Sunday, May 29, 2011

It’s a GO.....for Blast Off!!

The time has finally come. Today is the day!   It's 5:00am and the sun is just starting to rise over the mountains to the East. It's 55 degrees, clear skies and absolutely NO WIND! That’s the way most mornings start here at North Ranch, near Congress, AZ. But later, like around lunch or shortly after noon, the winds sometimes begin to blow.   So we’re anxious to get on the road early and get some miles on while the wind isn’t blowing because if it gets real windy I will “shut ‘er down”.  Winds yesterday in the Winslow, AZ area where we are headed were gusting up to 65 mph. Not good travel time in a big rig like this.

Yesterday we got everything finalized. Whew, quite a job but when your going to be gone for 6 months, a lot of preparation has to be made.
Here is the living room area all covered……

Then we move all the Patio furniture into the utility room………….

Here is the kitchen area. Notice the 5 gal pails sitting in the sink.   They are full of water.  We place 5 of these throughout the house for humidity purposes.   Paul and Nancy will top them off several times during the summer so that things will not dry out.  It has worked well for us so far....all secrets we have learned from others in the area.
Then we put everything from the outside (tool’s etc.) in the shop and put the Golf Cart under the patio and covered it. I had already stored the ATV’s in the Cargo trailer a couple of days ago.  Then, one of the last things I did was to load one of the Polaris 4 wheelers into the back of the pickup so we can take it with us to Custer.   Meanwhile, Ms. Pat was loading all our personal belongings (well almost all of them !) into the motorhome.

We had one last Happy Hour yesterday with our good friends and neighbors Paul and Nancy and now we’re ready to “Hit the Road”!  Where we will end up tonight is anybody’s guess but be sure and stop back Wednesday and see where we are.

It was a GREAT WEEK!!!!

Thanks for stopping by.  God Bless all of you.  We're praying for a safe, uneventful trip for us and everyone who is on the road this holiday weekend.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!!  Enjoy your time together and with friends and family.

Now, we’re GONE!!!!


This Blog is published every Sunday and Wednesday..

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Surprise Visitor

What a surprise and shock it was to come around the corner and find this Visitor!!
It startled me at first, as I thought it was a rattler. However, I soon saw it wasn’t but I wasn’t sure what it was because I’m not up on snakes of the Southwest. I could tell it wasn’t a biter because it didn’t coil and prepare for a strike when I confronted it. He was a big guy, a good 5’ long. I hollered at Ms. Pat to get me a 5 gal pail so I could keep him out of my shop. He soon  got a short ride on my ATV out into the desert.  In checking, I found out it was a “Gopher” snake, non-poisonous and a rodent eater.   One of the “good Guys” but not a guy I want in my shop!  Ms MegaByte was on the porch and saw us trying to catch it and took off for parts unknown. 

Monday morning, Ms. Pat went up to her line dancing and I took what was probably my last 4-wheel ride out in the desert for this Winter. A great ride it was.  I really got into it…..quiet, all alone (I didn’t even take my camera), stopping every once in a while just to take in all the beauty.  Plus, some time to talk with God and with some other Angels that I know are watching over me.  It was a long ride.  I was lost part of the time but I kept on going and soon saw a familiar landmark. It was a really comforting pleasant ride and the weather was just so beautiful. The weather here continues to be just outstanding and really comfortable!  Should we really leave?  That is a good question.

Janna and Mike are about to be washed off the map with continuous rains in Montana. The Rapid City Journal sent out a “Flash Flood”  warning bulletin yesterday as the rain continues every day in the Black Hills. Terrible tornados and storms all over but here it is so calm and pleasant. Ms. Pat told me the other afternoon about happy hour (4pm) that she was going to turn the A/C on. I asked her what in the world for? She replied, "well we need to see if it works".   Oh yeah, I guess we do.  It was the first and last time we have had it on this year. In about 30 minutes, I shut it off. I was cold and I told her “yep it works!” The comfort of this home is something else. Warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Well, anyhow, I guess Saturday or maybe Sunday will be our day of departure…. good or bad, it's what we do and we are both anxious to get on our little “hill” south of Custer.  No chance of flood on our hill, if we can just get there!  I’m asking the weatherman for some good travel weather.  We’ll see how much pull I have....LOL.   I did crank up the Motorhome and drive it up to the club house for some Propane. It felt good to be behind the wheel, even if it was only for a mile!!  It ran great and I believe it's ready to roll.  Ms. Pat tells me we will be moving into it shortly, so we can close up the house. Soon we will be RV’ers again.

My blog is a little late this morning.  Sorry!!   I didn’t get it completed before we took off on our walk at 5:30am. The sun is coming up earlier and earlier....gotta get that walk in early before it gets hot.

Thursday (tomorrow) is an ALL DAY trip to Phoenix, our last visit for this summer. One last (I hope) Dr. visit and the normal supply trip to Costco, Sams and of course. Wally’s.

It is a GREAT WEEK !!!!

Sunday I will do my best to put out some kind of a blog…..stop back and see where we are.

Meanwhile, God Bless you all and travel safe!


This Blog is published every Wednesday and Sunday..

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Load ‘er up!

OK, we’re getting serious about this "loading the Motorhome thing". We just received a $20,000.00 stock order of PressurePro Tire Monitoring Systems that needed to be inventoried and sorted. We have to, of course, take all that with us, which takes up a good bit of our basement area. Ms. Pat says it all has to go down there because she has NO ROOM for it upstairs.

I received an email from a friend that asked “Hey Mike, do you still have that ROTOCHOK for sale”? Hmmmm, well yep, by golly I do still have it. I had forgotten all about it, just as I have so many other things I have had in the past. Rotochok is a top notch, heavy duty trailer wheel chock.  One of the best I have ever seen and I have had one for years.  They're a little pricey, as most good stuff is, so most of us jump at a chance to get a good used one. I’m shipping this one to my friend Al in Iowa and he got a good deal on it, like half price.

While digging up the Rotochok, I ran across another neat item that I forgotten I had. It is a 25’, 30 amp electrical cord with a 50 amp electrical twist lock connector.  Since I don’t have that type hookup on my Motorhome, this one is excess to my needs…. so if you can use it call or email me quick and it's yours for half price.  Here is what I am talking about:    Camping World   

This week was going along just fine, then Friday we got hit with a couple items that totally set us back.  Friday we received word that my last living Uncle had passed away.  We knew my mother's youngest brother Ed was extremely sick and in the Veterans hospital in Reno, NV. We had talked with him the previous week and could tell he was failing fast. His daughter advised us that she had asked Hospice to step in. Uncle Ed was the last of both Mom and Dad’s sisters and brothers.   He was only 4 years older than me and he used to live right here in Congress, AZ. About 3-4 year’s ago family took him home to Reno because his eyesight was failing.  He had the same thing Mom had “Macular Degeneration”.... the fast kind.  Rest in Peace, Uncle Ed.

Then yesterday, we found out that our Pastor in Custer, SD had moved 300 miles away to another Church in Platte, SD. Neal and Deb Hughes were special dear friends....not only our top fishing buddies but Neal was one Pastor that really touched our hearts.   He was an old Cowboy and once a Cowboy, always a Cowboy. Neal and I had similar Ranch backgrounds and we had a special bond.  So special that a couple of years ago, I asked Neal to re-baptize Ms. Pat and I in this special place in the Black Hills that God had led us to and that we enjoyed so much.  Many of you remember this Blog Post

Pastor Neal was also very instrumental in helping me understand and accept my two Sons death.  He further strengthened my Faith in God in so many ways.  Oh dear, I’m going to miss him and I know Ms. Pat will also.  We are devastated that he is gone. We don’t know the details of his transfer yet but Deb told us "the Lord is moving".  I can hear Neal telling me that it was God’s calling.  Well, I have a feeling that we will be making a trip East 300 miles to Platte, SD to see Pastor Neal and Deb and listen to one of his very moving Sermons.  God Bless you my Man.

We ask God to continue to give us strength to go on and we continue give thanks for so much he has provided for us.

It was a GREAT WEEK!!!

Now we're off to Church to our other "favorite" Church.  By this time next week, God willing, we should be on the road headed home to Custer,SD. We may not have internet all the time but we will keep you posted as soon as we do. 
Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you Wednesday.

Travel safe, and tell your loved ones you love them.  They may not be around forever.


