Saturday, December 30, 2006

7:36 pm Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy New Year!

Only one day left in 2006. Where did the time go? We called our Aunt Elaine in Washington State today. She has been coming to Yuma in the winter for many years but this year she has been delayed. We miss her and called to find out her new ETA. It looks like she will be coming south mid-January and by then, we will be gone.

Actually, we will only be gone for five weeks and then will return to Yuma until time to take Penny up to Oregon for her yearly check-up. So although we won’t be here when she arrives, we will still have a couple months after we return to spend with her before spring. Unfortunately, it appears we will not be able to come back to the same RV Park, the same park where we have stayed the last three times we came to Yuma. The park that is right across the street from where our aunt lives.

This park only has three slots available with cable TV. These slots are also wider than the older slots so they accommodate RVs with slides (like us). Anyway, to make a long story short they will not rent them for longer than a week at a time after we leave and the only other spaces available are deeper in the park, narrow and without cable TV.

So, we will be looking for another place to park our Penny when we return. It won’t be as convenient, that is for sure, so we aren’t particularly happy about the changes at this park but there isn’t much we can do about it. Greed is a powerful driving force and customer service is becoming a thing of the past.

My family and close friends know that I am (was) a cat person all my adult life. When we decided to become fulltime Rvers, we made a mutual decision to not travel with pets. I knew I would miss them but the cons far outweighed the pros in our opinion. Well, my cousin here in Yuma, sympathetically presented Phil and me with the “purrrfect” pet for Christmas. Take a look ….

Her little tummy goes up and down as she breaths but she doesn't eat or shed. She also doesn't need a tidy box and she is very quiet. We haven't named her yet. Any ideas? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 24, 2006

These pictures on our holiday card from Camping World shows motorhomes traveling down the road in snow country. This is not our motorhome ... and if we have any choice in the matter, it never will be! Best wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season. Posted by Picasa

8:40 AM Sunday December 24, 2006


I am finding it difficult to get in the holiday mood while cohabitating with my sweetie here in Yuma, Arizona embraced by all this sunshine and 70-plus degree weather. Perhaps I could try playing holiday music or maybe rent a Christmas movie to watch (one with lots of snow) while I compose. Do you think that might work? Hmmmmm………

Here, for your review is a very condensed version of our last 12 months of living retired and loving it!

December of 2005: We were in sunny Florida. However, that month was anything but sunny or warm. A bit disappointing but we had a great time at the Kennedy Space Center and visiting my cousins Ginny and her brother, Eddie who live there year-round. Sadly, Eddie lost his wife Anita a short time later and we were so glad we were able to see her before she passed. We didn’t make it to Key West … I guess that means we have to go back. J

January 2006: We were moving faster than we really like, traveling from Florida through Alabama to Tennessee and visiting with my cousin, Sharon and her wonderful family then friends Margie and Roger. The bad weather (tornados and such) was licking at our heels but after traveling through Mississippi, we stopped in Vicksburg to visit the battlefield. I had a great, great grandfather in the Union Army who took part in that siege. Then we moved on through Louisiana to Texas where we spent another wonderful week visiting with Phil’s nieces and nephews.

February and March: We made our way through New Mexico into Arizona and settled into an RV park near Payson, to spend some time with our friend, Ardella. We experienced being snowed in (in AZ!!!) for a few days and we helped her celebrate her 67th birthday, (she considered the snowfall a wonderful gift--she was like that.)

April and May: We spent a week camped on Lake Roosevelt with Ardella and her husband, Don. Phil and Don fished every day and Ardella and I did some marathon visiting. We left them there and traveled on down the “hill” to Yuma and whiled away some wonderful hours with my two Aunts, Beverly and Elaine before they headed north, doing the “snowbird” thing. We had planned to be right behind them but Phil had a minor accident in the Wal*Mart parking lot (he ran into a light pole base) and we were delayed five weeks getting our little truck fixed.

June, July and August: Our summer was filled with family and friends. Phil was fishing with his pal, Les as much as possible and went deep-sea fishing with his son Mike; we had all of our yearly tests and doctor visits; we attended family birthday parties and went to the local rodeo at the fairgrounds as well as Shelton’s yearly Garden Tour. I made a commitment to get my genealogy affairs in order and finish my mother’s biography this winter. So far, so good, it is coming along nicely.

