Friday, April 28, 2017

Snow? No Way!

Bob and I have been watching a weather front moving towards us, and this morning the forecasters were predicting 8-12" of snow in the area where we were heading. Nope--not going there! Time for a change of plans. After a check of the national weather map we decided to head south to Roswell, NM. It was a very good decision. We left as temperatures in the 50s were dropping in Albuquerque and arrived in Roswell where it was in the low 80s. We may see a little rain here tonight and tomorrow but it's nothing to the rain and temps in the 30s that Albuquerque is supposed to have.

I called the campgrounds where we had reservations and cancelled without any problems. Our plan is now to hang around here in Roswell and see the local sights before heading east and then north again in a few days.

Bob noticed that one of our bay doors wasn't latching properly so he climbed inside to see what was going on.

A little fiddling and he was able to fix it. It's so nice to have a handy hubby!

I spent some time warping up my 20" wide Ashford Knitters Loom for a set of towels. All ready to start weaving.

It feels good to have a warp on a loom.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fun With Friends in Albuquerque

Things definitely have a way of working out. While we were initially disappointed to miss Canyon de Chelly, we were able to spend a few hours with good friends Kathy and Ron on Monday. They were getting ready to head out for their trip through Utah, northern California, and up into Canada for the summer so the timing was perfect.

We first met these folks two years ago at this very campground when they were parked next to us, and we've been good friends ever since. It's always such fun to meet up with them here and there along our travels, and this time was no exception. It's American Indian Week right now, which culminates in the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow this weekend. So we decided to visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to see some of the special activities going on, as well as their regular exhibits.

This was a neat place! I always enjoy watching the dancers and seeing their beautiful native dress.

The Cultural Center has a really nice collection of pottery...

...clay figurines, such as this drum storyteller...

...and a really nice display on weaving the ceremonial sashes used in traditional clothing.

Here is a traditional cautionary tale about why you should never let a baby cry.

When we were done with the Cultural Center, we drove over to Albuquerque's Old Town to walk around a little. We loved seeing the buildings' architecture.

We topped off the day with a meal at Sadies. What yummy food! The chicken enchiladas were fabulous.

It was so great to spend time catching up with Kathy and Ron, and we look forward to meeting up with them again somewhere down the road.

On Tuesday we had lunch with yet another couple who live in Albuquerque, our dear friends Linda and Chuck. You may recall that we first met these folks when we were volunteering at Desert Haven Animal Rescue in Williamsburg, NM. Chuck and Linda have a vacation home in nearby Elephant Butte, and she came over for a weaving lesson. Since then we've been good friends, and have been able to get together several times in the past year. We dined together yesterday at Vic's Daily Cafe and had a wonderful meal and great conversation with our friends. If you are looking for a really good sandwich in Albuquerque, do go to Vic's. You won't be disappointed. Thanks to Kathy and Ron for the recommendation!

All too soon it was time to say goodbye. The good thing is that Linda and Chuck will be wintering next year in Tucson, only an hour from where we will be staying in Benson. We plan on seeing them a lot next winter.

So here we are, waiting out the weather. We saw rain yesterday for the first time in what seems like ages, and the winds have continued to be strong. Today's a good day to take it easy and regroup before moving on later in the week.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Plans Can Change

We left Benson, AZ on Saturday morning, heading west before taking the road northward to Payson, AZ. There were some mighty big mountains to cross on our way, with steep inclines and 6% downgrades.

But the rig handled well, and a few hours later we pulled into Payson Campground and RV Resort, nestled into the mountains at about 5,000 feet above sea level. Auggie was not used to having another rig parked so close to ours, and was startled every time the fellow next door walked between his trailer and our motorhome just a few feet away. He soon settled down, though.

Next morning, we started off towards Canyon de Chelly, but winds had picked up dramatically and we were concerned about driving the narrow roads into the park. Sometimes you have to make a decision based on what is the safest course, and Bob and I decided not to chance this. Rain was also forecast this week and we were concerned about becoming mired in mud. So, on to plan B! We kept on going down the highway until we reached Albuquerque, NM, where we will hopefully wait out the winds and rain and be in a safer place. Canyon de Chelly is just going to have to remain on our bucket list a little longer.

