Monday, January 29, 2007

How to frustrate a cat

The hummingbirds are hitting the feeder hot and heavy and Patches thinks she can catch them through the window glass.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Much Warmer Lazy Sunday

The sun is out, as are the tee shirts. Now THIS is Arizona.

Our arrival in Arizona first looked like this. The town of Benson sits at an elevation of approximately 3600 feet so we were right on the edge of the snow level.

Yesterday afternoon we were able to sit outside and enjoy the clear blue skies and early sighting of the moon. There were lots of mare's tail clouds flicking the sky.

We finally had the opportunity to try out Patches' new cat walk. Patches tends to be intimidated in crowded campgrounds and when on her leash will simply circling our fifth wheel rather than walk anywhere so we purchased the cat walk as a way for her to be outside with me while I sit and enjoy the sunshine.

While most hummingbirds have migrated to Mexico and other parts of Central America there's always a few that stay in southern Arizona and California. Patches had forgotten about these little guys and she's finding it very frustrating to reach up and "touch" the bird only to find glass between her and her "toy".

Roses are evocative of warm weather, right? Of course, this picture was taken in Wilson, North Carolina and not in Arizona but it WAS taken in warm weather. The raised rose beds meant you were at nose level with all the fragrance.

Finally, sunset at St. David, Arizona. Doesn't this just say "Arizona" to you?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bad News in Benson

Prior to our arrival in Benson I had seen an ad in the Workamper News for a couple needed to work in a local campground. What caught my eye was not the employment but the name of the managers--a couple we had worked with at a campground in Virginia a couple years ago. Denny and I decided to stop by and see how they were doing.

G, the wife, was in the office but her husband was in Tucson that morning. G went on to explain that there had been an incident at the campground the night before--their neighbor shot his wife.

It seems that the wife got up sometime after 11 PM to use the bathroom and when she was returning to bed, her husband woke up, saw her shadow in the doorway, reached for
his gun on the nightstand and shot her.

For those that don't own a RV (recreational vehicle) I should explain its physical
characteristics. Every RV I've ever seen has two locks on the entry door, one of which is a fairly sturdy deadbolt. All RVs are on wheels, which raises it above street level, meaning the windows are not easily accessible. Windows in a RV can be jalousie (crank out) style or sliding windows, which also have good locks and many window are much too small for a burglar to gain entry. What I'm trying to explain is that it would be difficult for someone to break into a RV without a great deal of effort and making a significant amount of noise. Added to that is the fact that one rarely hears of any crimeoccurring in a private campground.

My point is, if Denny or I woke up and saw a shadow we would automatically assume it was our spouse. The idea of waking up and grabbing a gun and firing it towards a shadow is appalling and contrary to every bit of training that a police officer receives. If you are so intimidated or so afraid in your RV in a quiet, peaceful campground then perhaps you really shouldn't be living the lifestyle. This man carries two guns in his RV and told G's husband prior tosurrendering his weapons to the police that it was probably a good thing he didn't have his Uzi with him. (!!!!)

The wife is currently recuperating at a hospital in Tucson. She had 15 holes in her intestines (she had been shot in the abdomen) and had been placed on a respirator and temporarily placed in a medical coma. She and her husband both say it was an accident. I hope so, but what a tragic and unnecessary one.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rambling on.

Vicki of Outside In had an extremely well-written post that included this quote by Anne Morrow Lindberg; “Perhaps middle-age is, or should be, a period of shedding shells; the shell of ambition, the shell of material accumulations and possessions, the shell of the ego.” Part of the Vicki's entry is about not being sure if she's home yet as she travels between Illinois and Florida.

You could put the words "full time rving" in place of middle age and the same quote would be a good description of the mindset of those of us who travel the roads of this continent. We've given up houses big and small, rarely speak of the jobs that used to preoccupy us or formed the basis of who we were, have a different concept of the word "home". If you read the blogs and websites of those of us on the road you'll often see the quote "Home is where we park it", because we no longer have physical ties to any particular city, although the emotional ties may remain.

