Sunday, March 30, 2014

Best Friends Forever

Me and my Best Friend Forever, Anita

We are in Big Spring, Texas where I moved when I was 10 years old and left when I was 16.  My father was in the Air Force and was stationed here at Webb AFB – which has been closed for years now.

When I was in the 9th grade at Runnels Junior High School I met Anita F. Horne and she became my best friend.  Along with Annette, the three of us got into lots of trouble together, drank some beers, smoked some cigarettes and found BOYS!  We spent the next 3 years making lots and lots of memories.  And then I moved away.  About 15 years ago, Anita managed somehow to find me again via the internet.  We have stayed in touch ever since and I actually visited here some 8 years ago.

Yesterday after we got hooked up, Anita and her husband of 50 years (yes, I knew Don back then also) came over for cocktails.  Nothing has changed….Anita looks the same and is just a sweet a person as ever.  Kirby had never met them so I got to show him off a bit.  He and Don hit it off right away….they both have a do-it-myself background and both love RVing. 

And then, because we were still hitched up, they invited us to go with them on a tour of memories.   We went to look at my old house, my grade school (which has been rebuilt and is beautiful), the Junior High School, the High School, and the streets and houses that no longer look the same but we could see in our minds just as they were back then.  It was a true walk down Memory Lane with two wonderful people that I love dearly!  Thank you so much for really and truly being my Best Friend Forever, Anita!
Big Spring High School.  I moved to Colorado before we graduated but I will always love my Steers!
Looking straight up at the Settles Hotel in Big Spring.  Almost 50 years ago this hotel was in in terrible disrepair.  They were so desperate for business that they rented a ballroom to a bunch of teenagers.  That was my going away party.  No adults were involved.  It was such a wonderful act of love by my friends that they did this for me - raised the money and put on a great send off for me. 
The hotel has recently been completely renovated and it is stunning. 

Anita and I posed on the graceful staircase.

And we posed in the Ladies Room.

This is the Grand Ballroom.  It is an exact replica of the same room in 1930.  Is it awesome or what?

See the pretty lady in the picture?  That is Virgina Wilson who was my friend and classmate in high school.  It was her son who led the renovation of the Settles Hotel.


We are sitting in Big Spring, Texas in a Walmart parking lot “Waiting On Weather”.  We traveled a long way yesterday and ended up in my childhood home.  I have a lot of pictures and a lot of stories to tell you.

We departed Las Cruces before nine yesterday morning.  The Coachlight Motel and RV Park was certainly acceptable.  Easy in and easy out, we never even unhitched.  We planned to travel as far as Pecos, TX.  What a long and boring drive west Texas is.  Following are some pictures from our drive through El Paso.  It always seems to go on forever.  It looks like a very wealthy city with a lot of thriving industry but right across the border you can see Mexico.  What a contrast.
View of I-10 driving through El Paso, TX

From the freeway we could see Mexico

Then it was into the flats with nothing for miles and miles.  We left Interstate 10 and took off on I-20 which goes right through Big Spring.  We had considered stopping in Van Horn but it was still early so we kept going.  Next was Pecos and we pulled into the RV park I had chosen as the best of the bad.  It was BAD.  And no one was in the office.  We left!  No problem, we will just keep going and stop in Odessa.  I found a place online that sounded pretty good and gave them a call.  The woman who answered the phone didn’t know anything about anything and was making me crazy.  After about 10 minutes on the phone with her I knew it was never going to work.  She didn’t know for sure if she had room and she couldn’t tell me how to get there.  We drove on past Odessa and headed for Big Spring.
Another border check.  We were asked if we were US Citizens and then told to go one.

"Nothing" on I-20 in west Texas

And here we are in a Walmart parking lot!  It really is a cool way to stay somewhere and I think we might do more of it.  It is very handy to have Walmart right in our backyard.  We visited yesterday after getting set up and purchased some fried chicken for our supper.  Not the best in the world but I was starved! The only problem here was that this particular corner of the lot also seems to be the place where the teenagers meet to buy and sell their drugs.  They have expensive noisy cars and big radios.  Once I decided that they were no threat to us or our rig or truck, I got the earplugs and went fast asleep.  And awoke to a wind storm.  We will be staying here for another night and hoping the wind is gone by tomorrow morning. 
Here we are sitting in the Big Spring, TX Walmart parking lot

Friday, March 28, 2014

Catalina State Park, AZ

I just realized that I never posted about Catalina State Park.  We left this morning and really enjoyed our stay there.  We needed to get on our way because we have a schedule and we have a due date to be in Charleston for Easter.  If not, we would have stayed longer.  We took a couple of short walk/hikes and a couple of bike rides.  We didn't even begin to see the park. 

When I called at the last minute to see if they had room for us the park ranger said he could put us in a site with no hook-ups for the first night and then we could move to another spot with electric and water for the next two nights.  We grabbed it up!

Our first site really was beautiful.  Difficult to get into and a bit short for us but private and lovely.
We got all settled and headed off to see our friends Mac and Consuelo and our day with them at Oracle State Park.  By the time we got back, we were tired and the wind was blowing and it was cold out (by our standards) so we didn't really get to enjoy the setting.  Then next day we watched the folks in our next space until they left and then quickly hitched up and moved.  We would have stayed in this first place but someone had it reserved so we had no choice but to move.  The next site was easy to get into as it was a pull-through but was much more open and just "in a row" with all the other RV's.  But it still was a large space and very nice.
We needed the remainder of the day just to vegg. And so that was what we did.  Then on Thursday morning we headed out for Jake's morning walk.  I loved it!  I will share some of my photos with you here so you can see what we enjoyed so much!