September: We headed south and stopped in Albany, Oregon for our Penny the Pace’s yearly checkup at McKay’s Trucking. My computer died the next day. Leaving Penny in good hands, we drove The Lone Ranger back to Shelton to see about getting it repaired (no luck-the hard drive crashed) and spent the weekend as guests of our friends Gloria and Les while they had their 2nd garage sale of the year. Got to say “See Ya next trip!” to a lot of people we would have missed otherwise. Returned to Oregon on Monday and bought a new computer at Wal*Mart (no sales tax).

October: Our round-a-bout track south went north then east along the Columbia Gorge on the Oregon side where we rendezvoused with my sister for a couple hours as she was heading west, then into Idaho where we spent some time with my cousins, Bobby in Weiser and Norma in Buhl. Bobby’s husband took Phil fishing and we explored the beautiful Snake River backcountry. Later, Norma showed us the cemeteries in Twin Falls where so many of my family are buried. Moving south, our Utah stops included visits with Phil’s uncle and cousins in Salt Lake City, and my cousins in Kaysville and nieces in St. George. We took the tour of the LDS Temple and drove east for a quick visit to the magnificent Zion Nation Park.

November: The new computer was working great; I had most of my information reloaded (thank goodness I had 99% of it backed up on CD) when we found our way to Las Vegas and visited with my cousin Buster who lives in Henderson. We went to see the Bodies Exhibition and Buster gave us an extensive tour to see the growth in the area. We arrived in Yuma on the 10th where we will spend most of the winter except for a side trip to a rally next February.

Our year in detail is here in the archives of our web log, “Backroad Chronicles”. We hope this letter finds you and yours well and happy and remember, “You only live once; but if you live it right, once is enough!” Adam Marshall

Happy Holidays to all with love and best wishes,
Julie JOY and Phil

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

8:37 AM Tuesday December 19, 2006

Two thousand six is coming to an end. In its wake, are many wonderful memories to look back on. When I was a kid, I wanted the time to pass quickly. I counted the days to the end of school; then to the beginning of school; then until it snowed; then to my birthday; then to Christmas. Time could not move fast enough to suit me. My 16th birthday finally came and I got my drivers license, then 18 arrived and I joined the ranks of adulthood. When I turned 21, I bought my first legal cocktail and … well, that is another story.

You have heard the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for?” While I wasn’t paying any attention, somehow, I had grown older and yes, I got my wish! Time flies by so quickly for me now, it is nearly impossible to keep track of the days and months or remember anything unless I write it down … then along came “Blogger”! You have probably heard of an external hard drive. Well, my blog is my external memory bank. Thank goodness!

My cousin, Nada, who lives in Yuma year-round is a family counselor for her day job but in her heart and soul, she is an artist. A very good artist in my opinion and I’d like to share this website with you so you can judge for yourself. Her pseudonym is “Sky Fox” and I think you’ll like her work. Click on Calendars, cards, etc..

Also, we have a wedding coming up in our family.

My beautiful granddaughter, Megan and her fiance' Joshua will be married in 2007 on January 27th.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

9:24 AM Monday December 11, 2006

I was up before sunrise this morning. Sometimes I think my internal clock has been greatly affected by my diabetes medication. Some mornings I will sleep until 9-10 am and the next day I am wide awake at 5:30 am (like today). I never know when I go to bed, how long I will be able to stay there. Am I lucky or what? This is my biggest problem on December 11, 2006.

My cherished friend, Ardella has closed her eyes for the last time and waking up is something she will never do again. Hearing her happy “Hello!” on the telephone when I call or her silly response, “Keys in the mailbox!” to my knock on the door of her motorhome is only a memory now. Christmas without a doubt, was her favorite time of year so, although it was not her choice, it is conceivable this is the month she would most likely want to be foremost in the thoughts of her precious family and countless friends from this year forward. Mission accomplished!

Our road trip to Payson in The Lone Ranger was pleasant and without consequence … just the way we like them. The funeral service for Ardella was the largest I have ever attended. Family and friends spoke of their love and sang her praises for over an hour, one after the other at the podium. The pastor of her church, Mark, officiating at the service was a former employee at Gollipops (Ardella and Don’s candy business for many years) when he was a teen and spoke lovingly (and tearfully) of her in his eulogy. According to an employee at the local paper, “ … Ardella was a legend in this town!” as he handed a stack of papers (with the obituary) to daughter, Debbie without charge.

Lots of tears but equal amounts of smiles and laughter ... all I could think of was … she would have loved it!

