Quick Trip Home to California … Waaaaayyy Too Quick

I flew out of Grand Junction, Colorado, leaving Mike and Lucy to fend for themselves while this California girl enjoyed a week with daughter and family.

I left Mike here at James M. Robb State Park in Colorado.

I left Mike here at James M. Robb State Park in Colorado.

My regularly scheduled skin cancer screening appointments with my dermatologist in California give me a great excuse to fly home for a great big dose of loving warm fuzzies from the family.

Me and My Daughter Kimberly

Me and Kimberly

Paige and Kimberly

Paige and Kimberly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was welcomed by my granddaughter Paige with a trail of these love notes leading up the stairs to her bedroom which she shares with me when I’m in town: “First of all, I love you!” “I love your smile” “I love your laugh” “Your smile makes me smile” “Your laugh makes me laugh” “You are such a great photographer” “You are a great mom” “A great wife” “and a great grandparent” “I don’t know what I would do without you” “You are so thoughtful and caring” “You are so motherly” “Who can resist? No one” “My friend and I agree that you look 50” “I love your hugs” “You give great advice” “I am so lucky to have you in my life” “I can’t wait for the summer trip” “Please stay longer” “I love you no matter what” And the final note pictured below:

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Garrett, Kailyn, Brady, Me, Paige, Kimberly

Garrett, Kailyn, Brady, Me, Paige, Kimberly at Brady’s 7th Birthday Party

I intentionally planned my trip home to coincide with my granddaughter Kailyn’s school play.  She played “Tootles”, one of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan.  Kailyn is a natural on stage.  (She also belongs to Toastmasters and the school chorus)  She has a strong, clear speaking voice, a pitch-perfect singing voice, and a beautiful face.  It was quite a production (3 hours!) that the cast and crew have been working on since September, complete with set changes, lighting and sound crew, intermission, and all the stuff that goes into a professional stage production.  They performed the play once for all the students during school hours, 3 evenings, and a Saturday matinee.  She was, of course, fantastic.

Kailyn, as Tootles in Peter Pan

Kailyn, as Tootles, one of the Lost Boys in the stage production of Peter Pan

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Garrett’s high school baseball season has finished, and now he has been recruited to play on a Garciaparra Baseball Group team.  GBG is a premier high school level baseball club focused on development for college recruitment.  He will be traveling with the team to Phoenix for a week of tournament play in a couple of weeks.  We are so excited for him to have this opportunity.

Garrett playing First Base

Garrett playing First Base

Got it

Got it

 

 

 

 

15d Garrett GBG Conejo Baseball

Proud Parents, Lance and Kimberly

Garrett (r) receives Most Inspirational Player Award at school

Garrett (r) receives Most Inspirational Player Award at school

I was so excited that Paige had a soccer tournament that weekend.  She is a defender, and she’s very good at it.  But she loved that she got the opportunity to play forward during part of one of the games in the tournament, and she got the assist on a goal!  It was so fun to watch!  Her team went undefeated all weekend and won the tournament.  Woo-hoo!

16a California Visit - 13616b California Visit - 128

 

 

 

 

 

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Champions!

Champions!

Blake plays high school varsity soccer, but that season ended months ago.  He earned the MVP Award at that time.  Since then he has been playing on an adult club team after being recruited by his high school coach.  I caught a pic of Blake as he was coming home from a practice.

Blake looking disheveled after soccer practice, but still handsome as ever!

Blake looking disheveled after soccer practice, but still handsome as ever!

Blake and Holly - Prom Night

Blake and Holly – Prom Night

This is a pic of Garrett and his girlfriend, Briana.  She is an outstanding softball player who was featured in the local paper for her athletic skills.  She is the only freshman on the Varsity Girls Softball Team at their high school.

Garrett and Briana

Garrett and Briana

And, not to be outdone in the ‘girlfriend’ department, here is Brady with just one of his many princesses at the Fairy Tale Ball.

Brady at the Fairy Tale Ball

Brady at the Fairy Tale Ball

May proved to be a big month for accomplishments and awards for everyone.  My family is a motivated and dedicated group of people who just LOVE what they do!

Garrett earns the Leadership Award at school.

Garrett earns the Leadership Award at his high school HSA program

Paige qualifies for the 125-mile club for running

Paige qualifies for the 125 Mile Club for all the miles she ran this school year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kailyn earns awards in Math, Reading, and the 6 Pillars of Character

Kailyn earns awards in Math, Accelerated Reading, and Exemplary Character

Lance and the Ventura County Fire Department win 2nd Place in the Annual Fallen Firefighters Tournament in Las Vegas.  Sean completes his first full marathon.

