Friday, May 24, 2024


 May 10 - 20, 2024
Tombstone, Arizona

Apparently the universe will just keep kicking you in the face until you realize you are not going to keep those plans you're holding on to! Geeeez, okay! 

I still hadn't heard back from the "travel unit" about our requested assistance in three states when it was time to set up the motorhome for our visiting family. There was also no word yet from the RV repair shop regarding the pending three items for our departure on 5/28. But I was still very much in planning-to-go mode.

And then I was very much NOT. 

The large slide that we just got fixed comes out 6-7 inches, only in the front, jams, and completely quits. Dead-at-the-switch quits. A few minutes of loud, creative language, some made-up words with clear meaning, and I'm sooooo done! 

After returning to the house and explaining to Bill why I'm burning the rig to the ground and never leaving the house again, I eventually decide there could possibly be less drastic options. None of which are keeping our summer plans. 

But we have all the Gravel boys and one DIL and grandson coming for the weekend so let's focus on that joy. Corey and family are in Tucson Sunday, so they pick up Travis from the airport (his flight from Virginia is delayed four hours), and arrive less than an hour ahead of Nick and Richie who have driven from SoCal. Their first visit here, we're soooooo excited to see them!

It's a whirlwind of catching up, meals around the big table, Cribbage games, exploring Tombstone and Bisbee, a few cocktails, and lots of enjoying the youngest grandson. Oliver is funny and smart and cute and a delight to be around. 

Nick 1, Travis 3, Richie 4, Dad and Corey 2.

Dads getting caught up - so fun they all have kiddos now.

Keeping an eye on all the activity.

More Daddy!

Morning is best for cooler temps and fewer crowds.

The Wyatts hang out on Allen Street before heading to their infamous shoot out at the corral next door.

Likely our most authentic historic location, Nick and Corey check out the Birdcage Theater.

Richie, Nick, Travis and Corey with son Oliver at the theater.

A friendly family game of Cribbage. Not so exciting for doggies.

Oliver likes the vintage cars in Bisbee's Lowell district.

Nothing makes our home better than happy grands having fun. 

Departures begin on Sunday morning and end with taking Travis to the airport on Monday morning. It's all over way too soon, but we're grateful for the chance to have them all here together.

Before the family gathering we enjoy a couple fun visits with friends.

First our pals Sue and Dave bring their new guide-dog-in-training pup Taos to meet us. A beautiful yellow lab with precious deep brown eyes that draw you in. We meet at their RV in Benson for outdoor visiting, then head to the Benson City Grille (I had no idea there is a golf course, let alone a decent grill in Benson!). 

Handsome and smart, and oh so loveable. 

And not shy about getting his photo taken :-)

Surprising beautiful views from the patio at the golf course grill.

The following day they come to see us and give Taos more new experiences as part of his training. We're happy to be one of his many lessons! He's a lovely guest and Tessa manages to be a good hostess by ignoring him.

It's always great to get caught up with these two dear friends, and we're happy Taos brought them to see us!

Having spent time with Kim and Jack (she from our high school, he her spouse) at our reunion in April, we made plans to visit them near their home in Tucson - at the Saguaro NP. We're hoping for multiple blooms in mid-May, but we're clearly a couple weeks too early. It's still a beautiful drive, and lunch at Saguaro Corners is tasty. Now that we'll be around, we'll get together with them again this summer.


Kim, Bill, Jodee and Tessa. It's hot!

Bridge construction in St David - making the N larger does not make it a M!

Alas, again, our summer looks different, and we'll make the best of it. Once the rig is fixed, again, we can plan, again, for a shorter trip within Arizona to see if we can navigate travel support.

Reese and Penelope excited that the pool is open!!

Cold temps persist on the mountain so Ezra and Elliott get creative with lots and lots of Legos!

Henry and Cassidy take their parents to see Bluey.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Roller Coaster Whiplash

 April 16 - May 9, 2024
Tombstone, Arizona

Never say never. Or definitely. Definitely never say definitely!

I have rewritten this post twice already, and now I'm having to modify it once again. Better publish today before everything changes!

This is where we were on Wednesday:

Returning last Fall I was pretty discouraged from our large slide not working for two months, but eventually confident we'd have a better trip in 2024. Then Bill had to go on dialysis and it was clear our traveling days were over.

Lots of ups and downs continued.

When the options for in-home treatment came up we were once again making travel plans, maybe in a smaller rig since I was still not loving our motorhome. 

After our April trip we were both happy with our home on wheels, and glad we hadn't made a change. All the reservations were finalized for three months of travel starting the last week of May.

Bill started training for in-home treatment, we measured space in the motorhome, the website information for his dialysis provider promoted how easy they made traveling for their patients. Even providing a carrying case for the machine for air travel. This is definitely going to work for us.

Keeping in mind that he has been open about our plans all along, it's a big surprise to us (like WTH!) that his doctor won't clear him to travel for 90 days. Even more long-term "surprise" is the weight of the supplies needed for his treatments. We knew the measurements and could fit it all in the motorhome. But the 450# for 2 weeks of boxes (they allegedly bring you supplies bi-monthly when you're traveling)  is much more of an issue than we planned for. How does one realistically travel by air or go to hotels, let alone smaller RVs, with that much weight to transport?

Our first month's delivery is a big eye-opener! At 30# a daily box, a two-week supply is very heavy. Not all of this comes every delivery - whew!

The ups and downs and maybes of summer travel come to a big full-stop. Poor communication is a huge pet peeve for me, and moving forward from this lack of important information from healthcare professionals takes me some time to process (swearing and plotting personal demise is therapeutic).

Alas here we are. 

In-home treatment is still a huge plus for Bill. 12 hours a week of sitting in a chair with two needles in your arm for six months is a good thing to be done with! We're all set up at the house with closets full of very heavy boxes, and a program that Bill can do himself every night. All our days are once again open for exploring. It's a much smaller area than planned, but it is freedom nonetheless. 

We're nothing if not tenacious, so we'll spend 90 days looking at how/if/when we can actually store supplies inside the rig, not all on a slide, not underneath in a bin, and how realistic it is to receive more supplies on the road. I have trust issues right now :-)

Buuuuuut --->Thursday Bill has his monthly doctor appointment. Returning to the car he says "We can go." Of course I'm sure he's messing with me. But no. The doctor never mentions 90 days, never says he isn't cleared to travel. She raises the subject first saying "So you're leaving the end of the month, you need to know a few things."

I've given up knowing how to "feel" anymore. I'm naturally elated that we are once again medically cleared to travel this summer, grateful I didn't cancel any reservations pending this dr appointment, but those trust issues remain, and I'm hesitant to feel like celebrating just yet!

The dr does give us more hoops to jump through, including the daunting news that she and the local program don't work with us out-of-state. Fortunately there is a network that does work with traveling patients so we're jumping into that quickly. I'm not happy that we've lost two weeks of preparation time with the misinformation (again) about Bill's status.

And although I am happy with my call to the company that delivers those heavy boxes with two weeks notice in whatever quantity we need, we still have to figure out how to travel with any amount of supplies!

Rising temps means the return of high winds. And the return of the weed blanket that is our fenced yard. Since we're usually gone by now it's new for us to see the green and little daisy-like growth. It will be knee-high by the time we return. With the interior updates completed, we really need to look into landscaping this Fall. Today that seems a long way away :-)

30+mph wind turns the signal-light to the side!

A pretty local takes advantage of the wind-break off our driveway.

When we made our mad dash back here from North Carolina a couple years ago our priority was moving our healthcare to Arizona, replacing our Cadillac employer-paid plan with a Medicare supplement plan that we can access anywhere in the country. Even with the current fiasco, getting that done has significantly reduced the stress of prevention and treatment, as has having providers near our home. We knock out annual checks and dental appointments over the last few weeks. 

In addition to our personal check-ups, the motorhome and Tessa both have appointments. Desert RV continues to be our go-to for local work, and they continue to be booked months in advance. Fortunately they take me in one morning to take measurements for our short-but-important list of fixes. Fingers crossed they can replace our iffy front door lock, repair a loosened gizmo on the large slide topper, replace the dash stereo that has never worked since it was installed a few years ago, and install a new step rubber that has once again pulled off. 

In downtown Tombstone is the famous Rose Tree Inn, home to the largest rose bush in the country. Behind a large wall, it's viewable for a small fee. At the Catholic Church is this beauty, on the National Registry of Historic Places, and free to walk up and enjoy.

It's been here since the Earps were also making history.

Also white tea roses, this massive bush looks just like the pics I've seen of the more famous one.

Tessa is thirteen, and while she's still active and happy, her hearing and overall body strength are showing signs of age. She responds well to hand signals, and we've added easy folding steps for the Jeep. I'm especially pleased that she receives high marks at her annual wellness check. They find mild heart arrythmia, but aren't concerned that it's going to affect her for now. Something to "keep an eye out for symptoms", and they'll check again in the Fall. She comes home and does zoomies all over the house to remind me she's doing fine :-) 

We have some wonderful visits coming up this month. While every week at crafts has smaller attendance with folks leaving for the hotter months, there are still a couple of us who gather to play and gab for a few more weeks. October we'll see who returns and get caught up on our summer adventures.

On the way to school, Ezra insists on walking this stray shopping cart back to the store. What a good kiddo!!

Reese's dandelion wishes require concentration.

Little M shares his face froggie, serious stuff.

Henry loving his beach time.