Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yuma, Arizona


This is the view out my front door here in Yuma.  I love all the shades of brown and the textures.  The neighborhood is very interesting.  All of the lots allow a home, a mobile home or up to 2 RV’s.  I have never seen zoning like this before and it is quite interesting.  Each morning I ride my bike around the many streets and enjoy the beautiful homes and the desert landscaping.  Each one is unique.  Some of the homes fill the lots.  Some lots have simply an RV parked on them.  Some have an RV and a small casita with a washer/dryer and storage.  Most have awesome views of the mountains.  My sister’s lot has a gazebo in the middle, a storage unit with a spare refrigerator and another building that has a washer/dryer, a bathroom with shower and a futon for guests.

Yuma has a population of about 100,000 until the snowbirds arrive in the winter.  Then it doubles.  I think most of them are gone now so we are seeing the better part.  I think it will feel much different in the winter.  (We will be here again in the fall and may stay the winter with all the other snowbirds.)  We have been visiting here for years and years.  Sometimes we would stop and spend the night at a motel on our way to or from Mexico when our boat was there.  We even owned a rental home here for a few years. We have seen the growth and the change.  There is a new fantastic hospital downtown which with all the old people probably gets a lot of business.  They built a big mall after we headed east.  Our grocery store is probably the largest, most well stocked store I have ever seen.  I could spend hours in there (and all my money) – if you can think it, they probably have it.  I had forgotten that the produce in the west is better than on the east coast.  (I don’t know about the mid-west)  It is less expensive and fresher.  I am loving that!

So, for now we are here in Yuma and enjoying family!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Family RV Park

We are loving our time in Yuma with my sister, Joan and her husband, Red.  Here we are side by side on their lot.  There is a gazebo in between us, and a casita in the back with a washer and dryer.  We have been sitting outside each night for dinner.  The evenings are beautiful.  But then, so are the mornings.
The sun comes up over the mountains and the sky is so big and beautiful.  We have been riding our bikes each morning before it gets hot.  The first time we go, Kirby takes Jake and he runs with us for a couple of blocks.  We take him home and then go again.  It has been fun to see all the houses in the area - so different from what we left behind....these are all the Santa Fe design.  Fun!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Contrasts

I lived for almost 40 years in the deserts of the southwest.  Southern California may look like a tropical paradise to some but without irrigation it would look like the desert it really is.  I have spent the past 7 or 8 years on the eastern seaboard where it really is a paradise of green and vibrant color.  Heading into Arizona yesterday was almost like coming home and created so many conflicting emotions in me.  I miss my family that I left behind me and yet I am looking forward to seeing the rest of my family out here in the west.  I miss all the lush greenery but am enjoying this dry air.  I do not miss the bugs and the humidity.  The skies in South Carolina never get the same rich blue that they do here.

We love this RV park where we are staying just one night.  Lazydays RV Park in Tucson is the nicest place we have stayed yet.  Not necessarily the prettiest - Canyon Lake takes that prize - but there are paved streets, cement patios with nice tables and chairs, a gorgeous laundry facility and even a fitness center.  The swimming pool was calling to me, there is a large fenced dog playground and a nice restaurant on premises.  AND - there is a Camping World adjacent. We have paid more for less so we love this place!

We forgot that Arizona does not go on Daylight Savings like the rest of the world so we jumped to California time when we arrived.  2 hours in 2 days.  And we were feeling quite smug about adjusting to the one hour.  Two is not quite so easy and so we were up about 4:30 this morning.  Ah, the trials of travel!

So, today we will head on to Yuma where my sister lives.  My little grandsons live in the San Diego area and we will be heading there next.  I can't wait to see them.  They are growing so fast!

This is the view from the back this morning.

Friday, April 19, 2013

New Mexico

View from the back of the rig.
We finally made it out of Texas!  What a big state it is.  But we enjoyed each day we were there - I do love Texas.

We stayed the night in Las Cruces, New Mexico and will head out today for Arizona.  Tomorrow we reach our goal of Yuma, Arizona and my sister!

It amazes me that the setting up each day and breaking down is getting so much easier for us.  We seem to just do it almost wordlessly now.  The only pure blue job is the sewer - but I do hold the bag for Kirby when he puts the slinky away each time.  Actually there are other blue jobs - connecting and disconnecting from the hitch and some of the physically difficult jobs like putting the steps away.  I have tried that and just can't budge them.  The power cord is too heavy for me also.  That thing is huge!  So, anyway, it is becoming more like the boat - we just do it without it stressing us and not too much thought.

