More of the same

Nothing earth shattering has been happening here this week, other than filling in all the trenches where the new water, sewer, electricity and TV cable run. We were able to back into our original site mid-week. One of our neighbors said they thought we were playing musical bus sites. This week, we’re having an open house in order to meet more of our neighbors. If you’re in the neighborhood, our Christmas open house is a come-and-go planned for Wednesday, December 13 from 4 to 6 pm.

On Friday, Richard and Patti Harper, friends from Washington state, pulled in to spend some time with us. Richard and LeRoy’s next project is checking the “new” hot tub and being sure it can run. First the electrical work and then once that is done, fix leaks that just happen when a hot tub is moved. I’m going to be pretty busy this week baking and getting ready for the open house, so I’m glad LeRoy has a helper.

Maybe next week we’ll have pictures from our gathering. We’ll also be dog-sitting for LeRoy’s cousin Brian from the 19th to the 30th. Wish us luck!

I almost forgot! Our pastor from Tucson and his wife and kids came through early in the week and we were able to spend time with them at Chik-Fil-A while the boys let off a little steam before heading on to California. We really miss them, but we are on the drive-through route so maybe will get to see them a little.

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Now you see it

hole

and now, you don’t!

no hole

Last Monday, we took Liberty back to the body shop in Algodones and let Jose and Enrique Navarro and their employees work their magic on the hole in the back that happened when the bus rolled into the corner of a porch in Colorado in June. Wednesday, they called to say that they were finished and we could come get her and bring her back. They did a great job at a great price and several days sooner than they had promised, so we were very happy.

In the meantime, LeRoy has been very busy. Any RVer knows that hookups are generally on the driver’s side of the RV.  Here on our new property, the sewer drain was on the proper side, but broken due to being driven over. Water was immediately behind the bus so you could only back in so far, and electricity was 8′ from the passenger’s side. With Liberty out of the way, LeRoy started trenching.

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While he was moving every utility we have, he also added water and sewer for the stacking washer/dryer we bought for the casita. It still needs the 220 plug moved across the garage, but the other utilities are in place. In another day or two, you won’t know anything had ever been any other way.

The first day LeRoy was busy outside, I decorated for Christmas in the casita. We plan to invite our new neighbors and our other Yuma friends over one day soon for a Christmas open house.

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LeRoy has been watching Craigslist and other local sale sites for a hot tub since we got here and he found one last week. Since we don’t have any way to move large objects, we were glad that the seller was willing to deliver. In Kansas, we have a small round two-person Softub in the barn. This one would hold our whole family, I think! It, too, needs a 220 plug in, so it will be a while. It needs some cleanup, so I’ll post a picture later.

On Friday, LeRoy decided to take a break from the task at hand and we went to look for garage sales. The very first stop we made turned out to be our last, because while the original sale wasn’t much, across the street we found a real deal and spent the rest of the day borrowing a friend’s SUV and trailer to move it home. It gives me a good vantage point for watching LeRoy work!

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Several years ago in Tucson, we met a young woman who wanted to (and eventually did) buy a bus to travel with her children. Robyn and Layne and their family live in Winterhaven, CA now and they invited us over for a campfire Friday night. It was good to see them again. LeRoy went to El Centro, CA with Layne on Saturday to where their bus is stored to see if they could get it running again so they can sell it. Thanks to helpful friends on bus sites on Facebook, they succeeded! LeRoy’s never done engine work on the bus before, so it was new to him but I never doubted that they would make it work.

We’ve been attending an Assembly of God church since we got here this year. It is a nice sized church with two services in the winter when all the winter visitors arrive. We haven’t attended anything other than the Sunday worship services so far, but it feels comfortable. There is a Farmer’s Market in their parking lot on Wednesdays and we did go to that the first week we were here.

I think my computer is going to have to go see the Geek Squad. Yesterday, it wouldn’t let me do anything at all and today I can’t see my cursor when I’m on the internet. It shows up on anything local, just not online. Fortunately it has a touch screen, so I’ve been able to get a blog done anyway.

