Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 11/11 - 11/20 2007

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November 11 Sunday

A dreary, rainy, gray morning which meant that I was able to catch up on all things I wanted to get done while Linda got caught up on her sleep. Well, that makes for a good story, but unfortunately only two thirds of it was true, the part about Linda and the part about the forty winks was true. To make it totally true a slight correction about my activities would be necessary, as I believe I got about thirty nine extra winks myself.

Once we finally did get the day started we again enjoyed Linda's eggs, though somehow or other fresh mozzarella cheese just doesn't provide the same zip that Blue cheese does. Breakfast over, we boxed up the things Linda had set aside to sell on Ebay, which was when she discovered that she didn't have nearly as many things as she thought she did. I think there is more digging through closets in my future. We were just finishing up with the second box when Zachary and his mom came over. There was a shopping trip which the ladies wanted to undertake, so while they were gone Zachary and I took a trip into the past, discovering my Uncle Wiggily book that I had read when I was just about Zachary's age. He is such an avid reader that he had no trouble with the words, so I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that book.

Uncle Wiggily book

My only wish is that he will enjoy the book as much as I had, and that someday he will also have the opportunity to pass it on to his son or grandson just as I was passing it on to him. There are moments in life, and then there are Moments in Life, bet it doesn't take two guesses to figure out which one this was.

It's one thing to read, it's another to do, which was what Zachary had planned for the remainder of the afternoon. One of his favorite games is the dinosaur game as he calls it, where I get to be a plant eater while he gets to be a raptor. He is really into the Jurassic, having read more than just a few books on the time of the dinosaurs, meaning he is up on the latest discoveries. Translated that means he is always the biggest and baddest of them all. Here is a large lumbering plant eater being attacked by one of those vicious hungry raptors.

Having fun

While Zachary and I continued to do boy things, the girls set about making some Christmas ornaments. One of the things Linda had learned while at the Monaco Service Center was how to make Christmas ornaments by using hot melt glue and spray paint. Here is the finishing touch being applied to an angel.

Craft time

No day with Zachary is ever complete without the "sit still" game. This was a game I learned from from my great uncle A.B., a wonderful man who never stopped being a kid. In his early eighties he would still play chase with the kids, and in his early nineties would still take hundred mile bike rides to visit family members, because why drive when you can get all that healthy exercise by riding your bike even if it does mean staying over a couple of nights in a motel.

In the "sit still" game, you (the kid) are placed so you are sitting on the adults legs. You are given a very solemn lecture about the need to sit still, something that as a kid you've probably been told to do many times in the past. The question is then asked, "Can you sit still?" As soon as you say yes, the adult opens his legs a little bit causing you to fall, that is, not sit still. By the time it has been repeated several times, everyone is giggling and laughing. It's something else that I hope Zachary will able to do with his own children and grandchildren someday. It's one of those special things which make life, Life.

Hoping to sit still

As you might guess from the way Zachary is holding on, we have played this game more than just a few times. Yet Zachary always comes and stands before me, asking to play it every time we are together. Somethings simply have no value. The credit card commercial came make a lame attempt at using the word, priceless, to describe something, but compared to this it is just a poor joke. Stating it another way with apologies to how Senator Benston so aptly put it, "Credit Card, I've experienced priceless, and I can assure you, you're not priceless."

Falling down

Like I said, its a game you both can't help but end up giggling about before its over. If you do play it, make sure you don't drop the child on the floor. Its best to just wiggle your legs a little to get them to move as you get the hang of how to do it. When the kids were little I'd just bounce them up and down a little which was enough to bring oodles of giggles from all concerned. The key is to make it fun, but also make sure it is safe.

The day ended with both grandpa and Zachary reading as they fell asleep. So while I read a short story from one of my old Issac Asimov books, The Rest of of the Robots, Zachary was reading from my, now his, book, Uncle Wiggily's Fortune.

Good night

To know the link with the past.
To experience the connection of family.
The joy of living.
The wonder of love.
The adventure we call Life goes on and on.

November 12 Monday

I hadn't been up very long before a bright beaming face appeared at the doorway from the kitchen, it was Zachary. He walked up beside where I was sitting to tell me about the story in the Uncle Wiggily Book he had read last night. Sheepishly he related how he had fallen asleep before he had finished the chapter. Then when I told him, "Zachary, that's okay because grandpa was trying to read a book and the same thing happened to me. I fell asleep before I could get even one chapter read", he threw his arms around me, he said, "That's okay grandpa, you can finish it tonight." There are some things in life that can be termed "special moments" and that was one of them.

We talked about the adventure Uncle Wiggily was having in his book, then one thing led to another and soon I was getting out the Why and How books I had loved when I was a boy Zachary's age. Each volume has a different emphasis, and it was the book titled, Stories, that I caught Zachary's eye. Before long we were sitting on the couch, and I was reading Stone Soup, to Zachary. It had always been my favorite, I don't know how many times I had read it as a boy, plus whenever I was sick, it was always the first story I asked my mom to read to me. Because of those memories, sitting there with my grandson sharing my love of reading was another in what has become a string of special moments.

After I had read Stone Soup to Zachary, he wanted to read something to me. That is why I got to listen to How Peter Rabbit got a Pink Nose. I think that when Linda came into the family room she also recognized what was happening as a special moment.

Reading time

Waiting until he was finished reading, Linda asked Zachary if he wanted waffles for breakfast. The answer was yes, and soon he was in the kitchen helping her, or so I thought. Taking a break from my writing, I went into the kitchen to see how things were progressing with breakfast where I discovered grandma having a story read to her from the book.

Still more reading

It wasn't long until the waffles were cooked, eaten and the breakfast dishes cleared away. Notice the use of the phrase, cleared away, rather than washed. As Linda says, "When I have a dish washer, I don't wash dishes." I know she was sometimes legendary in the amount of dishes she could pack into one of those machines, but I decided that peeking inside was not something that would keep me on her good side, so back to my writing I went.

Suddenly the ding-dong of the door bell announced the arrival of our oldest daughter and our other three grandchildren. It was craft day, so soon everyone was happily engaged in making angel ornaments from pipe cleaners and ribbon.

Craft time

Everybody was working hard to make the perfect angel, including special helpers. Here is "Pup" helping out.

Folding the ribbon

With many hands folding ribbon, our daughter was busy showing how to do it (she was doing what Linda's job had been when our daughter was the little girl doing the folding), while grandma was busy cutting and it looks like Zachary was also having fun.

Having fun

Lindsey proved to be a master at folding the ribbon just right, and here is Justin proudly holding the last piece she had just folded while she earnestly works on making another.

