Getting in the Spirit

Last night we took up the offer from our friend Heidy to come on down to her home at Green Valley. We met Heidy a few years ago when we and she were both members of the Escapees RV Club Chapter 8 Mexican Connection trip.

Since Heidy’s kitchen is kind of torn apart for new paint and countertops, we all had supper at one of her favorite local family-owned restaurants and then drove on up to Tucson to visit the Tucson Botanical Gardens for their holiday light display.

The weather was perfect, in the 50’s and the hour or so we spent there walking through the gardens was beautiful. The gardens opened at 6 pm and admittance was by prepaid tickets at specific times. This way large groups came in at staggered times as the previous group(s) left. I’d say they let in about 300-400 visitors at a time.

Here’s a gallery of pictures and videos. We talked with one of the employees and he told us that many of the larger trees take weeks to install all the lights and they have to remove them every year so as not to grow into the bark.

Many of the lights changed color as you walked through and many others were timed to coincide with the music that played throughout the gardens. It was a great way to enjoy the holiday and reminisce about how we’ve spent Christmas pasts.

Right now we’re all up and showered enjoying our morning coffee and a little later this morning were going to head over to the Country Fair White Elephant, a local resale shop to see what kind of goodies they might have that would work either in our new rig in Arizona or the house back in Ohio. Now that we’ve decided to keep the house for our summer home, we will be more comfortable with spending some on furnishings and decorating.

I was too awe struck to think about taking any pictures of the White Elephant resale shop in Green Valley, Arizona south of Tucson. It’s a huge building where they must have at least 40 volunteers on duty every day of the week. The parking lot was packed, probably a hundred or so cars and this was on a TUESDAY! Heidy told us it’s like this every day.

All of the “merchandise” is sorted/grouped by type; furniture, rugs, tools, shoes, sports equipment, etc. If you find an item you like, just flag down one of the roaming clerks (who are very friendly and helpful by the way) and they’ll write up the item, lead you to the check out counter where you pay for the item(s), and then one of their “pickers” moves your purchases to the loading dock where you’ll have them loaded for your trip home.

Heidy found a great little solid walnut drop-leaf table. It’s got a drop leaf on each side so when it’s folded it’ll go in her hallway and only take up a space about 1 foot by 3 feet. The spindle legs are lathe-turned and fold out to support the table on all four sides. It looks like something that was made in the ’30’s or ’40’s. Once Heidy gets it cleaned up, it’ll be a wonderful addition to her home there in Green Valley.

Heidy's table is similar to this one except that hers has rectangular leafs

Heidy’s table looks similar to this one I grabbed off Google Images except that hers has rectangular leafs instead of half-round. That way her table is square when it’s opened instead of round.

The special thing about this store is that all of the items are donated and the $1,500,000 plus annual sales are donated to local charities and food banks. It’s quite an operation and it’s fun to see how everyone there (buyers and volunteers alike) are having such a good time.

Here’s the link to their “About” page on their web site

Since we only took the Lexus down to her place, once we fit the table in the trunk there wasn’t a whole lot of room left, but we did manage to push in a cute little lamp we bought for $10

along with a western style hat for Kathy ($6) that’ll fit her just fine for our upcoming “Western Days” here at the park along with a pretty large wall hanging ($25) that’ll be a nice accent to the living room area rug and loveseat that are in our home back in Mt Gilead.

As we drove away I joked (maybe not) to the girls that if/when we come back next year I’ll rent a U-haul!

Volunteering at 40 Mile Point Lighthouse

Since 2016, Kathy and I have traversed the country many times as we’ve volunteered or workamped along the way.

All but one (unnamed) location have been great experiences and our most recent was no exception. Let me tell you a little about it.

40 Mile Point Lighthouse at Rogers City, Michigan along the western Lake Huron Coast plays host to thousands of visitors annually and offers RV’ing volunteers the opportunity to live onsite in their rig for two week stints while they act as museum docents or “guest lightkeepers”.

We met Matt and Sherry in the fall of 2016 while we were volunteering at Escapees “Rainbows End” RV Park in Livingston, Texas. We’ve always stayed in touch, sometimes working with them at campgrounds or museums. Sometimes we just meet for a meal as we move through each other’s location.

