Friday, March 18, 2011

Last update

Hello all,

We left KOA in Abilene, TX and 39 degrees on March 6.  It took us THREE (3) days to finally get out of the state of Texas.

We revisited my niece, Alyanna and her family, made home-made lasagna, played with the children.  They convinced us to play Kinect(X-BOX)where we played white water rafting.  Ken and I felt like we had been  to exercise class.  They are tougher than they look – but fun.  The kids sure enjoyed it.

Leaving AR and heading to Chattanooga, thunderstorms were predicted for our travels with hail in some areas.  The cold front hit that evening.  It is quite beautiful – the trees are just trying to bud out, the crocus are out and daffodils and my allergies are in full  swing!

Received news from a friend of our in Wilkes-Barre and she had to be evacuated because of the rains in NY.  There is a creek near her house which has begun to flood and it will come to the point where she will be stranded so she headed up the mountain for safety.  Prayers for her (Barbara).

A pleasant stop was to visit with our daughter while in Chattanooga.  It was beautiful on top of Signal Mountain.  Karen is now on her way to Baja, Mexico.
A co-worker that was involved in  Event and Party Planning with me when I worked Fluor Corp. was on our visitation list.  We did our annual “Carrabas dinner” and had a great time catching up with her and her little boy.

Ellen & Julie
Ides of March brought us to my sister, Helen’s, house.  Many of you remember Helen when she was the Nursery Attendant at the church and her son, Blake, who was in Sunday School and her husband, Mike.  We were quite busy.  We visited Heritage Woods where my mother will be living and got things together so she could be there in May.  Helen volunteers at The Angel Closet, which is a thrift store, and I went for the morning which was quite nice – the people that came in were a delight to talk to.  All purchases are done by donation.  The lady who runs it only needs enough to pay the rent and electric of the building.  A great service to the community.

Helen, Blake & Julie

We spent St. Patrick’s Day by celebrating our anniversary with my sister and her family and her in-laws.  We went to a great pizza place called Monicals. 

We plan on being home on late Saturday, March 19.  HOORAY!

See ya'll soon,
julie & ken

Sunday, March 06, 2011

long over due update - Vacationing

Hello to all (while I have a good connection, I am going to update),

We can now say that we have traveled all the time zones in the U.S.

Judy & Julie
Judy and Fred
If you are a ‘reader’ of our blog, you will remember from my trip to the Ukraine and Slovakia I had a “roomie” named Judy.  We were invited to her house in Phoenix  for a visit and were introduced to her family.  It was Presidents’ Day so she had her family over for a buffet.  What a feast she and Fred had.   It was so nice to see Judy and share with her family our fiascos in Europe.   Ken said he could see why we hit it off so well – we were so much alike!  Scary that there is another Julie, right?

We stayed a couple of days at the Black Canyon, AZ  KOA.  They had ‘rock finding’ trips, so I thought, why not.  When I inquired, they said they would give me a bag of dirt and a sifting pan and take me out by the chicken coop and I could sift the dirt and I was guaranteed to find some type of “rock”.  This was not what I had wanted to do.  I wanted to go out to the field and sit in the dirt and look for my own rocks with a shovel and pick.  Oh well.

We had stayed the extra day so that we could visit Sedona and its red mountains and tour the area around Sedona.  Overnight it had snowed and we found out that some of the areas we wanted to visit were closed because of the snow.  One of the towns, Jerome, had received a lot of snow and they had the road closed.

Sedona's red mountains


On our way west, there were so many mountains, formations, cacti, and many “Kodak moments”.  I took many, many pictures of all these delightful sights.  And many of you who know me, when I take pictures, I take LOTS of pictures.

We originally were going to go to CA to visit with Tim and Kat but Tim thought it would be a better idea if he and Kat met us in Las Vegas to avoid the ‘mountain pass’ and high gas prices.  We are so glad that we did not have to drive the 11% grade.  We had an 8% grade and although the “Admiral” made it, it was hard on the RV.  Besides, they had snow and were closing down some of the highways – not a place we wanted to be in an RV.  Although we climbed to 7000 feet and the ‘Admiral’ did quite well.

One of the areas we climbed was Humphreys Peak at an elevation of 12,570 feet.  Beautiful!
Tim & Kat arrived late Thursday evening and went to dinner at Longhorn –steak, potatoe and salad deal - $5.99  We were very fortunate that Tim had our weekend planned – we didn’t have to think of anything to occupy our time.

Our first morning started out by bowling, right after breakfast.  The first game was warm-up; the second, the girls beat the guys.

Girls beat the guys

The early morning bowlers
In the hotel where Tim & Kat stayed (across from the RV park we were at), I believe there was a Santa Clause convention.  Everywhere you looked, there were Santas.

Santa convention
After our bowling, our Full day with Tim & Kat began.  When you are with Tim you have to have your walking shoes on.  We walked EVERYWHERE!  By the end of the first evening our feet and knees were sore.

We did a lot of free exhibits:  lions, tigers and bears, oh my!  Greek mythology exhibit, volcano display, various animated water displays, Japanese flower displays, rabbits (in observance of Japanese new year), glass flowers, vortexes and best of all the largest chocolate fountain!  

Japanese glass tree

Glass flowers

Year of the Rabbit

Tim & Kat

World's LARGEST chocolate fountain-YUM!
Kat and I could have just layed down and just drink from the fountain.  

We saw a “Fat Elvis” show – his voice was so close to Elvis, but his weight was not, and he had lost 300 pounds over the past four years.  I am guessing he probably weighed close to 600 pounds because he looked like he still weighed 300 pounds.

We purchased a 24 hour Buffet pass for as many buffets as you could eat in 24 hours.  We had three – it was so much food, and desserts, but Tim was able to eat as may crab legs at each buffet.  He is a crab leg addict.  To me, they are too much work.
I was disappointed as we crossed over the new bridge, both to and from Hoover Dam.  I was expecting to see the Dam (like we were able to with the old bridge) but you could not see it at all.  Lake Mead’s water was low but beautiful, with the snow-capped mountains in the background.

Hoover Dam from new bridge (I held the cameral over my head to get this shot (not too good either).
As I am writing this, we are leaving the West and starting our trek home.  On the highway, there are many RVs heading west – it is Nascar Race week in Las Vegas.

We overnighted in Case Grande, AZ, not too far from Al & Char Richards.  They are members of our church and are visiting their son in Chandler.  (I took my camera along and did not get a picture taken).  Char, as always, made a terrific meal (Bolainnise), salad, garlic bread and strawberry shortcake for dessert.  She said she had just seen it on the tv and wanted to try it.  It was perfect.  Thank you Char!  Even though we only live ten miles away from each other, we find that we are able to visit with our friends as we travel (and they are vacationing) than we can at home.  Our schedules get so busy at home.

We are making an overnight stop in Van Buren, AR to visit with my niece and her family one more time – hopefully they will come out during the summer.  We miss so much with them being so far away.

NOTE TO JUDI at MIJB:  We are still at least three week from getting home.

We will visit Karen in Chattanooga before she heads out to Baja, CA for a two week vacation, my friend, Ellen in SC and perhaps an aunt and uncle in MD (all depends on the weather).

Blessings to all and see you soon,
julie & ken