Sunday, October 28, 2007

Migrating South

We've traveled to our winter grounds, which for the next three months will be the Apache Flats RV Resort, located on Fort Huachuca (Wah-choo-ka) in Sierra Vista, Arizona. It's one of the best military RV facilities we've seen, with concrete pads and patios, picnic tables, excellent exercise and recreation facilities, and a super host. We even have shade trees! The only problem for us is that there is a maximum 3-month stay, so we'll have to look for another warm spot in late January. But in the meantime, we'll enjoy this park and the nearby commissary, great security, and nice views of the valley. Now if they'd just stop playing that damn bugle at 7:00 AM.....
On our way here we spent time in Las Vegas where our daughter Kim and her new husband Bill met us after driving up from Orange County. I didn't take many pictures and don't have much to say - Las Vegas has never been one of our favorite places since we lived there in the late 70s, and has only become more expensive and crowded over the years. Driving down from Reno we could see the city in the distance and what we thought was a cloud of pollution hanging over it; as we found out later it was cigarette smoke - everywhere we went the clouds of smoke made our eyes sting and clothes smell. On a positive note, we had a great time visiting with Kim & Bill, and our RV site on Nellis AFB was right underneath the approach path for the Thunderbird's return home. Kim, Bill, & I climbed up on the roof and had a front row view as they performed their arrival show.
We've had some inquiries on the new mini-blinds since we mentioned them and since we're aware that there are fellow Allegro Bay owners out there, I thought I'd post a few pictures of how they look. We're so pleased with the blinds - wish we would have installed them earlier and don't understand why almost every motorhome manufacturer installs the miserable to maintain & fix day/night shades. The mini-blinds are 1" wood, match the coach woodwork perfectly, and allow air to circulate through the open windows while still having a degree of privacy. I installed them with velcro on the bottom rail and inside the valance, so they don't move or rattle as we drive down the road. They were a bit of a challenge to install, but once I learned to remove the valance frame, install the blinds, and reattach the frame from the outside it went fairly rapidly. We ordered ours from and were pleased with the price and quality.
Brenda is back east making her annual visit to see her mother but will return soon. As usual after a visit with mom, it will take a few weeks of therapeutic neck rubs, hours of Johnny Mathis music, and a few bottles of white zin to get her back to normal. While she's been gone I've done some hiking; one memorable hike was in the Huachuca mountains, a three-mile trek that started at an elevation of 5230' and topped out at 6575'. It was a beautiful day and the trail passed through beautiful canyon country. I'm hoping to be able to walk upright again in a few days - right now I'm on the "Aleve" diet. Once Brenda is back we'll be out exploring - check back with us to see where we've been!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finishing Up Our Oregon Stay

We've had a great time on the Oregon Coast - wonderful scenery, interesting and enjoyable volunteer work, and great people; but now it's time to wrap up our stay and head for our winter home in southern Arizona. Our last week here was busy; we made a trip to Eureka, California to find a place that could replace Brenda's eyeglass frames, finished exploring the coast, and wrapped up our stay with a picnic lunch hosted by the park. We didn't have much time to explore Eureka, an eclectic town of shabby strip malls, lumber mills, and an interesting historical area, but did manage to take this picture of the former Carson Mansion, now a men's club. Back in Brookings, we traveled the coastal highway and visited some of the many oceanside parks. One overlook in particular was truly amazing; the view of Arch Rock from a wooded coastal trail. We were able to sit on a park bench and watch cormorants fish and listen as the waves crashed....what a relaxing place! State parks and overlooks are located every few miles in each direction from Brookings: we have to say that in our travels we haven't seen any state that has a more beautiful and well developed park system than Oregon. And they do it without a state sales tax!
At Harris Beach SP, it was a time of change; all of the volunteers were leaving on the 1st of October to be replaced by a reduced number for the winter (and fishing) season. Including us, there were 5 couples with RVs in the park, three of us full-timing. In addition, the park operated the rest area located across the highway, and a large number of local folks volunteered there in the visitor center. We all gathered at the rest area on a sunny day for the park's "volunteer appreciation" picnic, where we were treated to sub sandwiches, chips, and small gifts. The park manager, Ranger David, thanked us all for our efforts and made a presentation to a rest area volunteer who had contributed many, many hours. It was a great time to say goodbye to everyone and spend some time with Ranger Angela, who we'll miss - her energy and cheerful personality (and those tasty organic chicken and pheasant eggs) made for a wonderful stay. Thanks Angela, and have a successful fishing season!
Our route from Oregon took us south into California, then back into Oregon where we picked up I-5 South back into California and the Mount Shasta Area. Approaching the' snow-covered 14,000' mountain, it seemed that it was hovering in the distance. We stopped to admire the beauty, then continued on our journey through the mountains, through Reno, and down the barren and largely uninhabited US 95 to Las Vegas, where we'll spend some time with our daughter and her new husband. With a little luck, we'll double our retirement savings in the casinos and send you all a little something.....until then, thanks for stopping by!