Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Challenges Large and Small, Preparing for Our Latest Adventure

September 8-21, 2019
Tombstone, Arizona

Sunday is the start of football with mixed results. Bill's Cowboys have a great game while my Steelers play the worst game I can remember. By the end of the second week, I've lost my quarterback for the season :-( 

Tessa is my co-pilot for the trip to Tucson while Bill follows in the Jeep. She's so much help.
Camping World in Tucson has been really good to us and we have an appointment Monday morning for our slides. As promised we're out by the end of the day with everything working, including fixing our sticky door lock and handle. They're able to do a custom drawer for us as well which we'll come back for in a couple weeks. For now we leave without spending any money while they wait for parts and warranty company response. Yay!

Our excitement is short lived when in the morning we have no power to the bedroom outlets. Even with the generator on we start losing power throughout the rig, including to the refrigerator. Damn. 

Rather than mess around with electrical issues or waiting for a mobile tech we don't know, Bill calls and leaves a message at Camping World that we're on our way back. Once we arrive they take us right in (such a difference when it's not peak season). 

It's so much hotter in Tucson that we don't feel like doing much. Instead we spend another several hours waiting in the store. I contact the woman who was going to show us the other property in Tombstone to let her know we have an accepted offer. Hard to believe even as I say it.

Our appointment to open escrow is in the afternoon, and we aren't going to miss it. The shop is still looking for the issue but have managed to get power to the refrigerator and agree to keep it plugged in once the issue is resolved. We head back to Sierra Vista.

Everything goes smoothly with the title company, and by day's end we're under contract for our new home! Bill gets a text when we're leaving that the rig is fixed, plugged in for the night, ready whenever we want to pick it up the next day. Cautious yay.

Before we can pick up the motorhome we have to get brakes done on the Jeep, because problems rarely arise alone. More waiting. 

Back at Camping World we learn what the problem was, and I'm so grateful we didn't wait to get it fixed. Electrical issues are so complicated, and so potentially dangerous. Fried wires was the culprit this time, causing the cascading failure. Scary stuff.

Could have been really bad.
Donnie leaves Thursday morning with his brother-in-law to go bow-hunting. They could be gone three weeks. Anna is off to Phoenix with her mother and sisters to celebrate birthdays. We're on our own for a couple days. 

Momma Rose and Anna - the birthday girls out playing.
I'd like to say all is well with the rig, but we keep popping the breaker in the house when we plug in. Nothing is on but the refrigerator (we think), so we unplug and run the generator every few hours to charge the batteries. We sleep in our own bed with the AC cooling it down for the night. 

The owners are fine with us accessing the new property to take measurements and run some water on the trees. We figure out our approximate property lines, and are again surprised at how big the place is. Knowing we'll never have close neighbors is wonderful.

Northern exposure front porch for cool afternoons. The closest house is farther than it looks in this pic, across the street.

Beautiful Dragoon Mountains from our front porch. Property line is the pole in the distance.

Our backyard from the dirt alley. This side of the property is 300 feet long.

From our northern property line looking back at the house.

Wide open spaces to the west.
We get errands done, learning more about our new community. On a rainy Saturday we drive to Bisbee for lunch. Another day we're in Sierra Vista where Tessa gets groomed - and has an appointment with the same groomer for next month. Something we haven't done in years. She also meets her new veterinarian when she gets an ear infection. Her first time needing medical care other than shots and teeth cleaning, she does fine and really likes this doctor. They of course really love her too and assure us Tessa should stay and hang out with them for the day :-) Nope, she comes with us.

Our local Margaritas is beautiful with decent food.
All the required documents are submitted, appraiser scheduled, etc, etc, etc, house buying stuff happens.

Stripping the bed after we've been here about a week I find that one of the mattress pad heaters is on. Hmmm, could our popping breaker be that simple?

Bill plugs us in again and voila! Finally, something easy. Big yay!!

We have intermittent rain everyday for a week and incredible glowing clouds in the afternoons.

A unique natural display to the east.
A short drive to Sheepshead turns into a day trip over the mountains into Pierce and Gleeson. We absolutely love our corner of Arizona - so green and beautiful.

Sheepshead - hard to see, but it's the large rock on the right, sheep facing the left, long ear.

Long views into Mexico.

One of five does.

Green desert foothills.

The grass in Pierce is lush.

Handsome Longhorn

Majestic hawk.

Not what many think of when they think "desert".
Time feels like it's slowed down but we've already been here two weeks! Anna spoils us with fabulous home cooking, and we spend time being lazy slugs before all the "fun work" at the house begins.

We shop for essentials like a new bed and a big TV, and I decorate every room in my head numerous times. 

I also plan our Spring and Summer travels, returning north to places we've managed to miss over the last few years.

We're so grateful to our dear friends Donnie and Anna for finding us our cute little oasis in the desert, and for housing us while we wait to close and move in. Being just a mile from them is a big plus, and was certainly a factor in our choosing this location.

Change is good, new adventures are exciting, waiting is challenging, and we're much closer to having our place than we ever expected to be at this time.  

We're so blessed.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

It Only Takes Five Hours

September 7, 2019
Tombstone, Arizona

Following a snug all-slides-pulled-in night in Anthem, Arizona, we make the 225 mile drive south to Tombstone. 

We've mooch-docked here at our dear friends' house many times in the last 4.5 years, and gotten in the habit of calling it our Arizona home. When last here in March we made the decision to start looking for our own place to really call home for the winters. 

Periodically Donnie and Anna have sent us information on properties they've seen for sale in the area. In addition, I've tracked down the owners (found the daughter on Facebook after a couple Google searches) of a 10 acre parcel with an old trailer and great views. We have an appointment to meet her there on the 14th. 

There are many factors that make southeast Arizona generally, and Tombstone specifically, a great spot for us to land. One of them is affordability so we can continue to travel most of the year. 

After an hour of getting caught up, we all want to go look at the 10 acre property. It's more land than we need and can likely afford, and more work than we probably want to do, taking more time than we really want to spend - but it's a beautiful spot with those big views. We spend some time talking about all we'd want to do, where we'd put the home we've already picked out (a stunning manufactured home I'm in love with), how we'd landscape, all those "if it were ours" discussions.

A flat home site to start after lots of demo.

Nice views.
One of the places they told us about a few months ago, and one that I've looked at online, is nearby and I suggest we go look at that one next. 

As is often the case, it looks and feels very different from what I've seen online. It's really cute :-) With 2.2 acres, and similar 360 degree views, we instantly like the property. With three garages, a few mature trees, and a completely fenced yard, we want to see if the interior is something we could live in.

A For Sale By Owner property, Donnie encourages us to call the woman whom they've met and believe is very motivated. So I'm not surprised when she answers and offers to come show us the house. The weather is perfect, with cool breezes and big storm clouds, so I tell her we'll wait for she and her husband to drive over from nearby Sierra Vista.

This gives us more time to wander and wonder and see ourselves here. 

This could be my house!
Louella and Lee arrive in about 30 minutes, a delightful older couple who have owned it four years, but spent many years visiting their good friends who owned it before them. 

Stepping in the front door (behind Tessa of course), I love it. The livingroom is dated with real wood paneling on one wall and pale pink drapes on the big window, it feels like a home. Like it could be our home. 

Louella gives us a detailed tour of the two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms, small kitchen, and large utility porch. Lee shows us the big garage converted from a car port with two roll-up doors, and the detached garage that is also a good size. Donnie's already measuring for his boat.....

They show us the property line, going all the way down to the next street, and it looks like so much more than just over 2 acres.

With updates in the kitchen and bathrooms, and some work in the yard, we could make a lovely home here.

We thank them for coming over so quickly and head back. A short discussion has us all agreeing that this is a great home for us - location, size, cost, availability - we should make an offer. 

So we do. Louella says she'll call back soon.

And then we all go for dinner at the Longhorn, a favorite where everyone knows Donnie (they all call him Wheat Bread here) and Anna. 

Dinner is good as always and while we're enjoying our meal and our friends, guess who comes from the back of the restaurant having just finished their dinner? Yep, it's Lee and Louella with big smiles on their faces. 

The offer is accepted, hands are shook, congrats are shared all around.

It's been five hours since we arrived in Tombstone :-)

When it's supposed to happen, it does.

Waiting isn't one of my strong suits, I'm definitely an instant-gratification gal. Adding more issues with the rig and the next week is a long one. But that first five hours back in Tombstone will always be one of those "Wow, that was amazing!" memories we'll share for years to come.

Next up we'll deal with the motorhome and all the house paperwork and more fun stuff (for me) like finding furniture and house stuff.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

More Misses and Changed Changes

August 30 - September 6, 2019
Ogden & Kanab, Utah - Anthem, Arizona

Two years ago we went south to Ogden, Utah, to see Bill's family. We were early because of the smoke and missed Trish and her family. Aunt Nancy hadn't moved there yet. Fortunately we got to see Cousin Penny and her family.

