Thursday, January 29, 2009

Road Trip - CA Desert (addendum)

I forgot to mention that Mark had an EXCELLENT time climbing with Mike. The girls and I had great together time hiking around the rocks, and it was the first time the girls actually saw Mark climb outdoors. Of course, they were more interested in climbing on the rocks themselves versus watching Dad!

Road Trip - CA Desert

We've had some real ups and downs these last few days. We spent two nights in Joshua Tree National Park, at Indian Cove campgrounds. This was our first experience "dry camping", meaning no power, water, or sewer hookups. Basically just parking in a campsite and living off what you have brought in. Overall, it went very well. The biggest issue was the temperatures, which we were not expecting to be quite so FRIGID (low to mid 20's at night). Because the furnace fan takes a lot of power, we were very conservative with the temp of the trailer--down to 50 degrees at night! Needless to say, we piled together to stay warm...those kids really come in handy! So we had some worries about lines freezing, etc. that put a damper on things, but overall, I can't wait to do it again!

But the real bummer was that I left my purse at a local restaurant, and it was subsequently stolen. So now I'm on the road with no ID, credit card frozen, cell phone gone. I'm stressed, but Mark is super stressed about this. It's hard enough when this happens when you have a residence and a job...we'll see what happens when you're transient and jobless--yikes! Hey, at least I have a voting record in CA! The girls are asking very interesting questions about this whole thing "WHO stole your purse?" "Why did they take it?" "Will they give it back?". Try answering those for a 4 year old!

So we're in the Antelope Valley through Saturday, then down to the LA area next. Wish us luck!

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Road Trip

How sad...10 days since my last post. Had a great time in Phoenix. We were treated to 3 days of wonderful Indian food. Why don't I cook like that? So healthy and tasty. Our leg to San Diego was a little complicated. Apparently I had miscalculated, and the trip was 200 miles longer than I anticipated! We ended up just outside Yuma, in a very nice campground called Tier Drop. Beautiful facilities. Now we are wrapping up 6 days in San has been a crazy week! We went to the zoo, and to Sea World. We met the Budweiser Clydesdales. My aunt and uncle work at Sea World, so we got to go "behind the rope". So cool!

Today we head to Joshua Tree. Mark is absolutely chomping at the bit to go climb with his old partner Mike McKenna. They'll have 2 full days, then we'll head up to Lancaster for a few days.

We had a mishap with the RV. A bolt for a very important bracket that holds the wall of the slide room up was missing. The bracket fell off the end of the rail. This was almost VERY serious, but we were able to fix it and get on our way with only minor scratches. All appears to be in order now.

Now, off to J-Tree!

Friday, January 16, 2009


After a WONDERFUL week in Albuquerque, we had to say goodbye and move on to our next destination, Arizona. Our original plan to head south to I-10 changed minutes before we hit the interchange. We decided to press west through Flagstaff to save 100 miles. We logged about 300 miles, then called it a day next to the meteor crater. Nice RV park with WiFi (Ahhhh!), but too close to the freeway, so lots of road noise. Thought about checking out the meteor crater itself, but $15/head ($7 for kids) for a one hour stop is a little steep on our budget right now. We'll spend the weekend in the Phoenix area visiting friends from our Penn State days. My sister Karen is going to fly in to travel on a leg of our journey. What a sport! Can't think of too many people who would voluntarily do that!

Funny thought for the day: Last night, as I was snuggling with my 4-year old Mae, I said: "I love you, Mae". Her response..."Good."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Albuquerque Visit Part 2

This is my extremely foxy husband, Mark. Look at those eyes and that smile! He finds joy in every day, and helps me to do the same. Fortunately, the girls got the eyes and the eyelashes, although the color is mine (hazel).

Here we are at a family get-together at my sister-in-law Genie's house. I made everyone listen to my retirement music several times:

Poems, Prayers, & Promises by John Denver
I Have a Dream by Abba
Somewhere over the Rainbow by Iz
I Can See Clearly Now by Jimmy Cliff

We actually DANCED to some of it! How fun!

Here I am with my new hobby, my ukulele. It was a retirement gift from some friends of mine, who coincidentally also happen to be ukulele players/fans. I think it will be a good fit with life in the RV!

Tracey's comment here was that the party was so wild, the police had to come break it up! Really, it was our niece Heather's fiance stopping by before his shift. The girls were fascinated by all his "accessories".

Three more days here, then we hit the road again. Gotta go...Lots of visiting to do!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Albuquerque Visit Part 1

Although it actually took us 2 days to make the 320 mile trip to ABQ, we are finally settled in for some serious visiting. Staying electronically connected is not quite as smooth as I'd hoped, but between family visits, I'm thinking I can log in once in a while to jot down some notes.

We had a hard time extricating ourselves from the Academy. Our "mostly packed" turned out to be false. Four carloads later, we had ferried all our stuff from the temp quarters to the RV. A couple hours after that, we had it all squirreled away, and were ready to ACTUALLY hit the road. We made it to Raton, NM, and stayed at the same KOA Kampground where we spent our first night ever in the trailer last March. The next day, 9 Jan, we slowly made our way down to ABQ, staying at Kirtland AFB Famcamp. Kind of spartan, but has all the basics. And $15/night is pretty appealing on our retirement salary!

We've already seen Grandma Fran and Grandpa Dick, who are looking GREAT, and Aunt Tracey and baby SAMUEL. Beautiful baby, and Tracey looks SO happy, which is great to see.

Now heading off to Mark's sister Genie's, to see Genie, Kevin, Heather and Jillian (hopefully).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hitting the Road

Today we bid farewell to our three-time home, the USAF Academy in Colorado. I had my "final out" from the Air Force yesterday, and we are anxious to pack out of our temporary housing and get on our way. This is my first post on what I hope will be a journal of our starting a new life, building a home, and setting down some roots as we raise our girls.

Our first goal is to spend about 6 weeks on the road in the RV, meandering toward our final destination of Tollhouse CA, decompressing and visiting friends and family. The RV is almost fully packed, just a few more loads from our stay here in the temp quarters. Our first destination is Albuquerque NM. Lots to do, but I need to finish my coffee first!