Texas Country Oaks Dance Hall, Edna, TX, New Years 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March 17, 2018

March 1, 2018

 Moving day.  Heading up to Ehrenberg, AZ. for one night then on up to Needles, CA. Elks Lodge for two nights.

 We have had another good visit here at Naval Air Facility El Centro.  Got to meet some great people at the Mirage Club, got some minor dental work done in Los Algodones, Mexico and took the 12 day trip to Florida plus going on the cruise.  We were also blessed to have Ed and Cindy Kopic come over from Arizona for a visit.  But, it’s time to move on up the road toward Oregon.  Read our review here:  http://www.militarycampgrounds.us/california/discussions/review?id=9931

March 3, 2018

 On Thursday we had planned to leave El Centro and head up to Ehrenburg, AZ.  After pulling out of our parking site and getting ready to hook up our CRV I turned on the water pump.  Well guess what?  Yep, the darned thing would not work.  I checked the fuse and it was OK and there was power to the pump.  Ain’t this just dandy.

 I called the guy that put in the new pump back in January and he said bring the coach down to his shop.  When we got there and after again checking the fuse and power they had to replace the pump…again.  Took them a little over an hour get it changed.

 So we then jumped on Hwy 111, then up Hwy 78 to I-40 east to Edrenburg and the Arizona Oasis RV Resort, a Passport America affiliated park where we had a pull-through site for $22. 

 After getting set up our neighbors, Barry and Chris Bryant invited to sit a spell and have a drink.  They are from Alberta, Canada and head south when the weather gets nasty.  We had a really nice visit with them and exchanged business cards.

 Yesterday morning we headed up Hwy 95 to Parker, AZ where we got some diesel fuel and then on up thru Lake Havasu and finally to the Elks Lodge in Needles, CA.  They offer six parking sites with full hookups for $20 a night.

 We went up to the lodge to pay for our site and have a cold one.  Barbara, the bartender is a four-time Exalted Ruler here and will be in that chair again next year.  I had asked her , “Why Needles”?  After graduating from the California Highway Patrol Academy she didn’t want to serve in LA, Oakland or another big city so she picked here.  She sent her whole career in Needles and retired a couple of years ago with 34 years of service.

 Since the lodge didn’t have anything going on for supper Barbara recommended the Valdez Mexican Grill over in Mohave Valley, AZ.  Excellent food and huge portions.  We brought home enough food for another meal.

March 4, 2018

 Yesterday we drove over to Golden Valley, AZ to visit our friends Keith and Joann Taylor.  Joann fell not too long ago and broke the femur bone in her right leg.  She is doing well and on the mend but we picked up fixins’ for tacos and Joyce made supper for us.  We had a very nice visit.

March 5, 2017

 Today we drove over to Kingman, AZ and met Keith and Joann who drove us around the area.  They took us into the Hualapai Mountains which were really beautiful.

 After that we had a nice lunch at Ma and Pa’s Hot Rod Cafe’.  We had another nice visit and we hope to see them again soon.

March 7, 2018

 Yesterday we made the two hour run to Nellis AFB, NV.  Fought strong crosswinds most of the way.

 A couple of weeks ago Joyce scored us a room for two nights at Caesar’s Palace that came with $190 free play, free valet parking, $197 food credits and free internet.  All we had to pay was $88 for resort fee’s and taxes.  So as soon as we got setup in our parking site we drove down to “The Strip” and checked in the hotel.

 Caesar’s gave us a very nice room on the 27th floor that had a very nice king bed and of course Joyce loved the large jetted tub.

 Last night we enjoyed a very nice dinner at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill.  Joyce had the Ancho Chile-Honey Glazed  Salmon dish the she said was delicious and I settled on the Grilled Porterhouse Lamp Chops, the best lamb dish I have ever eaten anywhere.

March 8, 2018

 Yesterday we drove up to Mesquite, NV to check out the Del Webb Sun City Community.  The area is nice but it is a long way from from Las Vegas.  Not much out that way.

