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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Edson Alberta

It has been a while and for that I am sorry.  We have just been having too much fun.  That and lousy Internet connections (some of the time)

Before leaving Las Vegas we bought tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera.  I love live theatre.  The setting was opulent.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures.  What a wonderful evening out.  It felt good to get dressed up. 

The heat here amazes me. When you open the door to go outside it feels exactly like you just opened the oven door to check the progress of supper. The thermometer on the side of Serenity read 126 degrees. Even when we left at 4 AM the temperature was 86. Never thought I would ever find 86 cool but it was. I am sure you can fry an egg on the pavement. I don't know how the dogs could walk on it without burning their pads, but it didn't seem to bother them at all. 

We drove to California to explore the Mojave desert.  Lots of empty brown land with shrub brushed all over.  So different from the lush green landscape I am used to.  It definitely has a beauty all its own.  

After two weeks in the scorching desert heat we left for Idaho.  We stopped for a week there in order to visit Yellowstone and see the geysers.  The first thing we noticed was the cold and the second was the mosquitoes.  The locals didn't find it cold at all but I guess after so long in the heat of Florida and the trek across the south we were getting used to temps in the 80s and 90s.

We drove into Yellowstone and visited Old Faithful.  It was fascinating.  The rangers explained what was happening and why which made it all the more interesting.  We stopped along the way to see a few other hot spots and then headed south towards the Grand Tetons. They were beautiful but my biggest problem was all the people.  The park was packed.  I am sure it is that way all summer.  I lived in British Columbia for nearly 20 years.  Ten of those years was in the northern part of the province where population is more sparse.  I have seen the Rockies many times without the crowds so I am guessing I am spoiled.  I did have the opportunity to take many pictures but right at this moment I don't have access to them. (long story) but when I do I will post some of them. 

On our way back from the park Ira decided to take a short cut.  As my son once told me - there is no such thing as a short cut.  If there was a shorter better way it would be the way! Well the route to the campground was only 30 miles.  It took us over 3 hours.  By my calculations that was an average of about 10 miles an hour.  LONG DRIVE.  Mind you the scenery was beautiful but the road bad.  My biggest worry was that we would get nearly through and the road become impassable.  Maybe a bridge out or a tree across the road.  But we met some oncoming traffic.  Yes even on that road there was traffic.  I relaxed then because I knew if they came in we could continue going out.  After that I enjoyed the slow pace, the wildlife and beautiful vistas.

We are now sitting at my sons place in Edson Alberta.  Edson is a smaller town about 2 hours west of Edmonton.  It is an ideal place because we are 2 hours to a big city if we want city life but we are also less that 2 hours to the Rockies if we want some back country entertainment. 

I am enjoying playing with my grandchildren and helping my DIL in the office.

They are so well behaved and a joy to be around.  Their parents should be proud.

We spent a few days playing on the ATVs or Quads.  Of course we had to find some mud to play in. Not really all that hard as there has been so much rain.

 My second son and my granddaughter.

 Now it is my turn. 

These will never be the same. :(

My oldest son and wife own and run a business from their property.  They have their home, 2 shops and an office building along with 4 or 5 trucks and various other equipment needed to run that business.  This affords them to opportunity to live comfortably.  Bear with me as I do have a point to this.  Along with being Independence Day, July4th is also my grandson Carter's birthday.  On this July 4th he turned 5 years old.  I am thinking this will be a birthday none of us will soon forget.

This is one of their shops.  The only thing saved was one of the ATVs and that was only because it was parked right at the doors.  It was heartbreaking to watch most of what my child has worked for going up in smoke and there was just nothing we could do.  I just kept telling Jaime that we were fortunate that no one was hurt. And that the only damage it did to the house (which is just out of the picture to the left) was warp some of the vinyl siding.  The fire was an accident caused by one of their employees.  He, fortunately, got out with only some mild smoke inhalation.  Of course the ambulance (which arrived with the fire department) took him in just to be sure.

This is the truck we was working in when it caught.  I just don't believe how fast the whole shop went up.

I have been spending a lot of time with Jaime in the office completing a listing of stock for the insurance company.  The hardest part is we also have to dig through back records to find the invoices for all this to provide a price, place and date of purchase to the insurance company. I didn't realize how much stuff was in there.  As I said, a July 4th we won't soon forget.

A few days ago we decided again to take the quads out for an afternoon of fun.  It really didn't matter that it was raining.  I wish I could have gotten pictures of the puddle or should I say small pond we got stuck in.  It was over 2 feet deep with a bottom of about 6 inches of soft mud.  It was just not a place to dig out the camera but I am sure we will do it again and then I will get pictures.

