Thursday, December 22, 2016

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, December 22, 2016 - Mormon Temple Lights


Earlier this week we went with a group to view the massive light display at the Mormon Temple in Mesa.  This is an annual event, I understand they start putting it up in October.

The group we went with was some of the people we square dance with.

The light displays were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.  Unfortunately, I didn’t do them justice with these pictures.  I’m hoping the photography club here at the resort offers some classes this year that will help me improve.  I think you can still get the feel of the intensity of this project.  Note that even the tall palm trees have decorations in them.

A narration at the Nativity scene tells the story of the birth of Jesus – it’s a very moving display.

We’ve been keeping busy.  We are still just working one day a week for five hours.  We anticipate this will increase to 10 hours a piece after the first of the year.  We are also square dancing at least four times a week.  We aren’t having as much success with our weight loss program this year as we had last year.  Going to have to tweak something after the first of the year to get going again.  We had a friend snap our picture at a holiday party.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Arizona, Mesa - Thursday, November 24, 2016 - Val Vista Villages



We made my favorite thing for Thanksgiving dinner – carry out!!  I know that sounds like I don’t like to cook, I do and I do a lot of it.  We just didn’t want the temptation of leftovers so we opted to order one serving for each of us from a local restaurant, Midwestern Meats.  This is a restaurant, meat market and bakery all in one building.  It features beef from Iowa.  Our lunch today consisted of baked turkey and a scoop of dressing and one of mashed potatoes with some really tasty gravy, delicious green beans and a roll from the restaurant.  Our homemade contribution was cranberry sauce and a bottle of my favorite bubbly wine.  The dinner also included slices of pumpkin pie and soup.  We are saving the soup to have with some shrimp cocktail for supper tonight.

I haven’t posted in a while, we haven’t been doing much blogworthy.  We are working one day a week for five hours each.  This takes care of our site and utilities.  Our hours are supposed to increase to twelve hours a week for each of us after the first of the year.  We are square dancing 4 times a week, which will increase to 6 times a week in mid-December.  We are taking lessons for the next level of dancing – kind of mind boggling at times.  Greg is better at this than I am.

I’ve attended a genealogy class a couple of times and last night attended one of the quilting group’s meetings.  I need to get my unfinished projects out and start on them again.

We’ve done a couple of things to spruce up the Jeep, we bought new seat covers and matching floor mats.

Also had to buy an add-on step for me, my short legs just couldn’t maneuver in since it has big tires.  People kept telling us the motorcycle was dangerous, we were going to get hurt.  Well, in all the years that motorcycle was our only means of transportation I never got hurt.  The first week with the Jeep I hurt my knee trying to get in.  It’s fine now but Greg knew it hurt because I accepted having an ice pack on it.  That’s when he went online looking for a step for shorty.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Arizona, Mesa - Sunday, November 6, 2016 - Val Vista Villages RV Resort

I’m no longer a “motorcycle momma”, we have a new mode of transportation.  We traded in the bike and brought this home yesterday.  We had decided some time ago that once we reached 70 we would look at getting something different than the bike, we couldn’t decide if it would be a Harley three wheeler or a Jeep.  We went to just look at some Jeeps yesterday to just get in mind what we might be looking at a couple of years from now.  However, we found one we both liked and could afford.  We actually saw a lot of them we liked, just a few we could afford.  We decided purchasing here in Arizona made more sense because we think we will have an easier time finding someone to help us make the transition from the hydraulic lift we have on the back of the coach now to the towing apparatus we need for the Jeep.

We got into Mesa Friday, October 29.  We were scheduled to go to work on Tuesday, November 1.  However, the grill where we work was still under construction on Tuesday.  The grand opening of the grill was this past Friday so we worked that night.  We opened with a lot of confusion, supplies not put away or not available at all, but we made it through.  To add to the confusion they were offering beer, wine and soft drinks for $.25 so there was a mob at the bar.  The next time we work is Tuesday and again that day they will be having $.25 beer, wine and soft drinks for a Manager’s Happy Hour.  We originally thought we would be working 12 hours a week a piece like we did last year.  However, until January we only have to work 5 hours a week a piece to cover our site rental and utilities.  So right now we have quite a bit of free time.

We’ve been out to stock up on our low-calorie, low-sodium staples and have started back on our healthy eating plan that went south when we left here in April.  We’ve both lost three pounds in just the week we have been here.

We got our flu shots and managed to get our absentee ballots mailed back to South Dakota – trying to be responsible adults.

We spent a lot of time last week watching the Cubs make history.  We hope we can get tickets to see them out here in spring training again this year.  I’ll bet the prices are going to be higher than they were last year.

