Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RV Lot Shopping

Well, it's time to go see if we can find an RV lot to buy!  We had toured Happy Trails RV Resort in Surprise, AZ, back in 2005 and thought then that this was a place we could enjoy living in.  In fact, we toyed with the idea of buying a lot way back then even though we didn't yet even own an RV.  Hmmmm...think they might have objected to us pitching our tent there??  Now, after paying a fair amount of money to rent in AZ, agreeing that AZ is where we most want to spend our winters, and not finding anyplace in Tucson that sells RV lots, we thought immediately of Happy Trails.

So, on Saturday, March 15th at 9:00 a.m., we headed north, arriving at Happy Trails at 3:45 p.m.  No, it didn't take us quite that much time to drive up there, we stopped at Redburn Tire to add a little more air to the new tires and also stopped for lunch. 

We got settled in our rental lot and quickly started taking lots of walks and bike rides to find the perfect lot for us!  Bill, our realtor, worked closely with us and we soon ruled out any lots backing up to busy roads (too noisy), any near the pickleball courts (too noisy) or any golf course lots (too expensive and too noisy with golf balls landing everywhere!).  We also wanted to have the motorhome windshield facing east or north rather than west or south.

Meanwhile, we had several repair items to get taken care of including a leak in the bay door under the kitchen sink and some leaks under the engine.  The water leak got taken care of by a couple of trips from a mobile RV service and the engine leaks finally got fixed after three trips over to Cummins Rocky Mountain, once for diagnosis, once when two of the three parts came in, and one last time when the third part came in.  One would think that they could have called us before the second trip to reschedule and do all three parts at one time...  Too much common sense can be dangerous, I guess.

We did take some recreational time, too.  On Sunday, March 23rd we headed up to Lake Pleasant Regional Park and did a little exploring.  Here are a few photos...
Lake Pleasant marina

I've fallen in love with cactus blooms!
More gorgeous blooms...

We even discovered a pirate ship!

Arizona wildlife...
Also, on Sunday, March 30th, we headed over at the ball fields in Sun City Grand to watch Sam & MaryAnn's softball teams cancer fundraiser tourney.  What a hoot!
Waving in the "ringer" pitcher for the women's team

That's a lot to swing an arm around!

Adoration complete - time to play ball:)
John, Sam & MaryAnn in the "pink"!
As of today, Monday, March 31, 2014, we are the official owners of an RV lot at Happy Trails in Surprise AZ.  Yippee!!  We found a lot we liked with full cement, full awning and a story and a half shed with a laundry sink, washer & dryer hook-ups and hot water heater.  And, best of all - we got a good enough deal on it that we can have a bathroom put in the shed:)

So, we extended our rental by a couple of weeks and engaged a contractor to remodel the bathroom during the summer.  We made regular trips to Home Depot and had quite a time picking out everything from shower unit to fixtures and faucets.  We also selected a window to have installed upstairs and new outdoor wall lights.  We've never had a house built so this was a fun experience - at least for me!  And, an added bonus: Sam called and said they were getting new washer & dryer, did we want their old set?  You bet!

Well, everything is ordered and Darwin, the contractor, will pick the rest of the stuff up as it comes in, so we're good to go.

Going to LOVE this shower!
Love seeing the spring cactus blooms while on our many walk-abouts!  And, occasionally we venture over to the subdivision next door where Sam and MaryAnn live.

Argentine Giant Cactus

Sam & MaryAnn's Rosie in her special carriage!

And, this is Buster taking a break
Beautiful blooming Palo Verde tree

Hummingbird in nest by Sam & MaryAnn's front door

Tuesday, April 15th - Spring is here and so are our good friends, Curt & Diane.  They've flown down here and will ride back to Washington with us in the RV - fun trip ahead!
One of many Happy Hours at Happy Trails!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tucson Winter - Part B

On Thursday, January 2, 2014, on our way back from Colorado, we stopped and spent the night at Sam & MaryAnn's in Surprise. 

The next day, Friday, January 3rd, we had breakfast with cousins Gale & Barb and Larry & Vicki and afterwards we checked out Happy Trails again.  It was Vendor Days so we checked that out, too.  Then it was back home to Rincon Country West.  Nice to be back in warm weather again!

