Monday, December 27, 2010


Around the table clockwise from the left. Aileen, John (me) my sister Wendy, her husband Randy, Howard (friend) Ken (friend) Jacquie's husband Jim, my aunt Jacquie, Glenna (Howard's wife) Marie (Ken's wife) The four friends are all from Grand Junction, Colorado

Aileen went to the Gluten Free support group over at Florence Gardens last Monday afternoon and found it to be very worthwhile. They meet once a month. I took Mitzy for a walk and also picked up the buddy beer list which I proceeded to type out and email to Phyllis. Speaking of Phyllis, she fell off her bike and got some stitches in her lip and a chipped tooth that morning. I went for a bike ride after Aileen got home.

Wendy and Randy are moved out now. They had supper here then departed for Coolidge. We had the pool to ourselves mostly until a lady from Esterhazy, Saskatchewan came in. She and Aileen hit it off mostly talking about cats and small dogs.

We were a little late getting going Tuesday morning so Aileen made my sandwich while I took Mitzy to the dog park. From then on I had a leisurely time until it was time to meet Blue. Just Blue, Dave Lamphere and Al from Apache Junction out today and I was elected leader. We went up Highway 79 to the farm road just past Arizona Farms Rd then went through to the 7 mile/9 mile road then wandered up to Cottonwood Rd via some side roads which even Blue hadn’t been on. We went over the hills to the east of Grandma’s Pass and down through Box Canyon. Dave said he was so happy with the speed I kept.

Marie and Glenna were here visiting Aileen when I got home. They had a tour of my 13x19 prints then Aileen gave them a motor home tour. Aileen finally got for her nap at 3:30. I took Mitzy out to the desert for a walk then we got the mail. I picked up another whack of notices to go in the Chatterbox so more typing for Aileen.

Our pool and hot tub were 94 and 104F so back to pool 4 again. Had to listen to a couple yapping about how good warm temps were and when Aileen mentioned exercising the woman said it is too late to worry about exercising. Aileen finally told her to get lost. We visited with Cynthia and Ken from Esterhazy, SK for quite awhile. He was grilling me about ATVing. He hopes to buy here when he retires and have a quad here. He has one at home.

It was mostly cloudy last Wednesday but mild. We had several showers but not much rain. California has had 23 inches of rain in six days with major flooding. Even Nevada and Utah are having floods. Several house were washed away in mudslides in Phoenix today, too.

We did the final day of Chatterbox items. Aileen was very frustrated with our block 5 as she has had so many separate submissions and has rewritten the article five times. I told our editor there are too many people thinking they are in control and that there must be one person responsible for gathering the info and submitting it once. She took care of that already. We went to pool 4 again, ours was 92/103F. We didn’t have to uncover it as they threw the old cover away then went to install the new one only to find it too short or something. I had a good visit with Ron who lives at 124 Mesa, I think. He’s from Craig, Colorado.

Boy did it rain and blow in the night! It woke us several times. However the morning dawned bright and sunny. Daryl said .9 of an inch overnight. I decided to pass on ATVing Thursday as I was feeling so poorly with sore muscles and very tired. June Johnson came by with cards this morning and came in to admire my collage.

I spent most of last Thursday vegging and feeling poorly. I did quite a bit of reading and did go check the Chatterbox drop box which fortunately was empty. My picture frames arrived right on schedule but I felt too poorly to do anything with them. Aileen went to Coolidge for a few groceries in the afternoon. In hindsight I should have asked for some medicine.

My cousin Garry called Thursday evening. He’d just heard about Dad’s passing. Aileen and I had both sent messages to them but it seems their son has the use of Barb’s laptop and didn’t see fit to share the news. Their daughter had shown up that morning and went to show Barb something on the computer before her brother was up and found the messages. I imagine things were a little tense around there later.

Aileen went off to Safeway early and got me some medication for what we were thinking was my annual sinus infection. It seemed to really help and I felt better as the day progressed. However, my going out with the carolers seemed to undo all the good so that at bedtime I was a wreck again. I took it pretty easy during the day, did lots of reading. I had a problem first thing with my computer. When I’d finished using it the first time, I closed the lid and the lid and screen separated at the bottom left. There doesn’t seem to be any way to make it fit back together. So then I started researching laptops online to see what was out there at a decent price. I didn’t run across too many with all the features I think I’d like next time.

Jordan’s finally made it back Christmas Eve driving their old motor home. Apparently there is still an issue with the Cat engine in the newer motor home and the only guy who can figure out the error code won’t be back until Monday. So, they will have to wait awhile longer to get their Christmas present.

In the afternoon when I turned the computer on the whole screen was high jacked by some virus or Avast or Microsoft or something so that nothing else was visible. I tried running Avast but it didn’t seen to do anything.

It wasn’t a good night. Those non drowsy pills kept me awake a lot. I had a lot of sweats. I started feeling better after taking two pills with breakfast. When I turned the computer on intending to get the name of the screen high jacker, it was gone and Avast was telling me it detected a virus. I ran another full scan and it did isolate a Win 32 virus which I put in the chest like it suggested. Everything seems normal so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

I cut some mats Christmas morning then matted and framed five large prints. I think they look quite alright. I backed up a few things to the external hard drive then checked out computers at Best Buy. Looks like several contenders in the $800 range.

