Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

I guess I should backtrack to Christmas Eve when I loaded up gifts and headed to Ben’s house. The girls were so excited that they were sitting in the front window waiting for me and Granny and Papa to arrive. This is the first indoor family gathering that we have had since the summer when COVID numbers came down and things were opening up. Jill made her Grandma Quinn’s Mulligan Stew and blueberry muffins for dinner and we snacked on veggies and cookies leading up to dinner. After dinner, we played a game of spoons - a card game where the cards are passed around the table quickly and the goal is to get 4 of a kind. The first person to get 4 of a kind grabs a spoon (there is 1 less than the number of players) and everyone else goes for a spoon too. The loser is the one left without a spoon.

The girls were so excited for gift opening, mostly for their own gifts but for those that they gave too.  I got my annual photo album, a nice woodland scented candle, and a snow globe that Charlotte made for me.  They were happy with their gifts from me (slippers, headbands, and a craft) and especially the bathrobes that they each got.

Christmas Day meant making my traditional Cranberry Cake with Hot Butter Sauce for dessert and also scalloped potatoes for dinner, then I headed back to Ben’s. Santa had come, and they had breakfast all cleaned up and the girls were busy playing with their toys.  We played Barbie’s and got some brine shrimp going that Charlotte could look at through her new microscope.  They got tired of playing indoors and bundled up and headed outside to try out their new hats, gators, snow goggles and sled.

We had gotten about seven inches of snow on top of rain, then ice, and high winds on the 23rd and that made for some slow travel getting to and from Ben’s house.  

I have spent the last 3 days working on a puzzle that Lois game me last spring. Once I get started, I can’t leave it alone. I finished it today.

I got a call from Rita this morning letting me know that Rene had a heart attack yesterday, after experiencing heartburn and pain in her neck and underarm over the weekend, was taken by ambulance from Warsaw to Overland Park, and had surgery this morning to put a stent in her artery that almost fully blocked.  I got a text from her earlier this afternoon to say she was ok. Dang, the news didn’t really surprise me, but I sure hope that she is okay and able to resume her normal activities.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Happy Birthday to my sweet sister, Rita! We had a video call with my siblings last night and sang happy birthday to her then. That was as first for us and it turned out to be a fun and enjoyable conversation. The Ursino’s tend to all talk over each other, so we tried real hard to keep that from happening, but it did, of course. Still, it was so nice to ‘see’ everyone again.

Penny & Bob, Me, Randy, Mike & Rene, Rita & Denny

This has been the week for catching up with distant friends, as I heard from Rosemary, Leslie, and Arlene and also had a nice, long Google Duo chat with Tom.

I went to Ben’s on Monday afternoon and walked to the park with the girls. They were getting cabin fever being cooped up in the house and Ben and Jill were struggling to work. We had a nice time, playing tag and exploring the ice on the shore of Lake Harriet, throwing sticks and challenging each other to get the stick to slide the farthest. Camille won that one, then her hands were freezing, so we headed back home.  Charlotte tripped and fell, blaming it on Norah, and scraped her knee. Norah felt bad and let her lean on her on the way back home.

I made a batch of fudge earlier in the week to share with the family and the next morning as I was putting walnuts in my oatmeal, I realized that they were not Gluten Free, so I packed up that batch and set it down in the lobby near the mailboxes for the residents to enjoy. It wasn’t long and it had disappeared. 

The decision has finally been made that we will gather as a family, including Jill’s parents for Christmas Eve and Day dinners and gift exchanges, but will not have sleepovers as we have in the past. So I placed my last grocery order at Cub and picked it up on Tuesday night, so I will have ingredients to make scalloped potatoes and Cranberry cake for dinner on Christmas Day and another batch of fudge - this time with Gluten Free Almonds. The problem with nuts is that many are processed in plants that also process wheat products, thus there could be residue on the equipment.

Winter arrived yesterday when we went from a rainy 44 degrees to steady drops in temperature and blizzard conditions through the day. For quite a while, the snow was blowing sideways straight out of the north. I’m not sure how much snow we actually got but because of the high winds, there are a lot of bare areas. It is -2 degrees this morning and wind chills are expected to be in the -35 degree range. Frisco took care of business in no time this morning.  I feel fortunate that most of December has been mild with no snow and above average temperatures.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Today’s highlight was an invitation to meet Ben, Charlotte, and Yoshi at Battle Creek Dog Park for an afternoon walk. It even looked like we would have some sunshine, but by the time we hit the trail the clouds had covered up the sun.  Regardless, the 38 degrees made it pleasant and the park is very nice. As I expected, Frisco wandered way up ahead of me and refused to come when I called him. Of course, he was hooked to the leash when I caught up to him once again, after having to scurry down an hill to catch up to him. Later on, Ben and Charlotte had to chase after Yoshi but he is doing really good about staying nearby - the constant rewards are helping.

I spent the morning on FaceTime conversations with Bob and Penny and with Randy and I’m working to setup a Ursino video meetup for Wednesday evening. We shall see how that goes, but it would be nice to ‘see’ everyone again.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Saturday, December 19, 2020

I was able to finish up my Christmas gifts and got my cards mailed today (finally).  I made slippers and head warmers for the girls and they would have been done a lot sooner if it weren’t for the yarn that I chose.  It is a soft, colorful 5-ply yarn that had varied thicknesses and was very difficult to work with because the stitches were hard to see and to count. Regardless, they turned out well and this is the result.

So now everything is wrapped and ready to go.  I still don’t know if we will be having an in-person gathering and I will be fine with whatever Ben and Jill decide to do.  As much as I want to get together, I also realize the risk in doing so. I have been in a couple of stores and probably more exposed than they have been.

My Christmas Corner

Fran’s obituary came out this week and I thought I would post it here. I have thought of her so much lately and will miss getting her Christmas card.

Stoughton- Frances R. Ganshert, age 95, passed away on Friday, December 11, 2020.  Fran was born June 22, 1925, the eldest child of Eleanor and Frank Muetz. She met Francis Ganshert in 1947 and married him 6 months later on October 4, in Madison WI. They bought their only home in Stoughton that same year, she resided there until health issues sent her to assisted living. It is there that she passed away peacefully on December 11th.

Fran loved her family deeply and spent her life caring for all of them. Over her early years of marriage, it was not unusual to find any number of her siblings and their families residing with them. There was no such thing as in-laws, as once you married into the family you, and also your family, were treated as her own. 

She loved the holidays and hosted them all with her fabulous cooking and baking. She was known to have an array of cookies in her cookie jars. She loved to quilt, and gifted family and friends with her all hand sewn quilts. In her time at Azura, she enjoyed reading and read over 365 books until her eyesight failed and then she listened to 1,228 audio books.

Fran was proceded in death by her husband Fran, daughter Susie, and son Larry. Her parents Eleanor and Frank Muetz, siblings Jimmy, Joyce, Frankie, Jackie, Dean, Donald and Duke. She is survived by her son Larrys wife Sue, her daughter Mary (Steve) Thayer, son Jim (Lori) Ganshert., grandchildren Erin (Joe), Chad (Katie), Amy (Jason), and Eric, 11 Great Grandchildren, and 1 Great – Great Grandson, also her sister Jonnie and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Due to COVID, a private funeral will be held for her immediate family on December 26, 2020. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. 

Special thanks to the Azura staff, and to all of her doctors at SSM Health for their loving care over the years.

Speaking of Christmas cards, people are confused about my address, are just not sending them or the post office is overwhelmed this year. There have been warnings on the news that there are huge bottlenecks due to the high numbers of online orders being made this year due to COVID-19. Also, just this week, two manufacturers have had vaccinations approved by the FDA massive shipments are going out to nursing home staff and residents and also to health care workers. It’s going to take a long time, but I sure hope it makes a difference. The last few weeks have been devastating with high numbers of cases and deaths.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

What do I write about when all I really am doing is staying home and finding little ways to pass the time of day - morning coffee that now lasts about an hour and a half, walks with Frisco, indoor fitness workouts, house cleaning (although it doesn’t really get dirty), watch a movie now and then, chat with someone on the phone, shop online, some crochet projects. Gee the list is pretty long - what have I got to complain about?

