February 2005 Archives

Awake 4:50am Temp 55 Steady rain...some flooding in Phoenix
Overnight Sun City, AZ

Attend 8:00am mass @ St. J & A. Even with this rain, the attendance in
church was impressive.
Our plan today: To meet with Bill & Diane @ Scottsdale Road & Highway
101(a 45 min drive)....then take one car & drive North to Cave Creek &
explore the area + have dinner. We half expected them to call & cancel due
to heavy rain but they didn't & we drove in the heavy rain to the
rendezvous point. As soon as we met, we all agreed to forego the idea of
Cave Creek & instead just have a light lunch & walk around in the upscale
stores nearby & stay dry. Actually it was an interesting afternoon with
some good talk & bonding with Bill & Diane. Back to the coach @ 5:00pm.

6:00 Dinner: Tuna casserole, mixed cooked veggies, leftover romaine
lettuce salad & leftover bread from Mimi's Cafe.

Mid evening: Watch local TV channel movie " Water Dance." Not too shabby!

Late evening, watch news of local flooding coverage in the Phoenix area.

High temp today= low 60's Lights out: 11:08 pm

Awake 5:05am Temp 57 Cloudy...then light rain Overnight Sun City, AZ

Attend 8:00am mass again @ St. J & A church. Father Mark finished mass in
22 min. My kind of priest.
When we return to our coach, a FedEx package is waiting for us. It's our
accumulated mail sent by Melissa & Kevin. Thanks guys.

@ 12:45pm we drive to the famous Wigwam Resort in Litchfield, AZ(20 min).
We were here last Thursday with Frank & Kay for dinner. Frank drove & it
was dark so we saw little of the area. Today we have the time to walk
around & tour the building that was build in 1918 & has had a few modern
updates since then.

@ that time, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company was developing a new &
stronger cloth tire body material, known as tire cords, for use in tire
construction. This led to the growing of a high grade long staple cotton
grown right here in the Litchfield area, about 20 miles from Phoenix. The
Goodyear representatives needed a place to stay when they came to check on
the cotton program so this led to the building of the Organization house
which gradually became popular as a winter retreat. Today the Wigwam
resort area covers over 450 acres, 331 rooms & 26,000 square feet of
outdoor patios & party lawns. In other words, it's a very exclusive

We meet Dick & Christine @ the main lobby @ 2:05. We were going to lunch
in the Arizona room but they quit serving @ 2:00. Christina then suggested
a restaurant down the street called "Mimi's Cafe." They've eaten there
before & highly recommend it. How right they were. All of our meals were
great & we each took a doggy bag out with us. Kathy enjoyed garlic chicken
& I enjoyed crab cakes.

From Mimi's, we followed Dick & Christine thru the gates of the Pebble
Creek development where their new home is nearly complete. 3400 Sq ft
right on the golf course. This place will be just beautiful when finished.
We were here 2 yrs ago looking at this development when it was desert.
What a difference a few palm trees, green grass & beautiful homes will
Next we follow Dick & Christine to the East gated side that's been fully
developed & has 2000 homes. We all have a drink @ the Eagle's Nest & talk
for another hr. Then say our goodbyes & maybe see you in Newport, OR later
this yr. Back to our coach @ 7:45pm.

Today's high temp=low 60's. Lights out: 10:28pm

Awake 6:00am Temp 46 Clear turns to cloudy Overnight Sun City, AZ

We attend 8:00am Mass @ St Joachim & St Anne church & get ashes for Ash
Wednesday. The church was completely full including the choir section.

Afterward, we go directly to that strip mall where there are 3 thrift
stores waiting for Kathy. It's our new policy that if we bring something
new or different into the coach then something old has to go. Small house
& weight limits apply. Kathy tries on a few items but doesn't buy anything
but we did donate some clothes, shoes & a large container of cassette
tapes to the West Valley Lutheran thrift shop. So the coach is good now
for a few extra pounds.

Next we drive to downtown Glendale(15 min) to see a museum of
engineering...but it was closed. The place is actually a private residence
& the guy living there apologized for not being organized enough to open
for visitors. The guy Ed, talked with us for 25 min outside on the
sidewalk about his museum, fellow colleagues & contributers...interesting

Then we explore the historic area of old Glendale where the original
stores & the owners' homes from the early 1900's still exist. We have a
map & do a walking tour, read about who lived where & owned/operated which
store during what period of time. The early period architecture was
fastinating to compare with later year progress in more modern times. All
of the stores on tour & some of the homes are now being used as
restaurants, antiques stores, arts & crafts, book stores, etc. It was a
pleasant afternoon to walk around this area, small old town atmosphere.
Back to our coach @ 3:30. As we exit our Suzuki, Al Bush greets us from
his BIG shop. He & Wilma are back from Michigan.

6:15 Dinner: Copper River sockeye salmon with balsamic glaze, garlicky
brown rice, broccoli & cauliflower in a boursin cheese sauce + fresh
romaine mixed salad. What a meal...tasted even better than I can describe.

Evening time: Melissa calls from Anchorage. We are reminded as to why we
are here...it's been very, very cold up there. She reports all is well.

Later evening, reading in bed.

Today's high temp= low 60's Lights out: 10:30pm

Awake 6:60am Temp 44 Clear sky Overnight Sun City, AZ

@ approximately 10:30am I drive to Ace Hardware just up the street & look
@ their selection of soldering guns. My rechargeable gave up the ghost & I
miss having the use of it. Ace only had a low output gun, I am looking for
the high/low unit.

This is part of today's conquest...to find that soldering gun. We visit
the Avondale area, then the Lichfield area & then the Goodyear area. All
of these communities are maybe 20 miles West from downtown Phoenix & a
good 10 miles from our motorhome. Finally found what I am looking for @
the Home Depot in Goodyear.

The hunt was really an excuse for the sightseeing. There is some
phenomenal growth throughout the Phoenix valley & these areas mentioned
are among the strongest. It's mind boggling to say the least. New homes,
schools, businesses, golf courses, roads, etc. Where are the people coming

4.5 hrs later, I use my newly purchased soldering gun on Kathy's heating
pad which had 2 broken wires. Now it works again.

Early evening we receive an e-mail from Rosie in Anchorage. She has a Park
Place Condo coming up for sale that we've been interested in. We call her
on her office phone. She gives a brief description. She's excited for us.
We hold back our thoughts for now because we're interested only in a 1
bedroom & what she has found is a 2 bedroom unit. Rosie has already called
Melissa & they are planning to look @ it tomorrow afternoon.

8:00pm Dinner: Stuffed pork chops(apple cranberry stuffing) with balsamic
glaze, brown rice pilaf with sherried pecans & fresh spinach salad +
garlic bread.

I call an ole flying friend Ron, who is staying @ the Fairfield Inn in
Anchorage at the moment. He visited our old house & was quite surprised to
find out we don't live there anymore. We talk for 20 min.

High temp today=66 Lights out: 11:33pm

Awake 6:02am Temp 51 Mostly cloudy Overnight Sun City, AZ

After breakfast, Kathy irons clothes in the bedroom while watching her
favorite TV programs. Meanwhile, I relax & read the Arizona Republic
Newspaper...then do some bird watching from our living room windows with
my 10 power binoculars.

After lunch, we take a drive to our nearest libraries here in Sun City &
Youngtown to get a library card so we can take out videos & DVDs. No deal,
you have to be a resident of Sun City or Youngtown...no exception. Ok, so
next we drive 9 miles toward Phoenix & visit the Peoria Public Library.
Here their policy is to show an address in Maricopa County where you
receive your mail, then you're qualified for a card....a snowbird
convenience. Alright, so as soon as Melissa sends our mail, we'll have
that address.

En route back to Rancho Ventura, we stop at a strip shopping area in Sun
City. In this strip mall, they have 3 thrift stores & Kathy has that look
in her eye smile on her face...I think we'll be here awhile. Little did
either of us know, they close promply @ 4:00pm. These stores are all run
by volunteers. Kathy exited empty handed & I bought a classic caulking gun
for 25 cents. Then we drive over to the huge bins where we load up with
more free grapefruit & oranges. Back to the coach @ 5:10.

8:00pm Dinner: Kathy's famous Chili with triscuits.

9:00 pm watch PBS documentary on "Building the Alaska-Canada Highway."

High temp today=62 Lights out: 11:26 pm

Awake 5:28am Temp 46 Partly sunny-mid afternoon rain Sun City, AZ

We invite Robin, the fellow who is also camping here @ Al & Wilma's ranch,
to have breakfast with us this morning.

10:00am breakfast: Locally grown grapefruit & orange slices, Kathy's
sourdough pancakes with bacon, eggs & toast. We talk over breakfast for
4.3 hrs. Robin is a very interesting fellow, originally from England, now
living full time in their motorhome with a thriving business in Toronto,
Canada. His wife is currently visiting England and will return mid week.

Mid afternoon, Gary & Grace call from Landenburg, Pa. They just returned
last evening from spending 10 days in the Dominican Republic on a
business/pleasure trip.

@ 4:15 we take a walk for exercise through a section of Sun City & find a
miniature golf course & swimming pool. When we checked in to play a round,
we are told one has to be a member of the Sun City community & also a
resident. That leaves us out. En route back to the motorhome, we find
several huge bins of grapefruit & oranges in a parking lot for the taking.
So...we carry as much as is comfortable.

Before dinner, we call Glen de St Jean in Colorado. They sold their home
on 35 acres & bought a smaller one in LaVeta, CO. The winters & the drive
into town was beginning to be too much every yr. Their home was @ 8600 ft

Next we call Melissa in Anchorage. It's been really cold but they are
doing fine. We ask her to send our accumulated mail to Sun City.

7:15 Dinner: turkey tenders with gravy, sweet potatoes, mixed sauted
veggies, 4 bean salad & garlic bread.

Watch Masterpiece Theater part II on local TV channel.

Later evening, we call Sam de St Jean in Pasadena, CA., Glen's wife. She
is visiting her sister while doing follow up cancer testing. She says she
is feeling very good and is happy for both of us for selling our homes so
that we can all move on doing the things we want to do.

High temp today=64 Lights out: 11:15 pm

Awake 7:27 am Temp 47 Clear sky Overnight Sun City, AZ

Today was an exciting day for us 2 seniors. We both needed haircuts and
showers; laundry to be done, a load of dishes to be washed, & our black
water tank to be emptied.

To begin, the coach slides were retracted, all the umbilical cords
disconnected(water, phone line & electric) then we moved the machine about
30 feet around to the west side of Al's BIG shop where we start the
process of emptying that black water into the septic system. Kathy starts
the laundry. While that's happening, Kathy decides to let me cut her hair
for the first time ever. I tell you, this was an exciting day for us.

During my early teens, I cut my cousin Anthony's hair to his satisfaction.
She instructed me on how she wanted her hair cut...15 mins later, I was
done. She looked into the mirror & said: " Wow! It looks pretty good."
"Phew," what a lucky break, er, snip. Next Kathy cut my few hairs, we
shower, Kathy finishes 3 laundry loads, I finish emptying & flushing the
black water holding tank & then run the dishwasher. We reposition the
coach around to the shady side of the BIG shop & set it up for more
camping. This all takes us a mere 4 hrs.

We make a quick stop to our local Sun City library before attending 4:00
pm Mass @ St Joachim & St Anne church. En route back to our coach, we stop
@ Ace Hardware for a new charcoal filter, weather stripping & two hose
clamps. I install the filter before dinner.

7:30 Dinner: Leftover meatloaf, pasta, broccoli with feta cheese sauce &
spinach salad. Some local TV & late evening reading.

Today's high 66 Lights out: 10:52 pm

Awake 5:45 am Temp outside 51 Some high clouds Overnight: Sun City, AZ

Kathy & I review a card file containing our 1971 wedding shower and
wedding invitation responses, gifts received, thank yous sent, etc. I
didn't know she had saved these cards for some 34 yrs! It was interesting
to review them....reminiscing about the people, wondering if they are
still alive & where they are now? We update our address book as best as we
can...then toss those cards.

Last night when talking with Frank & Kay, they mentioned their friends who
are staying at a camping resort Northwest of here called, Happy Trails. So
today, we take a drive to this 400 acre resort that has 2000 camping
sites. It's a gated community so we sign up for a tour with Bob. He drives
us around for 30 mins showing us some of the amenities & the many creative
styles that the campsite owners build on their property. There are
motorhomes, 5th wheelers, trailers, park model units, mobile/manufactured
homes, etc. It's all very organized, clean & well laid out. Bob shows us
several sites that came up for sale. The one had a 2 story storage shed
with washer/dryer, refrigerator & air conditioner inside. The entire site
is under an aluminum cover with canvas flaps to shade out the sun &
wind...and includes an outside kitchen & patio. All of this for only
$115,000. Nice setup but we are not ready to settle down in one spot just

From here, we do some light shopping @ Fry's, Costco, Albertsons, AJ Fine
Foods & Trader Joe's before returning to the Rancho Ventura @ 4:30.

6:15 Dinner: Kathy's delicious meat loaf with gravy, baked potato,
asparagus & crimini mushrooms in a garlic marinated mozzarella cheese
sauce + fresh salad.

Evening time: Call Gary & Grace...leave msg. Kathy reads a novel while I
begin looking at routes & mileage for our next adventure.

High temp today=66 Lights out: 10:35 pm

Awake 6:24 am Temp outside=47 Clear sky Overnight Sun City, AZ

We attend 8:00 am Mass @ St. Joachim & St. Anne church this morning.
Father Mark conducts a fast Mass. Today is the feast of St. Blaise, patron
of diseases of the throat, so we stay after Mass and have our throats

Most of our morning & 1/2 of the afternoon was consumed with in-house
organizing: Kathy, working on bringing her low carb recipe book up-to-date
with new ideas from her Alaska collection...& I, going through all of our
records on our motorhome glitches & repairs since we purchased it March of

Mid afternoon, call John of Newell Coach. We talk about my list of
glitches that have yet to be resolved on our motorhome. He suggests that I
make an appointment with Tommy to have that list cleaned up. Tommy says:
"bring it in & March 14 will be fine."

@ 3:40 pm we leave to visit Frank & Kay who are staying in their motorhome
@ the El Mirage campground 10 mins from here. Frank let us store our coach
in their huge onion storage building last summer...& we have been trying
to rendezvous & take them out for dinner since then. We talk and have
cocktails and hors d'oeuvres for 1.5 hrs in their Newell before dining @
the Wigwam Resort, 20 mins South of the El Mirage campground. The Wigwam
Resort area was built during the early 1940's & is well respected as a 1st
class area. Kathy's fresh Pacific salmon & my filet were great. Frank &
Kay are good people & we certainly enjoy their company & really
appreciated the storage unit. We return to their motorhome after dinner &
gab for another hr before returning to the Rancho Ventura hangout.
Today's high temp=65 Lights out: 11:32 pm

Awake 6:42 am Temp outside 50 Patchy clouds Overnight Sun City, AZ

When we arrived yesterday, we found Robin (whose wife is currently in
England) parked in the #1 campsite. The other motorhome couple, Jerry &
Beverly, who were in campsite #2 are leaving this morning, so that spot
will be open for us if we want it. Kathy says it's OK for us to stay in
the shade of the BIG shop for now. I like being shady.

After breakfast, I replace both air conditioning compressor belts on the
Detroit Diesel(30 mins) & check the engine oil.

So we can keep our good tasting Tucson water, I connect both our water
hoses together & make the 60 ft run to the nearest water faucet. The local
city water here tastes blah but we do use it for cooking, laundry etc. The
Tucson water tasted so much better that we filled our 161 gallon fresh
water tank up before we left plus the 11 one gallon drinking water jugs we

Mid afternoon, we take a casual drive to the El Mirage campground just
across the wide flood control canal West of here. Just a curiosity tour.
From there we continue on to the town of El Mirage where Al has 2
commercial business lots that he rents out to Bob's RV repair & sales. As
we drive by, we scrutinize the fence Al had to construct last yr to
conform with the building codes...it looks great. Then we do some light
shopping @ Wal-Mart, Fry's & Safeway. Back to the coach @ 5:20pm. Then we
walk 40 min for exercise in the local neighborhood.

7:00 pm Dinner: Leftover eggplant parmesan & rotini with fresh sauce,
cauliflower/broccoli in sage & feta cream & fresh salad.

After dinner, we both have some computer time & later watch some local TV

High temp today=66 Lights out: 10:37 pm

Awake 5:28 am Temp outside 44 Clear sky Overnight Tucson, AZ

Kathy calls Al on his cell phone--we expected that he would be @ home in
Sun City, AZ but he & Wilma are in Michigan. Wilma's mother passed away so
they will be there for another week or 2. Kathy mentions that we are
returning to his ranch today. Al says: "You'll have company..Robin is
there & maybe another couple."

We shower @ the Beaudry facility, pay our camping bill for the extra 5
days & leave their campground @ 10:55 am. Another great day for travel. @
exit 208 on I-10, we stop & queue for having our coach washed @ the Blue
Beacon Truck Wash. There must have been 10 to 12 guys with brushes, soap
sprayers & rinse sprayers attack our rig as we drive into the building.
$30.50 later, our machine looks great. It has taken Kathy & I...3 days @ 4
hrs per day to get similar results that they can do in 35 mins. Now I
wonder, do we need that kind of exercise?

Arrive @ Al & Wilma's Rancho Ventura @ 2:20 pm. Sure enough, Robin is here
with his 40 ft coach & another couple with their motorhome. The only
parking spot left is where we usually store our coach during the
winter....behind the BIG shop.....so that's where we park. We talk with
Robin for awhile & then Kathy gets a clean rag out & removes some streak &
runs that resulted from our air drying on I-10.

Today's drive: 143 miles 3 hrs 4 mins 14.9 gallons used 9.64 miles
per gallon.

Make a quick trip to Costco to pick up some groceries and cleaning
supplies. Costco is great, but we cannot get several items because we have
to buy in too big a quantity...too much for two people to use and too much
weight and space to store in our motorhome. We manage to buy plenty,

7:15 Dinner: Lamb chops with mint jelly, asparagus with boursin cheese,
wild & brown rice, 4 bean salad & fresh romaine tossed salad.

Late evening: a little TV local channel watching. Even later evening:
Reading in bed.

Today's high in Sun City in the shade=62 Lights out: 10:33 pm

Awake 7:00 am Temp outside 38 Clear sky Overnight Tucson, AZ

Casual morning for us. Kathy does some organizing of her things in the
bedroom while watching TV. I do some RV travel reading in the living room.

@ 12:30 pm we exercise our upper bodies @ the Beaudry fitness center then
do our aerobic exercise by walking the campground for 45 mins. Now that
the temp has warmed beyond 60, it's very pleasant walking outside. Plus
seeing all the different models & makes of motorhomes, 5th wheelers &
trailers parked in their campsites makes it like a road show during our

6:00 Dinner: Eggplant parmesan with whole wheat rotini & fresh salad.
Kathy spent some time making this meal & it was really very,very good.

After dinner, she spends time on the computer while I clean up those dishes.

Call Katrina in Anchorage....leave message to return call & talk about
airfare to Japan for this July.

My sister Mary Jo calls from Lodi, CA. They are looking at airfares to
Japan also & are curious as to what we have found. We ask her to call Nick
in Seattle to confirm the exact date of the wedding.

Nick calls from Seattle, WA. Wants to know "what's going on with the
wedding date confusion?" No confusion here, but give Mary Jo a call....I
tell him.

Katrina returns our call. She will be in Santa Rosa, CA in July, attending
the wedding of a college friend, so she will be leaving from SFO with us
to fly to Nagoya. As she is talking with Kathy, she gets confirmation of
her flight.

High temp today= 70 Lights out: 11:34 pm


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