Change of Scenery

We left Yuma in mid-March to be closer to the Phoenix area.   A change of scenery has been good for the mind and soul.  Our plans to go to Alaska this summer have once again been pushed into next year, and we will be heading back to work at Luton’s Teton Cabins in May.  With all that has happened in the past year, we feel very fortunate to have options.  

A year ago, the “talk in the RV park” was about toilet paper – what places had it, and how much could you get!  Today, the “talk” is all about vaccinations – what places have it, and what shot did you get?  So we have come a long way with COVID!  And…we were able to get the Pfizer vaccine.  We are both fully vaccinated, having both shots 21 days apart.  If you are a side sleeper like me, I recommend not getting the shot in the arm you sleep on.  I made this mistake, and had a very sore arm for several days after the first shot.  The 2nd shot I had in my other arm, and had no problems.  We also drank a lot of water the day before, day of, and day after the shot.  This was one piece of advice we received from many people that had side effects – stay well hydrated.  

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CASA GRANDE RUINS NATIONAL MONUMENT

It’s been a long time since I was able to get a new stamp in my National Parks Passport Book, as we have avoided large crowds for the past year.  After Yuma, we stayed in Casa Grande, AZ for two weeks, and met up with our friends Forrest and Mary.  Besides a few delicious lunches with them, we went to visit Casa Grande Ruins National Monument with them.  Currently, the park is waiving admission fees, as they have limited services.  The movie and museum buildings are closed, and the bookstore only allows a few people in at a time. But since the Ruins are all outdoors, it is still worth a visit.  The Monument is dog friendly, and has plenty of parking if you are travelling in an RV.  

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It is believed this structure was built about 700 years ago, by the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People.  They used caliche, a desert soil rich in calcium carbonate, mixed it with water, which formed a concrete like substance.  It was early Spanish explorers that first documented the ruins, and named it Casa Grande, meaning Great House.  It is four stories high, and 60 feet long, and the walls face the four cardinal points of the compass.  Openings in the walls align with the sun and the moon at specific times.

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You cannot enter the ruins, due to it’s instability. A lot of birds seem to call this place home now, so it’s covered in droppings. I don’t know what type of bird this is. It’s like a morning dove, but blue/gray in color. There were dozens of these taking up residence in the ruins.

 

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In 1889, Congress decided to protect the Casa Grande Ruins.  The wooden beam that the bird is resting on, was installed in 1891 to protect the walls.  In 1894, the Ruins became the nation’s first archeological preserve.  

After Casa Grande, we have moved over to the Gold Canyon area, east of Phoenix.  It’s a quiet, but growing area.  The park we are in has done a nice job of handling COVID while still allowing the residents to have some fun.  They bring in local bands, but have the bands play outdoors. For food options, they have local food trucks come in as well.  A good time was had by all!

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You can have fun, support local bands/business, and socially distance/stay safe! Lots of good food options…

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And did I mention the Cupcake Truck?! Yes, we have been trying to eat healthier, but life is better with a cupcake (or two!). And these cupcakes were the best we have had.

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Our friends Tom and Ellen traded in their fifth-wheel and purchased a new travel trailer. They had bought a park model in Yuma, but still plan on travelling in the summer months. So this was a good option for them to “downsize.” They spent a few days visiting with us, to test out all the features before heading back to Yuma. It was good to see them, and their new home on wheels.

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We have also been able to spend a little bit of time visiting with our niece Jasmine, who lives about an hour from here.  We spent half a day apartment shopping with her, and I was glad that masks were required to visit the apartments.  It seems their idea of sanitizing the apartments is to heavily spray air freshener in the models. 

We have a few weeks left before we slowly make our way north for the summer, with what will be another very busy season for the National Parks.   Take care everyone!

Quote for the day:  “You’re only human.  You live once, and life is wonderful, so eat the damned red velvet cupcake.” – Emma Stone

 

Somebody has to update the blog!

Hello everyone, it’s your favorite dog blogger, Makena!

Keeping my peeps informed!

