Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where's Kathy Now?!

This post was started a good two weeks ago but since I had quite a bit of it written already, I decided to post it as is, even though I made a 'sudden' decision to move over to the greater LA area. I'll explain that decision in another post!

So. . . . at the time that this was originally written, I was at a wonderful rv park located in Florence, AZ. The name of this gem is Desert Garden RV Oasis http://www.desertgardensrvpark.com. It's situated within about an hour of Phoenix and Tucson and half an hour of Casa Grande. I settled in there for two months and enjoyed my stay immensely.  If you find yourself in this area, I'd say this park is worth stopping by to experience for yourself. When I first arrived back in the Phoenix area, I went down to this park and drove through -- it was quite empty of rv'ers at that time. That was around the end of September and the temperatures in AZ were still hot!!  It was a good month later that I finally made my way down there to stay a spell! The park was gradually filling in with return snowbirds - some who owned their site there.  This is a 'cooperative rv park' with just a few park models.   One of these days, I'd like to create a separate blog similar to the ones that other rving bloggers have created so that I can share details about the places I stopover at or settle into for a longer stay.
While there is no golf course associated with his particular park, there are a few within a decent drive.  What appealed to me most about this park is that it is in a more rural, desert setting. I have really been enjoying my walks on the perimeter walking path they've created for our use. The night sky is amazing as are the sunsets and sunrises!!

I found it quite unsettling that there were very few offerings by way of rv parks that are located in a more rural setting in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.   I have found out that I am definitely NOT a lover or, even a ‘liker’ of citified rv parks – I don’t care how convenient they are!!  That’s just me though and I can understand that there are folks who feel diametrically opposed to my viewpoint.
I’ve used the past two months to take a ‘break’ from travelling and sightseeing.  I had an absolutely fantastic spring and summer with family and friends visiting, travelling and sightseeing with me.  We covered a lot of territory and got to see so many truly amazing and wondrous sights.   From June 10th to Sept. 8th I put about 13.5K miles on the truck and 5th wheel -- wow!!
I like the greater Phoenix / Tucson area of AZ and might have seriously considered it a place that I would ‘settle in’ at some point down the road. This area offers a wide range of activities year round and most are within 45 mins to an hour drive. There’s a chunk of ‘but’ however! For me, personally, the ‘dry’ atmosphere is problematic. I thrive, look and feel much better in something more moist, even humid – well maybe with the exception of my hair. My eyes constantly need me to put warm, wet packs on them, my nose needs ‘watering’ several times each day and my hair. . . . there are NO words for how dry it has become – no matter the amount of conditioner I pile on it. So, we’ll see where else I take a liking to as I continue to travel.

I will be here for probably another month, mid-January perhaps. My daughter, Dianne, will be taking a work assignment at a firm located in Glendale, CA and she suggested I look for an rv park in the greater LA area (I know- ha, ha, ha) and we could spend some time together before I move along in April/May 2011.  I’m looking forward to doing that and to spending some time in southern CA.  I did stopover in Desert Hot Springs on my trek toward the Napa, CA area in October 2009.  I stayed at another nice park there, Caliente Springs - part of the Sky Valley Resorts. They have a wonderful hot springs pool that I thoroughly enjoyed – met some really nice folks there and I got to use my Passport America there also.  I’d like to go back there and then spend time closer to the coast.  But, I’d also like to be within 1 ½ to 2 hours of where Dianne will be so she can drive down on the weekends when she wants to get to warmer climate.  It’ll be tricky from what research I’ve done so far.

There are a couple of things I’d like to see/do before I leave here in mid-January. One is get to Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa – a neat place that the owners/mangers of Desert Garden told me not to miss. They have good pizza and boast having the world’s largest Wurlitzer Theatre style organ which provides music throughout their opening hours. That should be fun.  I also want to get up to the Desert Botanical Garden to see their Las Noches de las Luminarias display which looks delightful.  And, finally, I’d like to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum which isn’t too far from Florence. If I have time, a trip down to see the Biosphere would be great too and a concert at either the Phoenix or Tucson Symphony would be a very nice treat.

There will be more of these “Where’s Kathy Now” posts along the way but that’s about all from here for now.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Kathy's home on wheels & tow vehicle

I really LOVE my cozy home on wheels. It's a 2005 34' Carrage Cameo with four slides -- the dining/sofa slide (seen behind the cab of the truck in the photo) has four 'skylight' type windows on the top, which really fill the main living area with light.  I pull the 5er with my 2005 F250 SD King Ranch crew cab Triton V10 (short bed). I bought each of them used in 2008 and I have been very happy with both of them.
The short bed truck has been a challenge at times but I've been doing much better at maneuvering the 5er without 'popping' the rear window of the cab!!  Yup, I do have a 'slider' hitch but. . . . have never learned how to use it . I even wonder if the hitch would actually slide on the rails after all these years of not using it. The previous owner of the 5er included the hitch in the deal and he commented that he had only used the slider once!!
At the time that I was searching for my tow vehicle, I did a ton of research.  I knew that I definitely did not want a diesel pickup. I'm not even 'open' to discussion on this and have heard all the points favoring diesel vs regular engine and the pulling power, etc.  I do respect all those who have decided they prefer a diesel and also all their reasons for making that choice -- this is just a strong personal choice on my part. So far, this combo is working fine for me and, of course, I sure hope it will continue to for another few years.

When I found my truck, the fact that it is a short bed became worrisome to me so I started searching for a Glendale Titanium with the step-up cab over feature.  Unfortunately, there were very few used ones on the market and the few I found were either too long or a had a floor plan that I knew wouldn't work for me.  I was just a month away from my departure date in the summer of 2008 when my sister suggested that I just pack up the truck with whatever I had left in my apartment and head down to stay with her in Gulfport. "There's a b'zillion' rv's down here - just come. . . . you'll find on within a couple of weeks" is the way she put it.  Then, after returning from a July 4th weekend in NYC, I found three Cameos for sale within a reasonable driving distance.  I knew this was the one as soon as I stepped inside!!   There has been a few times when I've thought about switching out to a Titanium for the step-up overcab feature but. . . . haven't looked into it seriously.  At this point, I'm thinking any change I might make should be to a smaller unit -- there's been so many places I would have liked to set up but the site size restriction was much too small for this rig.

For now, though, I'm truly enjoying life in my Cameo and I just love driving my truck.  
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Red faced (and it has nothing to do with the holidays). . .

Thanks again to all who have signed on as a ‘follower’ – hopefully, I’ll have a few interesting things to say/share along the way.

When I wrote in my first ever blog that I would attempt to keep up with my newly created blog while in ‘travel mode’, I really did have the best of intentions!! I guess I don’t quite have a ‘handle’ on how to accomplish that just yet though! I have to confess that I’ve been out of ‘travel mode’ for over two months now and still haven’t gotten back ‘to it’!! Hmnnnn, I’m not sure what that’s all about!! I recently wrote in an email to my brother and sister-in-law that I may have to seek therapy to get to the bottom of this ‘blog block’ thing. . . tsk, tsk! Prior to spending big $$$ on that approach though, I’m determined to give this a serious. . . ‘have at it already’!!

I was a total blog novice when I wrote that first blog and closed out from it.  At the end of a very busy summer, I decided to go back to the blog site to re-introduce myself to the blogging thing, get re-oriented on the how to’s, and re-read my first ever blog. Imagine my surprise when I found several ‘followers’ listed on my blog. It never occurred to me that someone would ‘find’ my blog before I sent out emails to my family and friends telling them about it!!  I’m not just a little embarrassed about that and I offer my apologies for seeming to abandon the blog.  Thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to welcome me and leave a comment on my first post. Recently I received an email ‘nudge’ from a blogger who had found my blog via a link on another couple’s blog.  I sent her a note thanking her for the ‘nudge’ and now thank her once more! I did ‘set to work’ writing this and a couple of additional ‘posts’ in ms word within a couple of weeks of receiving her email.  Here’s hoping that I’ll actually post these within the next week and that will jump start me to some regularity!!

I decided that probably the best approach for me, at this point in time, is to write up a few ‘posts’ sharing where I’ve been and what’s been happening for the past several months and then, as I go forward, I can include some of the great places I have visited / stayed since leaving Hudson, NH back in early August 2008. That should ‘catch me up’ with family and friends that I haven’t been able to keep up to date over these past two 2+ years.

 Getting back to the topic of being a blog novice and finally getting back to re-acquainting myself with blogging, I was delighted to find new templates on Blogger!! I couldn’t resist converting from the old template that I used to create my original blog post and I like the format/layout/features on these newer templates. I sure hope it will continue to be user-friendly! There is still much to learn ‘cause I like all the ‘whistle and bells’ that are offered and that I have enjoyed seeing on the blogs I find myself ‘following’ (ie. photos that can be clicked on to enlarge, links to Picasa web albums, rv park reviews, etc.)  I may be calling on you experienced bloggers out there to help me figure out how to accomplish a task that me baffled from time to time.