Denny and I are often asked our favorite areas and it's hard to know how to respond because the beauty and grandeur we have seen and continue to discover make it hard to choose. Red rocks in the sunset? You can find them in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Mountains? In almost every state of the union but in myriad shapes and sizes, bare rock and covered with lush forests, gray, black, brown, tan and green. Spring in the Midwest with its lilacs, dogwoods, red buds, daffodils and tulips? In the South with pink, white and fuchsia azaleas and rhododendrons? Out West with lupine, bluebonnets, California poppies, daisies in white and yellow, globe mallows and more? The technicolor fall of the East or the golden aspens of Colorado? The marvels of hot springs and mud pots in Yellowstone National Park or the awesome power of Niagara Falls. The white sand beaches of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida or the clean, quiet sandy beaches of the west coast of lower Michigan. I could go on and on, so how can one even begin to choose a favorite place? Denny and I have discussed where we would like to settle someday but there are so many areas that appeal to us for different reasons that at this point it's easier simply to remain in our traveling lifestyle for now. Someday, one certain spot may say to us "this is home" but for now we'll remain the RV Vagabonds.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not for the Faint of Heart

After seeing this it will be a while before I complain about the roads here in the good ol' USA.

Monday, January 22, 2007

An Unusual Sight

We had snow in southern Arizona. Actually we had snow all over Arizona. I think I'm going to pass on the water aerobics today.

Patches was bugging us to go out. Denny thought he'd teach her a lesson by taking her for a walk in the snow. Silly man, she loved it! She's the dark spot to the middle left of the picture halfway up.It's snowing as I type this.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Frosty Lazy Sunday

Another winter storm warning is in effect for this evening with a possibility of snow. Denny says we should have gone down to Florida instead and I'm beginning to think he's right.

Today's Lazy Sunday pictures have been culled from those I've taken since January 1. There aren't a lot of pictures so far since between having colds, being cold, bad weather and traveling the camera hasn't been put to use much. But here's a sampling.

Patches didn't like the fact that these oddly colored geese with the ugly heads were much bigger than she was. However, every time we stepped outside the geese were there begging and I discovered they loved dry cat food.

This huge roadrunner sits on a hillside near Las Cruces, New Mexico. It's made from junk and trash and is only accessible if you are heading eastbound on I-10. Naturally, we were driving westbound.

This unique variation of an Eurasian-collared dove was trying to feed below our window while we were parked in Vado, New Mexico. The mourning doves and standard colored Eurasian-collared doves kept chasing him away.

A pyrrhuluxia, which is very similar to the Northern Cardinal in shape and size but the only red he bears is around his eyes, on his crest and his tail. I'm hoping he'll perch closer while we're here so I can get a better closeup.

This was the view out our window at our campsite in Vado, New Mexico. They may be the San Andres Mountains, or perhaps the Hueco Mountains.

And finally, a picture of my crafty-ness. Valentine's Day heart earrings from our campground's beading class. $6 and two and a half hours of frustration (the lady that was handling the class is nice, but she's no teacher.)

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Additions to the Side bar

For those interested in where we've been so far this year and the states we've traveled in so far over the last eight years, I've added a couple maps to the lower right hand side of the page. Which states do we have yet to explore? And we don't count states if we've only driven through them to reach another destination--we have to spend time in the state before we add it to our collection.

The snow that was predicted didn't make it as low as 3600 feet, which is our current elevation. However, the mountain ranges to the north of us do have a coating of snow and it is still much colder than normal around here. No tanning yet for this snowbird.

Speaking of birds, my sunflower seeds have attracted white-crowned sparrows, Gambel's quails and a pair of Pyrrhuloxias for Patches' entertainment as she sits on the window sill. There's also a little tan creature that looks like a very small prairie dog or a very large chipmunk without stripes. That's something I'll have to research online so I'll have a name for him. I have a feeling I'll be buying more sunflower seeds soon at the rate the little critters are eating what I've tossed out to them. But the cat isn't the only one being entertained by their presence, so it's worth it.

We are enjoying just being in one place for a while. We had a problem with our black water tank valve handle that Denny managed to fix without needing the assistance of a RV technician as we had thought. Whew. Black water tank problems are not pleasant, but this turned out to be an easy fix. It's been too cold to do any outdoor activities with the two of us recuperating from colds, but I did join in a beading session where we made Valentine's Day heart-shaped earrings which turned out very nicely even if I do say so myself. Hmm, maybe I'll post a picture tomorrow. The activities director told me she shows up for water aerobics at the scheduled time and has the class if anyone shows up but it's too darn cold for that, no matter how warm the water may be. I think Casa Grande will be warmer and I'll jump into more activities there. We're still winding down from a very busy holiday trip/visit and our after-the-holidays cross-country jaunt. Okay, in plain English, we're just hanging around being lazy and loving it. Hey, we're retired, right?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dear Insurance Company--Seriously??????

Our weekly mail packet included our auto/rv insurance policies for this year along with the bill. We were pleased to see that the rate had gone done somewhat, especially considering that I had gotten a couple new quotes from other insurance companies and our current company was the lowest rate even at the former price.

What upset us, however, was the letter the insurance company sent along with our policies and bill, telling us that while we had received a discounted rate, we could have had an even cheaper rate. The letter went on to inform us that based on a credit report by Experian, our insurer had discovered three things:
1. Denny had never had a loan before the age of 25.
2. We have not had an automobile loan in several years.
3. We only carry one loan currently.

It seems that based on a totally arbitrary system of credit and loan histories insurance companies and a private firm have developed models of insurability that rate your driving ability and claim rates. You can have good credit, you can have a spotless driving record, but if you don't match the criteria of these insurance models you can pay more for your coverage than someone who carries a lot of debt.

I called the credit section of our insurer and spoke with a very nice young woman who explained the system to me, thanked me for listening courteously, but was adamant that our spotless driving record and credit history wasn't as important a factor in determining our chances of accidents and tendency to make a claim as the fact that we weren't heavily in debt. She told us if Denny could remember a credit card or loan taken out before he was 25 that would count heavily towards a further reduction in our rating. We can't do anything about the fact that we paid cash for our truck and haven't had a car loan in over ten years and it seems that the insurance companies want you to be carrying five loans to be considered an excellent driving risk. Not credit card debt, but actual loans for cars, rvs, boats, tuition, home improvements, whatever. We're higher risk because Denny didn't have loans at a young age, because we paid cash for our truck and because we only have the rv loan.

And you know what? Your insurance company is doing it to you, too.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


We're here. Actually, we arrived yesterday but the weather wasn't cooperating somewhere and so we couldn't get a good signal to get online with our satellite Internet service. Although snow had been predicted for the El Paso area the morning we left Vado, NM, we had clear sailing all the way to Benson and the sun actually came out shortly before we arrived. There were several semis that passed us coming from the east that were covered with ice and snow so we missed the bad stuff. Yay.

Patches is in seventh heaven. She has spooked two rabbits near the wash behind the trailer (that would be a dry river bed wash instead of laundry) and discovered that birds like to gather in the sagebrush to feed. I've scattered sunflower seeds below our back window and the black-capped sparrows kept the cat entertained for quite some time. Of course we were warned by one of the campground employees that a woman lost her cat to either a coyote or a javelina while staying here recently, but Patches is always leashed and I'm always watching for critters of any sort if only to observe them.

We're not warm yet and another cold front is coming through within a day or so. However, we know that the warmer temperatures will arrive soon and we'll once again be flaunting tans. And I don't want to hear about skin cancer, okay? I need me some natural vitamin D.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Almost There

Crossing Texas has been interesting this trip. Every campground we stayed at had free Wi-fi, although the most expensive and the least expensive campgrounds' signals didn't actually reach into the campground and Denny had to set up our dish to get online. What would have been a luxury a couple of years ago in Internet service is now becoming the norm, which is wonderful as long as the campground owners spend the additional monies for signal boosters so that every site receives a good signal instead of only those closest to the office.

