Sunday, December 26, 2010

After a full week Christmas is now past

Another great meal, another fun family gathering.

We finally warped up the 2010 Christmas season tonight. We had Jo's family members here tonight for our annual Christmas dinner. Jo's Mom and niece were with us, Mardell and Carrie, along with Carrie's son, J.J. After a great ham dinner we retired to the living room to exchange gifts and watch J.J. tear into his presents. We had gotten J.J., who just turned four earlier this month, a firetruck that was almost as big has he was. To his mother's consternation it made siren and radio noise when you pushed buttons on the side. Also, his great grandmother had gotten him a police helicopter that also made sounds when you pushed the buttons. (He had been asking for a helicopter for some time so he was really a happy little boy.) After opening the presents we had a really good visit with Carrie. We did miss seeing her husband, John, but he was involved playing soccer this evening. Being another gun enthusiast John and I usually have fun comparing our collections.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day with the Stone Clan

Plenty of food, plenty of family, a good time by all.

The annual Stone Family gathering this year was in Purcell, Oklahoma, at my oldest brother's house. We did have a houseful although there was one person very obviously missing. This was the first Christmas that our mother was not with us at the Christmas Dinner Table. She is no longer able to walk and is confined to the nursing home a few blocks away. This was the first time in my parents 73 years of marriage they were not together on this day. Dad did go visit her this morning and was going back over after we all left. We did not stop by the nursing home today since we had so many of our group with us.

Joanne and I had ten people attending this years Christmas gathering with us. Pictured here are (l to r) Alan and Cathy, Joanne, Mardell (Jo's Mom), myself and Alex. In front are Cathy and Alan's girls, Madison, Katlyn and Cadence. Not included in this picture is Cathy's sister, Grace, who was visiting from Wisconsin. The other family members were: My Dad, George; brother Bill and his wife Nancy; brother Chester and his wife Susan, plus their son Jason and son Tim with his wife Sherry and their son David and daughter Sara; brother David and his wife Elizabeth; Nancy's Mom, Lilas, and her brother Charlie and his wife Amy. Several of the family members were absent due to work schedules or being with their spouses families. Each family brought part of the meal so there was plenty of food for everyone with much left over.
We all spent the afternoon visiting and catching up since the last time we were all together. This was Madison and Katlyn's first time with all these family members and they seemed to have a good time and enjoyed our large family. Dad had requested that we not bring him or Mom presents this year. With Mom in the nursing home there is very little that she needs that is not provided for her. Also, at age 91 they both pretty much have everything they need. Dad did receive presents of the edible kind, which he really does appreciate. He was able to open packages of peanuts, cookies and peanut brittle. He did wear his red "Christmas" shirt, which has become a tradition. His older brother, Delmer, bought these shirts for himself, Dad and their brother-in-law, Joe, many years ago. Dad has worn this shirt every Christmas since. It is even more meaningful since Uncles Delmer and Joe have passed on.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Christmas gathering

Three more little girls and more presents opened.

Tonight Alan, my youngest son, came to visit with his family. He and Cathy brought our youngest granddaughter, Cadence, and her older, twin sisters, Madison and Katlyn. This was the first time the twins had met our new little Bridgit Jeane and they all had a big time playing with our little dog. After the girls all opened their Christmas gifts we all sat around the table and shared a chocolate chip pie and visited. We had a big time with the girls and they seemed to enjoy the gifts they received. Cadence will be four years old this next February and the twins are now eight. It's kind of funny, as a Dad I only had little boys. Now as Grandpa I'm surrounded with all these beautiful little girls.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An afternoon with the girls

Some big horses, playing at McDonald's and feeding a few birds.

We decided to take our two oldest granddaughters, Emma and Aurora, out for some fun this afternoon. We've been meaning to do this for awhile but just have not done it. First stop was the Express Barn. The Express Personnel Services company is owned by a guy named Bob Funk. He also owns some huge farms where he raises registered Black Angus cattle. (An article in this mornings paper showed that he was the 57th largest land owner in the United States.) In addition to his cattle operation he has a large team of Clydesdale horses that appear in parades around the country pulling a large wagon. He has his specially built barn open to the public to see the horses six days a week. The barn was built by hand by a group of Amish folks that came from Iowa to build it. These are beautiful horses in addition to being huge. The girls really enjoyed seeing the horses plus the other livestock on the place. This included a Zebra and some miniature horses. Each horse has it's own stall and are very friendly. Most will come to the door of the stall to allow you to pet them, as "Elvis" did here in the picture. Others just stood back and watched us. Marty would not come close but stood their twitching his nose at us. After touring the barn we went outside to look over the other animals and other items on the farm. The girls got a chance to board a stagecoach. Since both girls are cat lovers they had a big time playing with the friendly barn cats that were on the premises.

After leaving the farm we headed back into Oklahoma City and stopped at McDonald's for a quick snack. The girls had a great time playing on the indoor climbing toy for an hour or so. All refreshed we headed to Lake Hefner, one of the city reservoirs, after stopping by a local grocery store for a loaf of bread, to feed the birds. We drove around the lake to Stars and Stripes Park where the largest collection of birds hang out. Here we found an abundance of ducks, Canadian Geese and seagulls. We spent a while feeding bits of bread to the birds. The ducks and geese would come right up to us begging for a treat. The large geese can be pretty intimidating but one would eat right out of your hand. Aurora was the only one brave enough to hold out her hand to feed this goose. The seagulls would fly above us and grab the bread out of the air when we threw it up toward them. This was a great outing with two of our girls. Something we need to do more often.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

The tree is up and the first Christmas gathering has come and gone.

We finally got the Christmas Tree up this past Friday and the other decorations put out. This is little Bridgit Jeane's first Christmas as part of our family and she was not really sure what all was going on. We have already found her trying to check out what was in the Christmas presents that were in the sacks under the tree. Had to set them up on the mantle since they had edible items in them for the grand daughters.

Due to scheduling problems we usually wind up having more than one Christmas gathering to be able to include all the extended families. Tonight we had our two oldest granddaughters, along with their mother's, here for dinner and exchange of gifts. We had Emma and her mother, Shelly, and Aurora and her mother, Maegan. Emma's little sister, Lily, was also with us. Also joining us were my oldest son, Alex, and Joanne's mother. Aurora, the middle grand daughter was dropped off early by her other grandmother so she got to spend some time with us before the rest of the folks arrived. This was her first time to visit since Bridgit Jeane came to live with us. She had a good time having Bridgit chase her around the house. We had a great lasagna dinner followed by Joanne's fabulous upside down apple pie. After dinner we adjourned to the living room for pictures and to have the kids open their presents. They made a good haul and all seemed to enjoy what they got.

The picture to the right is Joanne and I with Emma, Aurora and Lily. The picture on the left is Emma and Aurora playing with Uncle Alex. The next gathering will be on Christmas Day with all the Stone clan at my oldest brother's house. Then on the next day, Sunday, we will have Joanne's family here at our house.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bridgit Jeane in her new home

A new home and meeting new family members.

Bridgit Jeane has now has spent a little over a week in her new home and appears to be settling in just fine. Once we got home Buddy Joe started to accept the fact she was staying here so he should make the best of it. He now shares his toys with her, runs and plays with her and puts up with her barking. He plays much more than when he was here by himself now so it appears that Bridgit will help him to stay young.

Outside of her barking, which we are working on, we've only had a couple of problems. Here is Bridgit (in the foreground) with Buddy behind her. She loves being outside and spends most of the daytime in the backyard. If we take her out through the front we must keep her on a leash since she has a tendency to run. First time was last week when I went out to put some mail out for the postman. She slipped out and took off. Here I was, still barefooted, on the chase. She immediately ran across the street to the neighbors yard and then headed north. Three yards down she darted back across the street. She made her mistake at that point by going into one of the neighbors backyards. There I was able to corner her and get her to stop. Oh, did I mention I was barefooted? This was around 9:00am and the temps outside were in the 40's. I did not realize how cold my feet were until I started walking back to the house. The second incident was this past Sunday morning as we were preparing to leave to take Joanne's mom to lunch. Bridgit was outside and being abnormally quiet. She has had a tendency to get under our deck, which is very muddy, and we thought we had closed up every place she could get in. Anyway, she did not come when called. We did a big search of the backyard, checking under the deck and checking the fence to see if there was anyplace she could have gotten out. We also looked all through the house but did not find her either place. At this point we each got in our cars and started driving the neighborhood looking for her. I finally came back home and as soon as I got out of the car I heard her barking coming from our dining room. She was now in the house. We have still not figured out where she was hiding but from her appearance it did not look like she had been under that deck. (Due to going under the deck she got two baths her first day after she got home from Savannah.)

During the past week we have had two of our three granddaugthers come to visit and meet Bridgit. First it was our youngest, Cadence. She came over for a few hours to see Grandpa and Grandma while her folks ran some errands. She had a big time playing with our dogs and posed for the picture on the right. Today our oldest granddaughter, Emma, spent part of the afternoon along with Lily, her little sister. This was also their first time to meet Bridgit. (This is Emma on the left.) All three of our granddaughters enjoy coming to see Buddy Joe and he is great with them. It appears that Bridgit Jeane is going to be just as good with the girls, which is a blessing. Our first Miniature Schnauzer, Brandi Jane, was kind of anti-social and really did not like to be around little kids. Pretty much anytime we had visitors Brandi had to be locked in a bedroom because we were afraid she would bite someone. It is really nice having these two dogs with such great personalities.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A new family member

Mission: Retrieve one very small Miniature Schnauzer as new family member.
Required: Travel from Oklahoma City to Savannah, GA. (2400 miles round trip.)
Status: Completed.

Last Tuesday Joanne, Buddy Joe and I piled into the car at 6:30am and headed east for Savannah, Georgia. A childhood friend lives in Savannah and is very involved in the volunteer effort of the County Animal Shelter. She had notified us that they had a "rescued" one year old Miniature Schnauzer that had been abandoned by her owners. Knowing our love of these dogs she wanted us to take her, especially since we had lost our Brandi Jane three years ago. Although we enjoy our current Schnauzer, Buddy Joe, we had decided to not get any more once Buddy was gone while we were still doing the RV thing. After Diane sent us pictures of the little girl we were hooked and have been attempting to work out how to get her to Oklahoma. Due to scheduling conflicts on both ends she remained at Diane's house for the past three weeks. This week we decided to just go get her.

The trip out was fairly uneventful. We drove east on I-40 to Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville the first day. About Little Rock it started to mist rain and that was our weather conditions all the way to Nashville. We hit Nashville around 4:30pm, just in time for their rush hour traffic, which was horrendous. After about an hour on the Interstate and only traveling about six miles we spotted a Motel 6 and stopped for the night. We headed out Wednesday around 7:00am and went south through Chattanooga, Atlanta and Macon before turning east again to Savannah. We arrived at Diane and Russ' house around 4:30pm. Diane got home shortly after and we met our new little one for the first time. We had already decided to change her name. The original owners had named her "Tru". Since we could not live with that we named her Bridgit Jeane. Diane had already started using that name so she was answering to it when we got there. Buddy was a bit overwhelmed while we were there with meeting a new "sister" plus the fact that Diane has six dogs of her own (two Mini Schnauzers and four Shih-tzus). The picture on the left is me with all four Schnauzers. In addition to Buddy and Bridgit there is little Hanna and her sister, Shadow, sitting up on the back of the chair. In addition she had a mixed Golden Retriever that she has been fostering in an attempt to find him a new home. Add to this she has several cats she is fostering. Needless to say Buddy was not comfortable in this atmosphere.

