low Bluffs looking for caches.  There were several urban caches as well as caches at the libraries and IN the libraries.  As always it was a fun way to explore our new community.
       I've continued to swim 2-3 mornings a week at the aquatic center taking a variety of water aerobic classes, including my favorite, Aqua Zumba.  That instructor also includes a little water yoga and we've asked her to increase that next summer. 
     The last thing we needed to find here for us to be really settled in was someplace to go dancing.  We discovered a bar named Icy Roads that has a nice wood dance floor, dance lessons with a DJ on Thursday nights and live bands on the weekends.  It's 0.8 of a mile form our door to theirs, so it's really close besides.

There's also dancing  at the Elks on Sundays  and the closest casino, about 25 miles away also has some country music on occasions with dancing.  We haven't had a chance to check them out yet.
     We took a mini trip the middle of September to Tucson, AZ.  Like many fire departments around the country, the Tucson Fire Department has a stair climbing challenge, to honor the 343 firefighters lost in the twin towers on 9/11/2001,.  They asked to have a survivor from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation speak about what the Foundation does and how they assisted the fallen.  I was honored to be able to fulfill that request.  I spoke about 10 minutes to about 500 people from the fire department and those there to cheer the climbers on.  While the building that was used was only 17 stories, they climbed a total of 110 floors.  It's not required, but many of the firefighters wear full turnout gear, weighing about 70 pounds.  It was very special to be a part of this. They used 2 stairwells, with a camera in each one.  They were set up on closed circuit TV and shown outside on two 55inch TV screens.  It was a fun way to watch them.  The temperature that day was in the 90's, so they had it all set up on the west side of the building.  Since this was in the morning, we were in the shade.  Large fans were used in the stairwells, with some air conditioning.

Miss Rodeo AZ, note the armband with "19" on it for the Granite Mtn. Hotshots lost on June 30.

Display for Arizona's Fallen

Firefighters Climbing in Full Gear

Exhausted, but proud after climb
   A great RV resort (Far Horizons) comped our stay for two nights as their contribution to the Fire Department, when they found out why we were there.  We sure enjoyed their facilities, especially the pool and hot tub.  We even got to join an all you can eat pizza and movie night.

     When we left there on Monday, we drove to Willcox, AZ and stayed at the Elks' Lodge there for two nights.  We finally got to tour Chiricahua National Monument.  You may remember we tried two years ago, only to find it closed while they replaced all the guard rails burnt in a major wildfire.  It was worth going back for, as you can see from the pictures.

Cochise Head from a distance.
Cochise Head Up Close.
You can also see evidence of the fire in the photo above and below.

Organ Pipe Formation

  We also drove to Douglas, AZ and I walked across the border to Mexico at Agua Prieta to get some Thyroid medication.  There was a pharmacy about 1/2 block from the border, so it was very convienient.  We had Bandit with us and it was too hot to leave him in the car, so Gary stayed with him on the US side.  We had taken our passports, so I was able to get accross quickly.  I'm always glad to get back to the US.  This was the first time we'd seen "the fence" built along the border in Arizona.  Here's a panoramic shot a couple blocks east of the border crossing.

     Then it was on to Safford, AZ, where we stayed for one night.  We drove up Mount Graham, to 10,000+ feet.  The leaves were turning and the views were tremendous!!!

     The next day we were going to head up the east side of AZ or west side of New Mexico to Alpine, AZ  This is one section of Arizona we haven't explored yet, and still haven't, as the road conditions were reported to be bad with some of the bridges closed due to flooding and mud on then.  We stopped at their info center, but when we couldn't get a reliable road report, we decided to head back up the Salt River Canyon, where we knew the roads were good..The roads are good, but somewhat windy as you get down to the bottom and then climb up the other side.  I posted a picture of our GPS on Facebook, but for those who didn't see it, here it is.

    Summer is turning into Fall and the major topic of conversation centers around when the summer visitors are leaving the mountain and heading for warmer spots. for the winter.  As for us, I'm planning on a quilt class the 9th and 16th of October, so we plan on heading for Casa Grande about Oct. 18th.  As of right now, Gary is going the week before with the Motor Home.  He'll open things up and get the fifth wheel and shed  all cleaned.  He'll also rejoin his pool team.  The next week Gary will drive my car back up here, and we'll drive both cars back to the Roost after closing up our Show Low place for the winter.  We've enjoyed it so much, it's hard to leave, but the nights are in the 30's now, although daytime temps are still in the high 60's and low 70's.  Winter will be here on the mountain before long.
      We'll be at the Roost, 3241 S. Montgomery Road, Casa Grande, AZ, 85193,  most of the time until next Spring.  Any mail will be held for us and our winter trips are usually only 2-3 weeks, so feel free to use that address until we let you know different.
Dancing from the monsoons to the desert.........................
Hugs, Katy, Gary, and Bandit too! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dancing in Show Low, AZ - 2013

     The past few weeks have been very busy, but fun and exciting too.   This was the first time we had traveled in July for several years, spending most of them in Evanston.  Our first stop was the Elks Lodge in Richfield, UT.  We had daily rain storms while traveling,  but most hit in the afternoons after we were parked.
     Since the road south of Page, AZ on hiway 89 is still closed with a lengthy detour, we decided to go south by way of  Jacob Lake.  This area is also quite a bit higher in elevation, resulting in cooler temperatures.   After leaving Richfield, we drove to Fredonia, AZ, where we unhitched the car and took it west to Pipe Spring National Monument.  This was the only major monument in AZ that we had not visited.