Sunday, January 5th found me taking photographs of the motorhome to prove to the committee at Happy Trails in Surprise that we are good-looking enough to stay at their park!  Then we headed over to Tohono Chul Park.  Love this place!
Copper ore with azurite & malichite - gorgeous colors!

Blanket flower puffballs

Ragleaf bahia (I think!)

Anyone know what this is?

Front view of Ragleaf bahia

Desert Honeysuckle


Jumping cholla - watch out for this one!

California poppy

Wednesday, January 8th - took motorhome and car to B&C RV & Marine and finally got Stealth issues all corrected (the "Stealth" is our supplemental braking system for our tow car).  They uninstalled the old unit and installed the new, revised one that Brake Buddy had sent us.  Dave, one of their technicians, turned out to be some kind of electrical wizard and he discovered that some of the wiring in the car had been done incorrectly.  Thanks again, Dakota RV in Rapid City, SD - NOT!  B&C RV & Marine in Tucson, on the other hand, we would recommend!

On Friday, January 10th, we toured Old Tucson.  This tourist attraction is great fun!  There's old western stuff for history buffs...

...and several re-enactment type skits with lots of action for everyone including an impromptu street ballgame.

See the moon?
 On Tuesday, January 14, we drove down to Kartchner Caverns to do the tour and did a hike afterwards.  Note to self: don't trust park rangers when they say it's an "easy" hike.  Whew!

Prickly Pear cactus

Saturday, January 18th, we drove up to Mt. Lemmon.  Beautiful day and amazing views of Tucson from up there!

Thursday, January 23rd: time for a road trip!  We packed up and pointed the car toward San Diego.  Stopped on the way for an overnight in Quartzsite.  Enjoyed a lunch with RV friends at the Main Street Eatery and spent the night camped out on Ron & Linda's motorhome floor.  Fun to see everyone again!

Friday, January 24th we drove on to San Diego to see my cousin Deann and her good friend, George.  We had a great time there!  Deann & George were wonderful hosts!  Thanks!!  On Saturday, January 25th, the four of us went sightseeing to Coronado Island and Balboa Park.

George & my cousin, Deann
Saturday sightseeing

Be sure to click on the photo to see the detail in this sandcastle.

The "Del" was built in 1887 and is one
of our country's largest wooden buildings.

This Dragon Tree is native to the Canary Islands and was featured
in Marilyn Monroe's movie "Some Like It Hot" filmed here in 1958.
And, of course, there are wonderful flowers everywhere here!                                                                

 After seeing Coronado Island we headed to Balboa Park.  Gonna' have to come back here someday to look around more - this place is awesome!  Free admission, 1200 acres, theatres and something like 16 museums!!
Casa Del Prado Theatre

Love the architecture here!

People watching is pretty fascinating also...

I think it's a flower....

Lots of gardens here, too!

Museum of Man

Sunday, January 26th and we're off to the San Diego Zoo.  Fun!!
Here's a few pics...
Felt sorry for this poor polar bear in the warm climate...

Mom & baby

Ain't he cool?

Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Blue-breasted Kingfisher
Wait'll you see him yawn!
He does need to see a dentist, though....


Secretary Bird from Africa

Nice kitty....

Southern Gerenuks from Africa

Monday, January 27th, time to head home.  Laguna Mts. east of San Diego are very cool!  John had been sleeping when we came out here and he enjoyed seeing these unusual mountains.

Wednesday, February 5th - Friends from Alaska, Jean & Duane, were in the area visiting so we headed north to the Biosphere 2 near Oracle AZ.  As you recall, the Biosphere 2 became famous during the initial experiment in the early 1990s when 8 people lived inside  the sealed "bubble" for two years.  They grew their own food and conducted various scientific experiments.  There were, of course, various problems and controversies.  For more historical information, including a second mission, check out Wikipedia.  The Biosphere is now run by the University of Arizona and contains several large and small scientific experiments.  We enjoyed the tour immensely.

Duane & Jean

On Friday, February 7th we took a nice drive with our long-time Iowa friends, Jack & Donna.  They showed us one of their favoriate places, Peppersauce Campground.

Jack, John & Donna
Wednesday, February 12th found me working on my photo slide show for the Rincon Country West photo club contest and, in the late afternoon, we headed over to Iowa friends Steve & Ev to visit with them and cousins of mine from our hometown, Terry & Janet.  We all enjoyed a yummy dinner at El Corral Steakhouse and then went over to Trail Dust Town in northeast Tucson for the evening.  Fun time!

On Sunday, February 16th, we headed up to friend Shelley's (Jack & Donna's daughter) and hiked the wash behind her house with her and some of her friends.  It's a magical place - lots of petroglyphs and there is no public access which helps make it special.
Shel, John & friends

Tuesday, February 18th - Decided to go see a movie today.  Since the theatre is in a mall near us, we decided to ride our bikes over through the wash.  After the movie, we each stopped to use the restrooms and John went outside before I did.  He was surprised to find only his bike at the bike stand.  The lock had been cut and mine was gone!  We notified mall security after calling 911 and waited for nearly two hours for an officer to show up.  Fortunately, the mall security guy, Robert, was not busy and we had a nice visit with him.  And, yes, we walked home...  Much too old to ride on handlebars anymore!

Wednesday, February 19th - I ordered my new Dahon folding bicycle from Amazon.

Thursday, February 20th - guess what John found on Craig's List today?  Yup - my bike!  It was advertised as a 2014 model (we bought it new in 2008...) and was priced at $300.  We drove by the address, but didn't find anyone around, so we headed over to Carl's Jr. for lunch and phoned the contact number indicating that we were interested in buying the bike.  After numerous calls, texts, etc. the guy finally said he'd have his friend bring it over to the restaurant for us to see.  A 6' tall, scruffy reddish haired guy finally showed riding my bike.  We looked it over, confirmed that it was mine and said we were interested, but needed to have him produce a bill of sale from the owner and would he accept a check.  He took off to find out and we immediately called the cops.  When the first cop arrived, I shooed him around to the other side of the building, so the guy wouldn't see his cruiser from the bike path and spook.  Then another rookie cop showed and they "hid out" on the other side of the building.  Dude shows up again and the cops come up and tap him on the shoulder for a little chat.  Long story short:  he wasn't charged with anything because he claimed he didn't know it was stolen.  Rookie cop & I texted "owner" to try to get him to come over but he didn't fall for it.  Methinks he's been in this little business for awhile!  So, I got my bike back and that was the end of that.  They had put a "new" serial number sticker on it but the last 2 digits of the engraved one showed, so that was my proof.  I totally understand that the police have bigger fish to fry, but it kind of fries me that these guys just keep getting away with these thefts...

Friday, February 21st: shopping for new bike locks.  Those buggers aren't going to get this one!!  And, our neighbor wants to buy my "old" bike, so I still get a new one!

Saturday, February 22nd - I have become a member of the photo club here at Rincon Country West and they have a photo contest every year.  I entered, of course, and actually won a couple ribbons: one Honorable Mention in the Flower category and a First Place in the Video Montage.  I do believe John was ready to slide under the table when my slideshow was playing in front of a couple hundred people!  He was in many of the photos as he's usually my only available model:)
Honorable Mention

Tuesday, February 25th - Spent some time today at Redburn Tire getting new motorhome tires.   We had the old ones shipped back to the farm for our nephews to use on their tractor trailers.  Still lots of life left in them, we hope.

Sunsets here are amazing and tonight's was no exception.

Sunday, March 2nd and we were off to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum with Craig & Mitzi - good friends we knew in Iowa way back when.  This is an amazing place: part garden, part aquarium and part zoo so lots of fun photo opportunities!
Polly, want a cracker?

Some type of mallow?


Wish we could have seen more of him - beautiful mountain lion!

Great desert views from here, too.

Hummer enjoying a penstemon bloom

All kinds of desert critters here

Western Tanager

Unusual cactus!

On Saturday, March 8th we went to visit Ryan & Louise and their two daughters.  Ryan lived near us in Anchorage and spent quite a bit of time hanging out with our boys.  Love this family and their girls are adorable!

We enjoyed our time in Tucson - especially the gang at RCW that we hung out with.  And, it was nice to visit with the various friends who live there.  But, time to move on....