Another Great Adventure

We have had many Great Adventures in our lives.  Some turned out better than others, and some were Great Disasters!  But we lived them all and are still living this Greatest Adventure to the fullest.

Perhaps some introductions are in order, we are a slightly Over the hill couple in our second childhood.  The reason we know we are in our second childhood is because our kids have become our Parents!! They want us check in every day to make sure that “we are still kickin”.  I suppose it is fair, since we required that they check in when they were young.  Our daughter works in the Optometry field and as soon as we got in town she made an appointment with her Ophthalmologist for Dad because after all, we are driving that box all across the country”.

We are living and traveling in our 32-foot Coachmen Mirada, doing the “full-time RVing”!!   We opted for two Schwinn Cruisers instead toading a vehicle.   If you have ever tried to decide what to take on a two week vacation you have a very small idea of what we went through to dwindle our belongings from a 1450-square foot, three bedroom house down to fit comfortably in a 240-square foot Motorhome.

We have since traded in our bikes for a 2013 Honda Fit, which we haul on a Demco Car Caddy.   The Demco Car Caddy is the best, it has EVERY feature that you could want and need.  We later that year decided we didn’t need both bikes and a car, so the bikes went away.  We do plan on getting two of the fold-up bikes when they go on sale again at Camping World.

One of the first things that we did was to scan the drawing of the floor plan from a Coachmen brochure and enlarge and split it for two pages front and back.  Then we   measured the entire compartment for storage in the under locking storage bins, and all the cupboards, drawers, under the couch, under the dining benches and all of the overhead compartments.  We made and re-made plans for what would go in each compartment several times.

We sold everything that we could on free sites and either shipping or having people come pick-up.  Our collections of Comic Books and Paperback books went to auctions.  What we couldn’t sell we either gave away or donated.  The most valuable Comics, we stored in the Motor Home and have been selling them on Bonanza, and Addies Attic (Webstore).

Since we were full time RVing, we decided to take mostly casual clothes; either knit or permanent press and nearly all had to be folded neatly, and as compactly as possible, so it would not look like we slept in our clothes.

We only have two small closets, and they left a lot to be desired space-wise!   We decided to put shelves in the closets to put plastic trays on, with our neatly folded clothes.

So we called the 800 # for Coachmen and asked if they had any of those nice plastic shelf standards that were installed in the pantry, and we were lucky, they did!   When they arrived Shirl put them in the larger of the two closets (mine) and then made shelves, with our handy-dandy measurements, we purchased plastic bins at our ever-ready Wal-Mart, and two of then would fit perfectly on each shelf.  Now all I had to do is fit everything I wanted to take in 7 bins.

Not going to happen!! After folding and re-folding and throwing out more things, I was able to get everything packed.  Whew!!

Then we had to tackle Shirl’s closet!  His was a huge 7 inche wide, and even with the shelve standards and shelves we could not find any plastic bins to fit, so back to square one again and re-think.  We decided to hang some of his slacks and good shirts and use plastic bins in the overhead compartments over the bed.

The bed was the biggest adventure!! We were sleeping in a California King and were going to expand to a Queen.  Since, Shirl, couldn’t or wouldn’t shrink to fit, basically his feet stick out over the bottom of the Queen mattress.  Back to square one again!  No clever  answer for that one!

We wanted to take Shirl’s keyboard and two 6 ft tables so we took out the mattress, made a storage compartment with a hinge to lift it up large enough to hold them and a couple other things,  don’t remember them or why we felt we needed them.

I wish that we had taken some before, during, and after pictures of this DIY, as it was interesting. First; we had to remove the mattress, and if you ever have done this, you have a small idea of what we went through.  The mattresses on a Motor Home are rigid with wood framing and not even a little comfortable.  We were able to maneuver it out, sweating and probably swearing in about an hour.

Second; now we had to build a frame around the top of the base, this we did with 2X4’s and fastened it to the base with L brackets.

Third; we bought a sheet of 5/8 inch plywood and cut it in two pieces to fit on top of the frame.   We placed three hinges on the plywood to divide it so that we could lift it up to place the tables and Shirl’s keyboard between the base and the top.  We also used some old towels to pad the hinges just for GP. Last; we fastened the top to the frame with screws.

Fourth; Since the original mattress was so wonderful, we sold it on Craig’s list and bought a 6 inch memory foam mattress, and we has two 2 ½ inch memory foam toppers which were California King size, cut to fit our Queen mattress and so now we had about 8 inches of memory foam to sleep on.  Ahhh!


Well, another year in the wilds camping out with Mother Nature

This is one of my old Newsletters sent out in December of 2011


Well, another year in the wilds camping out with Mother Nature.  NOT!  We have been in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and now Benson, AZ at Butterfield RV Resort.  All in one year!

How did this happen?? Well, Miranda wanted a work out so we just went along for the ride.  She isn’t happy about sitting for the whole winter, but we start her up once in a while just so she can purr a little.  Of course, she thinks that we are taking off and seems a little disappointed that she is just going to sit, however she doesn’t sulk.

This year she had to go through emissions in addition to her 3000 mile checkup and she passed with flying colors.  She is so proud!  She needs a wash and wax before she hits the road again, and is so looking forward to it. She has been longing to have some interior decorating done, but we have been so busy that getting started is hard.  She sits proudly just under the Observatory in Butterfield RV Resort and says good bye to everyone that leaves for parts unknown.  She consented to let us put our name plate on the front as long as we didn’t cover up her name.

We workamped at Frog City RV for a couple months then moved on to visit our Sun and Granddaughter in Bentonville, AR.  We stayed at The Creeks RV Resort in Cave Springs.  Its claim to fame is a Golf Course and club house.  That was fun being with them, but alas our time to move on came and we hitched up again and traveled to Amarillo, TX and workamped at Amarillo RV Park.  We visited The Big Texan Restaurant in Amarillo several times.  We watched a guy from England eat the 72 oz. steak in 49 minutes.  We met him outside and took pictures of him and his certificate.  He was on his honeymoon.  We were happy there, until they told us how much snow they get in the winter.  So we when our time was up we decided to move on and our last stop is at Butterfield RV Resort in Benson, AZ and will be here until April.  They have many fun activities and we try to partake of as many as we can.

Shirl and I entered a Wii Bowling Tournament and I got 7th place and Shirl took last place.  We tried Wii Tennis and it is a workout.  Can’t wait to try it again! There is another Bowling Tournament next month and we will enter again.

This month is the Christmas Dinner, Gift Exchange, and News Year’s Eve Dinner and dance.  In addition we celebrate Shirl’s Birthday and our 50th Wedding Anniversary.  The weather is not being as friendly as Arizona weather usually is and the nights have been COLD but it warms up by mid-morning.  It’s all good!

We met some really Kool people this year; Buck and Samme in Frog City RV.  Started learning about inexpensive wines and was fun. We haven’t been able to meet up with them again this year, but hope to in the future.

Some friends Marianne & Butch Krauth showed up at Butterfield and we had dinner together twice. We met them when we stayed at Downstream Casino and we listened to a Heart concert with them.  Played a new game called “Toss the Pig” that they had and we brought, “Oh Hell”.  Had a great time! Hope to hook up with them again.

We have met a lot of fun people here at Butterfields and will keep in touch with them through email.  Clara Fox is from New Hampshire and is a kick. Enjoyed bowling with Karma, Dick, Doug, J.J. Arlene, and Deb.  We also started playing Cribbage every Saturday morning.  We will miss our new friends Miss Scarlet and Rhett (aka Cathy & Larry) Joe & Karol, Gunny & Cherie, Jack & Janet, and of course Carla & Tom, and so many more don’t have room to list them all.

When our gig is up here we are going to start looking for a car so that we can go sightseeing.  Shh! Mirada doesn’t know it yet, but she will have to pull it.  She is very strong, but it remains to be seen how happy she will be. When the initial shock wears off, she will be proud to show off her new addition.

Miranda wants to go back to the Pacific North West; she misses our Daughter Dawn and a couple of adorable kids, Ruby & Nolan that used to come visit her every day.  She has also told us she wants to go to Wild Cat Drive in McCleary, WA.  Won’t tell us why, but she is the boss. Of course, she knows how much we want to see Hank and Jan and family, so we are looking for a workamper job near enough that we can visit them.

Hope your year has been as much fun as ours has and hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Keep a look out because Miranda may turn up on your door step any time.  She is sure everybody loves her and wants her to visit.

Take care, and see you next year.


Dreams are a wish your heart makes!

So why does an “over the hill” old fart think that she can write?  You ask or didn’t ask; here’s the answer!   Because I want to!  I need to write! 

When I was little, I dreamed of many things that I wanted to become; baseball player for the New York Yankees (I was 12 before I realized that girls couldn’t play baseball), that pretty much ended my dreaming, I only wanted to escape into books and become all the main characters. What adventures I had with no one telling me that I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be.  I lived in those books!  So much so that when I stuck my nose in a book my ears turn off!  Literally!  Everything around me disappeared and I was the main character!   This got me into a lot of trouble when my Mother asked me to do something when I was reading, I only heard her when she slapped me up side of the head.    I also wanted to graduate from High School, because at that time, I thought that it was my ticket to success.   Well, another dream crushed, damn! 

When I was in the 6th grade we moved to a different town and consequently were bussed to a two-room school house, until I was in the last month of the 8th grade.   The teachers were, okay, but were not interested in, nor had the time to teach grammar.  In the last month of the 8th grade, the school district closed the school and shipped us off the school in “town”. 

The first day on English the teacher started talking about diagraming sentences and a whole lot of other things that I was totally in the dark about.   It never made any sense to me, and to this day it still is somewhat of a mystery.  Thanks to spell and grammar check I hope I can sound reasonably intelligent.

