Sunday, October 27, 2019

Eagles Gather

October 18 - 20, 2019
Lake Tamarisk, California 

We've been in the house a week when we sign the final docs on Thursday. Perfect timing as Friday morning we're headed to California!

A very early departure for us, we pull out before 7 AM - because we also have a very long drive for us. It's 380 miles, nearly double our usual maximum! But it's a route we know well, the weather is expected to be calm and clear, and we have friends to see.

We take advantage of being in California and make a quick stop at the DMV in Blythe to get Bill's new driver license. We're amazed that there's only two cars in the parking lot, and he's in and out in 15 minutes. 

The Eagle Mountain/Desert Center/Lake Tamarisk area will always be coming home for us, no matter where we have a house or an address. This time we're here for a "Gathering of Eagles". Eagle Mountain High School closed along with the iron mine and it's town in 1983, but all of us who attended are Eagles for life. 

Friday afternoon and evening we gather at Hamby's house (the first place we parked our new rig back in 2015) for dinner, laughs, and tall tales on the patio and around the fire. It's great to see our buddies we see throughout the year as well as some we haven't seen in ages.

This patio has seen and heard a lot over the years!

Although we now have a home just a mile from theirs - we're happy to spend time with Anna (Donnie too, but he's not in the pic).

As the temps drop we get a big fire going to continue lots of conversation.

I'm always amazed at how many generations continue to come together, and the woman on the right left Eagle Mountain when she was nine - and here she is decades later enjoying the undeniable connection.

Yet another couple who knew each other in high school (Rhonda class of '73 and Turk class of '70), and got together just this year. They're so happy :-)
Saturday morning more people arrive, setting up RVs and tents at Hamby's, and filling sites at the RV park where we are. 

I decide to take a short drive to capture what is now the ghost town of Desert Center. It's for sale, and once purchased will never look the same as we all remember it. 

"Mama opened the restaurant in 1922. Desert Center Cafe has never missed a day of being open in all that time - more than 25,000 days. Since 1928 it has been open around the clock." - Stanley Ragsdale, 1990

Rusting equipment in front of the elementary school.

Lots of I-10 travelers stopped here for fuel for over 70 years.

The little market gave locals an option for minimal groceries without making the one hour drive to either Indio or Blythe.

Those passing by leave recent memories in the dust that covers our long-ago memories.
Before returning I take some time in this beautiful desert that I didn't appreciate growing up. Much dryer than our new desert in southern Arizona, but still lovely.

At noon we all head for the community center (where many of us enjoyed graduation parties each year over 40 years ago). We eat great food and catch up with many who haven't been at our Laughlin reunions. Not surprising, they're now all committed to come in April. Once you reconnect with this community, you want to keep doing it!

Everyone lines up for chow.

Good pals, Anna, Bridgette, Stacey and Karla

The cool dudes Bill, Jimmy, Mike, Donnie and Kevin

The youngest taking center stage.
I grab a nap then join everyone for a short drive to the other side of the interstate and a bonfire at Castle Rock II. Lots of memories here - many shared with the large gathering - most embellished by the years since :-)

I've yet to learn how to take decent pics in the dark. It's a great turn-out with perfect weather and limitless stars overhead. We have a wonderful time and eventually head back to Hambys where we party for a couple more hours. 

Oh the stories this tree could tell.....

Sunday morning we pack up, and after coffee on the patio we're back on the road. And it's still 380 miles to get back :-(  Tired from the busy weekend, and occasional high winds, it seems even longer this time. For the first time, Bill lies down on the bed and sleeps for a couple hours. 

So fun to come around the corner and see our little white house on the hill. We're set up and unpacked (that part is weird) in 20 minutes.

It's the first time we've "returned to the house" in 4.5 years, and it definitely feels different. We'll take a trip to see the kids and grands in November, but other than that we'll be in Tombstone until mid-April. Unless that hitch-itch takes over, and then there's nothing stopping us from scratching it with a trip to anywhere.

