Monday, September 25, 2017

Last month down south for end of winter of 2016-2017

Well, we were still in Bullhead despite hating the winds.  Our RV resort was beautiful.  However, just never nice enough for very long to really enjoy it.  Anyway, Kirk and I really do try and make the best of everything.  We made some fun friends at our park which I'll talk more about later.  We finally took a hike along Christmas Tree Pass, and enjoyed the short trail, and petroglyphs.   During our time in Bullhead (3/17), Kirk was having issues possibly related to his esophagus, so we felt it was time to get back in and see the Dr he had seen last year.  He completed an EGD with amazing results.  The esophageal varicies he was diagnosed with last year were now gone, and his enlarged liver was now back to normal.  What a blessing!  Kirk was diagnosed with a small ulcer though.  But, this was manageable.
Petroglyphs along hike near Christmas Tree Pass
More petroglyphs
They have a lot of petroglyphs....but we never tired of them.
Yes, he does hike....near some petroglyphs

On 3/22 we took a short road trip to Lake Havasu after I got off work to meet former co-workers for supper at College Street.  Renee, a PT traveler from Bullhead went with us.  It was so fun to visit with Brian, Erin, Linda and her husband (embarrassed I forgot his name).  Can't wait to see this bunch again.
Clockwise from left: Kirk, forgot his name, Linda his wife, Erin, Renee, me, and Brian

On 3/23 Kirk had his follow up appointment.  Dr wanted him to have an MRI of his upper esophagus as during the EGD he saw some "crowding".  Well, he never had it done, and I really can't recall why.  It could be that insurance never approved it in time, as we would be leaving to head north soon.

Kirk and I golfed with his weekly golfing buddy, Mack on 3/25 at Los Lagos in Mohave Valley next to Bullhead City.  Mack, also a full time RV'er from Nashville was staying at our park.  We had a blast.
Kirk and Mack....trouble!
Beautiful flowers and view at Los Lagos.

On 3/30 we had even more terrible winds.  This one was worse than the others.  We pulled in the slides on the RV to save the toppers from ripping.  The 60-70 mph winds did knock over the Traeger, and ruined the Snicker's bars I was making.    We decided we needed to get away from the winds for at least the weekend.  I called Angela in Mesa and set up a visit for that weekend ( 3/31 - 4/2).  Angela hooked us up with Wayne's man cave.  Wayne is a very good friend of hers from Minnesota.  He has a home on the same golf course as Angela and winters there.  We had heard a lot about Wayne, however, had never met him.  He was very generous to let us stay in his "man cave " in Gold Canyon.  It was awesome.  We had a beautiful view of the Superstition Mountains from the patio and kitchen table while we had our morning coffee.   We had so much fun that weekend, going out to eat breakfast at Fat Willey's, golfing, dinner at Angry Crab, and just hanging out with them.
View of Superstition Mountains from Wayne's man cave in Gold Canyon
Sunrise at the Man cave
Love the desert
Sitting on the back patio.  When building the patio, he did not want to take the cactus out, so had the hole placed in the roof for the cactus to go through. 
Morning coffee view of the Superstitions

After returning from our weekend in Mesa, it was back to work the next day.  Well, the winds must have missed us.  I was running an errand after work 4/3, and came out of the store to what I thought felt and looked like hurricane winds in AZ.  Shopping cart stalls were spinning around the parking lot, and I could barely keep my eyes open to get to the truck.  Once in the truck I called Kirk.  He had me stay where I was, as it was even worse on the hill where our RV resort is.  I finally made it home only to find that the winds had reached up to 90 mph, even knocking over Kirk's motorcycle, and the Traeger again.    So, now you can all see why we are so exasperated with the wind.  The wind won, we were worn out!

On 4/14 we went out with our park friends Mary and Bill,  Jane and Ken (both couples from Minnesota) to the Aquarius Casino in Laughlin, NV.  We also met with several other couples  (family and friends of Jane and Ken).  It was seafood buffet night which was great and also included alcoholic drinks.  After dinner, we enjoyed dancing and listening to the band at the casino.   The next day Kirk took me golfing at Los Lagos (just us this time), and I allowed him to give me a few pointers.  These pointers actually improved my game immediately.  Why have I been so stubborn all these years.  Now to improve my short game!
So much fun with this bunch.  Best seafood buffet in Laughlin.

My last day of work in BHC was 4/21  Although I wasn't crazy about the city, i did enjoy my work there.  The day before, Martha, rehab tech make chicken and mole and brought it to work, Kayla brought delicious carrot cake, Mike brought his wife's yummy stuffed baby bell peppers.  I thoroughly enjoyed this crew.  That evening, Kirk and I spent our last night in BHC at the seafood buffet at the Aquarius again with Mary and Bill, and Jane and Ken.  We certainly will run into them again when we are up north.
Ken, Bill, and Kirk.....triple trouble.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Family 2/2017 to 3/2017

On 2/25 we took a 4 day weekend to meet Ben, Nicki, and the grandkids in Carlsbad, CA.   Ben was attending an Ocean Spray conference.  All the Marsh family was there ( Brian, Neva, Dani and her 2 girls), as they were going to take a few extra days after the conference to enjoy the San Diego area.  On the drive to Carlsbad, Kirk and I stopped for breakfast at the Ludlow Cafe in Ludlow, CA just off I40 on Route 66. This was a neat little " hole in the wall" place with good food.  We would definitely eat there again.
Fun, and interesting place to eat
On our trip to Carlsbad near San Bernardino 
Visiting the beach while waiting to meet up with the kids
Watching the sailboats

We made a reservation at an AirBnB.  This was Kirk's first experience ( and maybe his last).  It was a disappointment to say the least.  We had a room in an apartment occupied by the renters.  The bed was comfortable.  There was little communication from them.  They never mentioned parking, which was street parking.   However, we came back one rainy night only to find the nearest parking about a quarter of a mile away.  This may have been useful information when we were deciding where to stay.  

Ben and Nicki were staying in Carlsbad at the Aviara resort where the conference was being held.  We were excited to see them.  I was able to give Bella and Isaac the hats I had crocheted for them.  They loved the Troll movie, so I was able to find a pattern.  I thought they turned out pretty good. 

Taken after the kids returned home.  Kinda windy this day. 

The next day, 2/26 we picked the kids up at the San Diego zoo.  We decided to take the trolley ride.  We rode over to Coronado Island, which was very cool for this time of year.  The kids had a fun time on the beach, and walking around town.  After returning, we ate dinner at Cafe Coyotes in old town San Diego.  
The famous Coronado Hotel
Going over the bridge from Coronado Island
And the tide comes rolling in. 
Love this pic   Ben, Isaac, Bella, Nicki. 
Never too cold for some ice cream. Papa Kirk was ready to relax 

The next day continued to be rainy.  However, we made the most of it and took a trip to the Museum of Natural History with the kids.  The Dinosaur display was there, and would be for several months, so the kids were especially excited about this.   After returning to their hotel, everyone rested up.  Later, Ocean Spray put on an indoor Food Truck dinner.  This was supposed to be outside at the resort, but the weather was not cooperating.  It was an excellent dinner, lots of fun, and I even got a free Ocean Spray Mule mug.
The Dinosaur exhibit in San Diego. 
What the heck is in there?!

Kirk and I left Carlsbad 2/28 and headed straight to the Vegas airport to pick up his sister, Bev.  On our way there, we stopped at the Outpost in Oak Hills, CA to eat breakfast, just off I-15.  It was a quaint little place next to the Pilot truck stop with good food.

