Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25 - 31, 2017, AZ

Wednesday, December 27.  Christmas Day on Monday was very nice and relaxing.  The temps got up to the low 70s and it was quite pleasant for our morning walk with Frisco.  Tom went to visit an old friend who he hadn't seen in a long time for a couple of hours.  I designated the time as 'ME' time and lounged in a tub of hot water and soaked away the time.

When Tom got back, we headed to Nan and Dale's house to celebrate and have dinner with them.  Dale's son, Dylan and his fiancé Hayley, Monica and Loren and Loren's Mom, Lindsay and her SO, Ned also joined us.  Before dinner, we played a round of "Cards Against Humanity", a rather raunchy but fun game.


Dinner was yummy - ham, potatoes, maple dill carrots, green bean casserole, Monica's homemade croissants, and Loren's Creme Brûlée.  Delicious!  Afterwards, it was gift opening time - kind of wished I would have left before that started - mostly a family thing.   All in all, it was a good day!

Sunday, December 31.  Well here it is, the last day of 2017 and overall the year has been quite good for me.  A lot of changes occurred but I have adjusted well to the instability - moving to an apartment in Minneapolis, moving out of that apartment again, starting a partnership relationship with Tom and making some decisions about our future together.

The week was pretty low key - I worked on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tom and I went out for tacos at Sharkeys on Tuesday and we met up with Pat and Roger and Chris and Norm for fish at Simpletons on Friday night.

We checked out an estate sale in Scottsdale on Saturday and when that was kind of a bust, we went to Mesa Marketplace and strolled through the rows and rows of booths stuffed with Chinese knockoffs, kitchen gadgets, shoes, luggage, rugs, and lots of other stuff.  We bought a couple of small things but mostly just browsed.

Tonight was the New Years Eve party at the clubhouse that had a quite small group of folks, the smallest at an event that I've been to for quite a while. Several of my friends didn't come and that might have made a difference, but it was still a really good time.  We toasted the New York New Years at 10:00 and again at midnight for the Arizona New Years.  The group of revelers got smaller as the night went on, but we endured.  Virgil played lots of good dance tunes and we had a really nice time. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 18 - 24, 2017, AZ

Saturday, December 23.  Again, it's been almost a week since I have updated.  It has been a week with a couple of cleaning jobs, one of which I got an extra $50 payment.  Nice folks - then I usually end up doing a few extras for them like computer help and pounding in stakes for an outdoor Christmas display - not really deserving of a big bonus though.

Tom and I got back from our camping trip last Sunday afternoon.  It was cold and wet packing up - 38 degrees when we got up and it rained through the night - I'm not complaining - it is really needed around here.  We got back around 2:30 and got the trailer unpacked and laundry started.

I spent Monday finishing up with getting gifts mailed off to MN and WI.

This year's e-card.

I had cleaning jobs on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a much needed haircut on Wednesday afternoon.  My final HCC meeting as secretary (a 3-year stint) was on Thursday afternoon. I was happy to hear that a replacement was found for those duties, as well as my duties as official shopper, responsible for keeping the clubhouse supplies well stocked (done for the last 6 years).  Tom has been acting as an area representative for the past 2 years and will no longer be doing that job either.  We're retired from Highlands jobs!

Thursday was the day to prepare our Christmas gifts of Apple Butter that were going to our local friends.  The batch turned out excellent!

I got photos and videos of the grandkids performing in their Holiday concerts and was sooooo moved.  Naturally, I have watched them over and over during the past few days.

Last night, Tom and I went out for a very nice Christmas dinner (decided not to exchange gifts) at Rodizio Brazilian Steak House.  We started with the salad bar and were nearly full before we even got any sides.  These entrees were unlimited and the meats are served at your table - servers with swords full of grilled meats (lamb, steak, sausages, glazed, Parmesan crusted and bacon wrapped chicken) that were sliced as ordered.  Also, a server came by with grilled pineapple that was so sweet and yummy.  A very nice dinner!

As we were leaving the restaurant, we saw a strange light in the sky, it looked much like a UFO or a meteor.  What on earth?  I wasn't able to get a photo but found one online.  It was the SpaceX satellite that was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara, CA. The Iridium-4 is the fourth set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for its global satelllite program. Phoenix fire department reported, "We were told it was indeed the SpaceX Rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base."  I feel fortunate that I was able to see it.

When we got back home, we dressed in warm layers and headed out for our nightly walk with Frisco.  We wanted to see if we agreed with the Christmas Lights contest winners - we both would have chosen other entries.  We also wanted to see Santa and his Mrs who were roaming around the community between 6 and 8 pm.  It was our HCC president, Dave, and his wife, Debby.  We could hear them a few blocks away, having a jolly old time as they stopped here and there and wished folks a Merry Christmas.  I think they must have gotten an early gift of something with alcohol in it.  They were definitely having a good time.

Sunday, December 24.  It was a nice day of several phone conversations, a FaceTime one with Ben's family as they were traveling to Defiance, IA to Great Grandma Quinn's house, some nice walks through the neighborhood, and a fun gathering with friends at Arlene's house this evening.

Since moving in with Tom, I have realized that his oven just isn't right. I burned the pumpkin pie that I made for Thanksgiving.  That led to some experimenting to determine the problem and we were successful in getting a few things to turn out right - pizza, a couple of batches of cookies, and today, a mincemeat pie. Unfortunately, the traditional cranberry cake that I made burned to a crisp on the top and was undone in the middle. Grrrrrr!

Christmas Eve at Arlene's house was lots of fun, as usual.  We played the Right/Left Christmas game and I was able to find a pretty cool Detective Christmas story to read.  The food was yummy - chili and cornbread plus lots of other goodies.  Speaking of goodies, we had a goodie exchange instead of other types of gifts.

When we got back home and I was changing my earrings while standing at the bathroom counter and I dropped one of my diamond earrings down the sink drain.  It was a diamond stud that I have been wearing almost constantly since Mike gave them to me for Christmas about 20 years ago. I could see it in there, kind of resting on the stopper and I was able to grab it with a tweezer but then dropped it again.  I told Tom about it and he took the drain apart and recovered it for me the next morning.  What I guy!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 11-17, 2017, AZ

I realized this week that I haven't written anything on this blog since Thanksgiving.  There really hasn't been a lot to write about until this week.  

Back on December 1, Patty and I joined Monica, Nan, Lindsey, and her girlfriends at her annually Christmas ornament exchange of some lively conversation, laughs, and yummy food.  She lives an hour away, so I resisted having more than one glass of Sangria and we left by 10:00.  It was a great time!

Tom and I joined Pat and Roger for a happy hour one afternoon.

The four of us hiked the trail along the Salt River at Blue Point last Friday since the temps had dropped and it was cool enough for a hike. This is one of my favorites, although it is only about a half-mile long.  We still were up for more hiking when we finished, so we went down to the Butcher Jones trailhead and walks along the river some.  A lovely hike it was.

Thursday, December 14. This week, we have reservations at Patagonia Lake State Park for a few days and we met Pat and Roger there on Wednesday afternoon.  This is beautiful country that I have not been to before.  We're told that the place is really hopping during the summer (one of the few lakes in the area), but at this time of the year it's pretty sparse.

We provided breakfast of broccoli quiche and fruit salad this morning and then went hiking on the birding trail along the Sonoita Creek - a very popular birding destination.

Friday, December 15.  Pat and Rog took off this morning and Tom, Frisco, and I headed to the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area after getting a permit at the Visitors Center at the campground.  We started at the Sonoita Creek Trail, connected to the Cottonwood Loop Trail at the trail crossing, and finally the Black Hawk Trail that took us back to the western edge of Patagonia Lake and the spillway that went back to the parking lot.  The first part of the trail was quite narrow and pretty rocky but very doable.  The hillsides were dotted with Mesquite Forest and many grazing cattle.  At one point, there were several standing right on the trail, staring at us.  We had to make some noise to get them to move out of the way - they were quite docile and it seemed like they were quite comfortable sharing their space with us.

When we got to the Cottonwood Trail, we walked along what was formerly a train track for the New Mexico/Arizona Railroad line that once went right through the center of the lake.  Torrential rains during monsoon season destroyed the railhead and it later was dammed to form the lake and the state park.  The trail at this point followed the creek and was shaded by many huge Cottonwood trees.

The trail crossed the creek and we were hiking along the north side - to the south were huge rocky hills that formed a pretty steep canyon.  There was very little water in the creek.  Frisco was starting to get slow and tired during the last half-mile of the hike and I carried him for part of the way.  He has never been carried before, fought it for a little bit but then settled right in and enjoyed the ride.  By then we were back at the spillway that led us back to the parking lot.  Along the spillway were 30 some cattle lying down and enjoying the sunny afternoon.  The hike was a little over 3 miles.  We all took a nap when we got back to the trailer.

It's gotten cold, so we didn't even have a fire this afternoon.  Instead, we stayed in and watched "The Ranch" on Netflix.

Saturday, December 16.  After a walk with Frisco this morning, Tom and I headed to Patagonia for breakfast.  It's a tiny little town and the drive-through took us about 5 minutes to see the whole town.  We went to the Wild Horse Restaurant that is part of the historic Stage Stop Inn and had a very nice breakfast, then browsed through a couple of art galleries/gift shops.

This evening, we took an hour long twilight tour of the lake on a pontoon boat.  Gilbert was our tour guide and he really knew a lot about the area and pointed out some very interesting areas.  We pulled into Long Cove and he pointed out the plants growing on the south shore with the hillside facing north were different than the desert plants that grew in the south-facing hillside on the north shore.  It was very quiet and serene in there.  The most interesting birds that were spotted were Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, and Night Herons.

The tour lasted about an hour and then we docked in time to watch the sunset.  It was well worth the $5.00 admission.  Entertaining, educational, and relaxing.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

November 20 - 26, 2017, AZ

Saturday, November 25.  Happy Birthday to my daughter-in-law, Tracey!  I had a nice conversation with her this morning.  Unfortunately, she is still suffering from migraines that never let up.

Backtracking on the week - there isn't much to say.  We went to Sharkey's Tacos and Tequila Tuesday night with Pat and Roger.  I had conversations with all of my siblings during the week, wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving.

Yesterday, we drove back to AJ to check out 6 Tricon RV Parks - all under new management and their ads said "recently remodeled", so we wanted to see what they had to offer.  One of the 6 could meet our requirements, but now we know.  They are all old parks, mostly park models crammed into small spaces, with few RV sites scattered here and there, most have updated clubhouses and pools - probably a work in progress.  We have had a lot of discussion lately about selling his mobile home and where to stay after that happens.

Thanksgiving started with phone conversations with both of my sons and FaceTime with the grandkids back in Minnesota.  Tom and I made a huge batch of mashed potatoes for dinner at his son, Chaney's house.  I got to meet his daughter, Trina, too.  Dinner was delicious - Chaney deep fried the turkey, and it was moist and tender.  Another guest, Sue, brought an English Trifle for dessert that was delicious!  It was a beautiful day d temperatures hit all-time highs in many areas - I think it was almost 90 degrees.

Back row:  Tom's ex-wife Kathy, their son Chaney, his wife Melissa, Me, Tom, Melissa's sons and their friends.

Middle row: Friends of Chaney and Melissa

Front row: Kathy's husband John, Tom's grandsons Lakin, Hunter, Colton, and his daughter Trina.

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 13 - 19, 2017, AZ

Friday, November 17.  Here it is, another Friday and I haven't written a thing in my journal.  It has been a busy week.

Monday - I cleaned for Karen and was wiped out when I got back home, so took a nice nap.  Tom and I went to Zur Kate German restaurant for a nice dinner. The special was roast pork and it was so tender and flavorful - served with German potato salad and red cabbage.  We will definitely go back there.  There are actually 2 German restaurants in the same little strip mall at Main and Higley and we walked into the Bavarian Inn first, just to check it out because of some negative reviews that I had read.  The reviews were right - mostly of a bad odor - and we walked in and right back out again.  The right choice was made, our dinner and experience was very nice.

Tuesday - I cleaned for Jim and Shirley and spent the rest of the day around home.  Arlene had to go to the hospital on Monday night due to some intestinal problems, so she and Sharla gave us their tickets to see "Kiss and Tell" at the Hale Theater. 

From the Hale website:  "Hugh Herbert’s 1940’s riotous romp entangles a family feud, a secret marriage, and a madcap dose of mistaken identity! Two teenage girls, Corliss Archer and Mildred Pringle, cause their respective parents much concern when they start to become interested in boys. The parent’s bickering about which girl is the worse influence causes more problems than it solves after both girls sell kisses for charity at the USO bazaar. It’s a “fresh, funny, and completely beguiling comedy about a small town Junior Miss." 

Connie joined us for the great comedy production.  It was lively and full of laughs.  They do such a nice job on their shows.

  My $10 bike.

Wednesday - no work this morning, so I slept in - until 9:00 when my phone was ringing.  It was Rita with an update on Rick's condition, but actually there was no update because he refused to go for his scheduled PET scan that would show where the cancer is in his body.  He was stubborn and obnoxious when Randy got there to pick him  and he refused to go.  Later that day, he ended up calling 911 and Randy spent 3 hours with him at the hospital and again, he got irritated and took a cab home.  This is not going to have a good outcome, I just have a bad feeling about it.

We met up with some friends at the pool in the afternoon for a happy hour.  Another good time of sipping and yakking.

Thursday - we took off at 9:00 with a list of RV parks to explore at Casa Grande, about 50 miles to the south of here.  Of the eleven parks that we stopped at, there were 3 that we both liked and would consider for a long-term winter stay in the future.  There are a few others in the Apache Junction area that we learned about and would like to see.

As we were heading back to Mesa, we got an email from our HCC President notifying us that the board meeting scheduled for 5:00 this afternoon has been pushed back to 4:00.  We were both a bit irritated by this, so I tested back that I wasn't sure if we would be back in town on time.  We did make it on time and even stopped at Waldo's BBQ for some take out pulled pork and brisket for dinner.

Today - we both had appointments this morning at 10:30, so we headed our separate ways.  Tom picked up his trailer that was in the shop for new brakes and I was off to get a haircut.  After my appointment, I went to Turnstyle and found some good bargains and then to Trader Joe's for a few things.

Tonight, we picked Pat and Roger up and went to The Dog Run in AJ for fish fry - and a very good one it was.

Sunday, November 19.  Today was the day to meet some of Tom's friends.  We met Manuel and Linda at the Hen House for breakfast this morning.  They are a nice couple who met up with Tom on his travels out east this past summer and have been long-time friends and co-workers.  It was a nice time.

I had a nice FaceTime conversation with Charlotte this afternoon, as she was down and out, not feeling well, and snuggling on the couch.  

This evening, we were off to Duane and Debbi's new house in Queen Creek.  Again, a very nice couple, long-time friends of Tom and his ex-wife Kathy.  Their house is beautiful - complete with an RV garage where Duane is rebuilding/restoring a 1963 Corvette.  We had a drink on the patio before having a very nice steak dinner, then visiting until time to go home.

Saturday's hope highlight was the Homecoming Dinner and dance at the clubhouse.  Ninety people signed up and attended dinner but the crowd thinned a bit after that.  Rick Jones provided the entertainment, an excellent singer and guitar player backed by music on his iPad.  It was a fun night of dancing and socializing.

The news coming from Springfield regarding Rick, is not pleasant.  They have found several spots of cancer on his lung, taken an MRI of his brain, a CT scan and surgical biopsies, but no results have been passed on to Randy yet.  I don't have a good feeling about this at all.

Friday, November 10, 2017

November 6 - 12, 2017, AZ

Friday, November 10.  It's been another week that is just flying by.  The days are full with the usual activities like dog walking, running errands, happy hours, hanging with Tom and hanging with friends.  I've also had opportunities to talk with family members; Pat, Rita, Randy, and Bob.

Randy didn't have good news - my brother Rick who has been doctoring an open wound on his abdomen (suspected to be a spider bite) learned that it is cancerous.  It all started with a blister that he scratched off and then the surrounding skin became infected and was treated with antibiotics that didn't clear it up.  So now we wait for further test results and treatment options.  I don't have a good feeling about this, primarily because of his lifetime of chronic alcoholism and rough living.

On Wednesday, I opened up and cleaned Sylvia's condo at Fountain of the Sun.  Tom came along to help with the outside work of sweeping and hosing down the patio and carport and moving her outdoor furniture from inside.  I got the refrigerator and ice maker going, ran the dishwasher, and wiped down surfaced and vacuumed.  It looked sparkly clean when we left.  Next week, I will be cleaning for Shirley and JoAnne and that cycle will be starting up for the winter.

Also, on Wednesday evening, we met Tom's son Chaney, his daughter-in-law Melissa, grandson Lakin, and ex-wife Kathy at the Harkins Theater in north Scottsdale to see the screening of the IFP Filmmaker Challenge.  It was a completion of local filmmakers and their short films.  Lakin played a role in the movie called "Pause", one of 20 films that met the challenge - a 6-minute movie that met the assigned challenge of a specific prop and a phrase.  Each film was viewed and judged by a panel of 7 professionals and also by audience voting.

We viewed all of the movies and then awards were passed out.  "Pause" took several awards; 3rd place in the Top Film category, then Best Photo to granddaughter Photography, Best Trailer, and the Audience Awards.  I'm glad that I was able to meet some of Tom's family and to be part of this great event, quite exciting!

Connie came over for a drink one evening and we went to Pat and Roger's for a drink last night.  Good friends and good conversation.

Yesterday's highlight was a FaceTime conversation with Camille and Norah - I was asked if we could have another sleepover - hopefully that will happen over Christmas.  Norah was proud to tell me that she was told that she was doing good work on the violin at school and Camille was proud of her swimming accomplishments.

Today was grocery shopping day, as we have emptied lots of stuff in the refrigerator and I would like to have supplies on hand so I can do some baking one of these days.  Tom is a coupon shopper, so it's his job to save us some money on groceries.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October 30 - 31, 2017, AZ

Tuesday, October 31.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  

I cleaned Karen's house for her yesterday and boy, was I beat when I finished.  It's not that it was that big of a job - I'm just out of shape for doing that kind of a job.  It is now added to my calendar as a regular every other week job.

Also, on Monday, we took an ELS bus to San Tan Flats with 22 residents and friends from Highlands and a few folks from Monte Vista (they were complaining that the bus left 4 minutes late -not a good way to start out).  The food, company, and beverages were very good.  Naturally, the Highlands folks were having lots of fun and not quite ready to leave when the Monte Vista folks were already on the bus.  And then, we were a bit rowdy on the ride back too - they probably won't want to go with us again.

   Jan is enjoying her S'More at San Tan Flats

This morning, I cleaned Jacki's patio for her - a 3-hour job and one that she can't do herself.  

I went with Tom to his Holistic chiropractor appointment this afternoon to see if I might be interested in his treatment - a very different approach that focuses on total. Mind, body health. Tom has been going for years, but for me, it would be an entirely new process to introduce with possible recommendations for different supplements. At this point, I don't think I want to upset the apple cart that is my body and change to a new and different regiment at this stage of my life, although it all makes sense.

We met Pat and Rog (they just got here yesterday) for Taco Tuesday at Simpletons for dinner.  Great to see them again - looking forward to many good times over the winter.

   My 3 little trick or treaters in Minnesota - Camille, Charlotte, and Norah

Saturday, November 4. We've got wifi again!  The technician had  to come by and check connections and he did find some cables and connections that were damaged, so he fixed them and we are now connected. We might buy a new router since Tom's is pretty old, but for now, it is working.  Having wifi led the getting the Roku setup on the TV but that led to another issue - Tom was unable to adjust the screen size on the TV because the remote wouldn't let him access that setting - the picture is too large for the screen.  So, he has a replacement remote control ordered.

We both had lists of things to do on the internet, so that took a lot of time on Wednesday.

Since Tom is considering selling his house, we have been discussing options for where to live after that. I definitely want to spend time in the Midwest during the summer and we both want to be in Arizona in the winter.  Over the next few months, we plan to check out the Camp Verde, Sierra Vista, and Apache Junction areas for rental and RV options.

So, on Thursday, we took a drive up to Camp Verde and checked out several RV parks and decided that our first choice in that area was the Verde River RV resort, a place that we have both stayed at in the past, but is now under renovation and will be a beautiful park and facility when they reopen in February of 2018.  We stopped at the Rock Springs Cafe for some Jalapeño Poppers and a piece of cherry pie before getting back to Mesa.  It was a productive and enjoyable day.

An old relic at LoLo Mai Park

Friday's highlight was to meet up with Chris and Norm and Pat and Roger for fish fry at Simpletons.  We had a good dinner and great conversation and lots of laughter.

Today was another day to explore RV and mobile home parks in Apache Junction.  This trip resulted in a few parks that we would consider - all of which would be a savings on housing expenses and nice places to live.  After dinner, Tom discovered a few others that have been recently renovated that we should check out in the future.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 23 - 29, 2017, NM, AZ

EThursday, October 26.  Back on Monday, we were looking at a 6-7 hour drive back to Mesa - a bit much when you are towing a trailer. So we decided to only go as far as Overgaard, just east of Payton. The RV park only had one site, so we parked mine and I stayed with Tom in his because he had the water/electric hookups.  

So on Tuesday morning, we only had a 3-hour drive back to Mesa - a beautiful drive that took us through the White Mountains, the Mogollon Rim country, Matzatzal mountains, several canyons, the Tonto National Forest and back to where Four Peaks and Red Mountain were in sight. Beautiful country and I enjoyed every mile of this part of the drive.

Back in Mesa, we parked at Tom's and began unloading. Yes, I am going to be staying with him and not with Arlene.  Over the past 2 months, we both realize that we really enjoy being together and we are going to see how things go for our relationship over the winter.  

Tom turned on water, plugged in the fridge and did all of that opening kind of stuff and I started to unload and haul stuff inside.  After a while, we checked the fridge and it was not getting cold, we checked later- same thing, guess it is dead.  Also, there is no hot water because the gas company has to turn it on and check for leaks.  So, we left his trailer parked in front and used that shower.  I took mine to the storage lot but left the food in the fridge, running on propane.  And we proceeded to clean and get the house in order.

Yesterday, after having coffee and good conversation with Arlene and Sharla, we went to Mesa TV and Appliance and Tom bought a new fridge (after a repair person told us that it couldn't be repaired - the condenser was shot.  This morning, we were up and about by 7:00, the new fridge was delivered by 8:30 and a  Mesa Gas employee showed up shortly after that.  Yay, there were no gas leaks, so there will be good, hot, showers tonight!

Saturday, October 28.  We're starting to feel a bit more settled, getting things sorted and put away, finding out our differences, preferences, and making Tom's house a home for the two of us.  We are making progress.


The Highlands Halloween Party was last night and we started off with pizza at Jan and Jim's with Connie, Kathy, and Jackie.  The party was lots of fun and I never did get around to getting a costume together.  Karens offered me a long skirt and hippie vest but it felt way too hot when I tried it on.  The band, The RVees was great, playing lots of fun dance tunes and I think I danced every one.  It was quite nice to have a guy to dance the slow ones with (smiley face).

Our HCC President, Dave, and his bride

   ??? And his dog, Boner, Loretta, Tom, Lois, Diane, ???, Marian

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 16 - 22, 2017, NM

Wednesday, October 18.  Monday was our day to get propane, fuel up the cars, take a trip to the Capulin Volcano National Monument, and go to the Colfax Tavern at Cold Beer, NM.

I spotted this guy as we were leaving the campsite.

The Capulin Volcano is about twenty miles east of Raton and was it cool!  We took the mile-long drive to the summit of the volcano, then hiked around the rim.  The views from up there were incredible!  

The Capulin Volcano began well over a million years ago, but its human history has been much more recent. Capulin has traditionally been a crossroads of human activity as diverse people and cultures traversed to and from the Great Plains. There is archaeological evidence that Paleoindians roamed this area in search of Pleistocene Bison as early as ten thousand years ago. Also, groups of Native Americans, such as the Jicarilla Apache and the Ute, used this region as hunting grounds until the arrival of the Spanish in 1541. Early explorers, in search of riches and regions to conquer paved the way for a greater influx of Europeans over the next 350 years.  In September 1821, William Becknell of Missouri blazed the Santa Fe Trail which was followed by countless others in search of profit.

The base of the volcano.

When we checked into the campground, the Colfax Tavern was highly recommended, so we headed there after touring the volcano, it is out in the middle of nowhere between Raton and Cimarron.  The sign on the back of the bar said, "not much happens here, but when it does, you wanna be here".  We talked with a friendly couple, had a beer and a good burger before heading back to our campsites - a few deer freaked me out along the edge of the road on the way back.

This place is so nice that we decided to add another day - to hang out and see more of the area.  So, on Tuesday, we stopped at a statue commemorating Charlton Heston (the head of the NRA for many years) and marking the place where the Santa Fe 

Trail crosses through the property.  As we were there, a friendly gentleman in a pickup truck stopped by and offered to take a photo of us and told us a bit of the history of the area.

The museum had a very nice collection of guns throughout our history.  I was fascinated by the story and exhibit of Ben Lilly, the last mountain man in the southwest.  He was known to fight off bear and cougar with a knife (the Lilly knife, made by himself).  While we were there, Tom bought some ammo and targets, and after seeing the museum, we headed out to the range and shot a few rounds, something I have not done for many, many years.  One of us got a bullseye but we didn't check in between shots - I like to think it was me, although I only got one other hit on the target.

Today, we headed out for a very scenic drive to Albuquerque, through the Cimmaron Canyon to Taos, then along the Rio Grande River toward Santa Fe and then got settled for the next two nights at one of my member parks, Hidden Valley Resort, east of Albuquerque.

Thursday, October 19.  Today was the day to visit the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, an item that has been on my bucket list for a long time.  It seems that every time I go through here, I am heading to somewhere and don't ever stop. I'm happy that Tom was interested in seeing it and that we had the time to go there.  Originally, the plan was to stay closer to Santa Fe, but the prices were high and availability near there was low.

The museum exhibits were a chronological history of her life and career as an artist.  My takeaway was that she was a strong, independent, and talented woman and that art was part of her life from back in her youth.  In many periods of her life, she painted the same object at different times and under different lighting conditions, they all looked different.

After seeing the museum, we both decided we want to go visit Ghost Ranch some day, it's another hour to the north and would be a bit much for this trip.

We walked to the Plaza and looked at all of the Native American jewelry and trinkets.  I was hoping to see the woman, Rose, whom I purchased a pair of earrings from back in about 1995.  At one time, several years after that, I lost one of those earrings.  I still had her business card, so I wrote and sent the remaining earring back to her, asking if she could make a replacement.  A couple of months later, I received a tp roll in the mail, complete with 2 earrings and a note - thanking me for my business and no charge.  Unfortunately, I didn't see her there, after all, that was close to 30 years ago - time flies!

The route back to Hidden Valley RV was along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, a 50-mile route through the Sandia Mountains and the small towns of Cerrillos and Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid).  We stopped at the Mine Shaft Tavern for a beer and a bite to eat. I had a salad with roasted red peppers and onions, green chiles, feta cheese, and topped with the local version of Kobe Beef - it was Delicious!

Friday, October 20.  Hookup and move on day, with a destination of the USA RV Park in 

Gallup, NM - a very clean and neat park where we will stay and explore for the next couple of days.  After doing some laundry, we went to the office where they were selling pulled pork sandwiches and a bag of chips for $5.00 - they turned out to be very generous portions and quite tasty too.

Sunday, October 22.  Yesterday, we went for a drive on Historic Route 66 toward Grants and checked out Red Rock Park and Campground that was right in town near the convention center, about 4.5 miles east of Gallup.  It was a nice park, kind of dusty, with several RV sites and facilities.

We had considered a stop at Blue Water Lake State Park but at the last minute decided not to chance it because sites were available on a walk-in basis only, and there were only 2 full hookup sites and 8 water/electric sites.  Also, when Tom called yesterday, he was told that the dump station may not be available as they were having some water issues.  Still, we wanted to see what it was like and it is very pretty.  It was quite remote - 6 miles if you took the east entrance and 12 miles from the west entrance.  On the west side of the lake, there were rutted dirt roads and very primitive campsites.  The boat landing hasn't been used in years because the water was so low -he shore was probably 50 yards from where it should have been.

Back at our campsites, we sat at the picnic table and had a beer, then made chili cheese dogs for dinner.  It was predicted to go down to 21 degrees overnight, so we disconnected our water hoses, but then it only got down to 29 degrees.

Today was the day to clean, empty tanks, and organize to get ready for putting the trailers in storage.  It was a beautiful day for it.  Tom wanted to go into town to fill his truck up with gas, so I rode along and we stopped for a piece of apple pie at Cracker Barrel. It was tasty, but a bit under baked.

Another change in plans, we will only go as far as Overgaard tomorrow rather than drive the entire way back to Mesa - probably a 6-7 hour trek.