Summer Travel Map

Friday, March 6, 2015

January 19-March 6: Springtime in the Valley of the Sun

Yes, the weather has been beautiful. Yes, we’ve watched news reports about winter from most of the rest of the country. Yes, we’ve gloated, privately and using Facebook, FaceTime, and even email (Al, you know who you are). But it’s all in fun, of course.

[Reminder: click on any picture to enlarge]

We’ve also had some rain showers, and even a couple of rare days when residual moisture in the atmosphere leads to a foggy morning. Yeah, we take pictures of fog. Go figure…

Since our last report, January was most low-70s with some odd 60s, and February into March has been mostly mid-to-upper-70s with a few 80-degree days. Every year, we’re reminded why we chose to spend most of our winters here. Of course, it was also time to start taking morning coffee and “paper” on the patio.

Mid-February brings that “special week” for us. Valentine’s Day, our anniversary (35th, for those counting), and Geri’s birthday (39th, of course) — all within the space of four days. We didn’t plan much and met our objectives, although Geri did ask for a night out at Outback Steakhouse on her birthday. Steak? Who am I to argue? And that decadent brownie/ice cream thing? Well, we should have shared it with people at nearby tables!

Now, that’s not to say that we didn’t eat well at home as well. What would our Blog be without some food porn, right? This is just a sampling (Geri’s Famous Chicken Piccata over Risotto, Shrimp Alfredo with Homemade Fettuccine, Cheese Soufflé, and Homemade Pizza with Butternut Squash, Bacon and Sage). And, let’s just say that we did an excellent job of clearing the Wine Box of all those pesky “drink me this year” wines that said “2014/2015”!

We recently had dinner with our neighbors, Clisby (right) and Tanis (center). Geri made her famous Alfredo Sauce with Shrimp and I made some fresh fettuccine, pictured above. We also were invited to dine with our friends Ana and Larry. Merlin and Maya really enjoy hanging out with their dogs, Molly and Nami (“Tsunami”), especially when “people food” is involved.

As the winter season gets further along, our thoughts (and to-do lists) start filling up with travel-related items. This year’s major expense was new front tires for the coach. RV people don’t wear out tires; they tend to “age out” and weaken well before the tread is gone. At least I’ve got them spaced out a few years apart by axle to spread out the expense!

The pups continue to do well, or as well as we all do with age. Maya Lynn had her 11th birthday in January. She still has a small growth on her bum but we’ve decided not to subject her to more surgery as she’s had enough, and it hasn’t reached the point of bothering her in any way we can see. Merlin will be 17 this summer and he’s still going strong, although he’s starting to have “control issues” that we’re keeping an eye on.

It wouldn’t be winter without me trying to sell a few things on eBay to make some pocket change. Every year I swear “never again” when it starts to feel too much like a full time job. It seems like it should be as simple as posting a few things and waiting for money to arrive in my PayPal account, but it never is. Unlike past years where I’ve had to deal with a series of questions from people with no intention of buying or who tried to scam me outside the eBay boundaries, this year’s issues were shipping-related. First, I mixed up two shipments, so I had to scramble to get them returned to me and shipped to the right buyers without getting dinged on my seller rating. Then, one of my shipments arrived missing its contents, but with a lot more packing tape. It wasn’t extremely expensive so I didn’t buy the insurance. Lesson learned, as I had to eat the cost and USPS gave me a “too bad” speech. Now, not only do I insure, I take pictures of the packages when USPS gets them so I can compare later if there is an issue.

And, finally, I’ll mention that we had some sports here in the Valley this winter. From a major golf thing to College Football Bowls and the Super Bowl, there was a lot of activity. Fortunately, we didn’t get caught up in any traffic issues, even though the Super Bowl was played about 3 miles from us as the crow flies. At times we had three “competing” blimps flying around (Goodyear, of course; DirecTV; MetLife). It was enough to make you think you were in an alternate universe on “Fringe”. Apparently, there wasn’t much going on in the rest of the world afterward, because the blimps were still flying around when Cactus League Spring Training games started in late-February.

The last “spring news” I’ll mention is that, for the first time in years, we’re actually making a short trip. We’re done packing the motorhome and we’ll be leaving tomorrow for about a 3-week “vacation”. We’ll be hitting two RV rallies. The first is in Pahrump, Nevada (I know, "Where the heck is Pahrump"? It's about an hour west of Las Vegas.) and the second is in Pomona, California, part of the Los Angeles metro area. We’ll be back in AZ near the end of March, as we have numerous things to take care of before we head out for the summer. One of those things, of course, will be figuring out where we’ll actually go during the summer!

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