Monday, April 5, 2021

This and That Before We're Outta Here

 March 6 - April 5, 2021
Tombstone, Arizona

Another month behind us, and we've gone from a little more snow to temps in the 90's! And lots, and lots of wind :-(  Spring in the desert is definitely a mixed bag. Sadly we've had only one decent rain (came with the snow) since December, so we are scary dry.

You know it hasn't been an especially exciting time when I lead with the weather.......but there have been some fun highlights over the last few weeks.

Rebecca (our friends from Olympia here locally for the winter) and I have a great day visiting the Amerind Museum. No photos inside and I've posted several from the surrounding area in past posts so none this time. 

The new exhibit, Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest, is a variety of mediums expressing the personal experiences of eight Arizona-based artists. The video is very detailed, and is a must-see before enjoying the exhibit itself. I'm glad it will still be here this winter so I can return to see it again. 

From the museum's website, a partial section of the new exhibit. 

We wrap up our day with a real treat: inside-a-Mexican-restaurant-meal! Magaly's in Benson is very tasty with great service. Social distancing and all masks make it an even better experience. 

It's encouraging to see the number of our friends and family getting vaccinated here in Arizona and around the country. I join the club on March 16 with the single dose Jansen in the little border town of Douglas, Arizona. Although not a drive-through like Bill's, this little clinic moves a lot of people quickly through the process. No ID or residency check, they have all the information from the online registration and believe you're who you say you are. Getting everyone vaccinated is the goal.

Slightly sore arm for a couple days, and a mild headache the second night, and I'm feeling very excited at the prospect of returning to a normal life! It is truly amazing the psychological effect of just getting that poke in the arm and that little white card (they couldn't have made them credit card sized?) in my hand!!

My two week waiting period ends on April 1, the same day Bill receives his second Moderna shot in Bisbee. Unlike his first shot with a single line of only a few cars, they're moving three lanes of cars through three shot stations - getting hundreds of first and second shots dispensed. Bill's waiting period ends the day we hit the road so we're both feeling very good about our timing.

An old self-serve car wash makes the perfect spot to set up three shot stations. Upbeat volunteers and music playing validate the feeling of celebration - we're way ahead of schedule for getting everyone vaccinated in the US.

We'll continue to mask in public until the CDC confirms we've crossed the threshold, but most everyone we'll be visiting, including our kids, will have at least their first shots when we visit. I can actually see some hugs in our future :-)))

The Bisbee Breakfast Club in the little "town" of Lowell is always a good idea, and with spaced tables, mandatory masks, and single use menus we enjoy their always delicious breakfasts. With a short wait to be seated, I stroll vintage Erie Street under popcorn-clouded skies.

When we moved so many things out of the motorhome into our Tombstone house we included the tv in the bedroom. We never used it and wanted it for the guest room. I figured the wall bracket left behind would just come off when the screws were removed.

Nope. Glued, welded, epoxied, that sucker is not coming off! But it's really ugly.

Fast forward to the last couple weeks and I have a solution to cover it. A shadow box and small poster arrive from Amazon, and with a couple hand tools, scissors and double stick tape the unsightly bracket is no more (that you can see anyway).

With the back removed and slots cut to fit the bottom of the bracket, the shadow box is deep enough to surround it completely.

Wa-la! Held snug to the wall with heavy duty double stick tape, we now have a piece of art/storage instead of a tv. 

In addition to the project above, I load a few more items, clean windows and shampoo the square of carpet under the dining table. Can't wait to be loading everything!!

Tessa gets her teeth cleaned, the Jeep gets new tires, oil and brakes, the new satellite is installed. Appointments are made for "right before we leave" haircuts and pedicures. The GPS is updated, necessary documents are confirmed, final reservations are made. 

Jeff is SO ready for us to be gone! Well, not the dog of course. I can't believe us old folks aren't entertaining :-)

High winds have meant fewer pretty sunsets, but we still enjoy a few from our back porch. As excited as I am to see water and trees, I'll miss these wide open Arizona skies.

An Easter zoom-gathering brings us exciting grandchild news, to be shared at a later date :-)

The oldest, Ezra, enjoys his purple Easter hair and a new cuddle buddy.

