Monday, June 12, 2017

Cool, Wet May Weather

We definitely pushed ourselves to get back to our Midwest roots and the ability to see family, specifically Jeff’s Mom who is 97-1/2.  Three days of travel racked up the 1,030 miles (or 25.55 over-the-road hours) on this trip, so when we pulled into our first rest stop outside of Fairmont it was indeed a welcome sight to stretch our legs. 

Finding a SA gas station further up the road that had an area for big rigs so that we could  stay overnight was a relief as we were tired.  There weren’t many trucks parked as of yet and we were told by the cashier that it was first come, first serve.   We’ll have to make sure that we let other RV’s know about this free, overnight site via the Day’s End Directory of boondocking that we belong to as Escapee RV Club members.
Rested and ready to travel the mere 91 miles to Hutchinson, we arrived at River’s End Masonic Campground.  The date was April 29, and the park didn’t officially open until May 1; just a slight bump in the road.  Jeff called the Police Department to see if it would be okay for us to park and dry camp in one of the sites until that following Monday.  They were definitely okay with it but made a call to the person who managed the park (and this was on a weekend) to get the “thumbs-up” for us to park.  Once this was done, we were able to make the Jeep trip to Albertville (57 miles one way) to see Jeff’s Mom for our first visit of the year.  It was good to see her, but we definitely needed to get parked closer to her assisted living apartment.
One of our visits to see Dorothy with granddaughter, Julia
A phone call to Baker Park Campground, in Maple Plain (about 19 miles away from Albertville) was made and good news was that they had a site available for a 10 day period.  This was very good as the weekends are usually booked up by on-line reservations way before we come into town.  The best part was that we were so much closer to Jeff’s Mom and that was our goal.

When we left Baker Park, we had an appointment at Gary’s Diesel in Loretto, Minnesota.  We wanted to get the coach hooked up to their computers to help us determine what codes were setting off the alarms in our home.  This can be especially frustrating when everything that Jeff was reading on our gauges was reading just fine.  The bottom line was that one code went off 126 times because of a loose wire on the engine pre-heat solenoid - an easy fix.  The price for the scan test was $80 with the ½ hour of labor at $47.50.  If we would have had this done in the Minneapolis area, we probably would have to double that price so we are glad that it’s been resolved.

Okay, which wire is it now?
 Our destination at this point in our travels was for a spot next to daughter, Jill, who lives in St. Louis Park (a first-ring western suburb of Minneapolis).  It is here where grandkids, Joe (14-1/2) and Julia (4-1/2) live.  Our 6 day stay was very uneventful as we were parked on her side street.  Not one police car drove by to check us out and that was a good thing.  Her neighbors were so nice and accommodating and we thanked them for letting us stay, but it was time to travel into Wisconsin.

Time to read a book to Julia before bedtime.

Mother's Day brunch at Doug's (Jill's boyfriend) with family

Had to stop for a Dago in NE Minneapolis -
where Kay grew up

And a cold Grain Belt on tap

Julia, busy in the water with swimming lessons

Grandpa's little girl

We had planned to stay at Hoffman Park, in River Falls, Wisconsin so that we could be close to the town of Hudson for a scheduled doctor appointment.  At this time of the year, there were several sites open so this was good.  The park is a first come, first serve 15-site park with electricity only at each site.  Water and a dump location are nearby.  A 14-day maximum stay (14 in & 7 out) at a mere $15/night is very reasonable.  There is a beautiful ball field, ample play areas for the kids with Frisbee golf, volleyball and soccer areas that makes this one of the best community parks that we have stayed at.    
Memorial Day get-together with Jill & Doug and grandkids Joe & Julia

Our time here will end on June 1, and new plans are to travel to the ranch of our good friends, Karen & Ron, who live in Mondovi, Wisconsin.  We will then get a chance to be see son Eric and daughter Jena and the rest of the grandkids.  It will be good to see them. 

God Bless America! 


Kay and Jeff

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Just a Few More Stops

Watching the weather always plays an important factor in determining when we will be starting the trek back to the Midwest.  That is why when we can continue to stay in the warmth; we are definitely going to make it happen.  This time was no exception.

First stop after leaving Senator Wash (outside of Yuma where we were for the winter) was a mere 152 miles into Southern California, to the town of Jacumba, California.  Surrounded on three sides by the fantastic hills of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, this high desert (at 2600 feet) area was a good play to soak up some sun, see flowers and investigate new places during our 7 day visit.

On our way to Jacumba, California & De Anza Springs

Kissing Rocks!

Yes, that is the Mexican border fence.
Pretty close to us, huh?

Lots of railroad tracks from the 70's that are currently inactive.
  We are still close to the Mexican border
We happened to come across some unique desert art

More railroad cars from days past.

The flowers were spectacular.

Made you smile with this picture!

Next stop was a one day visit to Benson, Arizona to hook up with friends that we met last year.  We met Shirley and Henry (from Minnesota!!!) at the Escapees SKP Saguaro Park where we pulled in to camp.  Some pretty major life changes for them have Henry living in a Memory Care facility in Tucson while Shirley continues to live in Benson, 46 miles away from each other.  It was good to chat with her and do some major hugging.
Shirley & Henry in happier times.
With some pretty nice weather following us along the interstate, we decided to stop in Safford, Arizona.  The best part is that the BLM area for free camping off Haekel Road lets us have a backyard view of Mount Graham.  We love this area.  And, indeed the weather was absolutely glorious for the 12 days that we stayed.

At 8,000 ft. this was our first snow

Safford way in the distant atop Mt. Graham
Pretty unique housing from a Harvestor grain bin

A pretty unique, restored '53 Chevy
Another great day to be thankful
The one way trip of 25 miles to Hot Well Dunes to soak in the hot tubs was heavenly.

It was sad to leave Safford, but time to set our sights toward Colorado.   A short stop in Hatch, New Mexico to pick up some of their famous chilies for son, Eric and his family was a must.  They love that HOT stuff!! 

Staying overnight at a casino is usually not our thing, but we made an exception and pulled into one on the outskirts of Albuquerque, not far from where they have the annual Balloon Festival in October.  It worked for the night but we had a horrible time trying to get level with our jacks.  What an experience after traveling 369 miles for Day 1.  It was good to rest.

Day 2 was a mere 342 miles when we arrived at our destination in Colorado.  We view the time that we spend in a campground with full hook-ups as our time to be "spoiled" with all the comforts of electricity, water and sewer.  What more could you want?  Nancy & Matt Fetty are always glad – and we them –when we pull into their bit of Heaven - Haggard’s RV Campground located in  West Pueblo.     
 The majestic Pike's Peak
Good friends/owners of Haggard's RV Campground,
Nancy & Matt
Jeff found a little spring along this patch of snow.
The water was crystal clear & COLD!
Did we think that the two weeks in Colorado would go fast?  You bet!  From Jeff helping Matt with putting in a new floor in their horse trailer, to ordering a new mattress for our bed and then moving the old one into the horse trailer for them to use.  Hey, we can’t forget Matt’s race car, meeting friends at the campground, antiquing in the town of Florence, a weekend trip to Denver to see longtime friends, Penny & Gary, and the miles that we traveled around the area in search of possibly a piece of land for us????? 

A new floor in the horse trailer

The cooks are ready to make breakfast.
Our friendship with Penny & Gary,
who live in Denver is 9 years strong!

Who owns that beautiful coach?
Harley & Delores from Colorado Springs!

We didn't intentionally get ours to show up Harley, but what the Hey!!!  It's always good to share stories.

Our new mattress has finally arrived.
Time to roll it out and give it a try

Looks good. . .feels heavenly!!!

Out with the old. . .get thee to the horse trailer!!!
First time RVtime full-timers, Caroline & Dan,
originally from Raleigh, NC

Getting ready to roll.

Jeff, just loving it in Matt's Punisher II.  For the guys that love this stuff, Jeff will be putting together a special blog showcasing this car as Matt's need for speed becomes a reality - ready for it's first race in August.   So, stay tuned for a posting on this in the coming month.  Jeff's earlier days of working on cars with his brothers, Brian, definitely brought back some good memories of a time that was very special to both of them. 

VVVRRrooommm . . . 

All of the above was a very good trip.  What would have made it even better for Jeff was to have been able to go panning for gold, but it didn’t happen due to some scheduling conflicts.  No problems as there will be plenty of other trips to this area of Colorado for sure!  Good friends, good scenery and good times during our two week stay.
Where do we go next?  I guess that could be the Midwest!  See you on the next update.
Kay and Jeff