Saturday, March 28, 2009

Europe countdown 1 1/2 days and counting, March 28, 2009

It is hard to believe we are this close to leaving. We are basically packed, need to go over our check list and confirm all is in. I was able to get my new camera, Canon SD1200IS, showed it was available to order last Tues, prior to that it was on a pr-order status. I ordered it with 2-day delivery, so on Thursday it came and I have been getting used to it. So far I love it!

I am also doing this post on our Asus eee pc, the tiny one, as a test to make sure I can post using the condensed version of hardware.

We move the coach into the storage area tomorrow, but can still stay in it, then at 9:15 on Mon morning Supershuttle van service will be here to pick us up and take us to the Phoenix AP. Then it is up up and away.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

April brings Birthdays!!

I am posting my Happy Birthday wishes early as when the actual dates in April come, we will be on the Clipper, (Midi Canal in France) with our friends, John and Judy, and internet access is uncertain.

Our beautiful granddaughter, Lindsey, will be turning 11.  Lindsey is in 5th grade and not only is she an excellent and motivated student but also a star at being a softball catcher and is in training to become a pitcher.  Way to go Girl!!   We Love You!!Lindsey 3-2009The next two April birthdays are celebrated on the same day-income tax day.  Our kids, Megan and Richard.

Megan BD

Meg keeps busy working full time and being a Mom to Zach.  She has the biggest smile ever and a wonderful heart to match.  She has been working at Home Depot several years now and is one of their top performing cashiers.

We Love you Megan!


rich bd

Her twin brother Rich is doing great. We are so proud of him as he is participating in an outpatient alcohol treatment program through Kaiser.   He is also able to work as a computer programmer during this program. 

We Love you Rich!

In this special moment in life…Celebrate and Bless these Lives!

Monday, March 23, 2009

One week from today, March 23, 2009

We have been at the RV park in Apache Junction a week today and one week from today we leave for Europe.  We have reservations with SuperShuttle (your door to airport  van service) to pick us up at 9 am, our flight leaves at 12:30 pm. 

Last week we had a few hot days where we ran our AC in the afternoon, but yesterday a dry cold front came through and the high temps are forecast not to reach 70 degrees.

I have been tying up loose ends before we leave, the bank and credit card companies have been called alerting them what countries we will be in so they won’t think our credit cards are being used fraudulently when we use them in Europe.  I have been looking for another pair of shoes, but haven’t found what I am looking for, both in style and fit (I have very sensitive feet-the shoe has to fit when I first try it on or it is a no go).

In general we have been relaxing, doing some reading.  Bob makes the best strawberry margaritas, so for our Happy Hour we enjoy them, they are good!!

IMG_8230 I  needed a haircut, found a place close to here called Cost Cutters,  here is what it looks like.


I had Bob take photos of all sides so I can take those pictures along whenever I get it cut in the future.  It looks like my next haircut will be in Europe…so I am taking those photos along so I can show them what I want, sure won’t be able to tell them since I don’t speak their language.

We have also been reading up on Europe.  This week we will be tearing up these books, taking only the sections of where we will be going.  Then when you see the area we just throw the literature away.  When you pack everything into a carry on backpack, you try to minimize weight and space.


I am going to try to post while we are in Europe.  Bob is hoping to post to the website as well, time will tell.


In this special moment in life…Believe in yourself

Monday, March 16, 2009

Travel day to Apache Junction, March 16, 2009

IMG_8186Well, guess who drove from Gila Bend to Apache Junction?    Bob did, he has recovered from his vertigo!  We think it was a virus.  He has been taking some cold medicine  (Neo Citran) we purchased last year in Europe and it seems to be doing the trick.

We only had to drive 120 miles today and we had driven it before so we knew the way,  our GPS kept trying to take us another way, but we won, we went our way!!

IMG_8184This morning in Gila Bend we purchased diesel for the coach, finally diesel is cheaper than gas! 



This is the first time since we have been on the road in three years that we have seen this sign on a fuel pump.  We always go inside to leave our credit card so it won’t shut off after the $75.00 limit,  we thought this sign was very considerate.  This was on the pump at Holt’s Shell and RV park (Passport America-2 nights $21.00), this is where we stay in Gila Bend.








IMG_8187We drove by miles and miles of feed lots and dairy’s on Rt 84 which parallels I-8, west of Casa Grande.  It would be hard to estimate the number of cattle we saw, but could be in the 20,000 – 30,000 number.  Then we came upon this truck, what do you think it held?   Manure, by  product from all the cattle.



We also drove by some hay fields, look at GREEN hay, just wanted to stop and smell, but we were on the move.


In this special moment in life…Make time for yourself

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Mar 11-13

We really enjoyed our time at this park. Even though we had no hookups our solar panels kept us charged. We watched no TV as it is real energy glutton. Two evenings I went to the ranger program and also enjoyed reading-finished up the book, The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers. We took a couple of hikes, one was on our own and the other one was a park volunteer led 4+ mile walk to the Victoria Mine site.

My favorite desert plant is the ocotillo, this one is almost in full bloom, very stunning against the brown and slight green desert backdrop.

IMG_8145One of our hikes took us up above the campground, we are right in the center.


The other hike was with a park volunteer to the Victoria Mine site. There were quite a few on this hike, but the day was getting warmer and we had to hike back over 2 miles. We left before the group did and was back to the coach by 1:00 pm-we were tired, not real sure why, walking 4+ miles shouldn’t have done it, but I do think all the standing around was a factor.

IMG_8164 This is the only structure still standing at the mine. You can not see it in this photo, but there was a bathtub inside to the left of the door. I understand they had their water hauled in, so a bathtub was a luxury for sure.

IMG_8163 We were told these majestic saguaro cactus can get up to 40’ tall. If you were to take a foot cross section out and weight it, it would weigh between 90 & 100 pounds. The first arms can appear around the age of 75 years.IMG_8157 Thought I would show you a contrast, below is a tiny fishhook barrel cactus, I believe the red is the fruit, just did not look like a bloom coming.


Below is me looking like I am touching a chain of a chain-fruit Cholla . Everything in the desert has thorns!

On one of our hikes Bob almost stumbled face first into a saguaro, he was lucky and caught himself before contact was made. I told him I hoped he wouldn’t have minded as I was going to have to take a photo first before I helped his gain his freedom from the thorns. Not so sure he was laughing even at the thought of what could have happened. I was just picturing it in my mind.


Thought you would like to see what a saguaro looks like close up. This one is a little browned, they say the infrequent frosts and cold weather can cause this condition.

We headed out of the park on Saturday morning to head up the road about 85 miles to Gila Bend to spend a few days before heading to the Phoenix area. I drove as Bob was not feeling the best, let’s hope for a fast recovery.

In this special moment in life…trust life

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back to the States, March 11, 2009


Today was the day we were leaving Playa Bonita RV Park in Puerto Penasco, but before we left we went to the fish market and bought some shrimp 3#, scallops 2# and fish 1#.  We left the park at 11 am and arrived at the border by 12:45 pm.  We waited about 15 minutes in line to go through the border check. 

They had the 12’ wide RV and truck lane #3 closed, go figure, but the 10’10” #2 and the 10’8” #1 lane were open.   So we chose the wider lane #2 and we made it, but barely, our mirrors had inches to spare.  Bob joked with the agent, “Was that a driving test to reenter the USA,” the agent even laughed.  Once we got through the yellow markers, we were done in less than one minute.



We stopped at Lukeville’s one small strip mall and  bought a few food basics – eggs, milk, and produce.  We then drove the 5 miles to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to spend a few days.

Another sunset another view, they are all so beautiful.  This was taken outside our front door standing on the steps.


In this special moment in life…celebrate life (this is for Rich)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Collage with Picasa, March 8, 2009

I have been learning the program Picasa for us to use while in Europe to easily resize photos. Here is a collage I made in a matter of a few seconds--amazing!

Work, Food and Sunsets, March 8, 2009

Time for some wood working today. The cabinet door in front of our sink is looking like it needs some refinishing. We hang our hand towel there also, so I expect the moisture from the towel doesn’t help either.

IMG_8025 You can see some of the areas that are lighter. So I took off the door, removed the handle, cleaned and sanded the front of the door. Then I sprayed on three coats of semi gloss Deft. You can see the towel blowing as it was windy that day, but a great drying day for the door.

IMG_8028 The door is now back up where it should be and looks great, now someday…I want to do all the doors. (Am I crazy or not)

IMG_8029 They say a picture is worth a thousand words…but this picture cannot tell you how these steaming HOT off the griddle tortillas smell or taste or can you feel their texture. Take my word for it—they are delicious!! Cost: $1.41/doz. (20 pesos). While we have been here we generally try to use pesos to pay for items as the lady selling these first said $2.00 (US) and then I asked her how many pesos and she told me 20. So we paid her in pesos. $1.41 v $2.00.

Below is a photo of wonderful homemade tamales. This lady sells them in the RV park by just walking around and asking people if they want some. The park only allows approved vendors to market their food and/or shrimp in the park. Earlier we bought some chili rellenos and tortillas from her. These scrumptious tamales were shredded beef. I also got a big hug from her.

IMG_8070 IMG_8066

It was cookie baking time. I was trying to use up some of our frozen food and these chocolate chip/dried cherries cookies have some persimmon pulp in them. I only had about 1/2 cup left and that was not enough to make persimmon cookies, so I just added them to these cookies, worked great. Bob said they are probably the best cookie I have ever made, but Bob has never met a cookie he did not like!

And now for some sunset photos… Enjoy

IMG_8032 IMG_8057IMG_8072 IMG_8058 We will be leaving here on Wednesday heading slowly up to the Phoenix area to get ready to leave for Europe on March 30th. But before we leave we are getting our coach washed and waxed on Tuesday for $1.50/foot plus $6.00 for the roof.

In this special moment in life…Believe in yourself.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Aqua de Jamaica & Hummers, March 2, 2009

While we shopping at the Super Ley a few days ago, I spotted these dried red flower heads.  I didn’t have a clue as to what they were and what you do with them.  When Bob looked at them and then the sign he knew they were hibiscus flowers that you make Hibiscus tea or Aqua de Jamaica (pronounced hə.ˈmaɪ.kə).


Here is Bob picking some of the dried flowers to make up some of the Jamaica.  The price in pesos is 129.90/kilo (2.2 lbs), which calculates to be about $4.15/lb, it takes a lot of dried flower heads to equal a pound.  We only purchased about 1/2 pound and have plenty of flowers to make several batches of the drink.

IMG_8005 Here Bob is getting ready to wash the dried flowers, 2 cups of flowers into 4 cups of water, simmer for 15 minutes, let cool, then strain the flowers out, then add 4 cups more of water.  Bob drinks it with no sweeter, but I like a little splenda in mine.

IMG_8008 It does make a very tasty and pretty drink.

We have entered a contest through Rick Steves to see if we can win a free trip.  Check out the link to our entry. Scroll down till you find the tour “Best of Europe in 21 Days”, you will see our name-then click there.  Joyce who is listed in the same area was also on our same tour.  She has a great entry also.

Check out the two photos of the Costa’s Hummingbird.  These beauties have been coming to our hummingbird feeder we have suction cupped to our front mirror.  He is just gorgeous!!

hummer2 hummerIn this special moment in life…trust enough to take

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