The youngest, Elliott, gets to know his first Easter bunny.

The next post will be from the road. When you hear that loud "wooooohoooooo" on the 15th you'll know where it's coming from :-))

Monday, March 8, 2021

Enjoying Being Here, Preparing to Be Some Place Else

 February 8 - March 5, 2021
Tombstone, Arizona

We're enjoying our late-winter days with temps between 50 and 75, appreciating that we're in one of the best places to spend the coldest months of the year. It's one of the main reasons we decided to make this our winter base. That it's also become a full time home for the last 16 months is definitely an unexpected bonus. 

But boy are we ready to be some place else! We spent much of the past month getting repairs done on the motorhome, and most recently, reorganizing the space to reflect taking much less with us now. 

We luck out replacing the microwave/convection oven when our wonderful Camping World crew finds a replacement for $400 less than we're expecting!! The handle ends up being covered by the wall beside the refrigerator, but the tech assures me he can do a small modification that will work fine. I tell him if his wife would approve to go ahead and do it - I agree with her, it looks great! 

Also in the lucky-us category, Progressive figures out a way to cover our windshield replacement even though there is no glass damage (air and water leaks across the whole top is the issue). After five years we have zero deductible so double yay! The "glass guy" picks up the rig from Camping World and takes it to his place where we pick it up a few days later. And it looks better than it has in years with all the yucky sealant all cleaned up. Apparently there was a ten inch section with no contact at all, no wonder it was so loud on the highways. Perfectly quiet now. So happy :-)

Just the satellite left and instead of a repair, its a replacement - there goes the tax refund :-( We're just glad to get all of this done before we head out next month. Next month!!!!! Sounds wonderful.

And at least one of us will be vaccinated when we leave. Bill had his first Moderna shot last week with no side effects. Even the arm pain is one day and very mild. I'm hoping to get my first one before the 16th or I'll have to make on-the-road arrangements. Availability is increasing so I'm confident it won't be long before we're both covered. 

A very efficient process in Bisbee at the community hospital. Lots of friendly volunteers and shot done through the car window - easy peasy!

Donnie and Bill are still playing Cribbage here every day and Anna comes with him often to visit. Otherwise it's just the three of us, and we stay home.

One fun exception has been a couple get-togethers with our Olympia-based friends who are in Sierra Vista for the winter. We met Michael and Rebecca when they were camp-hosting in their Tuscany in Colorado several years ago. Other than a few days together in Olympia we've missed them too many times - so it is great fun to find out they're neighbors for a few months.

They come for happy hour with their big boys Brutus and Russell Wilson on a lovely weather afternoon. Tessa is a perfect hostess and follows Russell around and shares the shade. Rebecca is a fabulous artist and brought a special surprise that fits our space perfectly. 

Brutus and Bill are buds.

Rebecca, Brutus, Michael and Russell Wilson

So much dog!! We love these gentle giants.

Combining natural and handmade materials, Rebecca's pieces are unique and beautiful. This one, "Desert Sunrise" had this spot just waiting for it!

We make plans to take a Jeep ride the following week. The drive to Sheepshead and into the Dragoon Mountains is one we've done a couple times, and it's fun to share it with other Jeep peeps. It's a great day of views and dogs and short hikes under clear blue, sunny skies.


Piper's happy to spend the day with one of her tribe.

Brutus loves exploring all the rocks.

Tessa tries to keep up....

.....she goes around when Brutus goes straight up the rock face.

Rebecca and I enjoy hiking among the boulders with the three pups.

Tessa and Russell take a break.

Big trees and tall peaks at higher elevations.

Back from the shop, the motorhome is parked in the driveway so we can clean and organize in preparation for our travels. Bill empties and scrubs all the bins before returning much less "stuff". I've finally added bins and dividers to the overhead cupboards hoping they will lessen the "shift" of items in those long spaces. We'll see.

Moving back home.
Almost as exciting as preparing for our initial launch, it's a kick getting things ready!

