5th through 7th WEEKS IN A NUTSHELL

Animals Galore

11/12/16 (Saturday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

This was a glorious morning: while walking to the restrooms I saw birds all lined up on the roof ridge of those buildings, then turned to see a gray fox. It was just as interested in me, but as soon as I moved it clambered partly up the block wall near it, clambered down, then ran to the wall’s far end and climbed to the top of that wall, to continue watching me. Then on my way back to our RV I noticed a cactus wren on a light post scolding me. He followed me to the palm tree we’re parked next to, continuing his scolding. Fun to watch. Unfortunately, neither animal was wanting their picture taken at the time.

After I worked on the blog, we went back to Lost Dutchman SP for a talk on rescued critters. They were unique raptors rarely seen in this area:  Swainson’s Hawk, Eagle Hawk (it nests and hunts on the ground) and lastly the gorgeous Peruvian Falcon.


Because we were there, we took a nice 2 mile hike into the Green Boulder in the Superstitions, then on to home.  The first shows the boundary on our trail between Lost Dutchman SP and the Tonto National Forest with the Superstition Mountains.  The next shows the “Green Boulder” we hiked to.

Many Weeks Spent Purchasing and Setting Up New Computer For Trish

(The rest of November starting Sunday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

I’m just sharing our experiences in general because you’d get pretty bored reading about the same things. Starting this Sunday we began researching what computer would be best to replace Trish’s Dell that apparently was suffering from some hard drive corruption. We decided on an Asus (best repair records and reviews) and bought it online from Best Buy (Geek Squad for technical help). On Tuesday I asked Gary (RVer) if he’d consider assisting me in getting Photoshop Elements installed in my new computer. Because the new one would have half the storage space as the Dell. With a Solid State Drive-SSD it would have cost twice as much to get more storage space. He did a phenomenal job figuring how to transfer this program for me. It was especially difficult because of the many changes: Windows 7 to 10, old Photoshop Elements (PSE) 5 to new PSE 15. Hardest of all, from everything happening on the built in hard drive, to setting the data onto an external hard drive. Unfortunately, since we’re not experts, it took almost every afternoon of effort to arrive at Victory Day on November 30th. I also spent my spare time trying to get other programs working on my new computer. Meanwhile our spouses managed on their own. On the whole we kept our mornings free, so I could go to my exercise classes (Core/Balance, Yoga, Functional Fitness and Line Dancing) and accomplish ordinary household tasks.

We took some breaks on the weekends, visiting Kathy/Jim at Casa Grande, then they visited us the next day at Val Vista. The living situations are similar, with lots of activities and mixed park models and RVs set near one another. The weather had cooled so I made lasagna and pumpkin cookies during this time. Besides enjoying a native celebration at Casa Grande Ruins, we had fun buying cheap produce at Food City.

Thanksgiving Day was a special treat. We shared our potluck foods with a table of 11 that included Nancy and Gary. We really lucked out in that our host has a son who is a chef. With his son’s help he cooked the most wonderfully moist, flavorful turkey I’ve ever experienced. Mmm Mmm good.

John’s been playing golf with the same guys, at the same golf course on Fridays. The day after Thanksgiving he and I relished time in the Fiesta hot tub.

John had some challenges himself during this time: On a Thursday he replaced the support boards that were above the engine and under the bed. Dear Freightliner had not completed their responsibilities putting everything back after the coolant repair. About a week later, he discovered water leaking at the slide near his bed. He traced it to our hot water tank. After checking the situation out he called a plumber who spent most of an afternoon repairing things. On the left is our hot water tank and plumbing.  The nasty guy that was leaking (it needed to be replaced) is on the right.

Even in that case, when we ran our laundry a few days later I discovered that the water was very hot instead of warm. Eventually John found the problem. A couple hoses that fed water to the washing machine on the faucets had been switched. On another week (John was gone golfing) I and Gary, while working on my computer issues when we heard gurgling in the sinks. Couldn’t figure it out, thought it was related to the recent plumbing repair. After Gary left, as I was walking further in Miss Journey I stepped into water. Lots. I had doing our wash and our gray tank was overflowing. I dashed a text to John, not sure it I could find the right valve to release, but I did. Thank heavens because he never saw my message until he’d returned!

Since our life is now following a pleasant routine, I’ll just share when we do something special from now on.

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Gorgeous Day

11/5/16 (Saturday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

Finally, the temperatures will be in the 80’s instead of the 90’s. Woohoo! So what do I do on this glorious morning? I spent it working on this blog writing. I think John watched TV. He’s not swimming because he’s thinking a recent rash he’s developed may have come from that activity.

For lunch I had fun making a dish from frozen chicken, mushroom soup and mushrooms in our Instant Pot. It turned out well and will last for several days. I love not having to plan a meal for a while.

Our adventure today was shopping for groceries. We also went to Costco where I got the Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 software. It was on sale & will work with a new computer if I buy one.

Then we relaxed (nap for me, reading and TV for both). We really enjoyed the movie “This Boy’s Life” that John had taped previously. Unfortunately, the tape ended before the story did! Sheesh.

Visiting Our Neighbors

11/6/16 (Sunday)

Before church we cooked up a big batch of pancakes. Then we freeze them in packets of 4 for use on the following Sundays. Making them is such a big production (need to use such a big pan), that we like to get it done in one effort. Leftover shredded chicken in mushroom sauce was our dinner. I worked on reviewing our finances/bills, then we visited with our Canadian neighbors Cyndy and Jim. Lovely way to spend a day. Just before bed, I started to get symptoms of a UTI. Crud.

UTI Strikes

11/7/16 (Monday)

Sure enough, I barely slept throughout the night, needing to go to the bathroom often. It got worse in the morning, so I skipped Core/Balance class and called Group Health. The Doctor called in my prescription to Walmart where I got my pills. Whew! SO glad to get those pills. Now I’m gulping down water like crazy. Since I didn’t feel like doing much we spent our day reviewing our trip heading north for the summer. Funny thing, today I noticed that the left pocket on my shorts (that I’ve been wearing for a few months now) had been mostly sewn up. I just thought I didn’t have a pocket on that side. So I got to be a seamstress, ripping out the seam, then hand sewing the parts left unsewn from that.

At 3 we enjoyed listening to the Rambling Rose band play, getting to visit with Kathy (from aerobics class), her hubby and met Rod and Jo. They have a 5th wheel and are workcampers. This is just their second year here. They fell in love with the place and applied for jobs for this year before they left last year.

We finished our evening watching DWTS and the Seahawks.

Election Day!

11/8/16 (Tuesday)

I didn’t sleep so well last night. Still not feeling so well so I didn’t do any exercise classes. John and I walked to Val Vista Customer Service to check some things out. Speaking of checking things out, I want to share how the people here prefer bikes to get to their activities (over golf carts). Here they gathered at the Val Vista courtyard to listen to the band that day. They have several tennis and pickleball courts in another place.

I did take my computer to Hank in the afternoon, so he can work on it tomorrow.

After dinner I napped, then read. We watched the election results until bedtime. Things were not looking good for Hillary.

Post Election Day

11/9/16 (Wednesday)

We woke up to the news that Trump is our President Elect. Wow, that was a shock. Personally, his words showed immaturity and a bullying personality. I feel concerned and scared. I sincerely hope he will listen to the more mature voices that may be near him. He has the power he’s wanted, hopefully he’ll understand the responsibility that entails. He also has a Republican Congress to help him along, an entity that seemed to obstruct Obama in everything he tried to do, so he has a great opportunity to affect change. He’s made a lot of promises, so it will be interesting which he’ll be able to keep. Hopefully he’ll consider all the consequences to our American freedoms (especially Freedom of Speech) and American safety (threats of war) from his actions.

I managed to do the Core/Balance class this morning. Then I went to the Computer Club to ask Hank about my computer’s prognosis. First another shock: good and bad news regarding the Computer Club. They will end their “dues” requirement: I get my $20 dues refunded. Unfortunately, to get technical assistance, we will need to pay Hank, or Milt or others specifically for that job. Okay, fair enough. Just glad I wouldn’t have to find someone at someplace near Mesa. Next, Hank said his manual program to get the Windows updates accomplished got 188 updates and then went to a “failure” mode, where it was reverting it all back to where he’d started. That revision was still going on as we waited, then Hank had to leave. Thankfully, it finished okay before noon, so I could take my “sick” computer home. Hank suggested that there must be some corruption on the hard drive and considering this is a 5 year old computer, he’d buy a new one if he was me. So it goes, nothing lasts forever. Guess we’ll be researching and shopping now.

After dinner we shopped for groceries and checked out computers at Best Buy, where there would be some technical assistance when we leave Val Vista. At night we watched our tape of the Country Music Awards, a soothing experience for a rough day.

Lost Dutchman State Park

11/10/16 (Thursday)

I decided not to do the exercise classes today, although I could handle the laundry. I also worked at getting my computer files ready for the big switch. John went to a meeting and got a nice walk in.

After dinner we drove to Lost Dutchman State Park to check out getting to the hike we’ll be taking in the dark tomorrow night. Nice place. We even enjoyed walking the very short Native Plant trail near our parking lot.


Chain Fruit Cholla With Superstition Mts 




For our evening entertainment we watched TV. I’ve been soaking up several (4 so far) Lee Child books (Jack Reacher) since I got them from the library (onto my Kindle) at the end of October. His books remind me of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christi and MacGyver.

Veteran’s Day and Lost Dutchman State Park Moonlight Hike

11/11/16 (Friday)

Special thanks to all our veterans for their service and courage.