Lance on the Ventura County Fire Department baseball team win 2nd place in the Annual Fallen Firefighters Tournament in Las Vegas

Lance

Sean completed his first full Marathon

Sean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paige gave me a parting gift which was a little compact mirror in a mesh gift bag with the following note:

The person pictured in this bag is one of the most special gifts in my life.  I love you.

The person pictured in this bag is one of the most special gifts in my life. I love you.

The kids got up early to say goodbye as Kimberly and I headed to the airport.25 Blake Garrett Paige and Mamma26 Kimberly and me

Goodbye for now, California

Goodbye for now, California

Hello, Colorado

Hello, Colorado

 

 

On The Road Again After A Wonderful 2 1/2 Months With Family

Oh my gosh, I have to learn how to live in an RV all over again!  We have been completely pampered and spoiled for over two months at our daughter Kimberly’s house.  We’ve been there since Halloween!  So fair warning … This update will be the epitome of a proud grandmother’s photo album.   In addition to scheduling all of our annual appointments (of which there were many), our days were filled with family gatherings, grandkids’ sporting events, and just hanging out with the family.  It’s mostly pictures folks, mostly pictures.

As hard as we tried, with all the crazy work schedules (Lance is a firefighter captain and Sean is a police officer), we never got all the kids and grandkids together at the same time for our annual picture.  This one is as close as we got.  It’s missing Sean’s wife, Keni, who was sick that day.  She’s an elementary school teacher, so we can guess where she picked up some bug!

Kids and Grandkids (sans Keni)

Kids and Grandkids (missing Keni)

Here’s a family gathering at Sean’s house for Mike’s 67th birthday.  Mike’s sister Diane and husband Glen are included, but Lance had to work that day.  Oh weird, I’m wearing the same shirt.  Doh.

Mike's 67th Birthday Party (missing Lance)

Mike’s 67th Birthday Party (missing Lance)

This next picture is Thanksgiving Day at Kimberly’s with Lance’s family.

Thanksgiving Day with Austins

Thanksgiving Day

And, we’re all goofy, so we like to do the silly pose, too!

Family Papa Bday silly

Family Thanksgiving silly

This picture includes our eldest grandson Blake’s girlfriend, Holly.

The Family With Blake's girlfriend Holly

The Family With Blake’s girlfriend Holly

Our Christmas Card

Our Christmas Card

We failed to reach out and make dates with many of our wonderful friends and for that we are truly bummed.  We have a list of people we love and promised ourselves we would contact each one, but we let time get away.  Fortunately, we did get to see several of our besties!

Our friends for over 20 years and former next door neighbors, Larry and Mary, came to LA for business so we met for dinner at Duke’s in Malibu.  We really miss hanging out with these two.

Dinner with Larry and Mary at Duke's Malibu

Dinner with Larry and Mary at Duke’s Malibu

Ray came up from San Diego, so we got to have lunch with him and Mikey.

Lunch with Ray and Mikey

Lunch with Ray and Mikey at a brewery in Burbank

I’m so happy we connected with Connie and Lew and revisited our old hangout in Ventura Harbor.  A fun day and it went by too fast!

Ventura Harbor - We Kept Our Power Boat Here Before We Switched To A Sailboat

Ventura Harbor – We Kept Our Power Boat Here Before We Switched To A Sailboat

Connie and Lew

Connie and Lew

Celebrating All Of Our Wedding Anniversaries at Geoffrey's in Malibu

Celebrating All Of Our Wedding Anniversaries at Geoffrey’s in Malibu

Blake's girlfriend Holly is a dancer.  We attended one of her performances in Thousand Oaks.

Blake’s girlfriend Holly is a dancer. We attended one of her performances in Thousand Oaks.

Blake got his Driver's License.   Our car was borrowed a lot!

Blake got his Driver’s License. Our car was borrowed a lot!

Garrett Takes A Selfie With Mom After Getting His Braces Off

Garrett (14) Takes A Selfie With Mom After Getting His Braces Off

Linda Learns To Navigate The New Computer She Got For Christmas

Linda Learns To Navigate The New Computer She Got For Christmas

Papa Juggles Kailyn and Brady

Papa Juggles Kailyn and Brady

Paige and Papa play word games all the time.  He just can’t believe how fast she is!

