Saturday, January 31, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, January 31, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We have three more valances done – only one more to go.

The dining room window is the widest one we have done so far, the one we have left that goes over the sofa is the same size.  One of the biggest challenges is getting the fixture that holds the privacy screens and blinds back into the brackets.  We have the MCD brand blinds on all of the windows and just love them when they are installed.  The concept is simple: put the bracket in a groove and snap it into place – in reality it’s not that simple J.
One side of the living area is done also.  Getting to the one on the right was a bit of a challenge.  Greg had to take out the desk which is fastened against the wall so it won’t take off while we are traveling.  Under the desk is a wine cooler which also had to be taken out.

We decided today we were only going to get one finished, doing two a day is just a bit too much.  It takes between two and three hours for each of us per window from start to finish, depending on what size the window is.  Which will figure into about 72 hours of work by the time we are done with all twelve windows.  I don’t have any idea what it would cost to have this many valances professionally done.  Our process is including some things I don’t think we would get with professionals – the window casings are getting vacuumed, the windows are washed, the screens are taken out and given a shower, the privacy screens and blinds are getting a wash and we are washing down the walls before the new valances go back up.

We chose to reuse the frames and padding from the old valances.  A big time consumer is getting all of the staples out to get the old material off – where they used two hundred staples we use about 30 and that is plenty, I’m not sure where they thought that material was going.  We did purchase an electric stapler for around $30 to get through this project.  My antique electric scissors have been a real timesaver cutting the material.  We use the old material as a pattern for the new.  When you see how the professionals do the parts that aren’t going to be seen you have a lot more confidence that you can’t screw this up too bad.

I finally got the Christmas table runner completed, I’m pretty proud of my first quilting project.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, January 29, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We’ve finished our work week and are working on the valances again.  Today we finished the one in the kitchen.
And the remaining one in the hallway.  From this picture you can see how the grey/beige color scheme in the valances is going to tie in with the tile wall we did behind the TV.  We hope to get the remaining four windows done in the next three days.

I’ve also spent some time on my quilting projects, I’ve finished two more squares that will go into my “sampler” quilt.
I also learned how to put a binding on the table runner I’m making to add to our Christmas decorations for next year.  I have to finish the back side of the binding by hand – that’s tonight’s project while watching television.
It’s raining again tonight, it rained Tuesday and is supposed to rain through Saturday.  I guess it is supposed to dry out for the Super Bowl but I’m sure the downtown vendors and the Super Bowl Experience folks were hoping for good weather this weekend.  The people we work with who are fulltime Arizona residents can’t believe how many days it has rained this year – I’m telling you, it follows us J.

Just finished reading The Poisonwood Bible, a novel by Barbara Kingsolver.  It’s a story told by the wife and four daughters of a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.  The book was given to me by daughter, Robyn.  It’s probably more “literary” than what I usually read, but I enjoyed it.  I tend to go for mysteries and what I call “feel good” books, probably with no literary value at all but I read for enjoyment.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Monday, January 26, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Hope everyone facing the heavy snows and strong winds can stay safe and warm.  Skies here were a little overcast this morning but the temperature got up to 70 so it was a very pleasant day. 
This weekend we managed to get all of the bedroom window valances and one of the hallway valances done.
We tested the emergency exit window, we haven’t done that since we purchased the coach.  Good news – it opens wide enough for us to get through.  I admit we didn’t try dropping to the ground from it, maybe next time.
Now that we have the bedside windows dressed up I’m going to need to redo the decorative pillows on the bed.

We now have six of the twelve windows done and we haven’t uttered a harsh word during the whole process J.  You really have to like each other to live in these close quarters fulltime and when you decide to work on projects together you really could be in trouble if the relationship were shaky.

We won’t be working on the valances again until Thursday, after our work week is over.  We also need to track down a place to get a measles booster shot, seems there is an epidemic going around in Arizona and we don’t want to participate.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Friday, January 23, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

On Thursday there was a resort Manager’s Happy Hour with free beer and wine and a free meal of pulled pork sandwich with barbeque beans, potato salad and a cookie.  We were talking with the manager during the event and he said there were 1700 tickets picked up but they had prepared for 1800.  For these events you need to pick up a ticket at the activities office so they will have at least an approximate head count ahead of time.  We were able to snag a prime seat.
There was a lot of drinking (good thing everyone is within walking distance).
And a lot of dancing.

