Saturday, January 12, 2019

Joshua Tree National Park/Palm Springs/Indio Field Trip

Yuma is the second most populated city in Arizona (Phoenix being the biggest) yet it seems like a small town.  If you are native you are a Yuman, the high school sports nickname is The Criminals (first school was in a building attached to the prison) and the main busy street we use is 32nd Street (which intersects with  Interstate 8 at 91/2 Avenue). The RV park offers the best entertainment so far here sooo…. We took a field trip this week for an overnight to Joshua Tree National Park (about 3 hours NW into California) timing was for good weather--70 degrees highs-- and an FMCA Rally at nearby Indio, CA.  The fact that historic Palm Springs was in between the 2 was an added bonus.
Every Saturday night there is a Tribute band that performs here at Westwind--
this week it was George Strait tribute band called Troubadour --pretty good

On Wednesday's they have a jam session with musicians from Westwind--
I swear an aging Tanya Tucker is here and sang Delta Dawn--impressive

Home for a couple of months

The skies at sunset are spectacular
  Joshua Tree was as the other National Parks have been--awesome.  It is very desert, rocky and pretty.  The Pinto Rock formations are a dark, rich brown to contrast with the desert sand color and makes for an artists delight.  We saw NO wildlife but chalked that up to the time of year.
The Joshua Tree is an odd combination of Palm Tree andYucca grass,
there are no rings to show age--just height. 
Beautiful Cholla Cactus

This is representative of the whole park.  Huge rock piles dotted with Joshua trees and Cholla

We found a pretty petrified tree to sit on

   We moved on to Indio where we caught up with the FMCA RV'ers having their west coast rally.  There were 100's of RVs at the Riverside County Fairgrounds and we have found these gatherings are instructional, have a good trade show and a lot of new and used RV's to go through.  This one did not disappoint. 
The San Andrius Fault lies in the valley below Joshua Tree
A Joshua Tree Grove
Palm Springs sports a lot of big wind mills

Indio Rally was picturesque with the RV's under the Palms

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Week 1 in our Winter Home --Westwind RV Resort, Yuma Arizona

The sun is out this morning. That is more than can be said for the past week. Within the Resort we can play pickleball and cards (our passions) in addition one can play golf, go to jewelry making and wood working sessions, bible study, bingo, and weekly dances. There is a hot tub (my fav), a swimming pool, a good restaurant, and a bar with daily happy hour (25 cents off drinks from 4-6). Every Saturday night there is a show by various "tribute" groups. Last night a George Strait tribute band called Troubador performed and it was very worthy. For Christmas, I got a new toy--an InstaPot--a combination pressure cooker, cook top, slow cooker (Fettucinine Alfredo in 10 minutes, pot roast in 1 hour-- all in 1 pot, easy cleanup if not fast cooking). Last Sunday, I went to get it out of the basement and pulled my back in the process. This made for a rough/slow week but allowed us the time for my recovery (I now can bend down and put on socks), meeting the neighbors, reading, watching sports on TV, and looking over the park and the town of Yuma for future possibilites. Results: Neighbors are very nice, mostly from Canada and over 80. Clare and Pat Phillips are across the street and from Sascatcheuan, Canada. They have invited us to enjoy Happy Hour with them every afternoon at 3PM?! We went one day and were in bed that night by 8PM. Can't do that often but it was fun and informational.  I finished book 8 of the Outlander Series and am sad that I will have to wait until this summer for book 9 and probably 3 years after for book 10. But I did get Charles Krauthammer's last book--The Point of it All and this is a wonderful read. An insite into the mind of a truly brilliant man who can simplify an inportant issue for the mere mortal. Vols Basketball (girls but especially boys) is very entertaining, Alabama is in the college football champoinship and even though the Titans are out of the NFL playoff picture Eric Berry and Alvin Kamarra (former Vols) are still playing. Yuma has the biggest, busiest Goodwill store I have ever seen and the grocery store is Fry's--this is what they call their Krogers here (I can even use my Kroger card here) . It was a calm, information gathering week but just as the sun is out and the weathermen are predicting 70 degrees,  we will continue to explore the great Southwest going forward.

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 On the Road Again--Let's go to Arizona for the Winter and see the southwest

Shannon was a very nice salesperson and loved this model as
much as we did.
When we looked at going west in late December and early January, Fitz insisted that inclimate weather would be a big worry--we had not left out of Nashville this late in the winter before but we were going so far that the cost of flying home for Christmas and the thought of missing Christmas in Nashville were unacceptable so we took the chance. The day after Christmas we took off for the great adventure west--it was cold but not raining so we felt lucky. First stop was Arkadelphia, Arkansas Walmart, then on to Fort Worth, Tx. In Fort Worth, we went to look at the RV of our dreams which offered bunk beds, an additional slide and an upgrade all the way around. Right now we are fine traveling in our present RV--it is really perfect for the 2 of us but after this year we hope to travel more with family and friends and it would sure be nice to have guest accommodations.

An RV with bunkbeds and an extra slide--not sure it will fit in the driveway--we dream.

Leaving out of Fort Worth, a check of the weather had a severe cold front moving through so we sorta slow walked the rest of the way to Yuma to avoid rain and SNOW!!! We spent the night in an RV park in Abilene, then Van Horn (3 days just to cross Texas). Then we stayed at Walmart in Tucson before coming into Westwind RV in Yuma midday on New Years Eve. It is cold (much to disgust of Fitz) but the people of Yuma (by those who decree such) promise that this cold spell is an anomaly --as a matter of fact Yuma is found to be the sunniest town in America. We shall see.
We have finally found the cactus that are in the movies!

Our homebase for a couple of months

Fall and the Holidays in Nashville 2018

Home for the fall in Nashville and we had temperate weather, reconnected with our friends and family and it made for a very fun time. There is something to be said for old friends. These are the people who helped us raise our kids, in Fitz's case it is the people he grew up with, and these were the people we worked and played with for the past 40 years. We worked in a trip the last week of September to Knoxville for a horrible football game against Florida (but fun tailgating with the Knoxville clan) and on to Charlotte for a NASCAR race. We chose to go to the ROVAL in Charlotte for the NASCAR race beecause it was the first of its kind. Both of us have lost our favorite drivers to retirement in the past couple of years so we were going more for the atmosphere and the unique race rather than supporting a driver. It was a cut race for the championship, meaning all the top drivers would be racing at their best-it did not disappoint. The track itself was modifyed to have the usual oval but in the middle they worked in a road track--just to make it more of a challenge. Sally and Steve Gilliam met us on Wed. before the race and we did all the usual tourist tours and since the RV park was right outside the main gate we could come and go as we felt. 
At least the tailgate was fun

At the race, Germain Racing (Ty Dillion's team) served as our hosts

Great seats

We certainly were winners

Hendricks Motors had a great shop to go through (We had a Chad Knaus sighting as a bonus)

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was interesting (for Sally and me for about 20 minutes)

Marion and David Greenlee are our new neighbors at home and while we didn't get together for a meal or happy hour like we wanted, we did become co-parents of our new favorite cat. Iris is a pretty little black cat and has 3 brothers and sisters at home so while she sleeps and eats at the Greenlee's, first thing in the morning she would show up at the back door and demand entry. She would stay until dark or until we threw her out because we were leaving. What a great way to have a pet!!
Chris Petty and Blair Bramlett got married in Oxford, MS--beautiful MOG

The reception in Oxford was a wonderful party

Then the party in Nashville for the newly weds was really nice

Iris is a great cat (now a part of the family)

We had Thanksgiving at home for the first time in 6 years. I cooked a huge turkey and the Norris's and Nick came over to spend the day. We taught Leeton how to play the Leeton family card game-Idiots- and found her to be a natural (and the luckiest human alive). December saw Julie O'Donnell retire (must party the newest inductee to our laidback group), KC and Ashton Fitzpatrick got married so they and their son, Tucker, came to the the Fitzpatrick Christmas at Marie's along with, the rest of the Mississippi clan. The Leeton Christmas was the usual weekend event at Nancy's, our house. Christmas Eve at the Barksdales was the best! We haven't missed this party in 35 years and always a highlight og the holiday. Cookeville for Christmas morning where we were relieved to find that Santa had come to obviously VERY good children. What a great Christmas.
Long time friends celebrate Julie's retirement and the SEC Championship game
(Georgia gave Alabama a good game)

The Fitzpatrick Clan doesn't get together enough--they are so fun

Jimmy Patton was a great host at the Fitzpatrick Christmas gathering
Holden and Rae are big buddies

 Leeton and Rae

Nancy was a wonderful hostess for the Leeton gathering--we missed Tommy and Marge terribly

Brooke and Carson

Myles and Abby Smith helped make the Leeton gathering complete

Leeton has really had a big year

Nick and his buds

The Barksdales piƱata was especially easy to break this year

Best friends forever

The Gilliam Clan

Katie and her longtime friends

We only see the Gabberts at Christmas

Laidback Christmas at the Norris's

Nick has become a big Preds fan