My parents haven’t posted for a while, so I thought it’s time for me to take over and give you an update. We have been in Yuma, Arizona since mid December. My parents have done very little since they arrived (hence the reason for no updates). They are just trying to stay safe, and there is not much going on in the area. All the activities in the park have been cancelled. There have been a few COVID outbreaks in the park, and sadly a few people in the park have died. My grandparents (Dan’s parents) arrived on January 1, for two months, so my parents are being extra careful for their sake.

My big news, as you are all aware from my mom’s last post, is that I have a new house! I love the extra room, bigger bed, and a new way of traveling, for me. When we had the fifth wheel and then the truck camper, I always rode in my kennel, in the back seat of the truck. I didn’t have much of a view, and when we arrived at a new place, I was stuck in my kennel until my parents had set up the RV and opened up the slides. I never knew what was going on. And if it was raining, or cold, I had to go outside, just to get inside our RV. Not fun.

Now, I get to ride in style! The couch has seatbelts, so my kennel is right up front!

I can easily see what is going on, and even look out the front window from my kennel.  My mom doesn’t put me in my kennel until just before we leave – my dad is buckled up before I am.  When we arrive at a new place, I don’t have to go outside, as I’m already “home.”  I have the life of leisure while they work to get things set up, like my food and toys. 

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I’m really enjoying having a king size bed again, as it gives me more room at night.

51ecd643-1b7f-4b0d-b841-4018219d9b7bMy parents bought a “new to them”  Honda CR-V to tow behind the motorhome.  I stood in the doorway and barked at it for three days before they finally put me in the car (with my kennel, of course) and took me for a ride.  Once I finally realized that was my new car, I stopped barking at it.  

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When it was cold in Colorado, where we bought the RV, my parents had the furnace on.  I discovered that my new favorite place to stay when the heat is on…the bathroom.  I have a rug to lay on, and there is a furnace outlet right under the shower. The heat blows right into my face.  It’s like a spa for dogs!

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And speaking of pets and cold, my cousins in Texas had a rough week.  Several days without heat…ugh.  My Aunt LuAnn put sweaters on all three of her dogs, and two cats.  I’m glad they made it through safely, and hope everyone that had to endure that brutal week of cold, without electricity, is doing better.

SENIOR MOMENTS

Next month I will turn 14, and getting old sucks.  First I was losing my hearing and now I’m having issues making it through the night without wetting the bed.  I have no issues during the day, as my parents take me out every few hours.  This past week has not been a good one for my parents and I.  Every night I had a very small accident, and every morning my parents are washing the sheets and mattress pad.   My parents ordered some doggie diapers for me.  After measuring my waist, my mom bought XS female diapers.  Dog diapers have a hole built in for the tail, in case you’re wondering.

2cc7ef3b-5c29-49a8-8547-a41ee55b15f7 I do not like wearing them.  This was my first night with them on. The first night was a disaster, by the way.  Here is my “look of shame.”  

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I spend half the night on top of the comforter, and the other half under the covers. My parents put down a pee pad under the cover, in case the diaper leaked. The next morning my mom picked me up to take me outside, and said ‘where is your diaper?’ Well, it fell off on the pee pad. The diaper was dry, the pee pad was dry, but not the bed…sorry mom.

The next night (last night), my parents put a new diaper on me, and then added extra tape. As you can see, the diaper is pretty small. The second night was a failure as well. I still ended up peeing on the bed, as the diaper fell off, and I avoided the multiple pee pads my parents put down.

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As I said, it’s tough getting old!  Hopefully they can figure this out, so we can all get a good night’s sleep.  (and they don’t have to wash the sheets every day!).

 

Meme of the Day: 

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Honey, this isn’t Texas!

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Snow covered mountains?  Did we take a wrong turn?  This doesn’t look like Texas.

It’s 2020, so our plans went out the window…again.  When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that they will keep their border closed for the “Foreseeable future,” we talked about starting to look for a new vehicle.  We were able to change all of our Alaska reservations to the summer of 2021, but who knows if we will make it there? As much as we enjoyed the truck camper, the thought of living full-time in a tiny space for two more years, was not something we really wanted to do.  So we started to look at small class A motorhomes for sale.  Sadly, many dealers seemed to raise their prices on used ones, both gas and diesel.  And they were not willing to negotiate much on price. 