Matt & Sherry
Matt and Sherry

They had told us about 40 Mile Point and the stories of their experiences there piqued our interest. We sent an email with our resume to the Volunteer Coordinator in August of ’22 and by February of ’23 we had a commitment for this past August.

We were to arrive on Monday July 31st with our first day of duty Tuesday the first of August. We had been to the Escapees Chapter 6 Rally at Ludington Michigan the week before and we were taking it easy at a small campground at Alpena when I got an email from the lighthouse that said we could come on up early if we wanted because one of the couples had to leave due to a medical issue so there was a spot available for our rig. So on up we went.

Our route from Mt Gilead to Ludington, to Alpena, to Rogers City

We spent the next couple of days getting to know “the Lay of the land” so to say and had the opportunity to sit around the campfire at night and learn from the outgoing crew some of the do’s and don’ts of the program.

Our nightly campfires

The lighthouse is closed to visitors on Mondays so we took that day to go into town, do our grocery shopping and laundry (at the cleanest laundromat we’ve ever seen!)

The cleanest laundromat!

Tuesday morning we all (the new crew of eight) met with Leonard and Shawn. They led us on a tour of the buildings, filled us in on the do’s and don’ts, showed us how to use the register in the gift shop, and set us loose as visitors started to arrive by about. 10:00am. Full speed ahead!

It’s called 40 Mile Point because it’s located 40 nautical miles to the southeast of the Straights of Mackinac. All the buildings on the grounds including the lightkeepers apartments, the light tower (53 steps), the oil house, the fog signal building, and the privy were built in 1896 at a cost of $25,000.

The duty schedule works like this. There are four volunteer couples. Couple A works all day (10am-4pm) while couple B works the morning, couple C works the afternoon, and couple D has the day off. The couples on duty changes every day so with the rotation everyone gets two days off each week.

Duty stations include; top of the tower explaining the of the light’s role in mariner safety, the bottom of the tower being the lightkeepers quarters for he and his family, a third volunteer staffs the the gift shop, and the 4th person staffs the Calcite freighter pilot house.

Join me in a climb to the top of 40 Mile Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse grounds are actually a county park but the buildings are wholly maintained by the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse Society, a group of dedicated volunteers who are dedicated to the preservation of this historical location and to educating the public on it’s significance to both the maritime and local community.

Kathy and I really enjoyed our time there (first two weeks of August). The weather was warm but not too hot or humid, there was always a nice breeze off the lake, the other volunteers we worked with were all wonderful people, the town of Rogers City is a really nice clean small town with good restaurants, a great meat market, and be sure to stop at “The Painted Lady” for coffee and ice cream!

If you’re interested in volunteering as a Guest Lightkeeper for 2-4 weeks in the summer, get in touch with me and I’ll see that you are put in contact with the Volunteer Coordinator. To find out more about 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, visit their website.

We are now back in Ohio getting ready to head out next week to our winter home at Rovers Roost in Casa Grande, Arizona. C’mon out and visit us sometime! (seriously)

A great trip back home

We left our new “Lighthouse friends” on Sunday and headed down U.S. 23 a couple hours to Tawas Point State Park where we camped for the next two nights alongside our long-time friends Norm and Alice.

The four of us at Tawas Point

We became good friends back in the mid 70’s when Norm and I began working for Xerox fixing copiers in downtown Detroit.  We married our (now still) sweethearts the same year, bought our first homes the same year, and each helped to bring two beautiful babies (a boy and girl each) into this world.

During our time together at Tawas, we ate, we drank, we rode our bikes to the lighthouse and we drove into town for ice cream 🍨 of course!

Don’t we look smashing?
Tawas Point lighthouse undergoing repairs

We could’ve easily spent a couple more days with Norm and Alice at Tawas, but we had to continue toward home as we needed to get our house in Ohio ready for the traveling nurse who would be renting from us starting September 1st.

A few months ago when I had written about our upcoming volunteer gig at the lighthouse in Rogers City, I got a message from one of my grade school friends.  Kevin told me that they now live on a lake at Oscoda, Michigan.  We made plans to meet up for lunch as we would be passing through on our way home.

Kevin and Colleen

Although our visit was brief, it was great to meet up and renew our friendship.  We committed to being up in their neck of the woods again and making a point of looking them up for a longer visit next  time. Thanks for reaching out to us guys!