The temperatures have been above average and other than a little bit of snow last week, it hasn’t been bad. That is with the exception of not seeing the sun shine for several days. Just a little bit each day makes it so much more tolerable.

My sweet cousin, godmother, and namesake, Francis Rose Ganshert, passed away last Friday, December 11 at 95 years of age, She was the eldest first cousin on my Mom’s side of the family. I have so many fond memories of her - so much of my childhood was spent at their large 2-story house on Franklin Street in Stoughton, as it was always the gathering place for kids and the attitude was that there is always room at the table for one more - or two or three. Our cousins were our best friends and we were together a lot, the schoolyard across the street was the place to play. Fran and her husband, Fran always had time for others, be it their Children, Grandchildren, Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces, Nephews, Neighbors, Friends - it didn’t matter, they were there.  

Fran spent her last years in a small apartment in an assisted living facility and she was in fair physical shape and excellent mental shape until a couple of weeks before she passed.  My last conversation with her was about a month ago and she was cheerful and sharp, aware of life around her. Again, COVID has taken a toll, as her family was no longer able to have in-person visits, nor could they take her for outings.  The last time I visited was in July and I could only talk to her on a phone from outside a window.  She will be missed by many.

First Cousins, Carole, Jonnie, Me, and Fran at her 94th Birthday Party

I have always loved this picture of Fran and my Mom (playing dress-up).
They were nieces and best of friends.

Another great photo, two old ladies laughing about how they got to be 90 years old.

I was hungry for chili on Monday, so I made a big pot and set aside some to take to Ben’s family on 
Tuesday when I pick up an Amazon order that I had sent to their home. I had also planned to make a pot of Cheesy Ham and Potato Soup to take to them on Tuesday, so that was my activity for that day. We had a short visit in the back yard and let the dogs play for a bit. That soup was so delicious - I will definitely make it again!

So I decided to hang some pictures on the walls and that led to learning about some moving damage. The first was done by me when I dropped and broke a plaster garden girl figurine that I bought when I was going to Master Gardener classes in Madison back in 1995. She fell out of my hand as I was unwrapping her.  I’m sad.  

Then, as I was unpacking some smaller items, I pulled out a small decorative plate and found it broken. The one next to it was also broken, but the third of the set was unscathed. This explained the tear on the side of the box under the handle - it must have slipped out of someone’s hand a fell. The sad thing is that these were personalized gifts from our friend and life insurance agent, Doug Klagos, commemorating our marriage and the birth of each of our children. Ben’s plate survived and I will do my best to glue the other two back together.

The recent news is encouraging with the release of vaccinations for COVID-19 and the beginning of distribution to those at highest risk first and then trickling down to the general public. It’s going to take months, but I’m feeling good that it is now available.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Monday, December 7, 2020

My parents were married on this date in 1946, they would be celebrating 74 years of marriage today.

It was a busy week, as I continue to settle into my apartment. I now have most of the boxes unpacked and gone through and have found a place for most things that I want out.  I haven’t hung any pictures yet, but did buy (on marketplace) a couple of metal sunburst sculptures for the kitchen wall.  In this apartment, the bedroom has a lot more space than the living room, especially since I still have my round oak table and chairs that now seem way too big for the space they are in. I’m not sure if I’m ready to part with any of them.

The weather here has been great for December, with temps up in the 40’s, so Frisco and I have checked out a couple of parks where we can get a good walk in every now and then. The sidewalks around the immediate area are few and far between, although there is a large sports complex two blocks away that has walking paths around it - at least a mile’s worth.

My evening have been occupied with a project that I started last summer - miniature woodland animals made from felt - cut, stitched, stuffed, and tucked into a leaf pillow.  Mine didn’t turn out quite like the photo that sparked my interest, but they are still very cute.  They will be gifts for the girls for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas - I got my tree up and a wreath hung on the door, but I sure can’t get my head around gifts for my loved ones and the clock is ticking.

Yesterday morning, I made a large pot of 15 Bean Soup, so I could share it with Ben and family.  Later in the afternoon, I met up with them at the Minnehaha Dog Park, so we could all walk and Yoshi could socialize. He is 4-months old now and is doing well as far as sticking close by, but is still timid with the larger dogs. Everyone loves him and wants to greet him.  The girls just love walking along the rivers here, as there are lots of fallen trees for them to climb on.  This is the only photo that I got.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Thursday, December 3, 2020

I have been busy getting settled in once again. My apartment is very nice, about 200 sf smaller than the last one. The only negatives that I have found so far are that the kitchen cabinets are not as deep or wide as the last place and all of the shelving in the closets are too high for me.  The grounds are nice and walkable with two doggie stations for cleanup.

Last Sunday, I returned the rental car and Ben picked me up and drove me to Shakopee to get my car. It wouldn’t start, so we had to go to O’Reilly’s for jumper cables (not a bad thing to carry in the car) and got it started. All is well with my Zippy little RAV4.

I picked up the U-haul truck next door to the storage unit and Dustin and his helper met me there on Monday morning and committed to having the move completed in 2-hours. They had the truck loaded in half an hour, the drive to St Paul took half and hour, and they had everything moved in within an hour. Way to go, Dustin! The sad thing is that he knows me and my stuff pretty well after moving me for the fourth time.

I met with the manager, Lisa, to go over the lease and sign a few papers that didn’t get signed previously and gave me a tour of the building.

I then returned the truck and came home to start unpacking. And that is what I’ve been doing ever since.  As of last night, there are 3 boxes to empty in the kitchen (fancy dishes and stuff), 2 bins in the bedroom, and pictures to hang. All is well.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday, November 29, 2020

I picked up a rental car on Monday, a Dodge Caravan (cost less than an economy car) and loaded it up with my stuff.  Connie stopped by for a short visit and it is always so nice to see her. We had some good conversation, as usual.

It was sad to say goodbye to Tom on Tuesday morning, but I have to keep moving forward, so Frisco and I headed off to the northeast for our 1,650 mile drive. Weather predications were good and I had the trip planned out with 8-9 hour drives, stopping for the night at Santa Rosa, NM, Salina, KS, and Clear Lake, IA.  All went as planned.  On Friday morning, I stopped at my storage unit and picked up a few things that would get my by until Monday when the movers are available. I grabbed the air bed, a camp chair and stool, and a few kitchen items and then headed to Ben’s house to get the keys to the apartment.  It was such a joy to see the girls come running out of the house to greet me - all masked up and full of air hugs.

I got to my new place and had some trouble with the key fobs, but helpful folks showed me how to properly use them and I got access to my new apartment. It is bright and all of the appliances are shiny and new. I proceeded to unload the stuff from my car and to get settled with my temporary furnishings. 

I got up bright and early yesterday morning and headed to the grocery store during senior hours to stock up on food. I plan to order my groceries for pickup in the future, hoping that if I stay away from public places, I may get to spend some time with the family at Christmas time. We shall see how that works out.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday, November 23, 2020

An exciting event of last week was watching the International Space Station go by, and we would have missed it if we hadn’t walked past a guy who was filming it.

Frisco did a strange thing last night. He has been waking me during the night to go out and pee. Last night I felt him nudge the mattress and I reached down to check on him and realized he was on the bedside table (built in) next to the bed. I tried to coax him down, but he came up on the bed and curled up where I sleep and I petted him and cuddled with him. Eventually, he got down and I took him outside. The strange thing about this is that he rarely gets on the furniture any more, especially the bed. There isn’t room for him to make a leap and the floor is slippery, but he made it onto the bedside table without me hearing him do it. I had the sad thought that he wanted to be close to me because he was dying.

I’m sad to say that the Tom and Rose roller coaster ride has come to an end once again. Three strikes and it’s over. We are great as friends but not as a couple. My mistake - I just kept thinking it could possibly work. The main reason is that there is not enough love between us - we are just going through the daily motions together, but apart. It is not a good situation as neither of us care enough to make the effort to make it work and it doesn’t come naturally.  

I am completely aware that it is not a good time to be traveling but I’ve decided to proceed with caution and head back to MN.  I have a car reserved and will head out tomorrow and should arrive in St Paul on Friday and will go straight to my new apartment in West St Paul - a brand new building, just finished construction and it was the first one I saw when I did my search, the stars must have been aligned and I believe it is the right thing to do.  

Tom and I don’t fight light cats and dogs and I could stay here but AZ is not the best place to be during the pandemic since the Governor has not even mandated masks in the state and there is no mandate in the county that I am in-the attitude is much like Trump (who needs a mask, it’s going to disappear) as the majority are loyal followers. It is hit or miss wherever you go. Hospitals do have room for patients though.

As far as the traveling, it isn’t a great choice right now but I will avoid situations that will put me at risk as much as possible.  I will just get there and get settled as quickly as possible, then quarantine for as long as is necessary. I tolerated the winter ok last year just fine and have to resolve to do so again.

So off I go again. Happy Thanksgiving (I will be on the road that day).

Love to you all,


Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday, November 16, 2020

Well, I really have nothing to write about the last week, but maybe if I start typing, something will come to mind. How about the weather - it has been beautiful. We even got a bit of rain one night - enough that there were puddles of water in the street. It has a way of cleaning the air and making everything smell fresh again.  Temps have gone from lows in the 50s early in the week to 80 degrees yesterday and we took advantage of the cool by taking long walks and of the warmth by visiting the pool.

Our neighbor, Harriet, is a solo RVer who arrived here a few days after we did. She is here for two months while she goes through breast cancer treatment at MD Anderson hospital, and her friends are here to help her through the journey.  She had a double mastectomy a week ago and appears to be doing quite well in her recovery - slowly but surely she is healing and feeling better. I feel that she is in good hands and hope the best for her. She’s a brave lady and has lots of interesting stories to tell about her life and travels.

Once again, the COVID-19 cases in our country are skyrocketing and many states are starting to mandate shutdowns, some with curfews at night and most with very strict limits on numbers of people allowed indoors.  The news media is discouraging people from large gatherings for 
Thanksgiving and asking folks to stay at home. I learned that my granddaughters will be starting remote learning again today.

The political news is all about Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election and he has not yet conceded to President-elect Joe Biden and is refusing to allow access to information that will help with the transition. He has encouraged people to rally and held a Million MAGA March in Washington DC on Saturday, where less than 10,000 people showed up and, of course, few wearing masks or distancing. Along with that, there were several “Stop The Steal” rallies held in towns throughout the country. They refuse to give up, although he clearly lost the election and all of the lawsuits that he has filed have shown that there was no election fraud. He is such a bully.

This was taken on one of our walks this week - a spot where we had a clear view 
of the Superstition Mountains.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veteran’s Day - Thanks to all who have served our Country!

Tom and I decided to take a road trip yesterday, so after breakfast and dog walks, we headed up the hill toward Payton.  It was so sad to see the acres and acres of damage from forest fires - much of the 50 miles was covered with burned trees, shrubs and the stately Saguaro cactus. 

We found snow in the ground as we got closer to Young Road where Tom wanted to explore some campsites in the Sitgreaves National Forest for future reference.  One of the roads that we took came to an end when we met up with a logging crew and a downed tree.  We stopped close to the rim and checked out the views.  That wasn’t the road that we were looking for, so headed back in the direction we had come and tried another. Forest road 171 was just what we were looking for - campsites were marked all along the road and it ended up at a Ranger and Visitors Center.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Monday, November 9, 2020

Last week, after Election Day on Tuesday, we anxiously awaited the final ballot counts until it was announced that Joe Biden was elected on Saturday. There are still a few states that haven’t completed the ballot count, but he has won both the popular and electoral college votes. Of course, Donald Trump will not concede and has filed lawsuit after lawsuit alleging voter fraud. He also is blocking Joe Biden from using the means that should be available to him for the transition. I only hope that at some point this country can come together and work toward a United country that respects all people with from all walks of life - not only the privileged few. I am so sick and tired of the Trump administration’s nastiness and lack of cooperation on anything that doesn’t benefit them personally. They are supposed to be working for all of the citizens of America and to protect the natural resources that we have available to us.

We haven’t done much other than frequent walks and visits to the pool on every afternoon that we could. The weather has gone from 90s last week to low 60s this week and we’ve gone from running the AC to running a small heater.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Sunday, November 1, 2020

I guess I’m on a weekly writing routine. There were actually two highlights this week - I met up with Connie last Monday at Gilbert Riparian and we walked and talked for two and a half hours. It was so good to see her again - I sure miss our road trips, local adventures, and friendship, but we caught up on the last couple of years. It was great!

Tom bought a shed from Millie this week. We had looked at several that were for sale and there was a lot of shed activity going on in this park this week. We were offered one that sat next door to us in site 50 ($50) but it was old and rough and would need some paint and repairs, so the offer was turned down and management hauled it away. Then the wheeling and dealing started when we learned that Willie and Ed were buying Mike and Dallas’s 8x10 ($700-complete with AC) so their 8x8 would be for sale ($200). Millie bought Willie and Ed’s, so her 6x8 came up for sale and we bought it for $100. 

Tom enlisted Bruce to help him get it to our site and the process was pretty cool.  The required tools were concrete blocks, a long pry bar, and an old single bed frame with heavy duty wheels, a rope for pulling, and a golf cart. One guy makes a fulcrum and pries the base of the shed to raise it and the other guy places concrete blocks under the corners until it is high enough to get the bed frame underneath. Then, the corners are raised to remove the concrete blocks so the shed sits on the bed frame. The rope is attached to the golf cart and it is rolled to its next home and the process is repeated. It only took an hour until it was positioned and 

The Halloween Street Dance that was scheduled for Saturday night was canceled because there weren’t enough people who signed up. They were hoping to have a distanced event but people are still being cautious. This Halloween was also a Blue Moon and the end of daylight savings time. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Saturday, October 24, 2020

I spent 2.5 hours on the phone yesterday, comparing Medicare Advantage plans. It’s not like I was on hold a lot but the process took a long time. They go through the entire process with you, even though I had already done the comparisons and had decided on two options. After the selection process, you are transferred to an enrollment specialist and that took a long time to get through.  But it is done and I don’t have to do it again until next year if I decide to make a change. I am saving $30/month.

We haven’t done much this week other than hanging out here at the park, some chores, and the pool.

We have made some friends here in the park - Dan and Gail from North Dakota who live in one of the Villas behind us. We have had conversations while walking in the evening and ended up sitting on their patio talking into the night last night. It turns out that we are in a sea of Trump lovers and they feel the same as we do that the Dems can turn things around in November.

Gail told me about a shed that might be for sale, so we walked by Millie’s lot and talked with her and we claimed first dibs on her shed - a 6-8 for $100. The park manager has a single bed frame that has wheels mounted on it that is used for moving them.  After prying each corner with a steel bar to raise it and putting blocks under to get it above the frame, it is pushed onto the frame and rolled to wherever it needs to go and the process if reversed when it gets to its destination. We watched the operation and he and the work camper moved one that was next to us - it worked pretty slick. It will probably happen next week some time. It will be nice to get some of our excess stuff stored in there and will seem like we have so much more space in the trailer.

We ended up washing the trailer this afternoon after Tom borrowed a ladder and checked out the roof and learned that it was covered in a layer of dust - imagine that. Since he had the hose set up, I decided to wipe down the sides - he did the upper part that I couldn’t reach. It sure smells a lot cleaner.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Today is a sad day. My longtime friend and classmate, Susan, from Stoughton lost her husband, Dean today. They had been married for 52 years. I was shocked by the news this morning, although I knew that he was in serious condition and had been in the hospital the last ten days. He was hospitalized after experiencing severe back pain, then had some surgery to repair a vertebra, then was diagnosed with cancer and started having congestive heart failure.  

Susan and Dean met at Rusty’s bar in Middleton, WI the summer after our senior year of high school - the same place where Mike and I met. They have two sons. We haven’t always been close to each other distance-wise but have stayed in contact through the years and visited whenever were nearby. Class reunions are always fun. My heart is feeling heavy after this news. The photos are from the last time we were together when they visited Arizona in January of 2018.

The last week has been spent getting settled into our spot here at Shiprock. We have made it to the pool and hot tub a few times and have done quite a bit of shopping - online and in person.

Ben and his family have a new addition - Yoshi - 12 weeks old and unknown breeds, a Heinz-57.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

We were fed and loaded and checked out of our room by 9:00. Tom went down to start the truck and - nothing. We had left the plug-in cooler in the truck and it drained the battery. He hasn’t had good experiences with his roadside assistance, so I checked my policy - no roadside assistance. Of course, I just changed my policy to cover me for comprehensive only, since it is in storage. So he headed to the office to get a recommendation for someone to call and the friendly gal behind the desk said “I can do that for you”. She pulled her car next to Tom’s and a few minutes later it was a done deal and we were on the road.

An hour-and-a-half later, we pulled up to our site at Shiprock RV.  This is the route we took - we even saw a couple of wild horses in the river along Bush Highway.

Then we proceeded to set up and take inventory of all working components. Everything was working well and in good order, except for the layer of dust coating all surfaces. Fortunately, Tom and covered the couch and bed to protect them. We spent the afternoon unloading the truck, cleaning and getting organized. By dinner time, we were both too tired to do much of anything, so I ordered Chinese for delivery. With Door Dash, all went smoothly.

We did some grocery shopping today and walked out of Walmart with a $200 bill, quite a bit was beer, wine, booze and groceries. Leftover Chinese was out dinner and we are now sitting out on the patio watching the reflection of the sunset on the Superstition Mountains. What a view - we will enjoy it until some rigs move in there and block our nice view.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday, October 11, 2020

I was awake at 6:30, got ready for the day, took Frisco for a walk, and Tom was up when I came back in. That led to us being on the road by 9am.  Today’s route started with beautiful views as we drove through Wildcat Canyon just south of Durango but the landscape leveled out as we went through a lot of Native American land in the Navajo and Zuni Pueblo’s. 

As we approached our destination of Payson, traffic picked up and we were bumper to bumper moving slowly for close to three miles - there was no construction or accident, only a narrowing from two lanes to one. We decided that it had to be weekend traffic heading back to the valley. When we checked into the motel, the clerk said it was like this ever Friday through Sunday.

Tomorrow, we get back to Apache Junction and see how the trailer stood up through the summer heat. Fingers crossed that all is well.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Saturday, October 10, 2020

We had breakfast, went for a short walk and packed up the car and headed for Durango. I had made a reservation for two nights but we are having second thoughts about that. This is the route we took. Although the distance was only 171 miles, it took us over five hours, as we reached the summit of at least four mountain peaks (Coalbank Pass, Molas Pass and Red Mountain Pass) along the way, stopped to explore a bit and at a couple of scenic overlooks.

The stretch of road between Ouray and Durango is called the Million Dollar Highway and is considered the most beautiful drive in the US, although it is quite treacherous in some areas. The uphills and downhills are steep, the are pullouts everywhere with access to trails, some curves have no guardrails day at places the road is quite narrow.  Tom did an excellent job of maneuvering the road and got us to our destination in time.

Yes, the dots are bugs on the windshield.

We arrived at the Caboose Motel and both had regrets almost immediately.  We were told our room wouldn’t be ready until 3:00 because the the disinfectant had to dry before it could be occupied.  So we drove around the town a bit and returned about 3:15.  The lady got a bit huffy with me and said the cleaning staff wouldn’t be done until 4:00, so we wandered around and then sat in a little fenced are of the property until she came out and told us to take a different room that was complete.  It is OLD and DATED, has few electric outlets, but it is clean and it’s only for one night.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday, October 8, 2020

We were so glad to observe people following CDC guidelines and to learn that this town has had only one new case in the last three weeks. Everyone is wearing masks. 

