November 22 – 27, 2009 More North Ranch

I can’t believe that it has been almost a week since I updated – this retirement is tough – LOL!!

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was wonderful – we are all so blessed!

So here is what we have been doing….

There are a number of trails that go out into the desert so on Sunday we decided to take a little walk.  Some scenes:

11-22-09 Trail at North Ranch (2) 

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The lonesome Saguaro:

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Back in the park, we visited the cactus garden.  This Saguaro is over 400 years old – WOW!!  An arm fell off last spring and I was told that the arm weight ~ 2 ton – OH MY!!

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Notice the little birds that live in the Saguaro – cool!

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On Monday, Andy had an endoscopy that showed his old ulcers are healed but he has a new one.  Nothing to worry about but he will be staying on his meds.  I am not sure what is causing them so our next step is to talk with a pharmacist on his other meds and see if they are having an effect.  His next test is next week.

A couple we met in Pahrump, Lynne and Fred, are here in the park so on Wednesday, Lynne, Fred, Steve, Andy, and I went to dinner in Wickenburg and had a great time.  The great time continued as we all sat together on Thanksgiving.   It is so neat to re-meet people on the road.

Steve has been showing us more of the night skies.  We saw some close ups of the moon – WOW!  And more of Jupiter and other star clusters.   And on Thursday night we had an incredible view of the International Space Station with the Space Shuttle trailing as it went across the sky.  Tonight we were able to see the International Space Station again.  Did I saw WOW and AWESOME!!!!


In between we have just been hanging out, doing beading, reading and helicopter flying simulating – :-))).

Tomorrow we are heading to the local Gem and Mineral Show and the Museum in town so stay tuned.


November 14-21, 2009 - Our Stay in North Ranch

Sorry I haven’t updated in a week. So here is what we have been up to..

We had the motor home fixed on Wednesday to a nice hefty bill…. and our service plan did not cover it – Yikees!!! We used AutoTech in Wickenburg and they were really good and fair price wise (those who know my Andy know that he did some research). The mechanic, Neil, who fixed it reminded me so much of my dad. I had to go into the garage just to take a deep breath… The smells reminded me so much of growing up – for those who don’t know, my father was a mechanic and had his own business. So hopefully all will be well.

Living in the motor home is just like living in a stick home. There is always a to do list, so this week we did a lot of those little things – :-))) We also put up our screen room – first time on the road:

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And we are really enjoying it!!!

We have also been enjoying some hobby time. I have been going to beading classes and playing around with trying to make movies of my pictures. Andy got a radio controlled helicopter and has been practicing with the flight simulator on the computer. Some day soon, he will have it flying – :-)):

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The weather has been GEORGEOUS!!!! The skies have been clear, the nights are in the 40’s and the days are in the 70’s. What amazes me is that when the sun goes down, the temps drop quickly and the reverse in the morning – when the sun comes up, the temps rise quickly. The sunsets and sunrises are BEAUTIFUL and the stars, oh my!!! I even saw a few shooting stars and some satellites!

Speaking of stars, Steve, who we met in March and showed us the skies with his telescopes, is here in the park. So we have been able to see Jupiter and other star clusters – thanks Steve!!

It has been great reconnecting with people we met in March and also people we met in Pahrump a few weeks ago who are here for Thanksgiving. Did I say that I LOVE this club – Escapees!!!

We have not been doing much sightseeing but did get a chance to go up the Joshua Tree Parkway and take a little walk in the desert:

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Ahhh, winter in Arizona! Life doesn’t get any better. WE ARE SO BLESSED!

One final note: Check out this website: http://www.letssaythanks.com/ (Thanks, Jona, for the link.) Xerox will send cards to our troops with your input. I checked it out on Snopes.com and it is true. So take a few moments and thank a service person today for the freedoms we all enjoy!

God bless!


November 9-13, 2009 – Our Week in North Ranch

To get you caught up…

On Monday, 9th, we went to Sun City for Andy’s appointment with his doctor.  He is now scheduled for 2 tests (check-ups) on 11/23/09 and 12/2/09 so we will be here until then.  We did a little shopping in Sun City before coming back.  This Escapees Park is offering a buy 15, get 5 free so we were able to get that package for camping.

On Tuesday, 10th, I went to beading class – it was good to see some of the ladies from the spring and I learned a new stitch.  I am looking forward to the next few weeks here and learning more – :-))).  They also have an amateur radio group and Andy was able to get to a meeting tonight.  Too bad they only have meetings once a month.

On Wednesday, 11th, we packed a bag and went to Las Vegas.  In an earlier post I explained that we had our Elliot cremated and we had to pick him up in Las Vegas.   The day was beautiful so was the drive.  We stopped at a picnic area overlooking Hoover Dam and had lunch:

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From there we went to the crematorium.  They also gave us a nice keepsake picture with a poem, pieces of Elliot’s hair, and his paw print.  It was extremely emotional time for both of us.

We spent the night at the Four Queens in Old Las Vegas and saw 2 of the light shows on Fremont Street.

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One of the light shows was dedicated to all those who served (another emotional time for us):

11-11-09 B Las Vegas (20) This is where we stayed:

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The view from our room:

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On Thursday, 12th, we got up early and headed back – with a stop at Hoover Dam:

Lake Mead:

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The view above the dam:

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Notice the low water level.  Very scary!

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The route across the dam:

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The dam:

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Notice the tilt of the electrical poles coming from the powerhouse – fascinating!:

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The view down stream – the powerhouse is on the bottom of the photo – notice the cars/trucks – this place is HUGH!

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Another view – the structure on the top is the new bridge/highway they are building so the main route will no longer go across the dam.

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One day we will be back and explore this area and take the tour of the dam.

We arrived home late afternoon and took it easy.  We needed it!

Today, Friday the 13th, we took the RV to the repair shop.  We have been having some problems so next week once the parts are in, it will be fixed.  And another beading class – Yippee!!

So that has been our week – ups and downs..

One last note (although late):

Please take a moment to keep all our troops in your prayers.  And a big THANK YOU to all our troops and veterans for keeping us free.


November 8, 2009 – Travel to North Ranch, Arizona

We left Las Vegas this morning and made our south into Arizona.   We traveled this same route in the spring and it still impresses me.

Pictures from the road:

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Almost looks like a moonscape doesn’t it??

And we are back among the saguaros – oh my!

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We pulled into North Ranch mid afternoon – an Escapees Park near Congress, Arizona where we will be for the next week.  We were here in March and I had a great time learning some beading stitches and hope to learn even more.

It is very strange traveling without Elliot – we miss him – :-(o)


Miles Traveled:   256 miles

Routes Traveled:

Nevada: Van Der Meer Street, Las Vegas Blvd, I-515; US-95; SR-163

Arizona: SR-68; I-40; US-93; SR-71; SR-89


November 6 – 7, 2009 – Old Friends and Las Vegas

On Friday, we said our goodbyes to our new friends and made the short trip to Las Vegas.  And the scenery – more WOW!

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If you look really close in the center of the above picture , you can see the Las Vegas Casinos – the very tall one is the Stratosphere.

We are staying at the Elks Lodge in North Las Vegas – a very nice place:

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We took a drive down the strip.  Whenever I go to the strip, my good memories of my mom flood back of the good times we had here during our Mom and me weeks – I miss her.

Dave and Nina came by this evening and we had a great time chatting and getting caught up – it is so good to see them.

Stats for Friday:

Miles Traveled: 82 miles

Routes Traveled:

Nevada: SR-160; I-15; Cheyenne Ave.; Van Der Meer Street

On Saturday, the four of us went to Fremont Street area.  We had breakfast at the California, made our donation to the slots – :-), and walked around and chatted.

Here is the famous Fremont Street.  At night they have a light show under this canopy.

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Andy and Nina taking a picture of me, taking a picture of them – LOL!!

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We stopped in the Golden Nugget to look at their swimming pool.  Notice the tube in the aquarium – it is a water slide.

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How about this shark in that aquarium – how about those teeth!

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Another view of the pool that goes around the aquarium – yes, folks, it is warm enough for swimming!

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And all of us in front of Aladdin’s Lamp that was originally installed in 1966 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.  This lamp is part of the “Neon Village” where some of the old Vegas signs are being restored and put in various places throughout the city.

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From there we made a stop at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to see some of the driver’s practicing.

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We spent the rest of the day, visiting at the MH and going out to supper.  Dave and Nina, THANK YOU FOR A GREAT TIME.  We will see you again.

One last picture:

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Tomorrow we are heading to the Escapees Park near Congress, AZ.  Andy has a doctor’s appointment on Monday in Sun City, AZ for a checkup.

Stay tuned!


October 30, 2009 – November 6, 2009 – Time in Pahrump and Death Valley

This blog will be different – to get you and me caught up…


I had a special posting for Elliot.  He rallied on Thursday and Friday and then went down hill over the weekend.  We had a great vet in Pahrump who helped us and Elliot but there was nothing else we could do.  I was able to be with him as he passed and it was hard to let go.   And in the days following, we have had a difficult time adjusting – especially to the daily routines.