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Thankful!

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving on Thursday and took time to count your blessings. We have so much for which to be thankful! We ate a tasty turkey dinner at Daybreakers restaurant here in Yuma. Their establishment honored active military and veterans with a free dinner that day and they didn’t skimp, either. Our meals were served on platters with turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans and cranberry sauce, topped off with pumpkin pie and whipped cream where we were stuffed already.

We’ve had company this week. Since we were busy with Raymond in late summer and early fall, we didn’t get to travel to Augusta, GA to visit our son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Shelly, so they came to see us this past week. With Shelly’s parents in Mesa, just a few hours away, they could spend time with both sets of parents and make everyone happy.

LeRoy borrowed Robert’s strength to move the deck by our bus forward. I wouldn’t have been much help, I don’t think. We went to the Arizona Market Place, like all good winter visitors, and they even found some things to take home. We took them briefly to California to see the Imperial Sand Dunes and back. Both of our kids grew up going to the Waynoka sand dunes in Oklahoma, but dune toys have changed a great deal since we were going, and so has the price of said toys! We used to camp in tents, but now there are big RVs all over the place. We shared memories of playing on the dunes and had a great time. Missed Heidi, though! She did send a good picture of Tim with her at his parents’ house for Thanksgiving.

Robert and Shelly brought us a lovely housewarming bouquet because this IS our house and it was VERY warm while they were here, upper 80s or low 90s depending on the reporting station. It’s a beautiful reminder that Christmas is coming very soon!

And in honor of their coming, I baked a pie! I haven’t baked a two-crust pie in forever but we had Kathy Knapp’s (Pie-O-Neer pie restaurant in Pie Town, NM) recipe for my favorite of their pies, the New Mexico pie. The pie is pretty much like any other apple pie except for two things: toasted pine nuts and green chiles. It isn’t hot spicy, just a touch of heat at the back of your mouth and it’s just the best. Add vanilla ice cream and it can’t be beat. The little brown bit on top is a chili-shaped piece of pie dough sprinkled in cinnamon. My little Breville toaster oven does a great job.

After breakfast this morning at Daybreakers again, Robert and Shelly were on their way to visit friends in Tucson. We hated to see them go but we had a great time with them.

Today LeRoy is getting the bus ready to move. Tomorrow morning we will take it back to Algodones, Mexico to the Navarro Brothers shop to have the hole in the back corner repaired and repainted. We’ll be spending the time it’s in the shop with Brian Reeve. He’s so gracious to let us move in when we need a place.

Be thankful, everyone!

 

 

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Paradise for the Energizer Bunny

While the Landing in Yuma may look pretty rough to some, it is paradise to my Energizer bunny. As Bob Ward told us when he was working on his bus, “If I close my eyes and put my finger on the bus, there’s something to be done right there.” That’s pretty much the way this property looks to LeRoy.

The trees on the east side had grown several feet over the fence, so LeRoy cut the offending branches. We have to get rid of them and all the yard waste later. The planting bed only had three living plants but he dug up a couple of struggling lantana plants and put them in the bed, along with ornamental grasses from other places on the property. There were four beds in the middle of the yard that had mulch in them, three square ones and one round. The mulch from those went into the bed where the flowers and grasses went. One of the square beds has been changed into a round one which will become a firepit.

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In case I didn’t mention it before, LeRoy also has packrat tendencies. The stainless steel washer tub that is now the firepit was given to us by a bus friend in the second winter we were on the road.

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It is just set in place, but I’m sure will look more finished when he’s done.

firepit

This morning, we got flu shots and went to Algodones to make an appointment at the body shop to take Liberty in to fix the hole she procured in Colorado this summer. That will be done next week, but first we get to see some of our favorite people, son and daughter-in-law Robert and Shelly. Since Shelly’s parents winter in Mesa, they’re just killing two birds with one stone and will be here Friday after spending a few days with her parents. Can’t wait!

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Welcome to Yuma, winter visitors!