Good times

Later, taking a break from all the activity, I started sorting out the many cassette tapes we had stuck back into the drawers with the advent of the CD age. I plan to transfer the recordings to the computer, then make Cd's of them for the kids. They are the recordings of Christmas's past, birthdays, family sing alongs, vacation narrations, etc. The things that make life, Life. As you can see, I had a very special helper.

Good helper

Once the angel ornaments were finished it was time make some of the hot melt glue ornaments which Linda and Megan had made yesterday. Once again, everybody got to make one, even Justin. Here's mommy guiding the glue to keep it on the lines while Justin pulls the trigger just right to put the perfect amount of glue along the line. Justin is a perfect example of its not what Life gives to you, it's what you give to Life. While he wasn't given the opportunity to be like us, he was given was the ability to make us better because of having him in our lives. So often we look at people who have every opportunity to do wonderful things, only to watch them throw it away, often adding the comment, what a waste. Justin, on the other hand was given very little, but he has so much to give. To be around him is to be uplifted, proving that it's not what you were given that counts, but rather what you do with what you were given. That the people who aspire to be leaders of our society could have Justin's outlook on Life. What a different and wonderful world it would be.

Being careful

Once all the crafts had been made, it was time to play. Here is a version of the tasty kid sandwich.

Play time

At last it was time to pack up and head for home and afterward the house seemed to lose its vitality, so Linda gathered a few of the ornaments together.


I'll end today with the same words I used yesterday, since it was a day filled with the same magic.

To know the link with the past.
To experience the connection of family.
The joy of living.
The wonder of love.
The adventure we call Life goes on and on.

November 13 Tuesday

Another beautiful morning in northern California which served to remind us why we had always enjoyed living here. Now don't think for a moment that we are getting second thoughts about living on the road, it is just the opposite. We are looking at the good weather as a chance to get some outside work done while we can, because in not too many days we will be back on the road, looking forward to spending Thanksgiving in Quartzsite.

The first task of the morning was to drop the Explorer off at the repair shop. Fortunately there is a very highly recommended facility within walking distance, so it doesn't take two guess to figure out where we took it. Luck was with us and they could work on it today, so we dropped it off and had a leisurely walk home. Having taken care of that problem, Linda was in the mood to tackle another one, cleaning the carpets.

Before long the slides were out, all the chairs (all three of them) were moved onto the tile, and I was attempting to start the generator. It took a little priming, them a little more priming, them a lot more priming, but eventually it started and Linda was happily engaged in making the carpet look new again. It was the first time we had cleaned it and Linda was amazed at the amount of dirt in the water. The results were great, as it looks like new, which really makes Linda happy. Then to dry it, she turned on the heat pumps and opened the windows. Of course the fact that it was a sunny, warm day also helped with the drying process.

Since we had the generator on, we decided to try to connect with the MotoSat. We don't have any other way of getting on the Internet when we are here, well there is the rather unreliable cherry tree connection, but neither it or any of the other open networks I could pick up had a strong enough signal to connect. We then had decided that we would wait until we were over to our daughters on Thursday to connect. We had tried the MotoSat the last time we had the coach parked in this spot without any luck, so we really hadn't thought about trying this time. I was inside the house when Linda came charging through the door shouting, "Five lights, five lights!"

Satellite connection

Somehow there is a narrow spot between the palm tree and the olive tree where the satellite resides, which meant the work I had doing every morning to make sure I wrote the Daily Journal, even though I couldn't upload it, was time well spent. It wasn't long before the mail was downloaded and the website updated, and as I left the coach, computer once again in hand, Linda was still busily typing away answering the rest of the mail. It was shaping up to be a very good day.

Most of the remainder of the day was spent working on various projects we wanted to get done before we leave. Things like trimming the Photina, pulling the suckers off the olive trees and cleaning out the garage and it was while doing the latter that something from our past turned up.

What is it?

That's a photo of one of those "what is it" things. What they are, are the two plastic braces that I used to have to fasten inside the Kenmore clothes washer every time we would move. Their purpose was to lock the drum in place and it must have worked, because even with all those moves, that washer lasted nearly thirty years before it finally wore out. When I walked in and showed them to Linda, then asked her what they were, she paused for only a second before saying, "They're for the washing machine." Like I said, they were something memorable, now needless to say, they are now on their way to the local landfill. But for a few moments they were like a lens opening a view to the past.

In the meantime the mechanic had called to let us know what the problem was and that it was an easy repair, the mass air flow sensor had given up sensing, but it would be replaced and ready by five o'clock. We continued to make good progress with our cleaning, which was actually more a search for Ebay items than cleaning, when got the call saying it was ready. To say it runs better would be a major understatement. It was nice not seeing that pesky little check engine light glowing, nor have have it stall in the most inopportune places.

No more light

We had enjoyed talking with the mechanic when we dropped off the Explorer, because as we learned, he and his wife were in the midst of their ten year plan to sell their house, buy an RV and live the life we do. After we paid the bill, he came over and wished us good travels, so we told him we would look forward to seeing him out there enjoying the fabulous Life we live. Connections, they are all around us, we just have to be open to them.

The day ended with Zachary, our daughter and also our son enjoying one of Linda's home cooked meals. It got even better when Linda set out the cayenne pepper on the table for anyone who wanted to spice up their food. The resulting sweating faces, sniffles and nose blowing had everybody laughing.

Dinner time

Later, Linda and I enjoyed a bowl of ice cream for dessert while we reflected on how much we have gotten accomplished in the brief time we had been here. The time goes so fast that we didn't want to wake up on Sunday morning, having suddenly realized that we still have many things to do, but only one day to do it. Today had been a good day, the Explorer was repaired, we had been able to get on the Internet, and we had enjoyed spending time with our family. It doesn't hardly get any better than that.

November 14 Wednesday

I noticed when Linda made her entrance this morning that her jaw had a certain set to it. You know the look I'm talking about, the, I mean business and don't give me any lip, look. Mentally lost in the world of writing the Daily Journal, I superficially recognized it for what it was, but at that moment wasn't able to make any connection with the look and what it was I had done, what I was supposed to have done and didn't, or what it was I was going to have to do.

It turned out to be one of those activities we all have to participate in that brings us into direct contact with our government. A trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get her drivers license renewed. Normally this is done by mail, but this year she needed to go in to have her photo taken, maybe they heard she was the new slimmed down 2007 version of Linda, take an eye test and have her thumb print recorded. Obviously the look I had noticed was the fact she was steeling herself for the several hour wait that would surely occur once she walked through the doors of the building.

I quickly learned there was one other factor involved with that look which probably had more to do with her grim attitude than merely the thought of the upcoming wait. It was her situation also, though indirectly, involved her husband. My license also expires in 2008, but unfortunately it was going to expire in the midst of our eight month trip to the southwest. Her concern was over how I could get it renewed if I needed to have the same to things done that she was required to do, so she wanted me to come along and find out. Since going to the DMV is somewhat akin to going to the dentist for a root canal, in reality her look was the face of the grim determination she would no doubt need in order to convince me to be dragged along.

