Michigan, August, 2022, Part 2

We left St Ignace and headed south across the Mighty Mac, The Mackinaw Bridge, to the lower part of Michigan. The entire bridge is 26,372 ft long, 28 ft short of 5 miles long. It is the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world.

The Mighty Mac

There are days when the winds cause the speed limits to be reduced or even close the bridge. This time and the last two times we crossed the bridge the speed limit for semis was 40 mph so that is what we did. And all three times the outside lane was closed for maintenance (painting). Susan was glad we drove on the inside lane away from the edge of the bridge but the inside lane of the main suspension section is also an open grating road surface. Probably for the wind to go through and for rain and snow drainage. In any case, it is a noisy road surface. We are still here, we made it.

East Jordan is 25 miles or so inland from the east shore of Lake Michigan. It is right at the end of the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix and a small river feeds that end of the lake. It is part of the bigger Lake Charlevoix which empties into Lake Michigan at the small city of Charlevoix.

East Jordan is pretty small and its primary claim to fame was the East Jordan Foundry where they recycled almost anything iron or steel and made cast iron manhole covers, street drains, and lots more. The foundry was right on the edge of town on the lake and made quite a racket at times. A few years ago the foundry moved to a new and modern facility several miles from town. The old site is now quiet but the new site makes even more of these cast iron things.

The East Jordan Foundry in the Background.

And East Jordan has a nice municipal campground. Perfect for us to visit Amanda and Douglas who spend the summer here in their motorhome. And they have cabins too so Ted and Karen drove up from the Cincinnati area as well. We went sailing on Douglas and Amanda’s boat, walked, played Quiddler, tossed bags of something in a Corn Hole tournament, went out for dinner, made dinners to share, and did a big pancake breakfast. More than anything we had a chance to be together, to share our time, to reinforce the bonds that make us such good friends.

Douglas and Amanda Greeting Us

Amanda and Douglas make and sell jewelry at select craft shows, one was the weekend before we arrived at South Haven a couple hours south of East Jordan. It was the International Blueberry Festival. The last time we were there blueberries were plentiful and cheap. Amanda brought us 2-10 lb boxes of fresh giant berries. They cost about $30. We had blueberries with everything including pancakes, a blueberry crumble, and especially oatmeal in the morning. All that was left were spread out on cake pans and frozen. They freeze well. We can hardly get enough blueberries.

Here they are watching an intense Corn Hole match – and making jewelry at the same time. Well, Amanda was busy.

Ted and Karen drove from the Cincinnati area. They stayed in a cabin at the campground. They brought what cooking and coffee-making equipment they needed so they were all set. And Ted brought his growler, filled with local craft beer, necessary for the big match.

We tried the local pizza shop one night for dinner, it was pretty good. We have discovered that local pizza preferences and tastes vary widely across the country. What is popular in one area may not be quite what you like.

We went into Charlevoix one day too for a bit of exploring. Charlevoix is a small town on the east side of Lake Michigan. It was a popular destination for the privileged Chicago wealthy who came to stay in fancy resorts or, as many did,

to build large homes in neighborhoods made up mostly of other wealthy owners. Most of these homes are still there. They came mostly by railroad, much easier than driving. These neighborhoods are primarily on a bay on the west end of Lake Charlevoix where there are now, and likely then as well, large marinas for big boats.

The bay is connected to Lake Michigan by a channel that is crossed by a Chicago-style lift bridge. I am sure it was simply a creek or small river that made the connection long ago and was finally dug out to make a regular channel with a lighthouse to mark the entrance.

The Charlevoix Boat Channel
The Boat Channel Lift Bridge

There is a small sailing school that we visited on the bay too. People, mostly kids, start in small boats with one per boat and move up to bigger boats with two people on board and then bigger boats. Lake Charlevoix has lots of big and fast power boats but is a very popular sailing lake.

Douglas and Amanda have a 22 ft sailboat. They were hemming and hawing about buying it. It was for sale in Iowa. I told them to buy it or I would, and they did and immersed themselves in sailing jargon, techniques, and best practices. They have become competent sailors now.

It Is a Nice Boat.
The Ballast Crew

Here we are in a calm state. We cannot remember the good ship’s name but we kidding called it the SS Minow. Most of our sail seemed to be at a death-defying angle to one side or the other. I think Douglas was trying for a new world speed record.

We had a great time, maybe I did more than Susan, but fun to share some time with Douglas and Amanda and their new passion for sailing.

Dinner in a Boyne City Brewery

We drove around to the east end of Lake Charlevoix for an early supper at a brewery/pub. The food was good, the company was the best.

We sat around the campfire in the evenings spinning yarns (nautical speak) and other tall tales, mostly remembering all of the great times we had shared over the several years we have known one another. None of us “live” near each other so we have to choose to make the effort to get together and share some time.

A couple of years earlier while we were in Fredericksburg, Susan and I went to the Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, TX about halfway to Johnson City. They make exceptional Bourbon. Ted and Karen enjoy a glass of bourbon on occasion. My last occasion was in 1984. So I decided to get a bottle to share with them. It was two years later in East Jordan when we first pulled the cork on that Small Batch bottle and began the process of sniffing and sipping and enjoying over a couple of evenings. I was keenly aware it was bourbon, it packed a wallop. Somehow with plenty of help from Ted and Karen, we managed to create an empty bottle memorial for that visit.

Ted Campbell

None of us knows what the future holds and while this trip ended with the joy of good friends sharing time we will never see Ted again. Just three months later Ted died, his heart just stopped. All of the heroic efforts to get it to restart just weren’t enough. It was shocking news, very hard on our dear friend, Karen. We miss Ted dearly.

Today is the day to renew connections, commit to getting together, call someone when you think of it, dust off memories, and celebrate all we hold most dear, what we are most grateful for. Our loved ones, our family, our friends. These are the people that get us through every day, every situation, every one of life’s challenges.

Ted was a critical foundation stone for me getting through my cancer treatments. He left us before they were complete but with the commitment and determination to see it through.

From a song by Jackson Browne, “For a Dancer” …

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan and Maggie

Michigan, August, 2022

We had planned for some time to visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and then cross the Mighty Mac Bridge to East Jordan on the South Arm of Lake Charlevois to see our friends Amanda and Douglas and Ted and Karen.

We stopped for the night on the way to Michigan at Holtwood Campsite Municipal Park Campground in Oconto, WI. It was a really nice spot, we had a pull-through site, easy in and out the next morning. We made a reservation for the way home too.

Lakeshore Rest Stop
Rest Stop Beach

There is a very nice rest stop on the road heading east along the lakeshore. We stopped for almost an hour or so for lunch and a break

And then to Lakeshore Park Campground on the north shore of Lake Michigan just west of St. Ignace. We have been to this campground before and it is quiet and has a great view of the lake.

