Musings and Info about life on the road

Summer with a Vengeance….

Last week, due to Kay’s foresight, we moved to a shady spot here in the old RV park. It was a good thing as the temperatures here keep teasing the 100 degree mark with the humidity being less than 10%. Here is a pic of the new homestead:


Lovely. We are even picking our own home grown tomatoes and lettuce.

Kay continues to get stronger day by day. No walker and no cane  at all. Her bowed legs are now straight after the knee replacement. She is almost finished with physical therapy and goes to the pool at the Fruita Community Center. Now she even has a physical trainer there at the center who has introduced her to the torture machines so she can use them properly. I believe his name is the Marquis de Sade, or something along those lines.

Work for me is….well…like work at the Fruita Co-op/Ace Hardware. A very different clientele than we had at the Ace in Telluride. It’s much more farmer/ranch oriented. Plow bolts vs. Gucci switch plate covers. And, I am just now getting used to being on my feet for eight hours a day.

We are going back to the Bosque Del Apache N.W.R. this winter for a third winter season and we are looking forward to that.

Harry Hotspur and Fiona Hamster-slayer both got their summer haircuts yesterday, and are recovering well from the trauma of it all.

That’s about it for now….



Sego Canyon….

As one member of this family has become rather stir-crazy as of late, on Monday we took a ride to Sego Canyon outside of Thompson Springs which is about 65 miles or so west of here in the land of Moroni to see the pictographs and petroglyphs. It was well worth the visit.


There are three different cultural styles of rock art present in the canyon. The earliest is called Barrier Canyon. They are pictographs(painted works) that were done 2,500 to 1,500 years ago:



The panel was fenced off, however the figures are life sized or larger:


The next photo is of petroglyphs of the Fremont Style from between 600 to 1300 A.D.


And below are Sego style petroglyphs done by the Utes. You can tell the panel was done by more modern peoples because of the horses in the panel:


All in all it was a nice little field trip.



Up and About! …..

Kay is making a remarkably rapid recovery from the surgery that gave her  a new right knee. So rapid in fact, she is now able to walk without a walker or cane, and yesterday the doctor gave Kay permission to drive. She also goes to physical therapy twice a week and is way, way ahead of others who had the same procedure when she did.

After weeks of rain and thunderstorms and cool temps we’ve finally had a spell of nice weather. The last few days it has been sunny with the temperatures hovering around 90 degrees, but it cools off nicely during the night.

After being pretty much house bound since Kay’s operation and better living with oxycodone , on Tuesday we went on a road trip to the top of Grand Mesa, which overlooks Grand Junction, and is is the largest flat topped mountain in the whole wide world. The highest point on the mesa is over 11,000 feet. In the picture below you can see Grand Mesa way off on the horizon with the clouds above it.


When we got to the top …lo and behold… SNOW!


Quite a bit of it. Some of it must have come with all of the rain we had.


When we got to the top the temperature has dropped from around 82 in Grand Junction to about 50  where I took this picture  of the new Kay and her brand new right knee.


Kay thought it advisable to take the cane on this outing as she wasn’t walking on sidewalk. I declined not to post a closeup of  Kay’s scar as I did not want to make her brothers to faint away. :)

The other three occupants of our domicile are well too. TTFN!



My Wife…the SMO

As of yesterday morning I am married to a Structurally Modified Organism, or SMO. Kay underwent surgery at Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, CO and received a badly needed knee replacement. Everything went smoothly and a few hours later she took her first tentative steps. Today she was out in the hallway with a walker and did the length of a football field. We are keeping our fingers crossed that she can come home  in a day or so. Kay will use a walker and a cane for a while, and doing physical therapy until she no longer needs those aides.

We are both quite relieved that everything went so smoothly. It turns out that St Mary’s has the third highest rated orthopedic department in the U.S., and the floor she is on is rated first in the U.S. The room she  occupies is on the 8th floor of the hospital and has quite a spectacular penthouse view of Grand Mesa, Grand Junction, and the Colorado National Monument.


It amazes me how quickly her doctor did the operation with all a joint like the knee entails in about an hour and a half. The knee replacement took less time than it took me to replace our kitchen faucet. The doc knew what he was doing and must have measured carefully as Kay’s legs are still the same length! How good is that.?

This afternoon I took the dogs to visit Kay. Yes, your dog can come and visit you in the hospital. It’s Colorado after all, and dogs can go almost anywhere. Well, maybe not a cathouse. But, who knows!