I must be on a roll, because when she asked me to go along I immediately acquiesced, though at that moment I couldn't have told you why I had so readily agreed. With that out of the way she was like a frisky young colt first put out to pasture, charging around the house, fixing breakfast even if it was the usual eggs and onions. She had us out of the house so we arrived not long after the office opened, but we were still surprised at the sheer number of vehicles in the parking lot. I had to envy the people who were already coming out the door, paper in hand signifying they were finished already. Though one had to wonder if they hadn't arrived before daybreak in order to secure a place at the head of the line. Who knows, maybe they were night shift workers on their way home, so them it wasn't late, it was early. Life, its how you look at it.

There was a short line in the lobby before we reached the information desk with the, Start Here sign, but the line moved quickly, and soon Linda was helped, then it was my turn. I explained my quandary, the fact I would be out of town when my license renewal was due, and after the attendant looked at my license, no doubt to make sure I knew what I was talking about, he smiled broadly. I was thinking he was smiling because he deals with the general public all day and most people are somewhat confused when they pass through these doors, yet here was someone standing before him who knew what they were talking about. So who could blame him for a bit of levity to break the boredom of answering the same questions over and over. It was only after he started speaking that I realized my error in interpreting his broad grin. Patiently, yet still holding the remnants of that smile on his face, he explained that if, and he really emphasized the word if, I was to not to renew my license on time, I might have to take "the test". However, if I proceeded to renew it today, I would have to take what he was referring to as "the test". The way he smiled when he so emphatically enunciated the words, "the test", was not something designed to inspire confidence in anyone within hearing distance

Telling him I preferred not to drive on an expired license caused the smile broaden itself across his face once again, then handing me a sheet of paper, he bid me adieu with the words, 'Good luck." Seeing Linda standing near the waiting area, I filled out what turned out to be the drivers license application I was holding in my now slightly shaky hand, then we both sat down to await our respective turns at dealing with the bureaucracy of the State of California. Knowing how long these waits can be, after all it took us over an hour to get the printout of our driving record the last time we were at a DMV office, we had both brought along a book to read. It turned out that the wait was only about ten minutes and first Linda and then just a few seconds later, I was standing before the window of fate looking a smiling young lady.

It took only a few seconds to establish the fact that in exchange for twenty seven of my dollars, I would be allowed to have my photo taken, give them my thumbprint, be subjected to an eye test, then take the written exam. Then if, and only if I passed the latter, I could get my license. I was beginning to get the idea that I was in one of those situations that our space agency, NASA, sometimes finds itself in. The ones where their motto is, "Failure is not an Option". I did like her use of the term "written exam" better than the term "the test", and told her so. That lead from one thing to the next and soon I was engaged in a three way conversation between her, the clerk working at the next window over and myself regarding the world of fulltime RVing and and volunteering at National Parks. I had to believe the other people standing at the counter around us had to wonder what those three crazy people were taking about. It didn't take long before the forms were all filled out and I was on my way to the lineup for the photo shoot.

The photo line turned out to be very slow moving, though they did pull several people, Linda included, out of line and sent them off to another part of the building. I wasn't sure why, but I had to think it was good for her, bad for me. It was just after she left when I realized the enormity of what I was doing. Suddenly my mind was no longer on how slow the line was moving, it was on how fast the line was moving, proving once again that our perceptions form our realities. Every time the line lurched forward, I could only see myself moving ever closer to "The Test". In fact it was rapidly metamorphosing into something far larger, i.e., "THE TEST". Hastily I cast my eyes around, looking for those driver handbooks they give you to read before you take "THE TEST", but the walls and counters were bare.

Suddenly, the line I was in, the eye chart, even the photo machine itself had dissolved into a haze and in my mind, the only thing remaining was a list of questions. You know what I talking about, the kind where the first question is: A vehicle weighing 8,479 lbs and traveling 47 mph makes a stop on a rain slicked highway when a traffic signal changes to red. Is the stopping distance of the vehicle - 1. 156 feet 8 inches, 2. 155 feet 8 inches or 3. 155 feet 11 inches? And of course that is the easiest question on the test, the other 39 questions all requiring a much deeper knowledge of the state traffic laws. I was snapped out of my self induced masochistic trance when the word, "Next", penetrated my benumbed brain.

Suddenly I was at the mercy of the bureaucratic apparatus that our tax dollars underwrite, I was trapped and there was no escape. With my mind 80 percent focused on the upcoming test, the gentleman behind the counter had to repeat least twice, each thing he asked me to do. All to soon I had read the first line on the eye chart with both eyes open, then the subsequent two lines with first one eye then the other. At least I think that's what I did, heck I was so overcome by the looming test that he could have asked me to stand on my head to have my photo taken and not only would I have done it, I wouldn't have remembered a thing about it afterward.

Suddenly he was handing me a long narrow piece of paper with millions of words in tiny print on it, and pointing towards an area filled with cubicles. The executioner was waiting and not only was I being force to carry my own death warrant, I was required to walk to the gallows on my on. It isn't like that in the movies, as the condemned man always has several people walking beside him for support. The really, really bad part was that there were no seats available, they had all been taken (smart people), so I was forced to stand to take the test.

That was when whatever it is that makes each of us, us, kicked in. I became aware that I only had to answer the questions on one side of the sheet, that I had been diving for nearly 50 years and that many of the traffic laws were common knowledge. In that instant I knew I could pass this test. Of course two of the first three questions quickly brought me back to reality, one of which dealt with Blood Alcohol Content and the other which dealt with child restraint devices and up to what age and weight they are required. So much for common knowledge, now it was time for common sense and knowledge of how best to take a multiple choice test. Eliminate the answers you know to be wrong and what's left must be the right answer. That's what I did, and except for changing one answer after I had marked it (the child weight and age one), I was quickly done. Turning around I saw the same people still sitting in the chairs, obviously struggling with their tests, but without so much as a second look at the paper in my hand I walked up to the head of the line, no one else was there since they were all still taking the test, and was immediately called to the counter. As the gentleman graded it it I noticed he made several marks and I wondered how many incorrect answers would have me going through the whole process a second time.

He spent a few minutes on the computer, I still didn't know if I had passed or not, then handed me several pieces of paper, saying this was my temporary license and I would be receiving permanent one within 60 days. That was when I realized, I HAD PASSED!! Not bad for an old guy who hadn't even looked at the driver handbook. It turned out I had missed two questions, one of which I would have gotten right had I not changed the answer. What's that saying about your first answer is usually right so don't change it unless you know absolutely that it is wrong. It was only after I got home that I read the whole test including the top where I found the the words, Renewals may miss up to three questions. It was probably good I hadn't read the instructions as it would have served to simply put more pressure on me. It also made me wonder how the little old lady standing in line in front of me had done. The only thing that had stuck in my mind about waiting in line was the memory of the sweat on the back of her hands. Maybe I wasn't as nervous as many of the other people in line.

