Thursday, October 28, 2021

Friends and blue skies

 We continue to settle in, making our old "lake" life fit into our new desert life.

bringing the teak back to life

We've been fortunate to have made some good friends on the road and Tuesday we were able to welcome six of them to our new winter home base!    Jodie and Bill, MonaLiza and Steve, and Pam and John were able to come together for a long awaited visit.     We decided to make it a progressive dinner of sorts, MonaLiza and Steve hosted us for Happy Hour at their home and then everyone piled into their cars and came here for dinner.   


yes, we see you Tessa.....

We realized that all of them purchased their homes, furnished.    We did not.   No furniture in our main room.    It was too chilly outside (yes, chilly in the desert is a thing) to eat there so we made due by pulling the umbrella table into the livingroom, beside our lovely cardboard fireplace (although John managed to make our TV into a fireplace complete with crackling sound effects) and we all laughed and talked and ate and drank and realized how lucky we all are to be able to be together.    There was one particulary spirited directional discussion among John, Dave and Steve, two of them were wrong.....


Lewis got presents!   Gramma Pamma brought her usual pockets full of treats and Miss Tessa brought him a dead rabbit.    We got goodies from Jodee and Bill also!    Fun.....

After everyone went home we used our dishwasher to make clean up a breeze....not usually an exciting activity, but the fact that we've never had a dishwasher, ever, so it was the cherry on top of our great day.

The next morning Jodee and Bill continued on the rest of their  motorhome trip and we had a late breakfast with Pam and John on their way back to Boulder City.    We had another good meal at tiny Nichols West in Congress, sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful Arizona blue skies and their patio cat.....

love those blue Arizona skies....

No, we didn't eat the patio cat - he sat there politely watching us eat, ocassionally meowing quietly when he thought our conversation needed his opinion.   

After breakfast (or was it lunch?) we drove into the desert to try and visit a couple of Pam's old friends.

She has a great love for the rare crested Saguaro and keeps track of several of them as they grow and change.    We made our way to one particularly old and beautiful one that she hadn't seen since 2017 but we were so saddened to find it's majestic head had broken and crashed to the ground.   Nothing lasts forever.  Sigh. 

Before (thanks Pam)

His beautiful head on the ground, returning to the desert....

We took a few dirt/rock roads to locate another one that has evolved quickly from just the beginnings of a crest when she first discovered it, to what it was that day....

Now that we know where it lives, Dave and I will watch it's progress.   Another good excuse to get out in the desert, if one really needs a good excuse.

So, that's all I have for now.    We're scheduled for our booster vaccine next week and we'll continue to make this house our own.      And....we'll continue to honor sweet Lewis's subtle suggestions.... 

gentle pink sunset in the eastern sky

Saturday, October 23, 2021

And....we're home!

 We spent the first two nights back in Wickenburg at Desert Cypress RV Park so we could slowly ease our way into the house.    All our things were already there, but we needed to dump Beluga's black tanks, rinse out the fresh water tank and gather our wits about us in order to transition from living in a motorhome to living in a real house.   I try to have duplicates of most everything so there wouldn't be too much to take from Beluga once we arrived, but still.....what was the hurry?

Since we were only a few miles away, I followed Beluga down our washed out, rocky road to the house.

We put Lewis in the house and then worked on backing Beluga into her new winter home.   The building was large enough so it would be easy peasy for Dave.

Beluga's coming generated a bit of interest from the horses across the street....It's a boring life for a pipe corral bound horse after all....

So....we backed in, right to the rear wall of the building but part of Beluga was still sticking outside, the door would definitely NOT close, uh oh.    Dave readjusted, tried backing in a little to the left, a little to the right, kitty corner to the door, etc., but in no way would the door close.   One of the reasons we bought this property was because Beluga would have a building to live in while we were in the house.

Long, long story short, he was able to carefully back Beluga so that her ladder fit between two of the studs in the back wall.   With a 1/2 clearance on either side.    I stood with my nose to the studs, walkie talkie keyed in my hand, guiding him slowly back (and forth) - inch by inch until the ladder was as tight as it could be to the back wall.  

back as far as she could go....

Then we moved to the front and cautiously brought the door down, hoping it could clear Beluga's windshield wipers and close to the ground.   We held our breaths.

just made it

Success!  by inches.   What an exhausting and nerve wracking first few hours.    

We closed up Beluga, walked up to the house,  poured a good stiff gin and laughed at our almost catastrophic failure.   Mother nature gave us a beautiful welcome but later,  when we went to use the master bathroom toilet we found it was leaking.   Ugh.

Another long story short, Dave worked on the toilet and ended up cracking the tank....luckily we have another bathroom to use so we gave up and went to bed.     The next day we drove into Sun City and bought another toilet.

yes, he knows it's upside down....

Lewis continues to enjoy our movement in and out of the house.   He knows where his toys are and where the best places to use his new ball and get our attention.....   Sometimes he loses it under things but he knows we'll come to the rescue, eventually.

got a minute to kick that ball?


it's under there, I know it's under there......

stopped it just in time!