One of my English teachers required us to write one full page of anything we wanted to write, be it prose, a story, or even copy something from a book (with acknowledgement).  So I had a little fun with him; I wrote stories that ended in cliff hangers, and when he asked (in fun I am sure) what happens next, I would laugh and tell him he would have to wait till next week.  Near the end of the school year, he took me aside and told me that I should do something about my writing.  The sad thing is I can’t even remember his name. 

No matter!  I am now working on a couple books, but have put them aside to concentrate on a short story that I am doing as a Christmas Gift for some friends that have been very good to me.   It has their whole family as the main characters, on an adventure that takes place on a newly discovered planet in another galaxy.  Oh and there is a Dragon!

Another book is based on my 30 year Real Estate Career.  It is a murder mystery and some people will recognize themselves in it, but with different names.  Some will laugh, be proud, and some will be unhappy at my portrayal of them, even though it is accurate. 




Our home on the Range

When we bought our Motor Home it was going to be for week-end jaunts to flea markets, but, when life sends you Lemons, as a good friend said, you make Lemonade, and so we became full time RV’ers.

We bought our 32 foot, 2005 Motor Home in 2009, with only 6000 miles on her odometer; she has 35,000 now, in great condition.  And for the first two years, we just enjoyed her, and if it seems strange that I refer to it as a “her” it is because we named her “Miranda”.  She is a Coachmen Mirada and when we sent out Newsletters, everyone mistakenly called her Miranda, so we let it stick, and she is a good sport about it and doesn’t   correct anyone, she just smiles.

Our Motorhome

She is a good girl, and gets really good gas mileage, 7 to 8 mpg.  We don’t try to get where we are going in a huge hurry and set the cruise control at around 55 to 58 mph.  We like to see the scenery and not whizz by to get where we are going, most of the time we are going to a new job and have time to enjoy the trip.  You never can tell we might want to stop and explore.

When we decided to go full time RVing we had to re-think a lot of things.  I have posted quite a few pictures to show the before and after of our re-modeling project.    I have to admit, I didn’t think about writing about our DIY projects so they aren’t great.  Forgive! After a very short time it became evident that the couch was comfortable only laying down, but was an uncomfortable as heck to set on, even though it made into a bed, it had to go!

The main area also had a Dinette set consisting of two bench seats facing each other with a table attached to the wall between, that could be taken off and put between the two seats, and using the back cushions, actually make a full size bed, so it was advertised to sleep 6, that is if they were very good friends.  The dinette set was a pain in the back, to get at the storage under the seats and not that comfortable to set on either.   I was ready to get rid of them the first year, but it took two years for me to convince my husband.

Set of 2 Dinette Chairs with storage under from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 1

Set of 2 Dinette Chairs with storage under from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 3

Our Mobile Office

Cclose up of cabinet with sliding doorsIMG

We drew up plans to make a storage cabinet with sliding doors and adjustable shelves using Note Pad.   My Husband, did a great job of figuring out the sizes, we went to Lowes and bought a sheet of 4X8 plywood and they cut it to our specifications so all we had to do was put it together and stain it. Sounds real easy, right?  We had to hunt for sliding door tracks, and decided on some heavy vinyl tracks, which work good if periodically you soap the edges of the sliding door.   We also stained the cabinet grey and put two coats of Varathane.

The Dinette Set and the couch were bolted to the floor, with big bolts, and so were the seat belts!  It took several days of working to get them both out of the Motorhome. BTW, the couch came apart in two pieces, so getting it out the door, was not that hard, even though we were told it was put in before the coach was built and we would have to take off the door.

Couch to bed from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 1

My Bed

I put an ad on Craig’s List and within 2 days sold them for $300.  With that money we paid for the material for the cabinet and purchased one of our 2 Heat/Massage chairs to replace the couch.  Those chairs were the best investment we have made in a long time.

Heat Massage Chairs 1

We also purchased two Grey file cabinets for our office, which we put on each side of the cabinet.  We discovered that we have more “stuff” (don’t we all?) than we could fit into the cabinet and file cabinets, so purchased some White plastic cabinets with drawers, which we adhered to the top of the file cabinets with some putty designed for sticking stuff down when traveling in a Motorhome when we travel we lock the file cabinets, and tape the plastic drawers shut.

Cabinet  with sliding doors 1

BTW, the “putty” can be purchased at any RV store.   We stick anything down that could vibrate off any surface.

The table we cut down to a size that is big enough to fit our laptops back to back.  We then purchased two office chairs. Unfortunately there is not enough room to put a piece of paper or a book, on the side by the laptops, so in our next project we are going to make a new table with a leaf only on one side.  About the only thing that we like about the table is that it is Grey.  Shirl designed the cabinet and will design the table on the computer on Note Pad.

Our Office

I don’t know if you can see the workmanship really well, I truly wish that I had had the foresight to take before, during the construction, and after.  But they are what they are, and we like them.