Someone asked me recently if I am happy with our chosen lifestyle.  The answer is a solid "YES"!  Kirby and I both need a lot of change so having a new backyard every day or so is perfect for us.  And Jake is finally adjusting to that.  I think he is beginning to enjoy it!

Coachlight RV Park is fine for what we wanted...just an overnighter.  I haven't looked for laundry or showers.  It is kind of strange because it is connected to a motel but the grounds are level, no big holes, and the spaces are large.  I love this life!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Desert Color

It is that time of year in South Carolina when I would be drooling over the displays of color from the azaleas.  Out here in the desert there are no azaleas but there are flowers blooming and I am enjoying the color that I find!  The bluebonnets seem to be behind us but just look what we have found -



And flowers don't have all the color!  Just look at this sunset we had in Junction, TX!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lizards and Rivers




Our trip to Junction, TX was short and uneventful.  We traveled the backroads and enjoyed the desert vistas of west Texas.  We are staying at a lovely RV park called Junction Llano River RV Park.  The management was the best we have run into and the park is just so nice.  Being as how we are in the desert, we didn’t expect any green but that is OK, these browns are just fine as the park has great character and the diligent maintenance is obvious.  We don’t have wi-fi though as Junction is so remote.  But it is a charming town and we enjoyed checking it out.

This was the view out the back.  You can almost see the river. 

The Llano River runs right behind our back window so we took Jake down to see if he would like the water.  I don’t think he has any lab in him at all.  I did coax him into the water – maybe 2 inches!  He just had no interest.  But we had fun skipping some rocks and enjoying such a different atmosphere from our home in South Carolina.  We have hills here!  We have sky and fresh water streams.  And the air is so dry.  It is also hot.  April 15th and it is 97 degrees out.



 As soon as I finish writing this we are going to get a cold drink and go sit in our private pergola.

Land of the Bluebonnet



The Bluebonnets of Texas

The Hill Country of Texas is so colorful this time of year.  There are bluebonnets and other wildflowers all along the side of the road.

We left Canyon Lake for the short drive up to Lake Buchanan where we were planning on visiting some friends.  I went to high school with Annette more years ago than I can remember and we found each other again about 15 years ago.  She and her husband Billy live on Inks Lake in a beautiful waterfront home.


Me with my dear friend, Annette
 Once we got settled into Big Chief RV Park, (which was one of our least favorite places) they came and got us and toured us all over the area.  We stopped for lunch at the Tamale King.  Oh, my, the food there was out of this world.  Certainly not a place I would have stopped without knowing about it but  Kirby and I were in Mexican Food Heaven!

Lake LBJ

 I had no idea there were so many people in the Hill Country.  Such gorgeous homes and so much water.  I can see why it is such a popular place and a great vacation destination.

This is just a part of the view from Annette and Billy's back terrace

After all of that touring we returned to their lovely home for a pitcher of Kirby’s special Margaritas and sat out on their porch to watch the sunset together.  Thank you Annette and Billy for such a wonderful day exploring your world!

They have "pet" geese and ducks that they feed daily.  Jake loved them!

Kirby and Billy inspecting one of Billy's toys.
They have huge catfish in that lake.  Billy has a light under the water and feeds them at night.  What fun it was to watch them swarm!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

View from the Back - Cranes Mill Park, Canyon Lake

Cranes Mill at Canyon Lake
We had a better spot reserved with a view of the lake but when we changed our reservations, that space was booked for part of our visit.  But we didn't mind this view at all.  The whole park is beautiful and each space has a different and a beautiful view.

Dinner with Friends

Mac and Consuelo were there the week Kirby and I met in Mexico and we have been fortunate to see them a few times through the years.  They live in New Brunfels, TX, which is near Canyon Lake so they came for a visit yesterday!  What fun to see them.
Our friends Michael and Dar are still here at the park with us also and Kirby grilled Chorizo Burgers for everyone.

Today we are off for Lake Buchanan and my friends from high school!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Canyon Lake, Texas



This was the view from our campsite.

Finally we feel that we are in a different area.  Gone are the swamps, the marshes, the bugs and the humidity.  In its place is the crisp dry morning air, the cactus and the hills.  We are in the southern end of the Texas Hill Country at a Corp of Engineers park at Canyon Lake and it is wonderful!  We are enjoying the arid country – such a change after living in the south for so many years.  Big sky here.  Maybe we are just lucky with our timing – but there are no bugs.  We are spending a lot of time outdoors which pleases Jake. 


Each day we have taken bike rides around the park with our friends Dar and Michael who live in the Austin area and have come here in their motorhome to visit with us.  There are a lot of deer and we had them running all around us.  It was thrilling to watch them so close as they leaped though the brush.  (the bike rides give us better nights sleep also!)