We Had a Nice Shade Tree
From the Beach you can see the Mackinaw Bridge

We spent a day on Mackinac Island. The ferry got us over and back. We mostly just wandered around exploring. We found a place for lunch that was off the main track. It was good.

The ferry ride went out to the bridge and underneath it before going to Mackinac Island. We saw the Viking Ocantis, a brand new Great Lakes cruise ship as we came into the docks.

Viking Ocantis

The small tender boats were ferrying passengers back and forth.

As usual, it was busy in town. We walked by a bed and breakfast that we stayed in several years ago. it is right on the harbor. From the front, it looks pretty normal, from the side it is much bigger. There is a gift shop and a nice coffee/pastry shop at the rear.

Coffee and a pastry morning treat in the sun was nice. up and down the Main Street, checked out the toy store, the kite shop, looked into a dozen fudge shops. We resisted but broke down and bought a jigsaw puzzle with a ship going under the Mackinac (it is pronounced mackinaw) Bridge, a Great Lakes patch and a patch from Mackinac Island with an 8.2 on it. The 8.2 is the length of the bike path around the island. We did that last time we were here. It is a very nice ride, mostly level along the lakeshore Bring your own bikes – they are very expensive to rent on the island.

We had a nice lunch at the Yankee Rebel Tavern. It was not all that busy given how busy it was but we were a couple of blocks off Main Street and past the normal lunch hour. Then all the way to the West End and back to the docks for the ferry ride back.

We stopped at Clyde’s Drive In on the way back to the campground to get something for dinner. We have been to the Clyde’s in Sault Saint Marie and enjoyed the food there. This one is bigger and it was slammed. It took about 10 minutes just to get an order in and a 30 minute wait. And then the place really got busy. We were patient and rewarded with hot off the grill burgers and onion rings. We made a bee-line for home and gobbled them up.

On Saturday we went north and east along the north end of Lake Huron to the small town of Hessel for the one day a year 45th Annual Antique Wooden Boat Show. We have had this on our list to do when in the Upper Peninsula but missed it several times.

The north part of Lake Huron is made up of many long skinny rock islands and a few big ones carved by glaciers. They are called the Les Cheneaux Islands.

Every year has a custom artwork poster, this one was from 2017. The Boat Show had well over 100 wooden boats from as far back as 1917. Everyone was spectacular in their own way. Many were carefully and faithfully restored from near wrecks. Many had been owned for generations and maintained along the way. They came from as far away as Maine and Louisiana. Most of the local owners stored their treasured boats in almost as spectacular boat houses.

It was a beautiful sunny day. All of the boats were in slips in the marina and the visitors made their way back and forth on the docks. I took well over a hundred pictures. Every boat from every angle was breathtaking.

When you think of wooden boats you think of Chris Craft. There are many of these here including hull number 4 and a Chis Craft built in Italy at their factory in the Lake District of Northern Italy. But what surprised me was the dozen or more nameplates represented from all over. High-end, high-quality wooden boats with inboard engines and two or three cockpits were built all across the Great Lakes, New York, and up into Maine.

And some of the most famous were racing boats. Here is a Gar Wood Chris Craft with two turbocharged V16 engines. The driver and mechanic sat in the very rear.

This is a fairly rare three-cockpit boat. The engine is in between the second and third row of seats.

It is hard to pick out pictures that do the boats justice. The absolutely perfect, glass smooth finishes and perfect woodwork were a joy to see. The descriptions of dozens of coats of varnish, hand sanded between each layer to get where it needed to be are nothing short of woodworking art.

These boats ran from a 17 ft canoe to a 49’ cabin cruiser.

Miss Lilly, a 1917 canoe was a crowd favorite, and Susan’s too.

We had lunch there and visited the tent with t-shirts too late to get a beautifully embroidered shirt so I settled for a long-sleeved t-shirt. I came to find that it was a very comfortable shirt on those cool evenings. I have since added a couple more to my traveling collection.

Next time you are thinking about an upper peninsula adventure include the Antique Wooden Boat Show. It is well worth the time.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Life’s Challenges, Additions, and Rewards


A few of you know this, but not many. I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2017 after a long overdue PSA test followed by a prostate biopsy. The Doc said it was at a very early stage and that like most men at this stage, I could just continue getting a periodic PSA test and a biopsy once a year. The “wait and watch” approach. Many men will get prostate cancer and eventually die of something else before cancer becomes an issue so waiting and watching seemed to make sense.

By the fall of 2021, my PSA results had been slowly going up and the results of the last biopsy indicated that perhaps a more aggressive approach was warranted. We were ready to depart for the winter and the Doc assured me that waiting another 6 months wouldn’t make any difference. So I made the appropriate appointments for the following spring and we left.

There were two approaches at the time to deal with prostate cancer, surgery to remove the prostate gland or radiation. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I chose a surgical path, it was more definite. The radiation option while usually effective made a follow-up surgical approach if needed much more difficult.

Surgery was scheduled for July 2022 with a two to three month recovery. The surgery was robotic and scheduled for 280 minutes. It didn’t take quite that long. As they were starting the initial sedatives all I wanted was to get it done and wake up. After the surgery I stayed overnight in the hospital and went home the next day.

The recovery process wasn’t too bad. I had five or six incisions from 1 to 2 inches long, it looked like I was in a knife fight and lost. I had a couple of follow-up appointments and all was progressing well. I was scheduled for a PET scan to see if there were any indication that the prostate cancer had spread. A post-surgical pathology report detected a very small amount of prostate cancer in one of eight lymph nodes that were routinely removed with the prostate.

The PET scan showed no other indications of prostate cancer but did show a positive indication of something in a lymph node in my neck. There was no swelling or pain there. The medical oncologist scheduled a biopsy which indicated a type of lymphoma cancer. A bone marrow biopsy confirmed cancer had not spread into my bones. And another lymphoma-specific PET scan confirmed that it was confined to the lymph node where it was found.

So when we were just over a month away from leaving for the winter, we met with the medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist who both recommended a 12-session focused radiation treatment. I scheduled the initial visit and scheduled the 12 sessions of radiation. These went over the Thanksgiving period so it stretched out a bit. We ended up leaving about 10 days later than we anticipated but still got off for the winter.

Radiation Mask

In the initial visit, the technicians make a mask that holds your head in exactly the same place for each of the radiation treatments. You are the mold for the mask so it is rather snug, with not much wiggle room. The radiation machine is sort of like a CAT scan machine. You lie on a bed (plank) that goes up and down and in and out and the radiation machine rotates around you. part of the machine is what emits the radiation and part is like an x-ray machine to do real-time scanning. Radiation is a high-energy form of x-rays. The high-energy beam kills the cancer cells or damages their DNA so they can’t reproduce.

Radiation Treatment Machine (not me in it

Each session lasts about 15 minutes from the time you walk in to walking out. The actual radiation time is about 2 minutes. In what seemed to be a fairly short time the radiation treatments for the lymphoma cancer were completed, follow up exams and blood work confirmed there was no indication of any remaining lymphoma cancer. These tests and exams are repeated every six months for 5 years.

Before we left I had a follow-up PSA test. The results indicated that the prostate cancer was undetectable. The prostate surgeon urgently wanted me to start a hormone treatment before we left. They are very cautious when there is any indication of cancer may have spread outside of the prostate. A six-month dose would work while we were gone and a follow-up after we got back would determine what was next. So I agreed, got the shot and we left.

This was a pretty brutal treatment. I had no idea what to expect but found out quickly that it was like a very severe and intense menopause, often called manopause. Intense hot flashes, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, loss of strength, mood swings, loss of muscle mass and endurance and weight gain. It also really screwed up my diabetes care. My diabetes insulin use doubled. These drugs are in the same group that are used for chemical castration. They stop testosterone production and starve any remaining prostate cancer. There was no backing out once you get the six month dose and no means to ease the effects. It made for a pretty uncomfortable winter.

When we got back and we met with the prostate surgeon I told him I did not want to continue on with the drugs. He said OK and said I had to wait 4 months to get another PSA test to see how I was doing.

My primary care doc started me on Trulicity to help reestablish some diabetes management. This is another story.


And while doing all of this we decided to become dog parents. At this point, we just got on the list to pick from a litter not yet conceived. A Petite English Multi-Generation Goldendoodle. This will be another ongoing story. We are excited to have this prospect to look forward to. Sally and Jax’s puppies are expected to be 25 to 30 pounds as adults, right where we wanted.

The Parents

While waiting we went to Michigan for a month, more on that later. It was a nice diversion

Sallie and Jax’s Puppy Birth Announcement, Early September
Puppies were born in September

When we got back from Michigan my PSA test was again undetectable. Wonderful. The prostate Surgeon was unimpressed. He wanted me to start a 39-session radiation treatment. We were shocked. With no prostate cancer indicated, Why? We got no good answer from the prostate surgeon. I called and we got in to see my medical oncologist the next day and the radiation oncologist the day after. While I was uncomfortable with the prostate surgeon both of these oncologists took the time to help us understand why this was suggested and why it made sense to do it. The radiation oncologist made it pretty clear, this was the best path going forward to minimize the chances of prostate cancer reoccurrence and the best quality of life going forward. We agreed.

The next step was the initial session where they did CAT scans to locate the targets and apply tattoo alignment marks on either side of my pelvis and below the belly button. Rather than a mask which held you in a very fixed position for a tightly focused radiation beam, these treatments used the initial CAT scans and alignment tattoos to get you aligned so that the radiation where it needs to get. This happened the next day. My 39 day schedule was set up at the same time. This was on a Thursday, treatment started the following Monday morning. I met with the radiation oncologist every Thursday.

I had to be very careful to not get sick with Covid or anything else during this process. There is no pause in the treatment process, you just start over. And we had a puppy on the way and a departure date on the calendar.

Puppy Selection Day

In late October, about halfway through radiation treatment, puppy selection day came. Sally and Jax’s brood were six weeks old. We were #4 on the picking list and while we had looked at all of the 5 female puppies online and had a couple in mind, we had no idea who would pick which puppies in the choices ahead of us.

Our time came, we were on zoom with the breeder in Georgia. She told us that they had the first choice, #2 chose a male, and #3 chose a male. And then she surprised us by saying they were going to pass on their selection, they had enough females for breeding at that time. We had three choices. One was higher on the personality evaluation scale and the breeder suggested that she would be a bit harder to train and more independent. Pink Girl was very cute and right where we wanted on the personality scale. Blue Girl was also very attractive, same score on the personality scale, and weighed 1 pound less. The breeder said this would probably mean a 5-pound difference as an adult. We chose Pink Girl. We had already decided to name her Maggie Mae.


We had thought about driving to Georgia to pick up Maggie but we were in the last half of radiation treatment. The breeder connected us to a Flight Nanny who would pick up our puppy and deliver her to us at the Minneapolis/St Paul airport. The cost was about the same as it would have cost for a 6-700 mile side trip and several days in RV parks. So when Maggie was 8 weeks old she flew to Minnesota with Tosha, the flight nanny.

Maggie Arrived with Tosha
The Handoff of the Tiny Package was Made

We stopped at Fort Snelling National Cemetery to introduce Maggie to John and Dorothy, my parents, and to give Maggie a chance to do what she might have needed to do. We are sure my folks would have liked Maggie as much as they did our last dog, Xenia.

Maggie at 9 Weeks

It is hard for us to recall just how tiny Maggie was as we were finishing up radiation treatments and getting ready to depart right after Thanksgiving. She got her first Vet visit and the next set of vaccinations. All was good.

All the while radiation treatment were continuing I had been showing the staff at the clinic pictures of Maggie. She arrived about 10 days before my last treatment. We brought Maggie into the Clinic a couple days before my last treatment to meet the Staff. It was our first hint at just how popular she might be. They were all glad to meet her.

Ringing the Bell

And finally the last radiation session, ringing the bell is a significant event at the end of this process. I was glad to do it and at the same time immensely grateful for the support and guidance I got from Susan and from my oncology team to make this treatment choice, to get it scheduled so that we could leave on time and to have the very good chance of no reoccurrence of this cancer and opportunity for a longer and healthier life. And at the same time to have chosen to add Maggie to our lives.

If your a guy and have not had a PSA test, check with your Doctor and get one done. It is a simple blood test. Then you will know how you are doing. Stay ahead of this, don’t ignore it, a sooner solution is usually going to be simpler.

Life’s Challenges, Additions, and Rewards. Life is not static. All of this was going on while the projects in the last post were going on and we had a really great trip to Michigan. An eventful last year and a half.

More Later, Much Love.

Roger and Susan and Maggie Mae

Summer Projects, 2022

I know, sort of boring, but that’s life.


There seems to always be some projects to do on the coach, mostly driven by something we think that would make our life in the coach better or by some maintenance requirement.

Fluff and Buff

This summer I polished the entire coach. You never have any idea how big it is until you do this. We had the coach washed last December in Fredericksburg. The guy that did it said they could wax it too, I said OK. They used some spray on stuff that looked very good when they were done but within a few weeks it started interacting with what was already there and started looking blotchy. It was more noticeable in the white gel coat areas where it just started looking cloudy, off white, discolored. I tried cleaning it by hand with no success. So when we got home I got out my machine buffer, a micro-fine polish and set out on a mission. Of course it was in the hottest part of the summer and sunny. It was hard to see what I was doing in the sun and almost as hard to see on the shady side. I had a roll-around scaffold that made the job easier.

I got the whole coach done. It looked much better but there are still areas where more attention is needed. I’ll get to them sooner or later.

Steer Tires

It is not very exciting but we got two new tires for the front of the coach. They had about 40,000 miles on them but reached the 6 year point when most sources suggest replacing them for safety reasons. So we did. The rear tires will get replaced next summer. I kept the take off tires, most dealers in Minnesota won’t give you any trade-in for them. My Texas friends say they get something. I brought them home, put an ad on Craig’s List the next morning and sold them for $100 each before 3 in the afternoon. Thanks Craig’s list. The buyer was a Ukrainian fellow from north of the Twin Cities who has semi-trailers in which he hauls sand and gravel. These are better than retreads for him. He asked me to call him next summer when I replace the rear tires. Good for us and for him. We stand with and support the Ukrainian people in their struggle for their country, their homes and families, and their very lives.

Bathroom Fan

I also replaced the bathroom fan. The old three speed fan was original to the coach and was still working. The newer ones are variable speeds, reversible, and have built-in thermostats to control the fan. And they have a remote control. In the evening you can set the fan to a temperature you want, say 65 degrees, and the fan will start exhausting air. The further away from the temperature you set the faster it goes. The fan slows down as the exhaust air gets closer to the temperature you have set. This is a pretty effective way of cooling the coach, especially the bedroom, when the days are warm and the evening and overnights are cooler.

The fan was on sale, cheapest I had seen it, works great.

Cooktop Cover

Our friends Hans and Marjet, from South Carolina, asked me to make a new cover for the cooktop in their coach. The existing one was a fold up metal one, they were thinking a wooden one would be nice. There was quite a bit of back and forth about dimensions and fit. I finally got busy on a new black walnut cover for them.

They report a perfect fit and they can use it as extra counter space when it sits on the top kitchen drawer when it is pulled out.


Our 21 year old house (we can’t hardly believe we have been here that long) was due for some maintenance and upgrades.

Water Softener

When we got home and started all of the normal systems back up we thought the water softener wasn’t really working as well as we thought it should. We called the guy who installed it when we built the house in 2000. He had retired and sold his business but he came over anyway. He was pretty surprised it was still working but not as well as it should. He suggested replacing it, the guy that bought his company could get it done in just a day or two. So we ordered a new water softener with fancy controls. The recharge cycles are based on how much water we actually use not just how many days go by. Much less salt and water use.

The installer showed up the next day and had the old softener out and a new one installed in just over an hour. He also installed an incoming water sediment trap, something we should have

done originally. So we are all set.

Susan asked if, as long as he was here, could he replace all of the filters under the kitchen sink so he did. And, Oh by the way, she asked, we have a new kitchen faucet, could you install that too? Sure, he had it done in a fraction of the time it would have taken me. The kitchen filters and faucet are now done and working fine.

Fresh Air Exchanger

If it isn’t one thing it is something else. The fresh air exchanger that removes air from the house and replaces it with fresh air from outside wouldn’t come on. If the outside air is colder than the inside air it is warmed up as it comes in. If the incoming air is warmer than inside it is cooled. If it is humid some of the moisture is removed.

One thing about living in a smaller town that we like is that we get to know who to call for help when we need it. We called Jeff, he came over to check it out. It wasn’t working, he said. When was the last time you cleaned the filters, he asked. It has filters? I replied. So obviously, in more than 20 years the twice a year cleaning had never been done. And he said it was installed incorrectly in any case. We could fix the old one but for not much more we could replace it with a new one, much more efficient, and all four of the controllers. So it got replaced.

Our job was to figure out how to get wires from a place on the wall in the library down to where the new air exchanger was. We couldn’t just go down through the floor. With in-floor heat there are tubes running through the concrete floor that might get damaged. There was an access hole made through the floor when we built the house but it was now behind the built-in book cases and desk in the library. We managed to snake wire up from down stairs where the internet, phone, and cable tv cables were, back up between the wall and the back of the book cases, across the top of the cabinets and desk, into the wall and down to where the air exchanger control was mounted. It only took most of a day.

The new air exchanger is installed (correctly) and fully functional.

Radon Mitigation

A couple years ago we did a long term radon test over the winter while we were gone. The results were right on the border between OK and Do Something. We decided that it was time to do something. nothing was installed when we built the house, it was probably not required and no provisions were made for a later installation.

We found a qualified radon mitigation installer and he came out and took a look. These are pretty simple to install, a 4” hole gets cut through the concrete basement floor, a space under the floor is opened up, and a PVC pipe gets installed in the hole and out through the roof of the house. Any radon gases are sucked out from under the basement slab and exhausted outside with the help of an in-line fan.

Once again the heated floors presented a problem, where to put a big hole in the floor without hitting any of the tubing in the floor. The installer had a camera system that clearly showed where the warm lines in the floor were which is where the tubing was. It was pretty easy to mark where to make the hole safely. The radon mitigation system was installed, tested and is working properly. A followup radon test showed no more radon gasses. Perfect


Some projects take a long time to finish. The lower level of our house is finished, we did it ourselves. But not quite completed. The wood work on the interiors of the three closets was left to do. Each closet has 21 pieces of trim that has to be carefully cut, fitted and installed. And all of this woodwork (as is all of the woodwork in our house) is custom woodwork we made ourselves, carefully sanded and finished, and then installed. We also added a new door between the store room and the room where the water heater and HVAC equipment is located. And that door needed trim too, just 12 pieces. This part of the downstairs project is almost done now.


In the NE corner between the street and our driveway there are three old majestic oak trees. We have no idea how old they are but the fellow that trims our trees guessed 75 years or more. This entire area was at one time what is called an “Oak Savannah”, a prairie with oak trees spread across it. In the mid 1800s, the City of Nininger was located right where we are now. That city is long gone and the land became farm land and then pasture land. The oak trees returned and survived the farming and grazing. All of this ended in the 1960’s and a forest of smaller trees and undergrowth filled in.

We want to provide a healthier area for these three oak trees by removing any of the new growth trees that interfere with the oaks and all of the undergrowth that used water that could be used by the oaks and then plant an appropriate ground cover for an open woodland setting.

This meant clearing a few thousand square feet of the woods around the oaks, getting rid of all of the cuttings, leveling off the ground and preparing it for a new woodland grass seed mix. We don’t intend to mow this but want a stable grass that will promote a better and healthier area for the oak trees.

There is more to trim and clear, a never ending job in the woods.

A Ramp

As we get older steps get harder to navigate. We had three steps coming down from our deck to the walkway along side of the garage. Moving things on and off the deck was much easier 20 years ago than now. And while trimming some branches I tripped and did a face plant into the steps. The docs said I did not have a concussion but I got pretty black and blue and now have a new wrinkle (dent) in my forehead.

It was not pretty. Bouncing my head on the edge of a step was no fun.

We decided to remove the steps, replace them with a ramp, add a gate, and improve the walkway.

The improved walkway
Leftover pavers from other projects, cut to fit.

Another project done in the name of geezerdom.

Well that is enough. I apologize for the long stretches between posts, you might just guess that we were busy. But there is more, next time.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Fredericksburg, TX, March 2022

Where has time gone? Poof and months go by. A friend mentioned last week that he missed my blog posts and I figured I better get back to it.

We have been to Fredericksburg several times, it is starting to feel very comfortable being there. We have many friends who live there, we know about half of the good places to go eat (that is a never ending learning curve), we know where to get groceries, we know where Walmart is, we know where the hardware store is, almost like home. But there is always something new and new people.

We left a few extra weather days to move from the Phoenix area to Texas after cancelling out stop in Santa Fe which got us into Fredericksburg early so we stayed at the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park Campground in the Lady Bird Johnson Park. There is a golf course there, a big dog park, lots of places to walk and ride bikes, and it is next to the airport which provides endless entertainment.

Runway right in front of us. This particular day there was a grass fire not too far away, lots of white smoke for a while.

Jeff and Sandy and Hans and Marjet, all of whom were in Tucson when we were there stopped in for a while at the Fredericksburg RV Park. It was fun to see them again.

We had lunch with Jeff and Sandy at Alamo Springs Cafe. It started as a cool day but the sun came out and it was nice. Their dog, Greta came along hoping for a morsel.

Hans and Marjet and I went for a hike to the top of the Enchanted Rock, a giant granite boulder about 20 miles from Fredericksburg.

You start by coming down a long set of steps, cross over a dry stream area and then up the rock.

You just go up there aways.

It is a ways and then you get to the rock, no specific trail, just up. Easier to zig zag. Hans and Marjet were on their way.


At the top (about 400 ft higher than where we started) there are views in every direction. And then back down and at the end that long stairway back up to the parking area. We slept well that night.

We had a nice time visiting with Hans and Marjet and Jeff and Sandy again in Fredericksburg. And the dogs. And then they were on their way.

Our friends Mike and Jackie from Nacogdoches, TX, sold their home there and bought a home in Fredericksburg. And they moved all of their stuff and their Motorhome to Fredericksburg while we were there. The coach moved into the RV Park and they stayed there while things were moved into the house and had some work done on the house to get it just right. We visited the new house, perfect for them and much closer to their kids in Austin.

We managed to get to Emma and Ollie’s for breakfast again, went to Warner’s for lunch one day with several friends, visited the Airport Diner, and we went to Camp Verde about 40 miles south for a birthday lunch.

Susan and Norm and Shirl
Dave Cobb and Debbie, Mike and Jackie

Mike surprised me with a gift certificate to a place in town to get a pedicure. I was skeptical. But it was fabulous.

I also started playing Texas Hold’em Poker one or two nights a week with a regular bunch from the park (as many as 14 would start). Curtis is sort of in charge, $10 buy in, the top three at the end get shares of the pot. I never won anything but had a good time, every time.

Susan and I got over to Lady Bird Johnson Park to ride our bikes a couple times a week. We rode 6-8 miles each time. It is pretty hilly so it is a good workout. Our new Terra Trikes are working quite well.

I added a phone mount on one of my handlebars so we get accurate route, distance, and time information and it lets me take videos while we ride.

Time to head for home, sort of.

We had another pleasant spring time in Fredericksburg. We left at the end of March and headed for Houston. We wanted to see Rudy and Caroline in their new, to them, 2001 Foretravel in their new place. And then we went to dinner at the Monument Inn, Rudy’s favorite. Keith and Jo joined us.

Their new coach used to be our friends, Scott and Carol’s. So now it is Rudy and Carolyn’s coach. They have more room to spread out and relax. Rudy is an AquaHot heating system specialist and he finally has a coach with one in it.

Always nice to see Keith and Jo.

Then we headed to Nacogdoches to get our fuel lines replaced. At 22 years old there are a series of preventative and normal maintenance items related to age, just like all of us. This is the last of these that we need to have done.

Motorhomes of Texas did the work, they suggested we stay overnight in a local motel since it usually takes more than one day. So we made reservations. Scott and Carol drove up from Houston and stayed overnight in the same motel.

That night we went to Auntie Pasta’s for dinner and some time together. Dinner there is always good. In the morning we went to Dolli’s Diner for breakfast. Dolli’s is on the main square downtown and is a favorite spot for many.

Good food, good friends. Our coach was done so we were leaving the next morning. We said goodbye to Scott and Carol. One last stop, an afternoon visit with Chappell and Mary Elizabeth Jordan.

We had a nice visit, they are very kind and gracious and a pleasure to visit.

And so, finally, we left for home in the morning. It was an uneventful drive home, three days and we were there. Then the move from one home to the other, a dozen or more doctor, dentist, eye doc, lab, and more appointments saved up until we got home. And coach projects, home projects, easing back into Habitat for Humanity work. A full schedule and a busy summer ahead.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan.

Back to Texas, Late February, 2022

We tried to get more time at McDowell Mountain but it just wasn’t going to work. We heard about a new tool that checks for openings in reservation systems and it works well. It is called Wandering Labs. https://wanderinglabs.com/ Check it out.

We planned to leave McDowell Mountain and drive north to I40 at Flagstaff and drive east to Albuquerque then north to Santa Fe. We had reservations at the Trailer Ranch in Santa Fe. https://www.trailerranch.com/ They weren’t actually open, but they said they had a spot for us, just call when we arrived. We have stayed there before. It has been there since the 1950’s as I recall, back when most RVers had trailers. I am sure it was way out of town then but today is in the middle of town and right at a bus stop. Walkout, get on the bus and watch Santa Fe go by. Soon you are at the Rail Yard and train depot or just a bit further to the downtown bus stop. It is a block to the Plaza or just steps away to a different bus line going anywhere, the Museum Hill for example. It is a pleasant and safe ride. No parking issues in the Plaza area.

Best laid plans, you know. We watch the weather closely and after a colder than normal winter in Arizona, the weather for 10 days was showing significant storms along I40 eastbound, even up to Flagstaff at almost 7,000 ft and all the way to Albuquerque. The weather in Santa Fe looked OK, around freezing at night, 50ish during the day. But getting there looked more challenging than we were expecting.

We called to see if we could get in a week early at Fredericksburg RV Park and were surprised that we could. So we made that reservation and canceled the Santa Fe reservation. We were disappointed. Santa Fe is one of our favorite stops, always a pleasure to be there. The people, the weather, the food, everything, are all nice. We try to get there every couple of years, we are over due. We have been regular visitors since 1980.

We went the safe way back to Texas. South from McDowell Mountain back towards Tucson and then east through Texas Canyon heading for Deming. We stayed in Deming for two nights thinking we could visit one of our favorite local history museums, The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum. https://demingnmtrue.com/deming-luna-mimbres-museum/

This is a museum we have been to several times. It is big and complex. A wide range of historical events, people, ancient indigenous cultures and much more. This is a museum worth a day or more. Unfortunately, the days we chose to stop were days the museum was closed.

So we relaxed, read, cleaned a bit, and went to Si Senór for lunch. It was Sunday and the after-church diners were just finishing up. We enjoyed the families, mostly multi-generation, all dressed up in dresses and sports coats with clean, pressed jeans, and cowboy boots. There was a lot of family pride that day, just another Sunday. It was almost as good as an afternoon at the museum.

One of the interesting things we learned was that many of the young men from Deming and Luna County were soldiers in the 200th and 515 Coast Artillery Regiments. This was like a National Guard unit before World War II. They were activated in 1939 and sent to the Philippines. When the war started Japan soon invaded the Philippines and thousands of American service people and tens of thousands of Philippine people were captured and forced to march to a prisoner of war camp. It was the Bataan Death March. More than half of all prisoners died on the March. Demming and Luna County had a total of 39 men that died during the Bataan March and 53 men that were fortunate enough to be liberated. It was a huge blow to the community to lose so many of their young men. https://bataanmarch.com/about-bataan/

And just last week we heard a story on local TV about the 64 men in the 194th Tank Battalion who left Brainerd with Company A in 1940 also bound for the Philippines. Like the men from Deming, about half died in the Bataan Death March, while the other half returned home to Minnesota. All except one who remains missing to this day. And for that family, there is an on-going search for remains in many of the unmarked graves along the trail of the Death March.

We discover new and meaningful things everywhere we go, and even at home. Stories of people, places and communities. Important to them and us as well.

Next an overnight in Fort Stockton and then on to Fredericksburg.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

McDowell Mountain, near Phoenix, February, 2022

We were at McDowell Mountain Regional Park east of Fountain Hills for only 2 weeks, way too short a time. We have been here 3 times before and wouldn’t hesitate to come back again. We will try.

The reservation system has changed, each reservation can be for up to 14 days, you can have multiple reservations, and you have to change sites after each reservation. This is as it was but it is now you can only make reservations up to 180 days before the date you want to arrive. It used to be any date in the month 180 days before you wanted to arrive. This makes the number of sites becoming available on a specific date much smaller and makes it much more difficult to more than one consecutive two-week reservation. We met several folks who were there for a month or more. They had reservations that sometimes overlapped, some for less than two weeks, and some periods where they had no reservation in the main campground so they made reservations in the dry camping overflow campground. It is a complex game whose outcome is unknown while most alternative locations may have already been filled.

The campground at McDowell Mountain is high up on a sloping area about 500 feet above the Verde and Salt rivers and the valley they share. It is a very open desert landscape with camping sites that are far apart.

It is about 30 miles across the valley to the Superstition Mountains to the south.

To the west the sun sets behind McDowell. Mountain. On the other side of McDowell Mountain Frank Lloyd Wright built his Taliesin West studios in Scottsdale which was then the rugged outskirts of Phoenix. https://franklloydwright.org/site/taliesin-west/

Fountain Hills is off to the west and a bit south about 6 miles away. They are famous for their very large fountain which pumps water high into the sky. We see the top of the fountain at times but cannot see Fountain Hills itself or even its night-time lights from the campground.

In the morning the hills and mountains to the south look like layered cardboard cutouts of different shades of gray. This is a common desert appearance.

As the sun moves towards the west the light changes and color and detail emerge.

And closer to the end of the day colors change again. And with almost nothing else in the way, these views are pretty amazing.

Off to the south east, the late afternoon sun shines on Four Peaks and lights it up.

These are the views in a place that is very comfortable to us. Quiet, restful, beautiful.

This is also a huge park with about 75 miles of off-road bicycle trails to ride on, or walk, or ride on horseback. Lots to explore. If you are moving east or west it is sort of level, north is mostly uphill, south mostly downhill.

A Desert Walk

There are also many paved roads which were more suited to our three-wheeled trikes. We rode several times, short rides at first and then some that went from the campground to the south east corner of the park where there is a tent campground.

These rides were about 8 miles round trip with a total elevation change of just over 800 ft. These were some strenuous rides. We and the trikes did fine.

Bike Riding

I found a phone mount that fits on my trike that helped me take this video while riding. This is on a road with very little traffic. Susan’s trike has electric assist, she zoomed right by me.

And the GPS app on my phone tracks all the details of the ride and saves them.

A Saguaro cactus is about 100 years old when it gets its first arm. I wonder how old this one is? It takes 10 years for a Saguaro to reach 1” in height and 60 to 70 years to reach 6 feet. They can live for over 200 years.

While we were here we had lunch with Jennifer, a friend from Minnesota who moved down to the Phoenix area, and her friend Melanie. We went to an Italian place, Susan likes pasta. The restaurant was halfway between us and them, still an hour away. The Phoenix area is vast.

We also had a nice dinner with Frank and Patti, Susan’s brother and his wife at their home in Rio Verde. They live nearby to McDowell Mountain and are a willing drop-off address for Amazon packages.

And one of the main reasons we went to Arizona this year was to see my cousin Sandy and her husband, Claus. This got very iffy right off the bat after Sandy tested positive for Covid, Clause did not. Even after recovering she continued to test positive for some time. But then she had a negative test so after both Susan and I had also tested negative, we found a place to meet for lunch.

We were very glad it worked out. It was important to me to try to stay connected. They moved to the Phoenix area about 6 years ago. Sandy is from my Mom’s side of the family and many of us have stayed in touch over the years. We miss them at the Senior Cousin’s brunches and picnics.

The restaurant was sort of an old-time diner-themed place with lots of Coke memorabilia. Fifty’s music too.

Two weeks here just flew by. John and Sandy from Minnesota have been campground hosts here for as long as we have been visiting. And another Foretravel couple, Andy and Eilene, were hosts here as well this year. Nice to see them all.

We are on our way back to Fredericksburg, TX for the spring weather and flowers (we hope). We are looking forward to seeing our friends there. We had thought about going to Santa Fe for a week on the way but the weather from Flagstaff to Albuquerque looked stormy with snow. Being in Santa Fe would have been OK but not driving there. So a few phone calls, some reservation adjustments and we just headed to Fredericksburg. We could do it in three days, the plan is for five.

More Later,

Much Love,

Susan and Roger

Lake Pleasant Regional Park, near Phoenix, February 2020

We left Quartzsite in the morning, no specific check-out time when boondocking in the desert. We still had plenty of water, plenty of spare room in the waste tanks, a bit low on diesel fuel and almost a 100% battery charge. Lots of folks were leaving the same day.

We headed back east on I10 (our friends from California would call it “The Ten”) to Tonopah where fuel was the cheapest anywhere in that part of Arizona. We took on about 100 gallons that topped up our 194-gallon fuel tank. I start looking for fuel when we have about 100 gallons left. I like to get where we will be parked for a while with a pretty full tank.

Then a bit north and around the northwest corner of the Phoenix area to Lake Pleasant. We were amazed by the number of immense warehouses being built. And what appeared to be an even much bigger computer chip fab plant going up.

Lake Pleasant is a lake created by dams to hold water coming from the Colorado River through the Central Arizona Project. This is a huge system of aqueducts, underground storage reservoirs, pumps, siphons, dams, and lakes to get water to Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima Counties from Lake Havasu above the Parker Dam on the Colorado River. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Arizona_Project

There are access points where you can drive down to the water. The water level changes up to 60 ft depending on whether they are accumulating water or releasing it.

Our site was on the Desert Tortise loop fairly high above the lake. Water and electric only. The water was quite a ways away, I had to get out my 50 ft hose to reach the connection.

The ramadas (sun covers) in the distance were in a picnic area along that ridge.

There were hot air balloons just to the south.

There are two marinas on the lake, one a county-run marina and the other a private marina.

At the Scorpion Bay marina operated by the county, the only access was by this steep inclined tram. The cars held about 6 people and it was slow. There was a boat launch as well, it was a long steep back down to launch boats, it was 10 lanes wide so at some times it must have been crazy busy.

The other marina, Pleasant Harbor, was the private one. There was a single-lane boat launch, lots of boats, a boat sales office, a water slide, and a floating restaurant where we went for lunch, all accessible by golf cart or walking along the curved floating bridge in the background. There was also an RV park on the hill above the marina level. Pricing close to $90 per night. Yikes!

No inclined tram here, just $10 for parking and a ride down and back on an 8 person golf cart. 5 minutes each way.

Lunch was good, nothing extraordinary but the tab.

There was a big three-chute water slide that was closed for the winter. $10 for one slide. There are other options for a half-hour, hour, half-day, and all day. You had to climb the stairs so I imagine many got worn out before their time was up.

We went to the Visistor’s Center that was on a hill overlooking the dam. There was lots of information about the dam and how it was built. There was an earlier dam that is still there but underwater now. We followed a nature trail past a tortoise enclosure and around to a playground area.

There was an interesting slide that came out of the mouth of a Gila Monster. It had rollers, I had to try it.

Short but fun.

We were only here for a few nights as a filler before we could get into McDowell Mountain Regional Park. It is an interesting park but not one where we would consider for a much longer stay. We are off next to McDowell, we have been there before and it is one of out favorite places in Arizona.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Quartzsite, AZ, January, 2022

We have been hearing about the giant RV show and gathering of hundreds of thousands of RVs at the tiny town of Quartzsite Arizona on I10 just east of the California Border for many years. There are quite a few RV parks there for those spending the winter or for many who come with an off-road vehicle to drive in the open desert in the area. Getting one of the limited spaces to park your RV is limited to those who make reservations a long time in advance. The urban legend says that 750,000 of every type of RV show up and just park anywhere they want in the desert, mostly south of Quartzsite. It is true. RVs are parked for miles south of town. The count might not be RVs but campers (people).

RVs Everywhere
The Big Tent and surrounding Flea Market

The focus of this event is anything to do with RVs. The reality is that most of it is just like a giant flea market. Oh sure, there is a very big tent full of RV parts and accessories. And side tents ready to install almost anything you buy. But there were pots and pans for sale, socks and clothing, and lots more to everyone the barkers could get to stop for a second.

Outside the big tent for a few blocks in every direction, there were small shade canopies and bigger tents selling anything from nuts and bolts to shoes to hats to political trash. Susan bought a pair of Bamboo socks from guy from Minnesota. I bought a bag of red licorice from The Licorice Guy. It was really good, didn’t last long. And an eye bolt with a nut for 50¢. He didn’t have any washers. It is mostly the same sellers every year according to those who have been here before. There are some deals to be had but mostly not much different from what you could buy the stuff online. There was one company there that I knew, had 300 amp hr lithium batteries in an 8D size for $1600 each. $70 for shipping. Maybe that doesn’t mean much to someone not thinking about lithium batteries for their RV but it is a very good price for a quality battery. The problem is, that in Quartzsite the sales tax is 10.5% and the online price is $1699 with free shipping. So it was actually cheaper to buy them online, pay MN tax and ship them home and not have to haul them around.

So the big tent was interesting, the endless flea market junk was interesting, we were all done in under 3 hours. Lots of food vendors but we are nothing but an over-priced ice cream cone. There was a Chinese restaurant that was actually in a building that looked like it was there all the time. I was tempted.

We knew that Chris and Elka Lang and Lynn and Marilyn Sickle from Arkansas were there staying at the Quail Hollow RV Park. We went visiting, had supper with them and others they knew, and sat and visited for a while. I had sent Lynn some parts several years ago and they sent us 5 lbs of pecans from their farm. That is a lot of pecans. This time they gave us a big bag of rice also grown on their farm. Rice is their main crop. We have tried it, it is very good rice.

The Foretravel bunch circles the wagons about 8 miles south of town out in the desert like everyone else. Some spend the entire winter there, some a month or more, most a few days to a couple of weeks. This year there were over 40 Foretravels there at different times. We arrived at the end of the show and there were still about 25 Foretravels there.

Foretravels at Quartzsite

We were on the left in this photo taken by someone with a drone. I knew almost everyone there from the Foretravel Forum and met everyone that I did not. That does not mean I remember all their names.

Our friends from California, Richard and Betty, were in the middle of the circle and Chuck and Lynda were further down on the left. Hans and Marjet were there a couple down from us on the left and on the right Jeff and Sandy were at the end. Next to them were Tom and Marion who we met in South Dakota a few years ago. Chuck brought several boxes of grapefruit, a variety of oranges, and a few boxes of tangelos. Fresh fruit was great, Thanks, Chuck.

Hans and Marjet’s friends from LA arrived and parked near them. On most evenings there were as many as three propane gas fire pits going with people gathered around at our end of the Foretravels and a big wood burning fire at the other. The next day it was easy to figure who went where.

It was chilly, no one stayed out too late.

One day was Han’s Birthday. We made a carrot cake for all to share and in honor of Han’s entering into a senior level (mid-70s) of geezerdom we presented him with what all older folks need, a crumb-catching bib.

Marjet Feeds Hans His Birthday Cake

He liked it! He was a good sport. They are pretty nice, truth be told, Susan and I have them too. I used to have a “food shirt”, a t-shirt stained with the memories of meals gone by. This is easier when a messy meal is at hand.

So we went to Quartzsite, saw a bunch of folks we knew, made some new friends, and saw the big tent and the flea market. It was windy and dusty, cold at night, not particularly warm during the day. As far as Bucket List things it got a big ✔️ mark. It is quite likely we will not go again. But as always it was wonderful to see friends from all over.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan

Justin’s Diamond J, Tucson, AZ, January 2022.

We arrived on January 1, 2022. Diamond J’s is a place we have been to three times before. When we made our reservations for Arizona, it was primarily to have a chance to see my cousin Sandy and her husband, Claus. Diamond J’s is a popular winter hang out for many Foretravelers. When we made reservations I knew of one couple, Jerry and Nona, who would be there when we were going to be there.

And then Jeff and Sandy from North Carolina and Hans and Marjet from South Carolina signed up. And we heard that Leslie and Rick from Washington were there but would be away when we got there.

And then my Sister and Brother in Law told us that they had made reservations at Diamond J’s which would overlap with ours. They are pretty new to the RV world, they bought a 2014 24 ft Leisure Travel Van with a small slide and a Murphy Bed a year ago. And when we arrived we were surprised to see Kent and Peggy from Oklahoma there in their Foretravel.

While we were there at least 8 Foretravels were at this park and 1 in the park next door.

Our site at Justin’s Dianmond J

Our neighbor to the passenger’s side of the coach was an interesting fellow. He and his wife were from Michigan and were towing a nice trailer with a pickup truck. Just a day or so after we got there he had traded his truck in on a much newer F150. No rust. A couple of years ago he was on the last chance list for a heart transplant. His had gotten so bad that he was on a mechanical heart pump powered by an external battery pack. And he had been using this artificial heart for a year and a half. And then they got the call, a heart was ready. He told me they had sort of gotten used to the artificial heart and the thought of the transplant surgery scared them a bit. But it was what they were waiting for. And now here they are enjoying a new chance at a longer life. It was an amazing story from some nice folks.

Our site was just a couple of sites away from Jeff and Sandy who were next to Hans and Marjet. We mostly hung out with this crew, not too far to walk. But we did walk, almost every day around the entire park, sometimes twice, and a tour of the neighboring park as well. On several days we rode our bikes around the park too. It was pretty easy to get in several miles.

We walked several times with Marjet and their two golden doodles, Jazzy and Storm and Sandy and Jeff and their golden retriever, Greta. Greta is getting along in dog years and gets lots of special attention.

Buddy and Greta.

I don’t have a picture of them walking with Greta but here are Greta and her son, Buddy, when they visited us in Hastings. Buddy passed away a while back so it is up to Greta to carry on.

Storm ready for a nap.

Storm is a bit bigger than Jazzy and is her son. He likes to nap.

Jazzy looking for a lap.

Jazzy is smaller and always looking for a lap. If it looks like a lap she hops right up. She is almost 30 pounds and has the lap sitting and just sort of collapsing into you thing down pat.

Storm, Jazzy, and Marjet

Almost every night there was a firepit going somewhere. In the firelight, Marjet got both Storm and Jazzy to climb aboard.

Sunsets at Diamond J’s can be pretty spectacular when the clouds are right.

As well as the full moon rising over the mountains to the east.

Susan, Judy, and Bruce

Judy and Bruce (sister and brother in law) came for dinner one evening. We brought walleye from home just for this dinner to share.

One afternoon Susan and I mixed up meatloaf and baked it on the grill. It works well doing it that way. We have done corn bread and pizzas too. Judy and Bruce came over to share the meatloaf dinner shortly after they arrived. And before we left we had a frozen lasagne that they bought somewhere. We went over to their Leisure Travel Van for dinner one day. We all fit in but it was tight quarters.

We also went with Judy and Bruce to a restaurant on the far side of Tucson, maybe 45 minutes away for a birthday dinner, mine. The dinner was very good. A person came to our table and made salsa from scratch. It had lots of flavor. Then she made us a batch of guacamole. Avocados, tomatoes, a bit of garlic, and juice from a lime. It had a very bright taste. Judy and I had a great green chili stew, Bruce had a boiling pot of molé and seafood. Susan had a chicken quesadilla. We all left full and with a takeaway box.

While we were at Diamond J’s, I helped Hans hook up a new DirecTV satellite dish that they bought while in Tucson. It didn’t work at first, I had a long coax cable that we used to connect directly from the dish to the TV. That worked. So then the issue had to be in their coach’s inside coax wiring. Hans checked it all out and figured it was one of the cable ends. He replaced it and then the new dish connected through his wiring worked.

Bruce and Judy had the same problem. We tried connecting their roof top dish to their box and then to the TV. The box to TV connection worked but not the dish to the box. I tried connecting the dish to the box directly with my long coax cable, it still didn’t work. There wasn’t anything else to try so I gave up after several hours of trying.

Their small, pedestal-mounted table was pretty wobbly. I added 4 more pop rivets to secure the plastic pedestal end to the aluminum post. It was much more secure than it was with just 2 rivets. I also added one wrap of clear packing tape around the top of the pedestal tube to make it fit tighter into the plastic part on the bottom of the table. When the changes were all done the table was much more stable.

The last time we were at Diamond J’s, Susan and I went to the Titan Missile Museum. None of the others we hung out with had been there so we made arrangements for 6 of us to go again. Susan and Judy went to the Sonoran Desert Museum and Marjet and Sandy were planning a shopping expedition. You can look back to our blogs from March of 2019 https://home2rv.com/2019/03/ for more on our first visit.

Hans at the ready.

The tour of the missile site included a stop in the launch control room. Hans (blue shirt) volunteered to be part of the launch crew. Hand on the key, 3, 2, 1, and turn. After 58 seconds of lights coming on, systems getting checked, and alarms going off, the missile was launched.

Lots of 1960s electronics.

But not really, just a simulation. It was an interesting visit, something most never see nor knew about back in the 1960s until the missiles were retired as part of an arms reduction treaty with Russia. There were 54 of these single missile silos. Each missile carried a 9 megaton nuclear warhead. How big is that? Much more than all of the bombs dropped during World War II by all sides.

After the museum tour, we drove to Tubac, about 20 miles further south. It was a small town with lots of local artists that is quickly expanding to be a tourist destination with much more than local artists. I explored a nice kitchen and food store, bought a package of molé spices and a jar of spicy chili bacon jam. Then we all met at a small deli for lunch and a bunch of Foretravel talk.

One afternoon we taught Han and Marjet how to play Quiddler, we played at a table in a screen room tent they had set up. They were quick learners and good competition.

Marjet and Hans
Roger, Hans, Susan, Jeff, Marjet, Sandy

On another evening we had dinner in the screen room with Hans and Marjet and Jeff and Sandy. It was fun. We liked the screen room so we ordered one. The directions say it takes 45 seconds to set up. Not the first time, it seemed complicated. But the next time it was much easier. It will still take some practice to get to 45 seconds

The Fishhook cactus and the prickly pear cactus were starting to bloom. Bright yellow flowers for both.

Prickly Pear
You can see the fish hook spines.

Three weeks went by quickly, it was time to head to Quartzite, 4 hours further to the west, almost to California.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan