Two Weeks With Our Loves

We pulled out of the Caddo River Access RV Park at 8:06 am and pulled into the Hinton RV Park in Sikeston, Missouri almost exactly 8 hours later.  We made about an hour stop for lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen.

Just a little rain.

About the time we were ready to head over to Lambert’s for dinner the bottom felt out and it poured.  We waited for it to slow down some before we headed out.

Still raining…

There was no wait when we got to Lambert’s so we were taken right to a table.  We enjoyed our meals, as usual, and had plenty to take home with us for future meals.

We planned to travel to Bloomington, IL and spend the night before making the final leg of our journey.  However, we had a change of plans as snow was predicted for the following day and we didn’t want to have to try backing into Zack’s driveway in a mess.  So about 1/2 an hour before hitting the road we decided to drive the entire 515 miles.

The drive actually went very smoothly.  We made minimal stops and didn’t even have lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen…instead we picked up some lunch and ate it while continuing our drive.  Lum and Abner helped to fill the time too!

Safely tucked away for 2 weeks

We arrived at Zack and Kelsea’s about 6:00 pm, got parked, had dinner that Kelsea had waiting and then visited for a while.  Dan, Amanda and their trio stopped by so we got hugs from them too.

We did, indeed, beat the snow.  It started snowing the following morning about 9:00 am and continued all day…big flakey flakes.  Probably about 4 inches or so total…but most of it melted the following day.  Whew!

PTB was crazy busy for the two weeks that we were in Wisconsin…seemed like we were always working.  But we did make sure to fit in time to see each of the grandbabies participating in the activities.

Paityn & Zoe stretching

Both Paityn and Zoe are in gymnastics so we were able to watch a couple of their practices (they’re there at the same time, which was helpful!)  They both amaze me at how well they do…and Zoe follows direction so well.

Bennie playing defense

Ben is playing soccer.  We were able to see two of his games.  He’s come a long way with listening and following direction.  He stayed on task the entire time and there was no ‘zoning out’.

Alex getting a hit!

Alex is playing baseball.  We were able to watch him play one game…sadly, his second game was rained out (better than snow!).  We really enjoyed getting to watch his game (my favorite sport).  He got a hit and played several different positions (trying things out) and even got to field the ball.

Cameron, isn’t in an activity right now…but we got to spend some one on one time with him while his sister was at gymnastics.

One morning not long after arriving I was in ‘my office’ working when there was a ‘double bump’ to the slide I was sitting in…thinking either Zack or Kelsea were being the punks that they normally are and banging on the slides, I yelled ‘Knock it off!’ and waited for someone to come inside….and I waited…and waited…no one ever came in.

The Walking Dead….starring Zack!

Then I heard some moaning going on outside.  I got up and went to the door to find Zack lying on the ground, hold his head and moaning.  I told him to ‘knock it off, as that wasn’t funny’.  But then I looked a bit more and saw that his phone was lying on the ground and his shoes were off.  I yelled for Michael to come (I was still in my pjs).

To make a long story short.  Zack had been looking at his phone while walking and walked into the corner of one of our living room slides.  He actually hit twice…once on the top of his head and then right above his right eye where he received a cut.  He had a nice scuff mark on the top of his head as well as quite a goose egg.

Kelsea took him to the clinic where they put some steri-strips on his cut and sent him home.  He had actually knocked himself out for a short while (that’s why it was so quiet after the initial ‘bump’ that I felt) and quite a headache for a couple of days.

These goofs love spending time together

We all got together a couple of different times.  Dan and Amanda had us all over for grilled steaks and games.  It was a nice day so the kids all played outside on the swing set for a while and then later settled down inside to watch movies.

Go Brewers Go!

We all drove to Milwaukee to take in a Brewers game on Cinco de Mayo.  The roof was open and the sun was hot and our seats had no shade.  The rest of the crew braved the sun but Michael and I moved a few rows back to sit in the shade.

Turned out to be a good, close game with the Brewers pulling out the win with a score of 3-2.  We always enjoy a good Brewers game and hoping we can get to another one this summer.

While we didn’t spend Mother’s Day with the boys, I was given wonderful gifts by both.

What a beauty!

We don’t use our propane stove/oven so I wanted a cover to go on top of the stove top to set my induction cook tops on and to keep the stove top clean.  Zack built a cover out of various woods that goes right over the top and it’s awesome!

No pictures of us…but here’s the cream brule! LOL

And Dan took me…just me…out for dinner to Johnnie’s Italian Steakhouse.  It was SO nice to have time alone with my baby.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner and chatted about whatever we felt like….very little PTB…gotta get away from that every now and again!  We even got dessert!  Creme Brule for me!

I’ve been so blessed throughout my life and couldn’t ask for anything more.

Before we knew it, it was time to hitch up and move on down the road toward Michigan where we’ll be attending the Michigan Grand Design rally in Birch Run.

Delicious brisket!

But…we had one last get together.  This time at Zack and Kelsea’s for a smoked brisket dinner.  Macaroni & Cheese, Italian pasta salad, creamed corn, green beans & corn bread rounded out the meal.  And for dessert?  Unicorn cupcakes!  Delish.

Girls enjoying a little wine…

Once again, while the babies played outside and then watched a movie the adults played cards…this time it was Canasta…Michael and I partnered and sucked.  LOL…but, there were no arguments, only laughter and that made it all worthwhile!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pop Up Project!

Pulled out of the Cleveland County Fairgrounds at 9:00 am on Thursday 4/18.  We took smaller roads and enjoyed the views…cows, farms, horses.

We followed rain all the way to our destination although we only got rained on (for just a little bit) about 45 minutes from our final destination.

We made about an hour stop for lunch at Kelly’s Kitchen in Somewhere, Oklahoma.  Just a small park at the intersection of two roads with a couple of picnic tables.  We were the only ones there and it was a little on the chilly side so we ate our lunch inside.

We made it to the Caddo River Access RV Park in Glenwood about 4:30 pm.  Got backed into a site easily enough, unhitched, got things up and running inside and then were off.  We grabbed some grub for the road and headed over to Mike’s moms for a visit.  We ended up visited for several hours before getting back home about 8:00 pm.

