Day 1196 – Back on the Road

Leaving Our Spot

First of all, David survived his overnight backpacking trip. In fact, he was really quite the happy camper when he got home.  I will let him fill you in on the details, and he has some great photos. Hopefully, he will write his own blog post soon.

Today, we started our annual Eastern trek.  We first watched the Newcastle United vs Arsenal English Premier League match on TV because Hannah was in attendance.  Didn’t really expect to see her on TV, but wanted to see what she was seeing on the pitch.  She did send pictures from the sponsor suite, and really enjoyed the VIP treatment.  It reminded David and I of our first date in the CalFarm suite at Arco Arena all those years ago.  And while Hannah had a chef make her a special vegan entree, David had to settle for a hot dog bun as his vegetarian option at the Kings game in 1989. Certainly is a good example of how eating habits have changed over the years.

We had a lovely visit with our friends Anna and Louis, and got our quick goodbyes in before they headed out for a walk around the lake; David grabbed a picture of them just before we left.  They head back to Canada next week.

Anna and Louis
Anna and Louis

I gave Anna the last of any soap that I was still holding onto, so I am really motivated to get a new batch made.  Perhaps when we stop in Texas…

I have to brag about this couple a little more.  Anna made both David and I the most lovely hand warmers.  Check them out:

Hand Warmers by Anna
Hand Warmers by Anna

These are going to keep us toasty in Maine, that is for sure! And you notice those jars on the counter? Well, they contain goodies like apple sauce and a berry syrup that I can’t wait to put on pancakes.  Yes, I get spoiled by friends on the road, just like I did at home on Markham Way.  Life is good, I tell you!

After we visited the dump station and filled with about 60 gallons of water, we headed to Highway 8, and after a short drive (by RV-travel standards), we parked at RoVer’s Roost, a SKP Co-op park outside of Casa Grande, AZ.  This no-frills park offers dry camping spots for a deal: $5 for the first night, and FREE for the second.  We are going to drive into the Phoenix outskirts to visit some friends for the day tomorrow, and we wanted to be parked someplace secure, so this park is going to be great for that.

Upon setup, we chatted with a lady named Georgia, whom we happened to meet in the dry camping area of another Escapee park called Jojoba Hills.  I guess we are just destined to run into people we have met along the way, since we are now in our 4th year of RVing.  It does just blow me away by how small the world is, though!

Tomorrow will be a busy day, so I will just sign off with this – dinner was quick and easy, and I really need to get to a Trader Joe’s, Winco, REI…oh, hello civilization! I feel a shopping fix coming on.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Our Route Today:

Day 1194 – Individual Projects

Hiking Guy

The day started with a surprise rain storm.  It is one of those things that happens rarely in the desert, but we have been witness to it at least four times this season.

Our day was spent inside getting our place in order, preparing to leave, and with a few projects.  David has been planning to hike up one of the nearby peaks, and did indeed head off around 4 pm today.  He had his backpack loaded with water, food, a tent and sleeping bag.  Yes, it is a solo overnight hike, and as I type this at 12:50 am, he is up on some mountain, and I suspect he is getting more sleep than I am.

I really encouraged him to go.  One, because I think it is important that he see that he can still do these things on his own.  We do so much together, and this trip is proof to me, too, that his health is good, and that it is OK to not be hovering around him all of the time.  It is strange to be alone for so long, though.  I am sure that I will eventually get tired enough that I fall asleep, and then morning will come, and he will return with tons of pictures and stories.  It gives me a chance to update this post, too, which is something that I have been struggling with.  Time, energy, focus, structure – these are all my unstructured-life challenges.

For my project today, aside from burning a bunch of personal papers that I have sorted through and logged into Quicken, and after I made some muffins for David to take on his trip, I had a new soap project to complete. Here are the carrot/apple/raisin/walnut muffins I made:

Muffins!
Muffins!

David would tell you that they needed more spice, and that they could have cooked a little longer.  I will tell you that this did not stop him from eating them.

Now, for the soap project.  About twice a year, Brambleberry (a soapcrafting supply company) has a “Soap Swap”, where one signs up to swap 10 bars of soap with other soapcrafters.  There are only so many soapers to get into each swap, and I was lucky enough to get into this one.  I have been wanting to try something called “rebatching”, so today was the day to do it. Rebatching is taking a batch of previously-cured cold process soap, and remaking it into something new.

I started off with taking the unscented soap that I had on hand, and shredding it:

Shredding Soap
Shredding Soap

I purchased this shredder at the local Thrift Store for 50 cents!

Next, I put the shreds into a pot:

Makeshift Double Boiler
Makeshift Double Boiler

And melted it down slowly over a 2 hour period.

I then added a fragrance, and put it into a loaf mold.  Next, I topped it with some dried rose buds:

Soap Toppers
Soap Toppers

 

I am hoping this texture on the soap calms down a bit, and that it doesn’t turn out to be a globby, flaky mess!  If it doesn’t turn out well, I will have to make a different batch of soap for the swap, and that is not in my travel plans for this weekend!

The daylight part of the day was wrapped up with a lovely sunset, and a text from David that he had made it to the top of the mountain.  I looked for him, but couldn’t see him.  Honestly, I don’t even know for sure which peak he was going to.

Sunset View
Sunset View

I am sure David will have lots of photos to share tomorrow.

As for me, I binged on many episodes of “Hot In Cleveland”, ate a vegan Boca burger for dinner, and am letting the cat sleep on the bed.  Seems like an all-around good wrap up of a day.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Planning Our Path East

When The Cactus Flowers

Our time of living life leisurely parked in the desert of Arizona, living off the grid, is rapidly drawing nigh. We must pack up our things, store Hannah’s car, and start heading towards the East Coast of this lovely land.

We are in the planning stages, and this is what we have so far:

Our timeline:

Sunday, March 21: Meet up with friends outside of Phoenix, AZ for a bike ride and some bingo!

Tuesday, March 24: Overnight Hike in Saguaro National Park (http://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm)

Travel towards Texas – plans open, but we have a deadline…

Thursday, April 2: Annual exam Dr appointment in Buda, TX (scheduled)

Friday, April 3: Annual Neurology appointment in Houston, TX (not yet confirmed)

Hopefully spend the next few days visiting with family in the Austin area.

Then, head on up to Tulsa to see Kit and Tamara.

From there, we will head towards South Hadley, MA to see David’s parents and sister, then head to our job in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Our expected arrival there is the last week of April.

At least, that is what we have planned right now.  We do reserve the right to shake, rattle and roll, boogie woogie, or slip slide away the days, depending on the radio station and what catches our fancy as we head down the highways and byways.

I have many update posts up my sleeve as well, so I will just say that I am working on it, and leave it at that.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

 

Day 1161 – Girls Day

Tin Butterfly

Do you remember our friend Linda? She lives in Silverton, Colorado during the nice time to live at 9,305 feet in elevation.  But when it isn’t nice to live there (say, October – April) she is an RV’er.  Linda and her late husband John were some of the first friends we made when we started working at Amazon in December of 2012. They introduced us to this LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area), and we have looked forward to seeing them whenever we got the chance.

Linda is now adjusting to flying solo, and we have had the pleasure of her company a couple of times this season.  She is currently traveling in a Class C trailer like this one:

Home On The Road
Home On The Road

It’s just the right size for her and her dog, Hope, but it can be a bit large to run around town in.  I had been looking at the local events calendar to see what she and I could do for a girl’s day out, and we found a craft fair that was scheduled on the same day as the farmer’s market, so we made a plan and off we went.

David was so sweet to stay behind and provide doggy day care to Hope (Linda’s miniature Australian Shepherd).  But honestly, who was watching whom? Hope’s job was to make sure David didn’t go up on the roof while we were gone!

Linda and I put on real going-out-in-public clothes, and I even put a little mascara on so that I didn’t scare people too much. Then we were off to the Farmer’s Market at the “Mall”.  It wasn’t a large market, but we definitely scores some sweet deals.  I picked up an assortment of 3 red/yellow/orange bell peppers for $1.00 – for all 3, not each! Also, a head of cauliflower for $1.50. And finally, a bunch of asparagus ) labelled “Sparagus” for $2.00.  Linda found some lovely tomatoes, too.  It was a good haul for a short and sweet stop.

Well, all that shopping left us parched, so we hit the Starbucks drive-thru.  I think this was my first Starbucks of the year (I have chosen Dunkin’ Donuts, Coffee Bean & Tea, or something local) and an iced coffee hit the spot.  Next, we headed to the Yuma Potpourri Artists Arts & Crafts Show at the Foothills branch of the Yuma County Library.  The facility was just beautiful:

Foothills Library
Foothills Library

The crafts show was very small, which surprised us, as this was advertised heavily.  We may be spoiled by the size of crafts shows we have attended in the past.  There were three self published authors, several beaded jewelry makers, pressed flower cards, a pastels artist, and a lady who sold recycled aluminum cutout ornaments, like the butterfly you see in today’s featured photo.  I purchased this lovely butterfly for $1.00.  I thought it was appropriately made from an Arizona Iced Tea can. It is now affixed to the screen door of the rig.

One of the cutest moments of our day out was when David sent us a text from Doggy Day Care letting Linda know that Hope was doing great and that they were out on a walk.  That was so considerate of him!

Linda didn’t find anything that she couldn’t live without, so we next went off to find the Foothill Shoe Store, home of an endless offering of shoes by Keene, Birkenstock, and SAS.  We didn’t look up the address, but since Foothill seems to be a smallish area, with really just one main drag, we figured it would be easy enough to find.

And this is where the day got really interesting.  As we hit the end of the main business artery without spotting the shoe store, we went to turn around and discovered a lovely new-ish RV/residential development called “El Rancho Encantado“. Now, I don’t want to turn into a salesperson on you, but if I was in the market for a lot to park the rig on, I probably would have written a check.  This place was gorgeous! Linda and I walked around to each of the lots that have been built on and are for sale, and looked at the second phase lots.  Here is an example of a 754 sq ft casita that is built on a lot.  This still allows for 2 RV full hookups.

Casita
Casita

Like I said, we are not in the market to buy, but Linda is looking at where she is going to start her next chapter; maybe it will be here.  And if it is, I know there are hookups for when we visit (and David is always available to work on that outdoor kitchen or sunroom).

After we swooned over this development, we google mapped where the shoe store really was! Just one exit down the highway, and we were squeezing into a packed store.  They were having a sale where they pay the 8.25% sales tax, so it was a popular place.  Linda found what she wanted, and we were out of there as quickly as possible.

Now, with grumbling tummies, we decided on…you guessed it…Chipotle for lunch. Mmmmm.

Our last stop was at Imperial Date Gardens to pick up one of their 11 lb boxes of dates to share.  These are just so yummy, and they freeze well, so I decided to get a box before they were sold out.

Once home, it was really time to get cooking!

With the latest episode of “Glee” playing on my laptop, I decided to make the recipe that my friend Sharon posted on my Facebook wall for  Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower.  It was tasty! And HOT! I served it over a bed of fresh spinach, but did not make the ranch dipping sauce, as I have not found an oil-free Veganaise.

It was a full day, topped of with watching the boy’s high school soccer AZ State Championship match on TV. Yes, that is reaching for entertainment!

I hope you had a good day, and night, and that the Hallmark holiday didn’t get you down.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

 

 

 

Day 1159 – What’s Cooking

Hobbie Cat

Hello there, old friend.

I have been slacking.  I truly have no excuse for not keeping up.  In fact, I have started writing posts every single day – in my head, as I wake up each morning.  And then, well, I get up and get going and suddenly it is 2 pm and I have very little idea how I lost track of time, or why I didn’t have the discipline to sit and write out my thoughts and experiences.

Am I in a funk? I don’t think so.  I actually think I am doing well with this whole empty nest thing.  Except that I am keenly aware that I am in need of being needed.  Now, I have managed to do things for Hannah (and to a much lesser extent, Kit and Tami) practically every day.  And I am in constant contact with the girl even though we have a 7 hour time difference.  And it would not be a far stretch to say that I check my phone as soon as I wake up to see what little note or update I have received (thanks, “WhatsApp”) from jolly ol’ England.

But there are many, many things that I must get wrapped up, and stop all this dilly-dallying.

The first of which – what did we do yesterday (which was Thursday, Feb 12, 2015)?

Well, in my head I wrote the post about the need for Structure.  With a capital “S”. But you see how well that went (not posted).  David and I then went for our every-other-day run/walk.  I tried to push it harder than I have in the past, as David gave me permission to run at my speed, as he feels that I have the ability to run faster than he does at this time.  It is only for one minute at a time, so there really isn’t that much distance between us.  We are running on a narrow, rocky path, so it is exceptionally hard to run side-by-side, which means one of us has to be in the lead.  I am fatter than David, so I feel like I need to work harder to get in/keep in shape, so I need to expend more effort on these runs.  We added two more run intervals, and even tried one stretch of running for 2 minutes at a time.  This means that we are both getting back into better shape.  Not In-The-Prime-Of-Amazon-Season shape, but definitely better than Sloth-In-The-Desert shape.

We had our usual morning oatmeal and (for me) coffee breakfast, and I ran down to the Christian Service Center to pick up a package for David. (Ah shoot.  Post Day 1145 is still in Draft, so this sentence does not make sense.  Roll with me on this.  I will update that next, I promise).

David continued to work on his solar hot water heater project, and I got going on bookkeeping.  That lovely FAFSA is due any day now, and I am feeling the pressure.

The winds are coming and going here, and the temperatures have remained in the 80’s. I mention this not as filler, but so that you can share in the questioning of the wisdom of baking biscotti when it is warmer outside than inside, and one does not have the ability to fire up the air conditioner.

I make biscotti because David loves it, and I am trying to fatten him up.  The problem is that it really isn’t very high in calories, since it has no oil.  But it is high in fiber, which sometimes is not the best thing for a person with Parkinson’s (PWP).  So, I make something he loves to eat, but he needs to increase his fluid intake to go along with the consumption of these hard cookies.  And that, my friend, is a challenge.  Even though we are in the desert, with all this flying sand particles, he just does not seem to increase his fluids as much as I would like.  When I say something, he points out that coffee is a diuretic, and that I drink way too much coffee, and there you have it.  Male Brick Wall.

Lunch salads were made, and we had leftovers burgers for dinner.

After dinner, I went online to Zenni Optical to have a go at ordering glasses online.  David wants another pair of glasses, going back to his titanium frame, and a full strength prescription.  Amazingly, his glasses are costing me a total of $27.90 – that is frame, lenses, and a sunglass clip-on! (http://www.zennioptical.com/318612-bendable-memory-titanium-half-rim-frame-with-stainless-steel-bridge.html) That is for a single vision lenses.  We will see how this goes.  Compare that to the over $200 for the Costco frame and lenses we purchased in 2012, and it really isn’t a risk.

The morning is getting away from me again, and I can feel the pressure to get up and get moving. I will just say that I will try to be kinder to myself today, and hope you can do the same for yourself. The pressure we put on ourselves is always greater than the pressure from those around us.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy