10/29: Well, we're homeless now. Our "wheel estate" has been placed into short-term storage. We packed up a selection of clothes and emptied the fridge and freezer and now we're staying with Connie's parents in Torrance, CA until our plane leaves on Monday. They treated us to a nice dinner out for Connie's birthday. We've rented a small motorhome in Australia and will tour the Southeast corner for 28 days. We'll have to rely on Internet Cafe's periodically, so I don't expect to update this web site until we return in early December. I'll try to keep the log current while traveling, so I'll be able to upload it all immediately after we return. Check back in December, and you can read all about our adventures traveling in Australia in a motorhome.
10/26: A well known spot for Rv'rs to camp free is "Slab City". This old Navy base is gone, but the foundations still exist - hence the name "Slab City". Many people live there year round, many more spend the Winter there, and some stop by for a few nights. I wanted to see this place for myself, so we stopped for 1 night. It was "okay". There is a lot of trash, burnt out trailers and motorhomes, and many of the year round campers have junk all around their rigs. But other places are nice and quiet. Now that I've been there, I doubt we'll stop by there again. Do a web search for "Slab City" and you'll find some interesting reading. A good place, full of pictures is at: http://www.polarinertia.com/march03/slabcity.htm.
We moved on to Salton Sea. This lake of salt water is much larger than I expected. We spent the night overlooking the beach and lake. It was a relaxing day of reading and walks. We were also entertained by Hummingbirds and Prairie Dogs. Most of the day was sunny and quiet, but the weather turned into wind and some rain in the evening. We'll leave here tomorrow for March Air Reserve Base. We hope to store the motorhome there for next month while we take a vacation (?) to Australia. We'll be renting a motorhome in Australia for 26 days. We're looking forward to this upcoming exotic adventure.
10/23: We've come in a large circle! We're back near Phoenix, staying at the Rover's Roost Escapee RV Park in Casa Grande, AZ. We're staying here for a long weekend to celebrate Connie's Grandma Cappie's 90th birthday. It's a large family reunion for her side of the family. Our very first experience with any Escapee members was at this same park a few years ago. Escapee's are proud to be known for the friendliness, giving hugs when they meet. Meeting our first Escapee (SKP) wasn't what we expected. We arrived at the park a little after the office closed, so the night manager had to help us. Geez! He was grumpy and complained that this wasn't a KOA park and we should arrive earlier. Not the friendly greeting we expected. But since that first meeting a few years ago, we've had nothing but great experiences (and hugs) with fellow SKP's. Even at this same park, we were warmly greeted by the staff this time.
We met Larry's old boss for lunch yesterday. Gene Tolle was laid off last year, from the same company Larry was. But he's bounced back and is running his own company now. We always enjoy being with Gene and Patty and sharing adventure stories. Coming back into Phoenix reminded us of one the advantages of going full time. No (or little) traffic. Upon returning to this area, we were rudely awakened with all of the traffic and construction. I'll take the wide open spaces anytime compared to the 'big city".
10/20: We ended up having more friends show up and join our little rally in Deming! Along with Jim Baker and Diane Fisher, Elinore and David Barry and Ken and Chris Aldrich came in the park over the weekend. We had a picnic at the "catwalk" in Glenwood, NM and everyone made 2.2 mile hike. This catwalk was originally created in the late 1800's to get water to the local miners and town. It was a beautiful hike along a new catwalk within the canyon. We then shared a tamale dinner together and played dominoes (Mexican train) until midnight! We had so much fun with this group, that we decided to stay an extra day. This is one of the advantages of not having a firm schedule.
After leaving Deming, NM, we headed for Wilcox, AZ. Connie had heard about the 'you pick' farms and apple orchards in the area. We stopped at a couple of them and mainly bought apples. As I'm typing this, there's a fresh apple pie in the oven. Mmmmm. We're spending these last couple days 16 miles North of Bowie, AZ at a BLM location known as "Hot Well Dunes". Camping is $3 a night. We have a beautiful spot near some trees and a creek, also near the dunes and the hot wells. We've enjoyed the hot tubs a couple times and will return tonight and tomorrow morning. We also took the Jeep out on the dunes and played around for awhile. Being mid week, there's only 3 other campers in the area. The mineral water is fresh from underground at 106 degrees. A constant 206 gallons flows through the two hot tubs each hour.
10/17: After leaving Kirtland AFB, we spent a couple days in Roswell, NM at the Bottomless Lake State Park. We had a nice, secluded and quiet spot at the park. Connie enjoyed wine tasting and we visited the UFO museum (free admission). The museum presents a bunch of information on aliens, and details on the (alleged) Roswell alien crash, leaving it up to the viewer to form their own opinion. We then stopped at Holloman AFB, which we were stationed at in 1992. Not much has changed, and it was fun to see the Stealth Fighter F-117 flying again. Being back on a USAF base brings back memories.
We're currently at an Escapee park in Deming, NM. Upon arrival, we recognized we had parked behind fellow Boomer's Jim Baker and Diane Fisher. An unexpected surprise! We also arrived in town when the local winery was hosting a wine festival. What a great way to spend the day with new friends! Today, we're heading down to Palomas, Mexico to look around.
To say we're GREATLY enjoying the freedom of this lifestyle would be a gross under statement. It's exceeding all our expectations.
10/11: The final couple days of the Fiesta were just as exciting as the first week. Bill Jones, our pilot, made a special flight Saturday afternoon so Connie could go flying. She had a wonderful flight, but also had a rough landing - being dragged across the New Mexico desert sage brush. Larry also got to fly on the final day of the Fiesta. It too, was a great flight with an exciting landing. Winds above 15mph and hot air balloons don't mix well for landings. Unfortunately, the balloon shaped like Smokey the Bear got caught in some strong winds and got hung up at the top of a 675' radio tower. Luckily, the pilot and 2 children passengers climbed down safely. But the balloon was in shreds. A pretty scary ending to this week of festivities.
We're now on our way slowly back to Casa Grande, Arizona. We'll take 10 days to travel 728 miles. We'll make a few stops of Southern New Mexico along the way, including Roswell, Holloman AFB, and Deming. We've now been living and traveling full-time in our motorhome for over a month. Other than getting use to the extra small toilet room, we're adjusting very well. We feel very fortunate to have the ability to do this at our age.
10/7: The group we're with at the Balloon Fiesta is a bunch of wonderful people! The Escapee's RV Club has been great to us, and the Boomers (a sub-group) are even more special. We're enjoying working and partying with them. We have a lot in common. Almost everyone with a motorhome is towing a Jeep. We'll see many of them again in December and January at other events.
A member of this group has a hot air balloon and is flying this week. We've come to help him, working on his chase crew. This has been fun and educational, but a little crowded. There's about 30 people trying to help. So Connie & I volunteered to help with another balloon. There were only 5 people on this chase crew, so we got much more involved. One of the advantages of volunteering is, we get crew passes for all the events. Besides being on the field at 6:00am, crewing has been very rewarding.
Today, Connie and I took a day trip to Jemez Springs, Los Alamos, and Santa Fe in New Mexico. It was a wonderful day in beautiful weather. Earlier in the week, we did have severe thunderstorms and heavy hail. With all of these beautiful balloons, it's hard not to take tons of pictures. Today, unique shaped balloons flew first. I've added a few more pictures from this fantastic week. If you ever get the chance, the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta shouldn't be missed.
10/1: It was our first morning at the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Although the events haven't started yet, dozens of balloons flew directly over us this morning. You can see the great view we have out our front window and in front of our rig.