After our little search for Bev at the airport (we were in the wrong terminal), we finally headed back toward Bullhead City.  Bev was staying at the Edgewater Casino/hotel in Laughlin, NV right across the river from us.  During her visit we were able to take her to Oatman,  Topoc, our place (Kirk made wings and poppers on the Traeger) for margaritas, to Havasu to see the London Bridge, and of course to the Desert Bar in Parker.  I think she had a good time, even though the weather wasn't quite as warm as she would have liked.  We sure enjoyed having her visit us!
Siblings enjoying Oatman.  Bev got her skull flag 😀
Relaxing and enjoying the view from our site in Bullhead City. 
Beautiful day to visit The London bridge in Havasu 
Bev found a friend in Oatman
I think Bev enjoyed The Desert Bar
Finally got Bev to church at the Desert Bar 

What cute butts at Topac

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bullhead City, Arizona 1/2017 to 2/2017

On January 12 we arrived from our weekend in Vegas to our new home for the next 13 weeks.  My new assignment was with Synertx Rehab.  I worked with them last year at a facility in Lake Havasu.  This job was between two facilities, The Legacy and The River Gardens. They were on the same road about a mile from each other.  We were staying at Vista Del Sol RV Resort on Bullhead Parkway which was a nice drive of only 10 minutes from work.  This is a very nice, gated resort with all the amenities, casita type homes in the front,  and RV's in the back of the resort.  Our view was gorgeous!   Only problem, was the wind, and we were high on a hilltop.  More of that later.
Our first site at the resort utilizing  Kirk's panoramic talent. 
Our 2nd site. Nice pull in with awesome view where we stayed until time to head north. 

On January 16th, we met our Wisconsin friends for dinner at The Riverside Casino in Laughlin.  Dennis and Diane are the owners of Chapparal Campground in Wonewoc, WI.  They were on vacation visiting friends Scotty and Sue, in Vegas.  Scotty and Sue have been campground hosts at the Chapparal.  They were spending a night in Laughlin which happens to be across the river from us about 15 minutes.  Except for my nasty sinuses, we had a great dinner and visit with our dear friends.  
Good times with good friends. Me, Diane, Sue, Kirk, Scotty, and Dennis. 

On January 19th, Kirk took the RV to Lake Havasu to have the topper on one of the slideouts tightened.  We had new toppers put on last year when we were in Havasu.  They apparently "forgot" to tighten it, causing it to flap in the constant gusty winds here in Bullhead.  Well, we later found out that they still didn't correct the problem.  So we'll have someone else take a look at it after we leave here. 
Another beautiful view from our site.  Mostly seen from the inside of the RV due to the high winds. 

Kirk's birthday was on a Monday this year.  So, I had to work, and he did what he loves....played a game of golf.  That evening we ate the buffet at The Avi casino. It's pretty good with way too much food. Doesn't hurt that we get a discount cause we have a players card.  I love that I get to spend Kirk's birthdays with him. Love that guy. He's my BFF!   We returned home and turned in early as we both were at the tail end of being sick.  
One of the perks here in Arizona, the most beautiful sunsets!

Well, lets talk about the wind.  Some of the comments from locals "The wind only blows 2 times a year.  Six months out of the north, and six months out of the south."   Now, mind you, Bullhead City has beautiful views, and we had one of the best views atop the hill at Vista Del Sol on Bullhead Parkway.  However, and that's a big HOWEVER, the wind was our nemesis.  Holy Moly, just how much, and how long can that wind blow!!!   To the locals defense, they did say that this has been one of the worst winters for cold, rain, and wind that they have ever had.  That being said, it was very frustrating for us to not be able to sit outside and enjoy the view, go for walks, and do outside "things" without getting blown away.  We most definitely took advantage of the few nice days that we did have.  Many times we had to bring in the slides on the RV to keep the toppers from ripping off.  One night, we even went over to the Edgewater Casino and got a room,  just so we could get some sleep.   More later on this wind thing!

At the end of January, Kirk and I decided to try the gluten free way of eating.  Kirk has had many moderate issues with his health lately.  One night I was researching "stuff" and came across a long list of symptoms of which Kirk had about 15 of the 20.  These were all related to Gluten intolerance.  Generally, Kirk will argue with me about trying new "health" things.  However, this time he was more than willing to try it.  Within days his symptoms were starting to alleviate.  He loves how he feels with the gluten free, but, he sure does miss his bread, and flour tortillas.  I also decided to go gluten free with Kirk as it makes meal planning a whole lot easier, and have found that it actually has helped me with feeling better also.  Apparently, gluten can do some nasty stuff to one's body.  Okay, with all that being said, when we are on the road, we do tend to "cheat" sometimes.  But, we are trying to improve on this.

On January 31, we FINALLY had a beautiful day!  We could actually sit outside.  It's the little things!
That weekend, 2/4 our RV park hosted a car show.  This turned out to be a pretty big deal, with lots of people attending.  The local Lions Club was selling raffle tickets, which we bought.  I always try to support the Lions Club as they provided me with glasses when I was growing up.  Our family was pretty poor, and could not afford the glasses, and the Lions Club stepped right up.  A wonderful organization.  I won 3 prizes with the raffle drawings, YAY me!  Movie tickets, a tank top, and some kind of metal sign.  I love winning stuff!
This was actually a pretty nice car show at our resort on a rare nice weather day  

On 2/5, we took a drive up to Christmas Tree Pass, just outside of Laughlin, on the way to Vegas.  It's a 15 mile dirt road which includes Grapevine Canyon, and Spirit Mountain.  We took the short hike and saw the petroglyphs.  You don't have to be a great hiker for this.  It's short, and very family friendly.  Towards the end of the drive through Christmas Tree pass, you will see how it got its name.
The start of the Christmas Tree Pass. 
Some FYI on our short hike at Grapevine Canyon driving through Christmas Tree Pass. 
Some of the amazing Petroglyphs on our hike
Thus the name of the Pass!

I'm embarrassed to even admit this, but here goes.  Because of the crazy windy days, Kirk and I decided to go to the workout room at our park to get some kind of exercise.  I was on the treadmill, and to make a long story short, wasn't paying attention, and "flipped" off to the side.  OUCH!  Other than a few bruises, and abrasions, and my pride depleted, I was fine.  Thank God, Kirk was there to rescue me.  Never went back there again.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Surprise Arizona 2016 to 2017

My job at Sunhealth Grandview Terrace started 10/10/16 in Sun City West, AZ.  This place was only 10 minutes from where we were staying in Surprise.  SRS was the company I was working with.  They had just obtained the therapy contract and had hired all traveling therapist until being able to hire full time employees.  So, we all knew that our time there may not last the full 13 weeks.  However, I was the only one of the travelers that had guaranteed hours on my contract.  I sorta blame their recruiters for that mistake.  Recruiters should always have their travelers backs.  This was a beautiful facility.  The rehab rooms were like hotel suites.  They had refrigerators, microwaves, single rooms, flat screen TV's, etc.  SRS also hired too many travelers, so i felt like I was working part time and getting paid full time hours.  ( I probably will never work with them again though, as they do fight paying the guaranteed hours). This allowed me to go home early and enjoy the beautiful weather and amenities at our RV resort.

View from our site on Buttercup road at Sunflower RV resort 
Enjoying the pool. It was heated to an average of 87 degrees

Did I mention we were close to Costco!!  That's always a plus.  Let's talk about the RV resort where we stayed.  Sunflower is a Cal Am park.  You can find these in a few cities across AZ.  They have 2 pools, 2 hot tubs, a steam room, nice workout room, a billiards room, library, lapidary, and many other amenities.  They also have the Tikki Bar.  This is an outside bar with a dinner special Monday thru Friday, and a band playing from 4-8 every weekday evening.  It was a fun place to visit once in awhile. 

Nightlife at the Tikki Bar. 
Tikki bar is pretty quiet during the day.  You can see the pool in the background. 

On 10/22, Kirk and I drove over to Cave Creek just north of where we were staying.  We ate at a fun place called El Encanto with a pond in the middle of the restaurant.  After eating, we drove over to Tempe to visit Kirk's ex-granddaughter Danielle, her husband Demetrie, and her mom Jeanne.  Danielle was very pregnant.  She was actually having contractions while we were there.  Anyway, little Dominic was born the next day.  We went back to see the baby a few weeks later, when grandpa Scott (Danielle's dad) was visiting. 

We ate lunch while watching the turtles and fish.  Cool restaurant!
Demetrie, Daniele, Scott, and baby Dominick 

On Friday, October 28 I flew into Minneapolis from Phoenix to surprise Robyn for her 32nd birthday.  We had a great time.  The theme for her party was Spa Night.  We participated in a free 15 minute massage, ear candling, face masks, and the opportunity to purchase LuLaRoe yoga pants.  The next day we joined Laurie Lynch, the mother of one of Kristy's ex nanny families at the Guthrie to watch the play, Sense and Sensibility.  Prior to the play we had brunch at the Sea Change in the Guthrie.  I flew home on Sunday.  My time with them is always too short.

Candle waxing was interesting.  What a fun party. 
My beautiful birthday girl.  Where did 32 years go!!!!

Some of the other side trips Kirk and I have taken have been to Lake Pleasant, just north of Surprise.  We just browsed the RV park there, but weren't overly impressed.  They did have a nice view of the lake.  On the way home, we stopped in Morristown on Hwy 60 at a fun place called The Western Trails Ranch for lunch.  This is a cool place.  They have bull riding, rodeo, roping, but only in the evenings.  The food was good.  As we were getting ready to leave and still sitting at our table, I got stung by something.  The stinger was in my arm, but we never found the body that was attached to it. This was only the 2nd time I've been stung.  I ended up having a "moderate reaction" to the sting.  It was  not pretty.   On 11/5 we golfed at Tres Rios Golf course at Estrella Mountain.  On 11/7 Kirk went for a motorcycle ride with our new friends from the resort, Calving and Deon, and Jerry and Marsha to Prescott, AZ.    The next day was election day, and we all know how that ended.  On 11/11 I had to have a YAG procedure on my right eye.  Apparently after having cataract surgery, there's a 50/50 chance of having cloudy, and/or blurry vision.  I wasn't aware of this and had gone to the eye doctor to have it checked out.  He told me a simple 2 minute laser procedure would fix the problem, and it did.  Amazing! 

Some of the scenery at Western Trails Ranch    
I golf for the scenery. Tres Rios Golf. 
Deon and Marsha    Friends from Sunflower. 

On 11/12 we drove over to Scottsdale to watch the Charles Schwab Cup Golf Tournament.  Angela was marshaling at the tournament.  She gave us the tickets to get in.  We had free parking, and a free meal (cause Kirk is a veteran).  After the tournament, we drove to Angela's place in Mesa.  She took us to the Angry Crab down the road from her place for dinner and drinks.  Now this is an awesome place.  We had a great time, and in the one week they had been opened, almost every employee in the place knew Angela.  Go figure!

Thanks for the tickets Angela 
One of the greens at The Charles Schwab Open. 
This girl has always been good at telling others to be quiet.  Perfect job!
Kirk liked this picture of us. 
After a long day watching golf, Kirk is in his element!
The Angry Crab in Mesa was a perfect ending to a perfect day.  Thanks Angela!

On 11/21 on their way to Tennessee and Florida for Thanksgiving, Janet and Wally (from Lake Havasu) stopped by our place for a couple of hours to visit and have supper.  Kirk cooked burgers, and poppers on the Traeger.  We had a great visit, and hated to see them go.  Janet is one of our "adopted" daughters.  She is awesome!  I ended up working  on Thanksgiving so I could have the weekend off.  Kirk smoked a 17lb turkey on the Traeger.   It's always a great day when we're together.  The next day, we brought out the Christmas decorations (the very few we have) and put them up. 

Wally, me, Janet, and Kirk.  Come back Janet, we miss you. 
Janet, you know us well!
One proud Kirk right here.  He loves his Traeger!

On 12/10 Kirk and I drove around Happy Trails RV resort just to check it out, and then play golf at their golf course, The Great Eagle.

Christmas Day, Angela came over to spend the day and night.  I also had a pleasant surprise.  Kristy called a couple of days prior, and said she had found a decent rate, and was flying into Phoenix on Christmas Day, her birthday.  Angela and I drove to pick her up.  Kirk made most of the dinner.  He smoked his first standing rib roast on the Traeger.  I can't even begin to describe how scrumptious it was.  He did good.  Angela brought some awesome jalepeno popper dip, and potato casserole.  Kristy spent time with Camille, her longtime girlfriend from grade school.  Camille lives about 1/2 hour from our resort.  Kristy and I took a hike at Thunderbird Conservation Park one afternoon to the flag and back. Then on 12/30 we drove to Tucson to hike at the East and West Saguaro National Parks.  We stayed at the Double Tree hotel, and ate at The Hub the night before out hikes.  We even saw petroglyphs.  That evening, which was NYE, we headed back to Surprise.  Kristy spent her last day here with Camille, and then headed back to MN.  I love our visits.
I love the decorations at Christmas time.  
Mr Traeger does it again.  You can't get this at even the finest restaurants 
One of our afternoon hikes near Glendale.  My Kristy turned 37 on Christmas Day!
Our trip to Tucson to hike.  
Beautiful saguaros 
Legend says these are their people.  It does sorta look like the bodies and hands. 
Beautiful rainbow on our hike
That's my girl!
Saw these and other Petroglyphs on our hike. 

My last day at Grandview Terrace was January 6, 2017.  I was able to leave before noon, which was great, as I had a ticket to fly to MN that afternoon for Bella's 7th birthday party.  Kristy picked me up at the airport, and we took off to the Marsh.  Bella's party was held in Wisconsin Rapids at the YMCA where she has gymnastics.  It was a very fun party with all her little friends and cousins.  It was a great weekend at the Marsh.  Did I mention that Nicki makes the most awesome wings.  We stayed at the Marsh till Monday, then returned to MN as I was flying home on Tuesday.   In the meantime, Robyn had taken Ady to the Children's hospital ER as she just wasn't getting over her illness.  She tested positive for Strep.  Poor baby.   While I was in MN, Kirk drove the RV to Bullhead City, AZ where my next assignment would be.   We stayed at Vista Del Sol RV Resort.  I would start my job for Synertx at the River Gardens, and the Legacy on 1/16.  Kirk picked me up in Vegas.  We stayed at the Stratosphere for 2 nights before heading to Bullhead City.  While in Vegas, we walked the Strip, went to a comedy club and saw Tanyalee Davis, then home to our new assignment.
Happy 7th birthday Miss Bella!
Bella's mommy knows how to make a birthday special!
Daddy enjoying Bella's birthday gift from grandma Reina.  So, does this make him a manmaid!
Nicki getting ready for the Packers!  It's quite an event in this household!
The Packer lights are on, and the appetizers ready.  Let the game begin 
Bella is a beautiful mermaid!
Love these three more than I can say!
Thanks kids.   Perfect for all of Kirk's smoked meats
Leaving Minnesota is never easy. 
Kirk at Caesars Palace
The High Roller Observation Wheel in Vegas.  550 feet tall, and 520 foot diameter. The worlds tallest!
Happy hour high atop the Stratosphere 
Our first site at Vista Del Sol
Our 2nd and final site at Vista Del Sol. What a view!