Paige and Papa word games 3Paige and Papa word games 4Paige and Papa word games 5Paige and Papa word gamesPaige and Papa word games 2

 

Taking The Little Ones Out For Ice Cream Is Always High On The List

Taking The Little Ones Out For Ice Cream Is Always High On The List

We Got Some Exercise By Walking The Dogs Everyday

We Got Some Exercise By Walking The Dogs Everyday

But most of all, it was sports!  All of our kids are involved in at least one sport (Paige does several).  I love it!  I mostly take video of their events, but I managed to get a couple of stills for my blog update.  Lucky you.

Blake plays Varsity Soccer at Moorpark High School

Blake plays Varsity Soccer at Moorpark High School

Header

Header

Garrett Plays Baseball.  He is a freshman at Moorpark High School

Garrett Plays Baseball. He is a freshman at Moorpark High School

Garrett

Garrett

Paige plays soccer

Paige plays soccer

Posing With Her Soccer Besties After Winning a Tournament

Paige Posing With Her Soccer Besties After Winning a Tournament

Paige also plays Softball

Paige also plays Softball

AND she ran less than 7 minute miles in a charity 5k

AND she ran less than 7 minute miles in a charity 5k

Kailyn is our competitive swimmer.  She swims with the Canyons Aquatics Club

Kailyn is our competitive swimmer. She swims with the Canyons Aquatics Club

Thumb wrestling with Papa between races

Thumb wrestling with Papa between races

Happy With Her Race Results!

Happy With Her Race Results!

Brady (6) started Flag Football this year.

Brady (6) started Flag Football this year.  Here he is going for the touchdown!

After The Big Game With Brady

After The Big Game With Brady

When Kimberly isn't attending one of the kids games .....

Paige, Kimberly and I in the stands

In addition to all her kids games, she plays on a co-ed adult team

In addition to all her kids games, Kimberly plays on a co-ed adult team

Kimberly and Paige heading out to a 'boot camp' workout!

Kimberly and Paige heading out to a ‘boot camp’ workout!

As Mike and I were heading out the door to Quartzsite, Kimberly and Paige were heading out to boot camp.  And now I’m going back to eating less and working out more.  Mike and I both gained weight during our visit.  With a house full of kids, there were just too many good things to eat.  My resistance is low around all that temptation.  Sigh.

Thank you Kimberly and Lance.  Not only did you welcome us to live with you for months but you fed us, pampered us, loved us and catered to our every whim.  Love you like crazy!  We love and miss our entire family and can’t wait to see everyone on vacation this summer.

Anyway, here we are in Quartzsite, getting our sea legs back (or whatever you call it in an RV).  We’ll spend a few days here and then head down to Yuma.  We’re still putting our travel plan for this year together.  Cheers!

 

 

The Month of Many Lakes – Oregon-Nevada-California

Our fond memories of Ashland, Oregon, from our first year of full-timing in the RV in 2012 compelled us to return to this cute little town.  The Shakespeare Festival gave us even more reason to spend a few days here.  I clearly remember (and that’s not something that happens frequently!) how much we absolutely loved Ashland.  We even thought it might be someplace we could live permanently.  It had a special ‘vibe’.  But, I think that now that we are in our third year on the road, and I’ve seen so many wonderful, adorable, cute little towns that Ashland is now just one more.

We spent the first few days at Emigrant Lake.  The weather was very nice albeit a bit chilly in the morning.  I must say we are enjoying our solar panels immensely.  The lake, however, has a depressingly low water level.  And the ground is so thick with stickers that Lucy couldn’t go outside.  And then we couldn’t get tickets to the plays we wanted to see.

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

We got up early (early for us anyway) to go to the Farmers Market in Ashland.  Everything was fresh, organic and yummy, as expected!

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought some of that organic raspberry jam

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought lots of great produce

Farmers Market - You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

Farmers Market – You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

As we sipped our coffee and devoured our baked goodies, we noticed these gentlemen wearing tin foil covered helmets.

Tin foil helmets

Tin foil helmets

Then we noticed the additional protestors across the street who were worried about the government doing bad things to them.

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A7 2014 Sept - Ashland OR pirate protestor

I’m not trying to start a political debate here.  Just found it amusing.  Time to move on.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

We made a long drive down to Lake Mead, Nevada to meet up with our friends Ingrid and Al (LiveLaughRV.net).  They were interested in buying the love seat/jack knife bed that we replaced with my new desk.  So we delivered it to them.  Hey, anything for a party!

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Ingrid and I had a good laugh when we both showed up with the same tee shirt on!  We both had fallen in love with Moab Utah last year and ended up buying the same Moab tee shirt.  Birds of a feather….

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Here is Mike and Al solving the problems of the world again.  You’d think they would have it all worked out by now.  Pictures are courtesy of Ingrid’s blog.

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Time was running out for Mike and I to spend some time up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along Highway 395.  So we headed up to June Lake in the hopes of seeing the display of fall colors.  And we timed it perfectly!

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

Daily visitors

Daily visitors

08 2014 Oct - June Lake - P1010483 Deer in camp

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The weather was PERFECT!  About 80 degrees, perfectly clear sky, very gentle breeze, perfect in every way.  We took a hike up a mountain trail that gave us a great view of June Lake and Gull Lake.  It was quite a climb!  The thin air made it even more difficult.  Thought we were going to die.

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

There are so many interesting things to see and do in this area, that it is difficult to choose.  We had heard about a few fascinating attractions that we just had to see for ourselves.  The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve was established in 1981 to preserve the limestone “tufa tower” formations.  Did you know this lake is over 1 million years old?  The towers are formed as the calcium-rich springs flow up from the lake bottom.  The calcium bonds to carbonates in the water to form a type of limestone, which then builds on itself to create these towers.  As the water level of Mono Lake decreased, the towers were exposed and, of course, stopped growing.  It’s amazing (and sad) to realize how much water is gone from Mono Lake.  But the tufa towers were awesome to see.

South Tufa's - Mono Lake

South Tufa’s – Mono Lake

All of this used to be under water.

All of this used to be under water.

Mike was hungry and ready to find the place that makes the lobster taquitos that everyone raves about.  We found it in Lee Vining behind the Mobil Gas Station.  The lobster taquitos came with spicy black beans, a mango salad and broccoli slaw.  We also got a plate of their carnitas.  It was quite good!

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining – Carnitas Tacos and Lobster Taquitos

With full bellies, we drove up to see the ghost town of Bodie, which became a State Historic Park in 1962.  It is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay”.  It was a wicked and lawless town where “killings occurred with monotonous regularity”.  In 1879, Bodie had a population of 10,000 people and 65 saloons.  It was described as “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion”.  I love the “arrested decay” style of preservation.  Like it is frozen in time.  What’s left of it anyway.  You can wander around the empty streets and peak in the windows of houses and buildings and see the things that were left behind.  It was surreal.

Bodie - State Historic Park

Bodie – State Historic Park

A ghost town now

A ghost town now

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The school house

The school house

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The drive up to Bodie was beautiful, too!

Fall colors all around!

Fall colors all around!

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Devils Postpile in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is another National Monument that we wanted to see.  The column formations were formed from basalt lava which flowed here 82,000 years ago and fractured by a glacier passing through about 20,000 years ago.  Subsequent earthquakes felled many columns that now lie fragmented below the postpile.

Devils Postpile

Devils Postpile

Oh, the forces of nature!

Oh, the forces of nature!

We continued hiking past Devils Postpile to the 101 foot Rainbow Falls.  Then we took the 95 steps to the bottom of the falls for a better view (and enjoyed a picnic lunch down there).

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

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The hiking opportunities in the Mono Lake Ranger District are endless.  We enjoyed as many as we could and we will definitely return to this area again for more.  The hike to Parker Lake required a 2-mile drive on a bumpy dirt road to get to the trailhead, but it was worth it.

Parker Lake Trail

Parker Lake Trail

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake - 4 miles roundtrip

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake – 4 miles roundtrip

Now we were ready to take on a more difficult hike.  We knew we just HAD to complete the highly recommended 8-mile hike through the Virginia Lakes.  Again, we had perfect weather.  And again, we were gasping for air when we got to the steep climbing part at the summit.  Wow, this thin air really makes a difference!  But, I’ll tell you this was an amazing hike.  It ranks right up there with the best of the best in terms of beauty.

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

We're climbing now.

We’re climbing now.

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

The view from the top!

The view from the top!  The trail passed all of those lakes.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Breakfast at the popular Silver Lake Resort Cafe on the June Lake Loop was a great way to begin the celebration of our 23rd wedding anniversary, and a great way to wrap up our visit to June Lake.  Everything was perfect!

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Cheers!

Quick Trip Home To See The Kids While Mike & Lucy Stay In Utah

We continued our travels northward, moving through Utah.  Stopped for a few days at the lovely Strawberry Bay Reservoir Campground.  We nabbed a great first come-first serve spot on the hill overlooking the lake and had the whole campground to ourselves during the week.

Strawberry Bay Campground

Strawberry Bay Campground

But the place completely filled-up on the weekend.  It’s a popular fishing spot and it was Memorial weekend.  The weather was kind of rainy, but the fisherpeople went fishing anyway.   I felt bad for the folks in tents.

Going Fishing

Going Fishing

One morning we woke up to see a layer of fog on the water.  It burned off pretty quickly, but I thought it looked really cool.

Fog on Strawberry Bay

Fog on Strawberry Bay

We moved over to Jordanelle State Park because I was flying out of Salt Lake City to take a quick trip home to California.  Mike and Lucy needed a comfortable place to hang out while I was gone.  We reserved a nice spot on the lake that was so pretty I was bummed that I wouldn’t be there to enjoy it!

Jordanelle State Park

Jordanelle State Park

Jordanelle State Park is very close to Park City.  When I returned from California, we enjoyed a day walking around town and having lunch on the outside patio for Bandits Grill.  Park City has many dog-friendly outdoor seating eateries which is good news for us because we like to take Lucy with us when we go out.

Park City - Bandits Grill and Bar

Park City – Bandits Grill and Bar

We took a drive to Olympic Village and watched skiers practice jumps and flips.  At the Olympic Park Training Center they land in a pool.  Just before the skier hits the water, it looks like turbo air jets turn on in the pool.  I imagine they do that to help the fully clothed athlete return to the surface of the water.  Then, they go up the ski lift and do it again … soaking wet.  Brrrrrr.

Skiing down the training slope

Skiing down the training slope

Skier mid-flip, turbo jets on in pool

Skier mid-flip, turbo jets on in pool

Skier post-flip, approaching water

Skier post-flip, approaching water

That was fun to watch, but even MORE fun to watch was my grandchildren.  I arranged my trip home to coincide with my granddaughter Kailyn’s school play.  It was a full production of “My son, Pinnochio”, complete with a number of acts, various set changes, an intermission, and a curtain call.  This was Kailyn’s first stage play and she had two solo numbers!  They obviously recognized her talent!

Kailyn

Kailyn sings

Kailyn emerges from the "Perfect Child" machine

Kailyn emerges from the “Perfect Child” machine

My granddaughter Paige made the All Star Softball Team and I was able to attend one of her championship tournaments.  Her Moorpark team was then, and still is, undefeated this season (currently at 25-0).  So exciting to watch these girls play so well.

Paige receiving another tournament trophy

Paige receiving another tournament trophy

Lance and Kimberly with Paige

Lance and Kimberly with Paige

Paige also received the “Spirit Award” this weekend.  That is an honor that is given to one of the players on her team by the opposing team.

Proud dad with his "Spirit Award" winning daughter!

Proud dad with his “Spirit Award” winning daughter!

I must brag a little more because Paige has also received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence (Straight A’s all year), as well as the Gold Award for Physical Fitness from her school.

Presidential Award for Academic Excellent and the Gold Award for Physical Fitness

Presidential Award for Academic Excellent and the Gold Award for Physical Fitness

Lest we forget our handsome boys .. Garrett is also an over-achiever in academics and sports.  I attended one of his baseballs games, which are soooooo fun.  I love watching him pitch.  He’s so good!  He’s also a fantastic hitter.  He was just named for the All Star team (as expected), but he declined so that he could come out to spend 5 weeks traveling with us this summer.  We are very excited about that.  He starts high school next year, so who knows if we’ll ever again get the opportunity to have him all to ourselves for that long.

Garrett gets the sign

Garrett gets the sign

Strike!

Strike!

Our oldest grandson Blake is still handsome as ever.  He’s 16 now!  He’s our soccer player and will be a junior in high school next year.  Oh my gosh, where does the time go.  I snapped this picture of Blake and his girlfriend.  It just occurred to me that she must be really tall because Blake is 6 feet.  I guess I never stood right next to her to make me realize her height.  Lucky girl!

A couple of cuties!

A couple of cuties!

The only picture missing is our littlest grandson Brady.  But I will see him tomorrow when he comes out to visit for a week with sister Kailyn and daddy Sean.  We’ll be touring Yellowstone with them.  Can’t wait!  Hope the rain goes away.

Home for the Holidays in California

Our Fabulous Family

Our Fabulous Family

We got “home” just before Thanksgiving to spend the winter holidays with our kids.  I absolutely cannot believe that 2 months have passed in the blink of an eye!  We’re getting back on the road in the morning and it is really bittersweet.  We look forward to exploring the west this year, but we just hate leaving our family.  We’re already looking forward to coming back to do this again next winter.

We flew to Ft. Lauderdale for a quick trip to check on our sailboat.  Wanted to insure that all systems were functioning properly and that everything looked good.  We were delighted to see her looking so beautiful!

s/v Aquila in Ft. Lauderdale

s/v Aquila in Ft. Lauderdale

Another fun little side trip was made to Phoenix Arizona to attend Mike’s son Sean’s commencement ceremony from Arizona State University.  He received his Masters Degree in Criminal Justice via an online program and decided to go to Phoenix for the commencement ceremony.  Mike’s sister and mom live in Phoenix, so they hosted a party at their home after the ceremony.

Sean at ASU Commencement Ceremony

Sean at ASU Commencement Ceremony – Masters in Criminal Justice

Mike with son Sean top center of photo, surrounded by extended family

Mike with Sean top center of photo, surrounded by extended family

Between all the kids sports events we enjoyed as many family get-togethers as possible.

Kimberly and Lance with family at Thanksgiving

Kimberly and Lance with family at Thanksgiving

Family Gathered for Linda's 66th Birthday!

Family Gathered for Linda’s 66th Birthday!

5 precious personalities (impossible to pose)

5 precious personalities (impossible to pose)

Papa walks the kids to YoFruity (it's a tradition)

Papa walks the kids to YoFruity (it’s a tradition)

Garrett likes to help Papa wash the RV.  He also helped install our new awning covers (a big job!)

Garrett likes to help Papa wash the RV. He also helped install our new awning covers (a big job!)

Paige (10) and Kailyn (9)

Paige (10) and Kailyn (9)

Kailyn and Paige

Blake holding Lucy's BFF Ruby

Blake holding Lucy’s BFF Ruby

Paige treats Papa to milkshakes

Paige treats Papa to milkshakes

Mike and Kimberly's annual father/daughter pedicure and Jamba Juice

Mike and Kimberly’s annual father/daughter pedicure and Jamba Juice

Lunch with Lance and Kimberly at our favorite sushi restaurant

Lunch with Lance and Kimberly at our favorite sushi restaurant.  I’m going to miss my daughter!!

I absolutely LOVE attending the kids sports events.  They are such great athletes!

Blake dislocated his shoulder playing soccer

Blake dislocated his shoulder playing soccer for the Jr. Varsity

Blake goes up for the header

Blake goes up for the header – He was promoted to Varsity in January

Garrett plays basketball when he's not playing baseball

Garrett plays basketball when he’s not playing baseball

Paige at soccer

Paige at soccer

Kailyn at swim meet performing butterfly stroke

Kailyn at swim meet performing butterfly stroke

Kailyn awaits posting of race results

Kailyn awaits posting of race results

Brady needs to be included in the sports category (our little monkey)

Brady needs to be included in the sports category (our little monkey)

Enjoyed lunch with best friend Russ

Enjoyed lunch with best friend Russ

We got together with many other friends while we were here and had such a great time!  We’re going to miss our family and all our friends so much!!

 

Tucson AZ to San Diego CA and our Highway Breakdown

We arrived in Tucson and set up camp at the Catalina State Park. Our campsite was fantastic with a view of the mountains and hiking trails right from our front door and into those mountains.

View from our campsight at Catalina State Park

View from our campsight at Catalina State Park

Our first hike included Lucy, but the trail had stickers that bothered her feet. Mike ended up carrying her back down to camp. The next day we did an 8-mile hike (without Lucy) for some beautiful views on the Romero Trail.

Hiking with Lucy

Hiking with Lucy

Mike had to carry Lucy back home because of stickers

Mike had to carry Lucy back home because of stickers

8 Mile Hike For Great Views and a Great Workout!

8 Mile Hike For Great Views and a Great Workout!

Blogger friends Ingrid and Al (Live, Laugh, RV) highly recommended a visit to the Sonora Desert Museum, making sure not to miss the Raptors in Free Flight demonstration. Thank you for telling us about it because we loved it!  What an incredible museum! We only wish we had arrived earlier because half a day there wasn’t enough. The Raptors in Free Flight was definitely a highlight. The huge birds fly just inches over your head. One of the wings actually touched me on one of the fly overs!

Mexican Red Wolf at Sonora Desert Museum

Mexican Red Wolf at Sonora Desert Museum

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion

Raptors Free Flight

Raptors Free Flight

His Wing Hit Me!

His Wing Hit Me!

And, of course, we had to take the Old Tucson Studios tour where so many famous westerns were filmed. The Golden Gate Mountain in the distance is recognizable in hundreds of old movies and TV shows.

Golden Gate Mountain from Old Tucson Studios

Golden Gate Mountain from Old Tucson Studios

The day wouldn’t be complete without a re-enactment of an old west shootout.

Old Tucson Shootout

Old Tucson Shootout

We were excited to learn that the 27th annual Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games was scheduled for the weekend. It was a great way to spend the day because these folks really know how to have a good time! We enjoyed the parade of bagpipes, the food and beer, the Irish music, and of course the unusual games!

Irish Festival and Highland Games Opening Ceremony

Celtic Festival and Scottish Highland Games Opening Ceremony

Fun Music!

Fun Music!

Scottish Highland Games - Caber Toss

Scottish Highland Games – Caber Toss

HWD - 56lb Weight for Distance Competition

HWD – 56lb Weight for Distance Competition

Hammer Throw - is thrown over the shoulder

Hammer Throw – is thrown over the shoulder

Our next destination was Yuma, Arizona. After traveling for a little over 2 hours through the desert, still about an hour away from Yuma, our engine started to overheat! Mike pulled over immediately and saw antifreeze dripping from our radiator. Good grief! We were on a narrow shoulder on Interstate 8, so close to the traffic lane that the semi trucks blowing by rocked our rig. It was scary! Our GPS showed a rest stop about 3 miles ahead. We unhooked our tow car, then Mike added antifreeze to the radiator in the hope that he could make it to the rest stop. I followed him in the car. After about 1 mile, he pulled over on the shoulder again. The radiator was leaking too much and the engine started to get hot again.

Breakdown on the way to Yuma on a narrow shoulder!

Breakdown on the way to Yuma on a narrow shoulder!

We called Good Sam Roadside Assistance and explained our situation. One of the challenges is that we are a 40 foot Class A motorhome and cannot be towed. We require a Landoll flatbed trailer. Another problem was that it was 3 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. AND we were stuck out in the desert about an hour away from Yuma. It took Good Sam awhile to find someone to help us, and our help was coming all the way from Parker AZ (about 3 hours away!)

It was pitch dark now and we wanted to get off the Interstate. We were communicating with the tow service and they told us that it would be much safer to load us on the trailer if we could get off the highway. Mike added water to the radiator. We were hoping that we would be able to drive the 2 miles to get to that rest stop. Again, I followed him in the car and was happy to see that he was going to make it. But then we couldn’t believe it when we saw that the rest stop was closed and the exit was blocked off! Mike continued to drive another 1 ½ miles to an off-ramp that put us on a frontage road. I felt MUCH better waiting for help on this desolate road, rather than on the busy highway. I even cooked dinner while we waited.

The Landoll arrived about 8 p.m. and took about an hour to load the Bear. It was fascinating to watch and I got much of it on video. It’s a major ordeal! The next challenge was that there were about 7 bridges to pass under during the hour long drive to Yuma. The driver had to get off the Interstate and take side roads around a couple of the bridges. Mike and I followed in our car and we held our breath each time we watched the Bear go under the overpass with only inches to spare. I’m sure I got a few gray hairs out of this experience. We were unloaded in the parking lot of Yuma Diesel Service where we would find out in the morning if they could service us. By the way, it took another hour to unload us.

01 Roadside Assistance

Loaded on the Landoll Trailer for the trip to Yuma

Loaded on the Landoll Trailer for the trip to Yuma

It was almost midnight by the time we got to sleep. So what did that cost us? Nothing. Good Sam Roadside Assistance is one of the best investments out there for RVers.  We spent the next 2 days at Yuma Diesel Service. Apparently, our radiator had a small hole in it. They thought maybe a rock got kicked up from the road into the fan and shot a hole in the radiator. The radiator had to be completely removed and sent out for a weld repair. If one of the seams of the radiator had split, that would have been a component failure and we would have been covered under our extended warranty. But since this was a hole from a rock, the bill was all ours. Bummer.

2 Days at Yuma Diesel Service getting radiator repaired

2 Days at Yuma Diesel Service getting radiator repaired

Now that our repair was done, we could get back to our sight-seeing agenda. We toured the Yuma Territorial Prison and the Quartermasters Depot.  The prison was built in 1876 and held a total of 3,069 prisoners during the prison’s 33 years of operation.  The Museum was filled with fascinating stories of some of the Southwest’s most hardened criminals.

Yuma Territorial Prison from 1876

Yuma Territorial Prison from 1876

6 prisoners per 9x7 cell with iron bunks

6 prisoners per 9×7 cell with iron bunks

That's what they all say

That’s what they all say

Wooden Railcar at the Quartermasters Depot

Wooden Railcar at the Quartermasters Depot

We also hiked the trail through the Yuma East Wetlands.

Yuma East Wetlands

Yuma East Wetlands

1915 Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge and Union Pacific Railroad Bridge

1915 Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge and Union Pacific Railroad Bridge

So after a few days, we moved on to do a little boondocking near Borrego Springs in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California. We loved being all by ourselves in such a beautiful location.

All By Ourselves near Borrego Springs, CA

All By Ourselves near Borrego Springs, CA

Fellow bloggers ‘Wheeling It’ wrote about this area and described a hike near here in a slot canyon that looked interesting. We found the location and really enjoyed the Palm Slot trail.

Hiking the Palm Slot

Hiking the Palm Slot

This was a really cool hike!

This was a really cool hike!

After taking a scenic drive to Julian where we greatly enjoyed the apple pie, we headed to Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego. We spent a fun day catching up with our good friend Ray Torres, and making plans for more fun get-togethers soon. Looking forward to it!

We had lots of laughs with best friend Ray.

We had lots of laughs with best friend Ray.

By tomorrow, we will be getting settled in at our daughter’s house in Moorpark where we will be staying for the next 2 months. We’re really ready for some family time over this holiday season!

End of California Vacation

(This post has been updated to include our pictures now that I have resolved my media issue!)

Our vacation is over.  We are back on the road, after 2 wonderful months with the kids and grandkids in California.  Now … back to the serious hard work of being retired, traveling around the countryside, and all the responsibility that goes with it.  Like deciding where to go, what to see, what to eat, what to drink, when to go to bed, when to get up.  Oh my gosh, the list goes on and on.

Our vacation in California was so wonderful.  We just love being with the kids and participating in their lives.  Our days were filled with attending school and sports events, holiday parties, and lots of family time.  We love our life of travel, but it is so comfortable to be at home with them and we miss them all so much when we leave.  Lucy misses Ruby, too!  Our little doggies instantly reconnected and had so much fun chasing each other around, wrestling, getting into mischief, and sleeping together each night.

Lucy and Ruby

We’re excited to venture out in the RV, but we are going to miss these beautiful faces!

Five Grandkids Blake and Kimberly Garrett Basketball Kailyn Choir Spartan Race - AfterThanksgiving Pic - KimberlyChristmas Pic - SeanGarrett Baseball tournament championsPaige SoftballPaige at SoccerBrady's Pre-school Program

So much fun!!

We left last week (on Jan. 17) and stopped in Quartzsite, AZ for a few days.  We were curious about the big RV Rally that takes place at this time every year.  Hundreds of RVs camped everywhere, as far as you can see.  We found a wide open flat spot on BLM land by Dome Rock.  Getting to that spot and setting up would have been a snap if we hadn’t left Kimberly’s house late and arrived in Quartzsite after dark.  It was pitch black!  And we were driving down a side road in the middle of the desert looking for a good place to pull off the road into the dirt.  If we made the wrong choice, we could get stuck and not be able to turn around.  Very stressful.  But we were lucky and got a really good spot (verified in the morning at first light!).

Quartzsite AZ boondock site We spent a couple of days perusing all the vendor booths in the big tent, as well as browsing the outdoor aisles and aisles of independent booths.  The event is huge!  We had a good time and bought a few things that we are excited about.

We stopped for a day in Phoenix to visit Mike’s mother.  Eleanor is such a sweet beautiful lady.  She’s getting very forgetful, so visiting her is always a surprise for her whether she knows we’re coming or not.   It’s so cute to see her get so excited to see her Michael. Mike and Mom

Moving on, we stopped for a couple of days near Tombstone, AZ to do a little touring.  Mike absolutely loves the old west, so we had a fun day visiting the museums and shops and taking a tour of an old silver mine.  Also visited the museum at Ft. Huachuca.

Tombstone Main Street

Our goal to is reach Ft. Lauderdale, Florida by early February.  We need to sail our boat Aquila from Savannah to Ft. Lauderdale so she can spend some time in the water and be available to potential buyers.  So, once again, we are moving quickly across the country.  But we are stopping a little bit here and there to enjoy it a bit more than when we did this last November!  Our plan is to visit Carlsbad Caverns, spend a few days in San Antonio, stop to see New Orleans, and whatever else we can fit into the schedule on our way to Florida.  Fortunately, we absolutely love being on the road, and the road we’re taking is a beautiful one.