Ever since we retired and began full-timing, we’ve been asked if we’re snowbirds. Since we are really perfect-weather-chasers, we accepted the Yuma terminology of winter visitors instead. All over the Yuma foothills, various businesses and churches have hung signs saying “Welcome back, winter visitors!”. We’re glad for such a friendly welcome. In Tucson, everyone grumbles about the winter visitors impeding traffic. Here, the infusion of 80,000 mostly seniors is a real boost to the economy.

 

Before we left Sedgwick, we got to help celebrate Jadelyn’s 13th birthday at the Wednesday night meal at Northridge. Can’t believe she’s a teenager already, except that she’s noticeably taller than I am and still growing! The pineapple on the cake is because pineapples have really become her “thing”, although she won’t eat them!

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The night before we left, we attended the Sedgwick High School production of the musical “Oklahoma!” Grandson Ben played Andrew Carnes, the very protective father of a rather promiscuous Ado Annie. He didn’t mind wielding his gun to get some young feller’s attention! Ben has lots of fun on stage and the production was a huge success!

Ben in Oklahoma!

We took the Pohlman family to breakfast on Saturday the 11th and were on the road by about 9:30. We drove in drizzle and had the heat on in the bus for the first 3 hours or so and then things started looking up. By the time we reached Alamogordo on Sunday afternoon, LeRoy was able to get back in “uniform.”

LRW uniform

We found cousin Raymond much improved from the last time we had seen him. He has achieved a modicum of independence by being able to transfer himself from his bed into his wheelchair, but the therapist tells him that they may be able to start fitting him for prosthetics before long and that’s exciting. One incision hasn’t yet completely healed but it’s getting close. And the good word is that he has been approved for Medicaid, so the process of finding another more acceptable living arrangement will be simplified.

We left for Tucson on Tuesday and spent until Friday morning getting caught up with friends there. I even attended the women’s Bible study on Wednesday and LeRoy went to the men’s breakfast on Thursday. Since three time changes in a week were still playing with our sleep habits (CDT to CST to MST), we were up and on our way about 7:30 Friday morning in order to meet DirecTV at our Yuma property “between 12 and 4 pm”. The tech was prompt and thorough and we had TV before the end of that time slot. He even left us an extra remote, so we don’t have to fight over control! We also had water and electricity on when we arrived, so things are good here although there is lots of work to do.

It was interesting pulling up to a property which, although we are the owners, we had never physically seen. Google Street View, as well as MLS pictures, had given us a good idea of the property itself and the neighborhood, but it was nice to finally see it. When we first got out, the amount of cleanup work looked fairly daunting. Here in Arizona, almost anything can grow with enough water, but the water had been shut off for a couple of years so almost all the lovely plantings had died. The realtor showed us this, though, among the dried weeds.

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There are actually three of them and they look nice now that the weeds have been cleared and they’ve been watered. There is also a tiny little palm tree in the corner. We’ve been warned that we’ll probably want to move it farther from the fence, but that’s for another time.

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What follows is a set of random photos, some when we first arrived and some after several hours of work both Friday afternoon and Saturday. I’m sure there will be many more pictures to come. I thought I’d save the inside of the casita for another day.

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The view from the west drive

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Even cacti dry up without water.

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The west side of the property where Liberty now sits

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The east RV parking area

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Whew!

The previous owners had lots of raised beds where they apparently had vegetables planted, along with smaller planting spaces around the lot. They stayed on the left hand side of the property, with a deck between their rig and the fence but that makes anyone who stays on that side have to drive over the patio behind our casita, so LeRoy moved it, with help from our friends Wilbur and Laura Bradbury. We do plan on having friends stopping by and we want their place to be welcoming!

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Here is the Landing in Yuma, 12175 E. 39th St. If you’re coming to see us, the STREET part is very important to differentiate between 39th St., 39th Place and 39th Way. On other numbered streets in the area, there are also Lanes , which can add to the confusion.

TA DA!!

Yuma property with Liberty

 

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Appointments and entertainment

LeRoy is feeling a bit rushed, I think. Between scheduled bus maintenance, pickup oil issues and my appointments, he hasn’t had time to get all the last minute things done around the Landing. Throw in a day away for a family funeral and we’re into our last week. Our son-in-law Tim’s grandmother passed away and her funeral was yesterday.

One enjoyable thing about being here at this time of year is that we get to attend the Singing Quaker Alumni Choir concert. The alumni choir was much smaller than usual this year but just as spectacular. One of the best parts of the concert is that they bring in guest composers to conduct the choir each year. This year’s guest was Craig Courtney and his explanations of his compositions and arrangements just brought the music to life. Heidi and I are both former Singing Quakers, having sung in this well known choir under the direction of Dr. Cecil Riney. While he retired from directing the Friends University Singing Quakers several years ago, he has directed the alumni choir up until this year. He has been called back into service by the university as head of the Fine Arts department in recent years. Yesterday was his 86th birthday and we got to attend a party in his honor after the concert. He and his wife Verna are dear friends and fellow church members. They and their children have had a huge influence on our church over the years.

On the hearing aid front, one appears to have been defective so we returned it and picked up a replacement on Friday. I’m still pretty iffy about the benefit vs. cost issue. I have an appointment Friday to make a final decision.

Not many days left until we leave for Arizona. Youngest granddaughter Jadelyn turns 13 this week!! Grandson Ben is in the Sedgwick High School production of “Oklahoma!” and Jadelyn is helping behind the scenes, following in oldest sister Jordan’s theatrical footsteps. We plan to attend the Friday night presentation of the musical and then the current plan is for us to leave Saturday the 11th, the day after our last known obligation/family event for the fall. The weather is pushing us out, as forecast highs this week are in the 40s. That’s not bad for a night time temperature, but it feels cold to us as a daytime high!

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They don’t make ’em like they used to!

You know how when you go on vacation, you try to see all the special things in an area? And when you live somewhere, you often don’t go out of your way to visit landmarks? Last Sunday afternoon we visited a Wichita landmark that we’ve driven by for as long as we’ve been in this area. In our defense, the Campbell Castle isn’t normally open to the public, but I’ve always wanted to see the inside. Daughter Heidi found out it was going to be open for a Sunday Funday and we bought tickets. LeRoy tagged along, primarily as photographer since it was mostly a women’s event. The Castle is really worth seeing and unlike anything being built today. The stone above the arched opening identifies the date as 1888.

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Through the covered arch, the driveway leads to the carriage house in the back. I think I’d be satisfied with that!

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Inside, vendors had set up makeup, dip mixes, clothing and every jewelry or fashion item you could want. Just the woodwork was enough to impress me! Each staircase was a little different and even the lamp on the opposite side of the stairs was different from this little man.

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The stained glass windows were lovely, but you could tell they were in need of repair. The Castle is for sale and has been for quite some time. A friend once told us that the average person couldn’t pay the utilities on his 28,000 sq. ft. house and I imagine the same is probably true of the Campbell Castle. Upkeep would be a small fortune.

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The Castle has been open as a bed and breakfast and I wish we could have dug deep enough to spend a weekend there. Each of the many bedrooms is unique and so are the bathrooms!

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Furnishings are a fit for the majesty of the building, too. This clock is somewhat bigger than the grandfather clocks my dad made for me and each of my sisters. Mine and my mother’s now reside with our children. I’m sure they’re glad they didn’t have to find a place for one of this size, although it’s probably worth many times as much!

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We’ve been a part of a web group called Boondockers Welcome for several years now. The premise is that we have space for someone traveling through the area and they have need of a place to park for a day or two, so we fill that need. We haven’t had very many takers, but this past week we were set to have two, one Monday and one Tuesday. The weather and mechanical problems kept the first ones from coming but on Tuesday evening, we had a couple of full timers from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, a first for us. They were on their way to their winter home in south Texas and we had a nice visit.

I’ve been fighting a cold or sinus infection this week. Sure hope that’s over next week!

 

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