Sometimes he tires of playing and just wants pets...If we're busy he lets us know what he needs.

I need pets, can't you just stop for one minute, can't you?  I'm right here - see me?

He's not a "dog bed" sort of dog, has never been.   Since this house is all tile flooring I tried to place soft beds everywhere so he wouldn't have to drop his old bones down on the hard floor.    He studiously avoids all help.   He plops down next to a bed and only gets on it if I bribe him.     But...we bought a really nice, thick and luxurious velvet bed for him to use our bedroom at night and that one he seems to use regularly, but he'd still rather sleep in the carpeted master closet.   Go figure.

One day (Saturday I think) we decided to take the day off and go to the Wickenburg Airport to attend  Fly-In Classic Car Show.    We hoped we'd be back from our Spokane trip in time to get to this show - it combines two of Dave's loves.     Steve and MonaLiza were planning to be there also so it would be a fun outing.    Until.....we got into the Jeep, ready to go and - click click click.   The battery was dead.  Grrr    Do we call AAA and wait all day for them to bring a new battery and miss the car show?     Once again, good friends came to the rescue.   Steve and Mona Liza were in the area and they responded to Dave's call.    They came right over, agreed with Dave's diagnosis and wasted no time taking him to the local Napa store for a new battery.

We managed to make it to the Fly-In Classic Car show before all the exhibitors flew or drove away.   Thanks again Steve and MonaLiza!

Lots of the planes were beginning to fly away but we enjoyed watching them taxi and take off as we walked through the remaining cars.    It was a very good show and next year we'll make sure we arrive a bit earlier!

So, back to the house and getting settled.   We're using our Beluga outdoor chairs in the livingroom - our new furniture won't arrive til near Thanksgiving (ordered mid May).     Here are a few pictures, in no particular order, my brain is fried with  too many details.....The FedEx man knows us so well he brings a biscuit for Lewis each time he comes.

out with the old

in with the new

Dave uses CAD to help me visualize a fireplace (cardboard aided design)

new license plates

tv antenna works great - now.....

my new Mexican Agave (it's metal!)

And, to top it all off, we've just purchased the empty property next door to assure the privacy we're so enjoying here.   

So....we're here and happy until next summer's travels.   We look forward to being able to welcome friends and relatives, celebrate the holidays with a real Christmas tree, and just generally enjoy our own little slice of Arizona! 

Sunday, October 10, 2021


 We're home!   Better I'll try to remember where I left off in Dolores, Colorado and show you more pictures of the beautiful and fascinating area.

We did manage to outrun the rain but the sky continued to threaten all the way home.

We actually wished those clouds would open and pour, the area is so parched.    We stopped along side the huge McPhee Reservoir and saw that it, too, was very low.

this rock formation is usually well under water

Pam and John were going to be in the area (Cortez, just 11 miles down (up?) the road) so they joined us for happy hour later that afternoon.    It was wonderful to see them again, it's been way too long, and we talked and talked and talked.    Lewis, of course, was over the moon to see you know who again and wouldn't leave her alone.    She hates it when he's clingy.

she tries to take a selfie but all he wants to do is kiss....

Since the opportunity to spend more time with them presented itself, we packed up and moved those 11 miles to a site right next to them at West View RV Park, for the next 3 days.    Again, Lewis was pleased.   Just like a little kid, he loves to "go over to gramma's house, all by himself" and doesn't miss an opportunity to do so.    I think he even has his own toys and treats there, but I wouldn't know.

he waits on their stairs, when is she coming back?

Later that afternoon Pam and John took us to one of the hundreds of ancient Puebloan sites in the area, Lowry Pueblo.   It has been partially reconstructed for us to be able to better visualize how these people might have lived.    The Native Americans do not consider these sites "ruins" as they believe their ancestors still live there.     It's important to respect those feelings and tread lightly on all sites.

The next day John and Pam took us on a beautiful ride to Telluride.   The previous night's heavy rains produced some snow on the mountain peaks and we wanted to admire it (snow) from afar.    The four of us lived most of our lives the snowy north east and can now only appreciate the white stuff if it is in the distance.    John had drive their motorhome on this very road a few days before and wanted to be able to enjoy it's beauty in a more relaxed manner.

The drive did not disappoint, aspens, lightly dusted mountain tops, beautiful lakes and the pretty town of Telluride made for a wonderful day with friends.

We had lunch at Steamies Burger Bar in Telluride (strangely, one of the few places open on the main drag) and then headed back home to enjoy the views from the other direction.    No, we did not ride the Gondola (my bad) and no, we did not attempt the Black Bear Pass drive!

On our last day in Cortez, Dave and I drove up to the Mesa Verde National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This haunting place protects the spectacular cliff dwellings, mesa top sites of pit houses, pueblos, masonary towers and farming structures of the ancestral Pueblo peoples who lived there for more than 700 years.   More than 4000 sites dating back to A.D. 550 have been found, some left for us to see and some cataloged and then reburied for eternity.     It was so impactful to see the progression in building and farming techniques over those many years, to almost follow along in their footsteps.

  The drive into the Park is a long one, winding and climbing up and down the canyons with a few viewpoints along the way to the archeological sites.

The heavy cloud cover only contributed to the moody feeling of walking through these hallowed spaces.
We felt strongly the need to speak quietly, walk carefully, think about what we were seeing, who was there before us and perhaps still were?   

Until, at the very first site - a mini van pulled up and out belched a group of 5 or 6 (seemed like 100) people lead by HER.... 

Loudly -  "what are we supposed to be seeing?    Do you see anything?   I don't see anything, maybe it's further down there....Harold, Harold, bring my jacket, Harold, it's on the front seat, don't you see it?   These rocks are impossible to walk on....why don't they smooth it out for us, someone can fall down!   Harold, come up here and take my that your phone ringing?   Harold, answer the phone, it could be Marsha......What are we looking at now?   Let's get back in the van, it's chilly out here?" 

Luckily we were able to out run that van and managed to visit the other sites with only a few other, quiet and interested people. 

sun temple

the fabulous Cliff Palace

There are ranger led tours of some of these cliff dwellings but we were on a first time, lay of the land visit so we satisfied ourselves with seeing what we saw - this time.

We topped off our fantastic day with a wonderful dinner at The Farm Bistro with Pam and John.   We all broke camp and moved on the next morning.   We were heading to our new home in Arizona, Pam and John to Boulder City via Farmington.

We drove through the northern end of the Navajo Reservation, past Shiprock and down into Arizona.

Our last stop on this trip was at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Arizona.   We've stayed there many times before but this time our reason was to meet MonaLiza and Steve to do a bit of wine tasting!    Arizona wines, who knew?     

We got there a day before they were scheduled to come up from Wickenburg, so we used the time to drive over to one of our old favorites, Sedona.     We first started visiting there in the early 70's and are sad to see how much it has changed.     Actually, the growth is a double edged sword.   Lots more services and good restaurants.    In those days, children had to go to school in Flagstaff, up the windy canyon roads.    Now beautiful schools, a good health center, a Whole Foods  and a performing arts center mark Sedona's progress.     The bad side is the horrendous traffic jams.    

 We drove up onto Airport Hill to check out the little restaurant on the runway there.  It used to have delicious diner type food, full length windows to watch the planes take off and land and piped in live air traffic control for us to know what was coming and going.    Now is is a very upscale restaurant with an official hostess and a waiting list.        It probably took us a half an hour to get through one of the roundabouts in "uptown" Sedona, trying to get down to see L'Auberge du Sedona along the creek.   It is still as beautiful and quiet as ever.    Great restaurant and sweet cottages along the water, interesting and unexpected sculptures here and there along the paths.      We left our Jeep with the Valet and walked around a bit, reminiscing about old times.  


Mona Liza and Steve arrived around 11 a.m. so we chose two wineries to visit that day.    We started with a lite lunch with our tastings at Page Springs Cellars.     We sat outside on a covered patio and enjoyed our flight choices and food.   We hadn't seen them since last June so we had lots to catch up on.
We enjoyed their red wines and came home with a few bottles, of course!

     Just a few miles up the road was our second choice,  Javalina Leap.   We each ordered our flights of wine and took them out onto the beautiful shady lawn to enjoy.   MonaLiza thought we needed just a bit more to eat so we ordered one of the nicest charcuterie trays we've had in a long time, complete with salami roses, fig jam and lots of other goodies.      I was sure I took a picture of it, but then....I had already finished one flight and was well into the second, so perhaps I didn't, and if I did, I can't find it.    MonaLiza did, I know she did.

The atmosphere was very pleasant, warm breezes,  blue sky and shade, lots of birds and bird song overhead.   Dave even had a very unusual visitor.....

do you see it?

a three legged green bean?

After a little snooze back at Beluga, we met Steve and MonaLiza for dinner in Old Town Cottonwood.   Again, we managed to sit outdoors and enjoyed another good meal.   burp.

The predicted storms came that evening.   Poor Lewis is getting old and thunder storms really frighten him these days.    He had a rough few hours, but we do what we can to help him through.   Not that we really have a choice.    As soon as the rumbling starts he's up - on one of our laps, or on the bed with us.   No asking, no politness - up he comes, fast,   too bad if you have a cup of tea in your hand or are soundly sleeping.

Luckily the nasty weather didn't stay too long and we were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow.    It didn't help Lewis, but a little ball playing session helped him forget all about it!   

sometimes the ball just gets lost in his stalky legs.....

The next morning we went in search of a tiny French bakery we'd read about in nearby Clarkdale -   Violette's.     It didn't disappoint, we were SO glad we looked it up.

The food is ordered at the caboose and Violette, herself, brings it out to your table and chats for a few minutes.    Delightful!     We were the only ones out on the little patio at that time and the weather was beautiful again.      Dave had a Croque Madame and I had one of her "famous" waffles.   It was one the best waffles I've ever had.....almost like it was made of croisant dough....groan.   

We took a few back roads to explore the area along the muddy and swollen Verde River before heading back and packing up for home.

Next post - we're home!