Two more projects are coming, the mugly, ugly TV goes out and a new flat screen smart TV goes in with doors to protect it while traveling and new curtains with Cornices for the main windows.


Shirl & Brenda Colbath July /2012

Hi There! Mirada Here to let you in on the latest news!

Can’t believe that half a year has gone by. We camped in Benson, AZ at Butterfield RV Resort for the winter while Shirl & Brenda worked for our keep.   Once we park I get to rest up for the next trip.  It is when we move that I have to go to work. 

This time I got a nice long rest as we were parked next to a Grocery store and a Walmart was within walking distance.

We have had some minor health problems this year, but are on the mend now.

 Oh! Don’t worry about me, I am in perfect health!!

It started out with Shirl suddenly having vision problems-blurred vision and double vision.  He went to several Doctors to try to discover what was happening.  Good thing that Brenda knows how to drive me.  She even learned to back into our parking space in the dark!!! Of course Shirl and I helped a lot.

A Doctor in Sierra Vista, AZ sent Shirl across the street to the Hospital to get a blood test, and on the way over he tripped on a stump sticking out over the sidewalk and fell.  He broke his partial plate and loosened some teeth. He looked like someone beat him up. Can you imagine, some people actually thought Brenda did it!!

When he went for his appointment with his Heart Doctor he was told that he had to have a valve job/by-pass and it needed to be done sooner rather than later.  Because his teeth were so bad he had to have the rest of the top teeth pulled.  After he had Oral Surgery and was healed, the time it took to try to get scheduled for the heart surgery (you know how much fun working with Insurance Companies can be), they had to take him to the ER and he was admitted.  He was so sad when they cut his wedding ring off as he had it on his finger since they got married over 50 years ago.  It was so cute Brenda said “we’ll get it fixed, and then we can start 50 more years”.

At the beginning of the year we couldn’t even see the tunnel to see if there was a light at the end of it.  Now we all can at least see the tunnel and the light. 

Today they informed me that there is a new member being added to our family.  They brought home a 2008 Honda Fit.  It is kinda cute! The back seats fold down to make cargo room and it is RED.  I was really thrilled to have it parked next to me, until they told me that I would be pulling it behind me.  Wait a minute!  Shouldn’t they have asked me first? They have been looking for a Car Tow Dolly for it to ride on.  They found a new hitch so that they can put the bikes on too!  Wow! Good thing I am strong.

Shirl went to the Dentist and now he has new teeth!  Wow.  It was a chore finding something to eat, got tired of mashed potato and Oatmeal. 

Hooray! The Heart Doctor appointment went well and he was released with no limitations. We got a job near Redding California so we leave this heat Tuesday morning!!!!!

They are taking me to the Dr. before we hit the road for my checkup.  They promised to wash me so I will look good as the new car.

Well, that’s all for now, take care, see you on the road again.






Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Colbath’s

The Colbath’s have been wintering in North Phoenix RV Park in Phoenix, AZ and volunteering as Activity Directors but will be heading for Waller, Texas in January to work as Activity Directors at Lone Star Jellystone RV Resort. 

This year I am tagging along with them.  In case they didn’t introduce me, I am Dolly Part-on.  So far Miranda, Red Rover and I are getting along very well.  Red was a little nervous about driving up on me at first, however, after the first time she was happy with the easy ride.  Miranda is such a trooper and Red and I have become very attached to her. As a matter of fact she doesn’t even show any increase in gas consumption.  

We first got together the summer when we were all planning on going Northern California to work, and were disappointed that the wildfires made us go home early.  Last summer we went to Mt. Rushmore in Keystone, SD and they worked at Mt. Rushmore at the Book Stores, and met lots of nice people from all over the world.  We all had a good time and the Colbath’s did a lot of sightseeing courtesy of Red Rover while Miranda and I stayed home. They are trying to get all the pictures in albums to put on Facebook.

They have several projects scheduled to accomplish before we all hit the road. They have the new TV installed and are setting up the Wii game from Santa.

They plan on removing the mini-blinds in the bedroom and replacing them with black out roller shades and drapes.  In the living room they are replacing the cornices with new ones covered in the same material of the new curtains. Brenda has never made curtains, but since she got her new sewing machine and Shirl made her the two legged table she is going to tackle it.  She didn’t even ask me for my help.

While in SD they had good friends Samme and Richard stopped by to laugh and share some local wine together.  They also went to Belle Fouche; SD to spend a couple days with the Reilly’s and have a Fourth of July cook-out. Darn, they left Miranda and me at the park. They took a short side trip from Keystone, SD to Seattle, WA for a week-end visit with their Daughter and friends, the Waller’s.  Was fun to see everyone and had a fabulous Pizza night at the Waller’s.

