Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Time is Flying By!

 I last posted a month ago while getting ready for Quartzsite. I have no idea where the time went. We survived! It was the coldest weather we have ever had there. Wore 3 or 4 layers daily including coats and gloves! It was usually 31 to 34 outside and in the 20's in the a.m. inside the Big Tent. Did I say miserable?
Other than the physical discomfort, we had a good show. We were able to buy an RV freezer (think halibut) and a brake for Stuby 2, both needed for AK. We saw lots of people we know including wonderful, long time customers. Before the show started, we got to spend 2 evenings with friends Dusty and George who drove down from Kanab, UT to see us! We also spent time with Carol and Jerry Dale and Lynn and Mickey Waite and attended Escapees Happy Hour. After a long 12 days,  we came home with Charles complaining of a very red and sore finger. The man never complains! As it grew progressively worse, he went to the Dr. and the next day, after a late night in the ER, was admitted to the hospital for 4 days, being put on several IV antibiotics. It was a brown recluse spider bite, we think. He is now healing nicely, some 2 weeks later. He was at high risk for losing his middle finger or the first digit of it. We were very lucky it was caught early with wonderful medical intervention and lots of prayers. I have been extremely busy with business since our return to Yuma and finally enjoyed my first weekend off in over a month. We went to Quartzsite with friends on Saturday to catch the tail end of the Tyson Wells market and enjoyed a Silly Al's Pizza. On Sunday, Cheri and Daryl Lawrence hosted an "UnSuper Bowl" party and a belated welcome to AZ for Jackie and Gordon Swaffield. It was postponed due to Charles' hospital stay. We had such fun and ate lots of good food! I grilled tri-tip and Cheri made 2 kinds of chicken wings, among other goodies. The Boys are doing fine and enjoying playing outside in the warm sunshine! It got to 80 today. Perfect!
We will be leaving Yuma in a few weeks for the FMCA Rally in Chandler, AZ. This winter season is truly flying by! Our adventure continues....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Getting ready for Quartzsite Big Tent Show

We will begin our biggest show of the year starting Saturday. It will be our 14th year to work the Big Tent. My how time flies! It is a huge circus tent full of vendors selling everything from soup to insurance (me). For those of you that have never "experienced" Quartzsite in January, I highly recommend that every RVer go there at least once. I have told people for years...you will either love it or hate it! There is no other place like it. The little, desert town of 3643, balloons to several hundred thousand during January! There are many smaller shows mainly focusing on rocks, gems and minerals. But you will find ALL things RV too, from T-shirts to sewer caps! Oh, and you can buy a new or used RV of any type, kind, size or budget. Windshield broken? Need solar panels? You name it, it is there. Plus it is fun to park in an RV park or boondock out in the desert for free or almost free. Sitting around the campfire, visiting the shows and flea markets, potlucks and rallies are all there for the taking. You will get to know other friendly RVers and enjoy the nice, winter weather and daily dose of sunshine!

For us it is work, work work but we also squeeze in a little fun! We will arrive early on Wednesday and set up our motorhome on the show grounds after standing in a LONG line to check in.. We will then go see our friends Carol and Jerry Dale who winter in Q and we will all head over to the annual Escapees Happy Hour out in the desert. There will be music, food and lots of RVers giving hugs all around! A great place to see your friends and make new ones. And lots of fun! From there we will go to Silly Al's for pizza and beer.

Thursday we will be heading into the tent to get our booth all set up. Of course my work on these days and the following 11 days does not stop, so I will still be helping customers via phone and email. Email is best because unfortunately I must make phone calls at night. Just impossible in the tent! I usually work until midnight or later every day of the show. Crazy!

We usually are able to take a couple of hours on an evening or 2 to see our friends for a quick visit or meal out. They don't call Q "The Gathering Place" for no reason! The Show starts on Saturday, Jan. 21st and goes through Sunday the 29th. But there is plenty to do before and after those dates too.
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Alaska Trip Planning 2017 and Stubby 2

It hardly seems possible that it has been 2 years and 4 months since we were last in Alaska! We are literally chomping at the bit to return, and started our preliminary planning about a year ago. Where do we want to go? Who do we want to go with (if anyone)? What do we want to travel in? What do we want to see? Lot of things to think about and discuss. In our discussions, we decided we really wanted to go in a smaller rig again. We sold Stubby, our 05 Itasca Cambria when we returned to Texas in Oct. '14. We loved it, BUT...The quality of workmanship was outstanding and it served us well for 6 months of travel (and 3 shows!) but we both agreed that 23 ft, 1 slide and "NO BED" was just too small for us and my running a business to boot! The "no beds" part was the deal breaker. Sleeping on a sofa (Charles) and a dinette (me and 2 dogs) just didn't do our backs or other achy, old parts any good! Plus making them up and down daily and removing all my business stuff daily made for too many chores. So we started looking in June 2016, for a longer Stubby when we were in upper NY state in. We found RVTrader to be a great resource. We decided we wanted to find one on the east coast so logistically it would be much easier for us to pick it up and store it on our FL Lot. And find it we did! In fact we are still pinching ourselves over "THE DEAL" we got! We found a 2014 Itasca Cambria, 30J !!  Much newer and fancier than what we were looking for but could not pass it up! Used twice; 3100 miles (most from factory to FL) and every option not even imaginable on a Class C! It was located in central Fl. After many emails and phone calls we struck a deal and told the owner we would be there in 9 days. We were doing the Escapees NYC HOP with friends Lynn and Mickey Waite the next week. (We had a blast!) Then the week after that we had to head to VT to work Escapade! How were we going to do this?? It's called... store the big motorhome at our campground in NY, jump in the SUV with the dogs,and an overnight bag, and in one and a half days we were in central FL! Whew! The owners were so gracious and had Stubby 2's frig stocked with breakfast! We spent the weekend in their backyard! We loved it! Monday a.m. we got all paperwork finalized and Charles drove Stubby to our south FL Lot with me following behind. Our wonderful friends, Jim and Michael, took us for a special Mexican dinner. It was so wonderful seeing them!
Stubby 2
NYC skyline from top of
Empire State Bldg.
HOP cake

Michael and Jim

We spent the night and headed back to NY at 5 a.m. the next morning. WOW, what a crazy but fun trip!  Of course there is more to the story.....

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Busy week with more to come!

I know that a week officially starts on Sunday but I like to think mine starts on Monday. Monday's are by far my busiest business day followed closely by Friday. So when Friday rolls around I am VERY ready for my 2 days of rest! I guess most people who work feel that way. So this Monday was crazy busy! Tuesday was us up before light, driving (think crawling) into the Houston Medical Center for our annual Dr. appointments. We both see the same wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Robert Hust. Mom went to him too when she was alive. We have everyone there "trained" about our time constraints, RX needs, etc. and they schedule us perfectly for tests and such. They understand we only come home to Texas twice a year and drive 180 miles round trip for visits. But it is well worth it as the care is extraordinary. I do not have heart disease but I do have high BP which is managed. Every older person on both sides of my family do or did have heart disease, bypasses, heart block, heart failure, aneurysms, strokes. You name it, they have had it,  so I do my best to prevent it. Of course there are no guarantees. Charles has several Stents and a leaky heart valve and is managed well and doing great! We thank Dr. Hust and his team for it. Methodist Hospital is awesome. So after his stress test and Echo we both saw the Dr. (had lab work sent the week before) and we were deemed fit to keep on keeping on! We will get Charles' last 2 test results next week but expect good news. Why am I telling you this? I think many RVers do not establish and see really good Dr's that will follow their history and monitor them closely. Top specialists.  So if you are one of those, let me know, I have great recommendations for all kinds of doctors.
It was a long day and we got home late and I had most of my work to still do. So besides work, I also volunteered to help with registration and ticket sales for our Escapees Annual Fall celebration. So I have been doing that several days before  the afternoon Social Hour. Friday was Mammogram day for me in Humble. I have been going to the same state of the art women's facility at Memorial Hermann since 1991. It's important to create a history of films for comparison purposes. I have had 2 different "scares" of possible breast cancer and many biopsies. Last year I was told I could go back to annual screenings instead of 2-3 per year. So, my fingers are crossed again for good news. Then we went to Office Max for a case of paper and printer toner. We had lunch after my ta-ta pics at a fav Chinese restaurant in Kingwood, Oriental  Gardens. We have been eating there since 1991 when we lived in Kingwood. Awesome food and service! We had lunch with Charles' two closest friends since childhood. One lives in Sugarland and the other in NW Houston. It was such fun catching up! Johnny was the best man at our wedding and David a previous best man for Charles! We slept in Sat. morning then went to the SPCA Fall Frolic. Got to visit with all the precious doggies waiting for forever homes.  Our 2 boys are rescues. So many beautiful animals needing love. We took big bags of dog and kitty food to them also. From there it was La Casita for lunch and then the Livingston Trade Days. Tons of vendors and "treasures" but none that I couldn't live without, thank goodness! We did a lot of walking there and a stop at Wally World. Tomorrow will be the Pilot Club Annual Turkey Dinner fundraiser, a visit from my niece Terri and hubby Jim and our friend Valli Ann is coming for dinner! Whew! Oh yes, and our Fright Fest kicks off tomorrow with ice cream and ticket sales again for me. This coming week will be full too but with lots of fun thrown in! Have a great week!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Home in Texas

We really were looking forward to getting back to Rainbows End in Livingston. We will be here until after Thanksgiving. While we are usually in Yuma, AZ by the beginning of November,  this year we will be later but for a great reason. Charles' step-daughter Kristen is getting married in Houston! We are so happy for her and Roy! We have not met him yet, but feel we know him through FB. It does make it nice.
So, what have we been doing at home? After only a week, we had to go to Shreveport for a week to work our last rally for 2014, an FMCA Area rally. We stayed at my cousin Donnie's dealer c.g. with 50 amp fhu. Yes, we took the big RV and it was seventh heaven after living in Stubby for 5 1/2 months! We knew we missed our home on wheels, but didn't realize just how much. We got to see all the cousins and 1 dear friend while there, even though we were very busy working and the weather was miserably hot for 3 days with no a/c in the building. We did make the best of our time. We camped with our friends the Lawrences so it was great catching up with them and getting to see Nicky, their Yorkie. Our cousins all had us for fabulous meals and parties during the week and weekend. It was so much fun! We also were able to meet the monument people at the family plot to set the marker for my Mom and brother. They did a beautiful job. It is Texas pink granite. We came back to Livingston to a very busy work week. This weekend has been go-go but in a fun way. We attended a BBQ fundraiser for the Knights of Columbus and garage sale. One of our neighbors is the pit boss and cooked some killer brisket and ribs! Tomorrow, here at the park, we have an Ice Cream Social where I will  sell tickets and register Escapees for our Fright Fest celebration that starts in a week. On top of all that, we have 3 Dr. appointments in Houston this next week too. And of course, running my business never stops! So, even though we aren't on the road, we are quite busy. Charles has many projects to keep him occupied as well. Weather is perfect! Cool a.m. and p.m. and warm in between. Perfect for coffee on our porch and a glass of wine in the evenings.
Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ferry from Juneau to Sitka, Petersburg, Ketchikan, POW, and Prince Rupert, BC

Other than the oftentimes "weird hours" that the ferries leave and arrive, they are a comfortable way to travel. But they are not cruise ships! I do suggest getting a cabin for overnight runs. We only got one once but it was well worth it to get some real sleep. Sleeping in a chair is for the young! Our next ride, to Sitka, on the fast-ferry, Fairweather was the smoothest and fastest! The only drawback was it only had a minimal snack bar and no hot food service.
We tightly  maneuvered through an archipelago of small islands. The timing had to be exact because of the huge fluctuations in tides. We were in some very shallow channels! We arrived in Sitka which was the island I most wanted to visit, and it did not disapoint! It was the first Russian capitol of AK and still has a huge Russian cultural influence. It's a beautiful island but rains constantly! We stayed off grid for 4 days at a USFS c.g. We saw many historical buildings, museums and especially enjoyed the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. We found a microbrewery and even 4 surfers when the waves kicked up! Sitka is a small island but I could have easily stayed much longer. I hope to return. It did have the worst road in AK, under construction,  of course. From Sitka we sailed to Petersburg which is a laid back, heavily Norwegian fishing port. Fishing boats of all types and several active
canneries are the main industry. It is a very natural island with very few things for tourists to see or do. The c.g. we stayed at was an excellent choice where we had water and electric and a reasonably priced laundry and showers. We took several off road drives and on one saw a sow black bear with her triplet cubs! While we enjoyed our visit, Petersburg is not a must see for SE. We did find AK wild scallops there and brought them home in the freezer. The best we have ever had! From Petersburg our next ferry brought us to Ketchikan.  I was last there in 2002 and goodness has it grown!  Ketchikan is a very popular cruise port and most days has between 4-7 huge ships docked there or tendered out! So this small town adds up to 25,000 extra visitors for the day! Huge tour buses are everywhere as are many shops downtown. We stayed our first and last night at camp Wal Mart and the other days at an AK State park. (No hook ups) They only have 3 campgrounds there and it was us and one other camper in a beautiful rainforest! We left Carolee and Dan for 3 days and took the Inter Island ferry (think tiny) to Prince of Wales island.  It is remote, beautiful,  unspoiled,  untouched, very few people or tourists.  We stayed at 2 different Forest Service c.g.'s. Prince of Wales has a huge logging road system and several good highways. Unfortunately,  the highway to the north end of the 3rd largest island in America was completely closed, being rebuilt. We spent one full day of frustrating detours so cut our visit short by a couple of days. We did so enjoy the fish ladders, forests, glacial vistas and especially the Haida people we met. They are the smallest native tribe in AK. Like on the other islands, they are very proud of their totems and heritage. We were able to visit with several of the elders at the Carving Shack where they carve and restore totems and make paddles and box drums. All were beautiful and so interesting!  We also got to meet and visit with Cody, a young Haida native. What an interesting young man who was happy to share his island life, work and culture with us. POW is a place we hope to return to. After our visit, we returned to Ketchikan and wound down our 4 month journey with the Days.  They boarded the ferry to Bellingham, WA and we took our last one to Prince Rupert, BC where from there we drove to WA and points east. To say it was a trip of a lifetime is true. We experienced so many wonderful people, places, wonders of nature, beauty and just pure peacefulness.  Alaska is truly our last frontier.  GO! Don't put it off! It is like no other place on earth! As my sweet Mother said, it was her "heaven on earth."
Thank you for coming along with us on this journey. I am happy to answer any questions you might have on traveling to Alaska.
I do plan on continuing my blog, as our adventure continues!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ferry Hopping Cont'd next hop, Juneau

Our trip to Juneau from Haines was under 3 hours. The main reason we went to Juneau was because it is the jumping off port for other ferries further south. Juneau is a city and is go fast, traffic, crowds and NO parking places! The campground we stayed at was one of the worst in my life and way too expensive. It was electric only,  in a park full of permanently parked (forever) RVs. A mud hole too! The only saving grace was a clean, free shower. (Showers cost in Alaska!) I found a great place for breakfast on Yelp and it was outstanding! Off we go in the rain to the famous Mendenhall Glacier. I last saw it in 2002 and it recedes 100 plus feet per year. Sad. In 02 we could walk up to it! Now there is a huge Visitors Center full of bus loads of cruise passengers. You view it through big picture windows or walk a long steep path down and still view it quite a way a ways. It is beautiful though! From there we went downtown where 5 ships were in port. We got lucky and found a parking place within walking distance. Carolee and Dan wanted us to see this famous, old bar. The Red Dog Saloon. It was quite crowded and not as cool as they remembered.  Think tourist trap. I wanted to go to the glacial silt soap shop I had read so much about and did. Bought 2 bars. They make your skin as smooth as silk!  Bob and Molly Pinner had been to Juneau earlier and told us to eat at Tracy's Crab Shack. So by now we are hungry, very wet, didn't care, and marched down the busy streets and found it! You stand outside in the rain to order and eat under a tarp! We were able to snag the one inside table! I had FRESH Alaska Golden King crab. It is a summer crab, not caught in abundance like the Red King caught in January. It was absolutely the best crab I have ever eaten! I can't describe the flavor! We also shared crab bisque and crab cakes which were both excellent. After more shopping we headed back to our dump, oh, I mean park, and turned in early. We had to be in line by 4:45 a.m. for our ferry to Sitka, the first Russian capitol of Alaska.