Monday, April 8, 2019

Things that go bump in the day

We are wrapping up our first "winter" in the new home and will be
leaving for Alaska in the bus in 3 short weeks.

Our first 4 months in the new place has been celebrated by an almost
endless stream of visitors....

And of course - beautiful sunsets from our backyard.

Arizona Sunset from our patio
One visit that will stand out in our memories forever will be when Craig & Vicki, our
English friends that we met on the Queen Mary 2 came to town.

They drove out from their winter place in Florida to take in some of the great
scenery to be found in the desert southwest.

It was to be a one week visit....

Arriving Tuesday about 330pm, the next morning I thought a nice
hike in Catalina State Park would be a good way to start off the week.

First Morning we take a hike in Catalina State Park
Less than 5 min after we hit the trail, disaster struck!
I called Vicki, who was a few feet ahead of us up the hill, to come back down
to a spot where I would take a picture of her & Craig.

Turning around to come back down, she lost footing on the loose gravel and fell.
The result was a broken left ankle and broken left wrist.

Where we were located, phone service was sporadic, so I climbed further up the hill
and with much difficulty was able to tell them were we were located.
About 20 min later they arrived.

Oro Valley Paramedic Squad
Vicki, being a retired nurse, knew what her condition was, and even in her
pain took charge of her care and directed the paramedics.

After inserting an IV and administering morphine, 
the loaded Vicki into the Ambulance and transported her to the
University of Arizona Trauma Center in Tucson.

Into the Ambulance
Kate rode with Vicki in the Ambulance, and by the time they got to the hospital,
Kate has completely interrogated the staff and knew all of their life stories.

That afternoon in the ER the bones were set and we learned that due to the severity
of the ankle break, surgery would be necessary and that was scheduled for the 
next morning.

Vicki spent 2 nights in the hospital and on March 1st Craig and I drove down
to bring her home to our place.

But first... due to both the ankle and wrist being broken, crutches were out of the question.
Vicki would spend the next 12 weeks in a wheelchair.

So on the way to the hospital we went shopping for "mobility solutions"

Craig leans the finer points of wheelchairs
Loading the supplies into the car Craig forgot to lock the wheels on the wheelchair

Whoops....  Bye By Vicki!
Fortunately the above was just a test run with no Vicki in the chair!

What was to be a one week trip turned into a two week stay at Casa Marana.

This enabled Vicki to see her two doctors, have stitches removed, and gain some
strength that would be needed for the long drive back to Florida.

That was one way for us to keep them longer...
You can check out any time you like - but you can never leave.

Hotel Arizona...
Broken on all 3 sides, Vicki's ankle as much metal as a Smart Car.

PS...  I asked permission before I posted about this.

So for 2 weeks we stayed closed to home.
I baked some bread.

Towards the end of their stay, we started to take some small, but longer duration
trips in the car to give Craig & Vicki practice getting in and out, and to help
them establish a routine.

We visited the Mission Del Bac south of Tucson

A rainbow outside the house just a day before they departed forecasted a
good trip home for both of them.

Craig learned the finer art of stuffing 10lbs of stuff in a 5lb box.

The rental car is packed, and it's back on the road to Fla for them.

Via con Dios Craig & Vicki
Kate and I settled back into the routine of watching sunsets and
waiting for our next guest to arrive.

Each day - a new show.

We took more hikes in Catalina.
But not with guests.

This is the spot where I wanted to take a picture of Craig & Vicki

The world traveling Doodles are always up for a nice walk.

Outside of our door, in our Dove Mountain Community are miles and miles of walking
and hiking trails.

A nice 2.5 mile loop from the front door gives us a nice morning stroll where
we can enjoy the desert plants and wildlife.

Spring flowers are blooming

Brittlebrush flowering on the Tortolita's

We even spotted this Gila Monster.
They are poisonous, but reclusive, so I shooed it back into the bush and
we passed safely by.

In between guest I had to repair the Kwickee Steps in the Coach.
A new controller and motor and they were back in business.

Kate thought this looked like the Wizzard of Oz
Mark & Karen came to visit from England..
Like Craig & Vicki, we met them on the QM2.

Big Nose Kates Saloon in Tombstone
My staff from New York surprised me with a package of gifts.
Some people retire after 25years with the gold watch.
I received something much better....

Gifts from the heart from my staff!

Thank you ladies!
And we watched the sunsets.

Prior to leaving for Alaska, I wanted to make a run up to Denver where I have almost
300 bottles of wine in temperature controlled storage.
I would bring home some of the wooden wine cases, plus some wine
for the house and to bring north.

It was also a good chance to give my new battery installation a quick test drive.

So leaving Kate home (she had girlfriends coming to visit) the Doodles and I
headed out in the bus, Denver bound.

First stop was was the Valley of Fires BLM Campground in Carrizozo, NM 

Perched on a ridge over a lava flow, it was a great overnight stop and would be a great
place to come back for several nights to explore the area.

Valley of Fires BLM Campground
Having lived in Denver (Arvada) Colorado for many years, this
area holds a special place in my heart.
I left here over 30 years ago and each time I return I'm amazed how much its grown.

The traffic here now seems like LA or NYC.

Denver traffic on I-25

Arriving in Denver I spent 3 nights in Cherry Creek State Park.

Deer outside of the bus in Cherry Creek.
First order of business was to go to my storage facility, take inventory,
and decide what treats I would bring home with me. 

Taking home 4 cases plus the wood, I managed to get the storage
down to one locker with 24 cases left behind.

Wooden cases, below, now can come home and stay in the garage.

Truck is loaded for the return trip.

While in town, I alway enjoy a visit with my good friend Frank.
Frank & I both worked as welders in a Generating Station in NJ back in the 70's.

A sentimentalist...  Frank has lots and lots of old pictures.
Kate loves to visit Frank and travel down "memory lane"

The one below answered the question Kate and I have wondered...
When did I grow my mustache?

Looking below, me (in the center) is just starting to show some fuzz on my upper lip.
The next pictures Frank has, all show me with the "stache"
The picture below was taken in 1977 so that is when I grew it.

Kate always thought I was born with it.

A quick turnaround - it was time to head back south.
This time I would take I-25 south to I-10 west.

Pikes Peak stands guard over the Front Range of the Rockies.
Gracie keeps an eye on my driving.

Sunset in New Mexico paints some colors inside the bus

On I-10, between Deming and Lordsburg, NM (about MM50) this derailed Union Pacific
train is laying on its side.   My understanding is the train actually derailed in May 2017 and
these are the cars remaining from that accident.

Arriving back home on Sunday - 1 week after I left - some of the plants in the back yard
have started to bloom.

Slim Bottlebrush starts to bloom

Mexican Bird of Paradise

Palo Verde starts to flower.
And of course....
Another sunset welcomes me home.

Well that brings you up to date.

We have a few more people coming to visit the next couple of weeks and
then that will conclude our first winter in Casa Marana.

In 3 weeks we pack up the bus and head north to Alaska for our 3rd summer.

Stay tuned and thanks for riding along.