We received a new converter while we were at the warehouse and Michael was able to install in Friday morning.  It took less than 30 minutes (including emptying the basement and placing everything back in) and we were back in business.

Eggs so fresh Mikey had to clean the poop off!

We got a surprise visit from our friend, Cherie, Friday afternoon.  We visited for a little while before she had to head home to cook some dinner and we had to get back to work.  The sweetheart even brought us fresh eggs from her sons chickens!

The Barnett family

That evening we had invited Michael’s mom, niece, brothers and cousin to join us at the Fish Nest for dinner.  There were eleven of us in all and it was nice to have everyone in one place, which doesn’t happen very often.

Saturday Michael started working on building a ramp off the front porch of Alice’s house.  She uses a walker these days and without the ramp she can’t get out to her front yard to water plants, weed etc.  She asked Michael if he could put something together for her.

Corey using his muscles

Alyssa removing all kinds of screws

Alyssa helped him on Saturday by removing a ton of screws from an old ramp that he was hoping to reuse some of the boards for but didn’t end up using them after all but he was able to reuse a lot of the screws.

On Sunday, cousin Corey helped by digging some trenches for the new ramp to sit in so that Alice would have a smooth approach to and from the porch using the ramp.

Monday was all work…no play.  Boo!

Tuesday we did some work in the morning and then Michael rain some errands (haircut and picked up propane and Quikrete) while I stayed home to get some ‘home’ stuff done.

Long time friends

That afternoon we met with Cherie and her husband, Bill, for an early dinner at El Diamente in Glenwood.  We don’t get to see Bill very often so this was a special treat.  We had such a good time visiting and catching up.

Time to screw down the decking

After dinner we headed over to Alice’s so that Michael could put down a concrete base for the ramp to sit on.  While he worked, Alice and I sat outside on the front porch and visited.

Wednesday we met our friends, Brock and Tammy, in Hot Springs to enjoy lunch at World Buffet.  Tammy is my ‘Chinese Buddy’ as we both love it.  Brock and Michael went to school together and got into mischief together as kids though I’d never met Brock or Tammy until a few years ago but we’ve become good friends.

Completed ramp

Afterward we ran a few quick errands and then headed back out to Alice’s to visit and finish work on the ramp.  Michael really did a nice job and it looks great and works well for Alice who tried it out right away.

We were home about 8:30, giving me time to do some work, pack the following days lunch and do some move prep as we were hitting the road the following more….final destination….GRANDBABIES!

 

 

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Touching Base in Norman, OK

Brrr!  It was cold hitching up to leave Amarillo!  39 degrees…with a ‘feels like’ of 20!  Plus it was WINDY!  My flip flops didn’t quite cut it!  🙂

The Leaning Tower of Groom

Not long after leaving Amarillo we came across two interesting sites along the interstate.  Our friend Rachel had told us about them so we were on the look out.  Both were in the small town of Groom Texas.  The first was a large cross located at an area the church…similar to others we’ve seen during our travels.

The second one was what is referred to as the ‘Leaning Tower of Groom‘.  It’s a water tower that never met code so someone bought it and decided to use it as a ‘landmark’ and make it lean.

Car parked in the way

We pulled out of the Big Texan RV Ranch about 9:00 am and headed west on I-40 toward Oklahoma.  It was time to check in at the warehouse.  We pulled into the Cleveland County Fairgrounds about 4:00 pm and found only one site that didn’t have an RV in it.  It was a 30 amp site…but we can make do with that.  However, someone had parked a car in the spot.  Since they don’t take reservations and there is no saving spots we just pulled in next to the car and hooked up to power, electric and sewer and assumed that whoever was using the site as a parking lot would move the car when they realized an RV had moved in.

About 9:00 pm that night we heard people outside and assumed that the people were back and would move their car.  I could tell they were complaining so went outside to find out what the issue was.

Two men (one elderly, the other a little younger than us) were checking out the hook ups and told us that we were in their site.  We disagreed.  They had a receipt (that they waved around constantly) saying they’d paid for the site and that the car was saving the spot and asked if we had a receipt.  We told them that the normal procedure was to go to the kiosk, take an envelope, fill it out with site information, add payment and drop it back in the box.  No receipt involved.

Snuggled into the whole site after the car moved.

They insisted that we move…we told them no…that we’d paid for the site and were in it.  They called the police.  After a lengthy wait it was determined that we’d stay in the site (they had to move the car so that we could scooch over further into the site).  They were found another site around the corner.  Two hours of our night…wasted.

I’ll just bet that whatever person in the office allowed them to pay in advance and park their car in the site got a talking to.  We had a couple of other people here in the park tell us they’d tried to do that and were told ‘absolutely not’.

Friday we spent the day at the warehouse.  Both Alyssa and Preston were there so we got caught up on all things PTB.  I invoiced several customers and did my normal work while Michael piddled around in the shop, spoke with customers on the phone and worked with Alyssa to determine the best way to utilize the space in the warehouse as it’s getting fuller and fuller all the time.

Good stuff!

After work, Michael and I went out for dinner.  We tried a new place, Sam’s Southern Eatery and were very pleased.  Being Lent we both went with the 6 piece jumbo shrimp dinner (came with 8 shrimp!) which came with two sides.  Michael went with fries and cole slaw and I had fries and green beans.  It also came with 2 hushpuppies which were pretty spicy.  The shrimp was excellent and more than we could eat…will make some alterations they next time we go.

Saturday was spent at home…doing nothing…and it felt SO good.  It rained all day and well into the night.  It was cold and gloomy and perfect to have the fireplace blazing all day.  I hung out in my jammies all day and cleaned up the DVR of several TV shows that I was behind on.

Pretty view

Sunday the sun came out and we ventured out.  First to Furr’s to enjoy their breakfast buffet.  After breakfast we took a drive out to Thunder Lake State Park.  While staying at the fairgrounds while in Norman is convenient (4 miles to the warehouse) it’s getting harder and harder to get a site since there are so many ‘permanent’ people staying there.

We’d been told that the state park had full hook up sites and since it wasn’t too far away (about 15 miles) it would be a fairly easy commute.  It turned out to be a pretty drive and the park had nice views as well.  We saw several sites that were long enough to accommodate this new monster of ours.  Not sure if we’ll stay there though as there were quite a few low limbs and we try not to get the coach into tight squeezes.

Alyssa receiving a pallet of shipping supplies

Monday it was back to work at the warehouse.  Business has picked up so much that we decided that we needed another fulltime person in the warehouse. I met with a young man who was looking for fulltime work.  He happens to be friends with one of our installers and has helped him with several installs so he has some knowledge of disc brakes which is great.

Busy crew working to get orders out.

Everything worked out just perfect and the stars were aligned just right and we were able to have him start the following day.  He dove right in, using the new press we purchased for the shop.  He used it to remove 9/16 inch studs from 4 hub/rotors and then used it to insert 5/8 inch studs back into the hub/rotors for a customer.

Things went very smoothly while we were at the warehouse.  Michael got some things that he needed to take care of done while we were there.  We discussed some new shelving options for better storage in the warehouse.  It was a good visit.

Delicious

Our last night in Norman we took the crew out for dinner at Kendall’s in Noble.  Just a small restaurant but their claim to fame is chicken fried steak.  They have one of those food challenges where if you eat so much (and make yourself miserable) you get your meal free and get honored.  None of us participated…but three of us did enjoy the chicken fried steak, while two others had the fried catfish and the fifth went with a chicken breast sandwich.  Very good and I wouldn’t mind going back.

Thursday 4/18 we headed out of Norman at 9:00 am…headed for Arkansas and a visit with Michael’s family and our friends.

 

 

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Amarillo by Morning…

Amarillo by Morning

Even though we only had 115 miles to travel between Tucumcari, New Mexico and Amarillo, Texas…Michael insisted we leave early enough so that we could still reach Amarillo by ‘morning’!  Goof (He even insisted we listen to ‘Amarillo by Morning’ as we drove.  LOL!

Packing up to leave has become much easier since we have the rooftop satellite dish now (no more setting up and breaking down the tripod) and quite a few things less things that have to be stowed as most items have ‘homes’.  Makes things way easier.

Site 118A

We pulled out of the Blaze-in-Saddle RV park in Tucumcari at 8:32 am mst and reached the Big Texan RV Park just before 11:30 am cst and got settled into our site for the next week.  We lost an hour with the time change…that’s the reason we had to leave so early on such a short travel day.

Check out this goofy parking pattern!

The park used to be a mobile home park so the sites are set up pretty strangely.  We were escorted to site 118A…a nice long pull through but its set up so that another camper would pull in behind us…I guess they’d have to back out.  All around us, rigs came in and were escorted through other sites, over the grass, any which way they could to get to their site.  Weird set up.

Friday we worked 1/2 a day and then went and ‘played’.  We went to a movie, got our toes done and have a veggie pizza for dinner (Lent).  PTB is still super busy (almost 1/2 way to this months sales goal by the 5th of the month!) So we take advantage of the quiet when we can!

The movie we saw this week was ‘Us‘.  Labeled as a horror/thriller, this one had me a bit leery (I’m a chicken)…but with a 7.4 rating on IMDb we decided to check it out.  It wasn’t really scary (didn’t hide once) but it was really kinda dumb in my opinion.  Michael thought the plot was good…me not so much.  Not one I’d recommend.  At least the popcorn was good!

Yum!

We chose 575 Pizzeria, again, because of its high ratings on Yelp.  Thankfully, this one turned out to be on par.  Just a small place but welcoming.  We ordered the ‘tine Trio (Olive tapenade, spinach artichoke dip and bruschetta with brick fired bread) for starters.  It turned out to be quite yummy.  Michael doesn’t care for olives in any form but tried the tapenade and didn’t die.  😉

Our small pizza with (tomatoes, onions, pineapple, red peppers and black olives on half).  The server topped with fresh grated cheese at our table and it was really tasty.

Giving Tim the ‘High Sign’

We were pleasantly surprised to find that Molly & Gene C were in the same park as us and arrived the same day we did.  They’re the inlaws of Tim from T&S and also have a Landmark.  We’d followed each other on Facebook but not met in person.  We were pleased when we they stopped by to say ‘Hi’ on their way out to do the touristy things.  What a treat!

Saturday we headed out to do some exploring.  First stop:  Cadillac Ranch  This one had been on my list for several years and it was fun to finally make it happen.  We made sure to stop at Walmart prior to our visit to pick up a couple of cans of spray paint (purple for me, copper for Michael) so that we could engross ourselves in the experience!

Mudhole = fun!

We picked a not so good time to visit…it rained the night before and the area around the cars themselves was a lake…ok so maybe a pond.  Our plan of adding to the art was a bit harder to get done…but we did it!

Help! My feet are stuck!

We got our feet covered in mud (almost lost my flip flops a time or two), Michael found an egg inside one of the cars and we just had fun being silly.  Michael’s copper paint covered two hubs and I just made a purple heart with our initials in it…hard to see…but it’s there!  The paint was so thick it was crazy…and it just dripped.

Cadillac Ranch RV Park display

We also made a quick run through of the Cadillac Ranch RV Park and quickly determined it wasn’t a place we’d stay…pretty yucky.  But I didn’t take the opportunity to take a picture of the Cadillacs and cowboy out front!

Check that out!

Second Stop:  Palo Duro Canyon  – This was not on my radar at all…didn’t know anything about it at all until my cousin, Ryan asked if we were going to visit while we were in Amarillo.  He sent me a link and I did a little more research and found out we definitely we needed to add it to our list of things to see while in town.

Lunch with a view!

It was a great way to spend our Saturday!  I packed sandwich fixings and we took our time driving through the state park, stopping several times to check different things out.  We enjoyed our picnic lunch at one of the day use areas while watching hikers and bikers come and go from one of the many trails in the park.