We have had lots of cocktail hour and lots of food.  I am stuffed!  The space we were assigned has a large picnic table with a shelter and we have really enjoyed that.

We have to leave tomorrow as we are running so far behind schedule.  But we will certainly come back to this lovely place!!

This part of the park is for tent camping.  I love these trees.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Like It or Not, We Are In Houston!

This is the view out the back of our rig.  I don't know how Kirby did it but he got us parked in this very crowded space!
We are in a town called League City, TX.  It is just part of the sprawl of Houston.  We have always had a hard time liking Houston but for us there was a big draw and we had no choice but to be here.  Our very dear friend, Virginia, lives here and we just had to see her.  No choice in the matter.  She is a very important person in our lives so here we are in the middle of urban sprawl!

We are sitting at Space Center RV Park.  Not a first choice - but the only choice if we wanted to be anywhere near our friend.  The little roadways/alleys are very narrow but the spaces are unbelievably narrow.  The people next to us have their slides out and we are only about 8 feet from their slide.  And there are many people here - it is packed.  Lots and lots of people LIVE here as permanent residents.  I don't know how they can stand it.  But on the upside, the management was very nice, helpful and friendly.  The showers and bathrooms are individual, not a wide open free for all.  And - the laundry was the least expensive we have seen!  So of course I had to do a couple of loads today.  Oh, and no mud!!!!!  Yea!  Paved and grass!  Love that!

So, yesterday, after getting settled in, we found our way to Virginia's Assisted Living home and spent some time there with her before bringing her back here so that she could see our new lifestyle.  We first me Virginia when we were all in Mazatlan, Mexico on our boats back in the 90's.  Then when we lived in San Diego, she and her husband, Jay, (deceased) lived in the Baja of Mexico and we got together regularly.  When Jay passed away, Virginia moved to Texas to be near her family.

Ah, and then supper time found us at a wonderful Mexican Restaurant!  Lupe Tortilla Mexican Restaurant may not be THE very BEST but let me tell you, for us former SoCal folks, it was awesome and then some!! After living in South Carolina for almost 6 years we were in dire need of good Mexican food.  We both ate way too much but I didn't care!
This is me with Virginia.  I love her so much!







Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beaumont, TX

This is our current view out the back window.  Nice big Texas sky!
We drove on to Beaumont, TX yesterday.  Beaumont is at the far eastern end of the state very near Louisiana.  It seems like a nice little city and the fact that it is in Texas has to mean something.  I spent most of my childhood in Texas and still feel a deep love for the state.

We made good time even though the roads at times were miserable.  Shook the heck out of us and our rig. ( I am wondering if we will find this all the way to Arizona.)  I think that the trucks that move the country might be causing it or maybe is it just the lack of money for maintenance.  Possibly we should keep some of our money in our country to repair our roads rather than give it to other countries.  Novel approach don't you think?  Anyway, Interstate 10 reminded us of our travels in Mexico.

We arrived here at Hidden Lake RV Park about 1:45, got all set up and headed off in search of a grocery store.  The nice lady in the office sent us to HEB and wow, what a lovely big store it was.  And - the price of wine!  Wow, much better than South Carolina and much, much better than Mississippi where the prices were through the roof!  I think I might have to drink more wine while in Texas!

I did a couple loads of laundry here also as it was almost half what I have been paying.  Nice clean facilities and cheap.  I HAD to do some!

Allergies are bad here - my eyes are so sore and swollen.  I was hoping it would get better but guess I will have to wait for Arizona which is not too far off.

We are off for Houston in a couple of hours!  Just hope we don't get stuck there with the rain and winds that are expected.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

View From the Back




This is the view out the back window here at Hidden Oaks.  They rent out cabins - like the blue one on stilts above.  And just beyond that line of trees, you can't see it, but there is a small lake and we watched people fishing there all day long.
We are still in Hammond, LA at the Hidden Lakes Family Campground.  It is so lovely here and we are enjoying relaxing.  Yesterday we spent a couple of hours down at the river with our chairs and our Kindles.  The birds are very noisy and make for some nice music along with the slowly moving waters rippling over the rocks.  I think we needed this.

We did get some chores done – Kirby scrubbed the roof and I cleaned indoors.  I can’t believe the dust that collects and how fast!  Of course having a 60 pound dog may have something to do with it.

Today Ray and Lucy are going to be our tour guides and we are going into New Orleans.  They are locals and know NOLA like the backs of their hands.  Ray said he can get us around with his eyes closed – well, not literally!  So – off to begin this new day!