Then we spotted a new coach on-line, and were intrigued.  We went back and forth with the dealer, and made a low-ball offer to see how they would counter.  And they did…oh, now what do we do?  So off to Colorado, in December, to look at an RV!  We had made the offer contingent upon us seeing the coach, and driving it.  We were fortunate the weather was unseasonably warm…for the first 10 days!  The dealer called us the day after Thanksgiving to advise there was a missing trim piece, and one piece of fascia was damaged, and that the replacement pieces would not arrive until December 9th.  We decided we would still come out by November 30th, as we had planned, and would just wait for the parts. This would give us time to go over things, and have them take care of any issues that we found.  

The dealer, Transwest Truck, Trailer and RV, located in Frederick, Colorado (North of Denver), had a parking lot “campground” for guests to stay in.  We were able to park door-to-door, which made it easier to move our belongings from the truck and camper into our new home, a 2020 Newmar Canyon Star 3513.  Out with the old, in with the new!

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Here are some more pictures of our new home:

 

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And here’s what it looked like once we moved our stuff from the camper in!  We were surprised by how much stuff we were able to cram into the camper.  And we have more stuff stored at Dave and Marilyn’s house, our friends in Yuma.  

Here is the damaged fascia and missing wooden valance that Newmar replaced.

We had some other issues that we found, and the dealer took care of everything before we left. We were very, very happy with their service department, and would recommend them for any service you may need. They do service all makes and models. While we were in Colorado, we did have an opportunity to meet up with our niece, Breanna. She is teaching in the Boulder area, and drove over after ‘virtual teaching’ to check out our new home. It was wonderful catching up with her, as we have not seen her since 2014.

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Our goal was to leave on December 10th, after they fixed the fascia that arrived on the 9th.  But our luck with good weather ran out, and we had to wait two days for the snow to clear.  It presented a good challenge to test out the new coach:  snow, wet roads, mountains, road construction and a multi-car accident blocking the interstate around Denver!  Off to a good challenge!  We have been pleasantly pleased by how well the gas coach has performed.  

Leaving the dealer’s campground:

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When we had our walk-through with the technician at the dealer, he commented that they do not make the windshield wiper fluid reservoir large enough.  We really didn’t understand what he meant until we were on the wet roads.  After 85 miles, we had used up the entire gallon on our large windshield, and had to stop for another bottle!  Mile-High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos football team, is in the picture below.  The wipers were less than ideal with no fluid!

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It took two days of driving until we lost the snow, and found the sun!  We did a quick stop in Casa Grande, and got together with Forrest and Mary, whom we met back in 2013.  Once again, we had a nice visit, delicious lunch, and got to see their new-to-them super C.  

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Then it was off to Yuma, where we are back at a very deserted Westwind RV for the next 2 months.  Not only are the Canadians missing, but there are a lot of Americans that have not made it down here (yet).  There are 1057 sites here, but only a fraction of them are occupied.  It will be a quiet winter.  But that could be a good thing, as people stay safe and healthy!  Soon this year will be over!!!!!

Quote for the day:  “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to it’s old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Still chillin’ in Wisconsin

Hello everyone, it’s me, Makena, keeping my peeps updated!  We are still in Wisconsin, hanging out at my grandparents (Dan’s parents) house.  I’m always happy to be hanging out at their house, as I’m the “Queen Bee!”

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I’ve had a busy time here, with two trips to the doctor.  One was just a check-up and a confirmation that I have lost most of my hearing.  My parents were hoping that I just had clogged ears, but no such luck.  At least I don’t get scared anymore when my grandparents yell at the television during Packer football games, since I can’t hear them!  I wonder if there are hearing aids for dogs?

On my first visit to the doctor, I did stop over and visit with my cousin Reagan, while my parents were finally cleaning out stuff stored in my Aunt Madge and Uncle Greg’s attic for the last seven years.  It’s all Christmas decorations and some knick-knacks that they can’t figure out what to do with, so they went into my grandparents basement for now.  Just moving junk from one place to the next, in my opinion!

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On my second visit to the doctor, I had my teeth cleaned, for the first time.  I had labs drawn first, and Dr Alex said they were great, especially for my age (13 1/2).  For dogs, you have to be put under anesthesia to get a dental cleaning.  After the procedure, I was pretty woozy, stumbling around for the rest of the day.  Even though I was super hungry, I was only allowed half of my food, which apparently was too much, because I threw up twice during the night.  My parents took turns sleeping with me on the floor, as I didn’t want to stay in bed, since I was not feeling well.  By the next day, I was doing much better.  And my teeth are sparkling and my mom says my breath doesn’t stink anymore!

My grandma felt sorry for me, so she spent some time playing with me.  All I have to do is pick up a toy and stare at her.  Works like a charm!

The weather improved in November, for the first ten days, but now it’s starting to get too cold for me. And it made me really jealous when my buddies Molly and Lilly texted me a picture of them lounging on the beach in Maui at sunset. I met them a few years back at Luton’s, as my parents worked with their mom, Melissa. She’s currently in Hawaii for a year. Not a bad place to be stuck under quarantine!

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Oh, how I wish for warmer weather so I can be lounging outside! My parents did say we would be in Yuma starting January 1, for two months. It looks like they are going to try and stay here until Thanksgiving, although the weather can change quickly in Wisconsin. Thanksgiving will just be the five of us this year. Although I wouldn’t mind getting belly rubs from everyone, only having four adults means there will be more “turkey fairy” opportunities for me!! (and it keeps grandma and grandpa safe, which is the most important thing.)

And speaking of the “food fairy” where snacks magically appear in my dish, I make sure I routinely check under grandpa’s recliner in case he drops some food. Gotta do my part in helping keep their house clean! (you can see where the doctor shaved my left paw to start the IV when they did the cleaning)

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My parents are still busy doing chores.  When the weather was really nice, they rented a steam cleaning machine, and did all the carpets.  I was busy laying in the sunshine, so I made my dad go around me.  I was not going to let some stinking machine move me out of my spot in the sun, but eventually I was kicked out.  But I held out as long as I could!

Well that’s it for now. We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. Until next time!

Meme for the day:

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Working on Plan D or is it E?

After a strange split season working at Luton’s Teton Cabins, we have arrived back in Wisconsin, a current “hot spot” for Covid infections.  We are trying to decide what to do next, as the weather has turned unseasonably cold.  Originally, we were hoping to stay in Wisconsin at least until the end of November, then head out in search of warmer weather.

We enjoyed working a split season, even though we originally had no plans of working at all.  Normally by the end of the season, we are tired and ready to leave, but this year we stayed until October 8th.  Karen and Al also stayed until the end of the season, as we had the busiest fall season ever.  It was ironic that the four of us, who were not even supposed to be at Luton’s, were the last to leave.  We all remain optimistic that Canada will eventually open up, and we can visit Alaska in 2021 (although they just extended the border closing through November 21.)

We had several excellent pot lucks during the month of September and into October, including two prime ribs roasts.  Al, as usual, did an excellent job of cooking them.  This was a 20 pound roast, cooked to perfection.

It’s back to doing some chores at Dan’s parents house in Wisconsin.  We also have some medical appointments for Makena and I set up.  And we are working on clearing out our belongings that we have stored in my sister’s attic.  Other than that, we are just enjoying some down time for now.  My cousin Caroline gave us a giant Northern Georgia Candy Roaster squash that she had grown in her garden.  I think it weighs about 10 pounds.

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We tried roasting some slices for about an hour, and it turned out delicious!  Even if you don’t like squash, this particular style is very sweet and tasty.  No brown sugar needed to improve the taste!

We are trying to decide where to go for the winter.  A lot depends on how quickly we need to leave, but we are leaning towards heading back to Arizona for a few months.  But we are also considering heading to Texas as well.  It will all just depend on the weather.

That’s a wrap for now!  Stay safe everyone.

Quote for the Day:  “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss