Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Are We In A Dream And Repairs

We have been here a week now and I'm still trying to comprehend that we, first, actually made it across country, and 2nd, that we are surrounded by mountains that change color magnificently throughout the day. The weather is perfect and for the past few days there have been clouds. I love clouds. Now to get accustomed to the fact that everyone in my family and our friends are three hours ahead of us. How bizarre! haha.

I ride my bike everyday to explore and to "escape". Sometimes I ride up to where we were first parked to say hi to Russ and Annie. Then stop by the office to say hit to Joy, from Massachusetts. Then I roll back down the hill and go out onto the point of land that no one is on. Not a sound except for the Coot birds diving or fluttering in the water or on a windy day, the wind going through the trees out there. I plan in my head where I want to paint.

Today as I was visiting with Russ and Annie, they told me come November and December when the regulars return, there will be a few artists and authors in the group and come Spring they do a small show of their work. Yes, very exciting!!

Ok, repairs? Well, CiCiBlue did come all these miles and she just couldn't help it. When we moved down to Row B and internet we plugged in and only got half our electric. Two men had no clue that looked at it. From what I hear trying to find out what's causing an electric problem in an RV is difficult. Finally great minds and a few nights tossing and turning worrying about it, it was discovered that our inverter was causing the problem. It's only 3 years old but one of the panels in it decided to just stop working. The service tech is coming this week to remove it so Roger can take Ozzie and drive 4 hours to Griffin? Arizona to the factory there to have it repaired. Why Ozzie? I can take out Lola and Sammy but a third kid would be nuts. They would stay over since it takes another 4 hours to repair it then they can drive another 4 hours to return. (deer in headlight eyes here)

But wait... that's not all. Our two house batteries that they installed when we bought CiCi are dying. We thought, being total newbies, that they were deep cycle. They weren't. Our RV tech has ordered two new deep cycle batteries for us and will deliver those when he appears sometime this week.

Don't speak. I know, in ,what, 4 months?, we have had major repairs. Short of standing out on a corner my plan is painting 6" x 6" plein air pieces for my Painting Across America series. All will be $100.00 and I'm hoping they will be colorful and spectacular!! (I'll have to paint 100 of them to get from under but that's part of the adventure) Then, a repair on our sewer bay door. A zillion miles and as we get here that rock just moved right into our path. (too tight on the corner actually) Our friend Bob is helping Roger with that one. Bless him!!

So in the scheme of things everything above is minor. Look what wanders around. There are two males and about 4 females so far and probably more to come. They say come Spring and mating season they run down the roads and you really have to watch out because they don't stop! Those crazy kids!!

So, time for happy hour! Have a great night and wishing you great dreams too. See you tomorrow!!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

We Made It And Moved From The Cheap Seats

We made it to California!!! CiCiBlue did fantastic! The last day was a somewhat short drive but coming in to Black Meadow Landing, over the mountains skinny road, was quite a ride. I was laughing but it may have been a hysterical laugh, like, we are going to die laugh. But we didn't! Roger did fantastic!

These are the pics that I could take. I was holding on for dear life when we went almost straight incline to a right twist and a second twist to the left on the downward side. There were also signs that said to watch out for the wild burros that walk along the road. Hopefully not in the middle of one of our twists.

We saw burro droppings all along the miles but then.... They are totally un phased by us and walked right across. One was biting the leg of another while one more kicked. 

We made it!!!

Check in took longer than expected. Probably because we were tired and just anxious to get to our spot.

I jokingly call them the "cheap seats". It's a row of sited that you back into between to large hills. They are also the lower tiered priced area. I didn't mind this area, lower price for the season, but there was no cell phone signal, internet or tv reception. 5 months? 

This morning though as I was laying in bed with Ozzie beside me I heard him doing a low growl. "What are you growling at bud?" I turned and this is what I saw. I opened the screen so I could get a clear photo and there was a hummingbird flitting just about 12" from my window. What a way to wake up.

