Gone with the wind

Actually, the wind (and the RAIN!) came Monday, before the road trip. Yuma got .16″ of rain and the weather people were calling it a deluge. Considering that the entire year of 2017 amassed less than 2″ of precipitation here, even a little in a short time seemed like a lot. The wind blew the covers off of the hot tub more than once, but since Richard was still here, he caught them in the street. We had gone shopping for rugs to fit under the new chairs and to pick up LeRoy’s Christmas present, a tool chest, at Harbor Freight. It had been back ordered previously.


Christmas just kept coming this week, too. Our mail has been exceedingly slow, sometimes taking a couple weeks to get here and sure enough that was the case with our package from Robert and Shelly. LeRoy couldn’t have been more pleased with his treasure! Gingersnaps are his cookie of choice. You just can’t find the ones in the bags very often and the ones in boxes leave something to be desired. I was allowed to share, but not right at that moment!


My gift was a new shade of Lipsense, which Shelly sells. This shade is actually a mixture of two and seems perfect for me. She is a licensed aesthetician and I’m sure one of these days she will tell me all her secrets (wink, wink).


Thursday morning we were up and out of the house about the time the coffee usually starts brewing. We made the long trip to Alamogordo, NM to see Raymond, but first we stopped in Dona Ana, just a bit north of Las Cruces, to check out a new nursing facility that has agreed to accept him. We were suitably impressed with what we saw, especially the staff. Many of them are long-term employees, unlike the place he is in now. Raymond has been unhappy with his placement in Alamogordo since the very beginning and we don’t blame him at all. Conditions there are deplorable! At any rate, he should be moved to Case de Oro by mid-week next week unless the staff at Case Arena Blanca falls down on their end of the job. All things considered, Raymond was glad to see us and was looking terrific. He was in his wheelchair the entire time we were there, not in bed as we had been used to seeing him. The most exciting news he had for us is that the prosthetics firm that works with him has said that he will be upright and learning to use new legs and feet in a matter of a few weeks! That will be a real test of Raymond’s endurance, so keep him in your prayers. Don’t Tressie’s ornery boys look good together?


Saturday we were in Tucson to help Northwest Community Friends Church put in a new playground. Friends church members from all over the region came to help in an event called Love Friends and it was a busy place.



We left before they were through, but this is the final result. When we first went to Northwest, there were no little ones. Now there are quite a few and at least 3 new babies expected before summer, including Pastor Adam and Allie’s identical twin boys!


We have friends coming in tomorrow from our old neighborhood in Wichita. We haven’t seen the Franklins in years so it will be good to see them again. Then on Wednesday, we leave for the Silver Eagles Int’l. rally in Quartzsite, always a wonderful time of talking and eating and talking some more. You never know who you’ll see in Quartzsite!


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We’ve started 2018 on our feet, literally. Each morning we’ve finished our coffee and put on our walking shoes to get our steps in for the day. Arizona has been putting on a show for us this week, with temperatures in the upper 70s, which has made it easier. I’m hoping to be able to consistently reach and then up my step goal every couple of weeks or so until I get to 10,000 steps most days. Wish me luck!

Our friends Richard and Patti Harper came back to stay with us for a while and while they’re here, Richard and LeRoy took the couch out of the bus and brought in the two chairs we bought last summer.


We rearranged last night and this is the final result…until next time. We still have a nice air bed for guests or grandkids who are available to travel with us.


We are thinking about a road trip in the car this week. I’ll let you know when and where after the fact. ‘Til next time!


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A Fresh Start

Is anyone else challenged by a blank notebook or tablet? When I was in school (yes, I remember, I’m not that old), every new school year brought a fresh challenge to not make any mistakes or erasures. Of course it only lasted a day or two before I messed up and had to erase. That’s somewhat how a new year, 2018, feels to me. It’s a challenge to do better and be better than I was in 2017. I don’t make resolutions these days, but I do challenge myself. Maybe I won’t walk 4 miles every day and maybe I’ll give in to fast food french fries, but I can at least try to develop healthful habits. Maybe (probably) we will raise our voices when we disagree, but I can let LeRoy know that I love him in many ways every day. Anyway, I’m giving 2018 a chance to be the best year yet!

Christmas eve 2017 found us by ourselves, but we didn’t abandon the tradition of eating chili. Not just any chili, Papa’s award-winning chili con corny. It was his best effort in a long time!

papa's chili

We had a chance to talk or text with all the family either Christmas eve or day and they seem to be doing fine. In fact, we got our best gift of the year when we talked to Tim and Heidi and their family via Facetime. Our oldest granddaughter, Jordan, and her husband Marc are expecting their first child in August, making us great-grandparents for the first time!


This has been a week of big accomplishments around our Yuma Landing. The hot tub is working! And notice the grass that appears to be growing on the stairs?


A friend of a friend just bought a new house here and wanted the turf removed from their back yard, so we brought it to ours! This deck on our guest side had been carpeted but we had to take the carpet off since it was pretty rotten. Now it looks like this. There is also “grass” in what used to be planting beds around the casita.


Last night we went out to dinner with bus friends before going our separate ways for the rest of the evening.

We ended New Year’s Eve playing Farkle and toasting with sparkling cider. It’s so nice to have a building where we can accommodate a group of people!



Tonight was a beautiful time to catch a glimpse of the moon coming over the mountains.


Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year!

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The Trips of 2017

The Trips of 2017

We started the year on a definite high

Since Heidi and family had just said good-bye.

They came to spend Christmas and stayed a few days

Before heading back to the work-a-day ways.

Liberty’s new paint job rounded out our spring

In Algodones, MX, then we were on the wing

To Golden Bell Camp, via Kansas’ short stop,

For a volunteer summer(?) but then the shoe dropped.

LeRoy’s cousin was ill, needed assistance,

So we moved to Las Cruces in spite of the distance.

It wasn’t our choice but we took it in stride.

Our plan for Wisconsin had to be cast aside.

Our rentals in Kansas were sold in September,

So we looked for a place we could land in November.

Our winter location is Yuma this year.

We miss friends in Tucson, but we’re making more here.

Rob and Shelly flew out to spend a short time.

We made “winter visitors” of them on a dime!

Now it’s time once again when our family and friends

Begin to catch up just before the year ends.

There are letters and cards and emails galore

With news of their wonderful grandkids and more!

Which leads to the reason for this little blip:

To avoid what, for me, could become a Guilt Trip!

We wish Merry Christmas to all far and near.

We’ll have more to tell by the end of next year!

LeRoy and Anne Willis


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Party on!

We started out the week with a party! Really, more of a work day for the men, kind of like a barn raising, except that they were moving a carport for a bus from one lot to the one directly behind it. Wilbur Bradbury had been told by the “experts” that his structure would have to be disassembled and reassembled on the other lot, but he wasn’t buying that. With enough bracing and cross-bracing, it was stable enough to move. He chained the structure to his Jeep and the “moving crew” helped to move it with short chunks of round fence posts as rollers on plywood. In just about an hour, the “impossible” task was completed. Many hands, much expertise, patience and lots of wives supervising made for light work!


One of the downsides to staying behind the church in Tucson for the past several winters was isolation. When we were the only ones staying behind the church, we often went days without seeing other people, except Pastor Adam, and he was busy at work. When we stayed at Desert Trails in the years before that, there were activities available all the time and people always nearby. When we bought this lot here in Yuma, we were hoping to get acquainted with our neighbors and have friends to do things with, but getting all the projects done pretty much kept us busy. We decided to take matters in our own hands and invited everyone on the block, plus our backyard neighbors and friends from here in Yuma to a Christmas open house on Wednesday afternoon. The first to arrive were bus friends and before long, the neighbors started trickling in until we had a patio and deck full! Several people brought treats to add to the candy, peanut butter cheese ball, Chex mix, chips and queso and several dozen cookies we already had and we ate and visited until almost dark. Everyone ate their fill and there were still leftovers. I think there were about 35 people who came and we had a great time.


Christmas open house

After a day to wind down, we took a road trip on Friday to Boulder City, NV. Way back in the summer, we had made arrangements to buy two matching recliners from a bus acquaintance and thought we had a way to get them delivered here. That option fell through, so we drove the Escape up to pick them up. It was a long day’s drive, but we were pleased with the chairs. One of these days we will decide exactly where they are going in the bus and what is coming out. In the meantime, we have them sitting next to the garage in the casita.


Food is always on our minds, it seems and this week was definitely no exception. A few weeks ago, I saw an ad for the Somerton Tamale Festival just a few miles away and kept the date on my phone calendar. I wasn’t sure what all it would be but I knew there would be tamales! As a kid growing up, the only thing I knew about tamales was that they came packed in a can and were covered in a red sauce and I didn’t like them. It wasn’t until Rob and his family were living in Sierra Vista, AZ that I tasted fresh homemade tamales and found out I liked them…a lot! In the summers we buy Brenda’s Tamales at the Woodland Park Farmer’s Market. The Tamale festival was Saturday so we took Richard and Patti Harper, whose rig is parked on our lot, and went to Somerton. Right where we walked in, a large stage was set up and there was entertainment all day. There was a contest to see who could eat the most tamales in 3 minutes OR who could eat 12 in the shortest amount of time. We didn’t take part in that, though! And yes, there were tamales, more than 40 vendors and who knows how many varieties. Among the four of us, we tried pork, beef, sweet corn, shrimp and two different kinds with pineapple. The sweet corn one was really interesting, lighter and sweeter, and the ones with pineapple were more of a dessert. My favorite? Definitely the pork, spicy and moist.

tamale festival

Some of our Friends friends have recommended over the years that we should visit the North Holtville Friends Church at Holtville, CA, about an hour from Yuma. We did just that this morning. The tiny little church was started in 1907 by two families from Haviland, KS who moved to the area and began dairy farming. The roads dwindle almost to nothing before you reach the little building sitting in a field surrounded by agriculture.


Inside, it was like stepping back a century, except for the electricity, but the gospel message, the story of the first Christmas, was fresh and real. Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper) would love all the shiplap, floor to ceiling. We’re glad we visited.


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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


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.


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.



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!


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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