We’ve Moved…again!

Just before leaving Arizona, we were invited for dinner and a tour of Amanda Sihler’s frog farm. Amanda is the published co-author of the Poison Dart Frog book. She is also nephew Kevin’s sweetheart. The tour was fascinating, especially listening to Amanda’s wealth of knowledge about these tiny frogs from rain forest environments. Oh…and the dinner was great too. Dined with teen girl daughters: Jenna, Nina, Maria, and Rachel. We were impressed with them as well.

Saying goodbye to Steve and Jenni, we departed Twin Palms in Mesa on Thursday morning, April 13 and traveled to the Walmart in Las Cruces, NM. Nice Walmart with 24hr security and an easy walk to Applebees. We enjoyed a beer and had a bit to eat before coming back to have some popcorn and watch a movie. Our solar is working great.

Then over to spend time with Ed’s sister Alice and some family in Stephenville, TX. Very nice visit and enjoyed Easter services at the Cowboy Church of Erath County. We were greeted by cowboys on their horses as we drove in. Definitely TEXAS. Joined more family for Easter dinner at Stacy’s mother-in-law’s place. Liz is a great hostess. Stacy is Ed’s nephew.

After spending 3 nights at the Stephenville City Park campground, we got back on the road heading north, stopping at Valley Pecans in Chillicothe. A delightful place that has a small cafe in addition to pecans, wine, and all sorts of must-haves. A recommended stop when traveling down US 287.

Traveled on to Dumas, TX for another night on the road at Walmart. A pleasant evening, eating at home and a night of popcorn and a little Plex TV.

We generally get going pretty early when staying at Walmart. Made good time, making it on in to Loveland RV Resort on Tuesday April 18 around 1:30pm. Remembering that we had been in 2 other time zones on our trip. We’ll be here through May 18.

Last Few Days in Mesa

Our little yard at Twin Palms has turned out to be quite nice. We now have a shed and a newly painted bird house to offset the miniature bird bath and flower pots. We’ll leave all this behind when we leave Thursday April 13, only to return in November when we resume our manager duties.

Connie’s sewing room (doubles as dining room and theater) has expanded. Just needed “a little,” more room for “stuff.” She looked long and hard for just the right table and found this gem at Ikea. Catch? She had to stain and polyurethane it. Ed put it together. Pretty much a non event. It’s working out quite well and she’s happy to have her tools close at hand. Happy wife, happy life!

Ed thought the stones around the south loop lawn needed beefing up in order to keep folks from pulling their trailers over the grass, and in some cases over the stones. He used Steve’s truck and trailer to pick up 4 much larger stones, boulders really, at Pioneer Materials. We’re hoping that folks will drive with more caution now.

New boulders are somewhat heavy, but even the old guy managed to roll them in to place.

We’ve enjoyed attending Harvest East Valley Bible Fellowship. This is their new facilities as of April 2. They moved from a business warehouse where Harvest Chandler was first established in 2012. Lots of friendly folks. Music is great and Pastor Adam Bailie is powerful as he preaches straight from the Bible. He has a special gift; he can preach on just a couple verses, giving the hearer a greater understanding and holding our attention. However, we are looking forward to getting back a for a few Sundays at Foundations in Loveland. Fantastic worship in the Lord there as well.

Connie volunteered to lead a Beth Moore women’s study on Tuesday evenings at Sun Valley Community Church in Mesa. This is sister Carol and husband Roger’s home church. It’s been fun for Connie. Carol also leads a study and helped cover the class while we were in Gillette with Kari.  Tough times for us, but grateful that the ladies in the class fully understood, and offered prayers for the family during this time.

Life at Twin Palms is slowing way down now that the weather if getting hotter. We only have 15 spaces here, and down to 6 RVs after being at capacity most of the winter. Walking the loop at night, we have jokingly compared it to being like a ghost town. But it does give us a chance to visit around the area.

No, the picture isn’t Twin Palms, but Turf Paradise race track in Phoenix. We attended Monday April 3 (Happy BD Shelby)  and stayed for 3 races.

We actually made three $2 bets and won on one. After investing $6, our return on investment was $2.10. Alpine Luck won this race…but he wasn’t the horse we bet on. Lots of fun, plus free parking and entrance to the clubhouse on week days.

Not yet completely broke, we left Turf Paradise and drove over to Scottsdale. Walked around old town a bit…


…then had a late lunch/early supper at Rehab Burger Therapy. We enjoyed our burgers, definitely did not need supper, but came close to needing therpy:-)

 

Last few weeks in Arizona

While we had a week of hotter than the norm days…mid 90°, we are back to low to mid 70° range these last few days of March. Very very nice, especially in the late afternoon and evening. Great Happy Hour weather. We’ve taken a little time to explore and found The Pork Shop in Queen Creek, out in the San Tan Valley area. A small meat market (dead pig only) in the middle of a somewhat rural area. How fun. We got a pack of great pepper bacon and some scrumptious pork chops. A fun visit.

We visited the Keelan (Nephew Marshall, Amanda, and Mackenzie) Homestead one Sunday to help plant some new fruit trees and install new buried water lines. Lots of work to do there, which is actually in the heart of Chandler! Amanda on tractor. Looks like Connie found a treasure?

Marshall with mom Carol (Connie’s sister) taking a break from planting trees while discussing ongoing plans . It was a fun day…a little hot, but we were rewarded well 🙂

Meanwhile, we do have duties at Twin Palms RV Park. One of Ed’s projects is standardizing sewer connections on some of the RV lots. Here he is cutting off the existing orangeburg pipe below ground level.

Next step is adapting to regular size 3″ PVC pipe using a Fernco flexible adapter.

Lastly, top off the new PVC with a cap, pour concrete in to a form to keep junction in place. Once set up, the site it ready for a new occupant.

 

Our new car??? Well not exactly. Just a note that we  are planning on purchasing an older run-around car when we return to Mesa in November. That means we have been invited to return as park managers (hosts, volunteer overseers, etc) next winter. Will return in November and depart again in April 2018…Lord willing and our health holds out.

 

Back to Full Time in Arizona

Unlike living in a home where you have a yard, we have to compromise a bit on space. Connie loves plants and would love to have a garden, but full time in a 5th wheel trailer requires some sacrifices. Connie makes the most of our small yard and recently purchased this cute little bird bath. Surprisingly enough, we have a variety of birds here; including finch, doves, hummingbirds, and quail. We have 8′ Oleanders along the back of our lot, usually loaded with birds. At any rate, it helps make full timing a little more enjoyable, especially when we’re here for several months.

Our dining room, evening theater, and sometimes bedroom, often turns in to Connie’s sewing studio. You can see the oleanders out the rear window. Click here to see some Connie’s quilting activities while we’ve been here.

Living in the 15 lot Twin Palms RV Park doesn’t have all the amenities of some larger parks, but we do have community, albeit short time frames. Most of the folks in this impromptu “block party” have moved on, but we remember them well.

A previous occupant at the site next to us trimmed a large chunk out of one side of this tree, plus it was leaning about 30°. Ed dug a large hole about 2′ deep all around, then pulled it straight with a tie-down strapped to a steel post. It will probably stay attached until next winter. After a little more trimming, it looks a lot better! Way to go Ed. Note the oleander plants along the back of the lots. Gives us a little privacy.

Connie has gotten out a few times to hike. Mostly with sister Carol (above) and a couple other women that have become new hiking friends. This hike was earlier in the year around Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Another hike with new friend Kerry, was up around Lost Dutchman State Park. The howling coyote is a sundial.

These beautiful Lilies were sent to us from the great folks at Big Creek Fish Hatchery in Oregon to help comfort our grief from losing Kari. We gotta go back there. What a wonderful place to serve as well as great community!

We have a few more weeks to enjoy Arizona. It supposed to be hitting 90 this week so won’t be too long before it gets really HOT! We pull out April 13, heading to sister’s in Stephenville, TX; then back to Colorado for about 6 weeks; then Gillette for a few days before heading east. We’re thinking of taking a “Vacation.”

A Final Goodbye

Darling and courageous daughter Kari.

Placard of Kari’s headstone. The real one will take a few weeks.

Saturday February 7, 2017: We took an early morning (6am) Frontier flight from Phoenix to Denver; Drove Cheri’s car with nephew Marshall and Cheri to Gillette, Wyoming. A 5 hour drive. Attended the Celebration for Life service at New Life Wesleyan Church in Gillette and graveside at Campbell County Cemetery, and drove the 5 hours back to Denver. Flew back to Phoenix Sunday evening.

Celebration of Life video slide show. Thanks to Shannon Hartnett and Brittani Phelps.

Goodbye Precious Daughter

Our beloved daughter Kari Ann Allen-Brinkerhoff-Wales passed on to the arms of Jesus today after a 13 year battle with cancer.
April 29, 1974 – February 7, 2017

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2Timothy 2:7-8

Merry Christmas from Arizona

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Greetings. No, we don’t have snow here…yet. I stole this picture off the web. It doesn’t depict this joyous time of year when we once again remember the reason for Christmas. Not Santa or the giving, but to celebrate God’s gift to us in Jesus.

Through the years…centuries…the story of Christmas has evolved a bit and permeated our minds with visions without a biblical basis. In the past, I enjoyed sharing a simple Christmas “test” that helps us understand some of the fallacies. Here is a sample.

What does the Bible say that the Innkeeper said to Mary and Joseph? (Luke 2:7)
    A. “There is no room in the inn.”
    B. “I have a stable you can use.”
    C. “Come back later and I should have some vacancies.”
    D. Both A and B
    E. None of the above

Curious? Check the other 19 multiple choice question test here. There is also a link to the answers.

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We enjoyed meeting up with Bob and Twyla for a pizza and a visit to the Phoenix Zoo to see the fabulous Christmas lights. Bob and Twyla hosted with us at Colorado Bend State Park in Texas; back on our very first volunteer job. This winter, Bob and Twyla are volunteers at  Maricopa County Park: Desert Outdoor Center near Anthem.

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We saw several Lego displays on our walk around the zoo. You can’t tell much from this picture, but they are quite incredible.

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Our duties here at Twin Palms RV Park are pretty basic. Owners Steve and Jenni are fantastic. When an RV departs, Ed rakes the site and reads the electric and water meters in preparation for a new incoming RV. There are only 15 spaces, and many folks are here by the month, so not too demanding.

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Connie is back doing her favorite work…playing in the dirt. Especially when someone else pay$ for the flowers. She has offered to do her next favorite thing, painting, but Steve hasn’t taken her up on it yet. Her least favorite is cleaning restrooms, but only does that once a week and they are small and stay pretty clean.

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Gilbert Farmers Market is open every Saturday throughout the year. A great place to stroll and pick up a few items. Gilbert and the market is only around 4 miles from our park.

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About 4 miles in the other direction is the Mesa Flea Market. Over a mile of covered shops, food, and entertainment. A fun way to spend a few hours getting some exercise. Reaching for your wallet doesn’t count as exercise.

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Other than the fantastic weather, having a great place to park our 5th wheel and lots of activities, we have family here too. Connie’s sister Carol and her husband Roger are only 4 miles from us…a nice bike ride on the canal path. Roger’s son Kevin and his girlfriend Amanda joined us at Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe for a brew and supper. Fantastic! Kevin and Amanda both have high school daughters that are friends and play soccer…Amanda’s twins and Kevin’s daughter Jenna. The girls were actually responsible for them becoming a couple.

Connie’s other sister, Cheri, is driving down from Loveland this week (December 15) to spend a few weeks scouting for a new home and maybe a job? She really wants to retire, but she is inhibited with youth…not quite old enough 😉

We wish you a very memorable Christmas and 2017. May it be filled with comfort and joy. Comfort knowing Jesus, and Joy knowing He paid the price for our everlasting life.

 

Winter Home in Mesa

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We arrived in Mesa Wednesday afternoon, November 9. Our awning had pulled out of slot a bit, so we dropped our trailer at Desert Autoplex for warranty repair.

We were not able to get in to our spot at Twin Palms RV until Saturday, so we were left with 3 homeless nights. Jill, the service manager at Desert Autoplex, was super and allowed us to leave our trailer in their secure lot with 50amp service. They completed the awning repair Wednesday! They are conveniently located directly across Main from Twin Palms.

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Connie’s sister Carol, and husband Roger left for the Holy Land (no not Texas) trip the day we arrived. So we had their home to spend our 3 homeless nights! Now that’s some kind of deal! It was like staying at a $300 a night resort with pool and all the amenities. Here’s Ed on their patio near the pool. Even had the use of Carol’s car!

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We got settled in to our new spot (#9) on Saturday, then had orientation with Steve (the owner) on Monday. Orientation included basic items Steve wanted us to do in his absence as “Managers.” Pretty light duty compared to our other volunteer jobs we’ve had. We love our spot. It’s directly behind Steve’s Motorcycle shop on Main Street, so we get some noise, but quite tolerable.

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We had Mike Isley install three 260 watt solar panels and associated equipment the week we arrived at Twin Palms. Mike did a great job and knows his stuff. Click here for a few more pictures of the install. Ed braved prepping the fiberglass roof for solar by washing and waxing it. The solar will be our safety net while traveling with a power hog residential refrigerator. And of course we like to have our popcorn and movie while parked at Walmart 😉

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Carol’s son Marshall, his wife Amanda, and daughter MacKenzie live in Chandler. Just a few miles from Mesa. While they are only a block off a major street (Dobson), they have a large irrigated tract. The former owner boarded horses. Marshall and Amanda have huge plans for “going off the grid” and have a perfect place for that…only as outsiders, we see lots and lots of work! They invited us over for BBQ and to get a tour of their new place. Even had a beer!

Colorado to Arizona via Texas

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Left Loveland RV Resort on Thursday November 3, 2016 in route to our winter home in Mesa, AZ. We had a nice uneventful drive to the Walmart in Trinidad, CO. Managed to walk the 2 miles in to downtown along the Santa Fe Trail. Not really a trail, but a 2-lane highway.  But enjoyed getting out and seeing some of the downtown area. Somewhat surprised of all the emphasis on cannabis (marijuana) sale places. One next door to Walmart, and a block of stores in downtown. Trinidad is on the border, so is a good source for folks from other states to stalk up.

Traveled from Trinidad to Childress, TX on Friday; pulling in to a delightful campground in the park. Only $15. Was nice and quiet, but we did hear the ducks quacking on the lake. Loved it.

We ventured to Stephenville on Saturday and stayed till the following Tuesday. Great visit with Ed’s sister and family there. Click here to view Texas family pictures.

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Many rodeo cowboys call Stephenville home and the town honors them with a dedicated Cowboy Capital Walk-of-Fame block in downtown.

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Walk-of-Fame plaques include famous bull rider, Tuff Hedeman, Rodeo Clown and bull fighter Junior Meek, and Dallas Cowboys running back and steer wrestler Walt Garrison and 1979 Miss Rodeo America wife Debbie.

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When driving from our Stephenville City Park RV site to Ed’s sister’s place, we would pass Tarleton State University, home of the Texans…or Texanns if you’re woman volleyball player. Tarleton is an extension of Texas A&M, College Station, Texas. We made a note that our grand daughter Faith might one day be interested; scholarship pending of course.

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Drove 600 miles on Tuesday November 8, voting day, to another Walmart in Las Cruces, NM. We had stayed here before on a different trip and remembered it offered pretty nice accommodations…for free..plus they have all night security patrol. Many choices for dinner after hours on the road. We enjoyed a Goose Island IPA and dinner at Applebees, a short walk from Walmart.

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A shorter drive from Cruces to Mesa on Wednesday. Only 350 miles. Another great leg to our journey. We knew we were getting close when we drove through the Texas Canyon area. By this time, our poor Mobile Suites and Dually were quite dirty and weather beaten. Stopped at the Blue Beacon Truck Wash in Casa Grande and were very pleased. Full wash, hand dry, and wheel service for $69. Now we’re all clean again and ready for our new site at Twin Palms RV.

Still in Colorado

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Good news is that Kari is home in Gillette after the ordeal she went through at Anschutz Cancer Center. She’s started a new round of chemo, but not sure how well it’s going to work yet. She gives thanks for the few days she feels better. One day she was happy to get out of the house for a lunch date with a friend. Our prayer is for her to regain her strength so she can participate in life…and granddaughter Blakelee!

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Meanwhile, Connie spent 5 days at Jodi’s mountain condo sewing with girl friends. Had a fantastic time and laughed a lot.

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We’ve been blessed with a warmer than usual fall, which allowed some of the condo girls to take a break outdoors and get in some hiking on nearby trails. This picture has Connie and Jodi leading on.

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Ed has been driving charter bus to help pay the rent here. Weddings, shuttles from downtown Denver to Red Rocks for all kinds of concerts, high school volleyball & soccer teams, seniors from Greeley to see a play in Denver…and transport for folks going to the Bronco’s Monday night football game on October 24.

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We continued to battle the traffic in to Denver to watch Faith and her Lakewood Tigers play volleyball. Shannon got this picture after her last home game. The Tigers finish up this weekend with a tournament…then maybe go on to some playoffs. Faith then begins club volleyball.

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Connie pops in to the Presser Foot (Bernina sewing and quilt store) now and then, and helped them at the Quilt-a-Fair event. She also enjoyed meeting Jenn and Debbi for breakfast a few times.

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After selling most all our stuff (treasures) the summer of 2014, we stored all that we could not part with at sister Cheri’s shed in Loveland, CO. Quite a reduction from a 2700 SF home eh?

 

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Now Cheri has decided to sell out and move to Arizona. Okay, so we once more reduced our footprint…to this. Cheri will take it with her to Arizona. What a peach she is. Just family treasures and keepsakes remaining. Well, except for the steel base swivels for our lounge chairs.

Heading south Thursday. Should beat the Colorado snow. Yeah!