The first part of our trip was just beautiful. We were on the Mogollon Rim (pronounced "Muggy-on,") and for the first time in many months we saw trees.

After climbing a while, the land flattened out and became more prairie-like.

By the time we reached route 40, however, winds had picked up dramatically and Bob had to fight to stay in our lane. We were glad we had made our decision not to attempt the back roads to Canyon de Chelly.

So here we are for a few days! We plan on doing some visiting with friends here before heading northeast into Kansas. All is good.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bisbee, AZ

On Wednesday Bob and I drove about an hour south to the town of Bisbee, a funky little artist's town that claims to have the best climate in the world.

I can say that it was, indeed a lovely day. The town itself was originally a mining town, famous for its copper mines. Now that the mines have closed, tourism is the largest business. The hilly streets and high altitude (over a mile above sea level) made walking a little more challenging but it sure was worth it.

Bisbee has an active fiber arts guild and a shop in the basement of the local YWCA, and I was really hoping to visit with the weavers. Alas, it was not meant to be on this trip. This time of year is considered summertime in AZ and the guild shop was not open the day we visited. We will be back this fall, though. There's so much to see here!

Upon the recommendation of a shopkeeper, we toured the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum. Such a cool place. It has recently partnered with the Smithsonian Institution and many of the exhibits feature artifacts from their extensive collections in Washington, DC. We learned all about copper mining in the 1800s. In fact, it was partly because of these mines that Arizona was able to achieve statehood. Eastoners considered Arizona Territory a desert wasteland that was more likely to become a tax burden than be an asset. Arizona was able to point to their copper and silver mines and to demonstrate to the American people that their mineral riches would add to the wealth of the United States. Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912.

One display that fascinated me was this board full of brass tags. When a miner reported for duty, the timekeeper handed him a brass tag with a number on it.

A miner kept his brass tag with him at all times when underground, returning it to the timekeeper at the end of his shift. This routine of handing a miner his tag at the start of his workday was called "brassing in." A missing tag could mean that the miner was lost or injured underground, and a search was quickly organized. In case of an explosion or cave-in, the numbered tag would be used to identify the miner's body.

Downstairs in the museum was a boardroom that was used by town leaders to meet with investors, and the docent told us that everything here, from the paneling to the furniture, was original to the room...

...except for the television, of course! On it we saw an interesting documentary about the area. The oak paneling seen here was imported from England.

Bisbee hasn't changed much since this photo was taken in the late 1800s.

We had a scare on Thursday. We were walking Auggie and came near a black/tan shepherd mix. Auggie wanted to say hi, and the other owner said her dog was friendly so we brought them close to greet each other. At the last minute, Auggie turned away, obviously sensing something, and the dog grabbed Auggie by the tail and flipped him up in the air. It happened so quickly. Auggie slipped his collar and Bob grabbed him before anything else happened. Fortunately Auggie was all right, no blood or broken bones (tail ok, too,) and the woman was very apologetic. Auggie stayed close to us the rest of the afternoon but he seems to have gotten over it, thankfully.

Tomorrow we head towards Canyon de Chelly for a few days, stopping in Payson for rhe night. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we have cell phone service out there but there's a good chance we won't. So if you don't here from me in the next week, dear blog reader, that is why. I will be saving up my stories for you!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In Which Bob Fixes Our Awning and I Knit a Ball

We are enjoying our time at Saguaro SKP park in Benson, AZ very much. Well, most of the time. On Sunday evening, Bob went to retract our electric awning before we went to bed and it didnt respond. Uh oh. Not good. The winds here can pick up suddenly, and even though our Carefree awning has a sensor that pulls the awning in if the winds get too strong, a sudden big gust can break something. Neither of us slept well that night!