The above photo is something that kind of made me crazy.  This park has an equestrian center and they must get a lot of horses because all of the trails near the park are totally ruined by them.  These large animals tear up the trails and leave them pure sand or dusty dirt.  AND they leave their poopy all over the place.  Now, I have a dog and I am required to clean up after him.  But the horses poop all over the trails and I had to walk around it all the time.  I think they should be required to wear a poopy bag like they do in cities and also STAY OFF at least some of the trails and leave them nice hard packed trails for old people like me!  What do you think?

On the Road - South Arizona

 We left Catalina State Park this morning and made it through the Tucson rush hour traffic in about 30 minutes so that is not too bad.  It was quick and easy to get out of the park.  We seem to have our routine down pretty well and don't talk about it too much - we just do it. Jake of course was in the truck and waiting.  We made a quick stop at the dump station and then were on our way.

The roads are OK and the wind isn't howling yet.  Hopefully it won't.  We are not certain how far we will go today - either Deming or Las Cruces, New Mexico.  If we go to Las Cruces we will again stop at Coachlight RV Park where we stayed last year.  Nice and basic for a quick stop.
This is one of my favorite rest stops and I was looking forward to stopping again.  The sky is the same blue as it was a year ago and the rocks are still awesome.  It is on I-10 in south Arizona.  We are back in the flats again with not much pretty to look at.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oracle State Park, Arizona

I stayed in my cozy bed until it warmed up a bit this morning.  Kirby got up and turned the furnace on.  Still, when I did venture out from the covers it was only 56 degrees inside the camper.  We had become quite spoiled in Yuma by the warmer weather!  We are now in the high country (2600 feet) north of Tucson at Catalina State Park.  The spot we are in has no electric or water, lots of space and pretty mesquite trees.

Yesterday we had our morning coffee with Bill and Sandy and then headed out for our 90 minute road trip to this state park.  As Jake inspected the area we got set up, put the slides out and headed off to visit with Mac and Consuelo who live in near Oracle, AZ.  We did see them last year in Texas but missed the reunion last fall in Sedona so we had some catching up to do.

After a fantastic lunch at their home we headed off to Oracle State Park and some hiking.  We were the only cars in the parking lot.  The quiet and solitude were wonderful!  I love the desert so much with the big sky and the interesting cactus.

You can click on any of these pictures to enlarge them.

 After that big outing we deserved a brew so we went to the Oracle Inn.  We managed to get there just as Happy Hour was beginning.  Another score for us!  It was a fantastic day with the best of friends!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


We loved the drive from Yuma to the Tucson area.  Traffic was light and the sky was big.  In less than four hours we arrived at Bill and Sandy's home and Kirby backed in to their yard and we hooked up to power.  We decided that since the yard was so level we would just leave the truck hitched up as we will be moving on today.

We tried to decide when was the last time that we saw each other and came to the conclusion that it was about 14 years ago.  But, you know, when you are friends, you are always friends so we just picked up where we left off all those years ago and had a blast.  We also decided that not one of us had aged a day!
We had our dinner outdoors as the weather was so awesome.  I feel sorry for our northern friends who continue to have cold and snow.
Here they are looking just like they did all those years ago.  I love these guys and am so glad they invited us to come stay with them.  Freckles, their Corgi-Cattle Dog did not welcome Jake into her yard but she did not stop him either and they enjoyed sniffing each other.  They rescued her just a few months ago and she is a great little girl.
I have always known that Sandy is very talented and crafty but this time I got to witness it myself, get tours and samples to look at.  Sandy and her mother, who lives in a small house on the back of the property, do Scrapbooking - and in a big way.  They go to retreats, take online classes and Sandy also teaches it.  I was so impressed with her talent and with her studio.  She also knows how to make paper which is something I would like to do one day.
We will be moving on in a bit to our next stop - Catalina State Park. 

Departure From Yuma

Just as planned we departed our winter home in Yuma, AZ at 4 minutes before our projected 9:00 AM departure time.  Doesn’t such promptness almost make you sick?  But we were awake shortly after 5:00AM (which is our normal time) so we just took our time, ate our breakfast, got our showers, put everything away that could go flying inside the rig, pulled our slides in, hitched up to the truck and off we went. 

Of course yesterday Jake noticed that strange things were going on as we stowed and cleaned in preparation of our departure.  I didn’t think too much of him not eating his dinner as he does that on occasion because he watches his weight (haha).  But then this morning first thing, he greeted us by throwing up.  He is fine now.  He ate his breakfast. But he was settled into the truck 45 minutes before we left.  We think he was just nervous about going.

I took the picture above while Kirby was closing and locking the gate.  We are both pretty excited to be on our way for our second season of travel.

We were not even on the freeway 5 minutes when we had to stop at a US Border Checkpoint.  For those of you who live nowhere near a US border, this is a stop in the middle of the freeway that is manned by very military looking Border Patrol Agents.  It can be very intimidating until you understand what it is about.  They are looking for illegal immigrants – and the car in front of us was from California but had Mexicans in it.  So we had to wait for him to thoroughly check their passports and documentation.  Now we are on our way!

Our first stop will be to visit longtime friends Bill and Sandy and meet their newly adopted dog, Freckles.  We know Bill and Sandy from our boating days in Mexico.  We share a wedding anniversary with them – August 6.  But they have been married much longer than we have.  They have a large piece of property and have invited us to spend the night there with them.  This will be a first for us – someone’s yard!  I love new experiences!

Then tomorrow we are going to see Mac and Consuelo.  Last we saw them they were living in Texas but last year they moved to the Tucson area.  They are promising us a hike at their local state park.

We will probably stop along the way and have a light lunch.  The day is warm and sunny and life is good.