All is well here but there are still weeks of recuperation head. So far everything looks really promising.

On a final note I would like to thank Kay’s great doctors and nurses….and, Lyndon Baines Johnson who gave us all Medicare those many years ago. Without Medicare this happy day would not have happened for us.


Catching Up…….

We are now living in Fruita, CO  and it appears that we will be here until the end of September.

After we left Carl and Sandy’s about 2 weeks ago we moved to Monument RV Resort in Fruita CO. Kay is having knee replacement surgery done on May 19th in Grand Junction which is about six or so miles from here. She is now jumping through all of the preoperative hoops in preparation for the replacement. This is a nice r/v  park just a few miles from the entrance to the Colorado National Monument. It has water, electric, sewer, internet, and cable for our seldøm used electric TeeVee Machine. Kay will have to recuperate after the surgery, and undergo physical therapy. This area seems very convenient for that.

Next Friday I start a job at the nearby Fruita Coop which also happens to be an Ace Hardware. It is only for three days over the weekends but it will bring in some extra $$$$.

Our good friends, Bill and Pat, are here this weekend to hang out with us for a few days before they move on to work in Yellowstone N.P. again for the summer. We hadn’t seen them since we left Texas so it is fun catching up on things.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how things are progressing and what we are up to. Mike the Headless Chicken Festival is coming up in two weeks here in Fruita. YeeeeHaaa!

To close, here are some pics from Colorado National Monument:


The road into the Monument looking towards Fruita and the Colorado River



Looking east toward Grand Mesa


Bighorn ewes and lambs


In Grand Junction…Again

On Monday morning we left Organ Pipe N.M. for Grand Junction, CO. We left this behind:


For this today at Carl and Sandy’s house:



Why would we do that you ask? Well it so happens that Emily’s house is having a memorial service for her tomorrow, and Kay has a long awaited doctor’s appointment scheduled for next week. All in all it was a must do 700 mile trip.Right before we left Organ Pipe I got a picture of a bird we had been hearing and occasionally seeing in the early evening. It is a Common Nightjar. We knew what it was by its call, and it is sitting on top of the post below:


So, on the first day of out latest journey we traveled from Organ Pipe to Flagstaff, AZ via the western suburbs of Phoenix. The weather was quite warm until we got to Flagstaff as we went from 981 feet in elevation at Organ Pipe to 7,000 feet in Flagstaff. The air was very thin and quite cooler at that height. We had truck issues when we tried to head out on Tuesday morning which were resolved when I replaced the glow point relay on the old beast thanks to an excellent diagnosis from a young gentleman who worked at AutoZone. We headed out of Flagstaff early Wednesday; crossed the Navajo Rez from Tuba City to to Hwy 191 east of Kayenta, and then northeast to Moab, Ut and finally around six in the evening we arrived in Grand Junction. It was a long day and we all were pretty beat to say they least.

Our future plans are still up in the air but as soon as we have them figured out I’ll be sure to let you know!




The Birthday Girl in Mexico

Today we all went into Mexico for the fourth time to pick up Kay’s new eyeglasses in Puerto Peñasco on the Sea of Cortez, and today just so happened that it was Kay’s birthday. The big number 70! This week it happened to be Spring Break….for the natives. There were very few Gringos to be seen, but the town was busy.


We had a lovely shrimp filled lunch overlooking the waterfront accompanied by our two very well behaved dogs. Check out the new sunglasses on the B’day Girl!


We then roamed around town, and it turned out that Harry and Fiona were a big hit with the natives.



Lots of “stuff”for sale to say the least. Why Jim Morrison….don’t know. There were even living statues like this golden man:


Anyway, it was a fun day South of the Border. HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dear!


Bye-Bye Hunkamunka


Life on the road, as life is anywhere, is not always without its surprises and sorrows. This past Friday as the Saguaro began to bloom here in Southern Arizona we learned of the death of our daughter, Emily, in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Emily was 31 years old. Shortly after she was born in October of 1983 she was diagnosed with a genetic disease called Tuberous Sclerosis which involved a severe seizure disorder and led to severe mental retardation. Emily lived with us at home continually for 22 years. For most of the time during those long, and at times extremely difficult years, either Kay or I stayed home with her as our home moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado, and then on to New Mexico and back again to Colorado. Ten years ago Emily went to a group home in Grand Junction and there she lived until this past Friday.

Very soon after she went to the group home she was found to have a benign, inoperable tumor growing in the left ventricle of her brain. We were told that the tumor would eventually prove to be fatal. It would seem that it was. On Friday she had seizure in the morning and went to lay down. When she was checked by the staff awhile later she was no longer breathing.

She had quick and painless death in her sleep. For that we are thankful. And, we are grateful to all of the doctors, psychologists (for us), special needs professionals, teachers, and the staff at her group home whom we have been fortunate to have on our side. Thanks to you all.

We have donated Emily’s body to the University of Colorado Medical School for further study.

Adiós Hijita, and bye-bye Hunkamunka


It’s Too Darn Hot!…..

Last Wednesday we said goodbye to Huachuca City, and moved the caravan to Organ Pipe National Monument along the U.S. – Mexico Border south of Ajo, AZ. It was a drive of a little under 200 miles west of Huachuca City. We spent some more time while we were in the Huachuca area day tripping and sight seeing. One of our trips was to Coronado National Monument south of Huacucha City, along the border with Mexico. There is not a great deal to see there but scenery. Especially if you drive to the top of Montezuma Pass:



On the picture directly above you will notice the diagonal black line from the center bottom going to the left. The line is the Great Wall of Paranoia protecting us from the brown hordes to our south. But the Wall aside, the actual highlight of the day was adding a Bridled Titmouse to our life list of birdies!

Our last trip in that area was to the San Pedro House along the San Pedro River, and it is another primo birding area. The house itself has on its grounds the second largest cottonwood tree in Arizona. It is indeed gigantic, and as proof, Kay is standing along side of it wearing a red blouse:


The San Pedro is a lovely little river:


Some local non-avian denizens:


And another Life Bird – the Inca Dove:


Okay. Enough about Huachuca. We are staying in the campground in Organ Pipe just as we did last year. It has been HOT. Yesterday the high was 93 degrees. In the period of time since we left Lazy Pigg Farm in Virginia where we were subjected to -7 degrees,  we have experienced a temperature spread of 100 degrees. Amazing! In this heat we do any kind of activities that require exertion in the morning, and siesta in the afternoon until late afternoon when things begin to cool down. But….it’s a dry heat…. 13 percent to be exact.

Here is the view from our window:


Kay’s,  traveling garden. New this year, and the tomatoes are blossoming!


One of the most common birds in the campground is the Curved-bill thrasher:


Along with theBlack-tailed Gnatcatcher:


Other very common birds about us are the Gila Woodpecker, the Phainopepla, and Gambel’s Quail. At the Visitor’s Center here there is a pretty little pool in their garden that is home to some amazing red dragonflies.


Last, but certainly not least, there are the cacti. Many of which are starting to bloom. Barrels:




The Organ Pipe (r.) :



The Saguaro:


And again the views:


We are going to be here for at least two weeks while the dogs wait patiently for lizards:


And there are also Rattlesnakes and Gila Monsters (I want to see one badly) about. More…later.


Ramsey Canyon…..

Early yesterday morning Kay and I, leaving the dogs at home, went birding in Ramsey Canyon which is birding hotspot south of Fort Huachuca up in a mountain canyon. The Nature Conservancy has a preserve there and offers birding hikes on Saturdays. It was about 45 degrees there when we got there. Oooo burrr! :)  Here is what the canyon looks like:


A small seasonal stream flows through the canyon and its banks are lined with sycamores, oak, ash and pine. There used to be a mine, now abandoned, located near the head of the canyon and the trail you walk is the old road to the mine. Along the way you pass a couple of old homesteads that once belonged to the original settlers in the canyon. This one is a cabin that belonged to a husband and wife


who out grew their original homestead and had to build a larger place because the older one was too small..


Fruit orchards planted by the early inhabitants of the canyon used to be scattered about the preserve, but the Conservancy removed most of the old trees as the fruit was attracting too many black bears. The canyon is also home to mountain lions, bobcats, and the occasional very rare ocelot.

The birding was a bit sparse as it is still early in the year. We saw Yellow-rumped Warblers, Mexican Jays, Juncos, Robins and heard, but didn’t see a Hutton’s Vireo. However we saw, a first for us, an Arizona Woodpecker. It is only brown woodpecker in the U.S., and  they range into Mexico:


And the last spotting of the morning was a Snowy Arizona-blimpy courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security / Border Patrol.


It was a lovely morning. As I write this post it is before noon today it is 74 degrees and sunny. Yeee Haaaaa!


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