Getting back to nature with a short stop at Lake Powell

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 28-04-2010

We left Arizona, sad to say “good bye” to our friends but happy to be heading back into the peace and beauty of nature.  On our way north, we stopped at the Glen Canyon Dam’s Visitor’s Center (got another stamp for our National Parks book!) and relaxed in the vast wilderness of the area.  A few miles past the dam was a  beautiful  primitive campground overlooking Lake Powell.  The drive to the simple campground was through sand and dirt and was worth the rough ride as it got us that much closer to the water.  Hobie had a great time running free as there were only 4 other RVs in the area the size of about 50 acres.   In one of those 4 RVs were two Golden  Retrievers and Hobie had fun romping with dogs that looked like they could be his brothers. 

Great stop and now onto Zion National Park!

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Arizona and visits with family and friends

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 26-04-2010

Leaving Mexico was difficult as we really immersed ourselves in the Mexican culture.  We feel as though we lived like the locals as opposed to living outside of the local economy in some sort of resort area.  I know there’s a lot of bad press about Mexico right now and it’s unfortunate.  The vast majority of the people in Mexico are hard working, kind people and it was a pleasure to meet them and get to know their country a bit better.

We arrived at Desert’s Edge RV Park and decided to be rather choosy about our spot as we knew we would be there for awhile.  We found a nice big location overlooking the wash and set up camp.  We kept to ourselves for a week and then starting calling friends to set up get togethers.  The kids had a great time with their friends and I know they have missed their friendships during our RV adventure.   

Ken and I also got together with friends and enjoyed chatting about their lives and our recent adventures.  One of the great “side effects” of moving as much as we have the last 16 years is the people we meet and the friendships that stay with us over the years.  Each of them is a wonderful part of our lives.  We also met some nice people at the RV park who love RVing as much as we do!

There were two full time RV families at the RV park ( a bit unusual to find full time RV families) and our kids had a great time hanging out with other full time RV kids.  One of the families put together an “anti-prom” at the community center of the RV park.  There was great music, fun snacks and the kids had a  lot of fun fooling around and doing everything BUT dancing!

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Since Ken is such a great cook (much to the detriment of my waist), we rarely eat out but we did make a trip to the “Heart Attack Grill” one day and enjoyed yummy decedent hamburgers and fries, lovingly made in lard.  Worth every bite!  We also had PHO one night.  If you haven’t  heard of PHO, you may want to google it as it is a delicious culinary experience!  The campground had bi-monthly ALL YOU CAN EAT breakfasts and kids under 18 ate for FREE!  (Have they seen how much Andrew can eat!?)  Great deal! 

Ken surprised Andrew by buying his very own RC truck so the two of them could race down the roads of the RV park and beyond.  Andrew was SO happy to have a racing buddy.  He also found a racing buddy in our RV neighbor Marty.  Great guy with a love of shooting and anything RC!

We have always wanted to go to a Spring Training baseball game and finally made it happen.  We watched the Dodgers vs. the Cubs on a hot AZ day, complete with overpriced hot dogs and lemonade.  Oh the early days of summer in Phoenix!

We made a habit of taking hikes on Friday mornings  and we really enjoyed the blooming desert scenery.  Never before have we seen the desert with so much greenery and color.  The Sonoran Desert is unlike any desert in the world and its uniqueness was more evident than ever during our hikes. 

We also took some  wonderful day trips to some of our favorite spots.  The water in the canyon of Oak Creek Canyon (just outside Sedona) was at the highest level we have ever seen, making for quite a view.  Ken and I went on a date to Jerome on afternoon.  We left late in the day so we could watch the town come to life with lights in the evening hours.  We enjoyed a wine tasting overlooking the beautiful vista and followed that with an amazing hamburger at the “Haunted Hamburger”.

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We had a really great time in Arizona and enjoyed our time with our good friends very much.  We just wish we could have seen more of our friends from past years.  Yet we are all anxious to get back into nature again.  We are planning a brief stop at Lake Powell on our way to Zion National Park.

A fun family-filled side trip West

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Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 03-04-2010

A few weeks into our stay in Arizona, the kids and I decided to head north to visit with family and friends along the way. Our ultimate destination was to see Silly Grandma (My mom). She lives on the beautiful central coast of California in a small picturesque town called Los Osos (Valley of the Bears). Of all the places we have visited during the last 22 months, this area is one of our all time favorites.

We took off early Friday morning, donuts and coffee in hand. Our first stop (after 7 hours of driving) was to visit Uncle Kurt, Gina, Ryan, Weston and Kyle. While the drive was long, we were excited to reach Simi Valley to see everyone. Kurt suggested I pick up the twins after school and then drop by to see Ryan during his interning session at the local fire house. Unfortunately Ryan was out on a call but we did manage to pick up the twins and chat with them a bit. We met up with Uncle Kurt at the mall and he treated us  to an “all you can eat French fry” bash together with free ice cream sundaes for everyone (he told the waiter is was everyone’s birthday!) We also had time to sit with Gina, Kurt’s new wife, and  finally got to give them their wedding present – a festive array of treasures we bought them in Mexico.

After our wonderful time with the Jaeger gang, we drove a short 15 minutes to Mac’s house. Mac is Steve’s dad (Steve is my sister Robin’s husband).   He is 92 years old and is one of the most interesting, funny and generous people we know. He seems more like 62 than 92. Really, it’s amazing. We loved spending the night in his simple house and he fixed us a breakfast of cereal and juice in the morning. He also tucked some gas money into my pocket along with a map. Not just any map, but an atlas that included Canada and Mexico. I think he has little faith in my ability to get from point A to point B!

We drove the spectacular 101/1 highway along the coast through Ventura, Santa Barbara and over the San Marcos Pass into San Luis Obispo. Along the way, we stopped for a yummy lunch in Los Olivos, a very special little town. We arrived at Mom’s house mid afternoon and the kids were as excited to see “Mr. Lucky” (her funny cat we picked up with her at the local shelter) as they were Silly Grandma herself. After a couple hours, Mom and I took off for San Luis Obispo to meet up with Robin and Steve. What a great time we four had together! Steve treated us all to a fabulous Italian dinner. I deeply cherish the time we had to talk about life and our futures.

The next day, we all headed down to the Embarcadero in Morro Bay. We enjoyed strolling the streets dotted with picturesque shops and finished the day with an amazing Mexican dinner at Taco Temple. We had more wonderful times with Silly Grandma and Robin (Steve had to get back to work) and can’t wait to plan our next get together.  Mom’s house is so amazing as it has huge windows with spectacular views of Morro Rock and the tides as they ebb and flow. We all loved just sitting around watching the tides come in and out, drawing and listening to our new CD we picked up at Boo Boo records in town.

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It was really hard to say good bye (she is such a great grandmother!!) but we all really missed Ken and Hobie and it was time to get home. On our way back to Arizona, we stopped to visit with my  dear friend Sandy (we met working at Taco Bell at the young age of 16) and her daughter Emma (who is same age as Nikki). Whenever I see Sandy, it’s as if I just saw her yesterday as our friendship has a long and fun history. The two of us talked away while the girls played together and we were lucky to have Kyle (Sandy’s brother Dan’s son) come by the house and hang out with Andrew. We got back from shopping and dinner and Sandy shared some of her creative projects with me. She is such a creative girl and oh so organized. During our creative session, Dan came by to say “Hi!” He’s a great guy with a big dream of having the freedom to live on the road in his own RV!

We came back to Arizona the day before Easter and were so happy to be all together again!