We tried to meet up with a couple other schoolmates from the Class of ’72, Tom who was actually camping at Tawas Point the week before we got there and Diane who is now living at Hubbard Lake. Unfortunately, although we messaged each other trying to make it work, it just didn’t work out. Thanks for reaching out to us guys … hope we can try again sometime.

Although we could’ve driven straight through from Oscoda Michigan to Mt Gilead Ohio in one stretch, we decided to boondock at one of our preferred dry camping locations.

Our stop for the night at Cabelas

Cabela’s at Dundee Michigan has HUGE parking lots and the one in the back of the store by the loading docks allows us to park alongside a very large retention pond that makes for a quiet and beautiful rest spot. Although there were a few trucks parked a few hundred feet away, they never kept us from a restful night.

Since we only had about ten days to get the house ready for Tara (the traveling health professional) and we needed to pack the coach for our upcoming trip to Arizona, we were going to park it at David and Lisa’s house.  Turned out however they were having a big garage sale this weekend.  So instead we were lucky enough to snag a site at Mt Gilead State Park, for the weekend. It’s a great little heavily shaded campground with both paved full hook-up sites and gravel electric only sites.

The next few days kept us busy between me going back to work M-W-Fridays, moving our personal items out of the house and into storage in preparation for our renter, and moving other “stuff” from the house to the coach in preparation for our 6 month stay at Rovers Roost in Arizona.  The final day Kathy kept busy dusting, vacuuming, and mopping while I got a badly needed haircut, took a bunch of broken-down cardboard boxes to the recycling center, and dropped off a few things at the local Goodwill store.

After the garage sale we moved our home on wheels up to David and Lisa’s just outside of town (Mt Gilead) where up on the hill it’s always breezy and there’s a nice oak tree right outside our windshield that shades the morning sun from heating the coach too early in the day.

There’s always a little anxiety about change and moving down the road. But we make a plan and start working through it. So far things are working out nicely.

Thanks to David and Lisa’s hospitality, we’ll be here for a few weeks before heading to Arizona for the winter. We’re looking forward to a relaxing, enjoyable (and uneventful) trip west. Stayed tuned for more.

Goodbye to new friends

Last night we sat around the campfire getting to know our new friends a little more before they had to leave in the morning. The old crew pulls out by Monday noon (lighthouse is closed in Mondays) and the new crew pulls in Monday afternoon.

From left to right; Wendy, Belinda, and Terry. Danny and Marilyn were packing for their morning departure

It was great that we were able to pull in here a few days early as we learned not only about our new job responsibilities but also about the nearby things to see and do (and eat!) while we are here in the Rogers City area.

Terry and Belinda pulling out headed to the Soo Locks

This coming week is the annual Nautical Festival in town and it’s a big celebration with loads of scheduled activities drawing thousands from the surrounding area and bringing in lots of pleasure craft to the harbor. We are expecting big crowds this week at the lighthouse. We shouldn’t be bored!

Later today our new co-workers (3 couples) will pull in and we will all have our orientation and training Tuesday morning.

We’re looking forward to another great volunteer experience. Since we hit the road in 2016, we’ve been blessed with not only seeing a great portion of our country and all the beauty and majesty it has to offer, but we’ve been able to make so many new friends along the way.

More to follow over the next few days.

We made it to the light!

Getting ready Friday morning to leave Campers Cove at Alpena and move a little west to Eckert Park at Hamlin, I received an email from Leonard at the lighthouse that we could just come ahead now rather than have to wait until Monday due to one of the couples working here had to leave due to a medical issue.

It was only a 45 minute drive and we were here and settled by about noon. There are three other rigs here (all motorhomes) and as the volunteers each came and went to/from their lunch break they all stopped to introduce themselves and welcome us.

We continued to set up camp. We connected our electric, water, and sewer lines, took our e-bikes off the back of the car, set up our little Weber propane grill, brought out the bungee chairs and side tables, and rolled out the side awning.  All this takes about a half hour and now we can sit and relax a bit! There was a nice breeze off the lake, but it was pretty warm and humid.

Our home in the trees for the next couple weeks

All four sites are nestled in the woods (lots of shade) and there’s a community fire pit with plenty of firewood, two large picnic tables, and a large propane BBQ grill.

Just beyond the fire pit there’s a trail going down to Lake Huron.  Kathy and I took off our socks and shoes, put on other more appropriate footwear for trudging through the sand, and headed down to the water to check it out.  Surprisingly, the water is warmer than I had imagined it would be this far north!

See the freighter in the distance?

Our supervisors Leonard and Carrie came by on their bicycles to greet us, they live just down U.S. 23 a bit and there’s a nice paved bike path alongside the road and the lake that goes all the way to Rogers City about 7 miles south.

Kathy and I ran into town for a bit to pick up a couple things.  Shortly after we returned, the crew had finished their day (4:00pm) and we all settled at the picnic tables.  Each of us had our favorite drink and we had the opportunity to get to know each other.

Our first nights supper with new friends

All of a sudden an instant pot showed up and we all shared a great time enjoying homemade vegetable beef soup and Texas toast.  Ok, one side was a “little” overdone on the grill, but the other side was great 😃

Our first night backed up a couple hundred feet from the waves of Lake Huron was cool, breezy and SO comfortable we were lulled to sleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

Although we had visited the lighthouse last year, the next day we visited each venue to hear how the “pros” tell the story to visitors. Leonard had emailed us lots of info for us to study about the history, but it’s always good to see and hear how other docents share the story.

That’s the report for now. Today we’ll take a drive into town to get some groceries, stop at one of the local produce stands, hit the laundromat and then when we get back we’ll visit the venues again to hear how others tell the story. The volunteers rotate assignments each day so that each gets an opportunity to work everywhere.

In the meantime, be good and stay safe.

Summer camping in Michigan with friends and family

This is a post I wrote back in late October and THOUGHT I had published, but just found it in my DRAFTS folder. Better late than never.

When our daughter Sara became seriously ill in early 2022, we made a bee-line trip back to Ohio from Arizona to help her through the recovery process.

It’s now summer and Sara is doing so much better. She’s the best and happiest we’ve seen her in 20 years.

Sara and Stu

Since Stu and Sara sold their Mt Gilead home in April, we’ve all been living together in one of our small two bedroom rental homes in the village. It’s “cozy” but it’s got a great attached garage for the guys to play in and a fenced yard for the dogs w/a concrete patio so the girls can sun themselves while keeping an eye on the little 4 legged mischief makers.

Our Mt Gilead home where the four of us lived May to September 2022

As our lives got more and more back to normal, we yearned for more “normal” activities. One of these was Stu’s desire to go fishing in northern Michigan again as he had the year before.

Sara wanted to go along, but the idea of being out on the lake all day really wasn’t her idea of fun – nor was waiting in the motel room all day for Stu to come back with the car towing the boat. Quite the conundrum.

Kathy and I proposed the idea of us tagging along and setting up camp in a local campground that could also provide a rental camper for the two of them and the dogs. We found a great little campground called Campers Cove RV Park & Canoe Livery where we got sites just a few hundred feet apart. As an added bonus Stu’s mom Barb came along as well!

Our site along the canal heading out to the lake
Location of Campers Cove near Alpena Michigan

We set our camping trip for October and when I mentioned that to a Facebook friend, another one of our “old friends” (not THAT kind of “old” really but friends we’ve been since the early 70’s) suggested they might come along since we hadn’t seen each other in a few years. Great idea!

Kathy at Stu, Sara and Barb’s camper. The little gal is Dulaney

What a great time we had camping in northern Michigan enjoying the fall colors, the cool weather, the nearly empty campground, the crackling of the campfire every day and night, along with great food provided and cooked by our friends Norm and Alice. What a treat!

Chef Norm grilling up the innards for our burrito dinner while Sara awaits

Our relationship with Norm & Alice started when Norm and I hired in at Xerox as copier service reps in 1973 (I think). We soon became fast friends as we both worked covering the downtown Detroit big office buildings servicing copiers in law firms, government offices, stock brokerages, banks, and others. Back in those days it was only Xerox, Kodak, and IBM in the copier business. It would be a few more years before the influx of the Toshibas, Minoltas, Canons and other Japanese brands into the market.

Norm, Alice, Sara, Stu, Barb, & Kathy

As our friendship grew, the four of us partied together, got married about the same time, went on some trips together, each brought our children into the world (each with a boy and a girl) about the same time. We bought our first homes the same year. They, however have done the smart thing and stayed in that home for nearly 50 years while we’ve moved in and out of nine homes before finally selling the last one and hitting the road in our motorhome in 2016.

Everybody’s favorite pastime at the fire
Ooooh … S’mores Sticky fingers

We didn’t just sit around the campfire and feed our faces for three days however. While Stu went off fishing, we made a couple day trips to see the Mackinac Bridge and visit a couple lighthouses too.

Herb, Alice, Norm, Barb, Kathy, and Sara @ The Old Mackinac Lighthouse

Kathy and I are going to be volunteering late summer of ’23 as guest lighthouse keepers at 40 Mile Point Light near Rogers City, MI. Since we were pretty darn close, we decided to swing on by and scope out the place!

Sara and Barb getting ready to head on in for their self-guided tour of the lighthouse

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sunny warm days faded to cooler afternoons and evenings. Time together with wonderful old friends and our family really was a special time telling stories of times past and just enjoying each other’s company.

Stu and Barb enjoying some time together playing golf

As we prepare to stay in Mt Gilead for the winter so that I can get my second hip replacement, we reminisce about our six years on the road workamping and camp hosting.

We’re so glad that we made the decision to quit working early (at 62), sell the house and hit the road. The places we’ve gone and especially the wonderful lasting friendships we’ve made along the way would never have happened if we stayed home – working or retired.

Some of the places we’ve at least spent the night along the way

But for now we will be content to stay in Ohio to get some medical issues taken care of, spend the summer of ’23 in/near here and then head to Arizona and spend next winter with our “other” family there.

Christmas in Mexico

We left our winter home at Rovers Roost on Saturday December 18th and met up with our friend Heidy at her home in Green Valley AZ for the night.

Sunday morning bright and early (still dark) we left her place about 6:30 and headed down I-10 and I-19 to the border crossing at Nogales.

Once we crossed the border onto MX15 we still had an inspection station, an immagration station, and 3 tolls booths to get through.

We stayed on MX15 (a four lane divided highway) down to Hermosillo where we then headed west about 60 more miles on MX100 to Bahia de Kino (Kino Bay) where we then pulled in to Islandia Marina and RV Park.

Our host Martita greeted us with a smile and pointed out two possible sites for us. We chose the one nestled under a big tree overlooking the Sea of Cortez.

We have a large site with plenty of shade over the coach, 1000′ of sandy beach, sun and water out our front window

The nights are cool, in the 40’s and 50’s and the days are breezy and in the low 80’s with lots of sunshine.

Our first full day found us keeping busy going about 20 minutes east to San Miguel Aleman to exchange our dollars for pesos, to pick up a few groceries, and to a local Telcel agent to get a 30 day MX sim card for my phone.

Just to give you an idea of how money works here, $100 American is about 2000 MX pesos.

Our groceries at a super market cost us $8.90, my 30 day unlimited talk and text (4.5gb data) sim card cost me $11.50, and our 30 amp full hookup site overlooking the beach at the Sea of Cortez costs $15/night.

While last night we cooked brats on the grill at our home by the beach, tonight we ate at Pulpo Loco (Crazy Octopus) in town. We got 3 combo plates of fried fish, bacon wrapped cheese stuffed shrimp, salad, fries, and fried shrimp. All 3 meals along with two bottles of Coke and a huge bottled water was 520 pesos (about $26)

Our first day here at Islandia RV Park we had the pleasure of meeting Julio, one of the regulars whose been spending winters here since 2007. A retired NYC firefighter, he’s quite a character. Although he doesn’t own or even manage the park, he loves to play host and invited us to join the gang at his place anytime we see anyone there.

Julio and others invited us down for Ray’s 89th birthday party complete with pizza and birthday cake

Thursday morning came too soon and it was time to say goodbye to our host Martita and head further south about 120 miles to Totonaka RV Park at San Carlos, also on the east side of the Sea of Cortez.

Saying goodbye to our host Martita at Islandia RV Park (Bahia de Kino, Sonora, MX)

San Carlos is a much larger town that Kino Bay and is more a tourist area loaded with restaurants and curio shops.

The park is very nice with over 140 FHU RV sites and about 25 motel rooms. Heidy is in one of their rooms and we are in the coach. They have a pool, hot tub, pickleball courts and they run a clean tight ship here, they’re always cleaning, raking, and checking the property. At this park our FHU site cost $26/nite (tourist area pricing).