Lots of projects keeping us busy around the property now that it's ours. We love this little piece of southern Arizona, and hope you'll check in to see what we get up to here! 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Still Here, Just a Little Distracted :-)

September 22 - October 17, 2019
Tombstone, Arizona and Yosemite, California

Like waiting for anything major in life, the time seems to drag until we look back and realize it really flew by. A month seemed daunting when we opened escrow, the days sort of ran together while we practiced patience, postponing those "fun" purchases was challenging. Then poof! we met with the owners who agreed to pre-closing occupancy and we're in our new place a week before closing. 

There's been more than just waiting too - we had a wonderful adventure with family back in California. Corey (our number three, Bill's number 2) and Christie got married at the base of El Capitan in Yosemite on October 6. We flew to Sacramento from Tucson on Friday, then drove four hours to Yosemite Valley. 

Having a small condo in the park, close to the cabins the rest of the family had rented, worked out great. It was just the parents and siblings so an intimate gathering of 12 people made for a relaxing weekend. 

Saturday we visited the wedding site and drove through the park. It took us over an hour to go less than a mile by the visitors' center, but with the surrounding views it wasn't much of a hardship. A short drive down the mountain to pick up a bite of lunch at the market was a nice break from the hordes. That evening we enjoyed BBQ at one of the cabins and tucked in early. 

Figuring out where the sun will be the next morning.

Crawling through the park traffic.

Much dryer than our last visit (this is upper falls without a trickle), still stunning.

Richie and Travis get the chicken and burgers ready.

Granddaughter Reese is due in November - momma Emily hams it up with daddy Travis.

Family time before the big event.
I am now a big fan of morning weddings! Sunday at 8:30 AM we were on a rocky beach along a bubbling river, surrounded by incredible mountains, sharing a lovely and simple ceremony with immediate family. The photographers made sure we were in the perfect spot, and it was magical. The couple asked that everyone be present and not taking photos during the ceremony so I'll share those when we get them.

Good friend and wedding officiant Matt with Corey in front of the beautiful natural cathedral.
Following brunch in the majestic lodge we all headed in different directions - us returning to Sacramento where we had dinner at my BFF's home. 

Christie made this darling jacket. Welcome to the family!

The lodge, not the BFF's house.
This was Tessa's first time flying and she did great. She waited her turn to go through security off-leash by herself, and made lots of new friends in the waiting areas. Southwest Airlines treated her like royalty, and we had the front row for all our flights (two in each direction). Once she laid down on her blanket, she slept through take-offs and landings. 

All comfy for the 90 minute flight.
The day after we return, we meet the owners at the house. After a thorough walk-through, and a few hard-to-let-go tears, we have the keys. We purchased it furnished but they went the extra mile in making sure we could comfortably just move in and have what we needed. The bed is made with fresh sheets, towels in both bathrooms, a set of dishes, shower curtain, etc, etc.....and best of all - a Keurig in the kitchen! 

We spend our first week taking care of priorities like satellite, a new king size bed, big TV, and recliners. Projects get started, but until closing we don't tackle anything major. 

The house is very livable, but it's dated and we'll be taking our time bringing it into the 21st century.     

Not surprising, most of the work will be in the kitchen. Yes, that's carpet on the floor!

We love our big island. The opening on the left into the living room will be twice as large when we take out the big pantry and move the frig to where that closet is in the corner. Probably change out those lights :-))))

The tub is wonderful and the commode is new - but have to lose those metal walls and update the sink and storage. 

The carpet is in perfect shape but will end at the dining room. There will be a more open feeling when we widen that opening and paint the paneling. 

I'm keeping the large built-in hutch in the kitchen, but the layers of shelf paper have to go! 
So we're in and enjoying cool evenings on our front porch with amazing views. What a blessing that it all came together (looking back) so quickly. 

Lots of excitement planned for the holidays both here and back in SoCal, but we'll mostly be here through the winter. Then back on the road!

Naturally we  had to share our first "house-cooked" meal with Anna and Donnie!
Next we'll take the motorhome for a weekend gathering of high school friends back in the desert where we grew up.