While I hope we are thankful every day, every week of the year, we have been especially thankful this week since we are out of the cooler weather and on our way to Tucson. Kansas being Kansas, though, I think warmer weather made it’s way there at least briefly after we left.
One of the big budget items for full-timers is fuel and I always check my GasBuddy app when we need fuel. In Stamford, TX we found diesel at the newly opened WalMart fuel station for an unheard of low price and even though we didn’t really need it yet, we stopped and filled the tank anyway. The cheapest we had found before was 20 cents per gallon higher just north of Wichita in October and most everyone else around here is 40 to 50 cents per gallon higher. When you’re filling a 150 gallon tank, that adds up pretty quickly.
Thanksgiving day we spent with our son, Sergeant First Class Robert Willis, at San Angelo, TX. That morning he had been helping serve Thanksgiving dinner to the members of all the various armed forces who are stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base, so he was in his dress uniform. He took us to the dining facility for lunch and we enjoyed a wonderful meal of turkey and dressing with all the trimmings and the best part was no clean up! The down side? No leftover pie for a nutritious breakfast the next morning and no turkey soup.
We really appreciate our time with Robert and we enjoyed meeting his girlfriend Shelly. I’m always glad when someone else likes him as much as we do!
On our very first trip to Arizona in September 2010, we spent a couple of days in Midland, TX with our friend Rotha Cloyd and since we were this close, we decided to stop to see her again. Her husband was LeRoy’s high school buddy and we always have a good time with her. Somehow I missed getting a picture this time but Rotha is the same sweet southern belle she’s always been.
It has been fun on this trip introducing Florence Marie to some of the things we like so much about this country of ours. I love that once you get to where you can see mountains in the distance in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, they are never really out of sight again on this trip. I think it’s fascinating that not only does the terrain change as we go along, so does the vegetation. The way the mountains look in the distance, range upon range, has always reminded me of the flannelgraph stories of my Sunday school days. And if you don’t know what a flannelgraph is, you’ve missed a lot.
We spent the night Friday evening in Van Horn, TX, the home of the El Capitan Hotel. It is interesting to look at the surroundings there and imagine the fancy dresses of the women who stayed in the hotel and ate in the very same dining room we did. A friend asked if there is still a John Madden table there but if there was, we didn’t recognize it.
Yesterday and today we are in one of our favorite spots of the whole trip, Riverbend Hot Springs in Truth or Consequences, NM. The first time we stopped here was in 2010 and we’ve tried to make it to the tubs both going to Arizona and heading back to Kansas every year since. We’ve seen lots of changes for the better in this place and we love it. This time Florence Marie has been over to soak with us, so we’re spreading the wealth.
The main reason we stop here is that LeRoy’s cousin Raymond lives here. He and LeRoy were raised by the same aunt after both lost their parents eight years apart. Raymond’s health isn’t the best so we try to make as much of each visit as possible. I’m sure Florence Marie heard more about Cherokee, OK in the ’50s and ’60s than she knew she wanted to know!
Tomorrow, after another soak in the hot springs, we’ll head on toward Tucson. It has been an enjoyable trip but I’ll be glad to be settled in again and see all our friends in that lovely town.