March 9, 2018

 We left Nellis AFB around 11:30 this morning, making the 75 mile run to Pahrump, NV is just under three hours.  The traffic on I-15 in the downtown Las Vegas is terrible with long areas of construction.  So, we decided to go around all that mess and take “the new” Hwy 215, then get one Hwy 159 to Hwy 160 north.  Much less stress and the drive through the Red Rocks Canyon was beautiful.

March 12, 2018

 On Saturday and Sunday we didn’t do too much, just checked out the local area.  As most of y’all know Joyce loves to watch HDTV and look at new homes.  So we toured a couple of new housing developments in Pahrump.

 On Monday we visited Death Valley National Park, the largest national park in the lower forty-eight states.  Our first stop was at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center where we picked up an updated map, checked out the small museum and planned our day.

 Since we only had a few hours we limited our tour to just the south end of the park.  First stop was at Devil’s Golf Course and then Badwater, the lowest point in North America.  The salt flats there are 282 feet below sea level.  Joyce made the 3/4 mile walk out onto the flats but I decided to stay behind.  Next we made the very beautiful nine-mile loop drive of Artists Palette.

 We didn’t get to see all we wanted in Death Valley so we’ll plan a trip back some time.  The park is just too big to see it all in just one or two days.  Here are a couple of recommendations:
    -  If you are going to camp in the park, make reservations the day they open up.  I tried the day after the reservation system opened up the camping sites and everything was full.
    -  Try to spend at least three days in the park.
    -  Take all the supplies you need.  Prices are very high in the park, specially gas and fuel.  Water, water, water!
    -  Have a good camera.

Devil's Golf Course
Mountain View
Salt Flats.  The lowest point in North America.
See the sign?  That is sea level.

On the Artist's Palette drive.

March 13, 2018

 Yesterday we hooked up and headed toward Mojave, CA.  Our original plan was to stay at Edwards AFB but after reading the reviews we decided to just spend a quick night at the Sierra Trails RV Park.  When Joyce called there they were full so we went to plan three, the Elks Lodge in Lancaster, CA.

 The lodge has about 22 sites, all back-in’s with 30 amp electric and water service.  Great place for an overnight stay.

 On the way Joyce got an email from our friend Melay Marcrum-Gates who lives in Lancaster. After getting off work Melay and her husband John met us at the lodge for drinks and then we had a nice supper at a local Mexican restaurant.

March 15, 2018

 On Tuesday morning we left Lancaster about 10:30, bound for the Fresno Elks Lodge for a six day visit with my mother and brothers.

 If you haven’t driven Highway 99 up through the Central Valley in a motor home or pulling a trailer, don’t if at all possible.  There were several times that I think we were lucky to not blow a tire after hitting some of the pot holes.  The traffic is always very heavy with everyone trying to get just one car length ahead of you and believe me, some of those folks have no idea what it takes to stop a 40,000 pound motor home.

 Until next time.

Barry & Joyce

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February 27, 2018

February 20, 2018

 After returning from our cruise I had an appointment scheduled on the 13th in Los Algodones, B.C., Mexico to have a crown and an old filling replaced, along with a new filling on another tooth.  Those procedures went well but Dr. Correa found some decay under the old filling so we decided to do a crown on that one also.  Impressions were done and we scheduled an appointment for the 16th to put on the new crowns.

 On the 16th Ed and Cindy Kopic brought their new toy hauler trailer over from Florence, AZ for a visit.  They have a large 5th wheel parked on their RV lot but bought this rig so that they could leave their 5’er on their lot and still do some traveling in the summer.

 Yesterday we drove back to Los Algodones to get my new crowns.  After working on them making adjustments,  Dr. Cabrera sent them back to the lab for final glazing. Since it was going to take about an hour for that Joyce and I went to have lunch at the El Paraiso Restaurant.

