Saturday, December 9, 2017

Take A Hike

Stepping back in time a bit.... I flew into Denver to pick up my car, visit with my dad and then get a few odds and ends taken care of. Then I was heading to the airport to pick up my friend, a very good friend, who had agreed to meet me in Denver and accompany me on my drive to California. So you see why she is a very good friend? We had all kinds of adventures planned - most having to do with potty breaks near quilt shops!

Friend had a change of planes in Chicago. Chicago was fogged in and her flight was diverted to Cincinnati to wait. Other planes bound for Chicago were diverted to Cincinnati and other eastern airports. When it came time to leave for Chicago it seems that a few passengers had not made it back on the flight. They waited. After a roll call just like in elementary school where passengers raised their hands when their names were read, the plane was on its way. Far too late to make her connecting flight.

On my end, I had completed all of my errands and started toward the airport to meet the flight arriving around noon, plus “T”, an unknown amount of time. I knew about the stop in Cincinnati and knew that if, by any chance, the airline held her flight in Chicago, I might need to be nearby. In hindsight, I should have stayed on the other side of town as Murphy’s Law might come into play which would mean that her plane came in close to her scheduled time and I’d be late in picking her up! As it happened, after standing in line for ages, she was able to get a confirmed seat arriving at 10:05 PM that night. (I did look online to see if I could find anything but everything I saw said “sold out”.) We both figured arriving 11 hours late was a better outcome than what she heard from other passengers trying to get to other destinations, whose only option was arriving 36 hours later!

And so I waited. (Oh, and waited some more as her flight was delayed!) 

What to do for the next 10 hours? 

I could drive back to the other side of town and see Dad some more... 
Or, 
I could go to a mall and shop...
Or,
I could go find a friend and enjoy a coffee...
Or...

I could go take a hike!


There was a park fairly close to the airport and the park connected to open space trails. Off I went. 



It was a beautiful sunny day with the crispness of a Colorado fall day. The trail ran along a plateau with side trails looping down to the river and back. 


While walking along the river I noticed that the water was like a mirror. There didn’t seem to be any movement. I couldn’t even tell which way the water flowed. Then I noticed some trees where beavers had industriously worked at bringing the trees down. 




The beavers had tackled some huge trees. Finally I came across the beaver dam. That explained the lack of movement in the water!



 My walk was an enjoyable way to spend some of the hours waiting for my friend. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thelma & Louise (Without any bloodshed)

We left California in mid October (a few weeks early) to escape the smoke of the Napa fires.


After just a few days in Florida, I flew back to Denver to visit my father, pick up my car and drive it to California to visit and provide some help for new grandson, Kellan.  Oh, and to unpack a bit more at our new house!

My BFF, Marjie, flew into Denver to travel with me.

Our adventure began with a delayed flight. Marjie was due in around noon. She called me to let me know she had landed in Cincinnati.
"Great!" I said.
"Not so great," Marjie said.
Her first stop was supposed to be Chicago!
Almost 12 hours later she landed in Denver. So, the start of our adventure was delayed a bit....
No big deal.
We had already decided that our trip would include stops at quilt shops along the way. Oh, no! It was Monday and the shop in Ft. Collins was closed! But... "QuiltEssentials" in Laramie, WY welcomed us.


We bought a bit of this and a bit of that. As we left a few snowflakes were falling. Not a big deal. Just part of our adventure! And, to be an adventure, we needed more than a few snowflakes. We had a bit of a blizzard... only a small one... and since temperatures had been warm most of the snow melted. However, we did get an inch or two of slush as we drove further in the snow.


We arrived in Rock Springs, WY, had a quick dinner, and fell into bed..... only to wake at 4:30 AM since we were both on Eastern Standard Time. What the heck... we hit the road. This early morning wake-up call meant we missed a few quilt shops - it was only 8 AM when we arrived in the next largest city, Salt Lake City! Nope! No stores were open at that time.

We shared the driving responsibilities and Marjie enjoyed Whinny's "get up and go"! She was also in awe of the acres and acres of open territory we drove through.

Marjie loves drama!!
 I had tried to prepare Marjie for the salt flats. The flats extend about 50 miles from Salt Lake City to West Wendover, Nevada. The road is flat. The road is straight. And there is nothing to see (well, almost nothing) for miles.


As we buzzed along in eastern Nevada the "Low Fuel" indicator beeped and lit up. What? We just had a half tank of fuel. How could we be low? The indicator said that we had 49 miles to go. Wells, NV, the next stop, was over 50 miles away. Oh crap! We motored on. I reduced our speed to 55 mph. We motored on. Later I remembered that the car had a "green" mode that uses less fuel. We motored on. All the while I'm looking at the "Miles to go" numbers as they creep lower and lower. What's the worse that could happen? We motored on. Finally signs appeared for Wells, NV... and FUEL! Hooray! We coasted into the first gas station and filled up, heaving a HUGE sigh of relief.