 The band for the evening was called North Star.  Two of the guys are from Canada, the other one is from Arizona.  I think the lead singer is out in the crowd.
One of our friends here gave us some oranges from the tree at his site.  They smell and taste so good. 

This is my current craft project – a quilt sampler.  Since I am a beginning quilter I thought this class would be good for me.  This is the start of 12 different quilt blocks that will go into the sampler.

I got two of the blocks done during this Wednesday’s session.

Greg’s latest DIY project was upgrading our bathroom faucet.

After.  Now I have to figure out how to fix the chips in our sign.
We are still working on our new window valances.  Three are done, we hope to finish another two this weekend. 

We took a break in working on the valances this morning to go across the street to the grocery store.  We were standing discussing whether we wanted ham or sausage for breakfast next week when a man on a motorized scooter came up beside me and said, “Ma’am, thank you for wearing that shirt”.  Now no one ever comments on my clothes because I have a pronounced lack of fashion sense so I had to look down to see what I had on.  Then he said, “I was a POW”.  This is what I was wearing, one of the Rolling Thunder Indiana Chapter One shirts that we wore when we participated in a demonstration ride into Washington, D.C.
I was inclined to hug him but thought that might not be appropriate so we settled for shaking his hand and thanking him for his service.  You never know when you might make a difference.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, January 18, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Thursday morning was filled with meetings.  First was the resort info meeting with coffee and donuts.  Then at noon we attended a meeting about Sky Med insurance.  We are already members but we just wanted to see if there were any changes to the program and to make sure we knew how our membership renewed in the future.  They also had a free pulled pork sandwich lunch.  We’ve never had to use this service but we have heard all kinds of stories from people who have used it and were very satisfied.  The main point of the program is that it “gets you home” in case of accident or illness even if it means you need to go by air ambulance.  It will also get your RV home if someone (me) can’t drive it.
Thursday evening we went up to the courtyard (this is where we work) to watch the entertainment for the evening – The Amazing Pianos.  There was quite a crowd.  They have musical entertainment of some type every day from 3-5.

On Friday I wanted to go to JoAnn Fabric to use a 50% off coupon that expired on Saturday.  The bad news is that everything I wanted was on sale so the coupon wouldn’t work on them, the good news is that they were 50% off on sale.  I mentioned to Greg that I wanted to look over their upholstery material because in the future I wanted to redo the valances that go around all of our windows.  We didn’t see anything that we liked but we did meet a lady who recommended we look at Mesa Sales.  She said from the outside it looked like a carpet store but inside they had a lot of upholstery material – boy, was she right.

We found something that appealed to both of us on the first aisle so we decided to take a yard of both of our choices home to see how they looked in the light there.  That led to taking down one of the valances – just to see how the material looked kind of draped around it.  From there we got really involved.
Greg found out that there were hundreds of staples in the original valances.


We set up a work station on the bed with our folding table across it so the material wouldn’t fall on the floor as we were working with it.  I used the old material as a pattern.  We found my old (40 yrs. or so) electric scissors in my sewing tote in the basement.  After Greg cleaned out the dust they worked just fine and made the cutting so much faster since we don’t seem to have a good pair of scissors in the house.
 I’ve never been able to figure out why they chose red and gold for the original valances.  We don’t have anything else red or gold in the coach except at Christmas time when we have our decorations up.  They didn’t look bad with the beige, brown and black in the other things that we have so we’ve put up with them.  Things changed when we did the tile wall behind the TV, it is made up of beige, grey and brown tones.  Our counters also have some grey in them so I wanted to find some way to use greys and browns in the valances.

This shows one of the new valances next to an old one.  We are really pleased with them.  The colors don’t’ show up distinctly in the picture, the stripes are two shades of beige and two shades of grey with some small black and white stripes.  We ended up doing two valances this weekend, only ten more to go.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Monday, January 12, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

Watching Ohio State and Oregon play in the college football championship.  Rooting for Ohio State.
We ended up working an extra day last week, they called us in on Saturday just as we had settled down to watch a movie.  We had a choice whether or not we went in but we decided to go, it was a good thing we did, it was busy.  Not sure how that extra four hours will play out in our workamper contract, we’ll see.  On Sunday I ended up doing the cooking and cleaning I had planned for Saturday so we didn’t have any time to get out and play.

The grill was really busy today.  There was karaoke in the courtyard and that seems to be a big draw, sometimes I’m not sure why.  The good thing about all of these busy days is that I have managed to lose 4 pounds and so far I haven’t adjusted my eating habits.  In fact, I’ve been indulging a little too much in some very good chocolate rice krispy treats I made on Sunday.
We got our December mail today which included a lot of wonderful Christmas cards.  So, we get to enjoy a bit of extended Christmas cheer.  Miss all of you back in Indiana, but I’m sure glad we don’t have to participate in that cold weather.  Stay safe and warm.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, January 8, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

We’ve each put in our twelve hours this week.  The crowds at the grill are starting to increase, the snowbirds that wait until after the holidays have arrived.  I heard that there are 5000 people in this resort now, which is probably about right since there are somewhere over 2000 sites – enough for a small town.  Since the bar and grill where we work is the only one in this little “town”, it is pretty busy.  Greg is going to start working in the kitchen putting together sandwiches and salads when we are really busy.  The pedometer this week was registering nearly 3 miles a day J.  This job has given me a whole new appreciation for wait staff.

Today is a day off and I still walked right at 2 miles.  I’ve been trying to make contact with the ceramic class instructor so I made another try today, that’s a walk to the other side of the resort – no luck again.  From there I headed to the fabric store which is a couple of blocks outside of the resort.  I needed to get material for a beginning quilting class project – I’m excited to see how this goes.  I’ll post pictures of the project as it progresses. 

This week has been in the 70s and low 80s until today when it was only in the 60s.  But, since we keep a watch on what is happening with the kids in Kansas, Indiana and Washington, DC, I’m certainly not going to complain – stay safe and warm guys.  We’ve been told by the locals that winter is over here, we’ve had our three weeks of cool weather.

Today was a treat for me, I haven’t been anywhere that I couldn’t walk since December 19.  Greg has been out for his chiropractor appointments but until this week it has been too cold for me to want to ride along.  We stopped for lunch at Piggly’s Smokehouse BBQ Grill.  We had the lean brisket sandwiches with onion rings.  I wish I had remembered to take the camera, what a great lunch!!

After lunch we went to see the movie “Unbroken”.  It is based on a true story and was a well-made film so I was glad we went to see it.  However, it is a story that makes your heart heavy.  I was surprised we were able to use the AMC movie passes I got several years ago and got in free.  They were given as an incentive to give blood one of the times I was at the Indiana Blood Center in Columbus, IN.

Then it was back to the real world, we had to make a stop at Wal-Mart for paper and other non-food items for the month.  We did check out the aisles for a few food items we haven’t been able to find in this area.

·        Drakes seasoning (breading mix we use for breaded tenderloins).  We really don’t need breaded tenderloins so this is probably a good thing.

·        Red Gold Salsa (mild).  We stocked up on this before we left Indiana but we are down to our last jar.  I’ll be making salsa until we get back to Indiana.

·        Kraft Light Three Cheese Dressing.  There are all kinds of other Kraft dressings, just not the one we prefer.

·        Panda Express Orange Sauce.  Once again probably a good thing, but it is so good.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, January 4, 2015 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

It took me two days to read through all of the posts I made in 2014.  This past week we have been experiencing some very below average temperatures so I wasn’t planning on going out anyway.  We’ve taken down the Christmas decorations and are looking forward to 2015.  I’m not including pictures in this review, it’s probably already too long, you’ll have to go back to the individual posts to look at those if you are interested.


Places We Stayed:

·        Rivers RV Center parking lot, Jacksonville, Florida

·        Pecan Park, Jacksonville, Florida – next door to a huge flea market

·        Tampa RV Super Show, Tampa, Florida

·        Tampa East Campground, Dover, Florida

Places We Visited:

·        Tampa RV Super Show

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Refrigerator cooling unit – this took two months to get fixed

·        Custom fit front and steps carpeting

·        Replaced closet latches

·        Tire covers – we made these


Places We Stayed:

·        Tampa East Campground, Dover, Florida

·        M RV Resort, Moore Haven, Florida

Places We Visited:

·        Keel & Curly Winery, East of Tampa

·        Jet Blue Park, Ft. Meyers, FL – Spring training camp Boston Red Sox

·        Lakeport, Florida – picnic area on Lake Okeechobee, Florida

·        Seminole Reservation Casino – near Moore Haven, Florida

·        Hickeys Creek Mitigation Park – Florida

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        Jet Blue Park Farmer’s Market – Ft. Meyers, FL, Monday noon to 4

·        Sonny’s, Clewiston, Florida

·        Parksdale Market, Parksdale, Florida – huge strawberry shortcakes

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Track light to highlight Greg’s car collection

·        Grate and burner washers for gas stove


Places We Stayed:

·        M RV Resort, Moore Haven, Florida

·        Camping World parking lot, Tallahassee, Florida

·        Twin River’s Campground, Nashville, Tennessee

·        Daughter Amanda’s second driveway-she has hook ups for us

·        Timberline Valley RV Resort, Anderson, Indiana

Places We Visited:

·        Hammond Stadium, Ft. Meyers, Florida – Minnesota Twins Spring training camp

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        Jimmies Dairy Bar, Pendleton, IN – great Barbeque sandwiches

·        Pizza King, Chesterfield, IN – they deliver to Timberline Valley

Special People We Spent Time With:

·        Friends Mike and Susan

·        Mom and Dad

·        Brother Mike and his wife Sharon

·        Daughter Amanda and her husband Mike and grandkids Kenzie and Kyle

·        Daughter Desira and her husband Dan

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Mirror covers – we made these

·        Refrigerator repair – sensor wired wrong in Jacksonville, didn’t notice it until we were in colder IN weather


Places We Stayed:

·        Timberline Valley RV Resort, Anderson, IN

·        Walmart parking lot, Lexington, KY

·        River Plantation RV Resort, Sevierville, TN, lot 430

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        Wicks Pie Company, Winchester, IN

Special People We Spent Time With:

·        Our family and friends.  Dad passed away April 8.  So glad we had time to spend with him before he passed.  Thankful that Mom is going to be living with my brother Mike and his wife Sharon.

·        Indiana Rolling Thunder Chapter 1

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Cabinet under TV shelf repair

·        Living room slide out cover – refit back in roller

·        Shower storage shelf


Places We Stayed:

·        River Plantation RV Resort, Sevierville, TN

·        Friends Barb and Ann’s farm, Lebanon, TN

·        Timberline Valley RV Resort, Anderson, IN

Places We Visited:

·        RV Dreams Rally, Sevierville, TN

·        Fall Creek Valley Conservation Club, Ovid, IN – helped with trap shooting

·        Indiana Grand Race Track, Shelbyville, IN – watched Ann and Barb’s horses run

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        Monelle’s at the Manor, Nashville, TN

·        Bonge’s Tavern, Perkinsville, IN

Special People We Spent Time With:

·        Friends Barb and Ann

·        Friends we met at the rally, Sean and Christine, Guy and Sue, Rick and Teresa

·        Friends Dinah, Linda and Beth

·        Rolling Thunder Indiana Chapter 1

·        Daughter Amanda and family

·        Daughter Desira and family

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        None this month


Places We Stayed:

·        Timberline Valley RV Resort, Anderson, IN

·        Caboose Campground, Remington, IN

·        National RV Refrigeration parking lot, Shipshewana, IN

Places We Visited:

·        Carpenter Creek Cellars Winery, north of Remington, IN

·        Fair Oaks Farms

·        Friends Bill and Bonnie’s farm

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        Frankton United Methodist Church tenderloin fry, Frankton, IN

·        Earl’s, Brooks, IN

·        Yesteryear’s Meats, DeMotte, IN

Special People We Spent Time With:

·        Friends Mike and Susan

·        Friends Greg and Dinah

·        Daughter Desira and family

·        Daughter Amanda and family

·        Son AJ, his wife Kim and grandkids Jackson and Braelynn

·        New friends Bill and Bonnie

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Motorcycle stabilizer bar – Greg and friend Mike built his

·        Refrigerator – defrost fan


Places We Stayed:

·        Timberline Valley RV Resort, Anderson, IN

·        Daughter Amanda’s second driveway

·        Walmart parking lot, Williamsburg, KY

Places We Visited:

·        Stream Cliff Herb Farm, Commisky, IN

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        Sahms, Pendleton, IN

Special People We Spent Time With:

·        Friends Dinah and Linda

·        Sisters Sue and Linda and their husbands

·        Daughter Desira and her family

·        Daughter Amanda and her family

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Ladder step braces, replaced some


Places We Stayed:

·        KOA, Forsythe, GA – they brought us chocolate chip cookies after check in

·        Hardeeville RV, Hardeeville, SC – just outside Savannah, GA, good park only because it is close to Savannah

·        Lake Air RV Park, Hollywood, SC – don’t go here

·        Walmart parking lot – Wilson, NC

·        Americamp RV Resort, Ashland, VA – near Richmond raceway

·        Pohick Bay Regional Park, Lorton, VA – close to Washington, DC

Places We Visited:

·        River Street, Savannah, GA

·        Tybee Island, GA

·        Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Pooler, GA

·        Pohick Bay Marina, Lorton, VA

·        Old Town Alexandria, VA – be sure to see the harbor

·        City Market, Washington, DC

·        Gunston Hall, Lorton, VA

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        The Lady and Sons, Savannah, GA

·        North Beach Bar and Grill, Tybee Island, GA

·        City Market Deli, Washington, DC – get the buckwheat pancakes for breakfast

Special People We Spent Time With:

·        Daughter Robyn, her husband Jason and granddaughter Maddie

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Had to patch roof as temporary fix until we get to Indiana to have it looked over

·        Dismantled the awning over the door because it wouldn’t retract


Places We Stayed:

·        Walmart parking lot, Strongsville, OH – they had fireworks in town

·        Charger Enterprises parking lot, Elkhart, IN

·        Son David’s barn lot, Pratt, KS – he has hook ups for us

Places We Visited:

·        Pratt County Lake, Pratt, KS

Special People We Spent Time With:

·        Son David and grandkids Wyatt and Cheyanne

·        Grandson Tyler and his girlfriend Rachel

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        Replaced hydraulic pump motor

·        Replaced shelf brackets in cabinet where I store pans

·        Replaced stove burner washers

·        Had door awning fixed

·        Had roof leak checked out, repair is holding, will have it fixed next time thru Indiana

·        Caulked some windows to prevent leaks


Places We Stayed:

·        Son David’s barn lot

·        Palo Duro RV Park, Palo Duro, TX – ok, but I wouldn’t go back on purpose

·        Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Palo Duro, TX – this was amazing

·        Oasis RV Resort, Amarillo, TX

·        Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post, Albuquerque, NM – next to Camping World and right down the street from Freightliner

·        Sky City Casino, Sky City, NM

·        Grand Canyon Railway Hotel & RV Resort, Williams, AZ

·        Hitching Post RV Park, Las Vegas, NV – closest park to Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Places We Visited:

·        Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, KS

·        Gypsum Hills Byway, Medicine Lodge, KS

·        Panhandle-Plains History Museum, Canyon, TX

·        Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX

·        Painted Desert, AZ

·        Petrified Forest, AZ

·        Grand Canyon Train to South Rim, Williams, AZ

·        Lake Mead NV/AZ state line

·        Hoover Dam NV/AZ state line

·        Monte Carlo Hotel, Las Vegas – dinner with Castrol and John Force

Local Eateries We Recommend:

·        Buster’s, Sun City, KS

·        Big Texan Steak House, Amarillo, TX – they pick you up at Oasis RV Resort

·        CafĂ© 66, Williams, AZ

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        We bought Hoss Pads to put under the stabilizer legs

·        Replaced kitchen faucet

·        Check engine light was coming on, had to replace the crankcase ventilation filter


Places We Stayed:

·        Hitching Post RV Park, Las Vegas, NV

·        Hidden Oasis RV Park, Wikieup, AZ – very small, but it has everything we needed

·        Val Vista Villages RV Resort, Mesa, AZ – we pulled in here the 5th and will be here until next Spring.  We’ll be workamping here as food service workers.

Places We Visited:

·        Las Vegas Motor Speedway – NHRA drag racing

·        Phoenix International Raceway – NASCAR Truck Race

RV Repairs or Improvements:

·        We have damage on the passenger side we were struck coming into Phoenix, we’ll have it fixed when we get back to Indiana next summer

·        Bought a new tie down kit for the motorcycle

·        Replaced one of the bedroom electrical outlets with one that has USB ports

·        Tiled the wall behind the TV


Places We Stayed:

·        Val Vista Villages RV Resort