They did a bit of cave trekking in Black Hills Cave (took the self-tour, which was a little scary with no guide, but the routes were clearly marked. They also toured Thunder Falls which was another self-tour, but a straight walk to the fall.  Wind Cave was built up to be the most wonderful thing and a must-see, however what they didn’t say was that  there were over 200 steps down! They were very happy to see the elevators that took them 200 ft. up!  They visited Flintstone Village, climbed a mountain (small) to see the Dinosaurs. They visited the Hill City Museum and got lots of pictures of Dinosaur bones and fossils, they also had some great earrings. 

 Four Mile Western Town was fun; however, they were dismayed that they could name most of the tools that were used in that era.   Storybook Island was fun even if it really was for children.  Aren’t we all just grown up children? They visited Ellsworth AFB and took the tour of the Missile Silo, and many planes of that era.  Red drove them through Bear Country (she did allow them to roll down window cautiously to take a few pictures). The 1880 train from Keystone to Hill City and back was fun, Red complained that she had to stay at the station, but the train insisted.

The Rangers get tons of calls every time it roars though by people thinking the forest is on fire, and that is a very big concern in the Black Hills.

They toured the Black Hills Gold Factory in Rapid City!!! It was fascinating to see how they make the jewelry and was invited to purchase a piece of Black Hills Gold.  You just can’t go the Black Hills without a small sample of the Gold.  Brenda’s earrings have opals too!

They toured the Big Thunder Gold mine right in Keystone that didn’t actually produce any gold, but spent some time panning for gold. 

They went to Custer State Park and got to see tons of Buffalos just roaming.  Red wouldn’t let them out to take pictures; however she let then roll down the window again.  From Custer they went to Hot Springs to see the Mammoth Site.  That was great!  A Mammoth skeleton was discovered by accident, the site was preserved by a building around the site to protect the bones for studying. Actually the bones of more than 80 different animals were uncovered.  They think that there was a sink hole where the Mammoths fell in trying to get a drink of water and could not get out so were preserved. Brenda thought that they were all male Mammoths as the females would be too smart, but alas not true.  

Oh, well we will all hook up soon for our journey to Texas with several stops in Southern AZ to visit friends in Casa Grande (Bocce anyone?) and Benson (yes, Clara we are visiting).  We are anxious to get “On the road again”.  Miranda has to go for her check-up and we have to get all packed and then it is a GO! Now that Miranda and I are getting along so well, I suppose that we will be content to let Red take them out sightseeing in Texas. 

Well, take care and will talk again next year.



HI Red Rover & Miranda Here!

Well, we had another adventure! 

It all started with Shirl getting a release from his Heart Doctor with no restrictions! Yeah!

So Shirl and Brenda accepted a job in Lasson National Forrest at Hat Creek RV Resort.  They were hired to work office and escorting  guests to sites and general maintenance, well when they got there (about 65 miles east of Redding, CA in the mountains) they were put to work in the Deli.  Wait a minute; they had no experience in a Deli!  So they dug in and learned to make all kinds of sandwiches, Nacho Grande’s, Breakfast Burritos, Mac and Potato Salad and Old Fashioned Shakes on a Vintage Shake machine.  

I need to back up a little, because before we could drive all the way to Hat Creek we needed to do something about me!  Yes it was all about me!  Just as we were getting ready to start our journey, Shirl developed some double vision and driving both vehicles was a little difficult for Brenda. She is good, but not that good.

She started researching what the cost of having a “four on the road” hook-up VS car dolly.  It seems that the 2009 HONDA is ready but the 2008 is not without a considerable expense.  So Car Dolly it was going to be.  If she had asked me, I would have told her, but no one really asks my opinion.  I don’t think that they asked Miranda if she wanted to pull me, either.  She is such a good sport.

Brenda started haunting Craig’s List and eBay for Car Dolly’s; also she did a lot of research on what features you should have on a Dolly.  She discovered that there are 4 features for safety and ease of loading and unloading.  Finding all four at her price was difficult.  She finally found one and so we traveled to the Grand Canyon area to pick it up.  Just to set you straight, Shirl drove the Motor Home and Brenda drove me to pick up my Dolly.

I thought they were buying me an American Girl Dolly, what a surprise when they hooked up this funny looking thing behind Miranda and drove me right up on it!!  They hooked me to it securely and then we started driving. 

Brenda had never driven the Motor Home with the dolly and me behind her.  The biggest challenge was getting Gas.  You have to make sure you can get in and get out of the station.  It is true that the car does follow you, however you have to remember that you cannot back up with a dolly, I guess they are a little finicky.   So we are now 53 feet long with all of us hooked together.  Amazingly Miranda got the same mpg with us as she did alone.  Brenda did real good driving us, and we made it up and back.  We heard her talking about getting her CDL license.  OMG!

We all traveled to Northern California and took a job in the Lassen National Forest.   Guess they didn’t think that one through as they didn’t take into consideration that as wonderful as being in the cool forest near a great fishing stream is, that in the forest, sometimes there are Forest Fires! Duh!

They worked in the Deli at the park and learned about using the Panini machine to make hot sandwiches, and also made many kinds of cold sandwiches too.  The Deli had a nearly antique Shake Machine and it was a blast from the past, making Milk Shakes the old fashioned way.

So while they were working at Hat Creek they left Miranda at the park and the three of us went to Washington State to their Daughter’s 50th Birthday Party That girl really knows how to have a Birthday Party!! She hired a band called “Wired” to play and all her friends helped make it happen.  A friend, Ali let her use her house and another friend Dee took our Son Chris, his friend Micah, and us out sightseeing in Seattle.  Brenda got some great pictures and will try to put them on Facebook.  

 That’s when I really strutted my stuff, 35 mpg!! By the time we got back to Hat Creek the wild fires were just a little too close for comfort; about 4 miles from the park.  The smoke was so thick that even Miranda and I were coughing, and it would not be good for Shirl so soon after Heart Surgery. So we decided to leave and try to get out of the smoke.   We had to go a back road to Shasta and back down I-5 to Redding, as the road from the part to Redding was closed.  We stayed at a Casino for a few days, but the smoke started coming over there too, so we moved.  We had to go all the way to Sacramento, CA area to get out of the smoke.

So we came home to Phoenix, AZ! We decided to stay in Goodyear as there was a Swap Meet that we wanted to check out, since we are out of work again, maybe we can get rid of some of our “Treasures”.  

Shirl went out to hook up and Brenda decided to go out the help him, and she couldn’t get the door open!  Help! She was locked in and he was locked out!  Good Sam’s road service sent out a locksmith, who was a firefighter/paramedic and he couldn’t get the lock to open or get it out of the door, well finally the Police and Fire Department came and they sawed the lock out, but ruined the door, so now we have a temporary lock while we are waiting for a door to come from the factory.  For several days we were tying the door shut with a rope, but then KISS RV came out and put a loaner lock in the door.  It will be 2 or more weeks before we get the new door.

We decided to go to North Phoenix RV for the rest of the winter.  The park had not had any activities for many years, so after talking with the managers we agree to create an activities program for them.  It took the guests a little time to get used to the idea, but by Christmas they started having fun.  We did Bingo every Monday night, Game/Social get together on Thursday night.  We also cooked Breakfast every other Saturday. 

BTW, Shirl is in great shape, they walk 2 miles a day and both have slimmed down and have more energy. 





Buffalo Soldiers


This week we toured part of the Historic Ft. Stockton and plan on going back again in a couple weeks to see more of the fort buildings that are being renovated.  The only building open was the museum.  Some of the buildings will not be available to tour, but seeing where these brave men fought and died is worth heat. 

The 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed September 21, 1886 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  They were named “Buffalo Soldiers” for two reasons, their fierce fighting, and by their black kinky hair, which to the Native Americans reminded them of the big, hard to kill Buffalo which sported large shaggy fur on its head and shoulders.

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry fought during the Civil War as part of the Union Army.  As slaves and as freemen the Black man has served in French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, in the Battle of New Orleans.  In the Civil War (oxymoron), 180,000 Black men wore the Union Blue, and 33,380 died in that conflict?

When that war ended the Western unrest began.  The Indians resented be pushed off their land and onto Reservations, where they could not hunt as they did in the past.  Their Buffalo were being hunted for sport to extinction, and they relied on the Buffalo for their livelihood. 

In July of 1866, Congress passed an Act that increased the number of regiment’s form 19 to 45, and they stipulated that 2 cavalry and 4 infantry units “shall be composed of colored men”.   For the first time the regiments were authorized as part of the regular army.

They were the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st United States Infantry.  Colonel Edward Hatch was selected to command the 9th Cavalry, and Colonel Benjamin Grierson commanded the 10th.

The 9th Cavalry was stationed at Fort Stockton in the summer of 1867.  These men came from the cooler climates to the South East United States, and the fact that they were able to acclimate to the dry, hot of the west is testament to their strength. They were named Buffalo Soldiers by the Indians as a gesture of extreme respect, because the Buffalo was the most sacred animal to the Indians. The 10th accepted the compliment and used the image on their crest. 

Black troops served at Fort Stockton from 1867 to 1886, and Black units have served in the Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Punitive Expedition, World War 1, World War 2, and the Korean War.  In the mid 1950’s the last Black units were desegregated.  

When we go back I will take some pictures and post them. 


The Ole Swimming Hole and Life on the farm

Life on the farm was hard work, we didn’t know we were poor, we just knew we ate well and had fun. We were kids, after all!  

We had our own beef, chicken, eggs, vegetables, milk, and home churned butter.  We sold some of the hay from our 15 acre field to neighbors, and some was a trade-off, for cutting and baling, and we kept some for our livestock. 

We had a favorite place to go swimming, and launch our row boat for fishing, from a neighbor’s field.  It had a very small shore line and not a real sandy beach, but the water was shallow for quite a distance from the shore.  The thing that always terrified me about the lakes in Maine was the Blood Suckers (leaches) that would occasionally attach to a person’s body.  I still shudder at the thought of having one attached to me.   They usually were about 6 or 8 inches in length and black on the back with a red/orange under belly. 