Last year we went north to Ogden and the morning we were supposed to arrive we received devastating news that kept us from seeing Trish and her family. We did get to see Aunt Nancy and Penny for a quick visit.

Leaving the Tetons, we have plans to finally see all of the family. It's a long-for-us moving day of 245 miles, but it's a nice combination of pretty views and easy interstate. We again set up at Wasatch View Estates (view yes, estate no), where we turn on both ACs in the high temps. 

Unbelievably, I get a message from Penny that Aunt Nancy is in the hospital!! While she gets better over the weekend, she's not up to a visit. We again miss seeing Trish and her family.

Sunday we get to see Penny and her family. It's always a great time getting caught up with them. And now there's a new addition - Rafferty is six months old.

Raffy discovering pickles.

Lemons are even better!

Katy, Rafferty, Jesse, Desmond, Tessa, Bill and Penny
We agree that next time we're going to sneak into town.

It's too hot to enjoy being outdoors. We take a short drive into higher elevations to the little towns of Huntsville, Eden and Liberty. Lots of folks enjoying the water of Pineville Reservoir. Mostly we hang out at home in the air conditioning.

Our last evening we drive south to Salt Lake City to meet up with Bill's good friend Nik. He surprises Bill with another friend, Bernard, who he hasn't seen in years. Along with their family members, we have a great meal and tasty brews at Wasatch Brew Pub. (Sorry Pam, we didn't have a Polygamy Porter this time.)

Fun times!
Tuesday morning we continue south on I-15. The city seems to go on forever, but eventually we return to beautiful golden plains. Utah really is stunning in so many ways. Big puffy clouds dress up the bright blue skies.

We spend a single night in the little town of Fillmore, and on Wednesday we arrive at J&J RV Park in Kanab, Utah. So glad John and Pam (ohtheplacestheygo) found this nice new park! For such a popular destination, Kanab has the worst RV parks. There's no shade, but it's clean with level,  good sized FHU sites. 

En route we hear from our friends Jim and Maggie who are also making their way south. They're going to be in Monument Valley on Friday so after making some changes, we're reserved for a few days in one of my favorite places. It will be great to meet up with them, and see the beautiful monuments. 

Thursday we head out to Angel and Hog Canyons. It's wonderful to be back in the red rocks. Best Friends is a well-known animal rescue sanctuary in Angel Canyon, but until we drive through I had no idea it's so huge. In addition to being the largest in the country, Best Friends has facilities in Houston, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Atlanta. We don't stop, I can't be trusted.

Angel Canyon

Hog Canyon

You know you're living a wonderful life when it's mid-day and you can say "Hey, let's run over to Zion for a couple hours!" And then you do and have a great time :-))

We didn't see any in the national parks, so it's fun to see this domestic Bison herd on the way.

It's not as crowded as it was during our late October visit, so we're able to stop and see a lot more. But the Visitor Center parking lot is overflowing because it includes those taking the shuttle to the rest of the park. It would be nice if they had separate lots so you can enjoy the visitor center if you don't want to take a shuttle. Rather than making a loop again, this time we return the way we came. We see even more incredible natural beauty.

A short wait to enter the long tunnel. On the way back, they've opened it for two-way traffic.

Not only long, the tunnel is very dark.

The dark square is one of three "windows" in the tunnel.

Looking out the same window.

Outside the park the views continue.
Friday morning we're up early and ready to head out. But our slides aren't :-(

The large one comes in all but a couple inches and stops. Nothing from the switch. The other two - nothing. Great!

Troubleshooting with the manufacturer confirms we don't have a simple issue. Bill finds a local mobile tech who is able to send someone out right away. He assures that although the guy he's sending looks young, he knows his stuff.

Lance looks 15, seriously I can't believe he's old enough to drive. While I'm at the post office he finds the problem and is able to get all three slides in. But they aren't fixed. We'll have to get to a shop to have the wire behind the breaker replaced. 

Soooo, for the third time in a couple weeks, we miss a meet up we were really looking forward to. We cancel Monument Valley and at 1:30 we head south to see how far we can get. Bill is able to make an appointment at Camping World for Monday, and we let our Tombstone friends know we'll now be there even earlier.

At sunset we grab a pull-through at Pioneer RV Resort north of Phoenix and spend a very snug night with all the slides in.

We're fortunate we were close enough to our planned destination to just make our way there. 

Our goal in Tombstone is to find a property for our winter base. I've made an appointment to see one place, there's a couple more I want to look at, and our friends sent us one a couple months ago that's still available.

Will we find one we can call home?