Map of our route ending at San Carlos, Guaymas Sonora, MX

The day after Christmas, there is the annual lighted boat parade right off the beach and we walked down to watch as about twenty five or thirty large vessels dressed in hundreds of Christmas lights paraded by. It was a fun (and free) evening.

I’m sorry the pictures are blurry, it was dark and the camera had a hard time focusing.

Now the weather turned cool. Gray skies after Christmas and temps in the 50’s and 60’s so no beach time for now. But there ARE still PLENTY of places to eat that many of our neighbors here at Totonaka have told us that we need to check out.

The girls went shopping today, they were gone about 4 hours and came back all excited about what they stumbled across … a place where Heidy and/or Kathy and I could rent an RV spot either monthly or year-round and at a very attractive price!

We talked at some length about the possibilities and decided that all three of us would make a 2nd visit tomorrow. In the meantime … what else? It’s dinner time!

We went back to Daniel’s place the day after Christmas to “scope it out” a little more. He has four covered RV spots that are 60+ feet deep and about 30′ wide with an add’l 12’x60′ concrete patio. All sites are Full Hook-Up (water, electric, and sewer). The property is fenced and gated and Daniel and his wife live full-time on the property. He made Heidy a really sweet deal ($250/month) to park her rig there year round and stay in it full-time or for a few months at a time. Two of the four sites are occupied by folks who live there year-round. NOTE: Take a look at the supports for the roof. These are NOT trees but actually they are BRANCHES from giant eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus is a very dense and heavy wood and makes for an excellent building material in this dry climate.

While visiting Daniel he drew a map for us to check out the “lookout” and one of the high-end new home developments on the bay.

To round out the afternoon (and our last day in Mexico) we decided to …. what else? Try out another restaurant of course!

The restaurant celebrates the “Day of the Dead” which is a Mexican holiday on November 1st and 2nd. It celebrates the lives of loved ones who have died over the last year.

From Google: “Ancient Mesoamericans believed that death was part of the journey of life. Rather than death ending life, they believed that new life came from death. This cycle is often associated with the cyclical nature of agriculture, whereby crops grow from the ground where the last crop lies buried.”

All in all, we had a great time visiting Mexico and making new friends. In a nutshell we have to say that;

  1. The Mexican people are gracious, friendly, accommodating, and thankful that we were there spending our money in their communities.
  2. The food cost is about one-half of what a meal (restaurant or grocery store) would cost in the states.
  3. Fuel is about the same cost or even a little more than here in the states,
  4. and the roads are generally terrible. Certainly not everywhere, but there are plenty of areas where you have to wonder if the RV is just going to shake apart right there on the spot.
  5. And the poverty is nearly everywhere, at least it’s not at all hard to find. We say plenty of people living in tin and cardboard shacks with no electricity and no running water. It’s sad to see such distress.

We drove our last day straight through from San Carlos to Casa Grande AZ (395 miles) and we have to say it’s “good to be back”.

Until next time, we wish you and yours a Happy New Year. We hope it’s a safe and healthy one for all of us.

Herb and Kathy

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Greetings from Herb and Kathy


To all our family and friends, we are writing to wish you the best of the holiday season.

We write this now as we are readying to depart to Mexico for a couple weeks and will not return to our Arizona winter home until the first of the New Year.

Wow what a busy year Herb and I have had! As you may be aware, we spent March of 2020 through March of 2021 in Ohio living in the bunkhouse above the garage at Sara and Stu’s home.

It was good to be off the road during the Covid outbreak and we were so fortunate to be able to spend some quality time with both our children and their families.

Herb drove a bus for the county starting in May of ’20 and finished that job this past March when he had his rotator cuff surgery. We then went on down to Dale Hollow Lake State Park in Kentucky to camp host for 3 months and he recuperated with physical therapy at the local hospital. While we were there, it was great to welcome visiting friends Mark and Cindy, Mike and Kim, Chuck and Della, and Forrest and Mary. We all spent 3 days together gathering around the campfire, eating out, and we rented a double-deck pontoon boat for a day of fun on Dale Hollow Lake too! We also enjoyed a week-long visit from Stu and Sara – they rented a camper and parked right next to us!

We finished our KY gig July 4th and came back to Ohio so that Herb could get his hip replaced July 22nd. That surgery went well too (same doc as the shoulder) and we were able to hit the road westbound on Aug 20th.

We timed our departure from Ohio so we could join my sister’s family in celebration of her daughter’s wedding. Although the wedding was a small one last year during Covid, this reception in the Groom’s parents back yard in Michigan was a fun and beautiful event. We got to sit with my cousin Kristin and her husband Ed who we hadn’t seen in probably 20 years or so and had a great time reminiscing.

After that we traveled on to Owosso Michigan where we spent a couple days with Herb’s two sisters and their husbands. Another great meetup, we always have fun together. From Owosso we made our way further west in Michigan where we visited with friends we made while working at a camp in Baldwin Michigan. We also met up with a high school classmate who we hadn’t seen (or talked to) since 1972. Another great visit!

After that we loaded the coach onto the S.S. Badger Auto Ferry at Ludington Michigan and took the 4 hour cruise across Lake Michigan. Once we arrived at Manitowoc Wisconsin we met up again for dinner with Forrest and Mary at Green Bay.

Making our way further west found us meeting with Paul and Chris at Mason City Iowa and visiting the Surf Dance Hall where Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valenz and The Big Bopper made their final show before the fatal plane crash in a nearby corn field.

We then moved on down to the Kansas City Missouri area to spend a couple days with Ron and Judy who we had worked with at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in 2019 and we all took a tour of a private family mauseleum that our friend Carl (who we met in Mexico a couple years back) had inherited. What an interesting tour that was!

From Kansas City (now early September) we moved on to Spearfish SD so that we could reconnect with Matt and Sherry who we worked with at DC Booth Fish Hatchery in 2019. We spent a week there and during that time Jim and Brenda came by for a couple nights stay and David and Susan came up for a visit from where they were working at Custer State Park.

Since David and Susan also have a lot where we winter at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande, Arizona we talked and decided it would be fun for the four of us to caravan together back to AZ once they were done with their gig at Custer.

We moved on just south of Custer to a two week stay at Angostura State Recreation Area while we waited for David and Susan to meet up with us October 1st. We enjoyed getting to enjoy Hot Springs SD while we were in the area.

Starting October 1st we made our way south to northwest Nebraska, then west into Wyoming and through Cheyenne, Laramie, Rock Springs and then down Route 191 through Flaming Gorge and on down across the Snowy Ridge (9114′ elev) through beautiful eastern Utah.

Nearing the middle of October got us back into northeast Arizona where we visited Winslow and Meteor Crater and ultimately down just east of Phoenix and we all four pulled into “the Roost” October 19th.

Early November we were delighted to have a visit from our Ohio friends Chuck and Della. They rented a VRBO nearby and we spent about a week together sightseeing some of the local sights. It was great to see them again and play “tour guide” a little.

Although we arrived here mid-October, it takes a couple months before everyone is back. It’s fun welcoming old friends back “home” with a big SKP hug, (but not so much today with Covid – we tend to smile and shake hands more often than before)

Our plan at this point is to be back in Ohio this summer (arriving March/April) depending on which way we go on the way back. We look forward to seeing all of you in the summer. To our RV’ing friends .. we look forward to meeting up again with you real soon. To each of you we wish you only the most wonderful Christmas celebration and a Happy and Joyous New Year to you all!

Herb and Kathy

Replacing Our Motorhome Windshield (Again)

This is the second time we’ve replaced our motorhome windshield. The first was right after we bought it in 2016.

We had developed a stress crack in the upper right corner of the driver’s windshield the first time. But this time while we developed another stress crack (in the same location), we also had two large long cracks that had started as a result of rocks hitting the windshield.

One of the long cracks starting at the lower right

When I first noticed one of the long cracks we were on our way from Missouri to South Dakota. It seemed to be getting longer, but I couldn’t be sure so I put a small piece of scotch tape at the end of the crack on the inside so I could monitor how fast it might be moving. And it was moving right along! You can see the tape in the picture above.

This crack started up at the top right corner

We put in a claim with our insurance company and they promptly ordered the correct glass from a company called Custom Glass Solutions in Ohio and placed the install order with Chris at Arizona RV Glass in Phoenix. When the glass arrived at Chris’ shop in Phoenix, I got the call to schedule installation.

This video shows the entire removal and install process from start to finish

Chris explained to me that stress cracks like the one we had in the upper right corner are pretty common. This is caused by too much flexing of the coach chassis. The flexing can be caused when trying to level the coach on an uneven site or when entering/exiting a fuel stop and driving diagonally across the bump at the curb … This causes the chassis to twist and as a result put too much strain on the windshield corners. He suggests to always try to turn in head on if possible.