Even with the pending trip, we still work on projects around the property. Gathering rocks for the yard gives us a reason to get out in the surrounding desert, finding new-to-us trails. Not far from the house, out in the gold plains, we find some ranch land with the perfect spot! Even better views than our place, because there are zero houses, it's added to our "when we win the lottery" list :-)

Sheepshead to the north.

Huachucas to the west.

South end of the Dragoons to the east.

Mules to the south.

Spun gold grasses blowing in the wind.

As is always the case for me, time is slow looking forward and fast looking back. We're anxious to be back on the road and to having COVID no longer dictating our lives (all of our lives). At the same time the grandkids are growing way too fast and deadlines are getting closer.

Elliott, our giggle-puss, already four months old.

"Say what?"

All the kids and grands are healthy and doing fine. School opening safely can't happen soon enough for some of them, including two of the parents who are teachers! 

This month marks one year of COVID. Not a happy anniversary, not one I want to celebrate. Too many lost, too many damaged, too many exposed for their idiocy. Like Katrina, history will not reflect well on how we handled this crisis. I continue to hope we have learned enough to avoid the same mistakes in the future. 

I hope you are all doing well, staying healthy, getting your vaccines, making fun plans, remaining positive.

Monday, February 8, 2021

More Days Pass - And Snow!

January 22 - February 7, 2021
Tombstone, Arizona

I'm not sure how time continues to move along so quickly even when we're not doing much to keep busy!

Our big excitement is the two days of snow - real snow that lasts on the ground :-)

I'm in town when the drizzle starts getting serious.

Heavy snowfall covers the roads quickly, and by the time I get to the house the world looks completely different!

For a few hours the snow comes down sideways.

For many in the country the white stuff is not something to get excited about, but for us this is great fun! The very few times I've been in falling snow (I can count them on one hand), I'm always in awe at the quiet it wraps around me. 

Tessa loves it too, but her zoomies are so fast I can't catch a single pic. Within minutes her tracks are covered.

The next morning brings the sun and we're treated to a bright white wonderland. It doesn't last much past noon, but it's beautiful!

Wish he was here to play in our snow, but Ezra is enjoying his own back in California!

Before it completely disappears I take a drive to capture the snow through Gleeson, take a peek at the Chiracahuas, and enjoy the Mules across the dusted plains. What a treat!!

"We're always this color!"

So crisp and clean!

Although we're unclear on when we'll be able to get our vaccines (hoping for the next phase so at least Bill can get his), I spend a couple days finalizing reservations through July 17. I'm especially excited about the notification from Harris Beach State Park in Oregon that I secured the week in May I was on the waiting list for! A few days near my cousin recently "found", and the July 4th weekend are also confirmed. 

It's sounding less and less likely that we'll be able to get into Canada the end of July so I finalize an alternate route that gets us to Deer Lodge, Montana, on the same dates. With a week's reservation at Henry's Lake near Yellowstone in August it's important to keep to a plan that keeps us en route for that. This includes a few days in Polson, Montana, to explore Flathead Lake. Glad I checked availability as I get the last site in the area (for weekdays, water and 30 amp!). This is not a summer for "winging it" I'm afraid.

Of course now I'm even more anxious to get back on the road!!

Bill and I spend a few hours gathering rocks for our dry riverbed, enjoying the wide open spaces we have available to us. He and Donnie play Cribbage at least once a day, usually again in the evening. Grocery pickup and take-out trips to Sierra Vista, and an occasional drive to Bisbee for something "different" round out our current days.

When dining rooms are closed........

I always think that old San Francisco must have resembled present day Bisbee.

A happy surprise is finding Steven and Debbie (Down the Road) in our little corner of Arizona! They make the drive over from the refuge for an afternoon visit before they continue north. It's amazing how many of the same people we all know - all friends we've made since we hit the road! Great to get caught up until the next time :-)

We stay home for the Super Bowl this year. Just as well, it's disappointing with a lackluster half-time and so-so commercials (haven't they become just as much a reason to watch?). Our good friends include us in the annual pool and I win two of the quarters so that's a silver lining! Just five months until Bill's Cowboys and my Steelers play the Hall of Fame game........

Growing so fast, Elliott rocks a new 'do!