After coffee there was a group discussion about internet and going up to the office to see what's what. I stayed and chatted with Joy, the camp host, because we sound similar when we speak. She's from Cape Cod! I grew up ,as you know, in Boston and summered every year with my family on the Cape.  Roger, Betty and Bob rode off to see the sites that Joy recommended. One more move was in store for us. 

Row B. All 50 amp and a great view, right now, of Lake Havasu. The wind has been crazy today, so we didn't get much outside work done but I cleaned up a lot of the dust and dirt inside from our travels. Then called an RV repair man. Oh ya, it's either our house batteries are dying or something is wrong electrically. Only one leg of our electric system is working tonight. Hopefully he calls tomorrow and we can get it all back. It's all part of the adventure though isn't it!

It's dusk and soon it will be pretty dark out there so we make sure we walk the kids before that happens. So all, we have internet, cell service, but no TV. (It's on that broken circuit) 

Have a great night and see you tomorrow!!


PS, saw our first Road Runner tonight. Didn't have my camera ready but I'm sure there will be more!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Almost There

Really? Yes, we are almost to our winter destination in California. This morning we left Williams and drove 100 miles to Kingman, Az. and the Blake Ranch RV Park. Huge sites and quiet, a dog run for the kids and a Super Walmart close by so we can stock up before we leave here. Two nights! Love following the 222 rule. 200 miles a day, arrive by 2:00 P.M. and stay 2 nights.

The scenery started to change as we get closer to California.  I think this was the beginning of the 6% grade that seemed to go on forever. But what a view! 

One could only wish!!!

I'm sure this can be a painting. I think of Gordon Lightfoot singing about "ribbons of highway". Notice bumps in road. CiCiBlue is so good. I don't hear a rattle inside.

Our bodies are finally getting accustomed to the altitude. Finally. We passed a point that had a sign stating we were at 5000 feet. No headache but my nose ran. Haha. I am known for Googling everything so naturally I read about altitude sickness. I had to laugh when I read that people living for long periods of time at sea level will probably be affected more than others. We can attest to that fact. Lola and I walked up and down hills in New Hampshire all summer and were fine. Here? I huff and puff up and back then feel like I need a nap. Next week we will be back down to about 500 feet. 

Again, Sammy got us to our destination. At 12, he seems to have a new lease on life on this trip. He gets so excited getting to new places and exploring and won't come back until he's ready. (He's on his lead with Roger, not loose) As soon as we say "let's get your outfit on" he's wagging his tail and wiggling all over the place. (yes, we say silly things to our dogs)

This is the view out our front window today. Not a cloud in the sky. 

We took the kids down to the dog run. It's fenced in so they can be off lead and move about.  Lola and Ozzie always love to play so I said, "Lola, get Ozzie!"  Off she went and jumped over him, with him turning and jumping on her. Dust was flying. My first thought was Oh Crap..dust in the rig, then remembered that with all the places we have stayed and all the dust blowing, Lola's dusty fur is the least of our worries. She's having fun!! With each jump and turn I see her looking for me. She's somewhere new. She runs to me then to the gate and I know what that means so we get ready but take the long way back so she gets to experience more. When we get back to the coach she wants to climb through the door to get inside. 

They have such a tough life. Roger does the driving and they are exhausted when we get here! 

9.25" x 9.25" 
watercolor and gouache on 300 lb paper
color may vary on computers

Yesterday was really gusty and we stayed an extra day in Williams. REALLY gusty. Tumbleweed and dust flying everywhere and we noticed yet another awning decided to roll itself back up. It's a slide topper over our passenger side slide out. I had started this piece awhile back in our adventure so I decided to finish while we blew about. Driving with wet oil paints isn't a good plan, sigh, yes I need to touch up my first Painting Across America Series piece. Flying dog hair wasn't part of the plan!

Supply shopping tomorrow then on Monday I think we may be heading for our final destination. Black Meadow Landing in Parker Dam, Ca.  Of course ,weather depending. We drove today with gusts of 15-16 MPH. Not that strong but I could see Roger correcting every so often so I knew we were getting blasts. Thankfully the rest of the awnings were scared and stayed on the coach! 