According to the manual we had 6 tenths of a gallon of fuel left. And according to the display on the dash we had 3 miles of fuel left.


An online resource lists the fuel tank capacity at 11.6 gallons.


That was cutting it waaaayyy too close! But... it was an adventure that we will both remember for years!

So, on with our mission! We enjoyed visiting The Quilt Parlor in Battle Mountain, NV. And, of course, we added more to our stashes.


Then is was on to Citrus Heights, California and a stop at "Runs with Scissors". (Don't you love the name of the quilt shop?!)


And then we were "there". Our first stop was at my son and daughter-in-law's house in Oakland to meet Kellan. Kellan was born on October 27. In this picture he is just under two weeks old. 


Our granddaughter was not immediately thrilled with her baby brother! But she is growing to love tolerate him!

Photo courtesy of Bella Photographs
Then it was on to our new house in California where the adventure continued as we unpacked boxes. The most important "find" was the track for my long arm sewing machine. I packed it with some paintings.... but which ones?


With Marjie's help we had the long arm machine assembled and running in about 4 hours. 


And "sew" the adventure came to an end, as all good things must. I took Marjie to the airport, where her flight home went without a hitch this time. I stayed on for a few more days of family and unpacking, and then returned to my new Florida home.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Almost Home

When we left California it seemed that our trek across country would never end. Now, as we approach our final destination in southern Florida, it doesn't seem so bad. We have certainly taken a leisurely route. We refer to it as the "Three Thirty Rule" meaning we will travel no more than 330 miles or arrive no later than 3:30 PM. Certainly our trip has taken more days than it could have, but the quality of our days has been so much better. (IE... we aren't bitching at each other ...... as much!!!)

Our travels up to Jacksonville
We arrived in the Jacksonville area on Friday, and spent the weekend with family before moving on to our home near Labelle, FL. We were anxious to see the resort, as Hurricane Irma went right over it. And everyone had reported that although there was damage, it was not anything like it could have been. The staff of the resort has been (and remains) very busy cleaning up debris and broken limbs. The pines, oaks and palms are all a bit thinner than they were, and limbs seem to droop a bit more than in the past.

Last year I took a picture of the palms reflected in the mirror of our motorhome. I took a second shot of it last night. It shows the impact of the hurricane on the palms. They look so sad.



Here is another before and after shot. The first is a picture of our lot with the huge oak at the back and a pretty Bismarck Palm in the front. Compare this picture to the one I took this evening.  What a difference.




   

Thursday, October 26, 2017

RV Museum - Amarillo

We pulled into Amarillo with a few hours to spare before evening. We had heard that there was an RV museum in town, so off we went. The museum is the private collection of Jack Sisemore the owner of Jack Sisemore Traveland, an RV dealership.
We enjoyed seeing the collection. Jack has collected and restored a number of trailers and motorhomes. In addition there was quite a collection of motorcycles
The highlight of our visit was meeting Jack, and his brother Jess. We were on our way out of the RV supply store at the front of the dealership when an older gentleman stopped us and asked if we had enjoyed our visit. I thought that perhaps we were talking to Jack and asked. Yep, he was the real deal. And, the fellow next to him made some comment about his brother.  I remembered reading that a motorcycle had been given to Jack's brother, Jess. So, I asked if he was "Jess". He answered in the affirmative.
More than anything else about our visit, talking with the two brothers made my day! I loved visiting with them for a while.

Here are some pictures from our visit:

























Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ships (Recreational Vehicles) that Pass in the Night (on the Interstate)

As we travel I occupy my time by calculating gas mileage, locating campgrounds for future stops, finding fuel stops and checking accessibility on satellite views, making notes in a journal about where we just stayed and occasionally writing and posting a campground review online. I use the Internet to look up places mentioned on signs, manufacturing plants we pass to see what they make, and sights to see that we aren’t stopping to see, and report the information I find to the driver. I also check maps for traffic information and the weather. And of course, I check email and social media to catch up on friends and what they are doing. 

Our travels over the past 4 1/2 years have put us in the position to meet people from all over the world. Sometimes the meeting is a brief conversation about where folks are from, where they are going and how do they like their rig. Other meetings involve stories told while enjoying a glass of wine, and perhaps dinner. And some encounters involve traveling together that promotes friendships that endure. Facebook gives all of us the opportunity to see where some of our friends are, or where they are heading. 

As we turned our wheels to the east I noticed that friends of ours were in Amarillo for the week on their trek home to California. They were leaving Amarillo on Friday and were planning to spend the week in Albuquerque. They were staying at the same RV resort where we were planning to stay. We had reservations for Thursday, and would leave for Amarillo on Friday. We would be ships that pass in the night... Or RV’s that pass on the Interstate. We could wave to each other! Since we aren’t in a huge hurry to get across the country, and knowing we still have a long way to go and taking breaks is what we said we would do, we added another night’s stay in Albuquerque so we could have a brief visit with Bill and Denise. And visit, we did. We talked, and drank, and had yummy food at the 66 Diner. The ladies had a show and tell; Denise showed the projects she has been knitting while on the road, and I showed the quilts I had on board. We laughed that one can not have enough yarn or fat quarters. The guys talked shop. They talked about brakes and driving in the wind, and fueling up and acceleration. The next morning we had breakfast, shared hugs and good-byes, and “see ya down the road!” 