Gorgeous views

Known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’, Palo Duro Canyon is the 2nd largest canyon in the US.  We both found it amazing as we drove to the park that the scenery was fairly flat and boring and then out of nowhere the ground gave way to his gorgeous crater.  The colors…layers….outcroppings…unbelievable.  This is definitely a don’t miss stop when in the Amarillo area.

Unique little place

Final Stop:  Little Buddhist Temple – This was another Roadside America find.  While the place was interesting it definitely could have used some tender loving care.  The most interesting thing we came across was a ‘cemetery’ of sorts…within the brick wall ‘fence’.  Each column held (what we believed to be) the remains of a follower of the Laotian Buddhist religion.

In memorium

A few of the memorials were taken care of…clean, orderly, loved.  But most were in disrepair, dirty, forgotten.  Nevertheless, it was an interesting stop…just wish we’d been able to go inside the temple to learn more.

Another check off the old bucket list!

We topped the day off with dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch.  This is the home of the 72 oz steak dinner challenge.  Eat a 72 ounce steak, shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad and a roll with butter.  The participant must eat everything in the allotted 60 minutes.  We didn’t have any takers while we were there but there was a winner the previous day…it had been 6 months since the last winner.

72 ounce steak meal

We chose to go the ‘normal’ route and each ordered a 12 ounce ribeye, loaded baked potato and a cup of the veggie soup.  Everything was very good…though our server was lacking.  She tried to deliver salads to us (not ours), didn’t give us spoons for our soup (waited about 10 minutes for her to finally bring them) and sent the expediter to our table with the wrong main course.

LOVED it!

We had two gentleman come to our table asking for requests to play for us.  Of course, Michael requested ….Amarillo by Morning.  They did a great job and their performance added to the experience.

There they are!  Left center

When we got home we found out that Molly & Gene had been to the Big Texan that evening too!  After looking at my pictures I found that I had taken a picture of the dining room and they’re in it!  LOL

My expert marksman!

After dinner we wandered around a bit…stopping to play a shooting game (I got 23/25 and Michael got 25/25)…checked out the creepy pics in one hallway and sat in the Big Texan rocking chair.  We also did a little shopping in the gift shop – gifts for ourselves, our boys and a good friend.

When we leave Amarillo on Thursday it will be the last time we’re in Texas until this fall so I we got our Texas cravings out of the way.

Breakfast is served!

First we found a place that has jalapeno & cheese sausage kolaches and stocked up…a dozen.  They freeze well so we’ll have them for quite some time to come.  They’re great on travel days…just pop ’em in the microwave for a minute and go!

We also had dinner at Whataburger on Tuesday.  We got done with work about 3:30 (woot!) and went to the closest location for dinner.  Was a nice little treat.

Our last day in Amarillo was a warm one…89 for a high…however, overnight it got down into the high 20s…brrrr!  And it was windy!  There was a gloomy haze that hung over the whole area all day and the wind rocked the coach all day and all night.

I forgot to mention that when we came home from our day out on Saturday we didn’t have any lights.  Michael did some investigating and figured out that the converter wasn’t working properly.  If he charged it we’d have lights (and the ability to lower our bed!) but the charge didn’t last.

He called Heartland an Monday and explained the issue to them and they ordered a new converter and were supposed to ship it out to our warehouse on Wednesday.  Hoping it arrives on Friday so that Michael can install it over the weekend.

In the meantime, Michael bought a new battery charger and has been using that to keep the converter happy.  Without, we have no lights (other than the two lamps), air conditioning, hot water.  Anything that actually plugs into an outlet worked fine (TV, microwave, lamps, fan, chargers, etc).

 

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Time Spent in New Mexico

Tuesday, March 26th we were back on the road heading east and away from Arizona where we’d been since early January.  Seemed strange to say goodbye but we were both ready.

Our journey took us to Alamogordo, New Mexico (just under 300 mile drive) where we stayed at the Boothill RV park for 2 nights.  That gave us a chance to get caught up with work and laundry!  We hadn’t had full hook ups or access to laundry in 11 days!

The park turned out to be a nice place with a long pull through for us to pull into, laundry facilities, nicely manicured roads, etc.

We’d been in the area a couple of years ago and had visited White Sands National Monument, White Sands Missile Range, stayed at Holloman Air Force base, visited the NM Museum of Space History and several pistachio shops.

We also took a day trip to Cloudcroft.  (Read about that HERE) While there we enjoyed a very romantic (and pricey) 6 course meal at Rebecca’s.  We both enjoyed it so much and had wonderful memories that we decided a ‘do over’ was in order.

Our server finishing our Chateaubriand

We made reservations for Wednesday night and looked forward to it all day.  We arrived shortly before our reservation and took a seat at the bar for a few minutes before we were escorted to our table.

I’d checked their online menu to be sure that they still offered the Chateaubriand special…they did…6 course meal (appetizer, soup, salad, sorbet, entrée & dessert) for two.  When our waitress told us what came with the meal she said, ‘soup or salad’ and had to question her and was told that it had been changed to one or the other not both.  I told her that wasn’t what their website stated and she said ok.

Completed dish. We had so much leftover we had ‘Chateaubriand Hash’ for breakfast a couple of days later!

She came back later and said that the manager said I must have been looking at a menu from somewhere else…Yelp, Travel Advisor, etc…because their website was up to date.  I had my phone next to me and it had their website pulled up so I showed her and she said…’Oh, I’ll have to yell at my manager’.  In the end we got the meal we were there for at the price we expected.

Our meal spanned several hours and we enjoyed it very much…we even took leftovers home to enjoy at a later date.  The drive back down the mountain was as enjoyable as it was in the past…one we’d recommend anyone taking if in the area.

First time we’ve ever been escorted to a site by a bicycle

The following day, Thursday, we pulled up stakes and headed north to Tucumcari, New Mexico.  Just 230ish miles, so it was a fairly easy drive.  We pulled into the Blaze-in-Saddle RV Park about 3:00 pm and were escorted to a nice wide pull-through site for the next week.

We didn’t have any real plans for Tucumcari…it just happened to be along the route toward Norman and we’d never been there so it was as good a spot to stop as any.

LOTS of wind mills

Saturday March 30th was my 53rd birthday and with no real plans we ended up driving to Clovis (80 miles south) to do some errands and grab some dinner.  The drive there was kind of ‘blah’…not a lot of scenery other than LOTS of windmills and not much traffic either.

Much prettier drive home…

However, the drive home was a bit more scenic (we took a different route) – cows, farms, mesas, etc…still not much traffic…but that was ok.

We tried Thai City for dinner and weren’t real pleased.  They didn’t have the appetizer we ordered.  My soup came after my meal (Michael got his before his meal).  Michael’s battered chicken was soggy, my chicken was bland.  Just not the best experience.

Our dinner companions

On Monday, 4/1, we were blessed to share dinner with our Heartland friends, Don & Vicky and Vicky’s mom, Cristell.  Don & Vicky live about an hour south of Tucumcari but Cristell lives in Tucumcari.  We met for dinner at Del’s…open since 1956! We had very enjoyable meal and really enjoyed getting the chance to meet Cristell.

Our spot for the week.

We really enjoyed our stay in Tucumcari and have already decided we’ll be back.  With not a whole lot of site-seeing to worry about we got plenty of time to work (it’s been CRAZY busy) and also had time to relax.  There are a few things we’d like to see in the area so we’ll plan accordingly next time.

Our neighbors for several nights

The park has been busy with over-nighters all week….many being snowbirds heading back north for the summer.  Some even had horses with them and there are horse stables right behind us…so that was fun!

Our week’s stay went quickly and tomorrow we continue west…but only 115 miles to Amarillo, Texas where we’ll be staying for another week.  Have some exciting things to do during our stay…can’t wait.

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Stronghold Ranch Accomodations

Nestled into our spot for a couple of nights

We arrived at the Stronghold Ranch about noon on Saturday the 23rd.  The Stronghold Ranch is the home to our installer Dennis and his family.  They settled there about a year ago and have been working hard to ‘make it there own’ ever since.

The view…

It’s in a gorgeous location at the foothills the Cochise Stronghold…beautiful views abound!  They installed 2 RV sites so that customers can come to their location to have an install down and also enjoy the surrounding area.

You should how awesome the inside of this little place is…Dennis did ALL the work!

They full-timed in their class A motorhome until they got their casita built and livable.  Now their motorhome serves as an Airbnb destination!  What a couple of entrepreneurs!  Here’s a link to their listing Click HERE.

We had such a wonderful stay at their ranch.  They were perfect tour guides…sending out out on a couple of scenic drives that we awesome.  One nearly giggled me right out of my skin.

We settled in easily, visited with Dennis and Mavis for a couple of hours and then set out to get some lunch and take a drive through the area.

 

Sandy’s

Sandy’s Restaurant & RV Park was what Dennis & Mavis recommended so that’s where we headed first.  A small place with a homey atmosphere…just our kind of place.  We both ordered burgers & soup.  Food was very good and the service was excellent.  Tony, our server, was awesome….friendly and fun.

Sandy’s homemade pastries were highly recommended so we each picked out a couple to take home for later.

One of several structures we came across on our first drive.

After our late lunch we headed out for a scenic drive on the Ghost Town Trail which was beautiful.  We saw quite a bit of wildlife as well as remains of buildings.  We took our time, stopping to view certain things, etc.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon…especially after the crazy busy week we’d been through.

The following morning we headed out fairly early so that we could go back to Sandy’s for breakfast…just as good as the previous days ‘lupper’.  Service was just as good as the previous day as, Sandy, the owner, waited on us.  The place was quite busy but she still took the time to give us friendly, personal service.

The Cochise Stronghold

After breakfast we headed to the Cochise Stronghold Campground where we were expecting a better view of the Cochise Stronghold and possibly some more information than what we could find online.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find it.  (Click HERE for the online version)  We just figured with such a historic past we’d get more information.  Oh well…it’s a beautiful area nonetheless.

It was a fun drive too…we drove through at least half a dozen washes…some fairly deep…others not so much.

Came across several of these and were a bit shocked by the first one but we just opened it up…closed after we went through and continued on our way.

We also took Dennis’ advice and took another scenic drive…this one along the base of the mountains.  Apparently, he meant for us to only drive so far down the road and then turn around…however, we missed that part and kept going.  We drove the entire 8.5 miles and let me tell you…it was crazy in spots!  The entire drive was fairly rough…some much more rough than others. Most of the drive the road/path/trail was plenty ride…however, the last couple of miles it got pretty narrow!

At one point I laughed so hard, Michael stopped the truck and just stared at me to make sure I was ok.  While I cursed Dennis a few times during the really crazy part….we really had a lot of fun.  LOL  The views were stunning and the terrain magnificent.  We didn’t see many animals at all…though we did see ‘evidence’ of cows having been around.

How awesome is that?

At one of the very narrow parts of the pathy/trail we rounded a corner to find two cows in the middle of the road and a small pond to the right where there were several other cows hanging out.  It was actually a very pretty scene…of course I had to take some pictures to share.

Just chillin’ with Dennis and Maddie

We got back home by mid-afternoon and did some work before heading over to Dennis & Mavis’ place where we had a cookout.  Nothing fancy…just good old burgers & dogs with some side dishes.  The weather was gorgeous so we sat outside visiting and sharing stories.

Visitors

After a while we had a group of about eleven javelinas join us.  Apparently they stop by each evening to graze on the grass in the yard.  Mavis has name most of them and can tell you about their habits…two are twins, one baby not very old, a couple always get down on their front knees where foraging, etc.

We didn’t bother them…they didn’t bother us.  Mutual respect.

About the time that it really started to cool off we all headed into the house to enjoy a bowl of ice cream.  We had such a great time and we treated like royalty by these two humble and gracious folks.  Now we just have to talk our kids into joining us next time!  🙂

Dennis hard at work install a set of disc brakes

While we were there…one of our recent customer came for a three night stay to have his disc brakes installed.  Since we do a good portion of our sales online or by phone we both really enjoy getting to meet our customers in person.

Bob & Carla did pretty much the same thing we did while they were there…took a couple of drives but they also visited Tombstone which isn’t much of a drive either.  We enjoyed getting to know them and wish them safe travels.

 

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59th Escapade

Wow!  I’m way behind in blogging!  It’s been 2 weeks since my last post (sounds like a confession!)

We finished up our stay in Casa Grande on the fifteenth and made our way 90 miles south to the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson where we attended the 59th Escapade…a convergence of Escapee’s members (830 rigs in attendance).

We manned a booth Sunday through Wednesday and were crazy busy…not just because of this rally but also because we had a rally going on in Las Vegas (Grand Design owners) that we had a rep and installers at.  And of course…we had all of our regular non-rally business going on.  Let’s put it this way…we made our monthly sales goal by the 20th of the month!

The Escapade has an opening and closing ceremony plus entertainment most nights.  We attended the opening ceremony and the entertainment that evening (an Irish band) and had plans to try and attend a few of the other nights but by the time we were done at the booth each day, visited customers trailers afterward, got home, cooked dinner, etc…we just wanted to relax at home.

Great dinner partners!

The day after we arrived there was a dinner for the vendors which we attended (as we did last year).  We sat with two other couples and had a really enjoyable time getting to know them.  It’s a small world when 3 couples sit at the same table (never met before) and all happen to have ties to another couple.

During our discussions we figured out that we all knew Dave & Tracy one way or another.  We happen to house their RV Water Filter Store product in our warehouse, Jim & Kim happen to ‘base’ out of the same Escapees park in Jojoba Hills, CA and the other couple purchased their old trailer last year.  Small world!

Go PTB!

PTB was one of the official sponsors of the Escapade this year and I think it turned out well for us.  We sponsored the rally app which is used by hundreds during the rally to determine what events to attend, who to contact about what, what time and location events we at, etc.  Our logo was on banners displayed around the rally hall as well as on the ‘big’ screen during slide shows.  A very good opportunity for us.

Michael doing what he does best…

The Escapade officially ended on Friday but many people pulled out starting on Thursday…we stuck around until Saturday the 23rd.

We played catch up all day on Thursday and Friday morning.  Friday Michael insisted that we run away and go see a movie (I didn’t fight too hard).  We saw ‘Greta’…wow…eerie and kept us engrossed the whole time.  Worth a watch.

Being Friday (Lent) we also stopped at Hana Tokyo (right outside the movie theater doors) for dinner.  Michael ordered hibachi salmon and I had the hibachi shrimp and scallops.  It was a great way to end a very busy week.

The following day was ‘moving day’.  However…we only had 60ish miles to travel.  Since we’d been in a 30 amp and water site for the previous 8 days we needed to dump before heading out.  We were a bit worried that there would be a super long line at the dump station but we lucked out and there was only 1 vehicle ahead of us.

We waited about 10 minutes or so and then got our turn.  In total it took us about 30 minutes and we were on our way….destination:  Stronghold Ranch, Cochise, Arizona.

And that’s where I’ll stop…you’ll just have to wait for the next excerpt!  🙂

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Crack it Like it’s Hot

Last week was quiet week personally but we were quite busy with PTB stuff…we’re almost mid-way to this months sales goal…and we’re not even half way through the month!  Woohoo!  Now lets just hope we keep up that momentum.

Almost there

Michael continued working on his basement project (he’s got three now…so this will be an on-going project for a while.  He’s still work on the front basement and has the new wall framed in, his air compressed secured in place, a switch in place so he can turn the compressor on and off and of course all the wiring bundled nicely.  He’s hoping to have this completed before we leave her on Friday…I’m not so hopeful.  :-/

The movie this week was ‘The Kid’.  We went thinking it was a movie about Billy the Kid.  It was, to a degree but was more so about a ‘kid’ named Rio, who witnesses an encounter between Billy and his arch rival Pat Garrett.  I have no idea if the movie is based on true events or not…but I enjoyed it a lot.

Eric about to hit a homer!

We also went to another Brewers game in Phoenix on Wednesday and they did not disappoint.  The played the Diamondbacks and ended up pulling off a win of 5/4!  It was a fun game to watch with Eric Thames knocking one WAY out of the field.  We have just one more game to go to (this Thursday) and I bought a new shirt just for the occasion!

SO thrilled to be wearing a bib…but I needed it! LOL

On the way home we stopped at Joe’s Crab Shack for some seafood since it was Ash Wednesday.  Michael ordered fish and chips but I went ‘all in’ and ordered one of their steam pots…oh my…never had one before…but I will again!

Delicious! MY DIL, Amanda, is gonna go to a Joe’s with me at some point…she just is finding that out as she read this!

It came with snow crab lets, Dungeness crab legs, shrimp, sausage (saved for later), red potatoes and corn on the cob.  Oh yeah….and of course the pre-requisite BIB!  So, so very good.  I will definitely be reordering the next time we’re at a Joe’s…which isn’t very often.  (twice in 34 years of marriage!)

Sunday morning we went up to the clubhouse for brunch again (have to sign up and pay in advance) and were surprised with an even big assortment of foods to choose from:  fried eggs, pancakes, potatoes, biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, etc.

We sat with a couple who had their 6-year-old grand-daughter with them and a father/daughter (80/60?) duo.  One couple was from Wyoming…the other from Minnesota and we all agreed that the cold here in Arizona is a different kind of cold as it seems to penetrate deeper down.  Yeah…I know my northern friends and family will scoff at that idea…but it’s true…honest!  LOL

We’ve actually had some beautiful weather lately…lows in the 40s and 50s which makes for great sleeping conditions and highs in the mid 70s…gorgeous.  Soon we’ll be leaving Arizona (around 3/26 or so) and be making a trek east and north to visit the warehouse, Mike’s mom and of course our babies!  So we’re going to enjoy the warmth while we can…cuz I don’t think it’s gonna be so nice once we start traveling.  🙁

 

 

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Journey to the Father…of Arizona, that is

Monday, February 25th was moving day…but we only had 145 miles to travel so we took it pretty easy getting going.  As I was adding air to the hitch we were both standing there talking when someone came up behind us and asked if we were having problems.

Here we are with Ron & Rachel!

We turned to tell him, ‘No, just adding air.’ when we turned around he introduced himself and he turned out to be one of our customers who is our leading 50/50 referer.  Turns out that they’d been kitty corner from us for the last couple of days and neither of us knew it until they saw our truck (with the PTB magnets) pull around to hitch up.  We chatted with him and his wife for quite a while before we said our ‘goodbyes and see ya down the roads’.

Casa Grande RV Resort – site 345

We arrived at the Casa Grande RV Resort about 1:00 pm, got checked in by a very helpful young lady and then made our way to our site.  We got backed into our site easily and settled in for the next 2.5 weeks.  The site is quite spacious – plenty long for the coach and we’re able to park the truck out front, no problem.  It’s also plenty wide so that we’ve got plenty of room between us and the neighbors.

The only down fall is that we’re backed up to a fairly busy road so there’s lots of traffic noise.  There’s a brick wall that might damper some of the noise…but not much.  On the plus side we don’t have a back window any longer so we don’t have to stare at the traffic all day!  🙂

After getting settled in we had some lunch and then went to work.  The phone rang off the hook most of the day, which is pretty typical for a Monday….but I think it was even busier than usual this week.

By Wednesday things had slowed down enough for us to be able to go to a movie.  This week we saw, ‘Run the Race‘.  We didn’t know anything about it before seeing it other than it had a decent IMDB rating.  It turned out to be a pretty good movie that we both enjoyed.  It’s a ‘feel good’ movie about two teenager brothers trying to better their lives.  Good stuff.

Afterward, we stopped at a local nail salon and had our toes tortured (ok…just me and my very ticklish feet were tortured).  After all the years Michael had his feet encased in combat boots his toes need LOTS of help.  The lady who worked on both of this week did a very nice job…we were both surprised at how well she did.

Heartland family dinner

The big treat of the day was meeting Heartland friends for dinner at Mimi’s Cafe.  Kevin & Nelly were in town briefly dropping their coach off at a friends so that they could drive out to San Diego to visit their daughter and her family.  We also found out that Dean & Jodi are also in town for the winter so we made plans with both couples.

Since Dean & Jodi are familiar with the area we let them choose the restaurant and the made a great choice.  LOTS of options (everything sounded good) and I think everyone was very pleased with their choices.  We visited for well over two hours.  With lots of stories and laughter being shared.

On our way home we stopped at Lowes so that Michael could pick up more supplies for his basement project.  It was nearly closing time so he was in a hurry.  When he got back out to the truck to load his loot he placed his phone and the receipt on the back of the truck (you guessed it) and forgot them….and drove off.

He remembered about 1/2 way home so we retraced our steps but didn’t find anything.  Our son, Dan, told us the next morning about an app that will help you find your phone.  We used it and saw the phone was last located…so we, once again, retraced our steps.  Nothing.

We set up my phone to receive Michael’s forwarded calls (PTB calls mostly), turned off Michael’s credit card (stored inside the back of his phone case along with his military ID) and ordered new phones that are due to be picked up on 3/8.

Yellich at bat!

The biggest reason we’re in Casa Grande is the proximity to Phoenix and baseball spring training.  I tried to find a park in Phoenix to stay at but had no luck.  The RV park we’re at is a little over an hours drive to the Maryvale Baseball Park where the Milwaukee Brewers play.

Back in December I purchased tickets to three games and we went to our first game on Thursday 2/28.  We had nice seats behind home plate in the shade.  The Brewers fell to the Giants 6-2 but we enjoyed being out in the gorgeous weather (72ish) watching the game nonetheless.

We journeyed to the top!

Saturday we headed east toward Florence, Arizona to visit a Roadside America spot.  It was about a 30 mile drive but quite scenic.  We were in search of the Pyramid Tomb of the Father of ArizonaCharles D. Poston was a significant lobbyist in the creation of the Arizona territory.

Before running out of funds, Poston, had intended to build a temple to the sun atop of Primrose Hill even going as far as writing to the Shah or Iran for help with funds.  Needless to say Poston was labeled ‘eccentric’.

Getting closer…

After business failures, Poston went into obscurity and when he died in 1902 he was buried in a pauper’s grave in Phoenix even after requesting to be buried atop Primrose Hill (now called Poston Butte or ‘F Mountain).  On the anniversary of his 100th birthday in 1925 his body was exhumed and moved to a 14 foot tall pyramid that was built in his honor.  He was buried inside the pyramid, facing the rising sun.  His re-interment was attended by 1500 people, including the governor of Arizona.

I think we can…I think we can…

As we drove up to the parking area it was a bit intimidating to see the pyramid on top of that hill….I thought Michael was crazy for insisting that we scale the mountain but we set out on our hike.  We took it slowly…stopping often to catch out breath and enjoy the views around us.

We did it!

It took us about 30 minutes to reach the top of the butte but we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the area around us.  The city of Florence in the distance, several man-made ponds, a couple of ‘fields’ of solar panels, etc gave us plenty to discuss.

We sat along the edge of the pyramid for 10 minutes or so before heading back down to the parking area.  Going down was quicker (about 20 minutes) and not nearly as exhausting but harder on the body in some ways.

After getting back to the truck we made our way to the second adventure for the day….the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.  There is a $10 per person entrance fee but with Michael’s disabled vet pass we entered free of charge.

Lunch time!

Before starting our tour we enjoyed a light lunch in the picnic area of the park.  The picnic area is very nicely done, clean and well maintained.  It was a gorgeous day for a picnic…sunny and mid 70s.  We enjoyed our cheese, sausage, nuts, carrots, etc and had a nice rest after our trek up Poston Butte.

We had about 20 minutes to check out some of the displays at the visitors center before the next guided tour started.  That also gave us time to stamp our National Parks Passport book.