At the beginning of this row that we are in there is a newer Country Coach Allure. Black and gray and has it's awning over the door intact and the slide topper on the passenger side slideout. We are thinking CiCiBlue just wanted a spa day! Sounds good to me. Looking at the newer coach then past to ours, she stood proud and she's getting us there!!! 

Have a great night all and see you tomorrow!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

It Is Grand

We left our rigs about 9:30 A.M. telling the kids to "mind the house". Their job! Then off we went.

The road towards the Canyon

It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to reach the entrance to the National Park. About 40 years ago I was there with my children and it was so different. There was no Village, no RV parks, no McDonald's. There were no buses to take you from point A to point whatever, you just drove along and stopped. There were no guard rails. It was you and the Canyon. And at the time we were there, around sunset, there were no people.  Over the years the number of deaths at the Grand Canyon has risen. Sudden falls, cardiac arrest and sadly, suicide. So for safety sake they have added railings around areas, stone walls and outlook points that have railings and rocks to stand on. 

As you know, I love large expansive places with no one else. Lola and I in the field during the summer was heaven, and I fell in love with the Highlands in Scotland. So how did I do at the Grand Canyon with 100's of visitors? I just blocked them out. The canyon and I were then one! I took a lot of photos with my Canon Rebel for reference photos, so many!! There were so many dramatic areas that I saw even though the sun was getting to be high.


I saw one young man sitting on a rock above the crowds at Mather's Rock. Oblivious to the crowds and meditating with crossed legs and thumb and forefinger connected. He got it! He was able to close out the chatter and connect with the energy that comes for the canyon. From the Anasazi, that was thought to have once lived there, to the early explorers and centuries of living things. Yes, I am still moved.

On the way back to the RV park we stopped at this place called Rocks and More. I think it's also a gas station but all these metal statues are everywhere. Cowboys and Indians, horses, stage wagons and more teams of horses. All in disrepair but one can see how much love was put into these creations. This one was calling to me more than the others. I guess crossing the plains on our way across the country and seeing how vast it is, I kept thinking why wasn't there room for all the people? 

After viewing we then went to the Imax show about the Grand Canyon in the Village. Fantastic show that lasts about 45 minutes . As you leave the theater you walk through the gift store and into a Chinese food, Sandwich selection, Pizza Hut, beer and wine offerings before you get to the door. These were all in one line. Haha. Yes, we had pizza and a beer.  

It has changed but it has been improved to serve the thousands of people from all over the world that come daily to see the Grand Canyon. (I think they were all there today...hahaha) 

The Grand Canyon..definitely a wonder to be seen!

Tomorrow there is talk about going to the wild animal park. I may opt out and paint. Wind will be up to 28 MPH so we are staying in the park until Saturday then rolling to Kingman, Az.  Not sure yet how long we will stay there but I'll let you know. There is a restaurant in Seligman that is said to have the very best Cheeseburgers and milkshakes. On the to do list for sure. 

Have a great night and see you tomorrow!!


P.S. the kids took really great care of the house while we were gone.!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Short Day

  We left OK RV Park in Holbrook, Az this morning around 9:30 A.M. and headed west to Williams. It took about 2 hours and 15 minutes with one pit stop. CiCiBlue was in prime shape and at one point looked over at the speedometer and saw she was cruising around 75 MPH with ease. We like going under 60 to save on fuel but she just wanted to stretch her wings and go. The road, at that spot, was straight and not one pot hole or bump. "Roger, slow down" is what he hears and he responded that he thought he was going slower and that there was no pull at all on the engine. She's getting close to 100k miles so she's not even broke in as yet. I can only imagine!!! Haha.

The view for the next few days at Grand Canyon Motel and RV Park in Williams, Az.  We originally thought we would stay two night, go to Williams today then the Grand Canyon tomorrow, but looking at the weather report, high winds will be coming in on Friday. 20 to 24 MPH gusts. Not fun to drive in. We will stay another night. I'm thrilled. Packing up and setting up gets your head scrambled. Haha.

Tomorrow we will drive up to the Canyon and be amazed. I have seen it before but Roger has not. I'm excited more to see his reaction. 

The "Sammy got us here safe" photo!! He's so good!!

And the Rolling Rock draft at the Sultana Bar, Williams, AZ. that has been there for eons. 

The end of another perfect drive! Let's hear it for CiCiBlue!!! 

See you tomorrow!!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Standin' On The Corner

From the very beginning of the plan, all who know me have known, my dream was to go to Winslow, Arizona. Strange dream Sheila! I know guys, but you know how music wraps around the story of your life. So, we were off.

We left yesterday morning from Edgewood, New Mexico and headed out on the highway on our way to Holbrook, Arizona. Mornings have been brisk to say the least but somehow refreshing. Well, except for the one morning my hands were REALLY cold.

Our view from the dinning room window and Lola's favorite spot. At each stop Lola and I try and find at least one good area that I know she will be happy with doing her business and in Edgewood, that was easy. There was a nice somewhat "grassy" area that we would go, away from the brush and in clear site of possible snakes. The one bunny every morning was missed ,thankfully, by Lola. This was the Route 66 RV Park right off of I 40.

Nice large pull throughs and lots of space between rigs. $35.00 a night and the coach was level. 

Since we had an extra day I did a painting. Oil on cradled board. Haha, I should call it Lola's Spot, but I won't. 

Heading towards Arizona the landscape started to change. Each corner was more awe inspiring than the other. I know, these photos just don't do justice to the colors.

I've been shooting different scenes as reference for upcoming paintings. 

This was on our way taken from my side window. 

And of course, the sign. I noticed with a lot of the photos I did take that all the bugs that joined us for the ride on our front windshield were in them. (Deer in head lights look here)

It was a 264 mile day to our stop for two nights. Ok RV Park in Holbrook, Az. They straddle rigs here but we have been lucky. Only a very small rig was beside us last night and today the night travelors have yet to arrive. Ok, this park is dusty dirt and stone. No grass. LOLA! 

Lola exits CiCiBlue excited to see what was there the day before, then goes into shock. He head swivels like an oscillating fan and she's not sure which direction to go. The dog walk is way out back by the fields of brush, "snakes", but we head to that area anyway. There is a long strip of loose sandy dirt and we walk along that. Lola steps on a straw blade of "grass" and looks at me sadly then walks on again. Yes, this all explains why we awoke to pee in the coach this morning, but on a mat.  Today went better but since we go again tomorrow....Lord, she will need therapy by the time we get to our winter campground.

After our quick walk last night I rushed back to get my phone to get these pics. Not enhanced, this was the sunset!! OMG!

To the left was this. A fire in the distance. The colors were purples and pinks and the bright yellow. 

This morning we all got up at 5:00 A.M. to drive up to the Painted Desert. The sunrise was about 6:30 but the park didn't open until 7:00 o'clock. I got a pic of the sun just peeking up over the distant mountain. Spectacular! I am so not an early morning person but I'm so glad I got to see this.

When we finally arrived at the Painted Desert the sun had already risen to the point where you miss the colors in the rocks. The park closes before sunset, so it will be missed then too. We weren't disappointed though. The view was breath taking!

And again, I look at the scenery as to how it would make a fantastic piece of art. Hard to duplicate though isn't it.

And here we are!! Still early in the morning and only a few people were there taking photos.

Had to take this. How often do you get to see history.

After our photo shoot we went across the street from "Standin' on the Corner" to have coffee and a breakfast sandwhich. If you ever get there, do go in. Huge and delicious!

Yes, it's me and the other guy that's there. 

And finally..I did it!! 

Silly maybe, but when you have a dream in you why not manifest it.? Standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona is just one more dream I have manifested and I know there are more to come!!

Time to take Lola out for her quick, life altering walk. (in her eyes)

Have a great night, tomorrow we head to Williams, Arizona and...dun, dun duuuun... The Grand Canyon!! Oh, and shopping. Betty said there are cute shops in Williams!! 