 After returning to the dentist’s office the doctor did a few more adjustments but didn’t like the fit so he sent them back to the lab.  We decided not to wait the 1.5 hours again so I made another appointment to Thursday.

February 24, 2018

 On Thursday we headed back over to Los Algodones to get the final work on my crowns.  I am really pleased with Dr. Cabrera’s work, specially the amount of time he took to get the crowns perfect.  If you are planning on getting dental work done in Mexico and don’t have a dentist I highly recommend:
Doctor Adolfo Cabrera
125 2nd St.
Los Algodones, B.C., Mexico
Phone: 1-928-227-1044
Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 and Saturday, 9-1.  All are Arizona time.
Even though his office opens at 9, the doctor typically doesn’t arrive until about 10:30.

 Yesterday we decided to take a drive up in the mountains to Julian, CA.  We’ve been to the village a few times but always enjoy the area.  This time there was snow still on the ground from the morning’s storm and the temperature was 34 degrees.  We didn’t do a lot, just walked around, had coffee and tea at Granny’s Cafe’ and visited a few shops.

On the way up to Julian.

February 26, 2018

 Joyce has just reminded me that I haven’t yet put our spring travel plans out to all our family and friends.  Here ya go:
1-2 Mar, Ehrenberg, AZ
2-4 Mar, Needles, CS
4-6 Mar, Laughlin, NV
6-9 Mar, Nellis AFB, NV (Las Vegas)
9-10 Mar, Pahrump, NV
12-13 Mar, Probably Edwards AFB, CA
13-19 Mar, Fresno, CA
19-25 Mar, Probably Travis AFB, CA
25-29 Mar, Calistoga, CA
29 Mar-1 Apr, Travis AFB, CA
1-5 Apr, Calistoga, CA
5-9 Apr, Petaluma, CA, Petaluma Coast Guard Training Center
9-12 Apr Petaluma, CA, Elks Lodge,
12-13 Apr, Redding, CA
13-23 Apr, Gold Hill, OR, Valley of the Rouge State Park
23 Apr-1 May,  Not sure yet.
1 May-1 Jul, Tumalo State Park, Bend, OR
1 Jul-31 Aug, Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, OR

The Blue's have been showing off the last few days.

This was taken out near Jacumba, CA.  The wall.

Barry & Joyce

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Feburary 14, 2018

January 29, 2018

 On Friday the 26th we closed up the house and made the drive over to the Hilton Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport.  We chose that hotel since they have a Stay & Fly service for parking our car.

 We were not at all impressed with the Hilton.  It was very hard to find a parking place in their garage, they had no carts to put you luggage on and there was no one to help with your bags in the lobby.  To make it even worse the pillows on the bed were very uncomfortable.  Joyce and I both like to stay at Embassy Suites but the one at LAX doesn’t offer car parking.

 On Saturday we caught the hotel shuttle bus to catch our Virgin America flight to Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Even though you are packed into the seats like sardines, the flight was not bad at all.  Heck, Virgin even offers free movies so Joyce took advantage of that perk.

 After arrival at Fort Lauderdale I used the Uber app to get us a ride over to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood.  This was our first time to use Uber and we are sold.  It only took a few minutes for our car to show up, we knew the cost of the up front ride and even the drivers name.  After he dropped us off at the hotel I got a bump in the app to rate our driver and to give him a tip if I wanted.

 Our stay at the Hard Rock was good.  We had a nice dinner and drinks in the Cafe’ and then I left Joyce to play a little while in the casino.  And guess what?  Winner, winner!

 On Sunday we got another Uber to the Fort Lauderdale Amtrak Station for the ride up to Polatka, FL.  It was a pleasant ride and we even had lunch in the dining car.  Michelle picked up there so we are now in St. Augustine until Thursday.

February 3, 2018

 We had a really good visit with Harold, Michelle and the grandkids.  Abigail and Skyler are growing way to fast for us, both of them were very busy all the time.  Abby is now a beautiful eleven year old young lady and Skyler is well, Skyler, a very happy-go-lucky six year old.

