Saturday, November 30, 2013


Willcox AZ (Low 36 Clouds and Sun High 66)

After a brief 2 night stay in Las Cruces we headed for Willcox yesterday. It was 190 miles along I-10, more like it when it comes to distance traveled in a day.

We are at the Sagebrush RV Park in one of the longest pull thrus we have ever been in. Plus we are closer to a wifi tower than we ever have been.

The only time we have had to worry about hitting the wifi tower with our slideout. If you look closely on the right side of the photo near the slideout is the wifi tower, not very tall but we are getting a great signal.

We plan to visit downtown Willcox today for the Rex Allen museum and other sites. Tomorrow we will be watching football, especially the Kansas City Chiefs try to avenge their loss to the Broncos. Monday we head to Goodyear.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, November 29, 2013


Las Cruces NM (Low 34 Partly Sunny)
Willcox AZ (Partly Sunny High 66)

Slideout worked 2 times in a row, yeah!!

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

We hit the road again after one night at the Balmorhea State Park, a really nice state park that we would like to visit again. In fact this whole trip to our winter home has been that way. With all the maintenance issues we have been longer than we want at some spots and shorter at the others. When we were at a place for awhile then we had rain or cold or ice at those spots. The end result is that we did little to no sightseeing along the way. Like Bob and Linda say it gives you a reason to come back the next time.

The clouds gave way and we had a very nice driving day seeing the ice and snow that had hit the area. It was 220 miles which is a little longer than we like but still a doable day even after 240 the day before. We went into Mountain Time so the extra hour allowed us to get takeout from Nellie's Cafe in Las Cruces which closes at 2pm.

We had read online that Nellie's is a local place that has been there for awhile and is known for their killer green chile. It has been a long time since we have had green chile in New Mexico so Bob got the water and electricity going and then headed to Nellies.

The green chile was a little hotter than we would like but still good. Our usual green chile fix is in Albuquerque at La Salita or Sadies but we took a different route this time.

We are heading to Willcox Arizona today for the weekend and Monday we plan on heading to Goodyear Arizona, our winter home for a few months.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Balmorhea TX (Low 26 Cold then Warming)
Las Cruces NM (Sunshine Mixing with Clouds High 50)

We got a call early morning yesterday from the mobile RV techs who were on their way to install our new motor. They installed it and we ran it to check it out and it worked!! We were amazed at how much quieter the new motor was. Since it was still early in the day we decided to pack up and head to our next destination, Balmorhea State Park, still in Texas.

It was about 220 miles to Balmorhea State Park and we only have water and electric but that is OK as we are only staying 1 night. We want to get to our winter home next Monday if all goes well so we are taking slightly longer trips.

A couple more random observations:
- everybody knows Texas is huge but until you drive it at 150-200 miles per trip you really don't know how large.
- while towing at 65 mph in a 80 mph speed zone the other vehicles can come up on you pretty fast. It was like nothing, vehicle in distance, vehicle coming up on you, vehicle past you, just that fast.
- we have gotten lazy in remembering our parking spot, we just have to walk out of the store and remember the general area because you can see our pickup from a distance. Let us tell you there are a lot of white one ton dually pickups in Texas :-)

It is off to Las Cruces New Mexico today for a couple of nights.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, November 23, 2013


San Angelo TX (Low 26 Freezing Sleet High 31)

BWE - Baskerville Weather Effect

Unlike the PDD the BWE affects more than just Bob and Jo. For the BWE to affect Bob and Jo other parts of the country are also affected. Right now San Angelo TX is experiencing below normal temperatures and freezing sleet. For that to happen the cold front has to move a long way south

We apologize to all those affected by the BWE.

Some random thoughts:
- if you are heading south for the winter and see "Watch for Ice on Bridge" signs you are not far enough south.  
- this looks like a scene from the movie "The Birds", a very large gathering of black birds at the San Angelo KOA

- slideout motor will probably be installed Monday and Tuesday we will head further south.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, November 21, 2013


San Angelo TX (Low 59 Cloudy Late Storms High 79)

Catching up on our stay in Abilene. We finally had a gorgeous day and decided to go to the Abilene Zoo, a small 13 acre zoo with over 800 animals from over 200 species. 

It was a gorgeous day

We of course like cats of all sizes, especially since we see the same poses from our 3 not so wild cats. Here is Havar a white Bengal Tiger

An ocelot

Cougar or puma

We also like birds, here is a red tailed hawk

A peregrine falcon

A stork

A flamingo

Other colorful birds

Then there were the traditional exhibits, the giraffe

Black rhino


Guanaco, a camelid native South America.

Although it was a smaller zoo it was still neat. They have plans to add an African exhibit in the upcoming years.

It was a great day at the zoo! 

Our slideout motor is on order and we should be on the road again early next week.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


San Angelo TX (Low 47 Clouds and Sun High 75)

The mobile techs from San Angelo TX arrived yesterday morning and determined it was the slideout motor. They helped us put the slide in and we packed up and headed to San Angelo making the next service call less costly.

It was a short 105 mile trip. The San Angelo KOA is an older park but we are in a newer pull through that is long and nice. For the first time we arrived in town knowing very little about the town.

It should be about a week to get the motor so we will spend some time leaning about San Angelo.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Abilene TX (Low 58 Partial Sunshine High 83)

We are now on Plan C for our slide repair. Here is a brief review, more like an ongoing saga. We seem to have a lot of ongoing sagas anymore. As you recall when we were leaving MCD after getting our new day/night shades and valences one of our slides would not go in. Bob had read enough forums to know that if there are people around you can usually push the slide in with the motor switch on. We were able to do that so we got on the road to Abilene. Bob crawled underneath and it looked like the teeth were aligned enough to work.

When we called the mobile service company last Sunday we were told it would be a week before they could even look at it. But when we told them we were serious we were told he might be able to get out Wednesday. Monday we get a call and a tech can come by later that day, our first bit of good news. He comes out and we try the slide and he says bad motor and clutch assembly. They have trouble finding the clutch assembly and want to take another look at it which they do Thursday morning. Thursday afternoon we get a call and they are going to pass on it as a mobile job, they would have to do it at their shop and they are 2 weeks out plus they would probably need it for a few day. Not going to work for us fulltimers.

He says that in San Angelo TX about 90 miles away there is a RV dealer that used to sell Carriages and they would probably be familiar with slide problems on Carriages. Bob calls them right away and not only a former Carriage dealer but also very familiar with the Carriage slides. To top it off they also travel to Abilene, expensive but they travel. So Monday morning about 10a the tech will get here and fix the slide. He is supposed to have everything in his truck to fix it on this visit, although there is always a chance it might take a second visit.

What are the Plans you ask? Plan A would be to force the slide in each time and get it fixed while in Goodyear Arizona. We thought about this but decided against it because we could not always count on somebody being around when ready to leave. Plus when you think of the average age of the fellow RV'ers at this time of the year you can encounter bad hearts, bad backs, bad knees, etc. We are saving the Plan A corollary option of manual cranking the slide in when money won't be able to solve the problem. Because of the uncertainty of Plan A we went with Plan B.

Plan B was the mobile service option in Abilene. Plan C is mobile service from San Angelo.

We shall see Monday, it's only money right :-)

Before we leave we will tease you with a couple of photos from our visit to the Abilene Zoo, we will have a more detailed blog entry later. Here is Bob at the entrance.

It finally was a nice day after all the cold and rain we have had here, in fact it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, November 15, 2013


Location (Low 36 Partly Sunny and Warmer High 73)

We will have an update on our slide problem shortly as we are now on Plan C. Let's hope it doesn't drag on like Judy's refrigerator repair. It seems like there is always something to fix on our homes on wheels doesn't it?

As promised here is more on the many Catholic Churches on the Keweenaw Peninsula of the Upper Peninsula. When immigrants to this country settled in a region each ethnic group built their own church. In Calumet the French Canadians built St. Anne which we recently blogged about here and is now the Keweenaw Heritage Center. As mentioned in the previous blog entry St. Anne was deconsecrated in 1966 which was a big year for the Catholic Churches in Calumet.

In 1966, four of the five remaining Catholic churches in the Calumet area were forced to merge because of the low number of parishioners and economic constraints. This included St. Anne, which we have talked about, St. John (Croatian), St. Mary (Italian) and St. Joseph (Slovenian). The combined parish was housed in St. Joseph. So that everybody could share the pain so to speak St. Joseph had to change it's name to St. Paul the Apostle. At the first combined Mass and to this day the ethnic groups have their own "area" where they sit. The parish of Sacred Heart was the first in Calumet and was allowed to stay open and is open to this day. St. Anne is the only church that is no longer under church control, St. John and St. Mary are still church buildings used for storage. A sixth parish, St. Anthony, was the Polish parish and it closed in 1928.

The walking tour group of Bob and Jo, Bob and Wilma, and Jim and Sharon tried to take a tour but the church was closed. Bob and Jo went to Mass there one Saturday and mentioned to one of the fellow churchgoers that noticed we were visitors how we so much wanted to stick around and take photos after everyone had left. They did us one better, they talked to Fr. Abraham and he took us on a personal tour after Mass.

Here is the exterior of St. Paul the Apostle dedicated in 1908, the twin towers are visible from quite a distance.

The church is magnificent on the inside

Here is the original tracker organ in the choir loft, encased in oak it is 18 feet wide and 19 feet deep.

Stained glass is impressive up close

Mary grieving over her crucified son

It was an incredible tour made more special since our tour guide was the parish priest. We really like the old churches, which have more character than the newer ones.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Abilene TX (Low 33 Mostly Cloudy Rain Later High 55)

It took a week but we got our new valences and shades. 

Here is the before picture.

The old valences have been removed.

The old day/night shades have been removed.

The new day/night shades have been installed. 

We were really conflicted Monday morning and everything happened so fast. MCD measures and says that with our existing valences we may see light between the rolls and that we definitely will see shade below the valences. We weren't sure if would like more woodwork but we knew we would not like to see light. We took the plunge and we are glad that we did. You can see the light between the lower night shade and the upper day shade in the photo above. Bob measured and there would have been a gap with light showing with our old valences. The clean look of the new valences is what we were hoping for. Here are the new valences, stained to match the woodwork.

It was a hectic week but we are so glad that we did this, both the MCD day/night shades and the new valences from Solid Woodworking.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Abilene TX (Low 32 Rain and Clouds High 40)

Abilene experiences the BWE, last night was 12 degrees below normal and tonight will be a hard freeze 22 degrees below normal.

The mobile tech looked at our slide motor late yesterday and determined we need a new one. Delivery time is about a week so we still are not sure when we will be leaving. Gives us time to see the sights, but not today since it will be cold and rainy. Today we plan on seeing "Last Vegas" and eating out.

There are at least a couple neat things to see in the area, Frontier Texas, and the Buffalo Gap Historical Village. If we have more time there are a few others that look interesting, proving that no matter where you in this great country of ours there is always something to see and do and great places to eat.

We will end with a preview of our future blog entry on our new MCD day/night shades and our new solid wood valences.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Abilene TX (Low 48 Partly Sunny High 68)

We left Camp MCD yesterday with our new shades and valences but not without yet another problem. Our slideout motor made a clicking noise and would not retract. Thankfully Peggy from MCD and her husband, who live fulltime in their RV in the MCD parking lot, were there and we forced the slide in. We will get it taken care of down the road. 

It was about 200 miles from McKinney to Abilene. With all the rain and cold and needing to be in our Cameo when the valences were removed and then when the valences and shades were installed we did no sightseeing in McKinney. We wanted to be in our Cameo so the cats did not get out. That is a shame because it looks like a neat area.

We hope to do a better job of sightseeing in Abilene although we originally were 'planning' on 3 nights there but we shall see what happens with our slide repair. We will leave you with a photo of a noisy Swan Goose and duck friend that live next to our parking spot in Camp MCD.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, November 8, 2013


McKinney TX (Low 37 Mostly Sunny High 67)

Continuing to catch up on our summer adventures on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We walked around Calumet Michigan admiring the architecture of the town built in the 1800s with most of the old buildings still standing.

We were heading for the Keweenaw Heritage Center which is in the former St. Anne's Catholic Church, the parish for the French Canadians in the area. 

Many of the building's details derive from the rayonnant style of the late Gothic period in France becoming one of Calumet's most significant and dominant structures. The sandstone is cut in square and rectangular shapes and randomly laid. Deconsecrated by the Catholic Church in 1966 (there will be more info about all the churches in the area in a future blog entry), the former church at times housed a flea market and other functions but mostly fell into disrepair. But beginning in 1994 efforts to rescue the building began. Since then volunteers, donations and grants have reversed the pattern of neglect that nearly doomed the former church.

Here is an interior view.

Here is the organ in the choir loft with a piece of the original altar rail used as a bench.

We are glad that we are able to see such great sites in this great country of ours.

Today is a big day, we should get our new valences and day/night MCD shades installed. 

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, November 7, 2013


McKinney TX (Low 33 Sun mixing with Clouds High 64)

We are still at Camp MCD waiting for our new shades and valences. It has been cold and rainy so we have not done much sightseeing so we decided to catch up on some blogging. After our story on the Mosquito Inn we realized we still had a lot to document from our stay on the Upper Peninsula this past summer. Today we cover the Coppertown Mining Museum in Calumet, a Keweenaw Heritage Site. We toured the museum with our friends Bob and Wilma and Jim and Sharon.

The museum covered all things copper mining from the offices in the mining companies

to the medical facilities that the mining companies had

to the one room school rooms that the mining companies provided

to the equipment used in the mine or to repair the mine equipment

We found a couple of things to be unique. Here is a steam powered laundry

along with the Miss Coppertown beauty contest crown

and a oak stove

It was another great place to tour in the Upper Peninsula.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo