The Fun Side of Pumpkins

I’m not a huge fan of Halloween in general and never have been. The whole scary costume thing and gory decorations isn’t something I embrace. Scary movies? Not me!

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Carefree Arizona

My tastes fall along the lines of cute and funny. I enjoy seeing little kids dressed up as princesses or cartoon characters. Keeping things light and funny is much more to my liking. Throw in some fall colors, the smell of apple cider and cinnamon, pumpkin carvings and there ya have it … I’m all in … fall fun!

In my last post, I already shared photos from my visit to an engaging pumpkin exhibit, but since it’s Halloween, I felt compelled to share even more images from the pumpkin event.

Pumpkin Carvings

Visiting the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden in Carefree, Arizona, was my kind of autumn entertainment. These pumpkin displays are a delight for people of all ages, but especially for those of us on the mature side. To compliment the amusing display is an equally humorous newspaper.

Check out the Stem Enhancement Clinic

And even a coupon for stem enhancement in the newspaper …. This is too funny!

(To enlarge photos in a gallery, click on any photo. To return to the post, click on the x at the top. To read the newspaper articles, you may have to zoom in via your internet settings. Sorry, I tried my best scanning the newspaper.)

The jail exhibit was comedic. While the sheriff bends over to pick up money on the ground, a mouse on a stick is lowered down to grab the jail keys from the sheriffs hip. Someone is trying to escape from jail with the help of his buddies!

I had the opportunity to visit the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden on three different occasions, and during each visit, I noticed more pumpkins carved and a few changes here and there in the scenes. Talk about creative, imaginative, and talented!

I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into putting on such an entertaining exhibit. The show ran from October 19-28 and every evening the pumpkins are collected by the local fire department and floated in the fountain pool¬†… 1. to keep the carved pumpkins hydrated and 2. to keep them out of reach of javelinas.

Near the end of the exhibit, rumor has it, the night guard fell asleep in his truck and javelinas started noshing on the 693 pound pumpkin that the sculptors had yet to complete carving.

You can see where the javelinas started eating this 693 pound winning size pumpkin, bottom left.

Every morning, the pumpkins are returned to their display/scene. The sculpted ones are sprayed with water periodically throughout the day to help keep them from dehydrating, but many do not last for the entire show. Thus, new pumpkins are carved regularly. Yep, it takes a lot of talented people to provide us with this free entertainment.

And a few more photos just for fun …

Happy Halloween everyone …. hope you enjoy YOUR kind of day!

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Too Many PumpkinsLEGO Seasonal Set Thanksgiving Feast

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Timing, RVing and Chocolate

Since our January 1st arrival at Lake Havasu City, we’ve been staying on private property and enjoying time with our friends. Although we have electric and water hook-ups, we don’t have a sewer connection which requires us to pack up and visit a dump station about every 7-10 days. Earlier in the month, we decided to change-up the scenery when it was time for us to empty our tanks by booking a night at the Lake Havasu State Park. Arizona has some great state parks and the Lake Havasu State Park definitely ranks high on my favorites list.

Lake Havasu State Park

I was in love with this tree at our campsite.

Timing is everything …

The last time we stayed here, the state park was undergoing some serious renovation and this time wasn’t much different. They were doing some major road grading and paving which provided a few obstacles for RVers, but our view more than made up for any inconveniences. Some of the trails were also closed due to the state park adding a new campground complete with cabins. From what we gathered, the cabins will be basic (not much more than a shed) and will adjoin a RV campsite. Interesting concept!¬†Something to keep an eye on for those of us that enjoy sharing our adventures with family or friends who don’t have RVs.

And more about that timing thing …

bloggers meet

Judy and me at Mudshark Brewery in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Blogger pal, Judy, and her husband just happen to be staying at the Lake Havasu State Park during our one night stay on January 9th. Our campsites were actually in view of one another.¬† Serendipity! I don’t think we could’ve planned this encounter any better.

She and I have tried to connect for quite some time. As a matter of fact, we almost made it happen in Texas last winter. But alas, a year later, we finally managed that meet up in Arizona. A couple of happy hours complete with great conversation ensued. I’m sure we’ll see them down the road sometime!

More about our state park stay, or not …

We made the most of our one night stay at the Lake Havasu State Park, up to the point of sitting at our picnic table until minutes before noon, official check out time. Granted, we were all hooked up and ready to roll by 11:00, but I wanted to enjoy this spectacular site as long as possible. I took a ton of photographs during our stay, and I’d love to share more, but I’ve got a problem …. actually, I’ve got two problems.

One: my computer is acting up and has been ever since the latest Windows 10 update. Two: I’m sick. Yeah, timing sucks! Okay, I’ll admit, there’s never a good time to get sick, but when the weather is glorious, and has been all week … you know, light gentle breezes, an abundant amount of sunshine and temperatures are in a comfortable 70 degree Fahrenheit range in mid January …

(Sorry to those of you in colder climates. I’m not trying to rub it in. Well maybe just a little, cause isn’t that what friends do ūüėÄ)

bird photography

Anyway, I didn’t have time to be sick. I wanted to be out and about exploring and taking advantage of the unbelievably gorgeous weather this past week. Fortunately, before I ended up flat on the couch, I did manage to shoot a fair amount of photographs, mostly during our twenty-four hour state park stay, BUT unfortunately, I can’t process the photographs. We’re back to the computer acting up thing again.

I’m no techie, but I do know just enough to get myself, or rather my computer, out of a pickle … at least in the past I’ve managed. Right now, I’m a bit at a loss and may have to seek professional help.

After backing up all of my photographs, documents, downloads, etc. on to three external hard drives (hey this gal wants a backup to the backup to the backup), I reset my computer to factory settings, wiping out everything. “You got this girl”, I said to myself while my heart skipped a beat or two before hitting the return key or rather the key of no return. This computer is like an extension of my life! Lots of minutes later, the computer was started and restarted and appeared to be working well, but before I download Adobe Lightroom, I wanted to double-check the computer was indeed working properly.

After a little use, I closed up the laptop with the intent to reopen it within fifteen minutes (I did not shut it off, just closed the lid). Now here’s the ongoing problem – when I open it up and try to wake it up, I’m greeted with a black screen with occasional white blips or a white screen with what looks like a repetitive pattern. I’m left with no other option than to turn the computer off with the on/off switch.

never alone in the woods

Maybe it’s my heavy, illness filled head talking that makes me feel like I’m in some sort of old 1950’s horror film and being given slide show therapy for mental illness; black screen, white screen, flickering screen. Thank goodness there were no blipped images of clowns. That may have sent me jumping off the London Bridge. I have a serious clown phobia, but shh, don’t tell anyone ūü§°

bird photographyWith the computer problem clearly not fixed, I decided to reset the computer yet again. After all, I had only downloaded Chrome and the TD Ameritrade platform along with a few minor changes. All easy enough to redo. This time when the computer restarted, a few of my personal screen saver images greeted me. There shouldn’t have been ANY personal items left on the computer after the first factory reset.

You know that sound from the Twilight Zone – yeah, that tune – it’s been playing in my head a lot the past week dealing with this computer. Perhaps it’s time I admit, I need professional help … for the computer, the computer I say, seriously it’s the computer that needs help. I don’t care what my husband says, it’s the computer, not me ūüėĶ

Sharing is a beautiful thing, or not …

After a wonderful, albeit short, stay at the Lake Havasu State Park, Al and I were flying rolling on cloud nine …. smiles from ear to ear! Our little jaunt reminded us why we love RVing and why we embarked on the full-time RV lifestyle. Yeah, we enjoyed it that much.

We had time to kill before we could move into our site at the state park. After driving around, Al thought it would be funny to park the RV on the boat ramp and make it look like he was going to launch it. The lighthouse in the background is Lake Havasu’s newest addition.

Less than forty-eight hours after our blissful state park experience, Al was hacking and coughing and bedridden for a couple of days. He had come down with the crud, but with the aid of nurse Nellie Ingrid and her Southwest Chicken Soup, he was quickly on the road to recovery. As is common with most loving spouses, we enjoy sharing experiences. With that said, Al felt compelled to share his crud induced stupor with his loving wife, moi. However, wife wasn’t satisfied with the basic crud, she felt compelled to out perform her husband by adding in the queasy stomach.

live laugh rv

Dogs! I love dogs and miss mine terribly, but I don’t miss the cleaning up after. (Where is she going with this? Stay with me. I swear it’ll make sense soon enough.) One of the things I always appreciated about dogs is they give you fair warning when they’re about to toss their cookies. And it’s your job to sprint over to them and either guide them outside or off the carpet asap before the nasty deed commences.

Kids on the other hand, rarely give warning. Let’s say it’s a beautiful sunny day as you run a couple of quick errands in your immaculately maintained Honda Accord. As you happily drive to your next destination be-bopping with the tunes on the radio, you pat yourself on the back for your wonderful mothering skills. You’re well-behaved child wild westwho’s sitting quietly in his car seat in the backseat decides then and there that this is the perfect time to showcase his talents and upstage Linda Blair in the Exorcist by sharing his projectile skills. The warm chunky substance slowly slides down mom’s head and a quick U-turn for home commences. Come on kid, a little warning would’ve been nice! Yeah, dogs are great!

So back to me being sick and upstaging Al in the illness department. It all started with a scratchy throat followed by the loss of appetite and energy. Wanting to reciprocate the nursing skills, he thought he’d warm up some soup for me. The result was like that dog warning followed by, “Oh dear God, take it away”. I couldn’t eat a thing for more than twenty-four hours. The mere thought of food put me into pre purging doggy mode. Thankfully, there were no child like Exorcist moments around the RV during the worst of my illness.

When I finally thought about eating something, the only thing that didn’t sound repulsive was chocolate. I didn’t even drink coffee for three days which really concerned Al. Concerned me too because I love my coffee and never go a day without. So my return to eating started with a Kit Kat for breakfast followed by German made Ritter Chocolate later for supper. The next day was a repeat but with the addition of soup for lunch.

I’m still not back to eating normally just yet but I’m definitely on the mends. Now as to my mental state? The jury is still out on that one!

sunset at Lake Havasu State Park

Watching the sunset from our RV at the Lake Havasu State Park.

But let’s face it, chocolate makes everything better. It’s at the top of my must have list of items required for successful RVing. An ample supply of chocolate is the secret to marital bliss while living in less than 300 square feet 24/7. Spousal dispute? Chocolate, but go for Belgian or German … some of the smoothest chocolate you’ll ever taste and it’ll smooth out any dispute.¬† Europeans make the best chocolate! Flat tire on the RV? Eat chocolate while assessing the situation. I swear the repair will go a heck of a lot better or at least any discussion with your partner will. Sick? Go for your favorite childhood candy bar and bring back fond memories of your youth.

Ah, the medicinal value of chocolate is endless. So while an apple a day may keep the doctor away …. a chocolate bar a day will bring harmony and peace into your life, or at least fill your tummy and make you smile. Namaste!

By the way, if any one thinks they know what might be going on with my computer, I’m all ears and willing to try just about anything. Next week, my sleek Dell girl may have to go in for help ūüė™ And one final tidbit – I almost wrote down the wrong name of the Exorcist actress. I originally typed Linda Lovelace instead of Linda Blair. I’m used to being corrected by my educated followers with my misnaming of birds, animals, and plants, but this faux paus may have resulted in my face flushing from severe embarrassment. Oh my gosh, my face is red just typing this!

What’s in my pantry? These are affiliate links.

Ritter Chocolate with Whole HazelnutsLindt Lindor Assorted Chocolate Truffles

Comedy of Errors

It was another early morning around the RV.  Once again, Al and his buddy were heading to the marina by 6:15 a.m.  While I sat in bed enjoying my first cup of coffee, I contemplated how energetic I felt.  I determined, not very!Rockport, Fulton, Texas

While sipping my second cup of coffee, I read emails and glanced out the RV window checking for cloud conditions.  Looks like another morning of ho-hum skies, eliminating any urgency to leave the comforts of the RV post-haste for a photo-op.

roseate spoonbillFinally around 8:30, I hopped in the truck and headed on over to¬†one of my¬†favorite areas¬†to walk.¬† I figured, I might as well get in some exercise since the day won’t be about photography.¬† But this gal never goes anywhere without her trusty camera slung around her neck.¬† One never knows when a rare photo-op might present itself!

There’s a relatively new housing development being built not too far away from our RV park near Rockport, Texas.

This former home builder¬†still likes being around new construction and enjoys checking out the latest trends in the housing industry.¬† I¬†even enjoy¬†the smell of lumber!¬† I know, weird ūüėŹ

new homes

I still like checking out new construction housing developments – walkway lower right.¬† This photo was taken on a¬†beautiful sunny day …. just one of many.

paver boardwalk

this is the walkway aka boardwalk in the new housing development. Houses are on the right Рmarsh and Gulf on the left. This photo was taken on that foggy morning in my previous post

Anyway, I love getting in daily strolls in this gated community.¬† Most of the homeowners are only here occasionally … maybe on weekends or holidays.¬† The houses are used primarily as second homes.¬† Thus, I usually have the “boardwalk” (their label, not mine) to myself.Gulf shore birds

I parked the truck in my regular spot and took the path to the walkway.  As I started down the boardwalk, I immediately gasped in awe and glee.  The little ponds in the marshes were loaded with shore birds. Thank goodness, I brought my camera.  It was a gloomy, overcast morning and my camera seemed to have difficulty focusing.  Perhaps, it was camera shake due to my excitement.

Texas birding

this may¬†be reality ¬†…. but

colorful birds

This is what my mind saw – a flurry of color – where to look? where to point the camera? To say I was excited would be an understatement!

I was elated to have stumbled upon so many shore birds.  I did my best not to startle them, but the slightest movement on my part seemed to send them flying off to the roseate spoonbillnext pond. I slowly followed in their direction and my camera continued to work in overdrive.

Well over an hour¬†later, it was time for me to leave.¬† Oh, how¬†I¬†wanted to stay¬†longer, but my teeth were floating from the coffee ingested earlier.¬† As I approached the truck, I dug around in my bag for the keys.¬† I couldn’t seem to find them.¬† I entered the code on the keyless entry pad¬†on the driver’s side door of the truck and began searching the vehicle floor, ignition, passenger seat and still no keys.¬† It is so not like me to misplace my keys.egret

I began to wonder if the keys had somehow fallen out of my bag while I was retrieving a new camera battery.  After all, there was a lot of excitement going on and while I dug in the bag for the battery, I kept my eyes on the birds.

So it was back to the boardwalk to retrace my steps.¬† Still no keys.¬†¬†Eek!¬† I’m¬†frazzled and really need to pee but the last time I used the construction porta-potty, I attracted a lot of attention from the workers … something I was hoping to avoid this go around.¬† Plus,¬†I was in no mood for jovial sparring.

egret

someone’s feathers are ruffled

“Check the truck again, Ingrid”, I said to myself.¬† I tried punching in the code on the keypad but had a total space out.¬† Oh my gosh, I¬†can’t remember the code!¬† ūüėĪ¬† Just then, one of the¬†landscapers yelled something out to me.¬† In a daze, I asked, “I’m sorry, what?”¬† He repeats, “Did you get some nice shots?”¬† “Oh, yeah”, I responded, still frazzled.¬† heron

All I could think about was loosing all the keys on my key chain.  The truck key was one thing, but the other keys, holy sh*t, not easily replaced!!!

As I responded to the landscaper, something to the left of¬†him caught my eye.¬† Ah-hah!¬†¬†There was a¬†lone porta-potty in the distance and after a quick visit, I was¬†once again able to thick clearly.¬†¬†I still couldn’t remember the keyless entry code on the truck though.¬† Talk about a brain fart ūüôĄ

Oh well, I shrugged. I’ll walk back to the RV Park and get Al’s keys which he always leaves behind¬†while boating.¬† I¬†thought about¬†calling my friend and neighbor in the RV park, but I forgot to take my cell phone with me – grrr.¬† So¬†that wasn’t an¬†option.¬† Well, I needed the exercise anyway considering I got sidetracked earlier by all those birds.great blue heron

So it was off to the RV Park by foot.¬† Along the way, I discovered the roosting grounds for Great Blue Herons and a delightful pond.¬† ¬†Once again, I was sidetracked and found myself meandering through a grove of twisted oak trees all the while my brain kept saying, ‘focus – tend to business’.

pond

note the tops of the trees – great blue herons nesting

I couldn’t help but¬†get sidetracked, but soon logic took over and I was once again on¬†my way to the RV Park.

But then ….¬†the unique sound of the Black Bellied Whistling Ducks stopped me in my tracks.¬† These¬†squeaky guys¬†always make me smile and I can’t resist looking up to the skies when I hear them to catch a glimpse of their beautiful coloring.¬† Little did I know, I was in for a treat.¬† As I stood still trying to blend in to the truck of an oak tree, I¬†watched them circle.¬† Hundreds of whistling ducks landed not far from me.¬† Then to top it off, a deer emerged from the brush.

whistling ducks

black bellied whistling ducks

whistling ducks

Alas, after being sidetracked a couple of times, I finally made it to the RV¬†to retrieve Al’s keys.¬† I stuck my cell phone in my bag (just in case) and briskly returned to the truck.¬† Well…. maybe¬†briskly is an over statement since there was a slight detour back through the oak trees¬†and the¬†heron nesting grounds.¬† But I swear, it was brief ūüėČ

great blue heronBy the time I returned back to the RV with the truck, Al was home.¬† He and his buddy had a great morning out on the water.¬† He¬†had worked up an appetite and wanted to know, “What’s for lunch?”¬† Twenty minutes later, we were sitting at the local dive up the road indulging in an awesome shrimp po-boy sandwich arguing over the code to the truck keypad.¬† Seems I confused Al, as well as myself.