Jordan’s McKinnon’s, Ken and Marie and Howard and Glenna all came for supper. We cooked the turkey on our new portable oven and it worked great. There was far too much food including four pies. Jordan’s and McKinnon’s went home after supper while the rest of us played Mexican Train. We quit halfway through as Howard was too sore from sitting and Aileen wanted to go swimming. Our pool was only 85F this afternoon so she used it.

Georgia called from Hornby Island where she and Richard and Robin are staying with Robin’s sister and our daughter Bev called from Salmon Arm.

Sunday night was again mostly sleepless. Aileen told me not to take anymore of the medicine she bought me. I napped a couple times during the day. Looked at the computer for a time but spent most of the time making sure files were saved on the external HD then deleting them. I’d tried to defrag last thing Saturday night but was told I only had 10 % free space on Drive C and needed 15% to do the action. I got it down to over 30%. There is about 25GB of disk space that is used but unaccounted for.

I ate a small breakfast Sunday and hardly any lunch. I have no appetite and the food tastes awful.

Jordan’s came over for Mexican Train after supper. Jim won handily followed by Aileen with Jacquie a distant fourth. I went down and helped Aileen uncover the pool at 9pm. The pool was over 88 tonight so we probably won’t cover it.

I slept a little better last night but had a lot of weird dreams. We’re thinking I do have Desert (Valley) Fever for sure with all the rash and angry red pimples popping up all over my torso. I certainly had the joint pain, headache and now the cough. Aileen went to the clubhouse this morning to get Canada Supper tickets for Jordan’s. She went to go to Coolidge this morning and the car wouldn’t start. The battery was dead for some reason. We don’t think anything was on but it hadn’t run since Friday. Either there is a short somewhere or the battery is defective, I’d guess. The car is only 5 1/2 months old. Aileen got me more cough candies which is a good thing maybe as I am developing more of a cough today.

I’m taking it pretty easy mostly reading although I did take the pop cans down to crush this afternoon then went for the mail which turned into a long trip. My vitality seems to have deserted me. It sure is a good thing we brought Aileen’s scooter this year as she is using it constantly. I have been using it myself the past few days. I sent my sister Janet a happy birthday email.

Well we went to emergency before 5 to see the doctor on call as I couldn’t get an appointment for a week otherwise. He said while many of my symptoms could apply to Valley (Desert) Fever, He doesn’t think I have it. He does however think it is a viral infection with a rash and gave some recommendations for caring for it. We went off to Coolidge to Walgreen’s to pick things up. I had a burger at McDonalds. Aileen had snacked earlier so just had a salad. The doctor said whatever I have is just going to have to run its course. Great!! I wanted an instant cure. I’m sure lucky to have such a great wife when I get ill like this!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Here comes Scotty down the steep hill

It's good that the hill wasn't any longer

Box Canyon

A south western style double wide mobile home

When I was returning from taking Mitzy to the dog park on Wednesday, I noticed a guy parked by the clubhouse selling name signs. He was part of our twice monthly Country Store. I liked the quality so talked to Aileen about it when she came home from exercising and went up and ordered one. Since I was the first of the day, our sign was ready in one hour. I didn’t put a home town on it since we have no idea yet where our next place will be so just put BC.

We went to Coolidge for a few groceries and a couple other things. Home in time for lunch. I had another super good BLT, I don’t think they sell them that good in cafes. Aileen did some canvassing re: luminaries then napped awhile. There was a lot of shooting next door that day which kept Mitzy shaking the whole time. I went for a longer bike ride through the four parks so my knees and butt were complaining that night.

It was partly cloudy but didn’t look too threatening so I went ATVing Thursday. It took quite awhile for someone to step forward as leader. Lynn was the one and he took us to 9 mile gate then east and up a wash past the new corral. Well, after a little one of the older guys decided it was too fast and rough so he stopped effectively stopping the rest of us. We finally carried on a little further and came on some rougher going. I grabbed my camera planning to take shots of the guys coming through but most of them turned around and left (deserted?). Since I had walked through it, I didn’t think there was much difficulty involved so decided I was going to ride it. This left me with the “wild bunch” or at least two of the three we call that. I definitely had a more challenging ride but I don’t think it was too dangerous. I did go up steeper hills and some deeper washouts but at no point felt my machine make any tippy moves. Actually I was quite impressed with how it handled. Will I join them on a regular basis? No.

We ran into a bit of rain at lunch time just north of Grandma’s Pass. We decided to head home from there and hardly had another drop. It was enough to lay the dust close in to the hills but the closer to home the worse the dust became. An hour after getting home and it started to rain in earnest. By 3:30 the water was running down the street. I checked our pool at 3 pm and it was still at 94F. The hot tub for some reason was 86F! That meant we had to trudge over to pool 4 again. It surprisingly was 90F even though it wasn’t covered. Didn’t cover pool 2 again since it was so warm.

I went shooting lights again after swimming trying for some reflections in the puddles. Arnie and Linda didn’t have theirs on and just as I went to shoot Bill and Freda’s, it went off, probably with a timer. I put the last little string of lights in the motor home and they look pretty good.

