Saturday, January 24, 2009


Almost 2 years ago, I retired from Great Southwestern Construction. Yes, "work" is but a faint memory now. While the daily grind is behind me, I do miss the friends and camaraderie that went with working (and the $$$). Fortunately, I know where some of my former co-workers live! I contacted Sal, who lives and works in El Paso, Texas. Since we were headed that way, and it was the right distance for a layover, we made plans to have dinner with he and his wife Margie. As fate would have it, there were two additional project managers working in El Paso - Mickey and Vern. And the safety manager was also around. Wow, it was going to turn into a festive event!

We decided upon Mexican food (duh, easy choice!), and met up at 6:30pm at one of Sal's favorite places. Donna and I really enjoyed reminiscing with Sal, Vern, Kurt, and Mickey. One person had a change of heart, leaving for Albuquerque earlier in the day, so we didn't get to visit with him. I think it was a Keno thing. Maybe next time Jerry! After dinner, we headed over to Sal and Margie's for some excellent homemade cherry and pecan pies!

Saturday morning, Sal, Mickey and I met for an authentic Huevos Rancheros breakfast. Afterwards, Sal took us on a tour of two properties he fondly calls "Money Pits 1 & 2". Don't worry Sal, they'll be finished "soon".

Later in the day, Donna and I did a little sight-seeing in El Paso. Sal had told us several times not to cross over the border into Juarez. Evidently the drug-cartels are doing battle with each other and the Federales, and the crime level is up significantly.

Tomorrow we're heading northeast, back into New Mexico, to visit Carlsbad Caverns. After that, we'll head southeast back into Texas.

More Arizona

I forgot to mention in the last post, that a benefit of staying at Beaudry RV in Tucson is citrus! Every site had some kind of citrus tree planted, and they told us to take as much as we wanted. We had a grapefruit tree on our site, but due to certain medications we take, we can't eat them. But, there were lemons and oranges galore! We hadn't had fresh squeezed OJ since we wintered in Florida last year. The ol' juicer got a workout, and we brought a bag to Leroy and Carol.

Upon arriving in Benson, we got settled in next to L & C, then headed off to a potluck. I know, it's tough, but someone has to do it! Also, Emma the Yorkie got to meet Daisy Mae the Chihuahua, L & C's new dog. They became fast friends, and played and walked together a lot.

Emma and Daisy Mae "sharing"

While there, L & C took us on a couple of excursions so that we could take in some of the southern Arizona beauty. One day, we took a leisurely drive down to Coronado National Monument, where we had picnic lunch and did some hiking and picture taking. From the summit, you can see far into Mexico. We also took a tour at Kartchner Caverns, just south of Benson. This cave was discovered back in the 1970's, but was kept a secret by it's discovers until the late 1980's, when it was sold to the State. They wanted to ensure that it remained in pristine condition. Extraordinary measures have been taken to preserve it. Unlike most caves we have visited, this cave is horizontal, staying close to the surface. Because of that, it's warm inside, with an average temperature inside of 70F and humidity in the 98-99% range. Sorry I don't have any pictures, as cameras of any kind are not allowed. We also visited a very quaint bookstore, miles from anywhere.

Coronado summit looking towards Mexico

Coronado summit looking east (Arizona)

Stay away from the banditos!

Manly men with their manly dogs!
While we were staying in Benson, Emma had a vet visit. As she was 6-1/2 months old, she was due to be spayed. We had been in contact with a Yorkie breeder in Tucson, who recommended a vet who specialized in small breeds. We met with him 2 days before surgery to make sure we were comfortable (we were!). The Friday surgery was a success - besides the spay, she had 4 baby teeth pulled, and got a microchip. Poor Emma was down and out the day of surgery, but the following day, was almost back to normal. By Sunday, there was no holding her back. So much for limited activities for a week. Now we have one more week to go before she can have a I am fond of saying: "you stinkah"!

Emma is growing up!

After 11 days, it was time to say goodbye to our friends. Texas is a-callin'!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year!

Leaving SoCal after for 11 days was pretty easy for us. We had great visits with family and friends, but were anxious to find warmer weather and new scenery. We took a leisurely drive from Huntington Beach to El Centro, where we stayed one night. We stayed at a very nice RV park, but found the town of El Centro to be less than desirable. It's doubtful that we'll stay there again.

We headed east on I-8 the next day, arriving in Winterhaven, CA, our home for the next week. Winterhaven is the last city in California before you cross the border into Yuma, Arizona. Our first year out, we had stayed 2 weeks in Yuma. This time, the Yuma resort was booked solid, which is why we opted for Winterhaven. The park is on the west side of town, so it was about a 10 mile ride to Yuma and all of it's amenities. We basically hung out for a week, going to the movies once (Marley and Me), and doing some shopping at Sam's Club (exciting, eh?). We did venture across the border into Algodones, Baja, did some window shopping, and had a nice lunch at a very local cafe.

Would you eat here? We did, and it was good!

Donna and I have a game called "check-out-the-casino". We find the local casinos, sign up for the Players Club, get whatever free gifts available, and try out the buffet if it looks good. Sometimes they give you $5 or $10 free play, which is perfect for us, since we aren't big gamblers. We did this at 2 casinos in the Yuma area. We took our free play money, worked the video poker machines, and walked out with $16. Since there wasn't a buffet, we went to In-N-Out and splurged!

By the way, the weather, while mostly sunny, remained cool in the high 50's and low 60's.

After a week, we headed further east, to Casa Grande, AZ. This town is a mecca for snowbirds looking to escape the snow in the northern states and Canada. We had another peaceful week, and even got to have lunch with some of our Country Coach friends, Tom and Lynne, who live in the Scottsdale area. We also took in another movie (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). It's rare we go to the movies, but twice in the same month? The weather was still cool, but the temperatures were getting close to "shorts" weather. Another week, time to move on!

Almost a year and a half ago, we purchased our motor home from Beaudry RV in Tucson. We didn't go to AZ, we actually ordered it at a rally in Redmond, OR. They had given us a certificate for 3 free nights at their RV Park, so we headed off to Tucson. We have never stayed in the Tucson area. Our impression is that Tucson is a very spread out city! Not highly populated, but spread out over many, many miles.

We managed to do one touristy thing - we visited the Biosphere2, north of town. This facility was built in the late 80's and early 90's. In 1991, several scientists were sealed in Biosphere2 for a couple of years. Our memories recalled that it was an experiment to see if man could create an environment and sustain themselves. Our memories were wrong. The purpose of the Biosphere2 was to study 5 distinct environments (biomes) to see how plants and animals behaved in controlled conditions. The scientists were sealed in to monitor and record the plant and animal behaviors. Our tour included a walk through the various environments, labs, and housing. The tour was fascinating, and we learned a lot. In case you're wondering, Biosphere1 is The Earth. The facility has had a few owners, and now the University of Arizona is the caretaker/operator. We are unclear as to the owner is, but they told us that the facility is up for sale. Experiments continue, and a new study is being launched to study the effects of VOC's (volatile organic compounds) on the environment. VOC's are things like paint fumes.

Our 3 night stint over at Beaudry, we headed east to Benson, AZ, where we are visiting with friends Leroy and Carol. We will be here about 2 weeks, before heading towards our home state of Texas.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blogging Blues

With the new year, I decided to change the format of our blog. It's easy to do: you just find a template you like, click on it, and you're done. One minor problem: the template I chose did not have coding to allow a "comments" section at the end of the post. I've spent 2 weeks trying to figure out where comments went, only to find that the coding wasn't there in the first place. So, another template change, and that's why there is a new, improved (?) look to our blog!

And I'll get us caught up in a few days...I know, you've heard that before...