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 07, 2006

8:55 AM Thursday December 7, 2006

Phil and I will be driving The Lone Ranger up the mountain to Payson this morning and unless our IP, AOL has upgraded their service in this town (no local number for dial-up was available last year) we will not be able to post on the blog until next Monday after we return to Yuma.

The funeral service for Ardella is Saturday, December 9.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ardella (Waylett) Keith
March 21, 1939 - December 3, 2006 Posted by Picasa

1948 L-R: Joy's mother, Violet- Ardella's little brother, Randy-Ardella 8 yrs old-Joy 8 yrs old. Posted by Picasa
How can you explain a friendship that started almost 60 years ago?
How can you prepare yourself to lose that friendship?
For nearly my entire life, I have known this person would always be there for me through thick or thin.
We were young brides and new mothers together.
We stayed close in spite of being dirt poor or walking in high cotton.
We had many other friends but without skipping a beat, we could instantly pick up our relationship exactly where we left off regardless of time or miles.
Three divorces for me and 51 years and nine months of marriage to the same man for her did not alter our prospective of how we related to each other.
We were as different as night is to day yet we were also exactly the same.
We shared history; we knew each other’s family tree and we respected each other’s right to our own religious beliefs.
My friend had cancer. She put up one hell of a fight and she will always be my hero.
In spite of what the doctors told her, she willed herself through pure determination to put one foot in front of the other each day and get on with life.
Radiation and chemotherapy took their toll but each day was the first day of the rest of her life and she refused to quit.
I cannot imagine my life without her in it.
I tried hard not to think about it yet it was on my mind day and night.
She and I talked about how it would be “when she was gone” as if it were hypothetical, rather than imminent and laughed about how screwed up everything will be when the alpha female is no longer around to keep the mechanics of her family oiled and running smoothly.
Losing her physical power and her mental control was bad but not as bad as giving up her dignity during the worst days.
Frustration was ever-present as she struggled to maintain some form of pride and self-respect and she cried when she had to ask for help doing simple things.
A caregiver of others all her adult life, she felt guilty for being needy and took chances, over doing and suffering the consequences.
Some say knowing ahead of time that a loved one is going to die is easier than losing them suddenly.
I have experienced losses both ways and I am still not able to make that determination.
Losing my friend is painful and heartbreaking for me but no matter how hard it is for me, it was worse for her.
I lost one person but she lost everyone …
Her family says she is in a better place and with the angels now.
If that better place does in fact exist, it is definitely a ‘BETTER PLACE” just because she is there.
I made a promise to her and I will keep it … my best friend, my sister, Ardella will not be forgotten!

Very windy morning just before sunrise in Yuma, AZ. The dark clouds are smoke from a small wildfire ... it was contained quickly.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

1:09 PM Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We just found out that one of our good friends (and a loyal reader of our blog) went in for an angiogram and ended up having stints put in two of the arteries of his heart. This all started when he went in for a treadmill stress test in August and the cardiologist stopped the test midway after seeing some abnormal results. Up until that time, our friend had no symptoms; can you believe it? His main artery was blocked 98% and the other artery was 90% blocked. The doctors told him they found two more that would need stints later because they are 70% blocked. This happened on Monday, the 27th, that just happens to be our birthday—yes, Phil and I share the same birthday.

Therefore … this is a message to you Mr. Andy. GET WELL SOON!!! We expect you to be bright eyed and bushy tailed by the time we arrive for our yearly medical appointments next spring. We hear some “31” card games calling our name!

Our friend, Andy in September 2006. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 23, 2006

10:00 AM Thursday, November 23, 2006


Monday, November 20, 2006

12:18 PM Monday November 20, 2006

We’ve only been in Yuma for ten days but we have felt like we’re home from day one. This town is so RV/Retiree friendly; every place we look, everywhere we go, we see couples that look just like us … our peers if you will. No one is taken aback by the fact that we are full time RVers and travel in our motorhome according to our whims or that our plans are carved in Jell-O. It is a very comfortable place to be. The danger of course, is getting too comfortable … however, the gypsy in my soul is alive and well. I know that sooner rather than later we will develop “Hitchitch” ( as it’s known in our circles or itchy feet (wanderlust) to non-rvers.

