Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We are HOME in the HILL’s!!

Here we just arrived at our place on the Hill. I am getting the Motorhome parked. We were only 30 miles away when we stopped for the night, so it was a nice easy trip on in Sunday morning. We arrived about 9:30 and what a beautiful day it was.  The place had wintered well and the rest of the day was spent getting everything ready for us to move in. By evening, we were all set to spend the night in our "Cabin".

The trip went about one day faster than we had planned but it was a good trip.  Remember we were taking a new route.  I am glad we did as we saw some neat new country but I wouldn’t do it again.  It was not as easy a trip as our normal way. The trip from I-70 north up Hwy 139 on the west edge of Colorado was the worst.  It is a narrow and very rough road. We had to cross Douglas Pass which was under construction and had many, many hairpin switchbacks.  They were laying new asphalt, so it was one way traffic over the pass which was 8000+ in altitude.

The evening at the Elks Club in Vernal, UT was enjoyable. They welcomed us and provided a nice paved place to spend the night and even gave us a free drink.  20 amp electric was available but we didn’t need it. We discussed the road north out of Vernal through the Flaming Gorge area with locals and they advised us that it had many steep 8% grades up and down, plus a lot of hairpins.  About that time I was thinking of turning around and backtracking for about 50 miles and go to Craig, CO. and then north on Hwy 13 which was the old way that I was very familiar with. But then they told us that the road was good and compared to our trip yesterday over Douglas Pass, it would be a piece of cake, so we decided to stick with our plan.

Ms. Pat took this picture of me driving just as we approached the Flaming Gorge Reservoir bridge. You can see out the window that it was beautiful.
This was the view from the bridge.  Ms. Pat took these pictures with her new iPad3. The guys back in Vernal were right.  This trip was a “piece of cake” compared to yesterday on Douglas Pass. Soon we were back on flat land as we crossed over into Wyoming.  We stopped at Flying J in Rock Springs, WY and then proceeded on North through our great friends Fuzz and Frieda’s old stomping grounds around Hudson, WY. The wind came up and it was a tail wind, so I didn’t even throw out the anchor to stop. It was easy going and I just let her float on down the road.
About noon, while topping South Pass with an elevation of about 7500’, we ran into a little fog. We stopped and had a bite of lunch and as soon as we started down, the fog cleared and we were rolling freely again.  By the time we reached Riverton, WY the wind had switched to be out of the West, perfect as it blew us right on into Casper. We were going to stop at Riverton for the night but it was only 1:30 pm and it is real hard to stop when the wind is making it so easy.

All I had to do was sit there and steer, not even press on the accelerator.  I would glance down at the on-board mileage computer and it was saying 9-10-11-12 MPG, way up to 20-30 once in a while. It doesn’t happen often and as anxious as we were to get home we just kept on rolling.  We were getting storm warnings on the Droid from the local weather bureau around Casper telling us there was a bad storm front moving in and the next day was not going to be good.   I know what kind of weather can suddenly appear in the Casper area from all the days we spent at the Teton Factory there.  We kept on rolling and by sundown we were only 30 miles from home...from there you know the rest of the story from last Sunday's Blog.

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!

We are happy to be HOME...let the fun begin. We went in yesterday and got the building permit for the “lean to” we plan on building. This morning the surveyors showed up just as I was about to wrap up the Blog. That detained me, sorry for the delay… 

Thanks for stopping by, come on back Sunday and I’ll bring you up to date…..


This Blog is Published every Wednesday and Sunday..

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Here We Sit.........

WOW, what a trip!………Here it is Sunday morning and we are sitting at a roadside pull-off 30 miles from our place near Custer, SD.  It is a beautiful morning, the temperature is 47 degrees and the sun is shining.  It has been quite an enjoyable trip and everything has worked beautifully.

First day we made it to our destination of Gooseneck State Park in South Eastern Utah as planned………(354 miles)
Second day we did as planned and made it to Vernal, UT and stayed at the Elks club……..Great place and friendly folks…..(343 miles)
Third day (yesterday) we went through the Flaming Gorge area and up into Wyoming……. across to Lander and Riverton. Beautiful country!!

We planned on staying at the Wind River Casino last night. We arrived there about 1:30 pm,  got all set up and went inside.  Ms. Pat and I are not impressed by the many Casinos we have seen. The smoke kills us and gambling doesn’t tickle our fancy in the least.  There were bad storm warnings out for the Casper, WY area for today and we decided not to wait around for them.  Besides, both of us were anxious to get home.  I felt like driving on and Ms. Pat agreed we would just go on until we got tired.

Here we are last night at 7:30pm after traveling 531 miles. We were only 30 miles from our place. It was getting dark fast and there were some curvy mountain roads ahead.  Ms. Pat didn’t want to get home after dark, so we agreed to shut it down for the day and go on in today. Rollie and Gina may remember this spot on Hwy 16 just East of Newcastle, WY almost to the South Dakota state line. We directed them to this super pull off one late night as they were coming back to our place.

Now we are anxious to get on home this morning and it is a beautiful day. We will have the entire day to get all set up and move into our great little Cabin. So the Blog will be short this morning as I just wanted to let you all know it was a great trip and we made it in fine shape.  I continue to be impressed with this great Foretravel Motorhome and the way it handles.

It was a GREAT WEEK!!!!

I’m a little tired but glad to be back to these beautiful hills of South Dakota...Our "little piece of Heaven".   Praise the Lord for his many Blessings.


This Blog is Published every Sunday and Wednesday..

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last day at North Ranch !

The day has finally came and we will depart North Ranch and head North to our place in the Black Hills early tomorrow morning. It has been getting so HOT, that loading the Motorhome and preparing this place for us to leave has been more of a job than I ever remembered it being before. What heat!!Wow...95 to 100 degrees every day! Extra dry, with humidity being 2-3-4%.  Air quality has been bad from all the wind and smoke.

It looks like we will be fighting the wind, so we will get on the road early and if the wind becomes a factor we will shut it down.  We are just so anxious to get out of this heat, I will travel at night if I have to. Last year, we only made it 166 miles the first day. The winds were so bad that we shut down at Flagstaff.  This really seems to be the windy time of the year around here but I have had the wind be to our advantage. One year we had a super tailwind all the way to Custer.  I couldn’t believe it and it doesn’t happen often but it does happen.  So I believe we can get this place wrapped up today and we’ll be out of here tomorrow as planned.

We are thinking of trying a new and different route this year.  I don’t know how it will work out but I’ll let you know. We normally go from here up to Moab, UT, over to Rifle, CO, up Hwy 13 to Craig, CO, then on up to Rawlins WY, over to Casper, WY and on home to Custer.
This year I believe we will go from Moab up to Vernal, UT via hwy 139 which is just over the colorado border and on up to Rock Springs, WY on 191. Then  north to Riverton, WY using hwy 28 and 789, over to Casper, WY and on home to Custer.  I don’t know a lot about any of these roads until I get to Casper and I hope I don’t run into problems.  I’m sure I will have more mountain roads this way than I did the usual way but it should be some new scenery and hopefully an enjoyable trip. It's been a long time since we've done any traveling and we are ready! This 450 hp Cummins needs a little exercise.   Wish me luck and if anyone has any advice I should know about these roads, let me know.

I want to show everyone the new PressurePro tire monitor mount I had made for our monitor. I first saw one when my good friends Mel and Nina showed me the one they had built while they were having some cabinet work done in Indiana. I really liked it and I finally have one. This cabinet maker makes them and matches the wood work in your motorhome and it really looks neat.
This is the back and side view…..extremely well made. You can double tape it down, use Velcro, or it is heavy and stable enough that it will just set by itself.  We can tell you where to get one made if anyone is interested. Let me tell you up front that they are not cheap but top quality! It cost me in excess of $50.00, but sure solved my mounting problems and I’m happy with it.

We should be very close to home in Custer by Blog time next Sunday....maybe even already home.  At any rate stop on back and we’ll tell you all about our trip.  Wish us luck!

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!


This Blog is published every Wednesday and Sunday..

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It’s 32 Degrees !

In CUSTER, that is!! 

When I got up at 4:30 am this morning and turned my computer on, I saw that it was 32 degrees up in the Black Hills. Then I looked at our thermometer here at North Ranch in Congress, AZ. and it was already 68 degrees. The high in Custer will only be 63 degrees for the day.

I do enjoy the early mornings here in AZ.....68 degrees. and 18% humidity is perfect.  Oh, so comfortable..  It will never be that warm at 4:30 am at our place in Custer, not all summer long. We have a lot of mornings in the 30’s, even in July and August. We call that “shirt sleeve” weather.  As the sun comes up, it warms up quite quickly and is usually very comfortable. The humidity is normally fairly low there also.

But let me tell you, as the sun comes up here in AZ, it gets hotter and hotter.  By noon it is in the 90’s and the sun is boiling down.  It was in the 90’s all last week. It really makes you look for SHADE!!  If you can stay in the shade, it is bearable. If not, it's just plain, well HOT! The humidity drops to 8% or lower.  Time for us to get out of Dodge!  We are both getting real anxious but have still managed to keep our target departure date this Thursday, May 24.

By this time next week, we should be out on the road, somewhere in Wyoming, getting closer and closer to our place in Custer, South Dakota.  Another winter in Arizona under our belts and history.

  It has been a real “Shoot ‘em Up” winter for us.   Pat began her ladies' day pistol training classes way back on January 10TH at the Wickenburg Sportsmen's Club and has attended them every Tuesday since. That is a lot of training classes but she really got into it and enjoyed it very much. Above is a picture of one of the training classes where Ms. Pat is receiving some one-on-one training from Caryl, her mentor and instructor.  We are so grateful to Caryl and Jerry for volunteering their time and effort into this project. There were about 15 ladies in attendance every Tuesday..  

Then we both enrolled in the Security Enforcement Academy at the Ben Avery shooting Facility and spent a long day earning our Arizona Concealed Weapons Permits. Now we have a South Dakota and Arizona CCW both. My Florida permit finally expired. many states honor each others now days...

P1020943  P1020950
Then every Thursday and Saturday morning they had all these many scenarios set up at the Action Shoots. It was great fun and this is where we spent almost every Thursday and Saturday morning. We both shot about 125+ rounds at each action shoot. All with our Glock 40 Cal pistols. Ms. Pat has a model 23 and I have a model 22.

Then about that time, good friend Jerry showed me his RELOADER.  Oh Wow! That was neat!  I just had to have one!

After a lot of shopping and searching, along with a lot of questions answered by my great buddy JRoger, my shooting mentor, it wasn’t long until there was a big box sitting in my shop from Dillon Precision ……. a new reloading press.
I read and read, studied and studied and finally got the thing put together as to the best of my ability and then Jerry came over and helped me fine-tune it.
It wasn’t long until I was cranking out my own bullets!!  Thanks to all the help of JRoger and Jerry! Needless to say, I spent a lot of my winter behind this machine pulling the handle, making one bullet at a time. I will soon pass the 5,000 bullet reloading mark. So a new hobby developed and it kept me quite occupied.  Even a little frustrated at times, but also quite satisfied most of the time.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning's and Sunday afternoon's, Ms. Pat is doing another one of her favorite things “Line Dancing”.
She even “Line Danced” the entire La Fiesta Parade.  She is waving to me as I directed traffic.
She loves and has studied Line Dancing so much, that she was easily chosen as the favorite Instructor of the year! 

Yep, its been a busy, exciting year to say the least…… Plus, guess what I saw the other day….
I saw this sitting on a table in Ms. Pats work room and I asked “Who’s is that?”   “Mine” she answered.  Hmmm, could we have yet another hobby in the making?  Well, around here ya' just never know…..Smile

It was a GREAT WEEK!!!!

I cannot praise our Father in Heaven enough for everything he blesses us with.  God bless you all and safe travels.

Hope to see you all back Wednesday for our last blog from the South for the summer.  We are headed North and I may have a route picked out by then.


This Blog is Published every Sunday and Wednesday..

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's HOT and DRY..

I don’t remember it ever getting this HOT this early before.  Is it just me, or is it really this HOT? It is also very DRY.  It was an especially dry winter. Now granted, it doesn’t rain much in Arizona but it has really been dry this winter..  Now it's getting so hot and since it's so dry, the place is a FIRE waiting to happen.  Already there are 4-5 fires going on around the state and none of them are under control…. Scary!!  

I know I’m sure looking forward to some cooler temperatures.  Our friends Bob and Cindy told us that they spent Mothers Day in their Motorhome up by our place in the Black Hills and one night it got down to 19 deg. That would cool me off!! The low for the night around here has been in the 70’s and it gets up very close to 100 during the day and that’s with the humidity around 8-9%!

Remember our tree out front that froze in January of 2011 and we had to cut it back?  This picture was taken one year ago exactly. We were worried about it surviving…

Well, I took this picture yesterday and it's doing pretty good. We are sure happy to see it recovering so well because it provides quite a bit of shade for the front of our house.

The Oleanders that surround our property on the sides and back are also doing well and are in beautiful bloom right now.  These are all on an underground watering system. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be doing so good at all.

We both have Dentist appointments today for checkups and cleaning. That should be our final Dr. appointment and hopefully hold us until next winter.  We have the Motorhome all cleaned up and now we are beginning to get it loaded.   It's only ONE WEEK from tomorrow until our departure date.  If this heat keeps getting to us, we may hit the road early.  I know I’m getting anxious but Oh Man, I have a lot to get done before we can go anywhere. This heat sure kills what little ambition I have fast!!

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!

Welcome to our latest Followers:

JudynEd Rice

We are glad to have you stop by and visit us. Please come back anytime. Remember you can click on the pictures of our followers and if they have a Blog you can check it out..

Thanks for stopping by and to all our traveling friends and family....BE SAFE!!


This Blog is published every Wednesday and Sunday..

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day to All You Moms!

This is my Mother and I taken way back in about 1936……………. What a wonderful picture of a beautiful Lady. I can’t say that I remember that day and I’m kinda surprised we even had a camera.. Thank God we did!

Here is a picture of three special Mothers. This is a 5 generation picture taken in probably about 1955. That’s my Grandma on my right, then my Great Grandma, then Mom. Then, that is my oldest son Mikel sitting on Great Grandma’s lap. All of these people are gone now but definitely not forgotten. Mom was called home by our Father 5 years ago and Mikel 2 years ago. They were all quite influential in my life.  I miss them very much but I know we will meet again. Praise the Lord!

It’s count down time for us here at North Ranch only 11 more days until we head for the Black Hills of South Dakota. Today we are off to Church to hear our Pastor Dean's final sermon before he heads to his next assignment.  He too was called to other places by our great Father in Heaven.

This is the campground at North Ranch and as you can see it is almost empty! It is always pretty quiet here but especially quiet now. Even our friends that many of you have met, Paul and Nancy, took off a couple days ago on a trip north to Oregon.  Have a good trip Paul and Nancy and keep in touch.  Drive safely....we are thinking of you and praying for safe travels.

It was a GREAT WEEK!!!!

God Bless you all and Happy Mothers Day..


This Blog is Published every Sunday and Wednesday..

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday Comes Awful Fast!

I get Sunday’s Blog done and think I can relax and not have to think about what I am going to write for a while… then WHAM, it's Wednesday! What already? I sure don’t think I could handle writing a Blog everyday.  I can hardly handle twice a week!

In just two weeks from tomorrow, we will be leaving North Ranch and heading to our place in the Black Hills. That time will continue to fly by and soon be upon us. We have been mentally preparing ourselves for the trip. There is a lot of things that have to be done to prepare a place to be shut up for 6 months. The worst thing about it is that the majority of it can’t be done until right before you leave. So about all you can do is try to make the decision of what to take, what will you need and what should you leave.  It's harder than you think to make that decision.

I don’t know how many times this winter I have said “I have one of those but it's up in Custer”.  Now I know that sure enough when I get to Custer, I’ll be needing something and saying “Hmmm, I have that but it's down at North Ranch”.  Boy, it was easy when we were full timing and carried everything we had with us……. But it's part of the game we play and we will get it figured out.  Anyhow, I’m getting anxious as usual….

Looks great from this angle
I’m looking forward to getting my Harley running and riding out in the hills. It is sealed up in the cargo trailer which is stored inside our toy barn, so it should be easy to get ready to go. Last year it didn’t even have a speck of dust on it……

Meanwhile, Ms. Megabyte2 is getting so she gets in her buggy and gives me that pathetic look. I can just tell she is saying “Come on, Pops, I want to go for a ride”! I gotta run…….

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!

Welcome to our latest followers:

Sherry and Charley Dilworth

Sherry and Charley have been good friends for a long while and I know they are not new followers, but it's good to see them on the list.

Thanks for stopping safe.


This Blog is Published every Wednesday and Sunday..

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The SUPER Moon

It was almost my bedtime but I did manage to get outside and take a couple shots of the BIG Moon.  It sure was beautiful……here it is as it came over our neighbors house.
There were some neat colors surrounding it.

I didn’t get any real good pictures of it since I didn’t take the time to set up my tripod or get out the real good camera. These pictures are a little hazy....but it was BIG and it was BEAUTIFUL.

We haven’t taken the time to go out in our back yard in the desert and do any riding much this year. We just have had so much going on but our time is getting short and we decided to take a little ride yesterday. 
Here we are looking back across the canyon at North Ranch…..  
There are hundreds of trails out here and they all lead to somewhere.  This time of the year almost everybody is gone and we have the entire place all to ourselves…. Beautiful peace and quiet.  Way back in the background is "Round Mountain".
We do share the place with quite a few head of cattle.  It is so hot and dry here, I feel sorry for them down here. As you can see they are already searching out every little bit of shade they can find.   I bet cattle here are born hungry and remain that way all their lives. I sure don’t see much for them to eat…….nor do I see any fat ones.  They do have water tanks scattered out for them to get water but I have never seen any supplement of hay brought in for them to eat. There are also several head of horses out here this year.   In the real heat of the summer it must be real tough for them.  The cows back home in SD and Florida don’t know how well they have it.  Life would be real tough out here for live stock.  It's pretty barren.  As Nick Russell of the Gypsy Journal said in his blog today, "The desert has a beauty all of its own, but everything out here will either scratch, stick, sting, or bite you."
Whenever I’m out riding, I always think of Gina. I just have to stop and pick up a rock or two in her honor. She always carried back a ton of pretty rocks…

While we were out, of course, we had to stop by our little private shooting range.  We haven't been able to go to the Range lately because it's been closed down for maintenance.  So we decided to get a little practice in out here.

Ms Pat loves her Glock and as you can see, she is no slouch with it.   A pretty good pattern with all but one shot in the bull's eye circle…..
She also likes to shoot the AR 15, 223. It's fun to shoot and has a red dot scope on it. I have it pretty well zeroed in where if you just put the little red dot on the bulls eye and squeeze, you’ll be dead on!

Of course, I had a new gun myself I wanted to get a little more familiar with…..

It shoots pretty good but the trigger pull is not as smooth as my Glock.  Maybe I can work on that a little. Most of it is just being used to a gun, and we've been shooting our Glocks quite a lot this winter. It's always fun to shoot something different but it sure is nice to get back to something you're comfortable with.  This pistol is a Taurus. Nice but I believe I’ll take my Glock!! We shot over 100 I better get back to the "reloader".  I was trying out some new gunpowder that is not quite as “hot”, hoping we can eliminate some of the leading of the barrels.  We will see. 

Baby jolee #1
Speaking of Gina, she is back in NJ helping Ashley, her daughter, with Jolee, the new grandbaby.  Ashley's husband Parker had to fly back to Grenada where he is finishing up his medical degree. She sent me this picture of Little Jolee on her first shopping trip.  She is only 11 days old and they already have her out there shopping.  LOL!     Isn’t she a cute little sweetheart?

It was a GREAT WEEK as we continue to thank our Father for all his wonderful Blessings…

Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you again soon. Our time at North Ranch is winding down as in less than 3 weeks we will be heading for the Hills. The beautiful BLACK HILLS that is.

God Bless you all.


This Blog is Published every Sunday and Wednesday..

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Another Project Started and Finished!!

Just when I thought we had all the projects done around our place down here in Arizona, another one hit me! While Ms. Pat was over shopping for groceries at Costco a while back, I was over looking through the stuff in the Hardware department.   I spotted a cool (get that, cool) ceiling fan. We had been talking about a ceiling fan on the screened-in porch.  So, when she came over to find me, I told her to look at the neat fan they had on sale for $99.00. She liked it, too, so we loaded it into the cart.

As we headed for home, Ms. Pat said “You know as long as we are going to put up one fan, I think we should put up another one in the bedroom”.  I think that little occasion when the A/C didn’t work for two nights when it was so hot, got her to thinking.  I knew we had to go right by both Lowe's and Home Depot on the way out of town.  I knew sure as shooting she was gonna want to stop and look at some more fans……. Dang, what have I started?!!!
Just look what we brought home, we shopped for Fans, Fans and more Fans! Our necks were getting sore from looking up at fans.  We picked up a couple more at Lowe's.  OK, lets get out of here. I’m ready to get home.   After we got all loaded up and started to head out, Ms. Pat said “I would like to look and see what Home Depot has”.    "What?  Why", I asked.  Well she says “I’m just thinking”.  Uh Oh, when she says that I know I’m in trouble.  I never know what she is thinking and I usually don’t ask. :-) She said, “I never have liked that fan in our living room."  I said, "Why?"  First of all, it's white and I don't like that white fan in there, it just doesn’t do the place justice”.   It doesn’t???   I never noticed. :-)

Then she found a fan that she just loved.  "Wow", she said, "that would look so good in the living room."  It would??  Hmmm, ya maybe it would. She tells me the fan in the living room would look good in the utility room, so we could move it there and put this beautiful one in it's place. Wow, my head started spinning as she continues saying, “We can put the one we got at Lowes on the Porch and, and this other one here in the bedroom.  I couldn’t take anymore, I told her to go for it.  If she was going to do that, then I was going over and get one of those metal doors for the patio.  I took off for the door section.  Soon here she came with a buggy all filled with fans.  I had a door picked out, but I told her she didn’t leave me any room in the basket for a door, so we better go.  She says. “No, as long as we are going to have Rich install all these fans, he just as well hang a new door, too”! So, we got a bigger flat bed cart for the door! Finally, we were headed 50 miles home….good thing we have a Pickup truck!

First James put the one up on the Porch, while Rich was up in the attic doing the wiring. These guys built this house so they know all about it.  Boy, it must have been 120* up in that attic. For once, I was glad I was too old to do this stuff anymore! For years and years, I wouldn’t have thought of hiring it done, I would have done it myself. This is a 70" fan and should do a good job of stirring the air. 
Then, they took the one out of the living room and put it in the utility room.   Whew, Ms. Pat was right, this white fan didn’t look good in the living room at all!! But it looks a lot better here…….. I never even paid any attention but Ms. Pat is real sharp on that kind of stuff.
Now that’s more like it. This is the one she chose for the living room.  Wow, it sure does look a lot better!!  Imagine that white fan here, it didn’t look good at all. This one is neat! It has wrought iron on it and goes perfectly with the other furniture.  If you look closely, you'll see Ms Megabyte2 asleep in her little bed. :-)
This is the one she chose for our bedroom.  Now that looks COOL, too, doesn’t it? Get it? (cool)…Smile

We had an older fan that Rich gave us last year to put on the porch and we never got it installed, so we decided to put it in my shop since we bought a bigger one for the porch.  Here is Rich installing it.  The shop has no A/C.   It is well insulated but this fan will help keep the air moving in here, too.  Now I will be cool, while I’m reloading our bullets.

Rich even got my new Patio door installed…….now even that is COOL!!

Our projects never end where ever we are but I hope that’s it for a while, at least until we get back to Custer. :-) I’m sure proud we did it and glad I started it all.

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!

Thanks for stopping by and hurry back…


This Blog is published every Wednesday and Sunday..