We have decided to get him cremated and take him with us.   We do have a “Hitzel Animal Cemetery” back in PA and may bury him there when we get back next summer.  I just could not leave his body.  I had heard that it may go in the garbage dump or if we choose to find a place and bury him in the desert, the coyotes would dig him up so cremation was my choice.

We gave his prescription food to the vet who told us they would pass on to people who could not afford the food for their animals.  The store bought food we gave to two of our neighbors who have cats (and one is a Ragdoll – oh my).  His toys, his harness/leash, his scratching post, and his sleeping pad will be staying with us for now.

Will we get another??  I will not even think about it until we get home next summer.  Unless God places a stray in our path.

And I want to thank all of you who sent condolences and wishes – I am so blessed to have all of you in my life.   We all know how a pet weaves his/her way into every aspect of our lives.  And how hard it is to let go.


Escapees – New Friends

Since  we have been here, we have met so many great people.   We have gone to lunches and suppers and of course “Happy Hour”.  Last week, we met Judy and Luke and Jan and Chuck and had dinner with them.  Luke is from PA so he and Andy had long conversations.  They are Escapee Boomers and we may stay with them in Quartzsite.

Our neighbors, Michelle and Keith, we met our first day here and have spent a lot of time chatting and getting to know each other.  And I know we will be staying in touch.  They helped us so much when everything was going on with Elliot – Thank you, Michelle and Keith.

Our other neighbors, Diane and Frank, are from Mount Carmel and Reading (very close to our home) and they also helped us during that difficult time – Thank you.

Larry and Peggy, who we met in Alaska, came in this week and it was good to see them again and get caught up with them.  Larry showed Andy some of his radio controlled helicopters.  (Andy had been interested in radio controlled flying craft for years so look out – that may be one of his new hobbies.)  We are hoping to meet up again this season and spend more time together.  Thanks, Peg and Larry.

Did I say that I love Escapees?  We have been so blessed with the good people in our lives – at home and on the road.

Odd’s n Ends

We did put in for a lot here.  It is a 3-4 year wait list but that is okay with us.  We have also put in for a lot in Casa Grande and hope to spend more time there this season.

Here is where we spent the time here;

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11-05-09 Pahrump 002

And, of course, the usual, cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc.   We did one sightseeing trip (see below) but to be honest with you, it was late Wednesday before I started feeling semi-human again.  For those who know me, know that I try hard not to cry cause I get physically ill for a few days.  Well, I couldn’t stop the crying so I was physically ill for a few days……  (Yes, I know, I may seem like a hard a—, but darn, when I do break down, I have flu-like symptoms for a few days!!  And I can’t function!!)   Enough!!

More Odds n Ends

We saw this one morning:

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10-31-09 A Pair-A-Dice SKP Park (13)

Doesn’t that look exciting!!!!


Death Valley is very close to Pahrump and one day we took a ride to the park – oh my – more WOW scenery. We went from 3000’ feet above sea level to –282’ below sea level and back up again.

Our first stop was Zabriskie Point Overlook – the Badlands:

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Our next stop was the Old Harmony Borax Works – remember the 20 mule team advertising Borax, well, this is where it started.  And we found out that it was actually 19 mules and 2 horses.

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This is where they dug the Borax:

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This is where they lived:

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And the famous:

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This area is the lowest spot in the lower 48.  Did you know that the highest and lowest spots in the lower 48 are only 100 miles apart?

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We spent some time at the Salt Flats.  If you look at the above picture, the flats are beyond the pool:

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From the flats, looking toward the road:

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One last look at the Valley:

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In this area, 20,000 years ago, was Lake Manly.  It was 90 miles long, 6-11 miles wide, and 600’ deep.  Just imagine!

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Coming out of the park – the road goes on and on:

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We saw these things near Shoshone, NV and hope to explore them in the future.  We are not sure what they are:

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The weather, oh my!!   Beautiful days, in the 70’s and 80’s and beautiful nights, 40’s.  It is amazing how fast it gets hot when the sun rises and how fast it gets cool when the sun set – PERFECT!!!   Life doesn’t get any better than this!


We will be heading to Las Vegas on Friday, 6th, to spend some time with Dave and Nina, friends I have know since I was small and then onto Congress, AZ for Andy’s doctor’s appointment.

Until then.