Monday, May 3, 2021

Getting Back on the Road - Yipppeee!

 April 6 - 28, 2021
Ajo-Yuma, Arizona; Valencia, California

Did you hear the cheering? It was pretty loud :-) Pulling out of the driveway on the 15th with everything (I thought) loaded up feels like a cause for celebration!

The last week in Tombstone seemed to crawl by but looking back it flew. We spent our last Saturday with good friends Rebecca and Michael and a couple new friends from their RV park. The Meading Room in Sonoita is a wonderful treat of cider and mead tasting, and good conversation. All of us are fully vaccinated so when we return to their site we enjoy our first unmasked outdoor gathering in over a year. It feels like hope. Still forget to get a photo.

Having Jeff at the house this time makes it easier to leave everything behind without worry. It's one of the things we haven't had to deal with before. And I'll miss his company :-(

Our first day is a 200 mile drive to Ajo, Arizona. I'm tired of the I-10 route through Phoenix and this is a place we've wanted to see again. It's an uneventful trip with everything working as it should. Different from all of our other "launch" days.

Sweet to be somewhere else!

Ajo Heights RV Park is immaculate and quiet with level gravel FHU sites and easy access. I'm very happy to be here.

Until I reach for my purse to check in at the little office.

No purse.

Because it wasn't on the list.

Because who needs to put their purse on a list?!?!

They only take checks and fortunately I have some in the rig. Jeff is home and (after lots of laughing) able to ship the purse to one of the other kids in Valencia. It's really stupid, but not something that even slightly ruins this wonderful day!

Friday morning we head south to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We've had Puerto Blanco Road on our list since we weren't able to drive it when we were here last time. It's a cool and cloudy day, perfect for appreciating the natural beauty of this unique environment.

Fluffy Face happy to be out exploring again.

Bookend Saguaros

Healthy namesake cactus.

One area is covered in old ash.

We stop for a picnic lunch at an old corral.

Fallen and dried saguaro.

Cholla spines

Greasewood and ocotillo

The beautiful park property ends along the border. The destruction of the desert is sad, the wall easier to scale than those at state prisons.

Looking like gates at an amusement park, these are left open during monsoon season. Probably not a secret on the other side.

Glad we're headed away from the border. The line of cars entering Mexico is 15 miles long and not moving. 

We're up and out the next morning. Hwy 8 is a nice change from our usual I-10. Different scenery is always good, and the road condition is much better. Yuma, Arizona, is home to one of our high school friends, and both her mom and sister (who Bill knows, but I don't) are visiting as well. We have a wonderful visit at Teri's lovely home, getting caught up and (me) getting to know the rest of the family. Again, all being vaccinated makes it feel like the real world!

Yay, I got a pic!! Vicki, Bill and Teri

Sunday we continue west for over 300 miles, a very long driving day for us. Hwy 8 continues to be a pleasure to drive, I wish all freeways were this smooth!!

We take a break for lunch at Pechanga Casino's parking lot in Temecula and arrive in Valencia after 5 PM. 

A three lane on ramp - we must be back in California!
Why I'm so glad we have a notification if our brakes in the Jeep are on while towing, and our TPMS monitors tire temp. It looks fine from the side, but the back of the rig is destroyed.

It's Sunday and I'm shocked to see the pool at the RV park is full of families. The last place I'd feel safe is a public pool in a pandemic! 

Our site is the tightest we've ever had at Valencia Travel Village, but I did have to change our dates at the last minute, and they literally squeezed us in this time.

Won't be having the family over on our little strip of grass. Tessa is not impressed.

We're here for a week with seeing the grandkiddos at the top of our list of priorities. 

Since we missed seeing Henry and his parents in November, they're our first visit this time. Having just moved into their first house three weeks ago, it's especially fun to see them and their new home. Megan is my "borrowed daughter" and has been part of the family for decades. Henry is grand number five and such a happy, active little guy.

Tessa wastes no time getting comfy.

Spinning the wheels is the most fun you can have with any toy truck!

Chris, Henry and Megan
Nawma time with Henry.

Megan prepares scrumptious pasta and too soon our visit is over. It's wonderful to see Megan and her family so happy :-))

Tuesday is as long as we can wait to see the oldest and the youngest (for now) so up the hill we go to Frazier Park to see Ezra and Elliott and their parents.

PopPop  enjoying Ezra and Elliott

Elliott at almost five months is a happy, happy boy.

Ezra and Miss Clover rubbing heads. She is a great kid-cat.