     Pipe Spring was a Mormon Tithing Ranch located on the Arizona strip. There a natural spring was forced to the surface of the land and made available for irrigation and drinking.  This made the land around it very desirable.  After conflicts led to several killings of both missionaries, settlers, and Indians, a small stone fortress was built in 1868 as a stronghold against further Navajo raids in the region.

     To connect Pipe Spring to other Mormon settlements and Salt Lake City, the church established a station on the Deseret Telegraph Line.  It was the first telegraph station in Arizona territory.
It was interesting to hear that 16 year old girls were sent here to operate the telegraph station.  It would have been quite an experience, I imagine. One or two families lived at the fort, as well as some in the surrounding areas.  Although the fort was built for protection, they never had to use it for that reason. 
     Because of the remote location, it was also used as a hideout for polygamous wives.  Despite federal laws passed outlawing polygamy, plural wives continued to be hidden there.  Faced with confiscation of church property under the anti-polygamy laws, the Mormon church sold Pipe Spring ranch in 1895.  Its doors remained open to cowboys, traders, salesmen, and neighbors.  A hired girl of the time recalled baking pies, cakes, and breads for the many people in the area.  It's potential as a stopping place for weary park visitors to the Grand Canyon, caused it to be added to the National Park System in 1923.
     Following our tour, we drove back to Fredonia and drove both vehicles to Jacob Lake Campground.   This is a National Forest Campground, located by the main road leading to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It's elevation is about 8500+ feet.  We stayed there two nights and enjoyed the area.  We had a heavy rainstorm after getting settled in the campground and discovered a leak about the head of the bed.  Gary re-parked so that area was uphill slightly and the water wouldn't pool there.  The next day he re-calked the leaking area.  In the meantime, we dried out everything that had become wet.  In exploring the area, we found Jacob Lake, the area is named after.  Most lakes in this area are actually sinkholes formed when the limestone dissolves and the earth collapses into the hole.  As the ranger explained though, any area that retains water year round is special.   We also found the original Jacob Lake Ranger station built in 1910.

On Friday, I drove into the North Rim, while Gary watched the British Open Golf Tournament.  He'd been to the North Rim previously.  I can never get enough of the Canyon and enjoy seeing it every time I get the chance.  It brought back memories of our hikes there as I looked over the top of it.

Kay and I hiked the N. Kaibab trail, running along the bottom of this canyon.
     As we descended into the Vermillion Cliffs area, we crossed the Navajo Bridge.  Originally built in 1927, it was the only crossing of the Colorado River in 600 miles.  The first bridge was 834 feet long & 467 feet high.  The new bridge was built in 1995.  This is a fun panoramic shot of the two bridges.

Saturday, we headed for Meteor Crater, where we worked in 2005.  We had a great, although short, visit with old friends and coworkers.  The crater remains the same, although they are doing some major remodeling of the the facilities there.

At long last, we were heading for Show Low on Sunday.  We stayed at Scotty's Reservoir again.  This is a place we found through the Escapee's Day's End listings and allows free camping for up to five days.  It gets really busy on the weekends, but is nice during the week. 

Since Suzannah and Frank first showed us this trailer last October, it seems like it's taken a long time to get here.  We were excited and eager to finish the deal.  We met with the seller Monday morning at the bank and went together to the Arizona Dept. of Transportation.  Their computers were all down, so we were able to get the sellers portion done, but had to return a few days later to finish our portion.  Benny, the seller, left Tue morning and we were there at 9am to start moving in.  Although we kept telling ourselves we didn't have to do it all at once, we were eager to get settled.  By that afternoon, Gary had the trailer wired for the satellite and both TV's working in the living room and bedroom.  Here are some pictures of our new (to us) summer base.  We still plan on traveling, but this will be a nice base, and is only 185 miles from Casa Grande.  The elevation here is about 6,500 feet, the same as Evanston.  This means that while it is 100+ degrees in the Valleys of Arizona, it is only  in the high 70's or 80's in the mountains of Show Low. 
Kitchen and back of TV in living room.
Kitchen with "real" fridge.  (What will I do with all the room in it?)

Living room with 2 recliners and large hide-a-bed sofa.
Bedroom with walk-around bed.
Large dresser in bedroom.
Our Patio
Our Front Parking Area
     Now that we've been here a week, Gary has played in a couple pool tournaments, played one of the 6 or 7 golf courses in the area, I've been to a few water aerobic classes, including aqua zumba, registered for a quilt class at one of the two quilt stores, and Bandits been to the dog park and loves it. We're starting to get to know our neighbors and of course enjoy the ones (Frank and Suzannah), we already know.  This last weekend we went to a car show and art fair in Snowflake, about 20 miles north of here.  We also visited with AZ friends, Bob and Lorrie, who have settled there.
     That's it for now.  Our official mailing address remains the Rapid City one, but since we expect to be here until October, if you are mailing something before then, you can mail it to us in Show Low.  Our address here is:  1051 N. Central St. #272
     Show Low, AZ 85901
      If you're in our area, we'd love to have you stop by.
Until fall, we'll be dancing in Show Low, AZ...........................
Hugs, Katy Gary, and Bandit too.