This Blog is Published every Sunday and Wednesday.. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


One of the big jobs we had to get done before we headed north was to tame our wild Oleanders down a  little. They sure had pretty blooms on them, mostly white, with several red and pink ones mixed in. Above is a picture of how wild they looked. We just couldn’t leave with them looking like that.  They would really be out of control if we left them like that all Summer.
Now that’s better. Wow, do they look a lot different or what? It cut down on our "privacy" a little but we're going to be gone anyway.  They'll grow a foot or two while we're gone.
Another project we had to get done was on this tree in our front yard. It took a real hard hit in our “Big Freeze” this winter. We have been watching it very closely since February and the limbs from about 6’ up appeared to be dead. So we called the Tree Man out and after inspection by an expert, we were told it was a "goner".  It does have a lot of new growth below the dead limbs so we don't think it is totally dead.  All we could do was cut off the dead limbs and let it start all over again.   Ugh, we hated to hear that as we didn't  want to lose the shade this little tree provides,  But such is the story all over North Ranch. Folks are having to replace all kinds of trees, shrubs and plants...even some of the native Cacti..
So, this is what we had to sure looks sad but all we can do now is wait and see what it does and how well the new limbs develop.  We may have to totally remove it and start over completely but we wanted to try it this way first.  It sure changes the look of the front of our house but when Mother Nature deals, you have to contend with what she wants.  We are much luckier than those folks back in tornado country with all their storms.  So we count our blessing again.  

This is how it looked back in early December when we had to trim some branches from it caused by a summer wind storm.We'll be anxious to see what it looks like when we get back next Fall.

We even got so far as to put a few things in the Motorhome this week but next week we have to get real serious about getting it loaded up. We will probably even move into it a few days before we leave so we can give the house a good cleaning and cover the furniture with dust covers.

Meanwhile I even found time to go out in the desert and have a little “shoot out”. Yep, got a little target practice in.  Boy I'm getting a little rusty and my “aim” sure isn’t what it used to be. I really had to discipline myself to concentrate enough to get my accuracy anywhere near what it was when I used to shoot for qualification. However, I finally got my “pattern” down to the inside of a paper plate at 20 yards. Not expert, but a good average. I’ll get a couple more practice sessions in before we go....I hope!

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!

We continue to thank Our Father for all his many Blessings and all he provides for us. God Bless you all and please travel Safe!!

Thanks for stopping by.


This Blog is Published every Wednesday and Sunday…

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cleaning up loose ends..

The Gypsy in me is coming alive again. I have been in one spot long enough!  If I didn’t have a Doctor's appointment on May 26th, I swear I’d hit the road.   It’s the soonest I could get in to see this Dr. and it's an important one to me or I’d cancel it.. But we really do have a cram-packed two weeks ahead of us before we leave. But, two weeks from today, we should be on our 2nd day headed for good ole' Custer, South Dakota.

One of the last things we have to do each year before we leave is Megabyte2’s annual visit to the Vet for her checkup and immunization shots. She doesn’t like it!  When I got her car carrier out, she took one look at it and vamoosed! Under the chair, then the table....she wanted no part of that carrier. I could hear her hollerin' “NO!! POP’s, I ain’t goin'”!!  I finally caught up with her and had to “stuff” her into it because she wasn’t going willingly.

After a short 10 mile ride to Wickenburg, we pulled up to the "Bar S” Animal Clinic. Ms. Mega2 didn’t say a word....she was trying to hide in that little car carrier.

Now while we were in the waiting room, I know she is thinking, "Oh, I remember this place and I told you I NEVER wanted to come back here"!! She endured a lot of pain here a couple years ago and I’m sure she hasn’t forgotten it.   I know I haven’t forgotten it and I was about as scared as she was.

In no time, they ushered us to the examination room and asked Mega2 to remove her clothes and get on the table. Ms. Pat is trying to comfort her but she was looking at me with her big eyes and I could tell she was saying “Please help me Pop’s....lets get out of here!”

Soon the Doc was in and began her examination, looking at teeth, poking and pushing, listening and then that dreaded SHOT! During all of this, Ms. Megabyte2 was trying to be nice but she didn’t like it and she stayed as close to Ms. Pat as she could.   Then came the rear toenail clip and the Doc got a little close on one and Mega2 let out a BIG holler…….”OUCH”!! I almost clobbered the Doc and wanted to tell her to BE CAREFUL!! Don’t hurt my girl!! Ms. Mega2 passed the exam with flying colors and is good to go for another year.  She and I were ready to get her out of there so we headed for the pickup and left Ms. Pat to pay the bill. Whew....glad that's over for another year, and so is Ms. Megabyte2!

Now if Ms. Pat and I can get our medical checks done and come out as well, we’ll be outta here. Plans are to leave the next day after my Dr. appointment on the 26TH. So by the night of the 27TH we should be several hundred miles from North Ranch.  So many of our friends all went north out of here to Canyon de Chelly (pronounced d’Shay) and since we have never gone that way, we decided to do a "Monkey see, Monkey do". We’ll plan to spend the night in that area and look around a little, then go on over to Cortez and Durango, Colorado. Then I think we will give that Million Dollar Highway #550 from Durango to Grand Junction a try. Haven’t decided for sure yet but if you watch the You Tube Video, it looks like a humdinger and I love humdingers!

It was a GREAT WEEK!

I’m happy to report that we received word late last night that Gina had arrived back home in Louisiana all the way from Grenada.  We are so happy to hear that. When loved ones are flying nowadays, I worry.  Glad you're home Sweet Girl...... now we are anxious to hear all about your wonderful trip.

Thanks for stopping by.  Come on back Wednesday and get the low down on a few more projects we HAVE to do before we leave.

Travel safe!!


This Blog is Published every Sunday and Wednesday..

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Paul and Nancy’s New Van….

Our good friends and long time neighbors here at North Ranch RV Park near Congress, AZ. have been looking for a small “B” Van.   After looking at several over the Winter, they were about to give up when Paul saw one in the Phoenix newspaper that interested him.  Low and behold, it was what he wanted and he tendered an offer to the private party sellers. After some hesitation the seller decided to let it go.

FINALLY, Paul and Nancy had found just what they were looking for.   Take a look at the above slideshow and see the beautiful Van they came driving home. (click on the black border at the bottom of the picture and you can restart the slideshow) It is in real good shape and is very clean.  Paul took it in to his local mechanic and had it checked from bumper to bumper. The mechanic suggested a few minor items, which Paul had him take care of and it should be no problem in making their planned trip back East to Pennsylvania this summer/   Hot Dog...they are going to stop and visit us in Custer, SD on their way home.   That’s wonderful!!!

Speaking of Custer SD, (our 2ND home) can you believe our departure date is only 3 weeks away!!!  Ah, yes and I’m getting anxious.  I’m already starting to plot the trip and plan the departure procedures  Three weeks goes by real fast but so much can’t be done until just a few days before we leave.  North Ranch is again almost deserted….
This is the Campground at North Ranch, which has some 110 RV sites. Most of you know that these campsites are almost all full or at least 75% full most of the Winter. It is about the same way in the residential and private lots at North Ranch, although there are several folks that stay here year around, including Paul and Nancy. It’s getting a little lonely around here….a "Ghost Town"…..but it sure is quiet and peaceful.


I slipped up to the Club House the other day and took a picture of Ms. Pat and her line dancing class.  There are still a few gals here but the class is getting smaller and smaller.

Safe Travels and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!!

It was a GREAT WEEK!!!!

Thanks for stopping by……….come on back Wednesday.


This Blog is published every Sunday and Wednesday..

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter Sunrise Service Was Beautiful!

Easter Sunday was a beautiful morning as we attended Sunrise Services in Wickenburg,AZ. Services were at 6:00 am, so we had to leave North Ranch by at least 5:30. We always get up at 4 am but still we had to scurry around to be ready to leave so early.
This is Pastor Dean, he was there and warming up when we arrived. He is one superb fellow that we adore in so many ways. He is an extremely talented musician, plays several different instruments and has a voice second to none. He is a great Pastor that delivers a powerful message in a wonderful manner. Rollie and Gina will enjoy this picture, as they too grew to love Pastor Dean.  This is his 10TH year anniversary at The First Southern Baptist Church in Wickenburg....a true blessing for us and the Church.

It was near this same time a year ago that we received word of our son Mikel’s sudden death. Pastor Dean and his wife came to our house in North Ranch and sat with us for several hours. That touched my heart very much as his words were a special added comfort. Those days were tough.  We thank God for our friends that were with us at the time and Pastor Dean and his wife.
Here comes the Sun!! The weather was perfect……  I even got to finish my morning coffee, as the pot was on!
Here is Paul and Nancy and Ms. Pat seated for the services and enjoying the Sunrise. What a wonderful celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. 

As we all enjoyed the special morning, I couldn’t help but remember just one short year ago when we lost Mikel.   As I’ve said before, some memories aren’t the best, or easy. However, we must move on as we have so much to be thankful for.  I am still mourning my two boys, in my special way and I sure miss them.  I hope you all understand.  It is hard to explain and I ask for your patience.

God Bless you all!!

It is a GREAT WEEK!!!!


This Blog is Published every Wednesday and Sunday..

Sunday, May 1, 2011

One More Month at North Ranch in Arizona..

 April 2011 is history, gone forever and we only have a few short weeks before we head North to our other favorite place, the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. I get anxious to go but I love it here and have plenty to keep me busy. While Ms. Pat is up Line Dancing I have been taking short trips out in the desert on my 4 wheeler. I needed a few rocks to complete a little project, so I been Rock Hunting..  DSC_3108
I needed a few of these smaller rocks to complete a little “spillway” where rain water runs off the roof.   Gina started it last year but didn't have to time to finish it.  I know she could do a much better job but she's on an island somewhere relaxing on the beach and eating "lobster". :-) Bless you Girl!
I found enough to get it pretty well lined so hopefully it won’t wash out. I hope Gina approves!
I wet the rocks down and Ms. Pat ran the 4 wheeler back and forth over them to sink them in so they will “stay put”.
Ms. Pat wanted a few more rocks for some special places, so we went out again yesterday by ourselves. This big vast desert is so beautiful. This is a wonderful time of the year down is so quiet and peaceful. The weather is perfect. Almost everyone else is gone, headed who knows where. We have the entire place all to ourselves. Fellow Blogger Al would be in Heaven....right Al?
Always way back in the background is "Round Mountain". It is a landmark we use to keep from getting disoriented. You can get in these “washes” and zig zag around and around and it’s easy to get confused as to where you are exactly. Just get up on a little hill and there is Ole' Round Mountain to tell you just where you are.  Pictures make this country look “Flat”, but believe me it is anything but…..
Here we are about 3 miles out looking back at the large Martinez Wash. North Ranch is right in the middle of the picture just over the hill out of site.
Ms. Pat has found some special rocks.  If Gina were here she would be “Rockin' and Rollin'” with us!
I wanted to call your attention to Ms. Pat’s special “Cap” that she wears in honor of Rollie and Gina’s son Thomas. Thomas is a Marine and has been deployed since February.  Presently he is staging on a ship out at Sea waiting,…. waiting for something that we all hope doesn’t happen. But isn’t it comforting to know that our American Sons and Daughters are standing ready to defend our country and our freedom?  Ms. Pat gives Thomas a “Thumbs Up” and wants him to know we love him very much and are thinking of him and praying for his safe return.  We can’t wait for him to get back home!!  You be careful Son and God Bless you and all your buddies out there.
I wanted to show off my son Patrick, who was also a Marine!! He went riding with us out in this beautiful desert back in February...We took him to "Box Canyon". One of those times I will cherish forever. Way too few and far between.DSC_2896
This is Patrick’s “RAZOR”.  Hopefully, this will clear up the confusion and answer the question many readers had about what the connection was between a Golf Cart and a RAZOR.   Razor is a model of ATV that Polaris makes. As you can see it has dual seats and “roll bars”.... it even has “safety belts”! My son feels it is much safer than the ATVs we ride. Some are afraid I might fall off of mine and hurt they think I should get a RAZOR.  I have no idea why they would think such a thing…..baffles me! :-)

But, to answer their question, " No there is no RAZOR in my future".  Not to say that I will never have one but remember I’m an old Cowboy and Cowboys like to ride “on” stuff, not “in” them.   So I’ll keep slinging my leg over my rides for a while yet…..  maybe until I get old!!

That’s about all the foolishness I can think up this time…..until next week.

It was a GREAT WEEK!!!

Thank You for stopping by and I do hope you can find the time to drop back in next week…

Praise the Lord for all he provides us and you all travel safe!


This Blog is Published every Sunday and Wednesday..