Yuma celebrated the “Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival 2006” this past weekend. Events were scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we managed to get up early enough on Sunday morning to be at the Cibola High School athletic field for lift off. We missed the big event on Saturday where they actually sent 35 balloons into the sky. Unfortunately, on Sunday the wind was a bit strong and only three of the many balloons in attendance managed to get up. It was very much like, “hurry up and wait” as the Yuma Proving Ground (U.S. Army) portable weather station was on hand advising the balloon pilots about conditions in the flight path. Obviously, the three balloons that did lift off warned the others by radio that it was pretty hairy so the waiting teams deflated their envelopes and we went home a bit disappointed. There were hundreds of people positioned around the field watching, all ages, shapes and sizes and it was a "people watching", entertaining experience.

Here are some of the pictures …

The sun is coming up! Posted by Picasa

The symbol of America, the bald eagle balloon raised the flag for the Star Spangled Banner at sunrise. Posted by Picasa

The envelope spread out and ready to be filled. Posted by Picasa

Fire up the propane torch boys!  Posted by Picasa

Two little spectators with their new Balloon Festival 2006 Tees. Posted by Picasa

We could almost reach up and touch this gondola as they flew over our heads. Posted by Picasa

This beauty didn't get to fly and had to be deflated due to a malfunction of one of the flaps. Posted by Picasa

These three balloons didn't get off the ground due to unsatisfactory wind conditions. Posted by Picasa

People are scrambling to get out of the way as a big fan inflates the envelope with air. Posted by Picasa

We have lift off! Posted by Picasa

This balloon is for rent ... hmmm? Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 13, 2006

12:18 PM Monday November 13, 2006

After pursuing the scenic route for more than two months on the road, we have arrived in Yuma Arizona from Shelton Washington and are settling in for a couple months. The tentative plan is to stay through December visiting family and basking in the warm weather.

Home building is booming in Yuma. The town continues to spread out and although the population decreases during the hottest summer months, apparently, there are many more year-round inhabitants each year. Several residents we’ve talked to consider two months of hot weather (easy to survive with air-conditioning) a small price to pay for 10 months of nearly perfect temperatures.

Our little corner of the park. Not too roomy but we don't need much.  Posted by Picasa

Where my Aunt Elaine spends the winter. Posted by Picasa

The pool and jacuzzi directly across the street. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

4:22 PM Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Today is a lazy day. For me, that’s the very best kind. This is our last day in Quartzsite, Arizona … tomorrow we will continue south to Yuma, only a little over 100 miles, another short, easy day. The thermometer read 85 degrees outside this morning but with the roof air conditioner running and the door open, it was decadently wonderful inside Penny the Pace as I wrote these words earlier. (I would have posted to the blog then but poor Blogger was having a problem.) Wasteful? I always feel a little bit guilty when we do that BUT after seeing the wattage being burned in Las Vegas 24/7, the electricity we use my friends is but a blink of a gnats eye in the overall electric usage in this part of the country.

While we were in Las Vegas, after the worst of our colds had passed, my cousin Buster did his best to show us miles and miles of the newest sights in and around Sin City. The rapid growth and enormous amounts of money being spent for housing are beyond our small town imaginations. Downtown, older casinos are coming down (the Stardust closed while we were there) and new casinos are going up. I heard someone on TV call the abundant construction cranes spread out across the landscape, the “state bird” of Nevada, and had to laugh. Buster took us to the Lake Mead Marina where we saw thousands of wild carp being hand fed popcorn by children at dockside and to Lake Las Vegas where million dollar homes surround the little oasis out in the desert. We learned this is where Celine Dion owns a home and that she flies to work by helicopter at Caesar’s Palace every night.

We went to see the “BODIES” exhibition at the Tropicana Casino. What an experience that was and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Phil was less enthusiastic but managed to find a few exhibits that interested him. The hall was full of children who liked seeing these specimens as much as the adults. I suppose it’s not for everyone but I highly recommend it to anyone even mildly curious about the human body.

To top off our visit, we went to the “Fremont Street Experience” on Sunday night. WOW! Two blocks at the end of Fremont Street have been closed to traffic and renovated into a pedestrian plaza. A huge canopy covers the entire two blocks and after dark they turn off all the lights of the Casinos and for about ten minutes, run a neck-craning spectacular laser show complete with eardrum pounding sound effects and music. A new show plays about every hour and we saw two of them. My cousin told us that downtown Las Vegas was suffering from lack of interest and this is the city father’s attempt to redirect that downward spiral. If the amount of people congregated in that small area is any indication, it’s working.

Here are a few photos I’d like to share with you:

I agree! A must see exhibition. Posted by Picasa

Buster and Phil at Lake Las Vegas. Posted by Picasa

Oasis at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada. Posted by Picasa