I felt well enough to try the Core/Balance and Yoga classes today. There were moments when I felt maybe this wasn’t a good idea, but I got through okay. When they were both done, I felt it was a good idea and as the day progressed I felt much more like my old self. Yay!

I got to relax (well with more laundry and reading about Jack Reacher) while John was gone golfing from 10:30 until 2:30. He had a great time with the same Val Vista guys he went with last Friday.

Since Red Robin was offering a free burger for Veteran’s, we went there for an early (to beat the crowds) supper. Mmmm Mmmm good, a great treat. Since Costco was nearby we stopped to check out their computers. We left just in time to get to the State Park for our 7pm moonlight hike.

Because we’d scouted the route yesterday, we had no problems finding our parking spot. The big surprise is that because it was Veteran’s Day, our car was allowed in for our “day use” hike without their $7 fee! Now the truly full moon won’t happen until November 14th, but it will be at 2am that morning! That’s why we didn’t get to hike with a full moon. Heck but that meant we landed on Veteran’s Day! We had a great time. It’s a 2 mile, easy hike (some rocks scattered along the path) and amazingly visible in the moonlight. In fact, some people’s flashlights created such a bright light that it was hard on my eyes and made darker shadows on the path that fell around that light. Still, it was fun learning about the Lost Dutchman Mine and the Superstition Mountains. The Dutchman (Jacob Waltz) came from “Deutschland”, he was German and he was never lost. He was a mining engineer in Germany before he came to take part in the American gold rush in California, then Arizona. Two of his mines yielded high quality gold. Then the story goes that he found a mine with the finest quality gold ever (some was found under his bed). He never told anyone about it until he’d fallen sick with pneumonia after surviving a flash flood clinging to a mesquite (short) tree for two days. He was “out of his mind”, making many maps, giving clues about this mine before he died. Some of his clues have been found to be true, others not so much. Thus the hope lives that the mine exists in the Superstition Mountains. These, by the way are the tallest point in this area. If any of the 3 dams on the Salt River (where the Phoenix area gets its water) are destroyed (earthquake or attack) than this whole area will go under water, except for the Superstition Mountains. The Apache Indians called them the “Crooked Mountains” and had a story similar to the biblical story of Noah. Guess where the “good people” went. Yes, into the Superstition Mountains. The finale to our hike was some time at a campfire to roast marshmallows – the giant variety. Whoa – that was a LOT of marshmallow but I was thrilled at how well we brought ours to melt in your mouth perfection, even with a very hot fire.

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Pool Time, Morning and Afternoon

10/29/16 (Saturday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

This time while I worked on the blog, John not only skipped the coffee/donuts opportunity, he swam his laps again!! Yay!! We actually now use an area off the pool that’s shaded for our Internet activities, since it’s close enough to the WiFi to work and it’s a decent temperature in the morning, in the shade. So we finished our morning on the Internet.

For our afternoon we watched the movie “Steve Jobs”. We sure enjoyed it. After supper we swam in the pool and hot tub, getting to meet Mark and Shirley. Mark enticed John into signing up for weekly golf. We finished off our night with our card game “13”.

Cards Morning and Afternoon

10/30/16 (Sunday)

We enjoyed our traditional Sunday pancake breakfast then attended church. We stopped at CVS to see if they had an A1C kit that wouldn’t expire. They didn’t, but they suggested we try a couple nearby CVS stores. Bingo!! We found the kit John needed. Since we were out we decided to go on to the Mesa Marketplace for playing cards, to replace the “13” cards I’d made wet by putting them in a cloth grocery bag where I’d put wet aqua shoes and a water bottle with condensation. They’d dried wrinkly, so we found some “small face” playing cards for cheap-$1/pack. On to Costco since it was near and John needed more maple syrup.

Our lunch was spaghetti with clam sauce, then we walked to the Val Vista Card Room. John wanted to find out how a Sunday group played “65” there. On the way we saw Bill/Jan and invited them to join us for a game in the Poker room. John found out that they have a few different rules for “65” and that each contributes 65 cents at the beginning of the game, hence that name. We had a fun time teaching Bill/Jan how to play “13”. Unfortunately, those “small face” cards were shorter on the long side than normal playing cards and it affected shuffling. Sometimes frugal doesn’t work out so well.

I made a simple fruit salad for my supper: 1 apple cut up and a handful of raisins. I had a couple slices of cheddar cheese for protein. Yum and SO easy on a hot day. We finished our evening with TV shows and our books.

Happy Halloween

10/31/16 (Monday)

A busy morning: Core/Balance class, light housecleaning, then a swim with John in the pool. The rest of the day I spent with my monthly organization of photos and planning our next path to Yuma/Winterhaven. Leftover spaghetti for dinner was still very good, the we just hunkered in Miss Journey with our TV shows and books. There was a Halloween dance that night but we were spoiled – many other nights we could listen to good bands without paying anything so we chose not to go.

Another Hot Day

11/1/16 (Tuesday)

Another busy morning (it’s cool enough): I cut John’s hair, dashed off to Water Aerobics, then returned for Functional Fitness class, while John went swimming his laps. We grocery shopped for our fresh ingredients for tomorrow’s meal: marinated Chili Garlic Sauce (sirachi) chicken and veggies. When we got home I chopped onions, mushrooms and red peppers as well as thawed our chicken breasts. Got them marinating in separate bags. We had our leftover spaghetti, then I got brown rice cooking in our Instant Pot. Again, we spent the rest of our day and night with books and TV. Guess our mornings wear us out, or else that heat is.

Hank Works On My Computer-the Saga Continues

11/2/16 (Wednesday)

Classes again: Core/Balance and Yoga, then off to the Computer Club to see if Hank (the local expert) can fix my computer issues. He tried until lunch time, his time to leave. I’m to bring my computer to him next Wednesday. At least it still works while all these efforts are going on. It also makes me think I may need to buy a new one. People there were saying that 5 years for a Windows computer is a common time for them to “go bad”.

Today John grilled (in the hot sun) our Sirachi Chicken/Veggies. Such a fabulous job-they were cooked to perfection and SO moist. Settled on rice, it all just melted in my mouth, filled with rich flavors.

For an hour in the evening (5-6) we found seats in the Fiesta courtyard to listen to the latest music, this time by a guitar player, Doug Bailey.

After supper, as we were enjoying our books, big wind gusts came up. We’d been leaving our patio and door awnings out constantly for most of these weeks here because there just hasn’t been any wind. Got complacent. This gust was a wake up call, especially with night already on us, so we brought in those awnings and the little headlight covers I put on the headlamps. Later that evening it stormed: thunder, lightening, huge wind and lots of rain. SO grateful we took that hint to pull in those awnings!


11/3/16 (Thursday)

We didn’t sleep all that well, with the rain and wind noises, not to mention the sound of things hitting other things. I skipped Water Aerobics (there was still intermittent heavy rain and wind), but did do my Functional Fitness class. Having replaced our kitchen table shelving covers with new ones on the table, I also managed to recycle them to a couple shelves in the bedroom.

The rain was a great excuse for a lazy day of laundry, reading and leftover Sirachi Chicken.

For some afternoon exercise we walked to Val Vista to pay our utilities bill, then had a great time visiting with our Canadian neighbors, Cyndy and Jim. We all saw very black clouds headed our way so we parted. Those clouds really let loose, so we were very glad to have collected ourselves into our coach, to watch TV and read.

Leak Above Sink, Then Gorgeous Sunny Day

11/4/16 (Friday)

Well, with that rain came a leak. Dang! Our Miss Journey has been so relatively repair free…. I was getting breakfast ready when I noticed something moving over the sink. Later John saw it too, then saw water. Sure enough the cabinet over our sink was dripping, with water pooled in both of its shelves. John checked the slide – the top was covered with water. Usually the topper (awning) would keep water from collecting there, but this time it was too much, coupled with lots of wind. This is our full wall slide, so it’s too long for John to reach much with a broom/mop. So I sopped up water most of the day at the cabinet.

Life goes on, so I went to my Core/Balance and Yoga classes. John left soon after for 18 holes of golf with the Val Vista group, so I had much of the day to myself. I went to see if the Open Art Studio was happening. Nope, nobody there. Since it was next door to the Computer Club I stepped in to ask some questions. Although I was halted by “Exit Only” signs. I walked all around the building. Then I opened the computer lab door to ask how I get into the Computer Club. He came out to show me – there was a door clearly marked “Computer Club” between the 2 “Exit Only” signed doors. Sheesh! Once in I got talking to a volunteer who shared his experiences with Apple products (very enthusiastic). I may have to make a decision there. He also noted that this week Costco has a sale on Adobe Photoshop Elements, that this may be a good time to update my very old Elements 5.0 version.

My lunch was a cut up orange instead of apple, still delicious and easy.

I’ve been getting lots of Lee Child (Jack Reacher) books from the library (Kindle), so I’m really enjoying them. Started “The Hard Way” a couple days ago.

Since the band was now playing at the Val Vista courtyard and this was a Manager’s Special (beer or wine for 25 cents a drink) I started down early. On the way I saw a gentleman playing his guitar. So beautiful. I commented. Pretty soon we were talking about the Beatles, reading music and the like. He’s Doug Bailey, the man who was playing the last time we enjoyed the music in the courtyard. Just down our road! I continued to Val Vista where I took a photo of the bikes parked here. Now golf carts certainly exist but the preferred vehicle for transit within the park seems to be bikes. All the more proof of how active this group is. I’ll include a photo of some of the daily activities for another clue.

When I arrived it naturally was crowded, all chairs taken, but I figured that and was just going to get my glass of wine, enjoy, then leave. Well, after getting my wine I noticed Jim/Cyndy and they invited me to their table. In a while John found us and joined the gang. Great music, nice wine. John was really tired and hungry though, so we left when I’d finished my wine. We had our normal Fish Friday meal, then relaxed with TV and reading.

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Cards With Friends

10/22/16 (Saturday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

We skipped the coffee and donuts (good for you, John!) and spent our morning getting computer work done. Mostly the blog for me.

In the afternoon we watched TV until it turned into a nap for me while John continued with his favorite shows. So hot, we just want to hibernate in our dark cave of an RV.

After our supper we joined 3 other couples in a game of “13”. Since Norma/Mike were our hosts (the party was at their rig) and also knew “13”, we followed their rules. Sheesh. THEIR rules made it a lot harder and they even took out the gambling part, just for us. Always a challenge in life.

Seahawks Struggle

10/23/16 (Sunday)

After church we went grocery shopping, even stopping at CVS to see if John’s A1C kit arrived. Nope. The manager said he’d ordered it but it didn’t come so he’d try again and suggested John call Wednesday to see if it came in. This kit will give John his blood sugar numbers for the past 6 months, so it enables him to not test his blood sugar every day.

Hot afternoon repeat: TV, books and nap for me. In the evening we watched the Seahawks v Cardinals football game. Hard to watch both teams fight so well, yet little mistakes (both kickers missed their chances in overtime) led to a VERY low score, then overtime to end in a tie: 6-6.

Nancy/Gary Join Us

10/24/16 (Monday)

I started the Core/Balance class at 8 am on M, W, F. Love it! We do a lot of slow walking, as you lift your feet one at a time and place them in a unique spot. Thus you create imbalance when you lift your foot and move it to, say, behind you, then you must balance as you place it on the floor. A handsome young man is our teacher, so that doesn’t hurt! One of the ladies asked why he was teaching us “old folks”. I don’t think he responded at that point but later he mentioned that his grandmother was 101 when she died after a fall. After this class I still had energy to give Miss Journey her first rather thorough housecleaning in a long time while John completed his laps in the pool.

After lunch we used the WiFi there, near the pool, in spite of the heat – we did enjoy some shade. When we returned to our rig we saw Nancy and Gary turning from our front door. They’d just arrived today and were out for their walk, stopping by to see if we were home. So we all continued on the walk with them, getting to see where they’re parked (yes, they’re also in Val Vista until Jan 1st, just like us!).

We had a quick supper, then dashed to the “Road Runner” band music. This couple did not impress us that well. John didn’t recognize most of their music. I felt the words were not clear and the music not defined as well. Plus, when they sang other people’s songs it just wasn’t the same sound I was used to. So we left early to watch “Dancing With The Stars”.

That night we left everything wide open when we went to bed, even running our Fantastic Fans. Shortly after we settled in, the rain came, lightly at first, then with lots of big drops, so my hero, John, ran to close the windows and the fans. At 2 am he got up again to open everything. We’re so tired of this heat – it’s breaking records for highs and the longest time in October with days over 90 degrees.

Milt to the Rescue

10/25/16 (Tuesday)


This morning I did Water Aerobics, then Functional Fitness class while John swam his pool laps. For lunch we had purchased tickets to the Potato Bake at the Val Vista Ballroom. We hadn’t intended to go to it because I can’t eat potatoes, but the activities lady said I had her permission to have extra chili in place of the potato. When we got our food in the buffet line, the server only gave me 1 ½ servings of the chili. There were other toppings: cheese sauce with broccoli, green onions and bacon bits. Oh well, I must admit I was stuffed when I finished, so it was probably just as well. The best thing is we happened to get seated next to our Canadian neighbors Cyndi and Jim, so that was fun. Plus we sat across from a gentleman who told us about the computer club and how they’ll “clean up” your computer. So after our yummy meal we walked to the building for the computer club. As we were reading the bulletin outside, a man opened a nearby door and asked if he could help. It turned out he was Milt and was involved with setting up their computer classes as well as helping people. He explained that the computer club didn’t start until November 1st and it cost $10/month (other prices for longer periods). He kindly offered to “clean” my computer so it would not be so very sluggish. So we went home, then I returned, bringing him my computer. He noted that I hadn’t done any Windows updates for a very long time and said that your computer becomes very slow with that because elements are busy trying to get that update. It seemed to be taking a long time with that so he suggested I come back before 3 (when he leaves) to get my computer.

Back at home John and I studied our voting pamphlet and the issues on our ballots and filled them. We got them in our mail yesterday. Then Milt called to say he’d need to keep my computer overnight for those Window updates to complete. I said that would be fine. I was so excited that he would get it all fixed for me.

We treated ourselves to a recording of “Trainwreck”. Great movie. I laughed and I cried.

Milt Has Bad News

10/26/16 (Wednesday)

This morning I did the Core class, then my yoga class while John watched TV and swam his pool laps. We cooked our pork chop with mushroom soup using our Tupperware Stacking cookware in the microwave. Nine minutes in the microwave is so much cooler than trying to grill when it’s getting to 100 degrees and John needs to come in and out of the RV multiple times as he checks its progress. Then we joined Cyndi and Jim at the Val Vista Poker room (wonderfully air conditioned) to teach them “13” – OUR rules of course. We had a great time. During our game Milt called to say my computer was ready. I left the game to pick it up. I thought he meant he’d fixed it. Nope, he’d meant that he’d done everything he could and it would only update 3 of the 127 needed. Even my Spybot program wouldn’t completely update. He did note that Wednesdays in November that Hank would be here, along with others more expert than he. He even left notes of all the things he tried to get my computer to behave. Sigh. I still have hope, waiting for November and the troops to arrive.

After supper we walked to where tonight’s band (North Star) was playing. They were much better than the last one, so we stayed until it ended at 8pm.

Vito’s and Fast Track with Friends

10/27/16 (Thursday)

Water Aerobics then Fitness class first thing for me while John enjoyed the doughnuts and Village. This was laundry day as well.

For lunch we treated ourselves to a nice nearby Italian restaurant (Vito’s), so we didn’t have to cook in this heat. Cyndi and Jim were able to join us, so we all had the best of times visiting and scarfing up their incredible thin crust pizza. On the way home John stopped at the CVS to see if his A1C kit had arrived. Nope. This time he left his phone number for the manager to call when it came in.

Once we got back we walked down to the Val Vista Poker room where Nancy was able to join us for a game of Fast Track. We got to teach them this game too and after numerous questions in the beginning they were really into it. Great games – I won the first, Nancy (to my right) one the next, then John (to her right) won the next. Then it was time for us all to face the heat to walk home and tend to our suppers. Gary couldn’t come because he was repairing their combo washer/dryer. I really felt for him – working in this heat.

Brats and Sauerkraut Dinner

10/28/16 (Friday)

Core/Balance class, then yoga for me, pool time for John. I went to the computer lab to get good WiFi. Well, it wasn’t quite what I’d thought it’s a small, sort of closet of a room with 6 computers installed for Villagers to use. No handy table space or electric outlet for me. I pushed a keyboard aside and managed. I found that they didn’t offer a WiFi here (the computers were already connected), but luckily Milt (in the room for classes next door) had used a powerful Wifi for my computer repairs. When he did he put in the password and told it to connect automatically. So I got some work done, then walked home. At home I used my phone hotspot to connect the Kindle and get some library books.

In the afternoon we went grocery shopping (at least our car and the stores are air conditioned), then returned to collapse in our den/home with books until our 4pm October dinner. They’d promised noodles, but they actually gave us German Potato Salad. I really loved the brats, the purple cabbage with apple slices and especially the apple strudel. I even ate two! Naturally I skipped the bun and John got my potato salad. Once again we’ve avoided cooking our big meal in this heat.

This evening not only did we get a great band (Wayne and Deb), who are also Villagers, the management gave us free wine and beer. So of course by the time we got to where they played, all the chairs (even borrowed from our exercise room) were taken. Lucky Norma and Mike had arrived early enough for chairs but we walked to the other end of the shuffleboards to sit on their benches. They were SO uncomfortable. Thankfully, a couple hours later we saw that Norma and Mike and left and we took over their chairs. We DID manage to get some of that free wine. We saw Jan/Bill there and several other couples we now know. Then Linda/Ron arrived, too late for the free beverages. These music activities are held in a temporary spot in the Fiesta Village area (where we live), while they complete remodeling of the regular courtyard at the Val Vista Village area. I think they offered the free alcohol to help people bear this inconvenience. They also have been holding them from 5 pm to 8 pm. It’s hard to squeeze supper in before, but lovely to get home around 8!

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Mesa Marketplace

10/15/16 (Saturday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

Our friends told us about the Mesa Marketplace, how it was similar to the Arizona Marketplace, so we wanted to check it out, see if they had LED lights to replace the broken one. Because of the heat, we headed there (about 12 miles away) right after breakfast. Voila! They had the LED light we needed, plus John found the phone cases he’d been looking for and I found card holder that I’d been looking for. Back home to wash the sheets and get some crock pot cooked (using the Instant Pot) Cranberry Pork Roast for dinner. After that we went to the laundry to get on the WiFi. Yup, the laundry. It’s also super cold there!


10/16/16 (Sunday)

After church we stopped at CVS to find out about their flu shots. In just moments we both got ours! Boy were they efficient. Then we had lunch, enjoyed taped TV shows, I napped, then more TV and supper. This night the moon was not only at it fullest, it was really close to Earth, so we capped our day off with a lovely walk around Val Vista in the moonlight. November’s full moon will be the closest to the earth until 2038, so we can’t miss that!

Exercises and Neighbors

10/17/16 (Monday)

We took another walk to the other end of Val Vista for a photo of the entrance. When we got home I took another of our site, for good measure. I’d like to note some differences between this place and our Palm Springs-TT campground: here we have asphalt, gravel and very little wind, whereas there we have sand, goat’s heads (terrible stickery plant bits) and wind. This place is much larger, neater, with many more, newer, facilities. It also costs, of course. Most activities are free. They have lots of blooming flowers. I’ve never seen these cacti blooms! They have birds that look sort of like thrashers that congregate in 2 trees by our pool and just jabber like crazy for a few hours in the evening. Need to find out what kind they are.

First thing, while it was somewhat cool, I did some light housecleaning. Later I went to the 10am water aerobics class listed on the schedule, except there was no instructor. Thank goodness a couple other gals showed up (Cathy and Cindy). They’d brought instruction reminders with them, so we made up our own class and had lots of fun doing it. Apparently many of the instructors dribble in at the end of October. Cathy/Cindy said they planned to come at 9 Tuesday, because that’s the class they usually attended, so I agreed. Starting earlier sounded better anyway. Meanwhile John swam several laps in a different pool (there are 4 here-3 outdoors and 1 indoor). Their Salon was having a grand opening, so we came to check it out. Wow, they didn’t provide a few nibbles, it was a meal – including sandwiches and beer and wine. So even though it was really hot (every day has been in the 90’s), it was a lot of fun. After that swell party, we came home. I napped while John watched TV, then we both watched more TV until supper. Then, naturally, we watched “Dancing With The Stars.”

Next Door Neighbors

10/18/16 (Tuesday)

9 am water aerobics with friends. Several more ladies showed up (Sue, Kay and Cindy). This time THEY led the instructions (Sue, actually), saying they loved the regular 9 am class and that “Bob”, the teacher should be showing up by November. They also said there was a fitness class in the same building as the yoga at 10:30, so we would have time to get home and change for that class. So I went there only to find out that it had started at 10. I guess last year it had started at 10:30 (it was not on this October schedule at all), but now the teacher was doing it at 10:30. I did get about 5 minutes of it! As I was coming back home from that almost class, I noticed our neighbor across the street vacuuming his roof, or so it seemed. Apparently park model homes have a small, covered gutter that fills with mud which becomes clumped dirt in time, so that’s what he was cleaning out. That began a lively conversation, so pretty soon I got John to join us and Jim’s wife Cindy did as well. They’re Canadians from Manitoba. They love golf and pickleball, so that sounds like fun times for John. After lunch we went to Costco for groceries, then continued on a search for pool noodles. Wouldn’t you know, we’d given our last ones to the grandkids this past summer, since we didn’t seem to use them the 4 years we’d been in our RV. Well, they use them in the water aerobics classes AND everyone in the pool where John was hanging out also used them. We searched at Walmart, the 99 cents. store. We tried Fry’s and the Dollar Tree. No luck. We came home, out of the 90+ heat for TV, then supper, then at 5 when to enjoy “Sam and the Band”. Guess what? He’s from Spokane!!! We had a wonderful time listening to his cowboy songs.

Yoga and Massage Therapy

10/19/16 (Wednesday)

Today I had to get out the checkbook. The first yoga class was free, but then they cost, so I took the 16 class package for $100. They are Wednesdays and Fridays, so this should pretty much last until we leave January 1st. Then I treated myself to a Massage Therapy session ($35 for ½ hour). I needed it for my neck but I could tell my right arm sure had some sore muscles. John got his swim time in while I was getting my body stretched. We did venture out to Target, hoping to find those elusive “pool noodles”.  Yes!! they had them.  It seems that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas have taken up shelf space, thus the noodles are “yesterday’s news”.  Hard to believe when this place is SO hot all the time now.  Once more we spent the hot afternoon relaxing in Miss Journey, staying out of the heat.

Haircut and Dancing

10/20/16 (Thursday)

Donuts and Coffee, with Resort information. Mmm more free goodies, plus we learned a lot about the sales (John’s been looking at their park models) and activities (The Association (band) will be here even). Things really pick up in November, then the place is really hopping from January until March when the prices are much steeper to rent a spot here.

Fitness class for me with pool laps for John. We got numerous chores handled today: the laundry, grocery shopping and a haircut for me. We signed up for a few get togethers (Octoberfest, Thanksgiving, and Potato Bar). After a restful afternoon we went to another fun music activity with Harry Mathews where we met Bill and Jan, who said he’s one of their favorites. The crazy thing is they happen to be in an RV parked next to Norma/Mike who are next to Linda and Ron, the 4 people we played dominoes with on Friday! Aren’t coincidences amazing? We had a great time.

Another Quiet Day in the Heat

10/21/16 (Friday)

My day for yoga while John swam his pool laps. While it was still relatively cool (in the 70’s) we went shopping for a new water pressure regulator. We didn’t find what we wanted at Camping World, but we did find the wipers we’ve been needing. Next door, at a different RV place, we had excellent help and got a good regulator for a great price. Back at home it was time for lunch, then reading and a nap. We talked a bit with our son, then supper and TV for the night.

I may continue sharing our weekly activities, to give a sense of our days, but then it may become sort of repetitious and thus not so interesting for whoever may be reading this….

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Yoga, Music and New Friends

10/14/16 (Friday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

What a joy to actually be here knowing we aren’t moving for 80 days. I really like that. We’ll see how I feel at the end of our time here. I joined a yoga class ($10/class or you can pay for 8 or 16 and get a discount). Nice. They have free WiFi, best reception at the Community Center or in the Laundry room, though. Dang! So I worked on the blog in the morning. John similarly was on the Internet, then tackled our LED light over the sink issue. He found that it was the light itself, not the fixture holding it that was the problem, so we’ll need to get another one.

It’s terribly hot – in the 90’s, so we’re really using the electricity we’ll need to pay for. I imagine that’s part of why so few people are actually here now. The yoga teacher (4 in today’s class) said that there will be 15 in the class in November, and 30 in it during February, the most popular month.

After Yoga I worked on the blog, then we had lunch.

I needed new slippers (John had lost one of my old ones when we moved out of LaQuinta), so we found a Walmart and purchased them, along with a few grocery items. I couldn’t resist a long nap after that. I hadn’t slept well the last several days-that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

With all this heat, we just felt like cold things for supper: a smoothie for me and cold beans and raw potato for John.

At 6:30 we walked over the courtyard to enjoy the band playing. In time another couple joined us and we had the best of times getting to know one another: Ron/Linda from North Dakota. They were so excited because they’d just purchased one of the park model homes here. They’ve been coming here for the last 7 years, so they knew what they wanted. When the music ended we walked across the street to McDonald’s for ice cream cones. Yum ending to a lovely, warm night. There was even a full moon to walk home to.

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Moving on – to Mesa, AZ

10/13/16 (Thursday) in Mesa, AZ (Val Vista Villages)

Even though it was in the 60’s in Mesa where we were headed it was in the 30’s here in Flagstaff. Brrr. After a nice warm breakfast (we had the generator on) we started departure procedures. All went smoothly except for 2 incidents: our jacks took 6 minutes to come up. John had just cleaned them 4 days ago. It was cold, but that normally didn’t stall them that much. Later, on our trip, the “jacks down” indicator came on for a while. Hmm. Then towards the end of the process with the CRV for towing, I walked to check that the front tires would roll as John moved the RV forward. Except they didn’t. Whoa! So I dashed to the driver’s seat and discovered that the transmission was set to Park. Yikes. I can’t remember how in the heck it happened. I’m sure I set it in Neutral while I let it run for 3 minutes. What the heck, did I have some sort of mental lapse and put it into Park after that? I tried to get it out of Park and got frantic when it didn’t. John knew the wheels hadn’t rolled so he backed up a bit, taking the pressure off the transmission. By this time I started the engine and easily got it out of park. NOTE: I don’t do well under pressure, the opposite of John. So we gave it another 3 minutes of running as it sits in Neutral, just in case I had it in Park for that time and everything when well after that.

At this point we go to the restroom before leaving. John realized he wanted a mechanic to reset his service settings given at the dash, so he asked. The lady said when someone was free in a minute they’d help him. 15 minutes later I’m asking her about it. She said she told John it would take a minute. So we stood in front of an open bay door watching the mechanics meander around. Sure seemed like they were free enough to stop for a couple minutes. The Operations Manager (I think) could see us from his office and came out to ask what was up. We explained. He said someone will help when they’re freed up, in about 10-15 minutes. Hmm. Their idea of 10 minutes seems to stretch into an hour. John really didn’t want to sit around that long, so we left- at 9:15. Now maybe we were trying to push ourselves over someone else but it didn’t feel like it. If that was the case then it was probably best that we left.

This trip was pretty basic: take I-40 W to I-17 S, then SR 101 E (around Phoenix), then SR 202 to Val Vista Dr. I like simple! There was a wrinkle: much of the way was downhill, 6-8% grades, since we were going from Flagstaff in the mountains to Phoenix in the valley. We saw lots of Saguaro cacti south of Prescott. As we entered Phoenix, traffic was heavy but not so congested to slow down any. There was great signage for getting onto Loop/SR 101and SR/Loop 202. A one point 101 had 10 lanes including the HOV lane. As we exited to SR 202 E “Convoy” started playing. We’d talked about that song with the truckers a couple days ago.. How cool. Apparently Flagtown is Flagstaff.  I love how they use a form of sand painting for images along the overpasses, as you see below.

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