Those planned encounters happen, whether the planning happens weeks or months out... or a day in advance. But we have also had serendipitous encounters where we just happen upon someone. We have bumped into friends at campgrounds, rest areas and while driving along the road. While we were in Albuquerque it happened again. We had a blown headlight so proceeded to Camping World to get a new bulb. While waiting in line the lady at the next register looked very familiar. When she talked I knew it! There was Nancy, a woman we traveled with on a west coast tour two years ago. Nancy was on a Route 66 RV tour. We joined the group’s happy hour and had fun meeting more people and catching up with Nancy. 


Such is the fun of RV traveling. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Scene Along the Side of the Road: Farms

Our drive through central California seemed long and frankly, boring. However, the monotony was broken by observing the produce along the side of the road and speculating on what was being farmed. Sometimes difficult to do as you zip by the rows of crops. We have heard that central California is considered by some to be the “bread basket of the nation” and could see that it earns that title. We saw the more traditional row crops, including pumpkins, spaghetti squash and melons. Some fields were being prepared for replanting. Then there were the trees. We passed miles of orchards and groves. We saw citrus being picked. At 60 mph it looked like lemons and limes. We saw nuts being harvested. I could pick out pistachio trees by the grape-like clusters near the end of the branches. We guessed that the there were walnuts, and later in our journey, almonds, mostly because of signs identifying huge hulling operations. We saw acres of dead trees as we moved south, along with signs pointing out “No Water = No Jobs” and “Congress Created Dust Bowl”. Water allocations have been battled for years, and it seems tensions have risen in an indirect relationship to the decreasing rainfall of the last years. As we moved further south in California we began traveling through an area where table grapes are grown. Seeing acres of grape vine arbors covered in tarps to allow grapes to mature out of the hot sun, and seeing many pickers beginning the harvest, I realized that there are a lot of unseen costs in producing just about any crop. I came to appreciate grapes brought to me at the grocery store at $1.99 a pound. As we turned toward the west, near Bakersfield, CA, and continued toward the Arizona border we saw different sorts of farms: those collecting energy from the sun and the wind. 

There are hundreds of windmills on the mountains. Zoom in to see some of them.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Moving Day

Or...

Things That Go Bump in the Night


We let the moving company know that we were ready.
We waited.
Anxiously.
Finally we received a call. 
Our belongings were going to be loaded on a van headed our way.
We were the last stop.
We waited.
Anxiously.

Finally the day arrived. By mid-day the van was outside our door and in a flurry of activity our furniture, our boxes, our bins, our tools, our stuff was being hauled into the house.

What a day. Even though we didn't physically carry everything into the house, we were exhausted.

That night, after unpacking a fair bit of our stuff, we slept in our own bed, in our new home.... listening to strange sounds and seeing different lights. Other than campground living, we have never lived "on top" of other folks... and here we have people all around. It is a strange feeling, but in some ways, it is a safe feeling. I walked the dogs (who were also a bit anxious and confused) around the neighborhood that night and I didn't even need a flashlight because of the streetlights... another new phenomenon for me! At 4:00 AM I heard a neighbor start his motorbike... or something with a small engine. It idled and idled. Geesh! It's Saturday morning. Who gets up that early? Who starts an engine and lets it run? The engine stopped. Then it began again. Finally I had to look. I went downstairs and opened the front door to peek out into the street. The sound stopped. I pulled in my head and shut the door. The sound resumed. I opened the door again, and again the sound stopped. But, I could hear our sprinkler system running. That's when I realized that the rumble I thought was an engine was caused by the vibration of water pipes for our irrigation system... and the sound evidently travels through the walls of our bedroom. OK, so we won't water our plants at that time any longer!

The next few days were a flurry of shuffling boxes, unpacking boxes, flattening boxes, filling boxes with packing paper, trying to find space for everything, hooking up cables, finding light bulbs, etc.

While all of this was happening the fires were burning in Sonoma County. The fires were 30 miles from our new home, but smoke and ash still filled the air, irritated our eyes and made it difficult for Mr. Dreamy to breathe. So, we changed our plans a bit. We decided to head to Florida earlier, before the grand baby is born, and I would fly back to spend some time with the new mom, our son and their children. So... off we go. New adventures await.

BEFORE:





DURING:



AFTER:






Take A Hike

Stepping back in time a bit....  I flew into Denver to pick up my car, visit with my dad and then get a few odds and ends taken care of. Th...