Friday, November 18, 2022

To See the Grands and Back

October 22 - November 17, 2022
Tombstone - Picacho, AZ - Desert Center - Santa Clarita, CA - Quartzsite, AZ

Family photo overload warning!

October says good-bye with a fiery sky.

The last week of October is a blur of still trying to straighten out Bill's healthcare, and preparing our trip to SoCal. Enjoying all the Halloween pics, we're especially excited to hug all the cuties!

Penelope and Reese - will miss them!


M & M

Elliott and Ezra

Oliver's first Halloween

When making reservations at our usual park in Santa Clarita I'm shocked to learn their rates are now $81/night!! No additional amenities, just what they can charge. There is a small discount for the weekly rate which I take advantage of. Fortunately the other couple of stops are still reasonable.

I speak with four more "representatives" at United Healthcare before finding someone who actually knows what I'm talking about, and figures out what the issue is. Hallelujah!!! Only five weeks and 15 people to get that far! When Bill receives the same "problem" email two days later I'm convinced we'll never resolve this. I speak with a supervisor who tells me to ignore this email (nowhere in the email is this an option) and send (again) proof that he lost his healthcare when we moved to Arizona - she's confident this will actually work. 

Camping World still has the rig, and after three weeks hasn't ordered the parts yet. I'm not going to miss doing business with this Tucson shop that we have had such wonderful experiences with until last year. The parts arrive, and we're scheduled to pick it up on November 1 - the day we're leaving for SoCal. Fortunately something tells me to make a reservation at Picacho Peak State Park for that night "just in case" it isn't ready in the morning as planned. We load the Jeep with what we'll need for a couple weeks, and when I call that morning I'm told it will be ready at 3 PM :-( 

Before picking up the rig we stop at Office Max to again fax (yes, in 2022) the proof we're assured will get Bill's healthcare finalized. At this point I'm still skeptical. 

All items are actually completed on the rig, except for the GPS in our new dash camera/music/GPS unit which has never worked since getting it last year. And it's ready to go at 3:00. Except that when I put it in gear the leveling jacks alarm goes off. Arrrgghh! After two techs and several internet searches they finally find the fix, and we're on the road after 4:00, knowing we will likely arrive at the park after dark. We have only arrived in the dark one time - our very first night in the rig. 

Our coach doesn't charge the house battery while driving, and I don't think to check how charged it is after being at CW for weeks. We also have to stop to grab something to eat and fuel up at Picacho Peak Trading Post. Pulling out, all the house power dies. Can't start the generator without the house battery. At this point Bill realizes we didn't grab the 50-30 amp adaptor from the garage (expected we'd be leaving from the house), so fingers are crossed we have 50 amp at this stop. Although I pass the campground entrance in the fading sunset, it's not too far to the lollipop at the end of the road, but it means we're definitely in the dark looking for our site. Of course we find it easily, and sigh with relief at the 50 amp pedestal :-) I'm exhausted! 

Next morning we have beautiful views and clear skies. Batteries are charged and we're ready to go! Half way along Bill gets an email that really cheers us up - his healthcare is approved at last!! It's like twenty pounds of stress off my shoulders.

Unfortunately our friends in Desert Center only have 30 amp, but the generator starts, and we run it three hours before turning it off to go to bed. Bridgette makes us a yummy dinner and we enjoy a few hours of catching up with these longtime friends. Bill and Kevin met in 5th grade!

Kevin and Bridgette

Their home in Lake Tamarisk is just a few miles from our high school (no longer there as the iron mine and its community are gone). 
Apparently the batteries need replacing as upon waking nearly everything is shut down, and the batteries are too low to start the generator (this seems like a poor design that we can't start the generator to charge the batteries). With fingers crossed I'm able to pull in all the slides and the jacks. There's nothing in the refrigerator so no worries there. Remarkably we have music/camera all the way to our next stop, 280 miles later. With 50 amp FHUs for a week, a level site and satellite hooked up we relax at Valencia Travel Village - we'll deal with the house batteries back in Arizona. 

The hills are still very dry, but it's a pretty drive with only pockets of traffic.

One advantage to close quarters is having your handsome neighbor on dog TV.

With no errands to run this visit, all our time is planned around when family schedules allow us to see those kiddos. Corey (Bill's number two, our three) meets us for dinner our first night, but we have to wait to meet Oliver as he's catching up on sleep after a rough day. The next day Oliver and his parents stop by the rig so we can get those long awaited hugs!

Hard to beat the tacos at Solitas - they're delicious!

PopPop gets to meet grandson Oliver. Number eight!!

Mommy Christy and Daddy Corey with our newest Gravel.

Our "borrowed daughter" Megan calls with bad news that Henry isn't feeling well so they can't meet us for Saturday brunch. Bummed!!! A little while later she calls back that Chris will stay with the little guy, and she can come up to see us. This is a wonderful Plan B as I've sure missed my girl!!

Pops and Megan

Megan and Me - I so love this young woman!

M & M are characters with very different personalities. It's great getting to spend time with them! Richie (Bill's number four, our youngest) is able to meet us at their house, and it's great fun getting caught up with all of them. 
Big M and Nawma reconnecting. 

Little M is quite the talker and we learn everything his little robot can do. And what he'd do if he could. And what he's done in the past. And.......

Big M's robot is a little more advanced and can talk for himself :-))))

Uncle Richie has robot-envy!

A gaggle of Gravels Nick (Bill's oldest and our number two) with M&M and Richie.

We manage to bring some of Tombstone's weeks of rain, and it's wet for three of our seven days - very needed but does limit our options. Our timing is good for watching M&M while their parents get away for an anniversary dinner. Pizza is ordered and toys are played with. I'm grateful that we're able to stay in touch while we're away, but these in person visits are so much better. The time goes by way too fast!!

Our last day we meet up with Oliver and his parents again at the local brewery. A huge storm passes over with sideways rain and fortunately moves on before we head back home!

Oliver is thinking he likes this PopPop guy!

Christy, Corey and Oliver - all so cute!

During our stay in Valencia Ezra and Elliott and their folks are all down with the flu. Fortunately when we're ready to move up the mountain, they're all feeling much better. We make the 40 minute drive north on I-5 and get set up at Lake of the Woods RV Park which is getting very rundown. Our site is level and the satellite connects, but our FHUs include 30 amp. Over our four night stay the breaker trips four times. With temps below freezing we really need that heater to work! 

We're able to join Shalise to pick up Ezra from school. His big smile and run to hug me make my heart burst!! Back at their house our independent, just-turned-two, Elliott is happy to see us, but hugs will have to wait :-)

Ezra and his PopPop always have a great time.

A visit to the rig means discovering fun with flashlights.

Why sit anywhere else when you can share with PopPop!

PopPop reads to Elliott with help from big brother.

Ezra plays with his new robot - it follows any route you draw for it. Great fun!

Now that they're feeling better, we're able to have a little birthday party for Elliott. What fun to see him open and play with his presents and dig into his cake. Also hard to believe he's already two years old.

Ready to give the cake a try.

The new shopping cart is a big hit as he loads it with lots of goodies, and gives his buddy Buzz a ride.

Safety first! 

Help from Ezra and Cam who are just as excited as the birthday boy :-)

I have several pics of Elliott's dad that look just like this :-)))

Still getting used to the short hair on our handsome second grader!

Five days fly by but Sunday night all our water freezes and the low for Monday night is expected to be 19 so we head out a half-day early to get down the mountain. 


Shalise, Elliott, Ezra (not happy we're leaving early), and Brian.

We're laughing because Elliott is screaming to be let down-probably thinks we're going to try and take him with us!

Valencia Travel Village is much warmer for a final SoCal night. Oliver and parents are able to meet up for a final dinner together. We're in bed early, and head east on Tuesday morning.

No issues on our drive to Quartzsite, it's a pretty day with clear skies and little wind. There are soooo many trucks on the road I find it hard to believe there's a supply shortage anywhere!

We've stayed at Scenic Road RV Park several times. It's reasonably priced for 50 amp FHUs, and close to everything. All dirt, level sites and nice and quiet at night.

More than once in the last year we've just missed seeing our dear friends Dawn and Darryl - by one day in a couple cases! Making sure to remedy that, we stay two nights here where they're spending another winter. She works each day so we make sure we get together both evenings for dinner and wonderful conversation. We so enjoy spending time with them!

Bill, Darryl, Dawn and Jodee at the Quartzsite Yacht Club. 

The 300+ miles back to Tombstone is long and often boring, but we return to the house without incident. Hard to believe we're already back - time with the grands always goes much to fast. Hoping to get back to see them soon :-)