Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Monday, January 25, 2021

Love Our New Porch Floor

It's been a month since I posted, and we've been enjoying 2021 so far. After our remodel was finished in 2019, we had a few projects to finish on our own. Last fall, I finished one of those by painting our back wall and shed. That left one big project to complete, which was reflooring our front porch. The floor that was on the porch when we bought the park model was old outdoor carpeting. It was impossible to keep clean with the sand and dust that blows around in the desert. You could vacuum until you were covered in sand and dust yourself, and it just didn't come clean. We were so sick of it that last year we actually pulled up the carpet to expose the subfloor underneath, and covered it with the outdoor mat we use with our fifth wheel.

Here's the best picture I have of the before with the carpet. It was much worse than the picture shows.

After looking at what other people had done with their porch floors and talking to friends who had redone theirs, we decided to replace the carpet with composite decking, better known as Trex. Home Depot has another brand which is considerably less expensive than Trex, so that's what we ordered. 

The most important step was making sure the boards underneath were flat all the way across to prevent the top boards from getting a wavy look. Our friend Dave, who redid his bigger porch floor a few years ago gave us lots of good advice. Before we knew it, he was dropping off lots of tools and saws and was helping Kevin with the entire project. He was such a great help.

They spent about 5 hours making sure the boards underneath were flat. They had to shim up some of the sections and grind down others. Here they are working hard!

They also put in a couple of 2 x 6 boards to reinforce what was there. Dave is a retired engineer, and he was making sure this porch would last forever :)

The next day we spent about 4 more hours putting down the actual boards. We ordered 18 sixteen foot boards. It doesn't look like much, but that's $700 worth of product laying there. We got it about half finished before it was time to quit for the day because we all had a golf scramble to get to. Can't forget to have some fun!!

The final day our friend Syd came to help, too. He has a construction background, so we were in very good hands. My job was to drill the pilot holes for the screws and cleanup. The guys did the measuring, cutting and screwing down of the boards. It was tricky getting it measured and cut correctly around the bay window, but the guys were pros. Kevin and I both said if we would have hired someone, it wouldn't have been as good a job as Dave and Syd did. It's wonderful to have such great friends. I don't know how we'll ever be able to repay them!!!

So now the last step is putting the railings back up. Today is supposed to be rainy and there is a wind advisory, so that step will have to wait until tomorrow. I absolutely love how the new floor looks, and it will be so easy to keep clean. Thanks guys!!!!

We continue to keep busy playing golf. We actually bought an annual membership this year since we've been playing more. We figure it will pay for itself in about 5 months. Anything more than that will be a bonus.

Due to Covid, we've been keeping our bubble of friends pretty small. We play golf with this group quite often. I golf with these lovely ladies, Cynthia, Carolyn and Kim at least once a week.

On Sundays we golf with Rick and Cynthia and play a game called Bingo, Bango, Bongo. It's the girls as a team against each of the guys individually to give us a fighting chance. There is a payout for first one on the green, closest to the pin, and first ball in the hole. We play for dimes, so no one is going to get rich, but it's lots of fun!! So far, the girls have been doing pretty well.

On Friday evenings we get together with a group from our neighborhood for potluck dinners, rotating at whose house it is at. Last Friday Cynthia hosted at her house with a raclette party. I'd never heard of this, but she had these two grills that you could grill food on the top layer and broil on the lower level. Each of us brought prechopped items to share. You cook your own food in front of you and dip in sauces. It took some time, but it was fun and we all managed to get plenty to eat!!

Kevin does not like getting his picture taken. Somehow, Cynthia always gets a great smile out of him!

Our resort has been trying very hard to have functions in a safe manner. In January they started having Wednesday evening outdoor music at the pool with Pepe, one of the favorite entertainers here at the resort. A group of us went. Masks were required when dancing, going to the bar or walking around. We took them off at the table to drink.

Yuma had been in a long dry spell with no measurable rain since last March. We made up for that last week with over 2 inches in 2 days. The annual rainfall is only a little over 3 inches. It's raining again right now, but we aren't supposed to have that much. I'm not going to complain since both our kids are under winter weather advisories today with lots of snow expected.

We did have an amazing sunset during the last rainfall. This is the view from our backyard.

The foothills were glowing looking out our front window.

We hope everyone is doing well. I am so hopeful that this Covid crisis will be over fairly soon with vaccines making their way around the country and world.

Stay safe!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Kevin and I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happier New Year!!

This has certainly been a trying year for so many, and we pray for a better 2021. Although there were some inconveniences, we were fortunate to have a good year. Our prayers are with all who have or are suffering!

We continue to enjoy sunny weather in Yuma. Golf is still our main activity. With all this practice, our games have been improving a little. Kevin's handicap has dropped a few points. I had my best game ever last week. A group of ladies were playing at Foothills Executive Course. It is a par 34, and I had a score of 40 with four pars and one birdie. I felt like I was in a dream. Of course, the next time I played, reality was back with a vengeance. Ha, ha!

 We had stored some of our Christmas decorations in Eric's basement as we couldn't use them all while we were full time RVing. Eric has his house on the market, so we had to take our stored items with us. It was fun decorating our small house. Kevin used to decorate with tens of thousands of lights at our house in Wisconsin. He resumed this activity on a smaller scale, only now we have a palm tree in front of our house.

For over 30 years before we hit the road full time Kevin bought me a dated Christmas ornament every year. These had been stored away as well. I got a second four foot tree to put on our porch. It is covered with all of those dated ornaments. Most of them were round balls. The little tree looks a little strange with so many big ball ornaments on it, but it is very special to me, and I loved seeing all of these ornaments again.

Our inside tree is also four feet tall, with fake snow on it. I added some of the other ornaments that were in storage, as well as those we had collected during the nine years we were on the road. It looks so pretty.

A few weeks ago our friend Cynthia invited four of our neighborhood ladies to her place to make gingerbread houses from a kit. None of us had ever done this before. The box said it was for ages 3 and up. Hmmm, I don't think so. We had a lot of laughs, and they all turned out beautiful, but it wasn't so easy. The frosting didn't always want to cooperate.

Above is my finished house. The two pictures below are the five of us who enjoyed this activity together and our creations.

You may have noticed in my pictures these last few months that it's the same people. We're keeping our bubble of friends pretty small on purpose. Better to be safe, and we really enjoy the company of these great friends here at our park.

On December 10th, we celebrated Kevin's 65th birthday with cheese cake and some of the same good friends. The best part of turning 65 is Kevin is now Medicare eligible, and has much better health insurance coverage.

Last year we started getting together with a group of neighbors on our street who had all purchased their homes in the last few years. This group became known as The New Kids on the Block (aren't we clever). We get together Friday evenings after golf scramble. Each week a different homeowner hosts the main dish and the rest of us bring a dish to pass. We have a blast! Here we are last Friday. Syd and Carolyn made enchiladas and amazing margaritas.

I have also been doing some quilting. Last summer while we were in the fifth wheel for three months, I did a bunch of applique blocks for a new bedspread for the RV. When we got back, I sewed them all together. I haven't put the sides on yet, because I want to measure it on our bed, but the fifth wheel has been at the dealer for the last three months for warranty service. Apparently, parts are incredibly difficult to get. At least, that's the story they're telling us. We don't need it until June, so hopefully, it'll be done by then :)

The new bedspread is done in a Northwoods theme, as that's how I have the RV decorated.

The other quilt I finished is in Christmas colors. 

That pretty much covers what we've been up to for the past month. We are hopeful the vaccine will help the world get back to normal. 

Stay safe!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Yuma Balloon Festival

Last Saturday we drove to West Wetlands Park to view the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival evening glow. There were ten balloons participating this year. They were all lined up in a field. As dark approached, they were blown up and lit. It was a beautiful site to see the glowing balloons in the dark.

The annual event has been taking place in Yuma for 30 years. I have wanted to go in the past, but our resort always has their Thanksgiving dinner on the same Saturday. So, this year due to Covid, no dinner. The balloon event was also changed due to the pandemic. It was a drive thru rather than allowing people to get up close to the balloons. The information online was somewhat confusing, so we arrived early to find out they were not allowing cars into the park until 5:30 pm. The sheriff told us we could park outside and walk in.

That's exactly what we did. It was about a mile each way. The weather was fantastic. We found a bench right next to the balloons, watched them get blown up, and then experienced the glow up close and personal. There was caution tape to keep people back, but we were still quite close. I felt somewhat bad for the people driving through. They got a very short glimpse of a beautiful site. I took a video which I posted on Facebook. I don't know how to get the video from my phone to my computer, so don't have it here.

Saturday and Sunday morning the balloons did an ascension, but we didn't go to that. Kevin is not a morning person (except for golf), so I didn't push my luck. Maybe another year! 

We are actually on the waiting list for the International Balloon Rally in Albuquerque for next October for an electric hookup site on the fairgrounds. I have always enjoyed seeing hot air balloons. Maybe someday I'll get to ride in one!

I haven't been blogging much because there really is not much going on. Our resort has far less people here than normal. Almost no Canadians have come down. The few that are here had to fly in to cross the border.

The golf groups are playing, so that is mostly what we have been doing. Kevin plays in the men's group on Tuesday mornings, we both play in the couples group on Wednesday mornings, I play in the ladies group on Thursday mornings, and we both play in the Friday afternoon scramble. That keeps up pretty busy. We've even won some prize money a few times.

Our resort sponsors a free welcome back dinner every fall. This year they were able to do it Covid style. It was held out in the parking lot. Normally there are about 600 people in attendance. This year we're guessing it was no more than 200. Table were spaced out and only 6 people per table. The food was in to-go containers. There were 2 bars set up with free beer, wine, soft drinks and water. Masks were required. After dinner a band played.

We had a great time. The food was excellent. The theme was Woodstock. They gave out headbands, friendship bracelets and the slap on wrist bracelets. Remember those??

Arizona is known for its beautiful sunrises and sunsets. We've had some winners this fall!

It's been unusually dry this year. There hasn't been measurable rainfall since March. The monsoons never came during the summer. We did have a few sprinkles one day which created this double rainbow and got my car dirty.

It has also been warmer than normal, actually hot at times. I'm not complaining. The weather has been fantastic. I haven't worn long pants since we left Nebraska in late September.

I have been participating in the woodcarving group the past two seasons. The class leader and instructor is Canadian and isn't coming this year. She asked if I would run the group in her absence. Starting Dec. 2nd, I will be doing just that. I don't have much experience, but am willing to help out and make the tools and materials available. We'll see how it goes. I'm not sure how many participants we'll actually have. Masks will be required and the room has a limit of people allowed. If we get too many, they may move us outside under a canopy.

We wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving in these difficult times. We will miss our family. 

Stay safe!!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Wonderful Nebraska Visit

In September, we spent 10 days at the campground of Carol Joy Holling Camp in Ashland, Nebraska. Our son Korey is the Program Director for Nebraska Outdoor Lutheran Ministries, and CJH Camp is their main site where his office is located. The campground is not open to the general public, but is available for campers who have a connection to the camp. That includes us as family members of an employee.

Ashland had a very dry summer, and they were about 11 inches below on average rainfall. As our luck would have it, it rained the entire week before we arrived. The sites are grass in a former farm field. There are only a few sites with sewer and 50 amp service, but it is a beautiful place to camp.

Kevin had the truck in four wheel drive as he pulled into our site. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a depression where the back tires ended up when he stopped. As he tried to pull forward a bit, the back tires just started spinning deeper and deeper. Korey had told us that people have gotten stuck before, and the maintenance man Roger has pulled plenty of people out. I called Korey, and Roger was there in no time. He was able to use his truck to get us unstuck. Luckily, it didn't rain the entire time we were there, so things dried out before we left. Roger came and filled in the ruts before we left.

A beautiful spot once we were set up and unstuck.

We saw deer several times, and these turkeys visited daily. At one time, there were eight of them in the group.

I have spoken of the camp Korey works at in the past. It is such a beautiful place, He is lucky to work in such amazing surroundings. I'm going to give you a little history and tour of the grounds.

In 1974 George and Irene Holling donated 320 acres of land to Nebraska Outdoor Lutheran Ministries in memory of their daughter, Carol Joy Holling. Carol was tragically killed in a car accident on her way to her freshman year of college. Since then, the camp has grown, and tens of thousands of people have benefitted from the programs they offer.

Inspiration Point is located on a bluff overlooking the gorgeous scenery. There is a large campfire pit and benches for events. Under the huge cross is an alter where the ashes of George, Irene and Carol Holling are buried.

In addition to hosting summer camp each year for children of all ages, there are several retreat centers on the grounds. Many groups have events there, making it a busy place year round. The largest is called the Swanson Center. 

Korey's office is the window on the bottom left of the building below. Such a wonderful place to work.

They have a couple of ropes courses which are used for campers, but also by many different groups for team building activities. Korey really enjoys the ropes courses, and sometimes helps out working at them. The building behind the course on the bottom right is the bath house for the swimming pool.

There is a pond on the grounds where visitors can use the boats or go fishing. The open area across the pond is where the annual quilt auction is held each summer. 

Here is a picture of Korey and Cathryn holding up one of the quilts I donated last summer. 

There are different themed areas for the summer campers. Some of the very popular ones are where the campers can ride horses. This is the western town where campers sleep in dorm rooms. There is a gym for indoor activities and other buildings where campers work on service projects.

This is just a small view of what the camp offers. Each morning we took walks among the different areas to explore. It is truly an inspiration of what has become of a generous gift that resulted from a tragic event. Nebraska is lucky to have such an amazing place!!

We spent several days with Korey and Cathryn when they weren't working. We golfed twice on gorgeous fall afternoons.

One Sunday afternoon Cathryn and I worked on a quilt she is making while the guys watched football. Cathryn started this tee shirt quilt several years ago. I've helped her off and on over the years when we've visited. She almost has the top pieced. They she'll have to decide how she wants to quilt it.

Kevin helped Korey do some repairs where the screen door had pulled out of the wood. It looked like the previous owner had tried to fix it with cardboard. That didn't hold up too well.

Because of Covid, we didn't go out other than to golf. It was wonderful just spending time with our kids. I wish we were closer, so we could see them more often.

We've been back in Yuma for over two weeks. It has still been quite warm with highs on the low 100s most days. In a few weeks, it should be cooling off nicely. Once that happens, we have plans to paint the shed and replace the flooring on our front porch. Some activities are being held here at the resort with lots of Covid restrictions. I have a feeling this will be a very low key winter season here at the resort. Better safe than sorry!

Be Safe and Healthy!!