We stayed at Diane & Russ' house Wednesday and Thursday night and had a good visit. We got to tour the new County Animal Shelter and met the great people that operate that facility. Diane fed us a great Pot Roast dinner on Wednesday and on Thursday they took us to Fannies on the Beach out on Tybee Island. We had been with them to Fannies when we visited them back in 2007 and really like the place. They have a beautiful home in Savannah that is very comfortable and homey. Diane and I have known each other since the second grade and were best buddies all through high school. When her and Russ got married 44 years ago I was stationed in Norfolk as a young sailor and Russ was at Quantico, Virginia, as a young Marine Lieutenant. I was given the privilege of walking Diane down the aisle at the wedding when her Dad was unable to make the trip from Oklahoma to Virginia.

After our short visit it was time to head back home. We left Savannah around 9:00am on Friday heading west. We went back west to Macon and then north to Atlanta but at that point changed our course. We again turned west toward Birmingham, Alabama, and stopped for the night in Jasper, Alabama. This was Bridgit's first night away from all the dogs but she did very good. She had been trained, by Diane, to stay in a kennel crate and we had gone to Wal-Mart and gotten her a new one. When it came time to go to bed she went right in the kennel and settled in for the night. We did not here a peep out of her all night long. On Saturday we continued northwest to Memphis and I-40 and then west home. We arrived back home around 8:00pm. During the trip home Buddy pretty much laid on his pillow in the back, totally ignoring Bridgit. Bridgit, on the other hand, felt she should ride up front with us. She would lay on her pillow for awhile and then start trying to sneak up front. Even after we wedged a small ice chest between the seats she tried climbing over it. It was a very long, fast and fun trip. Not something I'd recommend on a regular basis but after getting Bridgit home we feel it was well worth it. By the way, once we got Buddy home, in his own environment, he has decided that Bridgit is not so bad and has spent most of the day today chasing around the house with her. He has even made several attempts to get her to play tug-of-war with some of his toys. He also has been a big assist in teaching her to use the doggie door to the back yard.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 7

A lazy day, a great German band and another rally is wrapped.

Other than a general club business meeting this morning there was nothing scheduled for the rally during the day today. The weather all week has been beautiful with sunny skies and warm temps. A cool front rolled in last night and although it was nice and sunny today the temps dropped from the high 70's we've gotten used to down to the low 60's. This made for a good day to hang out in the coach and watch a little football. Got to see the first half of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game before it was time to head over for dinner and the evening entertainment. Didn't get back to the coach until after that game was over and at the halftime of the Oklahoma State-Texas game. This was the last day of the rally. Most of us will be heading out tomorrow morning. Here are out Rally Masters doing the final announcements before the entertainment started. These four are the folks who put this all together and did a great job. Thanks Terry, Cathy, Bridgit and Carsten.

Tonight's theme was Germany. There are several German communities in this part of Texas. Dinner was brats and sauerkraut. Later we were entertained by a great German Oompa band called, appropriately, The Sauerkraut's. They did music in both German and English interspersed with humor and audience participation. These were a great group of musicians. The leader not only sang but played multiple instruments himself. In addition to the usual instruments of tuba, accordion, guitar and drums they did play one number on these twelve foot long Bavarian horns. Several folks got up to dance to the polka numbers but when the band played The Chicken Dance almost everyone was up and joining in. This has been a very enjoyable rally and was wrapped up with a rousing night of music.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 6

A birthday, a visit to the Alamo and a rousing game of Bingo.

We spent most of today away from the rally. Since today is my birthday we decided to take a road trip. After breakfast we headed southwest to the big city of San Antonio. First stop was the SAS Shoe Factory. We both pretty much exclusively wear SAS shoes so when we are near the factory we like to stop in their outlet store. Actually I was in need of a new pair of sandals since from May through September that is about all I wear and I had pretty much worn out the last pair. I also needed to replace my everyday shoes. Jo looked through the ladies shoes but either did not find anything she wanted or they did not have the ones she needed in stock. Anyway, I did present myself with two new pair as my birthday present.

Our next stop was to downtown San Antonio to visit the Alamo. We have been to the Alamo before but always enjoy going back. This is an inspirational shrine that every American should visit. There were several bus loads of school age children touring the shrine. Due to this we got to hear one of the tour guides give a great history lesson about the siege by Santa Ana and the Mexican Army. He explained how the Mexican General/President thought this was going to serve as a warning to the rest of the Texans who were attempting to secede this land from Mexico. Instead it turned the tide and soon after, with the slogan of "Remember the Alamo", the Mexicans were defeated and the Republic of Texas was born.

After our tour of the Alamo we crossed the street and made our way down to the River Walk. The city has done a fantastic job of transforming the river that runs through the middle of town into a great area. I remember being there many years ago when they were first getting this started. Today the River Walk brings a great number of tourist in, giving the area a tremendous financial boost. We strolled down several blocks on the river level, which is one level down from the surrounding streets. After a while we went back up to street level and headed back toward the car, which was parked behind the Alamo. By this time we were getting kind of tired so we stopped in at the famous Buckhorn Saloon for something cold to drink and a chance to sit a bit. The Buckhorn claims to be the oldest saloon in Texas. Besides the saloon itself there is a 40,000 square foot museum, mostly stuffed animals and hunting trophies. This building also houses The Texas Ranger Museum.

After returning to Kerrville and the coach we relaxed awhile before joining the other rally attendees for dinner. Each night of the rally has had a different country theme. Monday night was American and Tuesday was Mexican. Tonight was Italian with a good Italian dinner. Tonight's entertainment was Bingo games. We played several games and had a good time, even though neither Jo nor I won any of the games. (Last month at the rally in Tucson we both were winners at Bingo.) Here Wallace and Sarah Johnson call the Bingo numbers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 5

A great luncheon and then some good entertainment.

Today was mostly a down day as far as planned rally activities. There were a couple of seminars scheduled but I decided to pass on them. There was a great luncheon at a place called The Inn of the Hills for all who were interested. Usually at the rallies with this club the ladies go to lunch together on one day during the rally. This time they decided to invite us guys to go with them. It was a great buffet and everyone got plenty to eat. Recently a friend commented on one of the blog entries that it appeared that we only ate when we were traveling. Since I seldom do blog entries when we are sitting at home it may appear like that. We do find we do a lot of eating when we are out in the RV. Since much of our travels include RV rallies this is especially true. It has always been traditional when people gather together to share a meal. The "breaking of bread" is mentioned in the bible in several places. So if you see references to our sojourns out to eat you will understand this long time ritual.

One of the benefits of attending the rallies is getting to cross paths with good friends that we have made along the way. That is true with the current rally. We have been lucky enough to spend some time with Bob & Maribel Clerc this week. We first met Bob & Maribel in early 2007 on our trip to Florida. They were one of the seven couples (motor homes) that traveled together to the rallies we attended in the Sunshine State. We have seen them since at the RV service center and in Minnesota at a RV rally.

Tonight's program started off with a short history of Veteran's Day and a recognition of all our veterans. This was followed by Ray Gutierrez, a local musician/singer. He did a great one man show performing music from Pop to Country to several Spanish numbers. The crowd got into the music with many couples getting up to dance and interact with the performer. Ray was born and grew up here in Kerrville and has lived here most of his life. This was a very enjoyable evening of music.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 4

A trip to look for "Waylon, Willie and the Boys" and a stroll through the Pacific War.

First full day of the rally started off with the normal welcome greeting from the Rally Masters and then a talk by the local historian/newspaper publisher. This was an interesting talk about the history of Kerrville and Kerr County. Following this talk there were several seminars scheduled on the different motor home components. We have attended so many rallies over the years these seminars tend to be redundant. One neat thing is the "golf cart" provided by a local RV dealer to be used to shuttle folks from the RV parking sites to the rally hall. This cart has been built to resemble a motor home complete with roof air conditioner and TV satellite dome. Instead of sitting through the seminars we decided to go exploring. First stop, Luckenbach, Texas, the town from the western song of the same name. We had been to this little "town" some years ago but decided a trip back would be fun. Basically all that is there is a small general store with a bar in the back, a few outbuildings that are used to sell drinks during festivals and the famous dance hall. Luckenbach originally had its own post office but that was closed in 1977. There is only one residential house in town. It used to be occupied by the owner of the town but he moved away when he sold the town some years ago. Not sure who lives there now. They do have live music each evening in the dance hall.

After Luckenbach we drove to Fredericksburg. This community was originally settled by German immigrants. Many of the shops in town are of a German nature and there are many German restaurants. This is also the birthplace of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific during World War II. His family ran a hotel right on the main street through town. The hotel now houses the Admiral Nimitz Pacific War Museum. The hotel was built in the 1870's to resemble a steam boat with the upper floors protruding out over the street. Last year the city added a new National Museum of the Pacific War on the street directly behind the hotel/museum. This is over 20,000 square feet of fantastic exhibits as it walks a person through the causes leading up to the war, the war itself and the surrender and occupation of Japan. It has a lot of military hardware displayed including several aircraft and a small submarine. They also have named their main gallery after former President George H. W. Bush, who was a Navy pilot during the war. If ever in Fredericksburg this museum tour is a must. (World War II veterans are admitted free and active/retired military members are admitted at a reduced rate.)

After a stop off in one of the great German bakeries for some apple strudel we headed back to Kerrville. We had an appointment with one of the vendors to come shampoo the carpets in our coach. After four years and 37,000 miles we decided it was time. Later in the evening we joined the other rally attendees for dinner and the nightly entertainment. Tonight we were entertained by a young lady named Sarah Getto who is from Norman, Oklahoma. We have seen her perform before and always enjoy her. (Her grandmother lives just down the hall from my father in the assisted living center in Purcell, Oklahoma, and she has entertained there for the residents.) Sarah was born blind and with a terrible cleft palette. She taught herself to play the piano at age three and the violin at age 10. Her cleft palette was repaired and she went on to earn a college degree in music education with a teaching certificate. She currently travels the country in her own motor home (her dad does the driving) performing her music, mostly at RV rallies and shows. She is always well received and is a true inspiration of the American Dream of overcoming adversary and succeeding in life. The picture includes her dad who works as manager, announcer, roadie, back up musician and gofer.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 3

A slow day, a good lunch date and the rally gets kicked off.

Pretty much relaxed today and explored the grounds here at the RV park. This park is located directly on the Guadalupe River and has a lot of open space between the RV sites and the river. This gives a great area to roam and visit nature. This park like area has many very old and very huge trees. The park owners have erected large swings in several of the trees. In addition to the excellent buildings they have for rallies they also have put in a small ampitheater for outdoor entertainment. After our stroll around the place we got ready for the rally itself. The first gathering was this evening with a meet and greet with a "pot luck" with each couple bringing their favorite snack food. We visited with folks we had met at previous rallies and met some new friends.

Earlier in the day we met up with some good friends who live here in Kerrville. We met Ann & Dale Lemons at Valentino's Italian Restaurant for lunch. Dale is a retired school shop teacher. Now he turns really great pieces of wood on this lathe to make fantastic bowls and other works of art. He has brought his lathe to the last two Monaco America rallies and put on demonstrations of how he does his work. We look forward to spending more time with them when we come back down here next May for the Spring 2011 Monaco America Rally.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Texas Hill Country--Day 2

A long days drive and then we're ready to rally.

We pulled out from home around 7:45 yesterday morning, heading south for the Texas Hill Country. We are here to attend a rally with the Monaco Wan-na-go's RV club. This is another of the coach owner clubs, that are affiliated with the Monaco brand, of which we are members. As opposed to our two other Monaco clubs, which are international in nature, meaning the U.S. and Canada, this club is for owners within a six state south central region. We are at the Guadelupe River RV Resort on the west edge of Kerrville, Texas. This is about 65 miles northwest of San Antonio on Interstate 10.

We spent most of the day yesterday on the road, down Interstate 35 to Austin and then west through Fredericksburg to Kerrville. We arrived around 6:15 yesterday evening. With the change in Daylight Savings Time this weekend it was almost dark by the time we got here. Setting up in the dark is always a problem but things went fairly easy last night. The rally does not actually start until tomorrow evening so today was spent with routine maintenance on the coach. In addition to getting the bugs off the front of the coach I had to repair one of the rearview mirrors. These are not the normal small mirrors you would have on your car. They are large, crome and power operated. The bracket holding it to the coach was loose so I had to remove the mirror and the bracket to tighten it all back up. Got all that done and then relaxed and watched the rally parking crew assist the new arrivals into their spaces. Looking forward to a good rally in a very beautiful RV park.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A fast trip to the East Coast in the planning

2400 miles in five days.

We are in the process of adopting a rescue dog as a little sister to our Buddy Joe. A friend from high school now works on the staff of the county shelter in Chatham County Georgia and lives in Savannah. They have a small Miniature Schanuzer that has been abandoned by her owner and is in need of a new home. Since Diane already has six dogs of her own it is impossible for her to keep her so she thought of us next. Now I'm trying to put together a very quick trip from Oklahoma City to Savannah. Two days on the road to get there, one day to take care of everything with the shelter and two days to get back home. Am planning to have my son, Alex, go with me to help with the driving but am having some scheduling problems. He cannot leave until Wednesday. Our friends in Savannah plan on leaving for vacation on Thursday. Stay tuned to see how this drama turns out. As the attached picture of her shows she is a sweet little dog and needs a good home.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Arizona Bound--Day 22--Home

A hard drive in the wind and another adventure is over.

After a good nights rest in Amarillo we headed out for our last leg. The planes coming in low over the coach finally stopped around midnight and we were able to get some sleep. Wound up getting up about an hour later than planned so we did not actually get on the road until around 9:30. After a refueling stop we hit the road with a raging wind coming straight out of the north. When you drive a large vehicle that is almost 13 feet tall and shaped like a loaf of bread a side wind can make for hard driving.

Actually the trip was fairly uneventful and we made it home about 3:30 this afternoon. We spent the next couple of hours unloading most of the stuff in the coach and then collapsed. There are still a few loads of stuff to bring in but that can wait until tomorrow. The coach needs a bath after three weeks in the desert and there are a few minor repairs that need to be attended to. When you take a house, put it on wheels and then drive it up and down the roads in our country things are going to work loose. Most of the things can be fixed here at the house but there are a couple of things I'll need to get the RV dealer to take care of. Those items can wait until the first of the week. After that it will go back to the storage lot until time to get it ready for the next adventure this next month. Stay tuned to see what's next and where we are going.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Arizona Bound--Day 21

Beautiful mountains, good roads and a bunch of wind.

Today was another day of driving but before we could pull out of Alamogordo I had to trek across the road to take a picture of the World's Largest Pistachio Nut. (One of our RV friends seeks out these "World's Largest" on their travels, so Rod this is for you.) This is at a pistachio farm and winery just across the road from the Boot Hill RV Park. After that we hit the road around 8:30 and headed northeast. We traveled up into the mountains and through Ruidoso, a fantastic place up in the high mountain area of east central New Mexico. From there it was through Roswell and then up to Clovis before we crossed into Texas. At the Texas state line, as has been our experience in the past, the wind picked up greatly, this time out of the north. Since we were traveling as much to the north as the west we found ourselves driving straight into the wind most of the day.

As we crossed into Texas we came into the Central Time Zone so we lost an hour at that point. We arrived at the Overnite RV Park in Amarillo around 4:30pm. This is the same place we stopped over on our way home this past April. It's a nice and inexpensive park to stop for the night with full hookups, including cable TV. We decided to stay in this evening and did not even unhook the car. Now it's time to just rest before we tackle our last day out tomorrow. One pleasant surprise here in Amarillo is our computer access. Earlier in the year I had purchased an internet Hot Spot unit from Sprint. This was so we did not have to rely on the WiFi in the RV parks. This unit offers 3G service in most of the United States but offers 4G coverage in about 25 cities around the country. Eventually they plan to have 4G coverage everywhere. So far we had not been anywhere that 4G is offered since they said they were starting with the major cities. We've used the unit in Oklahoma City, Little Rock and Tucson and did not get the 4G. So it was a big surprise that Amarillo has 4G availability. I've been told that 4G was a very fast connection but am totally blown away at how fast it is. I cannot remember having anywhere near this kind of speed even with the DSL coverage we have used at home. One major drawback, and something we did not remember about the last time we stayed here, this RV park in directly in the flight line of the Amarillo Airport so we have all these aircraft coming in very low directly above our coach.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Arizona Bound--Day 20

A drive through missile ranges, a stop at Boot Hill and another beautiful sunset.

We pulled out of the RV Resort in Tucson around 8:30 this morning. Three of our remaining four coaches left at the same time. The fourth was getting ready to pull out as we left. There were only a few remaining RVs scattered throughout the park but they too had to be out by 11:00 am. We headed east on Interstate Highway 10 toward Las Cruces, New Mexico. There we turned north on U.S. Highway 70. After about 340 miles we stopped for the night at the Boot Hill RV Park in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This is a relative new RV park and has almost all the amenities we would want. The only thing missing is cable TV. We tried to get some local stations over the antennae but did not have much luck. We'll spend the night here and then head out again tomorrow morning.

The drive today took us through the White Sands Missile Ranges. This is where the government designs, perfects and tests the many types of missiles used by the United States Military. Part of the drive took us up to about 5700 feet above sea level and then we dropped down to the desert floor in the White Sands area. Now we are in Alamogordo where one of the first nuclear bombs, one of the two that were dropped on Japan during World War II, was developed and built. After getting settled in at the RV Park we took a drive up through town. The main part of town is basically just like most of these towns along the highway. Many hotels and about every brand of fast food chain in the country. We elected to stop at a good old Oklahoma companies establishment, Sonic. We have not had a good Sonic burger since we left home, although Sonic is abundant in this part of the country. We did get to see another nice sunset. This picture was taken from directly in front of our coach this evening.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Arizona Bound--Day 19

More goodbyes, great lunch and a little coach maintenance.

By the time we got out and around this morning several more of the rally attendees had left. We did take advantage of not having rally responsibilities so we slept a little later than normal. When we did venture out there were only seven of our coaches left. As the morning went on more left and there are four of us still sitting here. We had some mail to get out so we left out about noon to find a local post office with an outside mail box and then stopped at a Denny's for lunch. This Denny's was different than their regular places in that it was fashioned as an old time diner.

After returning to the coach it was time to complete the job I started last week with the installation of the new house batteries. Part of the problem, well actually most of the problem, with the old batteries was my lack of properly maintaining them. These batteries should be checked for proper water levels at least once a month. The way they are situated it is almost impossible to see into the batteries in the back of the bay. I have to admit I have not been the best about keeping them adequately watered. To solve this problem I purchased a system that permanently attaches to the batters, a system of small tubes, that only require dropping a small hose into the bottle of distilled water and squeezing a rubber bulb until the batteries are full. A very easy way to maintain these very large batteries. Now I have no excuse for not taking proper care of them. While working outside I noticed the Metlife Blimp flying over. Since there is not major stadium in this area we had to assume that it was just traveling from one place to another rather than covering something local. All in all this was a good last day in Tucson with beautiful weather. Tomorrow takes us back on the road as we start working our way back home to Oklahoma.