Wendy and Randy brought their Wizard game over after supper. Aileen was the huge winner at 420 or more points and I was second. It was quite an improvement for Aileen as she only had 10 points last game. I did get 100 points in the last hand by taking the 8 tricks I bid.

We got the sad call Friday morning from Chas that Dad passed away at 6:15 AM. Sue was with Dad and it was good that she was able to be with him til the end. I didn’t eat breakfast for quite awhile after that then we went to Ken and Marie’s with the community ladder and I fixed the wire mesh at the peak of their roof to prevent the pigeons from accessing the space. Marie made us chicken soup for lunch so we visited awhile. Jerry and Donna, ATV friends, stopped by Ken’s when they saw me there. Jerry said we had ¼ inch of rain according to his guage.

Later, Aileen did laundry while I went to Walmart and Fry’s. I bought a CD player for the park model as it is too hard to remember turning off the old one that runs only on battery power. It’s costing too much for 6 D cells each time we forget. I was later home than expected but I just felt like poking around instead of rushing.

I took Mitzy to the dog park about 8:20 Sunday which is later than normal. We had stayed a little late in bed and Mitzy was very reluctant to eat anything. I took her for a short walk in the desert after breakfast. Joni brought over a bereavement card and a hug this morning and chatted awhile. Wendy and Randy came by then for a few minutes also.

We went to the dollar store for some more cards and a couple other things then to Coolidge where I wandered around the flea market for a bit. Didn’t buy anything but then, I wasn’t planning on doing that. From there we went to Chili’s in Casa Grande which was advertised as having a great gluten free menu. Turned out it wasn’t quite that good but Aileen made up a lunch by combining sides. I had a terrific burger. The only downside was the cook put the stick though it at an angle and I stabbed my chin first bite. Aileen told me I had catsup running down my chin and I had to allow I hadn’t had any but I did remember getting stuck with the point. I bled well. We took the long way home crossing over I-10 north of Casa Grande.

We stopped at Coolidge Safeway for water and a few groceries then it was home and nap time for Aileen. I went for a bike ride around the parks. I visited with two of the Kamloops couples down at the end of our street for awhile including having a beer. By then it was time to take Mitzy to the dog park.

Sue emailed suggesting April 9 or 16 as possible dates for Dad’s service. I’m sure glad they decided to have it later as I wasn’t looking forward to having to make the trek up there in the winter. I told her to go with either one as it was impossible to decide which would be better for us as we can’t predict the weather so don’t know if we’ll be in Salmon Arm or on the Island first.

Thank you to those who sent messages of condolence regarding Dad. I’m so thankful to have siblings who will look after all the details for Dad’s affairs and service allowing us to remain in Arizona until our planned departure the end of February.
Yesterday was nice and warm again but more showers are forecast for tomorrow through Thursday. Friday and Saturday are expected to be sunny and 70F. So far it has been a much nicer winter than last year which was so cold and wet.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Louis Drummond Pickard October 25, 1922 - December 17, 2010

Spring 1947. That's me with Mom and Dad

October 2008 four generations. Richard and Georgia on the left and me in between Mom and Dad

I received the sad news this morning that Dad had passed away at 6:15 AM. While not unexpected, it is still sad. After serving overseas during WW2 in desperate conditions including being wounded, he forged a new life for himself and his beloved Emily. He worked at farming and in the forest industry to make a living for them and their family of eight children. I think he was well satisfied with the life he had and enjoyed many years of retirement on his small farm. Of course his grand children and great grand children were a great source of pleasure to him over the years. He was a favourite with the girls in both care facilities he was in over the past three years.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


A south western bee hive

Linda in the rocks

My sister Wendy singing at the Sunday jam session

Looking out the front gate of our park

Linda and Arnie's lights

ATV group portrait

Our RV cover project completed. Lots of room now.

Aileen went off to the gym before breakfast again on Friday while I took Mitzy to the dog park. Aileen took Mitzy for her second walk and took her further around in Caliente. She went for her hair appointment at 11 and now has shorter and less hair. I cut some sheets of mat board down into 16x20 and 20x24 blanks. I cut a few of them into window mats as well. I’m thinking I should frame some prints and see if I can sell some to recoup some of my expenses.

I was to the clubhouse gathering more Chatterbox items and Aileen typed them up and sent them off to the editor. I went for a bike ride in the afternoon then when Aileen asked for more library books, I rode up there too. I actually sat and read for quite awhile as well both outside and in. While I was outside, Gerry from Manitoba stopped to chat for awhile. He and Yvonne arrived two days ago and Mitzy and I met her and Bailey at the dog park yesterday. We lent Gerry our Canadian Snowbirds in America book so he can figure out a few things he was concerned about. We went to pool 4 again as the temperatures were all the same again tonight, too warm. Randy and Wendy went there also. I checked our pool 2 this morning and even with it being uncovered all night it was 92F.

Aileen got up about 6 on Saturday to do her yoga but I lay abed for awhile longer. I finally had to get going to take Mitzy to the dog park. Then it was time to get my breakfast, make my lunch and get ready to go ATVing. 19 of us headed out but four of them deserted us after lunch and went to rougher areas. We went to several areas I hadn’t been to before and probably never will again, unless we miss a few turns again, that is. We got into some fairly rough going in some spots. I also spotted a bee’s nest in a cut bank in one wash. I got a good close up of it.

Aileen went off to Coolidge with the Caliente Clowns for their yearly event with the hundreds of disadvantaged kids who have been removed from their homes. She seemed to have enjoyed her day but was pooped when she got home about 5 pm. I’d been home since shortly after 2. Blue had called while I was at the dog park to say they were having an informal gathering and bonfire at his place starting at 5. We instead went to the Italian restaurant for supper and it was approaching 7 when we got home.

Chas had called Friday night to tell us Dad had quit eating and the doctor thought he was on the way out and the only thing was to keep him comfortable. I called Saturday night and Dad had actually eaten some breakfast in the morning. I understand he wasn’t drinking anything either. One doesn’t last long once they quit drinking; you can go quite awhile without food. I guess at 88 and afflicted with Parkinson’s, a person’s time is limited. It’s still sad though!

The pools were all the same temperature again Saturday night so we were back to pool #4. Randy joined us and Wendy visited from outside the water.

I took Mitzy to the dog park then after breakfast out to the desert. After that Aileen and I went to Coolidge for some groceries, leaving Mitzy home as Sunday was warmer day. We got home at lunch time.

Aileen napped while I went to the Jam Session which was pretty good for the most part. I managed to sneak in the back door and take a few shots from behind Wendy while she was playing. I typed out the clubhouse activities list this afternoon.

I went to Linda and Arnie’s to take pictures of their Christmas lights Sunday evening. I’m finding the Photomatix is too overwhelming for night shots. The colours tend to bleed together too much and become garish. I did a few others along the way as well. I edited a few pictures before and after swimming.

We went to pool 4 again as out pool 2 was close to 93F. It was about 90 in the morning. Wendy and Randy walked in one side of the pool as we went in the other tonight. We couldn’t have timed it tighter.

Aileen went to the gym then the Monday morning announcements at the clubhouse. She helped me get the laundry started on the way then I looked after the rest.

Brian, the contractor dude, came and finished the job by cutting off the old posts and taking them away. Later Aileen and I moved the motor home over a bit and leveled it and put both slides out. I raked some gravel out for the rear wheels to sit in to lower the overall height. The first time I leveled it, the roof was touching the rear air conditioner. It will certainly be easier to park from now on as well with all this room between the posts.

We did a bit more on the Chatterbox news items. We had a parcel from our grand daughter today in the mail. Aileen had a nap in the afternoon while I went for a bike ride around the parks. We went to the ATV club monthly potluck Monday night and there was a good turnout of about 50 people. As usual, it was a large feast with lots of food left over. I took a group shot of most of the attendees after supper. Some of them escaped though. I edited the two pictures when I got home and sent them off to Maureen to send out to everyone.

Our pool #2 was above 94F tonight so back to pool #4 again. Wendy and Randy beat us there. They spent the day in Casa Grande buying stuff for the house. It is just over a week til they move if their trailer sale goes through.

I went off riding with Blue and four others Tuesday morning. We had a pretty good ride putting on about 60 miles. Lunch was at the square cokes.

Aileen took Mitzy for her grooming and she looks much better. It doesn’t take long for her to get looking scruffy. So now the three of us all have recent haircuts. Just two more cuts for Mitzy before we head north. We are right at the half way point for our visit to the US.

Once again our pool was 94F so back to the other again tonight. Even it was 90F the night before but it was down to 88F which is pretty good. We’d had temperatures in the high 70sF the past few days but Thursday is forecast to be only 60F with 70% chance of showers. The next few days after are low 70sF. We’ll see.

Friday, December 10, 2010


The before picture. Note how close to the posts the motor home is.
The new posts installed. The old posts will be removed in a few days giving lots of room. This is not the type of construction to use in a snow zone!

Aileen went to the gym before breakfast on Wednesday. She and I did laundry together later. Perhaps I’ll get the correct procedure learned one of these days. I wrote up a questionnaire for those people who have expressed interest in another photo class led by me. I handed them out and from them hope to come up with some sort of consensus on a meeting time. Everyone is so busy with so many things. Aileen is working on newsletter items as they come in.

We went to Coolidge for groceries after lunch. We went via Valley Farms so Aileen could post some things from their underused, no line up post office. Sure enough, the post lady was lounging outside on a bench wondering when the next customer would appear.

It seems Wendy and Randy have already sold their trailer across the street from us. There has been a lot of interest shown in it ever since the sign went up. They are getting excited about their new house in Coolidge and have pretty much completed that deal.

I delivered the two matted and framed prints I contributed to the Canada Supper draw. I thought if I kept them here I’d forget about them or fail to find them at the last minute. My little 9x9 foot office is quite full already with various projects scattered about. We went to the pool later and visited with Ken and Char. They are headed for Montana first thing this morning til early January. The pool was 92F again which is just too warm.

Aileen went to the post office Thursday morning and said the line was really long. She took a cheque into the bank to bolster the account also.