 While were were there we attended one of Skyler’s flag football games.  He scored two touchdowns and made the game saving flag pull.

 Our visit in St. Augustine came to an end way to quickly.  On Thursday morning we picked a rental car and made the five hour drive back to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel where we spent the night.

 Yesterday morning we got up early and drove to Miami Beach, turned in our rental car and then took Uber to the Port of Miami and boarded Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Sea, bound for Labadee (RC’s private island), Haiti, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba.

 The check-in process went smoothly and by 1:15 we were in our stateroom and unpacking.  After a quick bite to eat in the Windjammer Joyce went to check with the casino marketing folks while I got to know the bartender at the Schooner Bar, Christina who is from the Philippines.  Joyce scored a free drink deal for the entire cruise.

 When Joyce booked this trip she got a three night speciality restaurant package so last night we had dinner in Giovani’s, the on-board Italian restaurant.  Delicious!

February 13, 2018

 On the 5th we pulled into Labadee.  Joyce and I decided to stay on the ship since we have been there several times.

 After one day of sailing we arrived at Willemstad, CuraƧao, the country’s capital.  We took a 2 hour bus tour of the city which included a stop at the Curacao Liqueur Distillery where we tasted several flavors of the liqueur.

 As part of our dining package, we decided to use one to have a galley tour and then a specially prepared lunch.  We have always been curious to know how the chef’s and galley workers get all those meals prepared and served in such a short amount of time.  Know we know and believe me the process is very organized.

 Kitchen Aid on steroids.

 Our next stop on this cruise was at Kralendijk, Bonaire.  Instead of taking a tour sponsored by Royal Caribbean we just decided to get off and check out the local tours.  We found one that was a 1 1/2 hour of the southern part of the island.  Very interesting and what really impressed us was how clean the roads were.

 Salt, salt, salt.  Bonaire's major export.

 Slave huts.  These were built in 1850 and were used until slavery was abolished in 1863.

 These pillars lead the salt ships to the area for loading.

 Next, we cruised to the island of Aruba and it’s capital Orajestad.  We just got off the ship and walked around.  Joyce and I do wish we had taken a tour there but we’ll probably do this trip again.

The only picture I took in Aruba.

 Our last specialty restaurant in our package was at Chops, the ships steakhouse.  We have eaten in Chops several times and we always had a delicious meal.  This time my filet was perfect and delicious but Joyce’s ribeye was not very good. 

 All-in-all we had a great cruise.  The Navigator is a beautiful ship and of course the staff is fantastic.  We did notice some of the amenities that we usually get as Diamond Club members have been dropped but that won’t affect our love of cursing with Royal Caribbean.

Getin' the party started.

Bee Bee served Barry beer 5 years ago on Legend of the Seas through the Panama Canal.  Bee Bee also served Barry beer on the Navigator of the Seas in 2018.

 We have a cruise scheduled for 27 January 2019 on the Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston, TX so the last day we extended that trip by adding on the week of the 20th to make it a back-to-back.  So if anyone wants to go with us, book it ASAP.  We would love to have some friends come along.

 Until next time.

Barry & Joyce

Monday, January 29, 2018

Our 2017 travels:  (I have no idea why that X is in there).

January 2, 2018

 Happy New Year everyone.  Joyce and I hope we all have a peaceful and prosperous 2018.

 After spending the night in the Florence Elks Lodge parking lot we got up early, hooked up the CR-V and headed out for Palm Oasis RV Park on Naval Air Facility, El Centro, CA.  Traffic was light so we got here at 2:30 PM.

 We’ve been here several times so we pretty much know the lay of the land.  The sites here are long with 50/30 amp electric, water and sewer with very few trees to block our satellite signal.  We plan to stay here for two months enjoying the great desert weather.