See you soon,


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Where Are We And What Day Is It?

These are common questions between all of us as we travel. It sounds like we all have lost it but traveling every day or every other day one does loose track of days and places. So, yesterday we went to the Clinton, Oklahoma RT. 66 Museum. I have to say it was pretty cool, so much so that now I need to reread Grapes Of Wrath. That area of the country just dried up and people had to leave carrying only what they could pack in their cars or trucks. The Dust Bowl era.

It was a time capsule of sorts with music and photos throughout the museum..and..I got a tee shirt!

This morning we left Clinton, OK and headed down I 40 West. Suddenly I heard a loud bang and fluttering. I then looked out of the door window and saw our over the door awning straight out and flapping. "Pull over!!" was the scream but we were right in the middle of a construction area with cones and Roger couldn't. The next exit was a ways down and off we went. We have a remote to bring it back in but something had broke. We could hear the motor turning but the fabric wasn't going anywhere. Thankfully Bob came with his trusty extension ladder, pretty cool devise, and was up and poking at it. He was able to get it closed but it wouldn't hold. I gave the executive decision..."cut the fabric off." Sometimes I surprise myself how my priorities are about safety rather than trying to figure out how to repair it, taking maybe hours. We were on a mission! Bob cut it off then unscrewed the cover. We were set to continue!! On a weird note, as I was putting up the awnings this morning I actually felt that something was going to happen to the awning. Thankfully it was the smallest awning and we do have insurance. 

So we were rolling along when we heard the sound of flapping. Very loud flapping. I looked out the window and our awning that goes out over the door had sprung loose. We couldn't pull over right away since we were in construction so we drove to the first exit and took it.  Bob and Betty were behind us and Bob came to the rescue. What did we want to do? Cut the fabric off and take off the cover. The motor was running but the roll wasn't connecting so it was doomed to stay out. The winds across Oklahoma this morning were upwards of 16 to 20 MPH. I may not have totally brought in the awning at some point. We usually don't use it. Driving at 55 to 58 MPH plus the cross winds just caught it at the right point and dragged it out. We think about safety, getting to our destination and it's replaceable. Onward!!

We entered Texas. The flattest state and the most expanse of land ever. 

We couldn't leave without seeing the Cadillac Ranch. Roger and the "boys" walked out while Lola and I stayed in the coach and had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! We have our priorities!! We had parked CiCiBlue far from the Cattle gate entrance so Lola and I decided to move the rig closer! Yes, I did. I had to laugh because I had no idea where the brake peddle was in relationship to the gas. I know it's close but after a car brake it's even closer. I need to practice foot work!!  

Then all of a sudden the landscape changes. It's quite dramatic. From a few seconds ago seeing flat land, now we are going down into a land of scrub brush and mesas. I'm in heaven!!

Yes, we are in New Mexico!

Now I start to sing Jimmie Rodger's song "Tucumcari" from the 50's. I had the 45 record and played it over and over. My poor parents!!

And once more Sammy got us to our night RV park. Mountain Road RV Park. Full hook up and right off I 40. There's even a Pilot station close in case one needs to fuel up.

Lola being the Queen here looks rather perplexed. "Whaaat?? We are in a parking lot?"

I have been waiting for the sun to go down to see the light on our first night in New Mexico. I love seeing Lola with it bouncing off her fur. We did a quick walk. She doesn't like the feel of the scrub grass, and she looks like she's walking on eggs. She's very fussy about her feet!! Haha.

I laughed right out loud!! When I was younger I was told I had legs that "went on forever". Lola and me with our long legs!!!

Tomorrow we head for Edgewood, NM. Most of the parks were full and we wanted to stay for two nights. A friend on Facebook mentioned it was because of the Hot Air Balloon festival in Albuquerque which goes on until October 15! We are all excited because on Saturday we are going to drive and see if we can see the balloons. Bonus!!  

Have a great night. Roger's cooking up cheeseburgers and pouring a glass of wine. I had a shower, the kids ate and now it's time to just chill for the night. Thanks for joining me on our adventure!!