Brian Knapp and crew arrived as scheduled (amazing) and we got the job done installing the three new posts for the RV cover. It went quite well and he will come back next week after the cement has had time to set up and cut off the old posts. Then there will be lots of room to move the motor home over and put out the slides. It will also make it much easier to park the motor home in the future with almost six more feet of width. I cleaned the back cement slab off after a late lunch so everything is back to normal again. I went for a bike ride after for a break. Aileen had a good nap during this time. She made us a nice supper and invited Randy and Wendy so we had a sit down visit. Most of visiting in the park is short chats out on the street or wherever you meet someone. Mostly pretty casual.

I went searching for the coolest pool last night. Our pool, #2, was 94F, pool #3 was 96F while pool #4 was 88F which was just about perfect. The sad part is the people using the warmer pools claim the temperature is perfect. In fact at pool #3 the people were bragging how they keep it covered all day to maintain the high temperature. However, they are just lounging not swimming. There is quite a difference. Enough ranting!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A yard full of cotton. Arizona had a record crop this year and prices are at record highs because of a worldwide shortage. There are a lot of happy farmers.

This the project I was working on a week or two ago. I extended the top rail as it was even with the bottom one. It will now allow the scooter to fit right in.

The bees really like this cactus. The flowers stayed out later in the day as it was cloudy. They disappear as soon as the sun hits the flower.

My sister Wendy at the mic at the Sunday jam session.

Wendy and all the other musicians and singers.

My latest project which took quite a few hours. I retrieved the frame including the glass from the garbage bin last year and have been thinking about what to do with it ever since. It is 30 x 33 inches. Notice how the colour of the rock in the large picture is the same as the wall.

I don’t know what Mitzy’s problem was but at 2:30 am last Thursday, she was pacing the hallway and making noises so I finally got up and took her to the dog park. At least the streets and dog park were quiet. She must have been hearing something because she still didn’t want to settle down. I went ATV riding with 16 others Thursday. We did almost the reverse of Blue’s ride on Tuesday except Eddie took us to see a couple of crown cactus below Box Canyon. There were a couple of slightly more challenging sections of trail near the cactus. It was t shirt weather from lunch on. Just great!!

Brian Knapp came by late morning and Aileen was able to talk to him about our latest idea (suggested by Bud) of moving the center pole out even with the others and he said no problem. He ordered the poles while still here and they should be ready to install next Thursday. We’ll see if he shows! If he’s coming for sure, I’ll stay home from ATVing. I went for the mail on my bike and ran into Ken Crutchfield there. He told me he’d seen a quad for sale the other day somewhere in Florence Gardens so we went looking for it on our bikes. We didn’t see it anywhere so it has probably sold. They don’t seem to last if there’s a good deal.

We went to the River Bottom Grill with Ken and Char Mackley Thursday night and had a good supper. I ordered the fish and chips with shrimp and got four nice big plump breaded shrimp for 50 cents extra. Now that was a deal! We ordered a pitcher of Blue Moon since it was way cheaper (3 glasses would cost $12, the pitcher was over 4 glasses and cost $9.75!) and it went down well.

Char came and looked at my large prints on the way home then we rested awhile and met them at the pool later. We hope to do the River Bottom again with them this winter but there are hardly any more Thursday’s available. They go back to Billings next week til after New Years, we head off to Quartzsite on January 20 or so for a couple weeks and they are off on the New Zealand cruise January 25 then flying around Australia til the end of February. We will likely be heading back to Canada March 1st at the latest. We are 2/5 the way through our stay south of the border already.

I emailed back and forth with Glen and Irela Rhodes Wednesday and Thursday. They wanted us to come visit them, so at nine Friday morning we headed to Arizona City to see them. Aileen drove us all the way. We had a good visit. Glen and I looked at the two 2008 racer quads and nice trailer to haul them he bought for $1400 and also went to an online auction yard close by. I brought home a business card for Jim to check out if he hasn’t bought one yet.

From there we went to Casa Grande planning to eat at Chili’s but it wasn’t where we thought it was so after driving around hungry for awhile, we went to the Golden Corral. We went to Food City to check out their specials of which we bought some. The trick was getting through the checkout! It was very slow going. We came straight home from there so Aileen could get her nap.

Mitzy and I went to the dog park then Jordan’s but they weren’t home so we checked the (empty) mail box. Proceeding from there we met Ken Mackley visiting Gene Moffatt. It seems they both worked for Swifts in Spokane at the same time years ago although they didn’t know each other then. Someone in the park who knows both of them made the connection.

We thought about rushing late down to the light parade in town but couldn’t summon up the ambition. Instead, we went to Jordan’s for a few minutes to give Jim the link to some motor homes on auction. When we returned from there it was time to go to the pool which we had to ourselves.

I did the normal Saturday morning routine then went ATVing with 16 others. We went to 9 mile then to Cottonwood, up the pipe line to Highway 60 then lunch near Turtle Mtn. After lunch Ed and 7 other retraced their route home while the other 9 of us went over the rough and rugged trail. Total distance was about 53 miles. Not too many pictures taken. There was no stopping in most of the rougher areas and no new territory for me.

Aileen went to Safeway, Fry’s and Walmart on the Hunt Highway Saturday morning. I woke her from her nap when I got home about 3:30. We did three loads of laundry and visited with Bud and Arlene in their front yard. Dona Kobayashi stopped to chat too and now Aileen and I are doing some more typing for the Chatterbox. I have a key for gathering written submissions from the mailbox on the front counter at the clubhouse.

Sunday morning I did a batch of printing both 8 ½ x 11 and 5 x 7 for the project I have putting several prints in one mat in the 30 x 33 frame I picked up in the recycling last year. Later in the afternoon I got the mat marked out which entailed quite a bit of head scratching.

I had taken some more cactus pictures Sunday morning as it was overcast for awhile so the flowers stayed open. In the afternoon I took a few of Wendy performing at the jam session. I went for a ride around part of Florence Gardens and most of Caliente after the jam. I picked up the Chatterbox items in the clubhouse in the morning and Aileen had them typed already in the afternoon. Wendy and Randy brought their Wizard card game over after supper and I pulled off a major upset in the final hand to win big. We all went to the pool later. We just missed Mackley’s and Mary.

Aileen went to the gym then the Monday announcements. She had a clown meeting right after. She helped the clowns pack bags of presents after lunch and now our car is full of them for Saturday. I spent much of my day getting the large window mat cut for the big frame then mounting all the pictures and getting it in the frame. It looks quite impressive hanging on the living room wall in the park model. I went to the cardboard recycling and brought home a huge piece which I was able to cut the required 29x30 inch piece out of.

I took Mitzy for a couple of walks. I went off on my bike a couple times. Once to buy tickets to the Duttons and the Canada Supper then to take a card over to Peg Downey (an ATV friend’s wife) who happened to be out of hospital already. She had compromised lungs then came down with Valley Fever. I carried on to Florence Garden’s clubhouse for their newsletter. I rode to Vista Hermosa, up on the hill, then wandered my way home.

I printed a couple pictures for donating to the Canada supper later in the afternoon. I plan to use the two frames I bought at the clubhouse garage sale recently for 50 cents each. Aileen got the news items finished up and sent off to Phyllis for the January Chatterbox. I saw that Jordan’s had gone off to Yuma as planned.

Wendy and Randy went to L&B’s in Florence for Mexican food Monday night then over to their house to see what it was like at night. They came to the pool later. Aileen and I stopped and talked to Carol (next door) and Marie at the laundry after leaving the pool.

Today I went ATVing with Blue and five others. It was a shorter than usual by a bit. We met at 7 mile gate then went up the big wash just to the left, finally coming out on Cottonwood Rd. We returned via nine mile.

Aileen went to the cookie exchange with Selma. She brought back too many cookies so she made up trays for John and Carol, Bud and Arlene and a few for Randy and Wendy. We met Wendy and Randy at the pool again tonight. We had some problems with the internet tonight so I’m hoping it hangs in long enough to make this post.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Near Cochron, AZ

Morning rest break, Linda relaxing

I thought this group of rocks looked like an owl

Some fine Arizona beef - cow and calf

They are fed cotton gin leavings to supplement what they can scrounge in the desert

A Saguaro making a letter R

Blue in the distance. The start of Box Canyon is beyond him

Blue in Box Canyon

A rare picture of me taken by Blue

A road runner. They are hard to get close to as they usually take off when you stop

Time has just been flying by and the blog has been neglected.

I did our load of laundry last Monday morning while Aileen went to the gym and did her other morning stuff. I started phoning all the numbers on the activities section of the Chatterbox trying to confirm the accuracy. I went to the computer lab and used the land line. Ray Troutt from the ATV group was there so we chatted as well. He came over later that afternoon and I made him nine 4x6s that he chose. I charged him a dollar each. I also got the buddy beer list from the clubhouse and typed it out in Excel before sending it along to Dona, the Chatterbox (our community newsletter) editor.

It appears Wendy and Randy have finally bought a house in Coolidge. The deal is to close December 8th. A large For Sale sign appeared in their front window last Monday afternoon.

Aileen had a plaintive computer chat from Bev Monday night. She was in Kelowna at Sears and when she went to start out, her foot slipped off the icy clutch pedal and it seems the clutch fell off or something. Kevin appeared and there was quite a bit of cussing happening under the Tracker. It turned out the cable came off the pedal and it was a chore getting it back on. Because of the chatting, we were late getting to the pool. The Mackley’s were our only company there. It was too cold for McKinnon’s. Salmon Arm was heading for -17C that night and -20C in a couple days.

On Tuesday morning I took Mitzy to the dog park then was sitting by the heater when Ken came by just before 8 suggesting we could go to Casa Grande anytime since he and Harold decided it was too cold to go ATV riding. After I made some porridge and did my usual morning routine, I went to drive down and pick up Ken but the car wouldn’t start. The battery was stone dead from leaving the rear ceiling light on a couple days earlier. I guess I should have put it on the charger when I noticed but at the time thought there was probably still enough juice. It took awhile to find the charger since it had fallen down under the hoses and cords in the back storage bay in the motor home and then awhile to get enough juice to start.

We eventually headed off to Casa Grande via a couple detours poking around. We went to Lowe’s and bought a 4’ x 1/16 x 1 ½ piece of aluminum and some bolts to go with it. Walmart was next to buy a one year phone card and some 4x6 glossy paper. We had lunch at the Golden Corral then stopped at a veggie stand along the highway for some veggies and a honey dew melon. I gave the car a quick wash and picked up 10 gallons of water.

I started grinding off the rivets on the tote but Ken’s drill batteries both died after getting six of the eight off. I got a note from State Farm Insurance saying the Motor Vehicle Department serial numbers didn’t match the insurance so I wasted quite a bit of time finding all the paperwork and comparing all the numbers including on the ATV frame only to find it was the insurance company who missed a letter A in the VIN. I phoned them and they are to get it all straightened out asap. After supper, I tried to activate the new phone minutes online – mistake! What an idiotic site that is! I went to the computer lab and used the landline phone to get it done and have made myself a note to never try the computer again. Buying a 400 minutes one year card and using some bonus minutes from the coupon book that came with the $9.88 double minutes phone ended up giving us 1,000 minutes. We were down to 12 minutes remaining, lower than is comfortable.

I did some more calling on the Chatterbox Activities list and used up 18 minutes. I am getting pretty close to complete now. We went to the pool a little before 8. Bob Lord was in the hot tub but didn’t stay long. We chatted about his new Rhino side by side ATV that he just assembled the other day. He said he got a good deal buying it from Texas still in the box. We may see him out riding one of these days.

Last Wednesday, Marie came over and tried her laptop on our internet and visited Aileen. I worked on the tote awhile and decided to change the plan which meant another trip to Lowes in Casa Grande.

We had an early lunch then went. I took Aileen by Wendy and Randy’s new house on the way. We stopped at Dillard’s first for Aileen to get her face cream then Lowes. I returned one piece and bought another then after thinking some more at the car went back in for another as well. We stopped at Safeway for a few groceries. I was going to get cash from Wells Fargo but they want $5 service fee this year so no way.

When I took Mitzy to the dog park I noticed Jordan’s were set up so we visited them a few minutes. They had arrived about 2 pm. Wendy came over to see if we wanted to play cards so that’s what we did after supper. We won’t say who had what points but the score ranged from 10 up to well over three hundred. McKinnon’s and Mackley’s both at the pool with us tonight. I had to take Mitzy to the dog park after swimming since she was behind on visits today.

I didn’t go to bed til nearly midnight Wednesday night but I managed to sleep fairly well until about six. I dozed for awhile longer then had to get going to take Mitzy as Aileen was still soaking her foot. Her toe is improving finally, which is good. She did yoga later in the morning.

I spent much of the day puttering on my scooter tote project. I didn’t go ATVing so I could get more done on it. It turned out no one went since that was American Thanksgiving Day. I’m quite pleased with how the scooter tote is turning out and hope it will work well on the car. I removed the top front rail and have extended it 3.5 inches to allow the scooter to get all the way on and we can close the gate (the ramp folds up and is held by a couple of latch pins) on it. I managed to get the thicker aluminum bent around the corners in a nearly perfect radius so it looks good and is very strong.

Aileen visited Joni for awhile this morning. I printed off some "ATVs for sale" off Craigs List and took them over to Jim. In the afternoon I made some noise in the carport with my drilling and banging on the tote but Aileen slept through it for over two hours. That’s a pretty good nap.

It was quite cool at the pool Thursday night. There was a stiff breeze so nippy getting out of the water. The forecast was for 28F overnight which won’t be good for the lemons, oranges and grapefruit. We had a few days where it didn’t get out of the 50sF. It is still much better than most of the north country though so we’re not complaining.

On Friday morning, Aileen went to the gym again before breakfast. We took Jordan’s over to see McKinnon’s house in Coolidge mid morning then carried on to Eloy where Jim wanted to check out a repair shop for getting the rear seal replaced on his motor home. We had lunch there at a Subway in the Pilot Truck Stop. We did a bit of shopping in Safeway and Walmart in Coolidge on our return. I spent part of the day working on my tote. Pete had dropped off his saw with the metal blade in our absence so I got my hitch cut shorter right away. After some thought and discussion, Phil helped me by drilling a couple of 3/8 inch holes to permanently attach the two inch receiver to the tote. I went to the hardware for the correct bolts then came home and finished the project. It looks great on the ground and now we have to see how well it works in the real world. The project used the expertise and tools of four neighbours to complete. Great neighbours!

I printed our seasonal message for Aileen to include with her Christmas cards. She cooked a nice stirfry and noodles supper. Dona brought a Chatterbox for proofing which I got right at after supper then dropped it on her doorstep before swimming.

I read til nearly midnight then slept til past 7:30 Saturday morning. I had to hustle getting ready for ATVing after taking Mitzy to the dog park. I did manage to make it to the meeting spot before 8:50. We went out the power line route and had lunch near Grayback Mtn then mostly returned the same route. We did about 60 miles and got home about 3:30 pm.

Aileen went to Hunt Highway Safeway and Fry’s. She gave Mitzy a bath and made curried veggies for supper in the crock pot which was tasty. We went to the pool for 50 minutes. We had it all to ourselves which is quite common.

55F was our high Sunday. We went to the Super Walmart at San Tan Valley in the morning. I found a couple pair of non denim pants and my Pero (coffee substitute) that we’ve been looking all over for. We picked up a few other things as well including some clips for hanging Christmas lights. I got the lights all hung while Aileen napped this afternoon then she put the outside tree together when she got up. We went to McDonald’s for lunch as it was the only place we could find some gluten free food for Aileen.

Aileen went off to town for a few Christmas cards after the gym and breakfast on Monday. I borrowed a pick and shovel from the lending cupboard and dug two holes for the new support posts for the motor home bay. I was going to call Brian (the elusive contractor!) but wonder of wonders, he drove by and spotted me and couldn’t not stop. He thanked me for my patience to which I replied, I’m quite patient but my wife is not! It was very cool and even when I was digging, I didn’t get warm. There was a nasty wind most of the day.

McKinnon’s place got listed and it looked like they had a showing right off but the ladies didn’t stay very long. We went to Valley Farms to send off the Christmas cards and the parcel Aileen ordered for Bev and the SPCA. She was able to send the big box for about $7 first class. That is far cheaper than Canada! We went over to Coolidge next and picked up the dog food Aileen had ordered, filled both water cans and got a few groceries at Safeway. I also went to Walgreen’s and they still had lots of sweat shirts at 3/$10 so I picked three different colours. They seem to be well made and fit well. We’ll see how they hold up.

I spent quite awhile trying to figure out getting my pictures resized in the Avery template for postcards. I printed a couple but they don’t quite fill the card. So far I haven’t made any progress with it. I am very pleased with the picture quality on the post card though. I suppose it is something simple but it is certainly eluding me. We went to the pool but didn’t last much past half an hour as the pool was cool again even though it was covered all day except for when it was used first thing this morning. Ken and Char came by just as we were getting out and she thought about getting her suit on but changed her mind when informed we’d had enough.

We were sitting in the front room and kitchen puttering on our computers and I kept hearing music. I finally went out on the porch to see where it was coming from and it was totally quiet out there. After a few minutes, I decided to call Blue. Well it turned out he’d been calling us and the phone was in Aileen’s purse in the bedroom closet and that was the music we’d heard! Duh!!!!!!!!

I was having a leisurely Tuesday morning til Blue called saying he thought someone had gone to the meeting spot for nine and we’d decided on ten am to give it time to warm up. I went up in the car but no one was around so I took Mitzy to the dog park then had to rush getting things together when I returned. I found I needed to air up all the ATV tires. I guess the lower temperature had something to do with it.

Just Blue and I out yesterday and we had a great ride. We went to nine mile gate and over the Little Spline then down through Box Canyon with a couple detours. It took us 3.5 hours to put on just over 20 miles from nine mile gate back to there. Less than 40 miles all together. We drove slowly and stopped often. Lots of yakking and a leisurely lunch made for a good day.

Randy, Ken and Char joined us at the pool. Poor Aileen had to suffer with 84F pool temperature and the hot tub was a little cooler than normal as well. We need to check in the afternoon and ensure it is covered to preserve a little heat.

Bev was very pleased with herself as she passed her air brake course both at the college and at ICBC so she now has the ticket. Kevin went later to ICBC and also passed. They had gone to Kelowna for the weekend for the course and into ICBC at home Tuesday.

I went to bed just before ten last night as I was so tired. It was 7:45 when I crawled out this morning and that was because Mitzy needed to go to the dog park. It was a little warmer this morning and got darn right nice during the day. I took Mitzy for a walk out in the desert mid morning and wished I hadn’t worn so many clothes. Aileen went to the gym and also stopped by to see if Jacquie knew it was Country Store day – she did. I went to the lunch they put on in conjunction and enjoyed my Polish Sausage (and a hamburger which I didn’t need, of course).

Jim had been by while I was at the library wanting to borrow my little hydraulic jack so I took it over when I returned. I visited with them for a bit then rode around a bit more on my bike enjoying the warmth. I needed to go to town for ATV gas so we loaded Aileen’s scooter on the tote on the back of the Honda CRV and gave it a test ride. It seemed to work fine. I took the seat off and put it in the back of the car as it is so heavy and I think would overload the tote and hitch. We went and covered the pool about 4 pm to see if we could get a little more heat built up. It was only 84F last night and that’s where it was today at 4. They sure aren’t very proactive in here about keeping the temperature up there. They really need to fire up the gas heaters when the temperature gets this low.

Wendy and Randy were in the pool when we got there tonight. It was warmer than last night but not by much. Hopefully the temperature will climb with the higher temperatures forecast both overnight and during the day. The lowest high for the next week is 70F with some of the nights staying above 40F. That sounds pretty good to me.

Randy and Wendy have been busy for the past couple of days looking for house furnishings and arranging for their utilities to be connected. The purchase is due to complete on December 8ththen they will have some renovations to work at for awhile before moving. Jacquie and Jim will be into major renovations of their new house when they return to White Lake in the Spring.