Next morning, Bob scoured the operating manual and the Tiffin online forums for information on how to retract it manually. A call to Tiffin was placed, and they told Bob where to find the special fuse inside the module. It turns out you can't manually retract a Carefree awning such as we have but you can "jump" it like you would jump a dead car battery. Unfortunately for us, however, we had a "short" in the wires coming from the motor, so the awning would start to move and would short itself out.
It's a really good thing Bob is handy! He was able to get his hands on a tall stepladder from one of the storage sheds here at the park (tools may be borrowed without charge here) and get up high enough to see what was going on. A wire near the motor had a crack in the insulation and needed to be replaced. After a quick trip to the hardware store for a new wire, Bob was able to replace the bad one and we were in business. The awning retracted.

“So it does!” said Pooh. “It goes in!”
"So it does!” said Piglet. “And it comes out!”
“Doesn't it?” said Eeyore. “It goes in and out like anything.”
Apologies to A. A. Milne.

While Bob was using his superman powers to fix what was broken, I attended an informational meeting on becoming a leaseholder at this park. We have been on the waiting list, or "Hot List," as it is called here, to become a leaseholder for over a year. It may take another year or two but our plan is to get a permanent lot here where we can stay for the winter as desired. We can go somewhere else if we choose, but our lot will be waiting for us and earning credit towards the annual fees if we aren't here. Nice!

I've been taking a break from crafting and weaving lately to recharge my weaving mojo. Ideas are starting to flow again now, so it may be time to pick up the shuttle again. I did finish a couple of small knitting projects... another dishcloth and a knitted ball.
The ball is made by casting on 20 stitches and knitting 68 rows of stockinette stitch before binding off. After six strips, you weave the bands together. No stuffing needed. Very clever! Here is a video I found on assembling:
We are here until Saturday, when we head towards Canyon de Chelly. I expect to be able to take a lot of photos there--it's supposed to be a beautiful area.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Saguaro National Park

We were able to get together again with Chuck and Linda on Sunday night before they headed home to NM early Monday morning. They were staying at Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory here in town, and the original plan was for the four of us to visit the Observatory Sunday night. But it was not meant to be. Clouds had been passing overhead all day and hadn't cleared; therefore the Sunday program was cancelled.

But that was ok, because we got to visit with our friends instead. We will try for later this week to visit the Observatory.

We have been settling in for our 2 1/2 weeks here. I hung out with the knitters on Tuesday afternoon and Bob is working on a small woodworking project for me. More about that when i have some photos to show. And every day we walk around and look at the neat structures here in the park. We even found a miniature train set-up in front of another resident's casita.

The trains have been put away for the season but I can just imagine a little locomotive chugging around those tracks. Maybe the next time we come through the train will be running.

Last year when we spent a month in Tucson I was able to go to the Saguaro National park with friends while Bob and his buddies went to a baseball game in Phoenix. So he missed out on the park. Well, today we decided to go.

I don't know about you, but when I think of the west, I think of a landscape just like this.

This, to me, is the quintessential desert scene. Bob and I drove all through the park and enjoyed the 84 degree temperature, the delightful breeze, and the sound of the birds. What a pretty day.

We saw some blooming prickly pears with yellow flowers...

...and those spikey plants in the foreground with a little tuft of red at the top are ocotillos, also in bloom.

We renewed our Annual National Parks pass today for the next year. Next year we'll qualify for the Senior Pass. Fingers crossed it will still be available when we are finally old enough to get it!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Meeting up with Friends

Bob and I have decided to stop in Benson, AZ for a couple of weeks before moving on east. On Friday, we drove south to the town of Sierra Vista to pick up a package from the FedEx office there. Sierra Vista doesn't have much, but it does boast TWO FedEx offices; one for air shipments and one for ground shipments. We had a nice long chat with the manager of the ground shipments branch about RVing. It appears to be a very boring office to work in since we were there yakking for fifteen minutes and no one else came in during that time.

On Saturday we drove into Tucson to pick up my early Mothers Day gift from Bob; a new iPad. I had backed up my old mini on iTunes so I was all set for a quick and easy set up. Unfortunately, it was not to be. I had to call Apple for help since my version of iTunes was apparently corrupted. It took a total of over three hours to set up, but it's working well now and I love it.

Our friends, Linda and Chuck, decided to stop in to Benson and stay a couple of nights before heading back to their home in New Mexico. So we got to see them for dinner!

It was so much fun to be able to spend some time with them. We talked, then ate, then talked some more. Our meal at the Horseshoe Cafe right here in town was excellent and we will be back.

Linda and Chuck will be in town for another night so we hope to meet up again with them today.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Back From California

It was about a five hour trip from Chino, CA to Yuma, AZ. We traveled along the roads just a little bit more confidently now that we knew our exhaust pipe wasn't going to set the rear of the coach on fire. Sometimes, it's the little things that bring a smile to your face.

The drive was a pleasant one. We got the heavy-traffic part out of the way after the first hour so the remainder of the trip was relaxing. After spending so much time in the desert, the greens of California were a pleasure to see.

Along Rte 86 we passed a huge windmill farm. It's hard to gauge scale from a photo like this but these are huge, with some as tall as a football field is long, and there are hundreds of them lined up in rows like soldiers.

Along the way we hit a stretch of road near the Salton Sea with unexpected dips in the road. Not a pleasant sensation to suddenly feel airborne! We discovered after our trip was done that our clothes had all been bounced off the closet rod. That was a first.

Bob and I had a quiet night in Yuma and headed out in the morning towards Tucson. Our plan is to relax for a couple of weeks before starting East. We have a lot of interesting places to see along the way, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Bob and I really hadn't made plans to do anything in the area other than the Nixon Library, since the repair shop had assured us that the work would be done in a day. So I did an Internet search and discovered that we were quite close to Antiques Row in Pomona. We decided to check it out.

Now, going antiquing has always been a lot of fun for me. I love looking at old things, some of which bring back fond memories of my childhood days and some that are just neat to look at. A good antique shop is like a "Please Touch" museum with prices. Because of our limited space, we don't buy things very often but it's a fun way to kill a few hours.

Antiques Row has several great places to wander through. We chose to go into Olde Towne Pomona Antique Mall and Grandpa's Antiques. Prices at the Mall were typical of multi-dealer antique stores, with some booths overpriced and some good. I enjoy seeing how prices differ between one coast and the other. Old cast iron is much more expensive in California than in NJ, but we saw reasonable furniture prices.

One thing that tempted me was this pillow.

It featured blocks of woven lace with counted cross stitch. While I didn't purchase the pillow, I did some research and found a very similar one online, so this must have been a kit.

I may try weaving something similar on my rigid heddle loom.

When we returned to the coach we were tickled pink to see that repairs had begun. The missing part had arrived and by 5:00 everything was completed. The folks here were fine with us staying plugged into their power for another night so that we could leave in the morning. And no charge for any of it. We were very pleased with this shop and will recommend it--M & M Coach Specialists in Chino, CA. Despite the added day, we found the techs to be professional and courteous and not a bad place to stay while work was being done. And they are Tiffin-approved for warranty and recall work.

Today, Wednesday, we head back to Yuma for a night before continuing on to Benson, AZ. It's a lovely day to travel!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Nixon Library and our Exciting Night

Bob and I have a goal of visiting all the Presidential libraries, and on Monday we drove to Linda Yorba, CA to the Richard Nixon Foundation, Library, and Museum. We learned a lot about our 37th President.

The trip there had some breathtaking views. I love looking at the mountains in Southern California and I was glad I was a passenger so I could gawk.

When I think of President Nixon, I admit that the first thing that comes to mind is Watergate. But his life and career involved so much more. For one thing, he created the Environmental Protection Agency and worked diligently to help preserve our planet. He also put Title IX in place, which states that "No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." Because of that, women cannot be discriminated against when applying to medical school (and it amazes me that it took until the 1970s before that happened.) In the early 1970s, there were 300,000 girls and young women playing high school sports. Now there are over 3,000,000. Which, of course opens the doors to college scholarships and other opportunities. Nixon was responsible for this.

He was a great statesman, and was responsible for improving relations between China and the U.S.

Here, Bob is seen encouraging President Nixon and Premier Zhou Enlai to shake hands and make nice.

Unfortunately, following some very bad judgement calls (to oversimplify,) President Nixon was impeached and stepped down from office. Here he is leaving the White House for the last time. He was later pardoned for all crimes by President Ford and continued to be a statesman for the U.S.government. Nixon and his wife Pat are buried here at the Foundation.

After seeing the Library, we wandered around the beautiful grounds.

Behind the Library is Nixon's birthplace, and it is the original site where his parents built this kit home of about 900 square feet. A hundred years ago you could order a house kit from a catalog. Some assemble required.

The house had been sold, and all the contents put into storage. Years later, the Foundation purchased the house and grounds for the Library and Museum. About 70% of the home's contents are original.

This is the actual bed where Richard Milhouse Nixon was born. The quilt and coverlet are also original. Amazing.

Nixon's high chair, which was used for his siblings as well.

I found this fascinating. In the kitchen is a California Cooler, a type of passive refrigeration popular in the early 1900s. They were built into the North side of the home and cool air from the foundation is vented into the closed pantry. The shelves are screens to allow air circulation and to protect from insects and rodents. These were mostly used for pies, with an ice box used for meats.

Bob and I toured Army One, which was the name of Nixon's helicopter (but only when he was on board.)

We left the Library and Museum and went for pizza. When we returned to the repair shop we were disappointed to find out that nothing had been done on the coach, as they were waiting for a crucial part. So we are here for at least another day or two. Apparently they had installed the one they ordered for us into someone else's coach. We had a cord to plug into last night, but unfortunately our CO monitor decided to poop out on us at 11:15 last night, just as we had both fallen into a deep sleep. Which means that a piercing shriek sounded. And kept alarming while we double checked everything, opened windows, turned off the propane, and discussed the situation. We were both shaky, disoriented, and exhausted from being woken up so abruptly so we wondered if that was carbon monoxide poisoning and would we die in our sleep if we went back to bed? No nausea or headache (unless I thought about it-- I am very suggestable when it comes to things like that.) And how do we read the printing on a monitor that's installed at floor level and we both wear bifocals? I finally snapped a photo with my phone and according to the colors of the flashing lights the alarm had given up the ghost. It also read "replace after 60 months." That would be last August. So Bob clipped the wires and yanked it out of the wall and we returned to bed, still wondering for hours if we had gotten it wrong and we were going to wake up dead, so to speak. Not the best night's sleep.

We lived. Bad CO monitor. We'll replace it today.

So, another day to kill. We hadn't planned on anything more than the one day with Nixon and his library so I think we'll go antiquing.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

On the Road Again

We have left the park in Yuma where we've spent the last 4 months. Our last few days were filled with organizing and finishing up projects. I gave Auggie a trim and he now looks nice and neat. Here he is, mid-trim.

Yesterday we packed up, said goodbye to the friends we made and drove 18 miles across another park in Yuma. Why? Because the daily rate for where we've been staying is more than double the rate for Kofa Ko-op, an Escapee member park. We needed a place to spend a night before heading off to southern CA where we will have some repairs made to the coach.

While we were at Kofa, we met a neighbor who lived in Framingham, MA for many years. I grew up in Framingham and went to Framingham North High School. Our neighbor, Beryl, hadn't gone to school there but it was fun chatting about the area. She was also a quilter and crafter so we had lots to talk about. We may see her again when we pass back through the area on the way to Tucson.

Our trip to the repair place in CA was uneventful. The scenery kept changing, which made it all the more fun.

A few miles out of Yuma we passed the Imperial Dunes, an area with huge golden-white sand dunes. It reminded me of White Sands National Park in NM.

A couple of hours later we were passing the Salton Sea, which was formed after an earthquake shifted the course of the Colorado River. The area became a playground for the wealthy, but the Sea has been slowly shrinking ever since.

We saw miles of golden flowers....

...and snow appeared on the mountains. And we started to see grass!

This is the "Rusty Mammoth Statue", a landmark of the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center.

We found the repair shop at the end of our trip and have settled in for the night. No hookups, but we have a full tank of water and enough battery power to make it through the night. I even have the bread maker going and a loaf of rye bread baking. It's nice to know that wherever we are, we are home.