Friday, March 29, 2019

Could Our "Home-Away-From-Home" Become a Real Home?

March 12-26, 2019
Tombstone, Arizona

Rain takes us all the way to Tombstone on Tuesday morning. Clearly there has been a lot of it this year as the desert is covered in blooms. Although muted through the wet air, they're beautiful. I've never seen acres of Desert Mallow - my favorite!

Lots of orange on both sides of the highway.

A hill in the distance looks like it has a water mark along the side - it's all flowers.

Blooming Brittle Bush borders the lanes.
Since the beginning of our travels we've visited our good friends Donnie and Anna in Tombstone a half dozen times. Not only do we absolutely love their company, but we are both drawn to the unique beauty of southeastern Arizona. The little historic town has been on our short list of possible home base options for a couple years.

With the exception of being at a body of water, it checks all our boxes so I have been looking at available properties. We're here for two weeks to see what might work for us! No plans to come off the road, there's still too much we haven't seen. But adding a winter base is something we're ready to look at.

The first several days are cold and wet - really cold! On our first nice day we meet up with a local realtor who like so many, many people, our friends have known for years. We laugh at the second choice until we really check it out.

Although we learn it was taken off the market, we're hoping to talk with the owner about an offer. With nice views, 3+ acres and all the utilities at the site, it's a perfect spot to put our own home once cleared of the current "residence".

Might be more fixer-upper than we're prepared for.

We do like an open floor plan.

A soaking tub is at the top of my must-haves!

Lots of natural light.
We also look at vacant land and a few homes, but we keep coming back to this property. If it's meant to be for us, it will make a lovely place for a winter home. Otherwise we'll keep looking!

Although Anna is third generation Tombstone, and Donnie has been here thirty years, neither of them have been to nearby Kartchner Caverns. It's a fun day when we all head there for a couple hours. The tours are all full, but we enjoy the grounds and the video. The deep cavern was discovered by two local cavers in 1978, and the state park opened to visitors in 1999

Although I don't do well in underground or tight spaces, and we've never visited any caves, I'm sure we'll be back to visit this one. 

Tools are displayed as they were used to access the cavern.

The grounds are lovely in their simplicity.

Days after freezing temps, trees are flowering.

Besides Tombstone, another area we really like is Sonoita, Arizona. I'm especially in love with the golden grass plains. The four of us check out some available lots that we really like. It is very peaceful here. But it's 30 miles from our friends and the little community that we also like. Also, ten acres is more than we need or can afford.

I would love to have this address :-)

Magical views
Neither of us get colds, but after we both caught one while in Valencia, we get sick again after we're here a week. I'm fortunate to get over it quickly, but Bill holds on to his longer :-( Hopefully it's not a new trend.

With two weeks to hang out, we get into a comfortable routine of March Madness, cribbage games, delicious home cooking, trips to Sierra Vista, exploring properties, and lots of laughs. 

Her Fluffiness spends her time on her comfy couch...

...helping with laundry.....

....or ready to go!
Tessa also got some kiddo-love when their three grandkids came for an overnight visit. We're loving getting to know some of our friends' grands in our travels.

Not only has Anna been here her whole life, so have many cousins and other family members. It becomes a joke that one of every five houses we pass is a cousin! 

The temps have been steadily climbing and our last day is in the 80's!

We're so grateful for these wonderful friends who always spoil us and make us feel very much at home here. And here being home is something we're looking forward to whenever it happens :-)

Next we head to Tucson for a week of getting things done before we head north.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Friends, Frivolity, Flowers and A Little Fear

March 7-12, 2019
Desert Center, California - Buckeye, Arizona

Boo-hoo and Yay all at the same time! Sad to leave the grands and kiddos - it gets harder every visit, but so happy to be back on the go after seven weeks. 

The route to our friends' place at Lake Tamarisk, California, is very familiar and soon we're set up and catching up with the gang. Nearly 50 years and we still have so much fun!

Bill, Kevin, Donnie and Jimmy start with a few games of Cribbage.

Anna, Maggie and Bridgette join them for 3-13.

Stacy and Eric arrive late with grandson Liam, and join in the fun.

The dogs are not impressed with all the frivolity - Winston, 



Anna gets some baby time.
After a wonderful Thursday evening, Friday quickly turns scary. Before noon our friend Kevin is in a Palm Springs hospital, taken by ambulance from his home. He has long term heart disease and sadly they determine there is nothing more they can do before sending him home the following day. This has been a rough six months for our extended family.

Saturday Anna and I take Bridgette (Kevin's wife) for errands in Parker and Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Part of the route is the one I rode the school bus for four years of high school. They can't believe how far that 50 miles is!! 

When I was a teenager this was a gas station and convenience store, 20 miles from my home.

Bridgette and Anna at the "remaining wall" in Rice, California.

When the "Shoe Tree" was burned down, travelers quickly took over the chain link fence along the highway.

Some look like they've been tossed from a passing vehicle!
Bill and Donnie pick up Kevin from the hospital while we're finishing our errands. It's a beautiful day, and good for everyone to get out and enjoy it. 

The geography along the Colorado River is majestic under wispy skies.

We enjoy a quick stop at Buckskin State Park.

Wild flowers look like gold flowing from the mountains.

The sky puts on an amazing show.
Once everyone's home, Freda, another friend from high school who lives in the small community, brings us a home-cooked meal - we have the best friends!

Stacy and Eric head home Saturday night, as do Anna and Donnie on Sunday. That afternoon we take Kevin with us on a short Jeep drive to the Desert Lily Sanctuary. The lillies aren't blooming yet, but the verbena, lupine and daisy blooms carpet our desert.

I never tire of the unique beauty.

Nothing but bird song.

Sand yes, beach no.

Natural Bonsai

Monday we add more friends to our route. We stop in Blythe where we're able to park in front of the restaurant. Always fun to meet up with high school friends Mike and Rita, and today their grands join us. 

Almost a drive-thru!

Kylee and Colt
We make a one night stop in Buckeye, Arizona, just so we can see our high school friends who live in the west side of Phoenix. We've certainly learned how important it is to make the time to see those we care about.

Jodee, Cyndee, Patti, Kristi, Rocky and Bill
Wednesday we head out in the rain, heading for what could become more than a place to visit in the future :-)

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Lots of Fun - Little Proof

February 16 - March 6, 2019
Valencia, California

Our stays in Valencia always last longer than "planned" to take care of all our appointments and gatherings. This time our four weeks extended to seven to cover an engagement party, parts for the motorhome, and sadly a memorial service.

We see lots of family and friends, but I take very few photos so there's not a lot of proof. 

A quick trip to Fresno to see Bill's mom and extended family is marred by our having colds. I spend most of my time in the hotel room bed :-( The drive over the Grapevine is beautiful in the snow - they close the road an hour after we get through. While we're there the motorhome is in the shop for new AGM batteries, an oil change, and a handful of minor repairs which "mostly" get completed. Whew - $$$$$! 

We meet our good friends Steve and Lori to pick up our mail, and learn they're looking at property and "we" may be moving to the Central Coast! We meet up with a couple of the kids for some brews. Ezra hangs out with us every other day. Rain limits time outdoors - I can't remember the last time we've had so much wet.
Briews with Bill, Richie, Corey and Christie.

Breakfast with Ezra and Daddy.

Rain, rain, go away!
A major highlight of this stay is Ezra's sleep-over. It's his first time spending the night away from home, and is a huge success. He's so well adjusted and feels right at home in "PopPop's Bus". Can't wait until he can travel with us to lots of fun places!

He ends up on the couch, and Tessa stays in the chair next to him all night.
Ezra breakfast faces.
Tessa has a couple appointments with the vet, and while there we "meet" a chocolate brown dog named Lillian who is wearing a cone. Imagine our surprise when we get to Corey and Christie's engagement party a few days later and Lillian answers the door!! Her owner Tom is hosting the party, and we both laugh at this small world we live in!

Engagement pic - Christie and Corey.

Crazy Gravel boys plus two.

Gravel boys and girls

Thinks the party is for her.....

"Taco 'bout love!"
There is even a surprise visit from niece Jessica and her family on their way to Universal Studios - but of course no pic to prove it :-( As is the case for our fun dinner with my borrowed-daughter Megan and hubby Chris. 

In the last post I mentioned that we were especially glad to have made the stop for dinner with friends in Banning. Two weeks later we lost our dear friend Tommy to his battle with cancer. I was so sure he was going to beat it. The memorial keeps us here a few more days and we meet many other high school friends in Moreno Valley to celebrate the life of a wonderful, generous man.

The lovely service is well attended.

Tommy's wife releases a dove - 20 more join him in flight.

Back at their home, we make a final toast.
Losing friends makes us even more committed to seeing as many as we can in our travels.

We're so happy to get more time with Maximus one morning while Mommy took Mason for an appointment. And then Maximus invites us to come over again for a final visit with he and Mason - actually he invited Tessa, but we went with her :-)

So happy to be taking Tessa for a walk.

Maximus age two.

Mason, age 6 months.

Another chance to walk the doggie.
We prepare to head out once more, sad to be leaving the grands and our kids, but very excited to be back on the road. I'm still having some tooth pain and we have to get the delayed part shipped to us, but we're ready to go!

Next we're back in the desert with friends and flowers.