The weather is warm and we spend time in the back-yard. A great opportunity as when we return in a few days there will be snow :-)

Travis and Emily and Reese invite all of us over for pizza and salad and catching up. Seeing Reese playing with her cousins M&M is delightful. We love that they are all growing up together. Nick, Jillian, Corey and Christie round out the full house. Richie's at work :-(

Little M reads with PopPop

Reese is our only girl - until we learned on Easter that she will be joined by a little sister in October!!

Reese, Emily, Travis, Corey, Christie, M&M, Nick, Jillian and Bill

Little M entertains Reese and her mommy.

The cousins played well together - so cute!!

They need work done on their car and I need to get the last of our boxes from storage, so Brian and Ezra stop by at the end of the week. Ezra stays with PopPop while Brian and I get things done. 

While they're with us, Ezra has a kindergarten class. Able to join his classmates on his tablet in our bedroom is definitely a sign of the times.

Richie and girlfriend Amanda join us for dinner on our last night in town. At 24 already, the youngest is so grown up now! It's a wonderful visit but I fail to get a photo this time :-(

Big M is playing softball/t-ball at the local park with limited attendance so PopPop joins his family for the game on Sunday morning before we pull out and head north.

Unlike our trip on Tuesday, it is very cold with a storm on the way. Snow and rain fall overnight, but it's dry in the morning. I'm sure it's only because we got the rig washed and waxed in Valencia (always good to help out in a drought).

We spend three fun days with the boys and their folks. So much has happened since they spent the first four months of COVID in Tombstone with us. Both the new home and Elliott! It goes by way too fast, and leaving is very hard.

Big smiles all around.

These two love to cuddle.

Daddy gets an Ezra hug.

Elliott is always happy. Always.

Ezra has his Spanish class with little brother paying close attention.

Shalise opens birthday presents - last year they were in Tombstone for the big day.

Mommy and Daddy hang out with Elliott who's happy to play with the wrapping paper.

Reminding us that when we leave we'll still have this cuteness with us.

All the grands are growing so fast, and there's never enough time to see them as much as we'd like. With all of their parents vaccinated, or soon to be, we're looking forward to a longer visit at the end of the year.

For now, it's on to new adventures in both familiar and new places up the road!


  1. What great family fun! A very wonderful start to your annual adventures

  2. I too forgot my purse one time--fortunately we didn't get far--just 3 miles up the road, unhooked the jeep and went back for the purse. Enjoy your summer and relative freedom Jodee and Bill!

    1. Thanks Janna! 3 miles would have been much better :-)))

  3. Bummer about the purse. But I can't get over your saying snow in May. So glad you got to see all those fun grandkids and that so far things are going smoothly back on the road.

    1. We had snow there in November and then again the end of April, very surprising! So far, so good.

  4. Yippee!! Yes, I think I heard your excitement from all the way over here :-)) I'm so happy for you both that you got to see all of the kids and grands :-)) That is a very tight spot at Valencia. Good thing you weren't planning to sit around the rig all day...

    1. Yeah, we would like to have been able to host everyone, but we were lucky just to get a spot in town this time.

  5. Yay!! Dang it feels good doesn’t it?! Purse story… funny not funny. Do many grands now I’ve lost count!

    1. Oh yes, so good! Purse turned out to be not a big deal, but funnier now :-)

      We keep having to recount!!

  6. Exactly why I don't carry a purse anymore! When Dave retired he put away his watch and I shoved my purse under the bed, never to be seen or used again! So good to hear from you again and to be able to follow you along. Love seeing the family pictures as they grow and expand.

    1. If I always had pockets that would be me too! My purse is small and nearly empty, but still has my ID and cards - and now my covid card :-)
      Hope you get to do the coast this year too!

  7. How exciting!! Seeing all the kids and grands must have been beyond wonderful. Everyone looks great. And how exciting to be back on the road. I'm so jealous. Tessa looks like she had a spa day before leaving. She looking so adorable. Safe, happy travels!

    1. It really was wonderful to see them all after too long. Good eye, yes, I got her cut a little shorter so we could wait longer until her next grooming :-)

  8. I am so happy you're back to family gatherings. The grands are growing so fast. You all glow with happiness and love. Plus great to be on the road again.

    1. They grow too, too fast!! Life is feeling pretty good these days :)

  9. I heard your "YAY" :-)) So glad you guys are vaccinated, heading out for new adventures, and started your trip with such sweet time with family. It must have been wonderful to snuggle with the little ones and hug everyone after all this time. Have fun!

    1. We're feeling more like our real selves now - a family fix was just what we needed!

  10. I'm sure you were in heaven seeing all the kids and grands. Organ Pipe is on our list for this winter, we'll be in the Eloy area for awhile so it's a must see.