We rode up to a cabin on the mountain maintained by the local ski-doo club and cooked up supper.
That is the back of Jaime's head and those hot dogs sure tasted good.  The fire was welcome too to dry out wet clothing. 

You can see behind me how muddy the trails were.  Nothing like playing in the mud.  I guess I have never really grown up.  But I was warm and dry and having so much fun.  I can't wait to go again.

This was taken from the deck on the front of the cabin.  I love this area and miss living here.  However that being said those 8 month winters are not so appealing to me anymore.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Las Vegas

First - good news.  Since March my mother has been on chemo for cancer.  Her second last treatment was to be this week.  When she went in the Dr. told her that the last two were not needed and she just needs to go home and get well.  For that I am so thankful and relieved. Way to go Mom!!

We have been in Las Vegas for a few days now and of course the first thing we did was walk the strip. 
We wandered along in front of the Palazzo............
I think this was the Palazzo.  It does become a bit of a blur after a bit. Either way it was a beautiful spot in the middle of the city.

We wandered into the Venetian and watched the gondolas cruising up and down the river.....
The lobby ceiling....
Treasure Island.....

Yesterday we went to Hoover Dam and did a tour.  It is hard to believe what man can do when he is determined.

The water is a bit low.

Lake Mead.  This used to be the Colorado River before Hoover Dam was built.  We are going to take the Sea Eagle out for a cruise later this while we are here.

Today I think we are going out to see what pictures can be found. The one thing we don't have to worry about here is getting a sunny day to take pictures.  I am loving it.  The temps have been in the high 90s and triple digits.  I don't know if I would want to spend the whole summer here.  It must get frightfully hot.  Numbers like mid one hundred and teens are being tossed around on weather channel.  Thanks but 100 is hot enough for me.  I think I will pass.

That is all from home here in Vegas.  Until the next time stay safe out there and maybe we can meet down the road one day.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Flagstaff Az

The past few days have been busy ones again.  Good thing we are retired.  Don't know how we would find the time to do everything.

As I said in my last post on Thursday we drove up to the grand canyon.  It didn't take long to blast my way through all the space on my memory card in my camera.  The place is fantastic.  Everywhere you look you see an opportunity to take another photo.

Way down at the bottom is the Colorado River.

On Friday we drove over to the Painted Dessert and the Petrified Forest.  The place is just fascinating.  I once had a prof in university who used to say that the only way to truly understand ones place in the universe was to stand on the top of a mountain and look at the vastness around.  Only then can one realize how small and totally insignificant one is in the grand scheme of things.  To prove his point he took the class to Baxter State Park in Maine to climb Mount Katahdin.  From that vantage point looking down I realized that he was right.  Well yesterday I rediscovered that fact as I was standing in the middle of the Painted Dessert surrounded by vastness and farness. I truly wish I had the gift of words that could paint the picture for you. This will have to do instead. Even though pictures never do it justice.

That log that you see in the above picture is actually rock now.  It was a tree growing in the area about 225 million years ago.  How different the land was then. That tree was alive before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. 

So were the ones in this photo. 

Yesterday was our 4th wedding anniversary so last night we went out to dinner.  Ira checked out reviews on a restaurant in Flagstaff that served Indian food.  Normally I don't like that food as most of it is cooked with curry and I don't like curry.  But this place was fantastic.  The chef came out to talk to us so that I could tell him exactly what kind of food I do  like and how I like it spiced.  My meal was perfect.  We would definitely go back there again.

Today we just wandered around historic downtown Flagstaff.  So many neat little shops with products created by local artists.  I forgot to take my camera or even my cell with me so no pictures at all. 

When Ira and I changed our eating habits to eat healthier I thought giving up the bread would be the hardest thing.  I was addicted to the empty calories of the soft smooshy white bread.  I am surprised to say that I don't miss it at all. In fact the other day I had some toast and couldn't really eat it.  It didn't taste nearly as good as I remembered.  Now ice cream...........that is a totally different story.  I love ice cream and it tastes every bit as good as I remembered.  I really do try to not have it as often as I would like. 

Tomorrow we pack up again to hit the road early Monday morning.  We are on our way to Vegas.  Another first for me. 