My Dad always spread a large bag of Rock Salt in the water around the swimming hole in early spring and he assured us that it would keep them away.  Whether this really did keep them away was taken of faith, and I don’t remember getting one on me. 

After a hot day of working on the farm, it was a wonderful cooling, relaxing thing to do.  My dad always had a big bar of soap and washed up, while we splashed and laughed, until we were forced to come out of the water by stern warnings, and the mosquitos were out in force.

My older brother was back from the Army and was trying to impress a girl in a cute bikini.  He decided to dive off the back end on the boat.  He planned a shallow dive, which would have been great, if he had checked how deep or shallow the water really was.  The dive was beautiful!  When he came up with a bloody chest, not so impressive.  Just small cuts, but, lots of blood.

My other brother did his thing, too!  He was told not to stand up in the boat while trying to free his line from a log or something in the shallow part of the lake, but true to form he did just what he wanted to do.   He yanked hard on the line and proceeded to yank himself out of the boat and ended up to his neck in water with this feet firmly planted deep in mud so deep it pulled his sneakers off.  Mom laughed so hard she nearly pee’d herself, but finally helped him back into the boat sans his sneakers and pole. 

Now just to let you know that I am no angel, I was challenged by my two brothers to swim the width of the lake, and so I took up the challenge.  The only thing I didn’t think through was that I was swimming alone across the lake, uh, not a good idea!  When my mother saw me out in the middle of the lake swimming alone, she told the boys to go get me.  She also told them to stay close to me in the boat and make me swim back across the lake, with them following.  She was a tough woman.  The lesson learned!! 

We kept a row boat tied to a tree at the shore, and anyone could use it that also knew about the Ole swimming hole.   When we fished for Bass or Pickerel (Pike) we liked to row so we could put the lure right up close to the shore by the lily pads and weeds.  

Some of my fondest memories are Mom and I fishing on the lake. 

In the winter, we were almost always snowed in for a week at a time.  We were prepared for it and it gave us a wonderland to ski, fish, and sled.  We always were happy when we got a week vacation from school.  We could slide down one hill then go up the opposite hill and slide down again. 

In the spring when the weather started warming up and the Milk trucks would make deep ruts in the road driving out in the car to get groceries was a challenge.  Also when the snow started to melt, and the ice in the lake also started to melt, the lake would rise a little, so that the lowest part of the road would be under water, just the place we needed to walk across to the bus stop. 

We occasionally put a small row boat tied at one end, and we would row across to the other end and walk up the hill to meet the bus, and row it back to the other side at night.

If Mom knew this she would have skun us alive, but one time we carried a plank down to the edge of the lake.  The ice was melted along the shore line, so we put the plank from the shore to the ice, walked the plank to the ice, and then carried it to the shore on the other side, put it again from the ice to the shore and walked the plank again.   Really stupid! But I said we were kids.

The funniest thing that happened was the time that my sister-in-law were playing around in my brothers Red Convertible, driving it around the hay fields while the men took the hay bales to the barn.  We decided that we wanted to find out what time it was, so we tried to drive close to the truck to see the time.  Well, to make a long story short, we scraped the whole side of the Red Convertible on the truck.  This was only funny to us, not my brother!!

We found a Surry with a Fringe on top, (honest)  in the Barn and we used to pull that thing down to the lake in back of the house with all our supplies to go fishing, which consisted our Prince Albert tobacco cans full of worms, poles, lunch which often consisted of jars of Tomatoes, or other vegetables. We knew better than to forget to bring the jars and the covers home.  We also found many Women’s Home Companion magazines in the attic.  I also found a Poor Richard’s Almanac, and a leather bound book of the survey across the United States.  These are all gone now, as the house burned to the ground.

My Mother found several old wood washing machines in the Barn, which she painted and filled them will Geraniums and set them on the lawn.  You could almost see the tears in the eyes of the Antique dealers when they drove by. 

Leaves floating down the stream of life

I met my Husband of nearly 54 years ago, on a sunny day on the main street of Dexter, Maine.  He was leaning on a parking meter waiting for his friend Joe, who was trying to convince me to go out with him; of course, Joe was trying to convince me to go out with him.   Joe and I worked in the Dexter Shoe Shop, not together, but on different floors.  I had been turning him down, but this day, I said yes.  He had been telling his friend Shirl about “this Redhead that he had been trying to date for a year”.

 It could have been because of the great looking guy with him, tall, just under 6 ft., blond wavy hair and the bluest eyes I had ever seen, or because it would be a double date!  So I put him through some paces, just for the fun of it.  I told him, yes, if he came down to the farm and met my parents, first.  I didn’t need their approval, I was 20 years old, but, it seemed like a fun thing to do. 