Our motel has a hot breakfast but their safe way of handling is that you call the front desk, place your order, and they box it up - you pick up in the lobby.  Although it was pre-prepared, it was tasty.

After breakfast, we took Frisco to the dog park (a couple of blocks from our motel) to romp around - his idea of rolling around is strolling with his head down, catching all of the different scents.  We then took a drive to explore the Gunnison River Canyon and Curicanti National Recreation Area and stopped at a couple of places along the way to walk the trails along the river. Again, Frisco got to dip his toes and tummy and slurp the cold, fast moving water.

The Gunnison River

                                                                           A cool sculpture along the river trail.

After taking short naps, we decided to explore a little more of Gunnison, so we headed to Hartman Rocks on County 38, then off on a gravel road and found it to be endless zigzagging trails through the hills and rocks, open to hikers, bikers, campers, cross country skiing in winter, and ATVs and Jeeps.  We went back to the county road and headed south again until it turned to gravel, then turned around and headed back to town. Along the way, I spotted this cloud in the sky and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The cloud is a lenticular (cap) cloud that indicates there is a strong wind flow down the slope on the side of the mountain without wind.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

We packed up and cleaned up the motor home, had breakfast, thanked our host and hostess for their wonderful hospitality, and said our goodbyes - until we meet again. 

This is the route we took to get to Gunnison although we made a few stops along the way. The drive through several canyons; Royal Gorge, Texas Creek, Monarch, and up to the summit of Monarch Mountain.  The golden yellow clumps of Aspens and the rippling water along the roadsides were gorgeous, although my photos don’t really do it justice.

Royal Gorge ($25, so we didn’t go to the bridge)


The Arkansas River, Frisco got to wet his feet and slurp up some cold, cold water.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Happy 7th Birthday to my sweet granddaughters Camille and Norah and 70th to Joyce.  This was what I saw on my first walk of the morning, about 7am. The dark line under the sun is smoke from forest fires, although there are none on the eastern plains.

For Joyce’s Birthday, we headed west on US24 to hike the trails of Grouse Mountain at Mueller State Park.  The trail took us uphill for about half a mile and we were all feeling the breathing changes at that elevation, all except Burrall who is a local boy and grew up in the mountains.  The best thing about going uphill is going back down.

Burrall made Hemingway Daquiri’s for all of us, followed by a yummy dinner of steak, potato, mushrooms, and bread to celebrate Joyce’s birthday.  She wore the t-shirt that her mother wore on her 70th birthday, it was signed by family and friends.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Joyce had some errands to run this morning, so Tom and I walked around the neighborhood. When she got back home we headed to Homestead Ranch Park at the edge of Black Forest with rolling tree-covered bluffs and a spring-fed pond. We walked and the dogs explored and it was a beautiful day.

Burrell cooked chicken wings and legs for dinner and Joyce made a yummy macaroni salad and we watched Cowboys and Aliens.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Monday, October 5, 2020

Tom, Joyce, and I went to the Calhan Paint Mines today and explored another of America’s beautiful wonders.  The park consists of 4 miles of trails that rise over 500 feet in elevation. It covers 750 acres, containing grassland and geological formations of hoodoos, colored clay and sandstone-capped spires. The site is protected by law because of the fragile environment, as well as the geological and archaeological significance of the artifacts, rocks, animals and plants.

We are here to celebrate Joyce’s 70th birthday with her and had considered going to a nice, Italian restaurant for dinner but the latest CDC reports suggesting that we avoid indoor environments with others due to the high rate of  COVID airborne transmissions, we reconsidered and had dinner at home again.  I made spicy baked shrimp for dinner, Joyce added a salad and cheesy broccoli, potatoes, and cauliflower.  Yummy stuff.