We started every morning by checking the weather forecast and every day doom and gloom was predicted but for the most part our luck held in staying ahead of the storm. Today is our final leg of the journey to Arizona and we can't wait to be able to set up camp and actually stay in one place for a few days. As people who travel full time it sounds strange for me to say that, but our normal mode of travel is to drive 200 or so miles and then settle in for two weeks and then we pack up, drive 200 miles and start the routine again. To move every day is for beginners; those folks who haven't yet realized that they are no longer on vacation with a limited time frame for travel and who think they have to get "there" in a hurry, wherever "there" might be.

Texas is a huge state of interesting contrasts; mountains, valleys and plains, big cities, small towns and no towns. As we were driving through Fort Stockton we picked up the local radio station and listened to a solid 25 minutes of sports news that covered everything including the seventh grade basketball team's scores along with individual players' stats and the girls' powerlifting team's placement in the most recent competition. The nice thing is, I'm sure the townspeople recognized these names and could put faces to them.

I think that perhaps next winter season if we're still on the road (crossing fingers) that we'll have to spend some time exploring more of Texas rather than viewing it as a long drive to suffer through en route to Arizona. After all, how many times do they get freezing rain/sleet/snow for a solid week? This is a freaky thing, right?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Oh Sh*t, Oh Sh*t, Oh Sh*t

That's what Denny was saying as we slid towards the guard rail of the interstate overpass. Oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t, as he eased the steering wheel this way and that, following the errant path of the truck.

When we stepped outside this morning to prepare the fifth wheel for the road, the hand rail was iced over, as was the truck and satellite dish. We finally had those icy rains that have been predicted for the last three days. The truck doors were frozen shut but we got them opened, chipped the ice away from all the windows, put away our things and started out. The road looked fine, but there had been little traffic on this holiday morning. We pulled onto the highway and fortunately weren't going that fast when we hit that first bridge and started our icy dance. Denny did all the right things and although we got uncomfortably close to the edge of the overpass, the truck and trailer finally straightened out and we started to breathe again. That's when we noticed a semi coming in the other direction with his flashers going and driving well below highway speeds. Okay, this wasn't going to be a walk in the park today. For one hundred miles we drove 45 mph on the interstate and there were only one or two folks who passed us. The good news is that the sun was out and although the temperatures never made it above freezing the roads finally warmed and the ice totally melted and we made it to our next overnight stop in one piece. The newest weather forecast is for several inches of snow overnight and tomorrow morning so we'll adopt a wait-and-see attitude as to whether we move on or not.

For all those to the east of us who have to be out and about over the next few days, be careful. Ice doesn't always show up well on roadways. Remember to take your foot off the gas pedal when you are crossing icy bridges and overpasses for better traction and take your time. We were lucky today. Very lucky.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lazy Sunday Wishes for Warmer Weather

It's cold here this morning, but the freezing rains have yet to arrive. Perhaps we'll get lucky and get out on the road and into the next campground before the rains get started. And if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Malad Gorge State Park in Idaho. It's one of those overlooked little gems we enjoy discovering.

Llaro Rock overlook, Crater Lake National Park.

The White Cliffs and Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park.

A terraced hot spring within the Yellowstone National Park. Lots of warm steam on a cool day.

Another view of the Yellowstone River.

I would much rather be wading in the Colorado River as I am here in Needles, California than to be wading through the flood waters outside our rig this morning in 30 degree temperatures. Brr.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Observations on the road

1. The folks driving fastest in dense fog are the ones who don't have their lights on.

2. Ditto for heavy downpours.

3. The best time to drive through Houston is 9:30 on a Saturday morning. Sunday may be better. The morning of New Year's Day is the best (from personal experience).

4. People have forgotten what the words yield/merge mean on interstate entrance ramps.

5. Sideview mirrors are apparently fashion accessories for cars that are not to be used--especially when not yielding at entrance ramps on the interstate.

6. The heaviest rains occur as soon as you pull into the campground. Which is not a problem if you have a motorhome. We have a fifth wheel trailer.

We were about 40 miles from our stopping point today when suddenly the windshield fogged up. I glanced at the dashboard temperature gauge (yes, we have toys) and watched the outside temperature drop from 78 to 64 to 51 in a matter of a few minutes. The cold front had found us. We are settled in finally and all snuggly warm while the rain pours down outside. Checking tomorrow's weather forecast for Junction, TX, our next destination, we see that the Weather Channel is predicting doom and gloom--inches of freezing rain and cold, cold temperatures. We'll watch and see what happens and if necessary we'll stay put for another day and just drive a much longer stretch when the weather is better. After all, driving on I-10 in Texas west of the hill country is going to be pretty boring whether you're driving 4 hours or 6 hours and traffic is pretty light out in that section of the state. But I am anxious to get back to the land of the sunshine and shorts. Rain and cold, get thee behind me.

Stay warm, y'all.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hitting the Road

We're moving on today, heading west across Texas. The weather forecast says there's a strong cold front moving across the state and nighttime temperatures will be in the 20s with freezing rain during the day. Just the kind of weather you want when you have to drive hundreds and hundreds of miles.

Online service will be sporadic or nil, so I won't be posting on a regular basis, if at all, this week. Stay turned, you'll hear the euphoria when we reach Arizona.

Safe travels, y'all.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Little Hokey in a Pokey Little Town

My agenda yesterday was simple; we would hit a few geocaches, stopping midway to check out the local golf course and find the price to play 18 holes, continue with the rest of the caches and finish off by hitting Wally World for more cold meds and Kleenex.

Simple enough until we hit the fourth geocache and discovered the UCM (you-see-'em) Museum in Abita Springs, touted as an eccentric museum. Eccentric indeed, also eclectic, cluttered, junky, tacky, weird, tasteless and...need I go on? Housed in a former gas station, the museum cum gift shop cum junk yard is irresistible simply due to its extreme funkiness. You wander through just shaking your head at the exhibits and wondering what was in the owner/creator's mind. Strangely enough, among the hundred or so paint-by-number oil paintings that plaster the walls I found a pair of Chinese coolie paintings that were the same 50s set that my mother had painted years ago. That was spooky.

If you happen to be wandering the north shore area of Lake Ponchartraine and have nothing better to do with $3 stop by and wander around this little idiosyncracy near downtown Abita Springs.
Note how happy Denny was to be posing with Alligator Girl for me. Heh.
Giant alligator fish. Err, Bassigator. How amazing! How incredible! How hokey!
Okay, this one I liked. Call me sick.
On everyone's fashion list is the purseigator or crocipurse, shown behind the duckigator--or is it alliduck?
Here for your edumacation and amazement is a gen-u-wine dead mermaid. Believe it--or not.

Folks, I could go on, but I think that's more than enough for one day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We Can Dish It Out

Moving from place to place Denny and I have a series of jobs that need to be done to get our fifth wheel all set up and ready to live in for the week. Denny backs into the campsite, with visual or verbal assistance from yours truly, I unhitch the trailer after it's leveled and in the proper position. Denny hooks up the water, the electrical power and the sewer line while I'm opening the slide out rooms inside and repositioning the furniture which was secured for travel. After all that is done, it's time to gird our loins for the battle--putting up the satellite dishes. Note that this is only a problem in the eastern half of the country where there are an abundance of trees. Also note that we have been in the eastern half of the country since April. Aye, there's the rub.

For those of you in stick built homes, you have a nice installer come out and run cable into your home for your TV, phone and Internet service. Perhaps you even have satellite TV or Internet if you live farther out in the boonies. But a service provider handles the set up for you. When we move from place to place, we have to do this ourselves and believe it or not, this is what provides the greatest amount of friction between Denny and me. It is truly the only time we ever yell at each other. It goes like this: I find the coordinates for both the TV satellite dish and the Internet satellite dish. There are three sets of coordinates for each; azimuth (side to side), elevation (up and down) and skew (tilt of dish). We have a special compass we set to line up the dishes to the proper azimuth and special meters that signal when we've found the proper satellites to receive a signal. Two different wrenches for tightening bolts when the dishes are aligned. Two sets of cables to connect the dishes to the fifth wheel. A level to make sure the support tripods are perfectly level which is absolutely mandatory for receiving a signal and proper alignment. It's sounding complicated, isn't it?

Okay, here we go. First you find a spot that has a clear opening to the southwestern sky. If there are no trees, or few trees, Denny will attach the TV dish to the ladder-mounted bracket he created. This takes five minutes and we'll have a signal within another five minutes. If there are trees too near, he'll have to take the dish down and set it up on the tripod. This is when the grumbling and cussing begins, because Denny's idea of where a clear shot of the sky and my idea of a clear shot of the sky differ vastly. Which means that Denny sets up the dish, turns it back and forth attempting to locate the signal, has no luck. After 20 minutes he gives up and I try. When that doesn't work I suggest moving the dish, which brings more grumbling (I'm being kind here) and "you do it". This can happen several times until we find the right spot. In Cochran, GA it took us three hours and even then we lost the signal and I had to try it all over again the following day. Now that the TV dish is up we can start on the Internet dish. Sometimes, the Internet dish will then go up in ten minutes, which eases a lot of the stress, but sometimes, as was the case here in Louisiana, we had to move its dish (which is quite heavy) 50 feet to find the signal. This particular set up was aggravated by the fact that someone *whistling innocently* left the handheld two-way radio on the last time it was used, running the battery down so that I had to walk the length of the fifth wheel to yell out the window to Denny to report the status of the signal. It was not pretty, although I'm sure the neighbors were entertained. Because we would have been in their place. It was definitely a two-drink set up day. With lots of yelling.

While I've made this sound quite complex and aggravating, on a normal day we get both dishes set up in a total of about 20 minutes. We have a routine that we follow and we have an idea of where the dishes should be pointed and find our clear spots before we set them up. We preset the elevation and skew before mounting the dishes to their tripods or brackets so it's a matter of just swinging the dishes side to side to find the initial signal and then fine tuning them by making minute movements up and down. But every once in a while, just to shake things up, we have one of those bad dish days where one or the other will take an hour or two or four and Denny and I get to yell at each other. And drink. Which is when the cat hides. Smart cat.


It's been quiet here at Chez Sickie. With both Denny and I down with bad colds the only outings we've been on are trips to the store for cold meds and Kleenex. We hope to try some geocaching today if it warms up just to get the blood moving a bit. We have to pass on trying out the local golf courses this time around, but I figure we'll be back someday because this is a nice campground (in spite of the trees which made it extremely hard for Denny to find our satellite signals--a whole 'nother story).

Hmm, I guess I could explain about setting up the satellite dishes. Next post.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Lazy Sunday Pictures That Make Me Smile

After whining about having a cold this week I received bad news about two very dear friends. There's nothing like a little reality to make you realize how good life really is and how much you should appreciate the time you have here.

Thus, this week's Lazy Sunday pictures are things that make me smile--small events and people in our everyday lives that I did appreciate at the time and still appreciate now.

This young man has been making me smile since the day he was born. Darby truly has an infectious grin inherited from his father, not the "I'm smiling for a picture" thing he's got going on here.

Kara and Marissa were absolutely estatic over making Snickerdoodles with Grandma this Christmas. They discovered that making them was more fun than eating them!

Our good friends Brian and Judy stopped by to visit us one day while we were in Pahrump, Nevada. We were entertained by the antics of this roadrunner, who took time out in his posing to catch himself a lizard for dinner. Delightful.

Denny and I met John Howard at the Black Canyon of the Gunnsion State Park in Colorado in September of 2004. John was traveling from Texas and was en route to meet his brother in Idaho where they were going to explore some of the national parks. He was fascinated by our lifestyle and we kept bumping into him throughout the park, in effect spending hours with him. We communicated for a short while by e-mail, but the last time I sent an e-mail his address was no longer in effect. I'm sorry to have lost touch with him because his fascination with our lifestyle reminded us of how lucky we are to be able to travel as we do.

John took this picture of Denny and me, unbeknowst to the two of us. It's rare to catch Denny smiling for a picture.

These sculptures just outside of the tiny ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada were just so funky-fun they are irrestible.

This little guy lived beneath a shed near our campsite in Othello, Washington. He would come out to nibble the tender dandelion greens after sniffing carefully for predators.

Stuck in Never-neverland

Blogger is very, very uncooperative today. The Lazy Sunday post will appear as soon as the storms pass through Louisiana (more tornado watches) and Blogger wakes up.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Tornado sirens woke us up at 6 AM today. Gentle rain was falling on the roof as we scrabbled for clothing to toss on, flinging the bed up to grab Patches' cardboard carrier so we could carry her to the office with us. By the time I had grabbed my purse and the cell phone the rain had changed to a deluge and the three of us were soaked to the skin. The office was open and waiting for us because the weather service had warned of potential bad weather the night before. The nice thing about this campground is that it is brand new and the office and bath house were both constructed of 12 inch thick concrete that can withstand winds of 250 mph, which is comforting to know when you're confronted with the possibility of a tornado.

We sat with cups of coffee watching the local weather to see how long the threat lasted. Fortunately, the brunt of the storm passed us by and we were able to go back to our fifth wheel within a half hour. By 8:30 AM we were on the road, by 10 AM the sun peeked through the clouds and by the time we were passing by Biloxi, MS there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Ah, the vagaries of the weather.

The folks parked next to us won't have it as good--they were headed east through Florida which meant they'd either be following or driving right into the rains and more possibilities of tornadic activity. That's another reason to winter in Arizona--you won't hear of a lot of tornadoes out there. No mudslides, no earthquakes, few wildfires. Just sun and desert. Where people forget how to drive when it rains (seriously!) We'll get there....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

On the Back Roads Again

Our ringtone has been changed back from "Let it snow" to "On the Road Again". We'll be leaving today for Montgomery, AL, this time following mostly US highway routes to save mileage and as a change of pace from all the interstate driving we've done in the past two weeks and will continue to do in another week as we once again trek cross-country. It will be interesting to see how Patches reacts to the packing up necessary to move in the slides and prepare the rig for travel since it's been a month since we've moved. She seemed to understand that meant a long trip in the truck and she would settle on the truck's console for a long nap as we drove from one campground to the next.

The weather forecast is for heavy rains the next two days--not our favorite weather for travel. However, it's much preferable to snow, right? I have a friend who flew back to Denver for Christmas with her family--now THAT'S snow! I guess if you grew up in Colorado you would be used to those levels of snow, but the idea makes me shudder. I am so ready to put on a pair of shorts and pack away the sweaters.

Denny and I will just spend the one night in Alabama and then head out to Louisiana for a week's stay. We've been trying to visit this particular campground in our membership system for a while but circumstances have prevented us from doing so. It will be nice to see a new park since we'll be visiting all the old standbys once we arrive in Arizona. But that also gives us the opportunity to see familiar faces once again so we're anxious to return to our routine. And the warm sunshine--aahhhhh.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Long Day

Our decision to return to Georgia on New Year's Day was a good one. We left at 4:50 AM, finding ourselves practically alone on the highway until we reached Cincinnati. Denny and I split the driving in 2 and a half hour shifts, listening to a Tony Hillerman audio CD to provide distraction on the long drive. We made the trip in almost ten hours exactly and quickly unloaded the rental car and then collapsed.

The fifth wheel is a disaster area at the moment since we just dropped stuff and I started putting things away a bit at a time until exhaustion hit. We laid down for a short nap at 3:30 and I didn't get up again until 4 AM this morning. Have I mentioned how much I hate having a cold? I think I was trying to sleep it away. No such luck.

Patches is happy to be home and wanted a walk right away to reacquaint herself with her territory. Despite gloom and doom predictions of heavy rain all day, we seemed to be behind the showers and the sun was shining when we arrived at the campground so it was nice to walk around wearing just a light sweater.

Today we'll return the rental car, replenish the refrigerator, put away our Christmas bounty and install our new toys. We'll leave here on Thursday for Montgomery, AL and then a week's stay at Abita Springs, LA which is an area that is new to us. I'm ready for new.
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