The great looking guy, Shirley (Shirl) was dating three other girls.  Damn.  So they showed up all dressed up for the Bar-L dance hall, which was just a big converted barn.  These two guys were like long lost brothers, even though they only knew each other for a few months.  We were dancing and they bumped into each other, they paused, looked daggers at each other, they took off their coats, and just passed then to each other and put them on.  This may sound blah, but the fact that Shirl is just shy of 6 ft. and Joe is just shy of 5” 6’ makes it hilarious.  They just turned around started dancing with their respective partners, while everyone surrounding just stood with their mouths open. 

We had a great time all that summer, going to dances, picnicking, swimming, and just enjoying being young.  Shirl and I teased Joe about his use to our language, which was a little unfair, as he did not speak a word of English, when we came across the border from Canada.  He learned to speak from watching TV, which was pretty impressive.  He actually used his brothers ID, and even bought a 57 Pontiac, which was very fast!!

Shirl had just buried his father, and was grieving in his own way, while trying to keep his Father’s Pulp business going. The saddest thing is that I never got to meet him as an adult.  You, see, I knew his Dad when I was a little girl.  Shirl says that he would have loved me.  I know I would have loved him, as I already did. 

My family lived in a big old duplex house on Middlesex Ave, which was behind the stores on Main Street, which was probably the cheapest rent that we could afford.  Shirl’s father, Don, delivered Ice to our Ice Box.  If you don’t know what that is, it is a sort of refrigerator.  It is a box that you put a big chunk of Ice in to keep you food cold.  BTW, not only did Don deliver the ice, his family cut big squares of it out of the Wassokeag Lake in the winter, and stored it in a huge warehouse encased in sawdust for summer delivery. 

Anyway, Don was wonderful to all the kids in the neighborhood, when he delivered ice; he would cut a piece off and give it to all of us kids, never from the floor of the Ice Truck, but from a block of ice he could sell.  One day I was showing him my kitty, all dressed up in doll clothes.  He tried to tell me that the cat didn’t like to be dressed up.  I told him no she loved it, and he told me she would run away if I didn’t stop.  I looked up into his eyes, BTW which were, one green and one blue, as he had lost an eye as a child and had a glass eye, and knew he was wrong.  One day, of course the kitty did run away.  My kitty also had one green eye and one blue eye. 

I trooped up to his house and knocked on the door, and asked if they found my kitty.  I was pretty sure that he had taken my cat.  Can you see my logic?

I tell people that Shirl’s daddy was an Ice man and he is a nice man too!

That summer we double dated with Shirl and one of his many dates.  One day when we met, Shirl had a Bee sting on his upper lip, poor kid it was all swelled up.  So as a joke, I kissed it to make it better.  Joe and Shirl’s dates were furious! 

Later in the day we stopped by a park with a small stream running through it.  While, we were just setting, Shirl’s date, of the day, got all excited and wanted to have each of us throw a Maple leaf in the stream and see what happens.  Well, Joe’s leaf and Shirl’s date’s leaves just floated over to opposite sides and caught on the bank.  Shirl’s and my leaf met in the middle of the stream and locked together and floated down the stream. 

I bought a horse that summer!  I had always wanted a horse when I was little, and it was not something that we could afford.  When I started working at the Shoe Shop, the second thing that I bought was a horse.  The first thing was to have a well drilled on the farm.  Shirl and Joe used a Pulp Truck to bring Chocolate Boy home to me.  A Pulp Truck!  That horse was scared to death!  Good thing that it was back in the “old days”.  Now they would never be allowed to do that.  When we got him home, Joe decided that he would ride Chocolate Boy.  So he proceeded to hop on his back, and Chocolate Boy proceeded to buck him right off again

.  Joe never got on him again. 

We double dated all summer and in the fall, Joe told Shirl that he had to go back to Canada, and for him to take care of me, and for the past nearly 53 years he has done that. 

Shirl was born Dec 26th, so he never really had a birthday party.  On his 60th birthday, I planned a party for him with about 35 people, and flew his daughter who was living in Washington State, down for Christmas and his birthday.  To say he was clueless and surprised is an understatement. I will blog about the party some other time, but couldn’t forget the cake that I commissioned from the local Grocery store.  I told the ladies at the counter the above story, and they exclaimed with tears in their eye, “just leave it to us, you will love it”.  And love it I did.  It was a half sheet, with a stream running through it with two maple leaves in the center.   It was the hit of the party, and brought tears to my eyes, too!  Just thinking about it, now, makes me a little misty.


Our Daughter lives in Seattle, WA and, our Son lives in Bentonville, AR with his Daughter.   So the fact that we are Full-Time RV’ers should not come as a great big shock.  On one of our trips to WA to visit our Daughter, our Son and family drove up to join us.  On the way to WA they made a few tourist stops and found a great pair of earrings, Maple leaves dipped in gold.  They are my favorites because of the memories attached to them, and I get many compliments on them.

%d bloggers like this: