"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Retirement sure isn't for Sissies! More Problems.

Wikieup, Arizona
Signal Road, BLM

Ahh, back to Arizona, finally after being sidelined in Las Vegas for 3 weeks due to an unexpected eye surgery for Steve (see last blog).
Leaving Nevada behind and looking forward to catching up on our trip.  Luckily we only had to cut out a few stops and we'll arrive in Surprise on time for our visit with Bunny (Steve's step-mom).
A new to us boondocking spot we've passed by many times but never stopped at was our first overnighter in Arizona.  Signal Road is about 10 miles south of Wikieup on Rt. 93 on BLM land.  It's a nice dirt road maybe a 1/4 mile that opens up to an area that would fit several rigs.  Decent privacy and cactus/bushes.  I heard NOT to go past this area through the gate without a high clearance vehicle and probably no trailer. Plenty of donkeys around too. 

Plenty of nice views out here.  Quiet and great Verizon.  I'd definitely come back to check out the area more as there are a couple of ghost towns out here.  Perfect if you have a razor or other ORV.

Morristown, Arizona
1899 Historic Hotel Campground
We normally stay in the same park as Bunny in Happy Trails, but the area has gotten more and more popular and expensive.  $750 for ONE week!  I could not find any room at White Tanks Regional Park (no surprise) but found the 1899 Historic Hotel that just opened recently.  We've driven past it many times before it was moved and turned into a campground.  $30 a night is a steal considering much further down the road in Wickenburg you can't find much under $80.
The place is meticulously clean and manicured.  Long sites with water but no electric.  There is a dump, bathrooms and shower.  Also an outside "cowboy shower" if you want to scrub-a-dub-dub under the stars.  It was a 30 minute drive to/from Bunny's each day.  Not convenient, but sometimes that's how it goes.
As par for the course this year, winter just didn't want to let go.  Temps have been in the 60s tops, and it rained 1/2 the time.  Plenty of wind too.

We spent our first couple of days getting some things done around her place and visiting with some friends.  We adore Kathy and Smitty.  He is such a fun guy!  And a sporty dresser too.
While we have been apart from Rick and Angie for almost a month, we did stop by to wish her Happy Birthday one day.   They have continued on from Las Vegas and were camped at Lake Pleasant.  We've enjoyed camping there before.  Nice place.
You can self tour the hotel upstairs.  They have done a great job restoring it but keeping it origianl as possible.

The Bar/Saloon where they host Murder Mystery Dinners, wine/spirit tastings, etc.  You can also rent it out for private parties or events.
The female group, Sisters on the Fly, were here in their vintage trailers having a good time.  They had carriage rides and a big BBQ cookout.  We were gone most of the days but did watch them here and there.
Steve cooked up a great Cornbeef and Cabbage dinner for St. Patricks Day.  It was delicious.
There were some pretty skies.  And since we had so much downtime, we watched many.  Steve only had a short time back to normal after his last eye surgery when things went bad.  Again.  We had to take him for an after-hours appointment when he noticed things going wrong with his vision.  Turned out his retina detached AGAIN.  We had to drive 2 hours each way for the surgery and the next few appointments.  To say he was very disappointed doesn't even come close.  There was nothing wrong with the last surgery it actually detached in a different spot where some fluid had accumulated.  Rare, but it happens.  Poor Steve.  So here we sit.  This surgery was a little more aggressive and his eye has had so much trauma that the recovery time could be up to 8 weeks.  We'll only know his progress week by week.  This also means 3 more weeks on his side as it begins to heal.  We also can't go home since he can't go over 1000' in elevation.  I feel so bad for him.  The doctors say it's a combo of getting older and bad luck.  His retirement sure isn't starting off too easily.

Once he could be upright, we were contacted by some RV friends that we hadn't seen in about 5 years.
Burt and Kat met us at State 48 Brewery in Surprise for lunch.  They were here to visit family and  remembered we are usually here in March. It was wonderful to see them again.  Thanks for reaching out!
Here are a couple of pictures of the Cowboy Shower.  Steve said it was nice.

It was very nice of the campground hosts to extend our stay due to Steve's surgery.  We were here for 16 days.  On our last day our friends from Placerville were driving past on their way to visit family in Texas.  Lucky us that they were camping a few days at Lake Pleasant so we met up for breakfast.  Yay!
Steve is only in 3 weeks but we were able to keep our reservation at Lost Dutchman State Park where we'd be catching back up with Rick & Angie.  My brother and sister-in-law will be arriving soon as well as Placerville friends Mike & Rose and Ron & Kathleen from Hawaii.  Both would be renting RVs.

We had a couple of days before the gang arrived so we drove down to Tucson to visit with Ruth & Dale to see their new home.  It's a really nice place and Dale grilled up some great burgers.  We enjoyed our visit as we weren't able to meet up the last few times.  

Dale had done a great job with the backyard cactus landscape.  I really loved some of the very different types he had.
Once again, we were grateful for the visits with friends as we wait for Steve to heal and get released.
We did have some fun time catching up with our kids.  Shane flew into Phoenix for an event and stopped by to visit and say Hi.  It was great to see him!
Our grandson, Jaxon, turned 4.
Our daughter Kaylee spent some time with hin too.
Alex and Brennan.

Brennan is our mischievous one.  For years he has hidden these five porcelain ducks my Mom has.  They sit on the TV stand with some of my Dad's old wooden decoys.  Funny thing is no one ever sees him do this, but he hides them in various places around the house for my Mom to stumble upon.  Apparently, he bought a bag of about 200, one inch duckies and hid them all over the place on their last visit.  At first when she found a couple she thought maybe they were Jaxon's.  Then they'd pop up in a cabinet, in a blanket, on her car seat and she knew it was Brennan!  She was finding them for weeks!
Silly boy.

As of this writing, we have a couple of more days in Lost Dutchman, then we'll camp for a few days with my brother while Rick & Angie head back to CA to get ready for our Alaska Trip!  Unfortunately, since we may still be here as late as mid April, we had to cancel our first 3 weeks of our trip while we head up to Alaska.  We had plans to spend a couple of weeks on Victoria Island camping with RV friends Steve and Dianne Colibaba.  Hopefully we can catch them on our way down.  We have to wait for Steve's next appointment on the 9th to see how his eye is healing.  If he gets the green light, we'll boogie back home as we have quite a bit to do before Alaska.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Sidetracked in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada
Elks Lodge 

A couple years ago Steve had a detached retina.  The last couple of days he has been experiencing some of the same symptoms, so we found a retina specialist in Las Vegas to get his eye checked out.  At this time we were camped at Boulder Beach BLM Campground on Lake Mead.
It was $20 with a senior pass.  No electric, scattered water spigots and a dump station. 
We had site # E43 and Rick and Angie were across from us.
Most of the sites are not too deep and it's a pretty busy park.  It's quite pretty.
We enjoyed a fire and a nice evening. 
Since Steve's doctor appointment wasn't until the afternoon, we all went for an early morning paddle.
We put in just around the campground and were able to drive to the marina.  Large boats are to the right and kayaks/canoes to the left where we could drive right to the waters edge.
Rick and Angie.
We've seen these tires that were tied together by cables to act as a wind break.
It was clear and warm out.  We could see the layers of mountains in the distance.

The water was crystal clear and calm.
The small coves were full of pink and orange rock which looked so pretty with the blue green water.
We even came across a sunken boat in one of the coves.  Kind of creepy looking.


Carp swam in and out of the weeds around the boat.  

We really had a great time on the water after our cold, snowy time at Cathedral Gorge.  After our paddle we drove to Steve's doctor appointment and the news was what we expected.  He had an attached retina in his other eye.  Ugg! This meant we needed to make some quick decisions.  Either we find another place to stay in Las Vegas, have the surgery here and spend his 4 week recovery here or make a quick drive to Arizona and have the surgery and recovery there.  Problem is it is high season in Arizona and it would be almost impossible to find a place to spend 4 weeks so we chose to stay here at an Elks Lodge and cancel our next 5 stops.
Surgery was scheduled for the next day so we went back to camp, packed up and moved right over to the Elks Lodge.  It was dark by time we got there.
The Northern Las Vegas Elks Lodge isn't in the best area and it is very noisy.  There were screaming jets from Nellis Air Base right there, traffic and noise from the very busy flea market (complete with blaring Mariachi music) and college across the street with constantly beeping gate.  Home for four weeks?  We'll deal with it.  As always, we're grateful for a safe place to stay at the Elks.  W/E/Dump for $25. Plenty of services around us that are low enough in elevation for us to go to.
Rick and Angie also cancelled their stay at our next place and stayed with us a few days in case we needed help with anything.  It's so nice to have great friends when times like this pop up.  We went to breakfast at Chicken & Waffles which was delicious.  The potions are huge.
The waitress' arm is in the way but you can still see the size of their Mimosa For Two!
Thanks for the friendship and we'll see ya next month!

The first week he had to lay on his side so we were in "Trailer Jail". There aren't many places we can go to that are under the needed elevation once he could get up and move around. Unfortunately, most of the strip is out but we had a few fun places to visit.  One was a nice farmers market.

Next we visited the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary.  It's nothing fancy but kind of fun to see some varied animals and plenty of birds they rescue.  $8 to get in.

There were a few turkeys and peacocks.
The Ostrich was not a friendly fellow.  But he cracked me up.  He kept eyeballing us.

We raised Emus on our ranch and loved these guys!  They only weight 90 lbs verses 290!

There were the usual mini goats and donkeys, lamas, potbellied pigs and tortoises.

Another day we drove to Kounts Customs.  Steve has watched the show before so it was a fun little stop.  No charge to get in.
It's a small place with not too many cars but it was still fun to see.

My Dad had a couple of Bel Airs and would've loved this car!

We decided to see what that Flea Market across the street was all about.  $3 entry fee. We figured we'd find some great Mexican food here, which we did!  We walked around looking at the wares but most were the same.  We bought some dried spicy mango which we put in salads, oatmeal and our cocktails.  The music was deafening!

Another day, after a grocery stop we popped into a Pinkbox to grab a few donuts.  They had some really good ones.  I had to have the bacon and Steve had some Lemon and chocolate.
I also had to get a new computer as mine was dying quickly.  Now I just need to get used to it.  Our first 3 weeks were pretty boring.  Walks around our "compound" and short excursions and errands.
Towards the last few days Steve was doing well enough that he could go up a bit more in elevation.  So we thought we'd take a drive to check out where the Van Gogh exhibit is and stop by to take a walk around the Sphere.

We parked by a nearby McDonalds and walked.  While I'm sure it would've been fun to go INSIDE the Sphere, it would've been $300 each.  Crazy.  It really was nice just to walk to it and watch it from across the street by a park.  It is quite impressive up close. It is 366 feet tall and 516 feet across.

A really cool video of the Sphere outside.

We learned that the area is not very Hoss Friendly (what we call our dually truck).  It was very cumbersome to drive the big dually through the strip when we aren't familiar with it.  No parking could be found either.  We decided it would be better to just Uber to/from the Van Gogh exhibit. 
It was $30 each to see.  While it wasn't quite the walk through experience I had seen at other locations, it was still nice.  It reminded me of my art classes back in school.
There were a few benches to sit on while the artwork appeared on the walls and sometimes the floor.  It was really neat to watch his art come alive and change.

Afterward we walked a little of the strip then went to get something to eat.  We have been to Las Vegas a few times before so there wasn't really anything we wanted to see.  Las Vegas isn't my thing anyway.  We hoped for a buffet but they all seemed to be more of a breakfast/lunch thing.  We couldn't find one close to us for dinner so we stopped at Gordon Ramsay.
I had a Truffle Burger and Steve had a jalapeno burger.  We chose sweet potato fries and truffle fries.  Great food.  Pricey burgers at $30+ but very tasty!

Steve was doing well enough for us to leave after three weeks.  
So long Las Vegas, Hello Arizona!