Greg worked so hard the first of the week getting our patio set up for our stay here.  He had the awning anchored, the screen and lights hung, the grill, tables and chairs set out, the patio rug in place – it looked really nice.  Then last Thursday afternoon we had to hurry and take it all down again.  A haboob came through Phoenix which is unusual for this time of year.  They usually come through during the monsoon season which has already passed.  A haboob is a huge wall (or front) of dust and sand with strong winds, rain and lightning.  As we were making our way out here I was thinking I would like to see one from a distance because they look pretty awesome in the weather channel pictures, but I didn’t really want to be in one.  When you are in one it doesn’t look nearly so awesome and it feels like you are going to blow away.  We didn’t have any damage, just have to put everything back out on the patio again.  Our new flag pole managed to survive, it got so windy fast that we couldn’t risk injury to ourselves if we had tried to lower it.  This is the sunset on a nicer evening.

We spent a lot of time today watching grandkids Jackson and Braelynn showing hogs at the North American International Livestock Exposition going on in Louisville, KY.  The exposition is being streamed on the internet so we could watch them live.  They both did a great job, proud of them.

Last picture of this beauty.  Had a lot of good times and special memories on this one.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Arizona, Mesa - Saturday, October 29, 2016 - Ft. Stockton, TX to Mesa, AZ


This picture is for you.  This was in a store window in Tombstone and we thought of you, “best line ever”.

Before we left Ft. Stockton we had to have breakfast at the Roadrunner CafĂ©.  It was full of calories (and wonderful) so we skipped lunch.  There was lots of open road on I-10 that morning.

This was a surprise

It turned out to just be closed for bridge work.  We exited went over to the entrance lane and were right back on I-10.

The mountains changed dramatically during this leg of our trip.

El Paso wasn’t quite as big a problem as expected, but it seemed to go on forever.

We have been here before at Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces and enjoyed our stay so we opted for an overnight stay this time through.

It was in the 90’s so we didn’t walk too far but we did get in a mile or so with a trip over and back to Barnett’s Las Cruces Harley Davidson.

They had a lot of 2017 Harleys, in fact they were packed in so tight I had trouble getting a good picture.  I didn’t think it would be a good idea to end up knocking over a bike because they would have fallen like dominoes.

More open road after we left Las Cruces, NM.

Mountains are changing again.

We have been seeing large pecan orchards since western Texas.  These are just over the Arizona border.  Last time through we picked up a large bag of pecans in Las Cruces but we didn’t make the trip downtown this time.  We did find some locally grown fire roasted chili peppers in the guest services building at the Hacienda RV Resort.  We were pleasantly surprised that they contained no sodium.  We purchased a couple of jars since we like them added to our Mexican dishes.

Another mountain variation.  This one had huge boulders that looked like they were just barely hanging on.

All is quiet on Tombstone’s main street.  We like the RV park that is within walking distance of downtown.  They pack the RV’s in like sardines there, we couldn’t open one of our living area slide outs or the people next to us might not have been able to get out their door.  Not a park we would normally pick but the fact that it is within walking distance of Tombstone downtown makes it a winner.

The stage coach was entertaining tourists.

Cowboys were looking for some action.

We weren’t sure whether this is the beginning or the end of their tourist season.  A few of the stores were closed.  We found enough of them to wander through and even spent a little money.

I bought a blouse at the Oriental Saloon that will look good with my long square dance skirt or jeans.

We stopped for some olive oil tasting at Tombstone Oil & Vinegar.  We have purchased some wonderful flavored oils here in the past and we weren’t disappointed this time.  We purchased a pasta finishing oil and a bread dipping oil that were sodium free.

As we made our way through Tucson we enjoyed the elaborate tile work at each of the overpasses.

Yet another mountain formation.  This one is Picacho Peak.

We see these all around the Phoenix area.  The hay fields are enclosed by dams so they can be flooded to provide adequate water.  Picture is not very good – too many bugs on the window.  I understand this is butterfly migration time into Texas.  I’m sorry to say that more than one of them won’t be finishing the trip.  I would see them coming at the windshield and silently think, “go high” but it didn’t work.

Starting to look like our winter home.  Palm trees are looking good.

We arrived at Val Vista Villages in Mesa around noon on Friday.

Flowers are in full bloom.  Last we heard over 35,000 of them have been planted around the resort.

We went walking early this morning before the temperatures reached 90.

We walked by the grill where we will be working starting Tuesday.  Looks like there is still a lot of work to do.

It was still too early for the pool or hot tub crowd.

We occasionally enjoy this indoor hot tub after work.

This will be our home until April 15 of next year.  This is our third year of workamping here.  The previous two years we each had to work 12 hours a week to pay for our site and utilities.  This year it has been changed, we each only have to work 5 hours a week until January.  After that we will be working 12 hours a piece.