Tour led by Barbara

We joined a group of about 20 other visitors in a guided tour by one of the park volunteers.  Barbara, our tour guide, was knowledgeable and informative.  The compound of ruins, the largest being the ‘Casa Grande’ (big house) is the most prominent structure, dates back to the 13th century and evidence shows it was abandoned by 1450.

The four-story structure would have been helpful in viewing the area around the compound as well as in viewing the stars and sky.

Some of the outlying ruins

Other walls/structures are still standing but have been covered in a protective caliche ‘shell’.  The walls are actually about 4 feet below ground level as well.  The ‘big house’ has had several attempts at preservation over the years…some not the brightest of ideas (concrete, steel bars, wood beams) all of which are still visible but have been left in place as now they have become part of history as well.  No further attempts at preservation will be made as requested by the native people.  When the structure finally tumbles…it will be left to tumble.

Casa Grande (big house) under the roofing structure

In 1932 a tall structure was built over the top of the ‘big house’ to try to protect it from the elements and it seems to be doing just that as it sprinkled a little bit while we were there and by standing under the structure we were kept completely dry.  The ‘roof’ also protects the ruin from the harshness of the sun.

It was definitely an interesting visit and the ability to be able to walk around the various structures was a plus.  I would recommend waiting for one of the guided tours as you get more information than if you take a self-guided tour.

No need to wash dishes!

The RV park we’re in has lots of activities and also offer meals several times a week.  Sunday’s there is a brunch put on.  For $6.00 each you get a nice breakfast and not dishes to do afterward.  We decided to partake Sunday morning.  Offerings included scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage, ham and potatoes.

Another couple sat with us and we had a nice time getting to know them.  They, like us, are only here for a short period and not ‘seasonal’.  They’re from northwestern IL so we had quite a bit to chat about.  It was a nice way to start our day…wouldn’t be surprised if we do it again before we leave.

 

 

 

 

 

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Snow in Southern Arizona? Yes!

We thought it was supposed to be warm in Arizona…not so much the last few days.   Lows in the 20s, highs in the 40s and SNOW!  We woke up Tuesday morning to a winter wonderland…we knew that snow had been predicted but I didn’t think it would actually happen.

There was a couple of inches covering the picnic table but once the sun came out it started melting and by mid-afternoon it was all gone!  Whew.

However, being the slackers that we are…we didn’t prepare for the cold temps and left the hose out in the elements and ended up with a frozen hose…meaning no water.  Normally, we would have brought the hose in and just used the water in the tank but because Michael has been remodeling the basement it was disconnected.  Ugh!

We were able to see another movie this week (soon enough that won’t be able to happen as easily once rally season hits).  This week we saw, ‘Alita:  Battle Angel’.  This was Michael’s pick as I wasn’t real interested in seeing it.  I’m glad we went!  It turned out to be really good and had me interested the entire time.  Another one we’d recommend seeing.

Checking out one of the drones

Thursday we took the afternoon to check out Ft. Huachuca.  There are several museums on post and we stopped at two of them…both very small and kinda blah.  The third is the Military Intelligence museum which we’ll have to check out next time we’re here…let’s hope it’s better than the other two!

The one museum was all about drones – which was kind of interesting so we took a little more time there.  The other was in honor of the Buffalo soldiers but really could have been done a lot better…definitely not enough information provided.

Carleton House – the oldest existing building on post, built in 1880.

Since the museums didn’t take us very long at all we decided to do the ‘Old Post Walking Tour’…however, since it was so cold we made it a driving tour.  The post puts together a nice map with descriptions of all of the stops – most of which were originally housing – some still are and were all built over 100 years ago.

Despite their age most of the buildings are still in beautiful shape…the buildings that were originally barracks and are now admin buildings are definitely showing their age.

Wife of an Indian Scout

We also stopped that the post cemetery which has graves dating back to the mid-1800s.  There are several graves of Indian Scouts and at least one of the wife of an Indian scout.  We both just find it so interesting to roam through these grave sites and read the dates and the information provided on them…so much history!

‘Chicken’ turkeys…however, I for one was glad they were chickens!

It was pretty darn chilly roaming around the cemetery but we pressed on.  There was a flock of about 24 turkeys roaming through the cemetery…thankfully they did not chase me down!  These ones were actually pretty ‘chicken’ and ran the opposite direction anytime we got remotely near them.  There were also 4 deer feeding in the cemetery (very small cemetery) who jumped the fence as soon as I got near.  Cool place.

TARS Blimp

We ended the outing by hunting down the ‘blimp’.  When we first arrived there was a blimp in the sky and we’ve since learning that it’s a Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) and has been here since 1986 (Zack years old!)  It sends information to NORAD and to border patrol.  Michael was fascinated and we hadn’t seen it in the air lately so we hunted it down!  We couldn’t get real close but we got close enough to satisfy his curiosity.

Taken after the snow started melting…the second snowfall

We received another snowfall on Friday.  It started about 8:00 am and snowed all day…not letting up until late afternoon.  It never got over 40 degrees so this time it stayed around a while.  I think we got a total of about 4 or 5 inches and by Sunday it was mostly gone but still remnants here and there.

We had planned to do some site-seeing in the Bisbee/Hereford area on Saturday but after all the snow and cold we decided to just hang out at home and relax.  We really like it here so I’m pretty sure we’ll be back here next year too…so we’ll just leave the few things left on our ‘To do’ list until then.

Partially framed wall

It was just as well that we stayed home…it gave Michael some more time to work in the front basement.  I think he’s got everything just so and now just needs to ‘build a wall’.  Ha!  Last I checked it had started framing it in so it shouldn’t be too long before he’s finished with THAT basement.  He’s got three others to go!  :-/

We leave Monday morning and head north to Casa Grande for 2.5 weeks, which is about mid-way between Phoenix and Tucson.  We’ve got tickets for 3 Brewers Spring Training games…had tried to find a place to stay a bit closer but had a hard time with the length of this new coach.  But that’s ok…it’s not too bad of a drive.

 

 

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