Stay safe out there everyone.  I hope we can meet one day down the road somewhere.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

El Paso was hot: hot and windy.  We stayed at the famcamp at Ft. Bliss.  It is a one of the nicest famcamps we have stayed in so far.  The lots are cement and level.  It is so nice to pull in and just drop the jacks without having to put things under the wheels.  The grounds are well kept.  There is no green except for the dog walk area but where there would be grass on each site there is gravel and trees.  The facilities are clean and well kept.  The base is very nice.  Tons of shopping and choices of places to eat. 

The wind was wild.  More wind than I have ever been in.  Our satellite dish took a dive and now sports a nice dent.  The wind broke the plastic braces on the bottom of the kitchen slide which Ira rebuild from wood.  It also ripped the awning over the living room slide,  good old duct tape to the rescue.

We stayed there through memorial weekend which is the one year anniversary of us pulling out of the driveway in Pa. 

The days are so hot and we worry about the affects of the heat on the truck when hauling Serenity so we decided to leave El Paso at night and do the bulk of the driving in the dark and cooler hours.  So very very early Tuesday morning we crept out of the park being as quiet as we could.  Sunrise found us in New Mexico.

We sure didn't have to worry too much now about heat.  Once we left El Paso and started north the temps dropped considerably.  It was about 40 degrees when I took this picture.  I was dressed for 85.  I was shivering so bad I could hardly take the picture.  Needless to say I only have a few.  I didn't stay out long enough to take more.

I have never been in this part of the country before and the dessert fascinates me.  I love the expanses of nothingness. 

I have seen pictures of these cactus all my life but this is the first time seeing them real.

We stopped in Tucson in the morning and set up for the day.  The temperature had risen considerably.  When we are only stopping for overnight we usually stop at a Flying J or a Walmart but in the heat we really want the electricity for the AC so we stopped at a small campground just on the outskirts of Tuscon.  We fit in the lot (just)  and getting in was not hard but getting out was tight.  The roads really were not designed for rigs quite as large as ours.  Fortunately the guys staying in the lot in front of us moved their truck and picnic table so that we could pull out right through their lot and make the swing around them to the exit.  Once again we left before daylight and got to Flagstaff by noon.  The daytime temps are in the high 70s low 80s but the night go below freezing.  Makes for good sleeping.  Speaking of sleeping, we didn't get much last night.  Serenity came with a "sleep by number" bed.  Well last night it sprung a leak.  At 2 AM we ripped the bed apart trying to figure out why it kept going flat.  Finally we found the leak.  We decided to try to just duct tape it as a temporary measure.  It worked..............for about 15 minutes!  Today we went out in search of a patching kit to try and fix it.  If it doesn't work I am thinking we are going to have to replace our mattress.  I would never buy that type of bed myself and only own one because the rig came with it.  We patched the mattress this evening and have to let it sit for the night.  So tonight we sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room.  I am guessing we are going to find out if it is comfortable.

We are staying in the famcamp at the Navajo National Guard Camp.  It reminds me of the campgrounds in the woods we used to camp at when I was a child.  I like staying in the RV resorts with all the amenities but I am also liking this rustic little place.  We have a great view across the fields from our dining area and the place is so quiet.  The stars are so bright.  As Howard would say "this place has that it factor".

Today we drove up to the grand canyon.  It was breathtaking!!! I took tons of pictures but I don't have them on this computer yet so I can't include any of them.  I will put a few in my next post. 

There is a $25.00 charge per car to enter the Grand Canyon National Park.  Fortunately last year when we were in Sevierville we bought a Senior pass to go into the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and it also got us in to the Grand Canyon National Park today for free.  Great little card!  So far that and our Passport America card has been a great investment.  I recommend them to anyone planning to do any touring around and camping. 

There is a few more places we want to see while we are here in Arizona.  Next week we are off to Vegas.  Another new place for me.

That is about it from Flagstaff Az.  Stay safe out there everyone and I hope we can meet one day somewhere down the road.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It has been a while I know.  My only excuse is that we have been busy and Internet has been scarce.  We are now sitting in El Paso in western Texas.  

We stayed a few days in Livingston Tx.  mostly just to see the place.  It is a huge park but not exactly what we expected.  Many of the lots are owned by individuals who place anything from mobile homes to park models on them.  It was quiet and people were very friendly.  We enjoyed our time there but soon it was time to move on to San Antonio.

We stayed at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio.  I like staying in RV parks on military bases mostly because of the security and the slightly less cost.  Also groceries are so  much less expensive at the commissary.  We are getting very spoiled as every park we have been in so far has had level cement pads and pull through sites.  We stop and drop the jacks without having to do any leveling.  We are set up in a matter of minutes. 

While in San Antonio we visited the Alamo.  I was surprised because I expected something a bit bigger but it was beautiful.  The gardens were shaded which was a welcome relief on a sunny hot day.

After wandering through the exhibits at the Alamo we headed to the Riverwalk.  I have read so much on others blogs of the Riverwalk that I couldn't wait to see if for myself.  I loved it. 

We wandered until our feet hurt then jumped on one of the boats for a tour of the area.  Much of the walkway does not have any sort of railing as it follows the river.  I was wondering if anyone ever falls in while strolling.  The boat captain told us he saw a woman walking and texting.  The walkway took a turn to the left but she didn't.  He said it happens about a half a dozen times a week.  Luckily the water in most places ranges from 3 to 5 feet deep so you just have to stand up and walk out.  Nothing hurt but your pride.

We really enjoyed our afternoon there and went back a few days later for the evening and dinner out.  Since we drastically improved our eating habits about 2 months ago we don't eat out near as much as we used to so going out for dinner was a special treat and the ambiance of the area only added to it.

We left San Antonio yesterday morning heading west.  We planned to stop at a Flying J or Pilot for the night but the driving was so easy we just kept going and arrived at Ft. Bliss RV park around supper time.  They don't take reservations here so it is first come first served.  We got the second last spot.  Again flat level sites paved roads, full hook ups and well kept upscale facilities.  All this for about $12.00 a night.  We are here until next Tuesday.  The temps for the next few days are expected to top 100 degrees so I am thinking the AC is going to get a good workout.

We stopped for a photo somewhere between Ft Stockton and El Paso.  The vast emptiness has a beauty all its own. 

That is about all from our home here in El Paso.  Drive carefully out there and maybe we will meat somewhere down the road. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Livingstone Tx

Howdy from Texas.  We left New Orleans and drove 6 hours to stop here in Livingston, at the Escapees park.  We really couldn't go by without checking the place out. 

The main gate at the base in New Orleans has staggered barricades set up so force you to weave in and out to leave the base.  To us they looked too close together to try and weave through pulling Serenity and we really didn't want to take a chance that we would hit one of them and do some damage to the trailer so we decided to depart the base through the back gate.  No barricades at all.  Simple eh?  Well.........we found out that the gate is only open at specific times and in the morning that specific time is 0630 to 0830.  It means an early departure for us.  We got up  yesterday at 6 AM  (YES there is one of those in the morning too........who knew!!) and finished packing up.  We passed through the gate at 7 AM. 

This is why we never want to leave at that time.

The dogs we soooo stressed..

But we made it and are set up again....

I am always excited to move on to a new spot and see new places but I am also glad to get there and settle again.  They say moving is as stressful as divorce or death in a family and I believe it.  No matter if you packing your belongings and trucking them somewhere or hitching your whole home to your truck and pulling it to your next spot.  The only difference I see is that the latter is much quicker.  At least the stress is only for one day. 

Today is for exploring the area.  Life is good. 

Goodbye from our home in Livingston Texas.  Stay safe out there everyone and hopefully we will meet somewhere down the road.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hi y'all.  See I can now talk like someone from New Orleans.  We are still enjoying life here.  Friday night we went back to see Bourbon Street by night. 

At dusk they block the street from all traffic and people just wander.  Bar hopping with drink in hand.  It is just a huge party. I even got some beads.  No Debby, I am not going to say how I got them.   If this is what happens on an ordinary weekend I just can't imagine what it is like on Mardi Gras.  But next year we are going to find out.  We are planning to come back next Feb to see for ourselves.  Mom you and Dad better start planning to come with us.  You will love it.

This is the Cathedral of St. Louis by day and by night.  We didn't go inside but did wander through the grounds. 

Something I wanted to post in my last blog but forgot.  On our wanders we noticed that graveyards here are all above ground. 
I was told this was because of the high water table.  When they used to bury the bodies, the high water caused them to just float right out of the graves.  So they started building them up rather than go down.  This incidentally is where the stories of zombies started.

Yesterday we didn't do much of anything.  Housework.  No matter where we park it the housework follows and must be done.  The weather has been very hot.  I am not complaining just stating fact.  For the first time ever we actually have the AC running.  When you go outside the heat hits you like a wall.  And it isn't even summer yet.  I can't imagine what summer would be like here.  I am loving it.

Well that is about all for now from our home in New Orleans.  We move on in a few days and the adventure will continue.

Stay safe everyone and maybe we can meet down the road one day.