To wrap up the day …. I had one of the most exciting bird photography¬†mornings ever along with a very cool location discovery.¬† My close proximity to the shore birds is what lent to the thrill.

I lost my keys and later found¬†my keys¬†on the backseat floor.¬† Don’t ask ūüėܬ† I ended up walking about four miles that day.¬† I took hundreds of blurry photos.¬† Therefore, broke my camera.¬† Oops!¬† User error?¬† Maybe!¬† Fixed my camera.

sunrise

someone woke someone early!

I confused my husband¬†regarding the keyless entry code on the truck, but not to worry.¬†¬† The code was recalled in the wee morning hours the next day …. I believe someone waking someone exclaiming, “I¬†REMEMBER THE CODE”¬†was involved.

Lost my keys.  Found my keys.  Walked four miles.  Broke my camera.  Fixed my camera.  Communed with hundreds of birds.  Confused my husband.  Husband remains confused (living with me thirty plus years, confusion justified lol).  What an exciting day.  Ah, rarely a dull moment in the life of a full-time RVer!seagull

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Harmonic enlightenment, and then some

I glanced down at the open book of Hymns on my lap and pondered the fact that I’m clueless when it comes to music.¬† Oh, I¬†quite enjoy¬†listening to it, but I’m oblivious¬†when it comes to¬†the understanding¬†of notes, composition, tune, rhythm, etc.

It wasn’t my intention to¬†attend church services that morning.¬† I’m not normally a church goer, but I do occasionally get drawn in by architecture and every now and then the need for a little spiritual enlightenment.¬† It was a lovely morning, and¬†I was out and about visiting a local historical landmark.¬† The Lamar, Texas, cemetery¬†has gravestones dating back to the Civil War and all the local tourist¬†brochures listed this as a site to¬†visit.

So, there I was on a Sunday morning strolling through a cemetery when I realized the¬†neighboring little Catholic Church’s’ doors were open.¬† My curiosity was such, that I found myself entering the¬†Stella Maris Chapel¬†and taking a seat in the second to the last row of pews.¬† I was a little¬†music_clipart_notesearly and only the fifth person to arrive.¬† I glanced around taking in my surroundings and noting the Hymn numbers posted.¬† I turned to the appropriate page to glance at the first song to be sung.¬† I already knew I wouldn’t be singing out loud…..

My first real exposure to the education of music was somewhere around the seventh grade. It was a¬†semester long, daily one-hour class exposing students to all aspects of music including singing.¬† This sounded like a fun class to me, especially since I could sing really well…. or so I thought.¬† After all, what teenager doesn’t like singing¬†along¬†with¬†their favorite artist?

The first day of this new class, the teacher wanted to get to know¬†the students¬†and¬†their abilities.¬† She had the left half of the class sing the first verse of a song and then she had the right half sing it.¬† She’d¬†select different students to sing a line¬†while the rest of us remained silent.¬†¬† Recommendations were made and it was obvious these first few students that had attracted her attention were talented singers.

this little gal sings beautifully

this little gal sings beautifully

This process continued¬†and when¬†the teacher¬†finally called my name, I proudly stood erect thinking she’d want me to sing by myself.¬† Instead, I was told to sing a little softer, which I did, but apparently not soft enough.¬† She stopped our group two more times to tell me to sing a little softer.¬† Once my volume was down to¬†lip-synching level¬†and not one vocal cord in my throat vibrated, I was given a big thumbs up… “That’s perfect, Ingrid.¬† Keep singing at that volume for the rest of class”.

gumby and poky“Seriously”, I thought?¬† “What did she know?”¬† I couldn’t wait to get home and sing my heart out into my little cassette player-recorder, proving that the music teacher didn’t know what she was talking about.¬† And sing I did, and in my head I sounded fantastic!

With a smile on my face and child-like exuberance, I rewound the cassette and hit play to hear my wonderful rendition of I¬†Think I Love You.¬†¬† Come on, who didn’t want to be Susan Day back then?¬† I even played an air piano while singing and had taken an iron to my unfashionable curly hair an hour earlier.

Alone in my room,¬†I listened to the¬†singer on the cassette player.¬† I didn’t recognize the voice, yet I knew it was mine.¬† I continued listening figuring it had to get better, because it couldn’t possibly get any worse.¬† Or could it?¬† My faced flushed with embarrassment at¬†the realization I couldn’t sing…. or rather I shouldn’t sing.

Oh well, I never had any aspirations to be a musical performer, thus I focused on being the best lip singer in class.¬† Ever since discovering my inability to carry a tune, I rarely sing.¬† Even today when we’ve joined friends for karaoke, I won’t sing, but I will gladly get on stage¬†to be¬†a background dancer for a Robert Palmer song!

Vultures can't sing, but they do hiss

Vultures can’t sing, but they do hiss

Back to church….. After a little fire and brimstone which included why parishioners should sing out loud (egad, did the priest imply me?) services were over and I exited the church.¬† I¬†immediately noticed a turkey vulture in¬†a tree.¬† I first became intrigued¬†with these unique birds a couple of years ago during a visit to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.¬† My fascination lead to a series of Google searches to learn about them.¬† Did you know, vultures lack a syrinx and are nearly silent?¬† Their vocalizations are limited to grunts and hisses; no harmonic singing from these birds.

We glance at each other knowing we share a common bond - we can't sing!

We glanced at each other knowing we share a common bond – we can’t sing!

As I approached the tree located between the church and the cemetery, Vivian Vulture hissed at me.¬† I hissed back, “Come on Viv…. we’re kindred spirits…. neither one of us can sing”.vulture

Vultures serve an important role in the circle of life.¬† Some may say they’re ugly.¬† I find them beautiful.¬† I shared my unusual infatuation with these birds before along with¬†some intriguing facts.¬† If you’re interested in¬†reading a few more tidbits about vultures and seeing¬†more photos,¬†you can read¬†my post here.

I may not have felt any spiritual enlightenment from the church sermon, but I did experience a clarity that morning with my encounter with Vivian.¬† I was reminded that we¬†are all created with a¬†distinct purpose and rare beauty; created with special talents or gifts; created with uniqueness¬†that should¬†be embraced.¬† How boring would it be if we were all able to sing like Adele?¬† Or worse, what if we all sang like Cameron Diaz in “My Best Friends Wedding”?¬† Oh¬†yikes, I do ūüėČ

Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution – Deepak Chopra

vulture

 

Let’s get social

After enjoying regular luncheons with my dad, it was time to give him a break and find someone else to chat with over lunch.¬† It didn’t take long¬†before fellow blogger, Ilex of Midwestern Plants, and I were setting up a time and place to meet.¬† Ilex is anything but shy, but does shy away from posting her photo on the blog.

friends

Ilex and me

So once a time and place were arranged, she graciously sent me a photo of herself letting me know I wasn’t meeting some crazed old guy.¬† Let’s face it, one crazed old guy in my life is plenty¬†…. hehe!

After a mere three-hours (trust me, we could have talked longer), Ilex and I  parted ways determining it would be a blast to camp together some day.

The next day, I met an old friend for lunch.   St. Charles, Illinois, seemed to be a nice half point for us to meet.  Brenda and I originally met at a postnatal exercise class 28 years ago.

friends

Brenda and me

Shortly after¬†Brenda’s son and my son¬†started kindergarten, Al and¬†I (and our kids)¬†left Illinois and moved west. Somehow Brenda managed to kept track of all¬†my changing addresses.¬† Over the years, I always looked forward to receiving her Christmas cards with the latest family photo.

We hadn’t seen each other in¬†over twenty-some years and it was wonderful reconnecting and filling each other in on our lives and that of our children.

St. Charles, Illinois, is a quaint little town that¬†sits along the Fox River.¬† It’s located about 40 miles (64km) west of Chicago.¬† I noticed the town is cutely decorated¬†with foxes throughout.

Fox River

St. Charles, Illinois, sits along the Fox River

Brenda was running late for our luncheon, which didn’t present a problem for me or my camera.¬† I wandered around the town a little and slipped into the Hotel Baker, a historic landmark.¬† After all, I’m always on a quest for blog material.¬† And with my dear readers in mind, I proceeded to roam around the hotel snapping photos ….. that is until the manager interrupted me.Jenny McCarthy wedding venue

I had just completed taking¬†some photos of this stunning event room when the manager approached me with a¬†quizzical eye and stern comment, “Can I help you?”¬† Being quick on my feet I responded with, “Why yes.¬† I’m looking for a wedding venue for my son”.¬† He didn’t seem to buy it and informed me that I’d need to set up an appointment with the gal at the front desk.¬† His body language indicated where the¬†exit was.¬† Now I know how Julia Roberts felt in Pretty Woman.

historic landmark

me in the lobby of the Hotel Baker – just trying to blend in!

A little factoid I did not know until I started¬†putting this post together:¬† Turns out Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg chose this historic hotel to celebrate their wedding weekend with family and friends.¬† I’m sure we all care and wish them the best ūüėČ but¬†that might¬†explain the managers concern; perhaps I looked more paparazzi than Julia Roberts hooker.¬†¬†Reality; more like an RV traveler in a non-RV world.

St. Charles, Illinois

elevator doors at the Hotel Baker

Although the hotel is rather small, some of the historic details were quite interesting and beautiful.  I can see that the Hotel Baker makes for a lovely wedding venue.wedding venues in Illinois

Thanks Ilex and Brenda for your company and taking the time to share lunch with me.¬† Next up, we move to Al’s sister’s place and ever closer to the Illinois – Wisconsin border.St. Charles, Illinois
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Three’s company, or not!

I Googled the meaning of adventure.¬† The word adventure could be used to describe an unusual and exciting, sometimes hazardous, experience or activity.¬† Hmm, I pondered that for a moment.¬† Quite frankly, I think life’s an adventure it’s just some days¬†are filled with more excitement than others.

hot air balloons

This photo was taken right out my RV door while still in my nighty!

It’s been an interesting couple of days around our little home.¬† One might even use the term adventurous to describe our exciting and unusual morning(s).

adventureIt was around 4:00 a.m.¬†Wednesday morning as I laid in bed.¬†¬†I wasn’t¬†in a deep sleep, but not necessarily awake.¬† I’m laying on my side with my back to hubby when I feel Al lightly drum his fingers down my arm.¬† Then he rested his hand before continuing the light drumming back up, then down, then gone.¬† As I laid their half asleep yet half awake, I thought to myself…. how strange.¬† He’s never done that before.¬† Oh well, and quickly fell into a deep slumber.

Around 5:30 a.m. I’m awakened by Al’s chuckling.¬† He says, “What are you doing?”¬† Groggily, I responded with a, “What are you talking about”.¬† He says, “You know… that light tickling drumming with your fingers down my arm”.¬† “Honey, I’m laying on my stomach and in this position even the most talented of contortionists wouldn’t be able to even touch your arm let alone¬†roll fingers”.

Say what?¬† Somewhat startled, we¬†quickly became WIDE awake.¬† We¬†swiftly sat up and looked around.¬† Apparently, we weren’t alone.¬†¬†It became obvious¬†I wouldn’t¬†be going back to sleep anytime soon, and¬†thus¬†I got up¬†to start the¬†coffee and frantically¬†looked around for¬†any unwanted¬†guest.

It was a particularly beautiful morning.¬† While looking out¬†the RV bedroom window,¬†I sat in bed having my coffee.¬†The lovely sight of colorful balloons temporarily eased any concerns of a third party in bed with us. It was the perfect day for an adventurous hot air balloon ride.¬†I watched as a dozen balloons¬†floated by. ¬†Ah, one day I’ll¬†go up in¬†one of those baskets.

adventure

the view out my bedroom window

While I was enjoying coffee with a view, Al continued the critter hunt to no avail and eventually we went about our day…. that is until it was time for lunch.¬†¬†Was it¬†the smell of food that finally lured Lorenzo out¬†into the open?¬† The next five minutes unfolded like a¬†scene out of¬†an episode¬†of the Three Stooges as Al and I escorted Mr. Lorenzo Lizard to the nearest exit.

lizard

“Hey, you could’ve at least fed me before kicking me out!”

