Monday, December 29, 2008

12/29/08 This will be the last post for 2008! Sounds rather final, doesn't it?! Currently we are at Park Sierra and are trying to tie up all the loose ends and pack for our 46 day cruise around South America. Tomorrow we will be driving to San Diego to stay with Darran & Marielle overnight, and then they will drive us to the airport early on Wednesday. We will be landing in Orlando at 5:30PM if the travel Goddess is with us. I know what you are thinking: "Why won't they arrive on time if they are flying from San Diego (warm place-no snow) to Orlando (warm place-no snow). Well, our one stop is in Chicago!!!! Sure hope there are no weather-related problems there on Wednesday!
In Florida, besides celebrating New Year's alone in a motel room in Orlando, we will hope to be visiting Milt & Beth Bourassa, a delightful couple we met in Nova Scotia in 1998 and who hosted us at their lovely home at Loon Lake in New Hampshire right after that. They also drove us all over Vermont during Fall colors. Now they have a winter home in Lady Lake, FL and we are planning to drive there to see them.
Our ship leaves on Jan. 4 from Port Canaveral. There will be 12 couples of friends with us on the first 2 weeks of this cruise, and we are hoping we can all interact over dinner at adjacent tables. I have tried to set this up by e-mail but you never know what the cruise line has done until you check in!
Since we are leaving on this long cruise, there is no telling when we will be able to do blog updates. It depends on the internet availability at the ports of call. So please be patient and I will try to make it worth your while when I do an update.
Here are a few pictures from the Christmas Day dinner with our friends at Jojoba SKP park:

Terry Webb, Alice Zyetz, Vicky Webb, Carole & Dick Schneider, Mary & Elaine in front of the Jojoba Hills Christmas Tree

Our friends, Bob & Carol Torns, whom we haven't seen in years!

Two of the chickens that Carole roasted for the feast.

Mary & Elaine with Dudley and Marilyn Varney, former Park Sierra residents who now have a lot at Jojoba SKP Park.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

12/25/08 MERRY CHRISTMAS! In a few minutes we will be heading up to the clubhouse here at Jojoba Hills SKP Park to have Christmas dinner with Dick & Carole Schneider, and 10 other people who have signed up to sit at their table. It is a potluck, but Carole is fixing one of her gourmet delights for the main course - chickens stuffed with couscous, dried fruits & herbs on a bed of both white and sweet potatoes. The rest of us are providing the accoutrements. One of the couples joining us is Carol & Bob Torns, SKPs from New York whom we met years ago at a morel mushroom picking event in Montana. We have kept loosely in touch ever since, and we quite surprised to see them again, camped just a few spaces from us in the boondock area. That is one of the delights of this nomadic lifestyle; reconnecting with old friends in unexpected places.
Elaine and I actually just returned to Jojoba after driving down to San Diego yesterday to spend last night with Elaine's son, Darran & Marielle, his girlfriend, in their new 2 bedroom apartment. Her sister and husband joined us and we were delighted to meet them, as they are friendly and warm, just as Marielle is. They had a beautiful tree set up, with lights, etc. and we all helped cook a delicious turkey dinner, with vegetarian lasagna for Marielle and Megan. As we were cooking, it became obvious that they were in dire need of some pans and storage containers, so we rushed over to Costco to get them a new set of each as a combination Christmas and housewarming gift. That certainly made the meal prep go better, and also we had the needed containers for the leftovers later. We ended the evening watching a DVD of old movies that Darran & Tarra's Dad had given them for Christmas. The movies were from the days when they were between about age 2 and 6 and it brought back so many memories. They were such little cuties! Here are a few pictures from our time together:

Darran & Elaine Preparing The Turkey

Marielle & Darran in their new tiny kitchen.

Darran, Marielle, Megan (Marielle's sister), and her husband, Ben

Darran, Marielle, Mary & Elaine In Front of the Christmas Tree
Before driving over here from the desert, we took the following picture at Rainbow Acres in Quartzsite. It is a unique decoration but I wouldn't want to be the one who has to take it down!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

12/15/08 Can't believe that 2 weeks have passed since I updated this! And this will be brief because we are leaving soon to go to Algodones, Mexico, across the border from Yuma, for a shopping trip. Yes, we are now camped out in the desert off Sidewinder Rd. with our friends Lee & Susie Blattner. Sweeties that they are, they had a delicious dinner ready for us when we got here on Saturday, and we have been gabbing and playing cards with them ever since. The weather has been cold and overcast but so far, no rain. We always hope for warm weather when we come to AZ in the winter and the last few years, we have NOT been getting it!
Friday night we were able to park in front of our friend, Eileen Cooper's, out in the Foothills and have a great visit with her too. She was one of the friends who came from far away for our wedding and then we felt bad that we hardly had any time to talk to her then. We have caught up on her news now - and met her new Irish setter too.
Before coming to Yuma, we were in Chandler, visiting Al & Donna Ellis at their home there. And our friend, Marilyn Harrison had knee surgery there too, so we were at the hospital with her and Mike that day. Two days later when we called her, she said her leg was swollen and Elaine told her to call her doctor. But she didn't and Saturday she ended up going back into the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. Now she is on blood thinners and will be in there 3-6 days. Too bad we left the area because we should be there with love and support, like she was for us during our wedding.
No pictures on this blog because I have been too lazy to take any lately! If the weather gets better here, I will get the camera out. In the meantime, we are going to use the rest of our time here to start getting ready for our upcoming cruise, and also get off a Christmas letter to friends. We are doing our usual push to get thinner and stay healthy by walking everyday, lifting weights, etc. too. Hope all is going well for all of you, valued Blog Readers!

Monday, December 01, 2008

12/1/08 Welcome to December! We have started the month by staying on the RV lot of RoVing Rods leaders Barb and Ron Bonham. They went to their time share for a week and we are feeding their cat while they are gone. Having the use of their infrastructure isn't such a bad thing either! Our car and RV were absolutely filthy because we had to drive to the Thanksgiving gathering on the Colorado River during a huge rainstorm. Also, the last 3 miles were on dirt (make that mud) roads. So the last 2 days we have been washing them and cleaning up the inside too. That will continue tomorrow in the RV.
The Thanksgiving gathering was fun with about 20 people attending the dinner potluck. The location was at a boondocking area about 100 yards off the Colorado River near Ehrenburg, AZ and close to a small tributary where the guys could launch their boats to do some fishing.

They managed to catch some stripers, catfish, bass, etc. and some of them already had other kinds of fish filleted and frozen, which they contributed for a fish fry which was held on Friday night. This is one of the perks of hanging around with people who like to fish!!!!
Anyway, the Thanksgiving food was 2 smoked turkeys and a ham, prepared by Ron Bonham, along with side dishes prepared by everyone else.

This is the big advantage of attending RV gatherings for holidays - everyone helps in the food preparation so there is a lot less work than when we used to prepare the whole meal for our families and friends.
As usual, there was too much food and we had to have a leftover meal on Friday noon. Elaine and I had to go for a walk afterwards to try to walk off some of the calories. Here is a picture of the area so you can see that although we were parked in the desert, there was still lots of vegetation.

This is one of the advantages of the Arizona desert over California and Nevada deserts, which have much fewer plants and plant types.
Our friends Peggy and Chuck Palumbo, who were the only RoVing Rods members who attended our wedding, were here in their new 5th wheel. We were happy to be able to spend some time with them chatting and drinking port and eating chocolates in their new rig, because we did not have much time with them at the wedding. Here is a picture of them in front of their new Hitchhiker II.

We also enjoyed meeting several new couples who were parked near us, especially Warren and Carolyn Miller. Here they are, sitting with Barb Bonham.

Unfortunately, one of the members, Carol (don't know her last name), started passing blood on Friday and her husband, Denny, took her to the hospital in Parker. In the middle of the night she was air lifted to Las Vegas and was in the ICU until today. They cauterized 2 perforations in her esophagus near her stomach, and she is now on the road to recovery.
We will be here until Saturday, when Barb and Ron will return for the park-wide garage sale. Of course, Elaine will have to peruse all the offerings at this sale, so perhaps we won't be leaving here until Sunday....