 NAF El Centro is the winter home of the Blue Angles so it does get pretty loud around here every day except for Sundays.  But watching the Angles do their thing everyday makes it all worth it.  The team hasn’t arrived as of today but are expected any day now.

January 4, 2018

 Before leaving Florence our water pump quit working but we decided to get it fixed in El Centro.  i called a RV repair service here and scheduled an appointment for Tuesday the 9th.

 Rene’ and his assistants arrived, checked and found there was no power at the pump.  We tried to find the pump controller but so they left until I could make a phone call.  Rene’ thought it would be inside the coach but we could’t find it.  So we decided that I would make some phone calls and get back to him.

 While the guys were working in the wet bay one of them hit the fresh water hose reel switch.  Since the hose was pressurized the connection loosened at tad causing a water leak that I didn’t notice until after they left.  I called them and they came back right away.

 I finally contacted the REV Group in Coburg, OR and the customer service technician said the pump controller is located inside the wet bay near the pump.  Of course Rene’ and and I couldn’t see the darned thing but Joyce spotted it right away.  But Rene’ didn’t think that was the controller but guess what?  Yep, that was it and it is attached to the pump.  Anyway, changing the pump got us back in business.

January 19, 2018

 “Time keeps rollin’ on.”  Been a while since I last wrote anything.

 We’ve pretty much been hanging out here in the local area and getting things together for our trip to Florida on the 27th for our upcoming cruise.

January 21, 2018

 Yesterday we drove over to Yuma, AZ and had lunch with our good friends Chuck and Sue Svendsen from Oakridge, OR.  It was really nice to see them again.

January 24, 2018

 On Monday we drove up to Quartzite, AZ to do some shopping at the annual Sports, Recreation and RV Show.  On the way up I post that we were headed there and i got a text from Rick Stills letting us know that Art and Candi Jones were there again this year.  Shortly after that Joyce got a text from Sandy Kastner letting us know that they were there as well.

 We arrived we headed directly to the Big Tent and to say it was crowed is an understatement.  We had trouble getting a parking place and walking around in the tent was difficult as well.  We have been having some trouble with our Winegard satellite dish so I was able to talk to the folks at their booth to get some pointers on how to possibly fix the issue.

 Shortly after that we met up with Art, Rick and Sandy and followed them out to their camp site.  If you have never been to Quartzite during the Show you have no idea the numbers of RV parked in the area.  It’s absolutely amazing.

 After visiting for a little while Joyce and I drove up to the Best Western in Parker, AZ where we spent the night.

 Bright and early the next day we drove back to Quartzite to do some browsing in the shopping area and then went out to spend some time with the Jones’ and Kastner’s.

January 29, 2018

 We are now in St. Augustine, FL.  I will write about the trip later.

Barry & Joyce

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

December 31, 2017

December 10, 2017

 On Tuesday the 5th we met Rick & Sandy Kastner and Ed & Cindy Kopic at the Elks Lodge for drinks and dinner.  We had a great time and the Mexican dinner was outstanding.  Rick gave me this copper coin:

 Thanks Rick!

 Yesterday we drove down to Green Valley,  about 25 miles south west of Tucson off of I-19 to look at some houses in the area.  Green Valley has been listed in several publications as one of the most desirable retirement communities in Arizona.  You can read more here:

While driving around the area we saw a sign for a realtor that was doing an open house.  Karen was real helpful in pointing us to some other locations and actually met us to show us a couple of places.  Although we aren’t ready to buy anything in the near future she gave us a lot of information about the housing market in Green Valley.

 One of the amenities in Green Valley is Green Valley Recreation that is offered with most homes in the area.  If you can think of activities for “active” retired folks you will find it here.  If your interested you can download their brochure here:  http://www.gvrec.org/Information/Brochures/GVR%20Realtor%20Brochure.pdf

 On the way home we stopped at Davis-Monthan AFB to make a base exchange run and get some gas.  Then I put the Rancho Sonora RV Park in the GPS that gave us the route on the back roads instead of sending us out to I-10.  Well, that didn’t work out so good.

 After getting through north Tucson and onto Hwy 79 we were cursing along at about 65 MPH when all of a sudden a coyote jumped out in front of us.  I swerved just a little but we caught the critter on the right side of the bumper.  We had to drive about 2 miles to find a safe place to pull over.  When I got out to look at the damage the wheel-well shroud was partially torn out of the well and the front bumper is cracked.  Joyce got on the phone to call our friends Ed and Cindy to give us a hand.

 While we were waiting for them a gentleman pulled up behind us and offered to help.  He had some tools so we were able to get the damaged piece unscrewed from the car.  I looked all around and didn’t see any more damage.  Just in case Tim offered to follow us back to our RV park.

December 14, 2017

 On Monday our insurance company’s claims department called to discuss the damage to the car and to schedule an adjuster to come look at damage.  Later in the day I got a call from the adjuster in Tucson who scheduled an appointment for the next day. 

 This claim resolution is moving along much faster than when we anticipated.  You may remember the issues we had when we were stuck so long in Montgomery, AL.  The claims adjuster arrived as scheduled and made his assessment.

December 16, 2017

 Yesterday we drove down to Green Valley again and got with Karen West of Long Reality to check out some homes in the area.  She took us to about fourteen houses in our price range and size.  We’ll keep Green Valley in mind when we get serious about buying.

 After having a nice lunch at The Olives Bistro we then headed over to the Titan Missile Museum.  If you are ever in the Tucson area you really need to take their tour.

 After getting checked in and seeing a short movie about the Titan II missile we headed down into the launch facility.  There were two tour guides, one who retired as an Air Force Master Sergeant who worked on the Titan missile.  The other docent was a retired Lieutenant Colonel navigator who flew B-52G’s and C-130’s in the AF Reserves at Peterson Field Colorado.

 As most of you know I was stationed at Loring AFB, ME from 1975 to 1978 in the 42nd Organizational Maintenance Squadron Alert Branch as an Alert Controller.  Come to find out, the Lt. Colonel tour guide was stationed at Loring at the same time with the 69th Bomb Squadron (now at Minot AFB, ND flying the B-52H.  Small world.
Launch Commander for the day.
There was some really classified stuff stored in the cabinet.

December 20, 2017

 On Saturday my brother John Mark and his wife Ronna drove down form their home in Laveen, AZ for a visit.  We had a really nice time catching up on all that has been going on in our lives and then a very nice dinner at A & M Pizza in Florence.

 On Monday Ed came over to give me a hand changing the our RV’s four coach batteries.  I got a good price on them at Napa Auto Supply here in Florence and hopefully those are the last we will have to buy.

December 31, 2017

 On the 22nd Joyce and I dropped our car off at Desert Body Restorations in Coolidge to have the damage fixed from our encounter with the coyote.  Enterprise Rental Cars picked us up and after doing all of the paperwork in Casa Grande we hit the road for Clovis, CA to visit my mother for Christmas.  We spent one night at the Morongo Hotel and Casino then made the drive on up to Clovis.  The traffic wasn’t too bad until we got into the Tulare area and then it got very heavy.

 On the 23rd Joyce drove up to St. Helena to surprise her mother.  She only stayed one night but was able to see her friend Chris Herdell and attend the Herdell Family Christmas Party.

 We had a very nice visit in Clovis enjoying the Christmas with my family.

 On the 27th we left Clovis to head back to Florence.  I had planned to cut over from Bakersfield on Hwy. 58 then down to Hwy 210 then on to Palm Desert to spend the night.  But traffic wasn’t too so we decided to just go down through Pasadena instead.  Wrong move Ke-Mo Sac-Bee.  We ran into several accidents causing backups and very heavy traffic.  It took us 7.5 hours to get to the Embassy Suites Hotel.  We won’t do that again.

More later.

Barry and Joyce