Once I was done, I quickly located Linda and gave here the good news. I'm not sure if this photo is an accurate reflection of how happy she was at my good news, or if it was just the fact that we could finally leave. Regardless, you can see there is a reflection of one type or another there. By the way, the question I changed from the right answer to a wrong answer was the child restraint question.

Waiting patiently

After a start like that, the rest of the day passed in pretty much of a blur, though there was one other task that needed to be done to change it from a pretty perfect day into a perfect day. It was a stop at the computer store to get some additional memory for Linda's computer. her computer only had 256 megs in it, so to call it a dog would be kind. The choice was whether to drive a long way, save some money, but burn gas and also use some of our precious time, or drive a short distance, pay a little more, but be done in just a few minutes. In reality it was no choice at all, since our time is the most precious commodity we have while we are here, having to make every minute count.

It didn't take long to drive to the computer store and get what we needed (1 gig of memory), it did take far longer, though to stop at the office supply store and get some refilled ink jet ink cartridges and then spend what seemed like hours in the nearby craft/fabric store that wasn't even on the list of places to stop. So much for time being precious. The refilled ink jet cartridge will hopefully turn out to be a feather in my cap, as Linda has always been very firm about using only new HP cartridges in our printers. The jury will be out for a while on whether it was a wise purchase or not, but Linda had to admit the savings were significant.

Back at the coach it was time to install the new memory chip, blow the dust out of the computer and hook everything back up. A job which requires a good deal of flexibility and dexterity on my part.

Putting it back together

As you can tell from the tangle of cords and the fact that my glasses are laying on the counter in the upper right corner of the photo, it isn't the easiest job to do. It's one of those, fifteen seconds to add the memory, fifteen minutes to plug all the cords back kind of projects.

I need more light

Later we worked outside, then after eating the last of our Reedsport tuna prepared as tuna salad for dinner, we ended the day by attending a Wednesday evening Taize service at the church we used to attend, which also let us see some old friends. It had been a good day, so after a dessert of butter pecan ice cream, sugar free and low fat of course, it was time to call it a day. My thought as I lay there waiting for the visit from the good sleep fairy was not, for a change, on how much we had to do over the next four days, rather it was on the words of one of our former Presidents. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt gave a speech intended to rally the country from the shock of not only being plunged into war, but also from the self doubt and repercussions of being attacked by the enemy. In it he uttered a line that has become famous, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.. Looking back on this morning's experience at the DMV, the truth of those words was never more apparent. Indeed, it had been a good day.

November 15 Thursday

A little different day is in the works, one that will take us back to our roots so to speak. It is grandchild sitting day as our daughter and son-in-law take a break and spend a night at Lake Tahoe. One thing I must say about my bride, at least for the forty years I have know her, she has always been as steady as a rock, and this morning was no different. Especially since we had those same old eggs and onions for what seemed like the fiftieth day in a row.

After doing a few more things in the yard we headed off to our daughters house, a house that was a mere empty shell of what it would in a few hours. All three grandchildren were in school when we arrived, so at least we had a chance to settle in before the storm broke. Then came the first task on the list our daughter had left us, it was picking up our youngest granddaughter at school. This was to be my job and though I was looking forward to it, I will admit that at least the five minute, two mile drive was easy.

Arriving, my first impression was that there were at least thirty thousand kids who go to that school, and every one of them were wandering in all known and several unknown directions as I cautiously drove up to the entrance to the school. Understand it is one of those modern schools that has at least three entrances, each of which have at least a five mile backup of soccer mom cars, each trying to pick up their little darlings. Fortunately luck was with me and I had chosen the right entrance, having remembered that my instructions were to pick them up near the the flagpole, which was where I was, but unfortunately I wasn't seeing my granddaughter. Then, back in the shadows I glimpsed a lavender top that looked familiar. Sure enough, it was my granddaughter and her friend, the two kids out of the thirty thousand that soccer grandpa was supposed to pick up.

That was when the real fun began. There I was, stopped at the head of the line of vehicles, poised to pick them up, seeing a line of cars that receded in the distance until it disappeared from view, and I couldn't get the stupid doors to the car unlocked. I was in our daughter's modern model of transportation, a Honda Odyssey, a vehicle which has more gauges, buttons, and switches than were in the cockpit of a Boeing 727 , but try as I might, nary a door would open. There were buttons on the dash, and buttons on the key chain, all that were supposed to open the darn doors, but none of them would work. Neither would that ancient method that had worked in the days of Henry Ford, the door handle. I was locked in as tight as they were locked out. All this time my granddaughter was yelling and pointing at something, but between the window being up and my hearing, it wasn't coming through. Having had enough, I tuned off the engine took the key out of the ignition and started pushing buttons. The result was nothing happened, I was still inside and they were still outside.

Finally I reached over pulled up on the door lock, the dam broke and the two kids poured into the minivan. As I pulled away I tried not to look at the line of vehicles disappearing around the corner that were in line behind me. Of course this was only the first part of the battle of the school parking lot. Once moving, I immediately found myself a participant in a game of dodge the kids. I know every one of these kid's parents had told each of them, at least a thousand times, to look before you walk, but do you think any of them actually do it when they are on school property? Not on your life they don't. Not only isn't it a case of look before you leap, it isn't even a case of look after you leap, instead it's only leap, leap, leap.

Somehow or other the gods that watch over soccer grandpa's were with us and we managed to make it out of the parking lot without inflicting damage to anyone. But we weren't free yet, as I was soon engaged in a high stakes game of chicken with a mother and three kids. At last I blinked and they crossed the street as I continued to wait for a chance to make a right turn before the next group of potential road kill walked up.

On the way home we passed something from my past and we had to stop and take a photo. It doesn't look like much, but that yellow thread the girls are pointing out was the trademark I developed for the product line I designed and was responsible for manufacturing in my former Life.

The past comes alive

Later, there was more running around, taking Justin to speech therapy and picking up our other granddaughter from her Girl Scout meeting, then it was time for a quick dinner before our oldest granddaughter was off to see a play. Dinner was easy, tacos and dinner rolls, the rolls being smothered in butter, and as you can tell, fixing the dinner rolls is a very big deal in this house.

Good food

Later we played games, then it was time to go to bed. But there was still one last thing to do, read a book, or two books in the case of Abby. I was to read one, then it was to be her turn. For only being in first grade, her reading skills are simply astounding. As I read the book she gave me, every time I made a mistake, she instantly corrected me, and she wasn't even looking at the book. Her mom has a photographic memory, and it looks like Abby has inherited the same ability.

Good fun

I think Justin enjoyed hearing grandpa make all those mistakes as much as Abby did. At least it looks that way from the huge smile he has on his face.

Grandpa is funny

For once we didn't have any dessert, but still it had been an awesome day where the memory banks were recharged for the months of separation ahead. Some people start out full timing, only to discover they miss their family so much they have stop and return to their former life. Those are the people who dwell on what they don't have. We savor and remember every moment we have together, dwelling on what we had and have, not on what we don't have. It's a small shift in attitude, yet it can mean so much, the one choice can lead to happiness, the other to despair. We will take happiness any day.

November 16 Friday

At 6:20 the radio beside me came on, a very noisy and totally unexpected event that had me sitting up in bed, asking Linda if she had set it to come on. I knew the day started early in this household, but this seemed a little earlier than necessary. Her head still buried in the pillow, Linda mumbled something that sounded like the word, shower. Since she hadn't moved since the racket started emanating from that glowing box beside me, I took it that I had already bothered her enough with my question, so I was on my own.

Early morning in a strange house isn't the easiest thing, and this morning was no exception. The bed we were sleeping in was what is known as a California King. Think of that first small bedroom you had as a kid, the one that wasn't big enough for you, but the one you still had to share with at least one other sibling. Now, imagine a mattress big enough to cover that entire floor, a very, very thick mattress which is placed on a bed frame only a stilt walker would consider normal in height, and you begin to grasp the concept of a California King. That monstrosity is so huge they must deliver it before the roof is put on the house as there is no way it could ever fit through a door.

Climbing down out of bed, it's not something you "get out of", it's more like an early morning leap of faith, I headed off to get ready to start the day. By this time Linda was also stirring, and it was she who made a startling discovery. No, the alarm wasn't set wrong, it was that she (my words), me (Her words), had forgotten to pack the bag containing all our clothes and bathroom things. No clean clothes, no shaver, no deodorant, simply the clothes on our back and nothing more. You could call us vagrants in the land of plenty, or a couple of forgetful old people, but whatever it was, we were facing a smelly situation.

That was about the time Justin walked into the room, meaning our problems took second place, and for the next hour it a case of getting everyone up and ready to go to school. It worked out fine, as everybody, including Linda and I managed to get ready and soon we were out waiting for Justin's bus. Next it was the car pool stopping to pick up the girls, and finally Linda and I had a moment to catch our breath. Now I know why all the soccer moms like our daughter keep their trim teenage figures, they don't have time to gain any weight they are so busy running around taking care of the kids.

With everyone out of the house, we headed off to get some shopping done before it was time for the horde to return home. Fortunately there was both a Winco store and a Trader Joe's store nearby, so we were able to get almost everything we wanted. I say almost everything, because we did manage to forget one thing, the unsalted natural peanut butter we buy at Trader Joe's. That's not necessarily a bad thing because with another trip to Trader Joe's, maybe we will notice something else that we overlooked. As always, whenever we look at the glass, it's half full rather than half empty.

Before we knew it, it was time for the kids to come home, the grand kids that is, followed not long after by the other kids, our daughter and son-in-law. We did have a surprise for our daughter, a lamp she had always loved whenever she had visited her grandma's house. One of the side benefits of rummaging around for things to sell on Ebay had been the discovery of this lamp.

The past comes alive

The lamp had actually been my great Aunt's, and been given to me, but since I was still in college at the time, my mother took it and had displayed it for all the intervening years. I might add that I received it because, just as our daughter had admired it we she was young, so had I whenever I was at my Aunt Fern's house. The difference was that my mother was always saying I could have it someday, but for now she wanted to keep it. I wasn't going to do the same thing with my child. I want her to be able to enjoy it and for her children to see the family things while they were growing up so maybe someday they will want them. As anyone who reads these pages knows, history and connections are two things that are very dear to me.

Now that mommy and daddy were home, it was time for the little ones to show off, so soon Abby and I were playing the sit still game for the benefit of mommy.

Sit still

It wasn't only the kids who played, the family stuffed pets also got involved. Here's Pup, Abby's favorite dog, also trying to sit still.

sit Pup, sit

All to soon it was time to leave, which in reality was the beginning of the transition from what we have been doing for the past seven days back into our normal life. Of course what we have been doing for the past week would be the normal life, if there was such a thing for many people, while our normal life we are about to return to is the life many people dream of living. Don't look at us, we're not complaining about the Life we live.

Getting ready

Tomorrow we plan on working at moving the piles that have been accumulating in the living room, out to the coach, where space will somehow be found to store everything. Much of it is Ebay items, so the space it occupies should prove to be only temporary. Working at tasks like these reminds us that we only two more days before we are once again on the way to our winter quarters in Texas, with a stop in Quartzsite for Thanksgiving. Linda has been checking the weather reports and it looks like it should be a good trip, weather wise.

Our day was completed when Zachary came over to spend the night and I got to play Super Mario Brothers on his Nintendo with him. He helped me as much as he could, then finally said he would bring up a really, really easy game so I could win one. He did and I did. Life simply doesn't get any better than it was today.

November 17 Saturday

Lots of work to do today, so Linda and I were both up before the sun. While I worked on the Daily Journal, Linda did woman things. Now just what woman things are, I have never figured out. I do know there is a certain amount of banging and clattering that goes on. That doors and drawers open and close. And that it always takes place in a room other than the one I presently find myself in, though there may be the flickering of the quick movement of the female form through my room.

There is always the accompanying facial expression that is completely unfathomable. I sometimes wonder if Leonardo Da Vinci must have been painting in his conservatory one day when a young woman, doing these timeless woman things, passed through, giving him the woman thing look. Once she was gone he decided to finish his painting, giving his subject that same look, and that's why no one has ever been able to figure out the meaning of the expression on the Mona Lisa's face to this day. Women, the one truly unsolvable riddle of the universe.

It also wasn't long before Zachary popped into the room where I was working, though it was with a big hug, an even bigger smile, and the words, "I love you, grandpa." Now. that's the way to start the day. Of course Linda wasn't unaffected by Zachary either, as soon, the aroma of fresh cooked pancakes was wafting into the room where I was working.

Once breakfast was over and the Daily Journal uploaded, it was time to buy the missing peanut butter, so off to Trader Joe's we went. As you can imagine, the cart held more than just eight jars of crunchy, unsalted, natural peanut butter by the time we reached the checkout counter, and for a change the culprit was Linda and not me. Though the green balloon that was tied around Zachary's hand suggested she was the only one who had gotten something special. It's one of the reasons Zachary likes to go to Trader Joe's, the kids get a free balloon. On the way home we stopped at the Farmers Market, mostly to see what they had, but also for Zachary. We had been talking about what he remembered when he had stayed with us every weekend several years ago, and he had mentioned that we always went to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning, so here we were.

It didn't take long before absolutely divine Autumn Purple grapes, fresh picked, pickling cucumbers, and baby zucchini found there way into our bag. Zachary also saw something he wanted, a pomegranate, something neither Linda nor I had never had, but which Zachary had. Soon three of those small odd shaped fruits were nestling in our close to overflowing bag. You could tell from the may Zachary was smiling that it was obvious he was really feeling proud that he could show grandma and grandpa something new.

Back at the house we followed Zachary's instructions and were soon enjoying our first taste of pomegranate. He, very seriously, told us not to eat any of the white membrane as it would give us a bad tummy ache the next day. We also got the same warning about eating any of the tiny white seeds that the juice sac surrounds. We had to chuckle because he also wasn't into drinking the juice, though that seemed to be about 90 percent of what was there to be eaten. Still we had a great time, not only doing something new, but doing it with our grandson. Who knows, maybe someday Zachary can share a pomegranate with his young grandson, and tell him the story about how as a young boy, Zachary taught his grandparents how to eat one of those odd looking juicy purple fruits. Connections and links, some we will never know, others we are part of, the real stuff that makes life, Life.

This is how you do it

By the way, doing a little reading later in the day we discovered that it was perfectly okay to eat the seeds, but the white membrane is loaded with tannin, so it is best discarded. It was also obvious that my appreciation of those odd looking and tasting fruits was different from Linda's. That's okay though, because it just means more for me when we eat the other two.

While it was a good day for Zachary, my day was slightly tipped a little in the opposite direction. First, the batteries in my camera decided they had provided all the power they were capable of and it was time to be recharged. Next I forgot to take Linda's camera along on our shopping trip. Yes, I know it's Linda's camera and she should have taken it, but at just the barest beginning mention of that fact I could tell that things were not going to go well for me if I continued down that line, so that excuse was quietly shelved. Lastly, the camera bag I always, well nearly always, carry on my belt, was in its death throes, at least unless Linda could preform emergency surgery.

Sewing things up

The surgery was successful and soon I was back to feeling like my old self, ready to document all the activities of Her Ladyship, being the loyal servant that I am. It wasn't long before the opportunity arose, as the sounds I was hearing coming from the kitchen indicated that there was food fixing afoot. I showed up just in time to learn that Zachary must have been a real good helper, especially since Linda gave up her favorite part of baking, and let Zachary do it.

The best part of baking

Once the dishes had been washed Zachary came back into the family room and decided to have one last go at teaching grandpa the ins and outs of the Nintendo game that was evading all of my efforts to successfully conquer it. Some things just aren't meant to be, and I'm afraid the ability to master that game is one of them. Neither one of us actually gave up, and I think Zachary might have summed it up best with his comment, "Maybe next time when you're home you'll do better, grandpa." Optimism, if he can just keep it throughout his Life, what a wonderful journey it will be. All to soon Zachary's mom arrived, goodbye's were said and silence settled over the house.

We spent the rest of the evening doing the little things that had been left undone in the general rush of getting everything out to the coach during the day. As I took the last small load out I was reminded of something that happened earlier in the day. I had been carrying boxes out to the coach, getting ready to put them in the bays, when, after my second trip back into the house, Zachary, who had been walking right behind me as I carried things out, tugged on my sleeve. "Grandpa", he asked in that somewhat soft shy voice of his, "do you think I could carry one of the boxes out?"

When I was younger, my answer would have most likely been predicated on just how much there was to get done and how much time I had to do it. After all, I only had the weekend off and everything that needed to get done, had to get done during those few hours. Now, with the advantage of time and the ability to see things in the real perspective of Life, not just the perspective of living, I knew what my answer would be before I ever even thought about his question. We had a great time loading the coach together, as I opened the doors and helped him, while he carried the boxes and helped pack it all in. Grandparent and grandchild, there are many moments in Life that transcend all others, this was one of those. My you also have had the joy one of those transcending moments, whatever the circumstances, in your Life today.

November 18 Sunday

The last full day before we leave, but it isn't going to be all work and no play, though we will certainly be doing our share of work. We always have that last get together with our family before leaving, the time when we say goodbye for another eight months, and that's what's on tap for today. I'm sure there are purists who would decry our use of the term, full time to describe our Life, simply because we own a home and return to it several times a year. They can think whatever they want, for us, when we are here for our week or so, we are visitors in our own house. It is a temporary asset that will be disposed of some day in the future, no longer holding any attachment to us. What bring us back to this place is the desire to visit family, not to return to our house.

Linda had done a little research and was proposing that while we go to church this morning, it would be to a different church than the one we formerly attended. See, we have not only given up our attachment to our house, but also to most all of the other remnants of our old life. Before we were "locked in" to what we did, but since leaving home, we have learned that there is a lot bigger world out there than we ever imagined, and that if we don't experience it, we will never grow. That was what we were doing this morning, plus we were taking our daughter and Zachary along on our adventure.

We did run into several small problems, the first of which was the parking lot at this church was almost entirely full when we arrived, making finding a stop to park nearly impossible without the help of their friendly parking attendants. That might have been a problem, but it was also a good sign that a whole lot of people liked this place. The second small problem was the fact we learned once we were seated in the balcony that we'd arrived half way through the service. That was not so good, especially since we'd heard the contemporary music at this church was really outstanding, and by arriving late we'd managed to miss almost all of it.

We did get to hear the final song, it was everything we thought it would be, and more, then it was time to go. We weren't in any hurry to leave, one because of the obvious crush of traffic, but also because our daughter was really liking what she had experienced. The part of the service we had seen had been really meaningful to her, plus there were many people her age in attendance. They have three services each Sunday morning, two contemporary and one traditional, this of course being one of the contemporary services.

This is how you grow a church

Just as we were getting ready to leave our seats in the balcony, Zachary came over to me and whispered in my ear, "Grandpa, you'll never guess what's under your seat." I wasn't sure what he is talking about, but glancing over at our daughter, who was doing everything she could she could to keep from bursting out in laughter, I could tell it was unusual to say the least. I tried to think what it might be, asking Zachary if it was a book, or some papers, all which I was told were wrong. I finally decided to look and bending down, I peered under the pew, but could see nothing but carpet.

It was at that point that Zachary could not longer keep from laughing, which had both his mom and Linda soon joining in. It seemed like everyone but grandpa know what was under my seat. Finally Zachary, with a very serious look on his face, asked, "Do you want me to tell you, grandpa?" "Sure, Zachary", I said, to which, he solemnly replied, "There's a rat trap under your seat", which was immediately followed with much giggling. I looked down, then up at him, which brought forth another burst of laughter from the two ladies, then decided this was so unreal, a photo was necessary.

This is how you do it

As we were leaving the balcony, my daughter told me I missed the best part of the whole thing, which was the looks on the faces of the people around us when the flash went off and they all looked to see an old man on his hands and knees taking a photo under the pew. They probably looked at us and thought about what a strange family we were. I'd have to agree, but finding a rat trap under your seat in church could also be classified as strange, so we had one on them also. On the way out our daughter picked up some literature on the programs of the church, and she pleasantly surprised us by calling in the very late afternoon to let us know she was going to one of the evening small group programs that was for people in her circumstances in Life. Maybe there was a lesson to found in the rat trap. It's a church which has something for everyone, and just like Life itself, if you will only open your eyes, you never know what you are going to see.

While it had been a good day for Zachary, at least up till this point, but was going to get even better, since we were going to a park for lunch. That meant time on the play equipment for him.

This is how you do it

Unfortunately, grandpa just had to show off, pretending to hang from the parallel bars and use just his hands to go from one end to the other. That was good for some good natured teasing, at least until Zachary very seriously pointed out that while it looked like grandpa's hands were holding him up, his feet were still on the ground. One thing led to another and before long Zachary was an unhappy boy, at least until Linda could preform emergency first aid.

Grandma will make it better

What had happened was grandpa was demonstrating just how strong his fingertips were, when Zachary's hands slipped and he lost some skin off the inside of his fingers. It was just surface damage, but it hurt. It's times like these that grandma's are made for, and it wasn't long before he was sporting band aids on all the hurt places.

Taking a cue from what was going on, I decided it was time to do a little fixing up myself, repairing something that Linda had damaged in the coach. Linda is legendary for not closing doors and drawers, in fact I'm not sure she ever meet one she hasn't left open at one time or another. The tales I could tella but won't. Suffice it to say that the other day when I was closing the kitchen slide on the coach, you know who, had left one of the pantry doors open which resulted in a piece of molding being torn completely off. The piece it fastened to was also cracked down the middle, so while Linda repaired the damage I had done to Zachary, I was repairing the damage Linda had caused to the molding, gluing the cracked piece together.

Fixing what was broken

Later in the day, we drove over to our daughter's house where the plan was to take our annual Christmas photo. Trying to get everyone positioned just so, then looking at the camera is not always the easiest thing, especially when you have a special needs child in the family. Here is our son looking on in amazement as our daughter tries her best to get everyone in her family arranged just so. Proving that miracles do happen, we did get a good photo taken, though it will take some creative use of the Gimp image manipulation software to achieve the desire results.

Fixing what was broken

We then had fun giving our three kids something special.

Something special

As you can tell, they were really into what ever it was.

What is it?

My dad's hobby was making lamps, and not just nice lamps, but really nice lamps. He was especially good at making electrical meter lamps from meters that were quite old. These were the last three lamps he had made before he had died more than 25 years ago, and it was time to give them to our kids. As you can tell, they really appreciated not only the art and the beauty of the lamps, but also what they signified.


Meter lamps

Before we ended the day there was one more thing to do, which was to fete mom and dad with cake and ice cream. We had fun playing around while our daughter took a couple of photos.

Cutting the cake

Eating the cake

Eating cake a long time ago

In case you were wondering, yes forty years ago today it was Linda and I receiving presents and feeding each other cake. I don't know about her, but I know I sure lucked out. Maybe that is what we all need in our Life, a little luck. Whatever the reason, it sure has been a lot of fun being married to the queen of queens. If there is someone better, they probably still haven't been born, and even then I won't envy the guy who marries her, after all, look at all the years I have on him already. Life, it isn't a dress rehearsal, so make the most of it.

November 19 Monday

Before we left today, I had one thing I needed to do, which was to visit my mother having recently turned 90 years old, she lives in a world of her own, where her father visits her every day and she plays games with her brothers and sister. We were so shocked when my dad dropped dead of a heart attack over 25 years ago, but was that any worse than the slow wasting away that is my mothers life? The entire time I was there she kept calling me her brother, that was up until the moment it was time to leave and I leaned over, kissed her and said, "I love you Mom." In a barely audible voice she responded with, "I love you too, Bob."

It's not a matter if life is fair or not, it's a matter of living the Life we are given.

Mother and son

We had originally planned to leave about 9:30, but one thing led to another, and it was 10:45 before we finally got away. The drive was relatively easy, as we were only planning on driving the six or so hours down to Bakersfield. At a rest stop we saw a cute sign in a car.

This is how you do it

The sign, closeup.

Every dog has his day

As we drove south on 99, out here we just call it 99, not Highway 99 or Route 99, Linda decided that she was game for a turn behind the wheel. In the last year she had driven very little, and she was determined to sharpen her coach driving skills on the trip to Texas. She did great, getting up to speed quickly, changing lanes as necessary and staying relaxed and amiable. It also gives me a break, which makes the day seem to go much faster.

Grandma behind the wheel

As always we listened to a book on tape, actually a book on Cd, while we drove. We had started to listen to it in the summer, but had not gotten all the way through it. Being old people, we had forgotten what it was about so we decided to listen to it once again from the beginning. It didn't take long before I was telling Linda what was going to happen next, but unfortunately she was not impressed, choosing to listen to the whole thing all over again.

The good thing about something like this is it makes the time seem to fly by, and before we knew it we had exited the freeway for the drive to the Wal Mart in Bakersfield. Linda was giving the directions and the further we drove from the freeway, the more of an uneasy feeling I was getting, something that kept increasing the longer it took to get there. When we finely arrived, my gut feeling was to not turn into the parking lot, but there was this female beside me loudly pointing out that we were at the entrance. It was a small parking lot which was completely full of vehicles, not one of which was much larger than a compact car. After threading our way through the lot, then back onto the street, I lucked out and was able to get us headed back towards the freeway. Maybe we had tried the wrong Wal Mart in town, maybe we just weren't supposed to stay there, but whatever the reason, there was more travel today than we had planned.

Two hours later we were in Barstow, looking once again for the friendly blue sign of Wal Mart. We did have one small problem, the person who loads the maps into the GPS, Linda's husband, had somehow failed to load the map set that showed Barstow, a fact his wife was most vocal in pointing out. (On edit it was pointed out to me that you know who had not said anything about this, but that she really wanted to. Perhaps I had only 'thought' I had heard her tell me what was on her mind.) We did know what exit to take, but didn't know which way to turn once we had exited. Just as I was making the left turn, Linda cried out, "I see it, I see it, it's to the right." Of course by then it was too late as I was committed to the left turn, so after a brief, but not to quick trip down the freeway once again, we were soon back and turning the "right" way. Coming up to the Wal Mart all we could see was a repeat of our earlier experience in Bakersfield. As if to prove the point, there didn't seem to be any RVs in the parking lot, but as we were waiting at the light to make the left turn, we saw a line of RVs and trucks parked in a dirt lot next to the Wal Mart parking lot. With a minimum of jolts and shakes we were soon settled in next to another Endeavor.

Fixing dinner

Dinner was salmon patties, and yes the inside of the coach smelled just like we talk about on the home page article, but it is our house, and we'll eat what we want. While Linda did some shopping, I wrote the Daily Journal article for the previous day. Then it was time to turn in for the night, living the Life we love.

By the way, we discovered that we had gone to the wrong Wal Mart in Bakersfield, the one where people stay overnight is West of 99, we had gone to the one East of 99. But look at it this way, instead of needing to drive 400 miles tomorrow to get to Quartzsite, we will only need to drive 260 miles. Once again the glass turned out to be half full.

November 20 Tuesday

Before we left today, we just had to walk over to the Wal Mart and do some last minute shopping, after all, Quartzsite may be growing, but as of yet there is no big blue sign. As Linda does every year, she mentioned she was just about out of Oil of Olay. This used to always be one of my Christmas presents to her, but then a few years ago she took to needing a new bottle some weeks before Christmas and bought it herself. Ain't gonna' happen this year, and we compromised, she will stretch out what she has, and I will get her some for Christmas. I wonder what they call this stage in a marriage?

Most of the trucks parked overnight had left fairly early, but the RVs were still around. In fact as we walked back from the store, another big motorhome had joined the ones beside us. Maybe they were the type of people who traveled at night and slept during the day.

Barstow Wal Mart

We had just pulled out and were making our second turn when there arose such a clatter that Linda turned to see what was the matter, and no it wasn't jolly old St. Nick and eight tiny reindeer, it was a drawer that had come open. The one with all the cooking utensils in it, the one which could make more noise than all the others put together. Linda, ever resourceful, determined that somehow the catch had gotten locked in the wrong position and try as she might, she couldn't get it undone. That meant the drawer wasn't going to stay closed, but she was more than ready for a minor problem like this and soon had it solved.

This is how you do it

The scenery was that of the high desert, with the terrain a series of moderate grades we were either climbing or descending. As we drove along this section of I-40, Linda took a few photos to capture the essence of the drive.

Pack dog view

The past two times we had driven to Quartzsite we had come down the East side of the Colorado River on State Route 95. Today was our first time using US-95 on the California side of the river. It didn't take but a couple of miles to determine that this road had considerably more twists, turns, dips and hills than the other one. There was also a paucity of civilization, and no greenery whatsoever, but that also meant there were very few vehicles on the road, which actually made the drive quite easy. Just be warned that if you don't like narrow, curvy, dippy roads, you probably won't enjoy it. The time passed quickly as we listened to the last three Cd's of the book we had started yesterday, and suddenly we were on I-10, then had soon crossed the Colorado River.

Welcome to Arizona

After driving up the long grade East of Blythe, we finally topped out and headed down into the valley where our home for the Thanksgiving Holidays would be located, Quartzsite. I guess we have become rather predictable in our migratory habits, the Oregon coast in the fall, Quartzsite in the winter, and somewhere else in the spring. We do seem to be arriving earlier every year, the first time it was in late January 06, then mid December 06, and now late November. But something tells me this is about as early as it's going to be.


One big change we noticed by arriving at this time of the year was the reduced amount of traffic, and we weren't even in town yet, we were just exiting I-10. Since there was no line of vehicles at the Loves truck stop, we decided to get diesel there and wonder of wonders, actually got to pull up to a pump without having to wait. Since the tank was down near the quarter mark, we needed to fill it so we could run the generator to cook our Thanksgiving g Day feast, something we are both looking forward to. Then it was driving through town, noticing all the changes the year had brought, the biggest of which was the fact they were widening Main Street, taking away all the parking and putting in a sidewalk in front of all the sellers on the North side of the street. If they don't watch out, they are going to improve Quartzsite to the point where it isn't Quartzsite any more.

Quartzsite improvements

As we turned North at the traffic light to head up to Hi Jolly, we couldn't help but notice the huge empty La Mesa RV lot on the corner. Though in not too many days it will be filled with RVs of every description to sell to the masses who pour into town for the big show in January.

La Mesa RV

It is just a couple of miles north of town to the Hi Jolly 14 day area, and with the addition of the turn lanes, it wasn't necessary for me to repeat my performance of that evening in January 2006 when we drove where no man had driven before to get into the area. This meant that all the dishes remained where they normally are kept and the other than a little dust on the Explorer, something that is impossible to avoid, we arrived just as we had left this morning. Our plans were to merely pull in, unhitch the Explorer, drive around and find a good spot, then return to the coach and drive to the perfect spot we had just selected. But as luck would have it, as we pulled in we saw the perfect spot off to the side, some distance ahead, and before long, the slides and lawn chairs were out, and we were home once again.

Our site

Soon Linda had lunch fixed and we were sitting out in the warm weather, it was a balmy, pleasant, sunny 71 degrees, just enjoying Life.

Desert lunch

One activity which Linda was determined to engage in this year is metal detecting, so it wasn't long before she was trying her hand at learning what it was all about. It is funny because up until now she has never really wanted to use the metal detector, leaving all of that to me. Then a few weeks ago she read in one of the blogs on the Hitchitch website that a friend of Ron and Terry's found a couple of nice gold nuggets while out metal detecting in the Dome Rock area. Buried treasure, fabulous riches, the lure of the unknown, the thrill of adventure, all were now coursing through her veins. All she needed was a burro to make her look like a real prospector as all the mental accouterments were in place.

Metal detective

Finally the shadows began to lengthen as the sun settled lower in the sky, the grill came out, the hamburgers started to sizzle and the moon climbed higher in the endless, blue sky. The desert is a very special place, a place that not everyone enjoys, but a place that has a stillness and quiet that seems to settle the cares of the world, muffling any worries and bringing contentment to those willing to simply sit back and drink it all in. Those few brief days away from the coach were more than enough, because this is the Life we enjoy. Our close friends for our previous life, the ones from our church that always ask, "well are you tired of traveling yet, are you ready to quit?", they simply have no comprehension of what this Life is. Those that traveled for a year or so, saw it all, and returned home, they are happy where they are, but just as I can't presume to tell someone that they will love living this way, so should others not presume that everyone's experience will be the same as theirs. The only way to know it is for you is to reach out for that ring as the merry-go-round we call life continues to spin. Who knows when you make the grab what you will come up with. I'm glad we ended up with a golden ring, and with those thoughts in mind we sat, watching the now golden tendrils of sunshine thread their way across the desert floor. Life is indeed Good.


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