With the bedroom mystery solved, that night we¬†were able to enjoy¬†a good nights sleep… that is¬†until about 3:00 a.m.¬† That’s when Donatella Donkey and her family decided to munch on the weeds next to our RV.

donkey

Dad on the left (yes that’s dad, I double checked – he’s just cold or shy at the moment), mom middle, child on the right

donkeyWith the beautiful spring weather we’ve enjoyed in Phoenix, we’ve slept with the windows open at night.¬† Therefore, the braying ….¬†hee-haw sound of the donkey right outside our window had Al and¬†me laughing.¬† We literally¬†could hear them pulling the grass and munching, but that braying sound was/is hysterical. And it’s loud.

If you’ve never heard a donkey bray, click here to be entertained.¬† Trust me, it’s worth the click to listen to these guys.

These donkeys aka wild burros casually roam about the desert in the northwest part of the Phoenix valley near Lake Pleasant.

Ah, but our little adventurous encounters didn’t end there.¬† We have the tale of Millie who was so brazenly bold as to mosey from behind my chair over to the slatted vent under the frig all the while¬†exchanging eye contact with hubby….. the hussy!

mouseOnce behind the vent, she continued looking at Al for another minute before disappearing.¬† Al found the encounter rather humorous but that didn’t stop him from setting a mouse trap that night.¬† It¬†remained empty the next morning.¬† Perhaps Miss Millie heeded the evacuation notice.

The next day it was time for me to bake.¬†¬†Since I’ve been following¬†a Paleo¬†based diet, I like to keep the freezer stocked with fresh-baked¬†scones or muffins¬†made from almond or coconut flour.¬† I recently purchased a special silicon bagel/donut mold and was looking forward to giving it a try.¬† In an RV, storage needs to be fully utilized.¬† I stow my cookie sheets and muffin pans including the new donut mold in the RV oven when not in use.¬† When I emptied the oven to lite the pilot light,¬†I excitedly reached for my new bagel mold….. “What’s this – crumbs?”¬† Miss Millie Mouse had nibbled on my brand new, never been used silicon donut mold and chewed a hole in one of the rings.fuming madTo say I was fuming is putting it mildly.¬†¬†Expletives¬†were flying out of my mouth.¬†¬†Words that would make a sailor blush.¬† Millie was immediately sentenced to death via the guillotine.¬† The next day, it was another very early morning wake up¬†for me when a¬†SNAP was heard!¬† Remember, adventure sometimes means hazardous?

So there you have it.¬† Adventure comes in many forms.¬† Just another day in the life of an RV’er and why do things always seem to happen in threes?

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Meet Hildi

After a wonderful fun-filled week with our children, we dropped¬†our son¬†off at the Denver Airport then returned to the RV¬†and later that evening bid farewell to our daughter.¬† Well, a temporary farewell.¬† We’re off to Rocky Mountain National Park for a few days and we’ll most likely be off-line during our stay.¬† But before leaving town, I thought I’d share our story about “Hildi”.

Enjoy my tale and I’ll catch¬†up with you¬†next week ūüėÉ

sunrise at the beach

Meet Hildi …

It’s early December and we’re in the midst of the Christmas shopping season. Al and I are out and about running some weekly errands. Hubby see’s a Best Buy and recommends we step in to check out some DVD’s. Since we don’t have satellite TV, we rely on our RV antenna for television reception. Our location determines how many channels are available.

hummingbirdRidgway State Park in Colorado and Moab, Utah, presented zero reception, as in nada, zilch. We were excited when boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona, when the scanner seemed to pick up 5 channels. That is until we realized only one was in English. No hablo espa√Īol. So it‚Äôs at these times we resort to our DVD collection.

Thus, we head into the store in search of some new DVD‚Äôs to add to our library and that‚Äôs when Al sees her … just down the aisle to the left of the DVD‚Äôs. He‚Äôs drawn to her sleek hard body. He finds her irresistible. Ever so cautiously he approaches her. He finds his hand slowly gliding down her side. She doesn‚Äôt respond.

He lovingly touches a button off to the left and that’s when she responds. Al’s face glows in delight as she lights up and verbally responds to his touch. He freely fondles her with both hands and that’s when she appears to get skittish. He slows his touch, she continues to respond to his gentle caresses. The two are totally engrossed with one another.

I stand-off to the side with my arms crossed. Personally, I don’t know what he sees in her. And that voice of hers ….. monotone and annoying, but Al is enthralled. He barely notices me standing there. I wonder if I need to get a bucket of cold water to pry the two apart. Finally, the trance is broken. Al pulls himself away as we walk to the next aisle, but not without a final glance her way.

We pick up the final season of Big Love¬†to add to our collection, but before heading to the check out aisle, we walk back down HER aisle. It is the Christmas season after all. Al‚Äôs a good husband and puts up with my shenanigans. Tis the season to give. I turn to Al and say, ‚ÄúHon, if you want her, you can have her‚ÄĚ. He responds wide-eyed, ‚ÄúSeriously, you‚Äôre okay with this‚ÄĚ? ‚ÄúYes, let‚Äôs take her home. Mind you, I‚Äôm not sure I trust her, but I‚Äôll have an open mind‚ÄĚ. Meet Hildi ‚Ķ.

On that note, we brought Hildi home and welcomed her to the family. Now Al has two wives telling him how to drive. Isn’t he lucky? Hildi sits between Al and me in the front seat. During our first trip together, she remained quiet for most of the drive from Phoenix, Arizona, to Canyon Lake in Texas. With the campground at Canyon Lake full, we were off to a RV Park. We found ourselves in unfamiliar territory and thought we could use a little help finding the Rio Raft RV Park in New Braunfels, Texas, and turned to Hildi for assistance.

I fumble with my maps in an attempt to get my bearings while Al fondly strokes Hildi. She responds in that monotone voice of hers giving him clear directions on where to go. It’s a battle of the wenches and clearly Hildi won this first round. Feeling somewhat dejected, I accept the fact that Hildi did a great job of getting us to the RV Park.

sun burst

A week later …

It‚Äôs now New Year‚Äôs Eve and time for Al and I to head toward our next location – Rockport, Texas. I bring out the map and we review the route I‚Äôd like to take. There are two possible routes to get to our destination. Al thinks I‚Äôve picked the slightly longer route. I disagree. We hop in the truck and Al turns Hildi on, which is easy to do, but boy don‚Äôt touch her wrong ‚Äď she‚Äôs a temperamental little gal.¬† Thankfully she has this cute little return arrow that seems to calm her down.

Great Blue HeronsShe tells¬†Al when and¬†where to turn and even beeps when we approach a school zone, giving Al clear warning to slow down. Al‚Äôs beginning to wonder what he‚Äôs¬†gotten himself into¬†and responds, ‚ÄúGreat, now I have two women telling me how to drive and when to slow down‚ÄĚ. I smile and whisper to Hildi, “Nice job”.

As we approach Interstate 35 in south Texas, Hildi tells Al to make a right. I tell Al to make a right. It looks to be more of a frontage road than an on ramp and thus he does NOT make a right. The sister wives recalculate. Hubby wants to turn around. His two wives tell him to go straight and make the next right. He’s out voted and thus listens to the two women. The quick I-35 jog was circumvented and we find ourselves on the correct road in short order.

Who’s the better kisser?

Since Hildi and I are starting to get along and agreeing more and more, I inform Al to let Hildi determine the rest of our route. “I promise not to override her, but I’m still keeping a close eye on where she takes us. I still don‚Äôt trust her”. Al‚Äôs happy his two wives won‚Äôt be fighting.

That wasn’t the case earlier in the day when I clearly disagreed with Hildi and made my opinion known. Poor Al was torn between which wife to listen to. He finally came to his senses when I asked him, ‚ÄúWho‚Äôs the better kisser?‚ÄĚ I thought so! Smart man ‚Ķ I‚Äôll always be wife number one. He continues via my directions making Hildi recalculate.

After an eventful laughter filled three-hour drive, we arrive at our destination at Goose Island State Park near Rockport, Texas.  I’m sure the tale of two wives shall continue…..

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Two Cents Tuesday Challenge – Silly

Last week we met up with some folks in the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado.¬† This famous ski town located in southwest Colorado is full of charm and¬†character…. graced with stunning scenery, fun eateries, plenty of festivals, and¬†frequented by Hollywood stars.

Telluride Colorado

The town of Telluride. Photo taken from the Gondola

Telluride has a low-key vibe and lack of pretentiousness that has Al and me coming back at every opportunity; not that we’ve had that many opportunities mind you.¬† As a matter of fact, last week will only make our third visit to this awesome mountain town.¬† The reason for the visit,¬†even though we don’t really need a reason,¬†was to meet up with fellow bloggers Barb and Maynard.

Elk in Colorado

As we approach the town of Telluride, we see a herd of Elk in the distance.

Elk in Colorado

I zoom in on this female Elk

Smuggler's Brew Pub

The main street in Telluride. Photo taken last summer.

Al and I always get a kick out of meeting folks from the blogosphere.¬† Sometimes we¬†have a vague idea of what they look like, but many times we¬†don’t….. especially if they¬†don’t write a blog themselves.¬† Then we¬†not only don’t know what they look like but also don’t know anything about them.¬†¬† However, they¬†sure have plenty of info on us from this blog.

That said, Maynard and I started communicating via email when he realized our travels would be taking us in similar directions at similar times.¬† He and I¬†set up a date, time, and place to meet – Smuggler’s Brew Pub in Telluride.

Al and I entered the Pub and I was immediately greeted with a “INGRID” followed by a huge hug.¬† Ok….. I assumed this must be Maynard LOL.¬†The four of us continued introductions and when we realized the Smuggler’s Brew Pub wouldn’t be ready for the lunch service for a while (can’t always believe what you read on the internet), I stepped up to the plate as tour guide.¬† This was Maynard and Barb’s first visit to Telluride.

I whisked hubby and my 2 blog followers toward the gondola for a bird’s-eye view of Telluride.¬† The gondola is viewed as public transportation and is free to the public.¬† (“Hey, Aspen – you might want to take note”.)¬† Little did I realize, Barb was none too fond of heights¬†or gondolas.¬† Oops, perhaps I should’ve asked!¬† The three of us did manage to poke a little¬†fun at her, and she was a good sport, but when I went to open the window…..she was quick to exuberantly exclaim “NO!”, thinking I was going to open the door.¬† It’s locked, silly ūüėČ

Telluride Colorado

Me behind Barb….she had no idea what Maynard had gotten her into!

After that little sightseeing tour, it was back to the Smuggler’s Brew Pub where the guys imbibed in a brew called “Debauchery”.¬† Need I say more?¬† Drinks and lunch were delicious and we would definitely recommend the place.

Telluride Colorado

Maynard being silly

Following lunch, the tour guide reappeared for a side trip to Bridal Veil Falls.¬† Since this visit was still early in the season, the one lane gravel road up to the base of the falls was closed.¬† So a long distance view would need to suffice.¬† Maynard and I had our cameras out and there were lots of joking and silliness going on.¬† Turns out, hubby and I were Maynard and Barb’s FIRST blogger meet up.¬† Ta, da….. virgins no longer!

Bridal Veil Falls Telluride

Maynard and Barb on the left – Al and me on the right – Bridal Veil Falls in the background

Obviously, Al and I are working on our social skills; overcoming our shy, quiet, conservative,¬†and introverted ways…….¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I know – SILLY!

Two cents Tuesday Challenge – Silly
Of course –¬†I know it’s Friday and I’m posting a “Tuesday” Challenge.¬† I’m still within rule #4. Perhaps I’ll post a Friday challenge on a Tuesday.¬† I do live on ‘RV’ time after all¬† ūüôā

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Antenna E.D.

Hubby and I have talked about making a written check list.¬† You know, the kind of list pilots use.¬† After almost a year of full-time RVing, we still haven’t made that list; a take off list so to speak, a list to review before hitting the road.

Knowing Al and I, we’d probably forget to use¬†the list¬†anyway.¬† And speaking of forgetting; check out the photo of us¬†visiting the dump station¬†at the Fruita visitor center.¬†¬†The visitor center is¬†located just west of Grand Junction, Colorado,¬†in¬†the town of Fruita¬†and is a great place to stop, relax,¬†and pick up all kinds of info on the beautiful state of Colorado.

erectile disfunctionLooks like someone forgot to lower the TV antenna.¬† The helicopter is part of a lovely Vietnam War Memorial and the rugged terrain of the Colorado National Monument can be seen in the distance.¬† We¬†always enjoy our time¬†hanging around¬†the quaint little town of Fruita….¬† gateway to the Colorado National Monument and nearby world renowned biking trails.

While staying in my brother and sister-in-laws driveway, we would make a weekly visit to the Fruita visitor center¬†to clean our tanks.¬† We wanted to¬†make sure our tanks didn’t come close to filling.¬† Hmm, where’s that check list?¬† We obviously made it to the center without a problem with the antenna in the erect position, but on the return drive we weren’t so lucky.¬†¬†Our TV antenna met some tree branches and after a quick altercation, the tree won.erectile dysfunction

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t erect the antenna.¬† It was official, our antenna was suffering from erectile dysfunction.¬† This was a problem a blue pill couldn’t fix.¬†¬†The antenna¬†was also beat up pretty¬†bad and the mother board was even exposed.

Al and I were surprised the antenna worked at all, but it did ok by bringing in a couple of channels which allowed us a little TV viewing until we could have a new antenna delivered.  We even received some reception during a heavy rainstorm which amazed us considering how damaged and exposed the antenna was.

After some research, we chose this Jack RV TV antenna that doesn’t require raising and lowering.¬† No more need to remember to crank the antenna down.¬† Yay!

JACK Digital HDTV Over-The-Air Antenna w/Built in Signal Finder – White

Although it was relatively easy to install the new antenna, it did take us most of the morning to complete the task.RV antenna repair

First the old RV antenna needed to be removed and since we have a rubber roof on the 5th wheel, it was crucial we take our time and not cause any damage to the roof.  Al used a blow dryer to heat up the old caulk and with a PLASTIC putty knife he gently lifted it to remove.  A metal putty knife could easily rip the rubber roof membrane.RV antennas

RV rubber roofsOnce the old antenna was removed, we set about installing the new one.  Once Al had everything hooked up and fastened with screws, I set about with the caulking. I used a special RV roof sealant that has a rubber consistency once dried.caulking RV roof

Geocel 56801 White Advanced RV EPDM Roof Sealant

We’ve been enjoying our new antenna for about a week now and are¬†very pleased.¬† We seem to get better reception and the colors appear to be more vibrant…… better yet, we don’t¬†need to remember to¬†lower the antenna before hitting the road.replacing RV antenna

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty – Winston Churchill

Body work & Body work

Moab UtahThe heat in Moab had us moving on in search of cooler temps and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, proved to be the perfect location.  Moab starts heating up toward the end of May with temperatures in the 90 degree plus range.  Those temps will only increase as summer approaches.  Thus, spring and fall are the best times to visit this part of Utah.

It‚Äôs all about elevation when it comes to temperatures and knowing we have a few more repairs and purging to complete on the RV, Al and I seek out some of those cooler temps.¬† We‚Äôre familiar with some private land south of the town of Glenwood Springs sitting at an elevation of 6,600 feet.¬† After a quick phone call to the owner and a ‚Äėcome on down‚Äô response, we were quickly on our way.

I‚Äôm so excited to be back in this part of Colorado.¬† One of my ‚Äėbucket list‚Äô locations is just 40 minutes down the road and I can‚Äôt wait to set my eyes on it.¬† Play before work!Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells are the most photographed mountains in North America and what a vision they are.  Our visit was early in the season and the Aspen trees were still bare but budding plants were everywhere.Maroon BellsMaroon BellsI picked the Crater Lake Trail at the Maroon Bells for the days excursion.  The 3.6 mile round trip hike is rocky and climbs about 700 feet in elevation.

We weren’t surprised that after an hour of hiking and hiking partly in snow that we had to turn around before reaching Crater Lake.

The snow kept getting deeper and eventually we lost sight of the trail.  I was seeking cooler temps after the heat in Moab and I sure found them here at 9,600 plus feet.
Maroon BellsWe did manage to climb quite a bit in elevation and at one point we could see Maroon Lake below.  Our starting point and the parking lot are on the far side of the lake.Maroon Bells

Since we weren’t able to reach our destination for lunch, we returned to a bench along Maroon Lake to eat and take in the surrounding scenery.¬† Al and I both agreed this is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited.¬† I’m hoping we can arrange¬†a revisit in July for wildflowers and in September for fall colors.¬†Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells are¬†a truly stunning sight to behold and my photos don’t even begin to do justice to the area.¬† For some stunning photos of the area Google Maroon Bells.¬†Maroon Bells

The next day, it was all Al and I could do not to return to the Maroon Bells, but alas work needed to be completed.  While Al was diligently working on the body of the RV by replacing the wheel fender; the fender that was damaged from the blown tire and all taped up,

body work

new fender and wheel covers

body workI was diligently working on my body in preparation for the upcoming summer weather.  Time to get out those shorts.

A little body work on the RV…… check!
A little body work on moi….check!

All we have left to complete is one more little fix after some silly forgetfulness¬†and we’re back in business.¬† Well, perhaps¬†we still need to do a¬†little more cabinet purging, but we’ll continue working on that during a rainy day.

Next up…… what’s with that antenna?Maroon Bells



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