The Trick is to Die Young, as Old as
The real measure of our wealth is how much youíd be worth
if you lost all your money
The more I learn, the more Iím humbled by how little I
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart
"Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now
possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything."
The elderly usually donít have regrets for what they did, they regret what they didnít do - Unknown
When I get to a place for the first time and know it like
home, this is when I know my journey will be over
Anyone can grow older, that doesnít require any talent or ability
Men are like bank accounts. Without a lot of money they don't generate a lot of interest!
successful man is a surprised woman.
Cindy's January Blog
Feel Free to browse past blogs for plenty of travel ideas and many of the places we've been in our first 12 months on the road - 2007 Blog's
Well-behaved women seldom make history
Things have finally settled down after the holidays. For Christmas we had the enjoyment of our long time friend visit us for a few days from Las Vegas. We woke up on Christmas morning and exchanged our gifts, then spent the afternoon walking through downtown Sedona, admiring the beautifully lit up town with the gorgeous mountains as the back drop.
We stayed in the Dead Horse Ranch Campground for a few days so that we could access the surrounding towns that we so much enjoy. Our time was split between Jerome, Sedona, and Page Springs seeing as much as we could in the few days we had together.
As Christine left us to go home, we picked up our niece and nephew from the airport for a few days of nothing but hustle and bustle. My sister in law has five children, ranging in age from 3-13. I told the kids that she must spend her days cooking, cleaning and doing laundry and that she has my vote as Mother of the Year for staying sane.
The kids were always hungry and filled to the rim with overwhelming energy. Pat and I wore ourselves out trying to keep them entertained and wear them down a bit. The days they were here were filled with laughter and the family time was incredible. It really reminded me of the many great memories I hold dear to my heart from times spent with our daughter. I cant wait to see her in a few days when she comes to visit us.
I think young children have a hard time getting used to the lifestyle of a full-time RVer. They are used to an endless supply of water and having enough room to throw your clothes where ever they are taken off. When our niece got home she said the first thing she wanted to do was take a half an hour long shower with all the hot water she could use and spend some time to herself.
We brought in the New Year by trying to keep our eyes open long enough to see midnight come and go. I was asleep by 12:02 after a day of hiking and making new trails at the Tonto Natural Bridge.
We followed the water flow for about a mile up the river jumping from rock to rock and crossing the river where ever the trail would allow. We taught the kids what boondocking is and we all survived a couple of days of severe wind storms that seemed as though we were going to be blown away.
It has taken me a couple of days to recoup after everyone has gone back home. Trying to make this 200 square feet seem a bit larger for us to enjoy was a task all in itself. It seems strange to not have company for the past few days but that wont last long since my daughter is going to be here tomorrow. I am so excited to see her even if it is only for a few days.
We haven't seen her since March and it seems like a life time. I wonder if a parent ever gets used to the fact that their child is no longer a child anymore. I still think about her every day and worry about her constantly, but I know she is doing very well and have to come to grips that's she's grown up and become quite the adult herself. She is becoming such a well rounded person and I can't wait to give her a big hug and let her know how proud we are of her.
I will be back to my daily blog updates after she has gone on the 11th, but whenever we have company I want to spend as much time with them as I can.
January 9th 2008 Happy Birthday Mom!
What an incredible past few days. Our first day with Donielle was spent hanging out, eating, napping, playing cards and relaxing while catching up on things The second day however was not nearly as low key. Pat started off the day by taking Donielle on a motorcycle ride through the Tonto National Forest at a high rate of speed.
It was humorous to see all 120 pounds of my daughter wrapped in the armored jacket that will fit both Pat and I. As they took off from the parking lot I could hear Donielle screeching loudly from the get go. On there return I heard all about the 90 mph trip through the twisting roads while Donielle had her eyes shut the whole time.
Donielle and I thought we were going into town to buy a guitar case for one of her Christmas presents to ride safely home in. We had called a music store and it was only 5 miles from us. Pat on the other hand had a much different idea. He informed us that he had checked into this easy, back country trail which would bring us out into the center of Apache Junction.
He had stopped at the Forestry department to get some information on The Great Western Trail which leads South from Canada, traveling over 800 miles into Mexico. The Ranger informed Pat that this was a short 10 mile trail and would require a 4X4 truck to get through, but we should be able to travel it in no time.
Pat got a backwoods pass and decided that this would be some great scenery which would also bring us to the music store we were looking for. While four wheeling is not my favorite thing, I do enjoy seeing the back country and figure Donielle would enjoy it also.
The first two miles were not so bad and Donielle even drove for a long time. Many different types of cactus dotted the mountain side as we passed over the deep gullies and enormous rock wash outs. At a few spots we saw some rabbits scurrying about to keep hidden from our presence.
This was all fine and good until we got to areas which we had to get out of the truck to find a pathway around the large obstacles. At this point I decided that the panic I felt in the back seat was better kept to myself so the dogs and I chose to walk.
I continued to walk for at least 7 out of ten miles and at certain sections was joined by our daughter. We came upon a woman walking by herself out here and spoke to her about the trail ahead. She advised us to turn around. She said her friends were on four wheelers and they wouldn't make the trip either.
It was funny that here we are, the three of us walking to avoid the sheer hell of being in or on a vehicle, but as we passed the rest of her group on the four wheelers, they also advised us to turn around. One of the women talking with Pat said "The land became even more unforgiving up ahead, and they were too frightened to try it."
At this point I had gotten in the truck and told Pat that in no uncertain terms, we were turning around. He and my daughter both said that we should just press on since we were more then half way through the 10 mile trail, and who wanted to backtrack? I lost the argument and got out of the truck to walk again.
When we reached the section the women had warned us about, it had gotten so treacherous, all I could do was laugh from here on out. Every inch of the trail had to be sized up in order to pass. Donielle carried a shovel to either dig us out or add some dirt to the washed out trails. I had the two whining dogs and Pat had all of us yelling at him at the same time.
Our truck was getting so beat up and at this point I just knew the tires were going to pop right off at any moment. That was nothing compared to the doom I felt when we thought we were lost. The trail split off in two directions with no signs to say which way to go. At that point we ran over something that sounded as though the bottom of the truck was left behind us.
Pat pushed on and I was running in front of him to guide him when I noticed liquid pouring from the under belly of Bubba. I told Pat to call some one for help since we would make it no further than this. He jumped out of the truck, and as he looked below, he reassured me that he had just turned off the air conditioner and it was simply letting out the condensation it builds up.
We trudged on and at this point, my daughter who had quit smoking on the 1st of the year, broke out her (Just in case) cigarette and threatened to smoke it. Donielle and I were walking as I talked her out of lighting up and we looked up to the top of a hill and saw a gate!!!
Yeah! We high-fived each other and screamed for the completion of this maddening drive. We laughed and said how much we panicked and we were glad that we had found our way. As we reached the truck at the top of the hill, Pat was eating his sandwich and informed us that we were at the half-way mark. I thought we were both going to cry on each others shoulders.
We had so many more hurdles to cross and also got lost one more time before we finally did get to the end of the trail. When we did finally reach that beautiful last gate which would put us back on solid ground, I was so worn out all I wanted to do was take a nap. We found the guitar case and hurried home to take a nap.
Pat and Donielle fell asleep immediately while I cooked dinner. We ended up looking through the photos that I took from the days events and laughed until we cried for about an hour. I guess Pat was right when he said that every time we are on a family vacation and it is nothing but hell, those are the memories that make the best stories and keep us all smiling for a long time to come.
January 14th 2008
Well it seems as though things have finally wound down for the month. Pat and I have been adjusting to being by ourselves again with me being able to break wind out loud like I did before we had company. I thought this was going to be my New Years Resolution, to keep by creative air passage way to my self, but I figure that it's just not fair to Pat since he loves it so much when I share.
Speaking of sharing, Pat and I have decided to make a pack to one another to go on a diet. I know that this four letter word is what 90% of people chose as their New Years Resolution, but we're not going to go crazy with exercise or crash diets, just something simple to keep us in good health.
The main staple to this diet that I am concocting is BEANS! This is going to be so much fun in our quaint space of 200 square feet. My plan is to cut down on the portions of meat that we eat and fill that space with the protein and fiber filled musical fruit. Maybe we will save some money on propane and wont have to turn the heat on as much during those cool Arizona nights.
So far so good as far as the recipes that I have come up with to fill our diet plan. I am also making a substitution on our sandwiches for home made guacamole instead of mayo. We will eat 3 meals a day and 3 snacks a day for the next two weeks and all will be natural foods, not boxed or processed. If nothing else I think we will probably feel better.
Another part of our plan is to exercise every day for at least one hour. This is not to say that we don't already do some hiking or something at least 3 times a week, but it has not been enough to make a difference in our weight. I am stuck on the 160lb. mark, leaving the 177lbs. I topped the scales at back in Florida this time last year. Pat however is the most he has weighed in a while at 172. Not that 172 is big, it's just that buttoning his pants is getting very difficult and uncomfortable.
I have some recipes that I might share with you guys if I can figure out measurements for the ingredients. I have never owned a cook book nor a measuring cup in all of my life, so that's what makes it hard for me. I might invest in some of those spoons and cups just so I can share them. I will also include the fat and cholesterol and all that stuff and reasons why I use the ingredients that I do. I am going to have Pat put a recipes page on the site and start posting our favorite items that we both love.
I sure do miss my daughter, we had such a great time together and I am thinking that maybe she is to the age where I am not such an old bore anymore and she enjoys my company again. Everyone told me that would happen, but I had a hard time believing it. We laughed so hard until we both had to wipe the tears from our eyes. The feeling of a mother giving her child a big huge hug and a kiss is like nothing else in the world, I don't care how old they are.
January 15th 2008
Yesterday we decided to get onto our bicycles since we haven't ridden them in months. For our one hour daily exercise ritual, we were going to start out by riding the curvy up and down roads of the Bush Hwy for a half an hour each way from the campground. As we were heading down the highway, Pat noticed a couple of cars on the side of the road, one of the vehicles had a flat tire with a few people standing around scratching their heads.
I was ahead of Pat and I heard him say "Is everything OK?" I knew at that point to turn around because knowing Pat like I do, he would not pass a vehicle that could be stranded, even if he was on his bike. I heard the gentleman respond with a "Thank You for stopping, but I think we will need to wait for a vehicle with a socket set. "
Pat explained to the stranded people that we have a camper just a 1/2 mile up the road and he could ride his bike back to get our vehicle which had everything they would need to change the tire.
In the mean time I got a chance to know Mr. and Mrs. Schmid and their neighbor Barry. The Schmids spend their winters in this part of Southern Arizona to escape the blustery winters of Canada, and Barry has come to escape that same cold while at a business meeting near by. We talked about what Pat and I are doing on our journey, our families, our love of the Sonoran Dessert and their employment. It was quite ironic actually that Barry works for DT Tire Distribution, a tire company back in Canada.
By the time Pat had returned and the tire change was complete, I actually wanted to go with them on their drive through the dessert which would end up at the local casino. They were so much fun and we had a great deal in common. Sometimes things happen for a reason and I think the flat tire incidence really added to our day.
It's funny that Pat stopped on his bike since someone was already there trying to assist them in another vehicle. Who would have thunk that a bike rider could still be my MacGyver and help some one stranded on the side of the road.
When we got back from our bike ride we did some cleaning up around our humble abode and I made some beans for lunch! I think Pat is already sick of this diet I have him on. I have his cooperation for two weeks and then we'll see what happens. As for now, he's walking around with the ear phones he wears for shooting our guns and a close pin on his nose and looks quite hysterical. I'll try and sneak a picture of it to share with you all.
January 16th 2008
Pat and I took the dogs for an extremely long walk along the river banks for our exercise yesterday. This is such in incredible area to explore and get to see the flora and fauna of Arizona. We luckily landed ourselves in a park/campground located along the riverside so we get to enjoy the flocks of ducks passing over us on there way to another watering hole as well as hearing the coyotes at night with the many pups they nurture with them.
I think we have really grown to appreciate all that this small park has to offer due to the neighbors that we have met since we've been here. Every day at 4:00 we join Daryl, Gene, Jim, Kevin, Tom and whoever else might stop by for Happy Hour at Daryl's place.
We all gather for an hour or so and watch the sun set as we exchange stories and learn more about each others lives and how blessed we all feel to be living the lives that we are out here in the desert. Most of us have a dog which is a big part in all of our lives so they also join the Happy Hour crowd for some dropped snacks which one of us provides.
It seems like family here instead of a generic camping spot. Almost as if these are long lost relatives and we are trying catch-up on the years that we've missed. Daryl however has proved to be one of the nicest gentleman I think I have ever met. He has a way of looking at life that makes even the rough times more manageable with his bright out look.
All of the "family" has received a hand turned bowl which Daryl makes in his outdoor work shop. All are invited to his "Happy Hour" to sit amongst his many chairs that he packs with him for just such the occasion.
As usual, I am the only female in a group of at least 6 men, but I hold my own and when I get bored with the generator talk or the solar panel discussions, I just mosey on home to warm up while they finish their guy talk.
Back to our walk along the river banks. As we were about an hour into our hike we started talking about the large amounts of trash that has been discarded into the Salt River. I am pretty sure that most of it is from inner tubes and kayaks tipping over when the river is flowing at full force. One bad move while drinking alcohol on the water and everything is lost.
The reason that I know this is because unfortunately I am guilty of doing the same thing in my earlier days; more times than I wish to admit. As I got older and wiser, I started to buy coolers that have lockable tops so that if the cooler was lost, it would float to the side and could be picked up, intact by the next paddler if it got away from me.
Now that Pat and I pretty much run rivers for sport instead of for alcohol intake, our only cooler is small and contains no glass or cans and is Velcroed to the top of the kayak.
After seeing all of this trash we decided to come down tomorrow to do some river clean-up and maybe we can make a dent in this area at least.
January 17th 2008
We accomplished our river clean-up and man what a chore. I don't think we made a dent in the plethora of cans and bottles that liters the scenic area. We only had two industrial strength plastic bags with us so that is what we brought to fill. I picked up plastic and Pat picked up aluminum cans with our trusty grabbers like the people in orange suits use on the highways. This trip turned into a four hour excursion.
It seemed like just as I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, a new area would be found with hundreds of cans in it. After Pat had filled his bag with cans, we decided to use mine for cans also.
We stomped them flat which would save room, then put them in the bags. I kept saying "Pat I am not going to be able to carry this bag back it is so heavy and we have a mile at east to hike out of here." Pat said, "I used to be a cabana boy and would carry 100lb bags of wet towels two at a time, I will carry both of them."
I didn't count the amount of cans I put in my bag, but I would say at least 500 of them were in there. The thing weighed at least 50-60LBS and was very awkward to carry since it was sooo full with sharp edges of aluminum poking out at all angles.
When it came right down to it, we decided that we would have to come back on the next warm day and do this again since we could still see hundreds of cans lying about. We tied up the bags and Pat tried to throw them over his shoulder. He walked for about 15ft like this and then decided he would carry them like he was using a curling bar.
The poor fella looked so uncomfortable and only made it about 20ft that way. I ended up carrying one and he carried the other for as long as possible. It was humorous the way both of us would dredge along with the huge bags on our backs.
Pat figured out a way to carry his like a hobo with the bag hanging off a stick behind him. I was lucky enough to be able to use some of the trash we found. I looked into the sand as I was resting my back for a bit and there was a broken tow strap with a hook on the end. I was able to attach the hook through the top of the bag where we had tied the knot and held onto the long strap which made carrying the awkward bundle pretty simple.
We gave the 100 or so pounds of aluminum cans to a man who is riding his bike across country and staying in a tent here near the campground. I know he can take these back and get the money for them and it relieves us of finding out where to do that at.
As I woke up this morning I thought that someone had wrapped the back of my legs in lead. I am so sore I can hardly move without cringing due to finding those long forgotten muscles this chore had found. It feels great though and knowing we did something for the environment is just icing on the cake.
I think we might just make this a habit and keep a running total of the pounds of trash that we remove from the neglected parts of the earth we visit. I keep saying that I want to make an impact on our footprint while were here so maybe that will be a positive impact.
January 19th 2008
This morning we got up early and cleaned up the camper and tended to the dog walking and breakfast. Our friend Nancie from Scottsdale came to visit so that we could complete the Apache Trail which Pat and I started the other day. By the time Nancie got here, we were basically ready to head out since we knew this would be at least a five hour trip.
We had to give her the tour of our little hiding spot on the Salt River before we left because we have talked so much about it, then into the truck with Myself, Pat, Nancie and Daisy her dog. All of our friends know that we are dog lovers so we don't mind when other people include their pets on our little excursions.
Our dogs get car rides and long trips everyday, so Daisy was the special dog today. She and I sat in the back getting to know each other while we all caught up on what we had missed over the holidays and any other good stuff to talk about.
As we got onto the Apache Trail we all began with "This place is just awesome" Although all of us have been as far as Tortilla Flats before, it is still a treat to wind through the never ending mountainous beauty. We stopped a few times to take some photos of the incredible sloping peaks which seem as though you could just fall right off of, if ones not to careful of the terrain.
We made our first stop for lunch at the Superstition Saloon which was packed. The outside patio/coral had about 100 people crammed into it, while people waited for a chance to enjoy some grub in a long line outside. We opted to go inside and see if we could saddle up at the bar. To our surprise we got 3 seats right away.
Pat and Nancie had a burger and I chose Nachos. Me meal was piled at least 8 inches off the plate with a huge mound of nachos and everything else that goes along with this belly buster. I am sure that I made the best choice for lunch since it was also my dinner on the long ride home.
The arrow is pointing to the part of the road we had just left.
After we left the Tortilla Flats we drove on a paved road for about 2 miles until we reached the gravel part of the Trail. This is when it really started to get interesting. We twisted and turned over the saguaro covered peaks, side winding down the narrow road, hoping to stay on course as not to meet our maker.
With no guard rails to let you know when you are too close, this proves to be quite a heart pounding ride. We took it slow and easy, pulling as close to the edge of the road as often as possible to let others slip by us, headed for the safety of the paved road that we had just left.
Our next pit stop was at a spot located on Apache Lake. I bet this place is hopping in the summer time with sand volleyball courts, tetherball rings, horse shoes and the patio picnic area which over looks the Indian head which has been carved into the side of the mountain by father time and the weather.
Although it is probably busy in the winter, the three of us were the only ones there. We shared a beverage and headed home since Nancie had some evening plans which we knew we were going to be late for already.
The Trail got even more beautiful with the views of waterways, lakes and rivers to gaze upon. The Trail also got more narrow with sheer cliffs holding the fallen vehicles in the bottom of their grip to prove that mistake could be deadly on the incredible ride.
We passed the Roosevelt Dam which looks like it is prehistoric compared to the more recently built water maintainers. Roosevelt dam has been here since 1911 and has recently been renovated in the 90's. The first building which was put there in 1907 still remains to watch over the activity that the Salt River presents. The Apache Trail was carved into these mountains so that supplies could be brought into the masons who first built the dam.
By the time we got off of the curvy scenic bypass, we were all ready for a nap, which I took advantage of as soon as it turned dark. I did wake up a few times here and there on the ride home while we flew down the mountain passes coming into Superior. It stinks that it was dark, as the scenery looked like it would be spectacular. We'll have to make a note of that and come back up here for another day trip.
It wasn't long before we pulled back into Mesa. We said our good byes back at the camper and planned for another visit before we leave this area.
What a great day, The Apache Trail comes highly recommended by me and I'm sure many of the other vehicles filled with gawking passengers that we came across today. Feel free to check out or Apache Trail Gallery to see some of the beautiful sights we saw along the mountain road.
Monday January 21th
Pat spent the day at home today while I ventured out to my favorite grocery store, Safeway, to restock the fridge for the week ahead of us. I also went to Wally World and to a swap shop set up on the side of the road. Knowing that I have no room to buy anything I just browsed the vendors stands and tried to pick up on a little Spanish while I was there.
I then returned the movies that we rented to the video store and got my money back for The Simpsons Movie. I think we are not meant to watch this thing. We have rented it four times and each time it will not play on our DVD player. They asked me if I wanted another copy and I told them I just wasn't meant to see it.
After my five hour shopping excursion I made it home just in time for our last 4pm Happy Hour that we'd enjoy for awhile. I think I should clarify our "Happy Hour" just so that my family doesn't have any worries about us becoming crazy alcoholics who don't want to work and just want to lead the life of leisure with people we have just met and seem to bond with. We are not alcoholics.
Our "Happy Hour" consists of one or two drinks and not always alcohol. The reason we call it "Happy Hour " is because we really enjoy each others company while we watch the sun set behind the towering Superstition Mountains which are at the foot of our campsites.
Gene, Tom and Jim have never even had any alcohol during any of our little get-togethers, we just simply get happy when we are all together.
This "Happy Hour" was different, we all had dinner together at Darrel's house which was absolutely incredible. We had steak and salad and fresh sour dough bread, finishing dinner of with some of my homemade runny, tapioca topped with blueberries.
We all laughed and had great conversation with a group of people that we all agreed were brought together for a reason. I think we all had a bit of a void in our lives due to one reason or another and each one of us had that filled. I really needed some long time friends in my life at this time and they all fit the bill.
Darrel, well Darrel is an entertainer and a host. I think he, like I, needed some close friends to enjoy our life style with . Gene wanted to see a bright future, he knew he was on the right track and had met everyone just at the right time. In the three weeks we have been at the Salt River, I saw Gene go from a semi-lonely guy who walked his dog alot to a strapping robust man who loves to smile and tell funny stories to make everyone else smile.
Tom is the camp host and he is settling into his semi-retired life style and wants to sell his home in Arizona. I let him know that when we see him again, I would absolutely love to help him with that. I have been Jonesing to clean or decorate something. Give me a shovel and I will dig up some dirt while I'm at it. I sure do miss those domestic things.
During dinner, I had the honor of receiving a turned bowl from Gene which is carved of lovely cottonwood. This means so much to me because I know what this new hobby has done for him. I also know what it meant for Darrel to teach him this amazing skill.
As we said goodnight, I knew that we would see everyone again, even if we don't have to come back to this part of Arizona, we'll make the trip just to enjoy another "Happy Hour" before spring arrives.
Tuesday January 22st
This was a long day of driving for us. It seems like it has been so long since we carried our house with us down the road. I forget that it is behind us all the time. (Thank God Pat drives) We took I-10 straight across to Quartzsite to stay for a few days. I guess that the Quartzsite RV Show is this weekend and it is supposed to be the biggest one in the US.
We arrived here in the dark and as I write this now at 5:00am it is still dark. We actually have no idea if we even parked in a campsite or if we are on the side of the road. This area is a 14 day parking area and I believe it is free to stay here. As we were rolling down the highway all we could see for miles on the left side were trailers dimly lit by there inside lighting. No street lights or any form of overhead lighting.
We found our way into this sea of RVs and travel trailers and stopped where it looked like we might not be in anyone's way. I guess I'll know at sun up how we did. As we were parking, this giant full moon came up over the mountains and made for a nice little welcome sign.
Wednesday January 23rd
We woke up this morning and figured that the first thing we should do is move the camper to a better area. We had put ourselves right next to the highway and had to deal with alot of noise and dust. I told Pat to just move the house and I would stay in the back with the dogs since this would only be for a short time.
Bad choice on my part!! We all faired OK except for poor Lucy, she looked a bit glossy eyed when we stopped. She followed that up by giving me back her breakfast. I thought it would be pretty much like them riding in the back of the truck. Wrong.
Pat got the camper all squared away for staying the next few days while I packed a lunch for the afternoon. We were out at the show and looking for action by 11:00 which is actually early for us.
The Quartzsite RV Show is huge. It sort of reminds me of a fair or a circus with all of the street vendors selling corn dogs, lemonade, anything fried and lets not forget the $8.00 Turkey legs. How many legs do you think they can get for $8.00? I'm guessing that is a pretty good mark-up.
I found a used book store which I bought a used paper back for $1.00. I had started reading a series of books which I have 1,3,4 and 5. I didn't want to start #3 until I found #2 so I was pretty excited for my buck find.
I also bought one of those miracle sponges that soak-up 3 gallons of H20 with a sponge the size of a deck of cards, OK, maybe that's an exaggeration but they really work well. I lost both mine and Pats when I tipping the kayak over on the White River trip back in Arkansas last spring.
I'm surprised there was still flowing water in the White River after two of those sponges fell in. Funny part is we had bought the first sponge at the Hershey Pennsylvania RV show almost two years ago. I guess the only people that use those sponges are RVers.
I stopped by the Nutcracker Sweets to get some of my favorite cinnamon covered almonds and Vernie pulled them out of a warm oven. Man were they delicious. Pat and I fought over them until the last one was gone. I had a chance to talk to Annette Olsen and Vernie Frost who run the business. They are such nice folks who said they have been on our website before since they are thinking about full timing themselves.
I think I spent more time talking to people than actually buying things. This is not how I used to be at events like this. I was always the one who said "No Thank You" when asked if I wanted info or a demonstration. I think its because I was always in a hurry. Now I talk just as much as the demonstrators do. They are probably thinking "Get this woman out of here!" and "How can she ask so many questions?"
There is lots of useful information to be had here under the big tent. Info on vitamins, flax seeds, energy drinks, sleep aids....you name it. One thing that I found particularly fascinating is the Armadillo Dollar. I heard a thing on NPR a while ago and it was talking about how the new technology allows us to go to the grocery store, buy your cart full of items, walk through the non-manned check out isle and delegate which charge you want them to use. All of this is done by computer, never having to scan items for purchase or removing your wallet from your purse to pay.
This sounds great doesn't it? Until this is put into the hand of a criminal who can use the same technology for his own purpose. The Armadillo Dollar disables the auto scan machine to read your card through your wallet.
It all sounds so futuristic and space aged, or maybe I'm just old and out of the loop. I think it is pretty cool though and if you want to check it out go to www.armadillodollar.com to get more info.
Oh my gosh, can I tell how annoying it is to go to one of these events with Pat!?! The whole day was spent saying "Pat we don't need that!" He is such an impulse buyer and has many times asked me to please control his spending. I thought he was going to buy one LED bulb for $45.00. He said this will last for the lifetime of the camper! The camper better last 50 years at that price.
As we walked away, he stomped his feet and said he couldn't believe I wouldn't let him buy anything. I reminded him of his plea to stop him from impulse buying and he understood.
I can't believe how many people brought their pets with them. From big huge dogs to some that were carried in a front pack which made them look so spoiled. Each one of them were used to this type of thing because we never saw any of the dogs pay attention to the others. I guess the more a dog is exposed, the better they handle crowds.
All in all we had a great day with a lot of walking. I forgot to mention that we sold our microwave to one of the vendors here. I have only used it three times since we started this journey and that was always on popcorn. Since I have decided to pop my own popcorn in coconut oil, I no longer use it. We have a bunch more space now to cram some more things in here that we don't really need.
Saturday January 26th
We started the day off with a real good cleaning of the camper. Since we got rid of the micro-wave we have sooo much more space to put things and I'm excited to move things around. I guess it's the smaller things in life that gives one pleasure.
We drove into town to get our laundry done. Man is this place packing in the people. We fought to find a spot to park to walk in and have only the two large machines open. This was fine with me since that is what I prefer to use anyway.
We actually left the laundry to wash by itself because it was so crowded it seemed like we were in everyone's way. We had seen a book exchange place that we wanted to drop off some things but when we tried to pull into the parking lot no spaces were available. It's just that busy this weekend.
We then headed toward the only available shopping places to buy a curtain and some tension rods for the new cabinet where our microwave once took residence. We thought that would suffice for the cabinet door until we can have some one make one for us. We went into the first place, Bealls Outlet, and all of the shelves of goods were so trashed that even if we could locate a curtain section, it would have taken days to sort though what they had to offer.
The check out lines (3) were 10 people deep so we said forget it. Right next to this was a Dollar Store and we decided to see what they had. The things they offered were limited and none of them were a dollar? Actually what they had was double the price that it would be in any Wally World. How can they call it a dollar store if they have nothing for a dollar?
We headed back to the hustle of the laundry matt and jockeyed for the dryer space. This place had more people in it than a department store going out of business. Pat was waiting for the dryers and I walked over to find that he had taken all of the clothes from the five load washer and put them all into one dryer! He cracks me up sometimes. The lady next to us was also getting a kick out of it herself as she giggled when I separated the loads into a few dryers.
After the laundry was complete, we went back to the book store and saw a line of people at the door but a few parking spaces were available. The first thing I saw was a very tan man signing books right at the entrance of the place.
He was a bit different though since he had no clothes on!! All he was wearing was a small sock monkey to hide his family jewels. We immediately took out our cameras and started taking pictures from the vehicle. We entered the store to find that this fellow is actually the owner of Readers Oasis Book Store.
We walked around to find some books to trade with him and then went to the check out isle. The fellow was actually very nice and easy to talk to. I guess he is very comfortable in his skin!
I really enjoyed the comments that we heard one woman say to the other lady in the check out isle inside the store. She asked to cashier how she could even work for a man like that if he was always nude. The woman replied, "He's my husband" which shut the lady up real quick.
I had been craving some pizza so we found a pizza joint called Silly Al's. We went in and again the place was rocking with a line out the door. We chose to sit at the bar and order some cool refreshing Coors Light's while we waited for our pizza. We each had 3 beers and a large 3 topping pizza for $26.00. This is the best deal we've had in a long time. The pizza was good and the people watching was even better.
Back to the camper for a long dog walk and an early bed time. We have made some friends on line and are going to be heading to Baja California and drop further down into Mexico for a couple of months with them as our safety in numbers guide.
I'm anticipating some incredible photos to post when we leave in March. If anyone has some suggestions for us on what to see, please send us an email to let us know.
We've also been working on our Book Review Page, so check it out and see what you think. Make sure to let us know if you have anything that you think might fit our style of reading.
Tuesday January 29th
I received an email from my sister-in-law today which in it she told us to read a poem she had found which reminded her of us. When her kids were here with us over the holidays, they could not believe that we had gone so many places for free.
"In Michigan, Austin said, everything costs something to go into. Here in Arizona we do so much cool stuff that is always free!" Apparently he also told his parents that who, with their five kids, two small dogs and a cat, live in about a four or five thousand square foot house. It is beautiful with two kitchens, a pool and is located in a great neighborhood. They have worked very hard for this beautiful home for their kids to grow up in.
As I say some people don't understand how we can live in such small quarters with one another for this length of time and be so happy. I think this really says it all. Thanks Monica!
"This reminds me of you guys. You are the richest and luckiest people I know. We are having so much fun following you around the country. Thanks again for sharing some of it with Courtney and Austin. Love Monica"
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a
trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how
poor people live.
Wednesday January 30th 2008
We arrived in Vegas yesterday and headed toward the Sam RV Park which I had made reservations at on the 24th of the month. Big mistake! The park is in a very bad part of town which a cab ride to the strip would cost at least 50 bucks.
When they say 7 miles from the strip, it doesn't sound like alot until the traffic situation comes into play. We said we would stay one night and then find somewhere else for the rest of the weekend. When we pulled in, the office was closed at 3:00 so I made a phone call to the office number that I had. I spoke to a very nice lady on the phone who told me that I had reservations for the 24th-30th not the 31st-4th.
I explained to this person that there was a mistake and I wasn't there at that time nor did I make reservations for that time to which she asked me to look at my confirmation email. I found the email and sure enough it was confirming the wrong dates.
Sams had already charged my card for two days for some reason to which she said she would remove one day only. The other day would not be applied to our stay from the 31st thru the 4th since I was counted as a no show and would have to loose that money. At that point Pat and I decided not to stay at all and instead went onto find The Oasis RV Park.
The Oasis RV Park is much nicer with an actual club house which offers Pilates, complimentary movies, a gym, a book exchange and many other amenities. To bad we won't be able to use any while we are here but I would recommend this place to anyone else. It is loud, with car horns, air planes, emergency sirens going off sporadically through out the night but it is only two miles from down town so that should be expected.
We settled in for a night of rest before we meet up with our buds for an exciting time.
Thursday January 31st 2008
I spoke to my friend Christine who lives here in Vegas and she offered to take me to a few places to buy some new boots. I have been at a lose for a while without my cowboy boots which I had worn out. I had them for 15 years and they were like an old friend.
We stopped at many different places until I decided on a pair of Dan Post which I like. I got a phone call from Pat just about the time we were wrapping up our visit and said that Derrick is already here and we were going out to lunch.
That goodness I got some new drinkin' boots since at this point the party is on. I wont go into detail about the afternoon I will just say that we had a blast, with gut wrenching laughter and the lets go get em' gusto that old friends have after a lapse of time has passed since we have seen one another.
Derrick and Tish had been an extension of ourselves for five years when we lived in Michigan. We went to any and every event together, traveled to luxurious vacation spots together a least twice a year and actually spent a lot of family time together. I miss them and their friendship so much!
Tish had to work until 6:00pm so we missed out on having her company for the day. We met up with Tish at about 7:00 to have a beverage together and say goodbye until tomorrow. She had some more meetings and dinner to go to so she took Derrick from us also.
Pat and I spent the rest of the night walking around, taking in all of the bright lights, big city. We had some dinner and walked it off before we headed home for some shut eye.