We’ll try to be more careful from now on, but often it’s just not possible to miss all the potholes and bumps you come across on the open road.

In many older motorhomes like ours the windshield curves around the corners as compared with many of the newer motorhomes I’ve noticed the windshield seems to be more “flat” all across. I think maybe this curve around may be contributing to the problem.

I just hope this doesn’t happen too often … even with comprehensive coverage on our auto insurance policy, this can get pretty expensive over time between deductibles and premium increases. I called around before placing the claim and if I were to buy the windshield outright and pay for installation ourselves prices ranged from a low of $1700 to a high of $2300!

On another subject, we’re heading to Yuma tomorrow so that we can easily walk across the border into Los Algodones. My plan is to spend some time visiting the eye doctor and getting new eyeglasses along with picking up some prescription drugs at one of the pharmacies. We will also enjoy visiting our friends Paul and Chris who are spending the winter at the Escapees KOFA RV Park in Yuma. Our friends Jim and LuAnn left us here at the Roost this morning and we will meet up with them at KOFA as well. Looking forward to the six of us having a good time!

Until next time, take care of each other (and yourself) and we wish you well.

Herb & Kathy

Winslow & Meteor Crater AZ

As we continued our trek back to Arizona for the winter, our final leg would be heading west on I-40 between Winslow and Flagstaff (and ultimately down to Casa Grande)

Winslow Arizona (you’ll remember “Standin’ On The Corner” by the Eagles) is a great stopping point as you’re heading west. The town is a few blocks long and has only a handful of tourist trap type souvenir shops and another handful of restaurants. Canned music plays from loudspeakers mounted on utility poles at the downtown square and there’s always other tourists checking out the corner while you’re there.

The famous “Standin’ On The Corner

A short walk from an easily discovered parking spot got us down to the historic La Posada Hotel and to walk through the lobby was worth it. This is the last Fred Harvey Hotel built along the Santa Fe rail line in the ’30s that’s still in operation. The architecture and interior design are beautiful. You can read more about the Fred Harvey story here.

After our stop at Winslow we traveled west to Exit #124 and visited “Meteor Crater”. This crater is the largest and best preserved on planet earth.

The crater was produced as the result of a falling meteorite traveling at an estimated 26,000 miles per hour.

Meteor Crater measures 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) across and about 600 feet (180 meters) deep. The size of the asteroid that produced the impact is uncertain—likely in the range of 100 to 170 feet across—but it had to be large enough to excavate 175 million metric tons of rock.

You can still see the remains of mining operations that took place during the 30’s through the 50’s. The owner of the crater (Barringer) at that time was looking for anything of value that might have been left as a result of the explosion caused by the meteor.

This is where my Canon SX-60HS digital camera with it’s 1500mm zoom lens really came in handy!

The large picture below shows the overall view of the crater as seen from up on the observation deck at the rim. The smaller photos at the top of the gallery below show close-up views of two of the mine shafts that were dug during explorations. The steam boiler in the right-hand picture generated pressure to operate the lift winch (located behind the boiler). The winch was used to bring materials up out of the shaft and take men and tools down into the shaft.

Clicking on any of the thumbnails in the gallery will open a larger view for you to be able to see.

Short video of the crater (panoramic view)

We finished up our visit with WHAT ELSE but food? We found what appeared to be a popular watering hole in Winslow and we decided it was time for lunch before moving on down the road to our final destination of Rover’s Roost at Casa Grande AZ.

It was a great decision. Both couples split a meal and we’re so glad we did — the portions were HUGE (as Bernie would say)

This is a half order of our Chicken Fiesta Salad

We finally made it back to our “winter home” and have been settling in. The park club functions will officially start Nov 1st but some of us early birds have been keeping busy in the meantime.

All in all, it has been a great trip across the northern plains and down through Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona. We’ve seen a lot of beautiful landscape, hooked up with old friends along the way, met new folks that we can now consider friends, and continued to learn to love and appreciate each other as we continue this life adventure.

Thanks for riding along, we will look for you on down the road. I’ll be documenting some of our adventures while we are her for the winter, so there will be more to come.

In the meantime, be safe, be healthy and take care of each other as you travel this journey we call life.

Herb and Kathy