More progress!

After our annual bus rally in Quartzsite, LeRoy got busy attaching skirting to the house. One more hoop to jump through, this time to satisfy insurance underwriters.

We just got back from dinner with Eagle friends from Missouri. I’ll write more about the Eagles later when I have more time.

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Our contractor is back and busy! Today, the heat pump was installed and tested. It works!! With one hiccup (the heat registers and air returns were hooked up backwards) it seems to do what we want it do, when we want it. That was a biggie, since we had no guarantee that the unit that came would work. We found out that it was not originally installed on this house, but has now been adapted to fit.

LeRoy spent the day getting ready to put the awning over the concrete patio on the west side of our house. Our contractor helped him with instructions, so it should go together fairly smoothly once the posts have been stood up.

On another front, we are back in the RV business. We found an older Fleetwood Flair for sale and brought it home, so we now have a way to get to the bus rally in Quartzsite this week. Bus rally, you ask? You’re right, we don’t have a bus any more, but LeRoy is still president of Eagles International until they replace him. We had planned to drive the car up and stay with friends from New Mexico who have guest space, but as it turns out, they aren’t going to be able to attend, so it’s a good thing we have our own bed!

Inside, we have work to do. First to go was a huge console which, though it furnished cupholders, made getting into the driver or passenger seat very difficult.

Next to go was the fuzzy brown seat upholstery.

We’ll get pictures as we move along. For all of you who thought you couldn’t possibly live in a 40 foot bus, we’re downsizing to 25 feet for summer. At least we usually spend more time outside in Colorado, so maybe we won’t get under each other’s feet too much! The kitchen makes me think of the little Allegro motorhome Florence Marie stayed in several winters in Tucson. It is tiny but functional. We’ll adjust to being RVers, having an RV refrigerator, using 12 volt lights, etc. I’ve already told LeRoy that those new projects have to wait until our house project is completed! How well do you think that will go?

Wednesday we’re headed to Quartzsite. Friends, shopping and the Big Tent await!

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There’s something special about an Eagle bus conversion. Have you noticed that most Eagle conversions have names? That’s because there is a little bit of the owner/converter in each one that makes it unique.

This bus, Dragonfly, is well known in bus circles. Bob and Karen Ward were the first bus owners I knew.

Bob is a great storyteller and we have heard their stories of the conversion and the cross-country trips they had made, as well as the new friends they had made along the way. They have enjoyed and shared hospitality in Dragonfly for lots of years, but for all of us, there comes a time when the maintenance and driving is too much and it’s time to pass it on so another owner can love it and make it their own. It’s that time for Wards.

As a result, Dragonfly is for sale! She is unique and beautiful. Bob and Karen have asked us to offer it for sale on their behalf. A listing of what is offered follows, as well as pictures.

1988 Silver Eagle Model 15

  • Converted in about 2000
  • Roof raised 10″
  • Stripped to the frame and all tubing below the floor replaced
  • All new aluminum siding
  • Driver area raised to main floor level
  • Mid-entry door w/sandblasted eagle on a factory window as inside railing
  • Small open “attic” for ducting and wiring
  • Basement air and heat by RV Products (old Coleman Company)
  • School bus heater under the dash
  • Aluminum wheels, 11R24.5 tires
  • 6V92 and Allison 740 This is the third engine in the bus, est. at 300,000 miles
  • Bigfoot levelers
  • 20 gallon house electric water heater
  • Cafe’ bay doors
  • Electric wipers
  • Wrico 10K diesel generator
  • Stainless steel tanks, 75 gallon fresh water, 100 gallon black water tank
  • 2 30# propane bottles for stove and dryer


  • All around custom solid maple cabinets and woodwork
  • Sliding dual pane tinted windows with screens
  • Roman shades with valances
  • Couch and swiveling captain’s chair/copilot chair
  • Living room flat screen TV
  • 12V halogen lighting throughout
  • Motorized inside screens on windshield
  • Galley has:
  • 16 cu. ft. Frigidaire house refrigerator
  • Kitchenaid 1100 watt microwave/convection oven
  • Stainless steel corner sink
  • Side bathroom with china toilet
  • Full size house shower Neo Angle shower away from bathroom
  • Stacked Maytag washer/gas dryer
  • PEX plumbing
  • Rear closet
  • House fixtures throughout coach
  • Fantastic Fan, new switch in bus ready for installation
  • Queen Murphy bed to give more floor space when up
  • Spray foam insulation
  • Trace 1224 modified sine wave inverter
  • The bus


This bus comes with a Tracker 4×4, painted to match which has been the tow’d, at a low $35,000. It is in Wichita, KS, but please contact LeRoy Willis (316-708-1973) or Anne Willis (316-708-1987) for more information. We are currently in Yuma, AZ but will be handling this transaction and can arrange for serious buyers to see it.


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Water your cactus!

If you have a problem raising cacti and other succulents because you overwater them, the key is to watch the weather in Phoenix or Yuma. If it’s raining there, it’s okay to water your cactus! Yesterday afternoon and overnight, we’ve had rain and this morning we even had fog, a really rare occurrence here. Earlier in the week, Tucson had measurable snow two days in a row, but fortunately we escaped that. The pictures were pretty, though. We’ve been whining about the cold for the last week or so, but the forecast for this coming week is for warmer temperatures and sunshine again. Not enough that we’ll put away the fleece jackets in the mornings and evenings, but warmer all the same.

With all the projects that need to be done on our property and new house, we aren’t doing many exciting things now that the holidays are over. We’ve even slowed down the visits to Lowe’s and Home Depot! Yesterday LeRoy was on the roof removing the old ridge cap and replacing it, but I think he’s done with the ladder for the time being. Tomorrow, the Lord willing, we will paint the two sets of steps for the house. We have guests coming in soon and we don’t want to be painting with their gorgeous coach across the yard if we can help it.

One thing never ceases to bring a smile to my face: seeing a grandchild’s handwriting on an envelope in our mailbox. Our oldest granddaughter Jordan was on our phone plan until she was married and she faithfully wrote a note each month when she sent her phone money. While I appreciate texts and calls to say thanks for gifts we send, there’s just nothing like a thank you note that I can keep. This week, we got our first one from Rae, our great-granddaughter (by way of her mama)! Jordan is starting her out right! Isn’t she growing? She was 8 months old on Christmas and when you consider how tiny she was when she was born, she’s a big girl now!

My sister Mary Jo starts chemo this week for a recurrence of lymphoma. I’d appreciate prayers for her and for her husband Ray as he will be having hip replacement surgery this month, too. Florence Marie, the sister who used to winter with us in Tucson, is slowly gaining ground from surgery in October. I know she’d appreciate your prayers, too. For that matter, we all need the practice, anyway, and there are lots of people who need our prayers!

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2018 = Change

Change defined. Verb: 1. make or become different

Noun: 1. the act or instance of making or becoming different

In the Willis household, 2018 has been a year of change. Actually, it started when, instead of wintering in Tucson, we bought property in Yuma in the fall of 2017 and went there for the winter. It took some adjusting but we have wonderful neighbors and friends here now.

Exactly a year ago on Christmas eve, we learned that we were going to become great-grandparents, in late summer, we thought. God’s plans were different, though. Tiny Rachel Leigh Compton (Rae) came into the world on April 25 at 26 weeks gestation and our lives changed. Her fighting weight was 1 pound 5 ounces and I do mean fighting! She was overbreathing the machine within a week and consistently gained weight. By early August, after more than 100 days in the hospital, she came home. Change again! She’s a big girl now and we couldn’t be prouder.

In May, Ben and Bailey, Heidi’s twins, graduated from high school and became freshmen at Friends University in the fall. Talk about change! Jadelyn is suddenly the only child at home!

We learned that son Robert has been promoted to 1Sgt in the Army and he and Shelly will be transferred to Hawaii this summer. Congratulations, Robert! We’ve never been to Hawaii. Looks like we’ll change that, too! This photo also includes our one and only Georgia grandchild Avery and Avery’s partner Taylor.

LeRoy’s cousin Raymond passed away in October, ending his battle with COPD and then esophageal cancer. Another change for us. We’d been stopping to see him in New Mexico since we started traveling in 2010.

After 8 years living in Liberty, we began to realize that driving and maintaining this 1967 Silver Eagle was a bigger job than LeRoy needed, especially with an anxious navigator, so we decided to try to sell our bus. Other Eagles had been taking years to sell, so we thought we had plenty of time to make decisions. We put the listing online October 15 and on October 30, Liberty left the driveway at the Landing for the last time, this time with new owners. Bam! Change happened!

One U-Haul trailer later, we arrived in Yuma and started looking for a park model to put on our property. This picture was taken before it was moved here. Sometime after the first of the year, we’ll officially be moved in. What a change to put things away and know that we won’t be taking the house with us in the spring!

Because we won’t be taking it with us, this means more changes for our spring and summers. We will have to have other living accommodations for those parts of the year. Those changes remain to be discovered. Stay tuned!

One thing that has not changed through all this is our loving God. We celebrate our savior’s birth today and we are so thankful for his provision and care. In all this change and others to come, He remains true and faithful.

Best wishes for 2019!

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Merry Christmas to your house from OURS!

Merry Christmas indeed! We’ve been busy since the 10th, first cleaning and then moving things. Technically, we haven’t moved in yet, since we have to wait for an occupancy permit, which will be after Christmas sometime. However, the mattress is on the bed frame and if we happen to fall asleep after working…well, maybe a long nap.

The house arrived just about sundown on Monday, December 10 and we were waiting with bells on!

house coming in

Lots of our friends have called it a tiny house, but there really is a difference. Most but not all tiny houses are made to be movable, but ours is by definition a park model which has to be less than 400 sq. ft. It is made by RV standards but is 12′ wide and 34′ long, so not movable except with a special permit. By residential standards it is tiny, so I guess it’s mostly semantics. We just call it our house.

While the paint and flooring inside were new, everything else showed years of wear and tear. All the cabinet doors and drawer pulls were brass, so we took them off and LeRoy spray painted them satin nickel to match the accessories we bought, like towel bars and toilet paper holder.

This past week, the contractor’s crew began work and got us mostly set up. Like a mobile home, it has to have earth anchors and tie downs. That part is done and we are plumbed into water and sewer. Temporarily we have electrical power from the RV plug in on this side of the lot, but that will change next week or whenever the contractor gets back to do it. Holidays have wreaked havoc with scheduling, as far as we are concerned!

Anyway, I thought I’d give you a house tour, beginning with the living room complete with LeRoy in his recliner.


The Christmas tree and other decorations went up Friday, so I feel like it really is almost Christmas. Those gold papier mache angels have been around since the second Christmas we were married. We were so broke that we had to save for quite a while to buy them on an Army private’s salary and we treasure them. That’s our new drop leaf table beneath them.

Christmas 1

Christmas 2

I guess I didn’t get a good picture of the glass cabinet doors above this serving bar. One thing we have in abundance is glass, windows, cabinet doors and mirrors. There’s even a mirror above the china cabinet just below the vaulted ceiling.

The kitchen is still just partially functional. We have a gas stove and no gas connection, so I can’t do any Christmas baking. I do have a window above my sink and I enjoy that since we still wash dishes by hand.

Directly across from the sink is the feature I prayed for, and God gave me: a pantry with pull out shelves! It came with four slides and only two shelves, so we have a friend building the rest.

In the meantime, the pantry contents are still in tubs on the floor or in the side of the pantry where the shelves don’t pull out.

I love having so much storage! There is a drawer under the pantry that is big enough for my crockpot, in addition to all the cabinets and pantry storage. I still have empty spaces, but I’m sure I’ll be able to fill them!

Even the bathroom has good storage, and a good sized linen closet in the hall. There’s a skylight and two small windows above the shower.

Continue the theme of mirrors when we go into the bedroom. Our bed sits in front of a large window.

Closets on both sides of the built in drawers. We use the drawers below the closet for shoes.

Beside my side of the bed is another large closet with built in drawers and a rod high enough to hang dresses! It’s mostly empty, so I guess I’ll have to go shopping!

So welcome to our home and Merry Christmas to all!




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Tomorrow, tomorrow

I love ya, tomorrow! You’re only a day away! And so, we are hopeful, is our new-to-us park model! We have photos of a finished floor and supposedly that was the only thing holding us up. I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings!

We lost a dear friend this week. Paula and Max Reser had been our co-hosts at the Golden Bell RV park the last three summers and had become good friends, in addition to coworkers.

max and paulaThe first summers, they had two dachshunds, Bluebell and Redman and if she wasn’t working, one or the other of the dogs was with her. Last year, Bluebell was gone and they had added a cat, Gotcha. (Redman left them just after they visited us in Kansas in September.) This picture captured her  love for those babies exactly.


Paula, no bigger than a minute, could accomplish more in a day or a week than any two of the college age summer staffers. We worked well together, whether it was doing RV park registrations, cleaning bathrooms or making beds at the lodge. We made a pretty good team. But when it came to painting, Paula was the star! Her handiwork was seen all over the camp. Everywhere she went, she moved in a hurry and almost always in flip flops. I think someone(s) persuaded her to wear walking shoes to climb the Manitou Incline, but she was sure she could have done it without. In November, she got her first diagnosis of esophageal cancer that had spread to her liver and lungs. Just after Thanksgiving, she was told by her doctors that her liver was so full of tumors that chemo would be detrimental to her. She was moved to Hospice care on Wednesday and about midnight on Thursday night, Max called to say that she was gone. As he so aptly stated, she beat cancer and gained glory. See you in heaven, my sweet friend. Your smile was joy personified!

Paula at beach



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