Saturday, October 29, 2011

About That Retirement (October 23 - 29 )

Dear Family and Friends,

The first part of this blog is about Roger! This has been his last week working with our son, Michael, and Merrill Lynch. Those of us that have left careers know that you do it with mixed feelings. I remember feeling a little lost when I left my teaching profession, but was able to adjust to retirement in a short amount of time.  In fact, Roger said that I adjusted to full time playing without any problems. Roger has had two very successful careers in the military and in the financial services business. I am so proud of the hard worker he has always been. Now it is his time to play! Congrats to Roger!

This week has been filled with cycling, saying goodbye to Tucson friends, and for Roger, saying goodbye to clients as well as his business partner and our son, Michael. Of course we will see Michael again, but Roger will not work with him as a partner. The pics below give you a glimpse into our last week in Tucson.

Some days all you get are stops for red lights. Roger is waiting for the light to change as we cycle up Craycroft to the Catalina Mountains.

Sandy, Annette and I ride one last time in Sahuaro Park East.

Great riding buddies: Annette and Sandy. Sandy has been a very special riding buddy going back to 2005. Oh the miles we have ridden together.

Our spot at Davis Monthan. Bear loves RVing.

Bear is not too happy about his upcoming bath!

Michael and Dexter come over for dinner while Bridget is in Colorado.

We took the Tour in for some minor repairs and were thrilled to have them completed before our departure to Texas, next week.

On a final note, I want to congratulate our son,  Michael, for completing the  Ride For Semper Fi. This is the second time he has cycled the 430 mile trip from Scottsdale to San Diego. This is the ride that raises money for wounded Marines. Roger rode in it last year and I helped along the way, so this may be familiar to many of you who have donated to this cause. This year the ride raised over $300,000. Actually, Michael rides more than the 430 miles because he cycles back and forth to help others complete the ride.
Michael, a CAT 2 cyclist, is helping another rider. 

Finally the finish line!

Thank you for reading the blog. The next one may be a little late, but it will come to you from Texas.

Friday, October 21, 2011

About That Tucson Living (October 16 - 22)

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your wonderful comments about the blog! I really do appreciate your encouragement, even when the week is uneventful. Actually I am coming to appreciate those uneventful weeks, when life in the Tour runs smoothly. This week has had some challenges.

As mentioned before, Roger is really retiring!  Monday and Tuesday were filled with just a few appointments while Wednesday and Thursday were full days for him. In addition to those appointments, we had to take the Tour in for some maintenance work; hence, the challenges mentioned in the previous paragraph.

 We are truly at the mercy of the specialists who work on the RV. As I have mentioned before it is not like taking your car in for a quick fix. That coupled with the fact that the Tour is our home, makes us entirely "homeless" while it is in the shop. Michael let Bear and me use his home on one of the days which made it so nice for us. What a great son!  With several parts ordered, we know there will be some more maintenance work done in the next two weeks. These projects range from a new pump used in our sleep number bed to a new electrical cord to power the interior of the coach ( did I mention that the temps are in the upper 90's in Tucson) to a new rear camera that is a must for checking on our towed Terrain. This is the downside of full time RVing, but the life we are living outweighs the inconveniences.

Roger and I had a great forty mile bike ride on Sunday morning, as well as three others through out the week.

One of the many enjoyable parts about RVing is meeting friends in new places. This week Pam and Butch arrived at Davis Monthan. They are veteran RVers and have helped us so much. Between happy hours and dinner, we have had fun catching up.

This is a very short blog for the week. We have another ten days in the area and then are off to Texas!
Thank you for checking in with us on our adventures in the Tour.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

About Those Friends (October 9 - 15)

Dear Family and Friends,

Sunday morning was a great hike for Bear and me with Sandy, Jeff and their dog, Emma. Roger was in Wichita, Kansas, at his high school reunion. Sandy, Jeff and I drove to Mount Lemmon and hiked from Molino Basin to Prison Camp (yes, there was a prison there at one time). Tucson has had a wet September, so things really look green for a low desert area. While on the trail we had several off road cyclists pass us. Bear and Emma had so much fun hiking this trail, as did the human parents.
Sandy and Jeff with Bear looking for treats!

Jeff carries the treats so Emma happily follows.

Sandy and Emma

Water break for Emma and Bear.

Sandy and I with the tall grass.

Bear and I picked Roger up from the airport on Sunday afternoon and got to hear all about his 45th high school reunion. The principal gave the attendees a tour of the school and then did a question, answer session. Roger was amazed to see the changes at East High. He had a great time seeing old friends.

Roger left for work on Monday morning. As mentioned in previous blogs, we are in Tucson so that he can fulfill his commitment to Michael in quarterly reviews for their business.

Sandy, Annette and I did an early morning bike ride around Sahuaro Park East on Monday morning.. We love being off of the streets and riding in such a beautiful area. Again, everything looks so green because of the wet September. This is so unusual for October. We rode again on Thursday out to Pistol Hill. The ride was a 40 miler for me, by the time I got back to the base. 

Sandy and Annette climbing Pistol Hill with the Rincon Mountains in the background.

This is a very short blog. Please know that Roger has been working hard while I have been playing hard. Thank you for reading the blog and I will post again next week.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

About That Living In The Tour (October 1 - 8 )

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Tucson, Arizona! We are into our second week at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. It is like coming home because this is where we began our full time RVing adventure almost 6 months ago.

Roger started back to work this week. As most of you know he has had a 12 year partnership with our son, Michael and is turning their business over to him this year. Roger's retirement agreement with Michael centered around us being in the Tucson area for quarterly reviews in July and October. Let me assure you that it is much more fun to be in Tucson in October than July.

We have received questions about what it is like to live in our Tour after selling our "dream" home and I thought I would give you an idea about our lifestyle in 400 square feet of living space. If you had told me two years ago that I would sell my home, give away possessions (think furniture, Waterford crystal, oriental rugs for example) of a 40 year marriage and move around in a bus that contained 400 square feet of living space, I would have told you that you were crazy. I had found the perfect place to live, Tucson. Our younger son and daughter-in-law lived here and we had great friends and a very active lifestyle. Wasn't this something that I had dreamed of in our twenty eight years of military service where we moved 18 times???  All I can tell you is that dreams change!

On April 22, we began our life in the RV and this month, we will have been on the road for 6 months. Through it all, I have loved it. The places we have seen and the people we have met have made it entirely worthwhile. More than anything, this has been fun.

Our day begins with one of us (usually Roger) taking Bear out for a quick walk around the area. I make the  bed and have my first cup of tea. After an early breakfast and a quick check of the news, we head out on a bike ride or hike. No doubt you have seen some gorgeous shots of these events in the different places I have blogged. Both Roger and I are long time fitness fanatics and a day without exercise is hard for us. So it is rare that we do not have some kind of work out in the morning.

Often we find ourselves coming back from the workout and heading out to do some sightseeing.

Lunch is usually back at the coach with another Bear walk. We both like to use our computers and iPads so sometime each day is spent on line. We use our own MiFi card or sometimes find great internet access at the RV park where we stay. We love to read and easily can read 1 - 2 books a week. Those books are on our iPads so we can save space inside the coach.

There is always an afternoon activity whether it is sightseeing, hiking or errands in town. Bear usually goes with us.

Cocktail hour is at five and we catch the news again. We have three televisions in our RV, one is on the outside, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. We use dish network with a satellite receiver on top of the coach so it is rare that we do not see the network news or catch our favorite shows.

Dinner is usually in the coach. I have a microwave / convection oven, crockpot, gas burners (supplied by a propane gas tank located on the outside of the coach) and an electric skillet in which I prepare several recipes that are super easy to make. Those of you that know me well KNOW that I am not someone who loves to spend time in the kitchen. Fortunately I am married to a man who is easy to please. Roger thinks cereal or popcorn for dinner is great. I do have a dishwasher and use it almost every night. I know, RVing is rough! Roger is our barbecuing chef. He uses a Holland Grill and has been very happy with the results.  Our refrigerator is a residential Maytag, so there is plenty of room for already prepared meals. We have enough kitchen cabinetry to store about two weeks worth of food before it is time to go to the grocery store. Our table can expand to seat four people and this space also makes a great computer table. The extra chairs are stored in a compartment under the Tour. There is a saying in RV speak that goes something like this: "Six for cocktails, four for dinner and two for bed." We can sleep two more people with a sofa bed. We cannot wait until we have our grandchildren for sleepovers with Mimi and Grandad!

There are  two bathrooms (1 1/2) in the Tour. My bathroom has the stacked washer and dryer that are used every two days. This is a huge convenience though the RV parks where we stay have laundry rooms. My washer and dryer are designed for RV life and work very well.

Our clothes are stored in the three small closets, overhead bins and drawers in our bedroom. We did donate most of our clothes before we left Tucson in May. RVing calls for casual clothes!

The living area has an electric fireplace that we have grown to love. There is just enough heat to take the chill off in the morning. I don't think that we will use it in Tucson, but we have turned it on in other places. There is plenty of comfy seating with an L shaped sofa, and three chairs.

The three slides (walls that move out to create more space when we are at an RV park) are what makes living in a small area doable. One slide has an awning that creates inviting seating outside. We have four folding chairs (two for us and two for new friends). RVers are a very friendly group and love to come visit.

We stay at RV parks designed for big rigs. 50 amp electrical  hookups, water,  and sewer are important to us. Because our RV is over 42 feet long, we need level spots and prefer drive through access. This rules out many sites in national and state parks. Fortunately there are plenty of RV parks that accommodate big rigs. The Tour is 42 plus feet long and with our "toad,"we measure 65 feet. The Tour weighs approximately 38,000 pounds.

Hopefully the above helps you understand how we are spending our days in the Tour. We stay busier than I ever thought we would.

This has been a great week spent cycling with friends (Sandy, Annette and Dave), and having dinner with Susan and Steve.  Roger worked Monday through Thursday, but left on Friday for a weekend in Wichita at his 45th high school reunion. Bear and I stayed behind and had fun with Michael and Bridget on Friday. On Saturday, I got to walk in our old neighborhood with Marla and spend the rest of the day with Deb. Our wonderful to get to see family and friends!

Bear's favorite place at DM is the doggie park.

Taking a break from playing Fetch.

Bear loves Michael!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog. We appreciate your interest in our life on the road. Next week will find us in Tucson.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

About That Saying Goodbye to New Mexico (September 25 - October 1)

Dear Family and Friends,

I have noticed that I leave each place we visit with such mixed emotions. Happy to be on the road again, yet a bit sad that our visit has come to an end.  How could anyplace compare with the majesty of Colorado Springs? Well, we found that majesty in Santa Fe. I am learning that our country is filled with beautiful places and lovely people. How fortunate I am to be on this journey.

Roger, Bear and I spent our final weekend at the Saturday morning Santa Fe market, cycling and doing those chores that are necessary before we headed for Arizona.
Bear is so patient when I groom him!

Roger keeps the Tour in great shape!

 We left Santa Fe on Tuesday.  I shall miss the blue sky, the Sangre de Cristo mountains, our cycling rides down the Turquoise Trail, the hikes we took in the mountains, the crisp mornings, the abundance of wildflowers set against that beautiful blue sky, buffalo and antelope, the incredible amount of culture both past and present that makes Santa Fe what it is today, and finally leaving old friends and new ones. 

Our route was an easy one to Holbrook, Arizona. We drove on Interstate 25 to Albuquerque, then Interstate 40 to Holbrook where we spent the night at the OK RV Park. Up early on Wednesday, Roger noticed a slow leak in one of our Terrain's tires so he was off to have it repaired while I prepared the Tour to leave. Our goal was Tolleson on the outskirts of Phoenix, which we easily made by the early afternoon. The Freightliner crew did the scheduled work on the Tour in record time and we were on our way to Tucson by mid afternoon. We reached Davis Monthan and the Fam Camp in the early evening. We are looking forward to our month in the area where Roger will complete his last set of quarterly reviews. Cycling and visiting friends will be lots of fun.

Our first cycling ride took us back to familiar territory on Friday morning. Avid blog readers will remember me mentioning Sahuaro Park East in earlier posts and that is where we headed. Our ride totaled 30 miles and we were back at the Tour before the winds kicked in.

Saturday morning was an early bike ride on Davis-Monthan with tough winds. Our ride lasted a little over an hour. It is great to be on a base where you hear Reveille in the morning and The Star Spangled Banner in the evening. 

We went to see MoneyBall in the afternoon and thought the story was great! Also Air Force pulled off a squeaker against Navy. The final score in over time was 35 - 34.

The pics below are just some candids after our Saturday bike ride.


We feel so lucky to have Bear with us on our travels. His birthday is November 6th and he will be two years old. He has adapted easily to our life on the road and makes friends, both human and dog, without any problems.

Thank you for reading our blog. We appreciate your interest in our life in the Tour.