Thursday, 12 April 2018

Thursday, April 12th

I can only reflect on the pleasant if not hot days in Apache Junction after today.  We started our day in Ogden, UT in the rain with temps just above freezing. 
  Our hotel was OK, but for a Best Western, a bit of a disappointment.  We have expectations of BW and while the room was fine, there was no breakfast included in this one.  I fueled up and we grabbed a coffee and headed out.  The rain was very heavy resulting in poor visibility during the early morning hours.  Traction good and the driving surface was great, so I set the cruise on 80 mph and we made good time.  It rained all through northern Utah but was very light or let up in Idaho and into the first part of Montana, so we pretty much were able to hold that speed.  The only exception was the Malad summit where we did see sleet that turned to snow.
  When we got into the Monida pass, it rained that turned into sleet, but at least it was not freezing.  There was a lot of snow in the ditches and most of the fields, noticeably more in the higher elevations.  We stopped to eat in Dillon where we encountered fellow Albertans having lunch and searching the internet for road conditions, much like us.  We continued to make good time in the valley floor parts of the I-15, but by the time we got close to Butte we were seeing heavy snow, high winds with the temperature about 1 or 2 degrees above freezing.  This was good news as snow was not accumulating on the highway, it was just wet.
  As a result we decided not to use the bypass, but went through on the I-15.  As it turns out that may have been the wrong decision, but the intrepid travelers forged on.  The snow got very heavy in the Elk Park area and by the time we got to the Boulder area of the pass we were following snowplows.  The good news was the traffic was light.  When we got to Helena, it was full blown winter with accumulations of snow that must have been more than 6 inches.  This really slowed traffic, but we locked up the four wheel drive and were able to get by most of it.  For most of the way we were able to make 65 mph,
  After that we had some periods where the snow quit and it almost cleared off.  Well I learned, never make the mistake of saying - Lucky us it's clearing up.  NOT  Then the snow would start again and in places the snowplows were doing a good job, but the places lacking were really challenging.  The good news, cheapest gasoline on the journey was in Montana - $2.40 per gallon.  Well I guess then we have to consider the 78 cent dollar I am using.
  We got to the border crossing in late afternoon, but with the weather we just drove right up to an empty booth.  The agent was very good, asked a few questions and after I apologized for being over on the liquor allowance, bade us have a good day and we were home, well in Alberta anyway. 
  Onward to Lethbridge where we got a motel room where we had previously stayed.  We are confident breakfast is included, so one more positive.  I don't recall seeing this much snow in Lethbridge.  We went out to Ihop for supper.  It was our first time in one in Canada and to my joy it was the same as the one in AJ.  On the way back I stopped to fill the truck, $120.9 per litre, that would be $4.78 per US gallon.     There was no parking stall in front of our room, so I locked up in 4x4 and climbed over the snow pile.  With any luck the ice on the front of the truck will melt tomorrow.
  The total was 730 miles in 12 hours Wednesday and another 713 miles in 12 hours today, giving us a total of 1,447 and leaving us with 500 more for tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Tuesday, Wednesday, April 10 & 11

Tuesday - Well it was highly predictable, the internet connection died on us.  We went to look at it early in the afternoon and nada, which also killed our home phone line and our tv subscription.  What to do when we were close to the end, pack it up, take it Mediacom and settle the account.  So no blog yesterday.
 In the morning we went to Costco to fuel the truck and get a couple bottles of scotch to take home.  The prices are that much better than home.  On the way back we stopped at Ace hardware and Marg went in to the dollar store.  She got some saran wrap to help close off the toilet.  I went to Ace and got a piece of bubble insulation for the bedroom window, a cap for a plumbing pipe and a couple other things to help close up.
  On the way home we stopped for lunch at Burger King.  Friends had said the fish sandwich was wonderful, so Marg had that. I had a rodeo chicken crunch burger, no recommendation, just seemed like a good idea.  Well mine dinner was awesome, Marg's was OK, but did no live up to it's advance reviews.
  It was then back to finish all the packing and all of the close up stuff except for the last minute details.  We had a visitors from in the park on and off most of the day to say farewell.  It seems word of our progress on Monday had got around as did the change in plans to go a day earlier.
  Then it was supper at the Village Inn. Marg had the chicken fried steak and it was quite good, I had an omelet that was good and a side of pancakes that were excellent.  Without TV, I switched us over to peasant vision as our trustee antennae was still available.  As luck would have it we found a very good western that we both really enjoyed.  LOL
  Oh the weather, well it was HOT, our first 100F /38C day of 2018.

Wednesday - We were up early and got our last minute stuff done.  Closed the place up and were on the road by 6:45 this morning.  We skipped breakfast in hopes of getting ahead of traffic, but no such luck.  We had heavy traffic on the 202 and a wreck up by the 101 connection and later heavy traffic on the 101. 
  We drove as far as Agua Fria and had a breakfast at the golden arches.  It was kind of timed to coincide with a need for a rest room.  Then on to Flagstaff where we had to leave the #17 and find the connection to #89, good thing we stopped as the gas station attendant had a helpful suggestion.  It turned out the connection was not as simple as it could have been.  The drive up the #17 was scenic, but #89 was awesome as it kind of skirts the grand canyon.  We stopped in Page for lunch, golden arches again, this is unusual for us to stop for two sit down meals, LOL.  Again saw lots of new country, well worth the trip.  The highway after Flagstaff was mainly 2 lane, so posted at lower speeds, but it is 60 miles shorter this way. 
  We got back on to the I-15, our regular route just south of Beaver and then the rest of the journey was the same as prior years.  Funny how it worked out as even with the two stops to eat and two for fuel, our early departure and shorter distance combined put us in Ogden, quite a bit further than last year.  This is north of Salt Lake City, so we are well positioned to make a good start tomorrow morning.  We may need it as there is a spring storm moving into the area.
  Supper was a very nice restaurant across from the Best Western hotel.  Marg had a burger she really enjoyed and I had a wheat beer and an open faced turkey sandwich.  One of the selling points was the in house made cranberry sauce, that was very nice.  Oh the beer was too.   A nice way to end the day.
  Oh the weather, well it was in the 20C range when we left and it got warmer until the area around Flagstaff where it was in the 18C area and quite cool.  Then it warmed as we got up around Page and Beaver, I think I saw 28C and then cooled as we travelled north, ending at about 18C in Ogden.  The wind blew hard all day, mostly in the 70 / 80 kmph until we got into northern Utah.
 

Monday, 9 April 2018

Monday, April 9th

Another gorgeous day.  It got up to about 95F in the sun in the late afternoon. 
  I went out to Encanto to play golf with Gerry C.  We got in 18 holes in right around 4 hours.  I had 3 bottles of water, 2 of them frozen last night to take, one large bottle of Gatorade.  I also had a cooling towel that I used extensively on the back nine.  It works great, either over the shoulders or wrapped around my neck.  The score was OK, but the highlight for me had to be on #12, a par 5 where I holed out a 40 foot chip to give me a birdie.  We played at 10AM when it was still pleasant and by shortly after noon we must have been up to 90 or better.
  Marg got all of her laundry caught up and then packed up pretty much all of our clothes.  She also got some of the kitchen stuff like spices and surplus groceries packed up today.  As a result when I got home we loaded it all in the truck, so we are about half loaded.  We still have a lot to do, but think we can get it done tomorrow.  If so we will be out of here on Wednesday and that will be our goal.  This is further complicated by Marg offering sticky buns tomorrow morning to several people for 10AM, not sure how that is going to work out, but we'll see.
  Supper tonight was bbq burgers.  These were huge patties and like ground roast. They were very tasty, but they took quite a while to cook on low heat.  Marg also put some fries in a tinfoil tray that I put on so we had burgers & fries.
  After supper we went out to Walmart to get a few last minute things to take home.  Then we went over to the Smith's for a schnapps, well it was moonshine actually.  Not just any shine, but really good stuff.  The maker finishes it off and it tastes for all the world like rye whiskey.  We had it on ice and it was very smooth.
  A bit of a ride around the park and that was it.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Sumday, April 8th

Happy birthday Vanessa, it was nice having a facetime with you and we wish you the very best on your special day.
  Our last Sunday in Arizona this winter season, where has our time gone.  It was a hot hot day and the temp reached 90F / 32C if you recall from yesterday.  This is the level of heat that if we see it once or twice in a summer we all complain about it, but down here, it is just building up to what real heat is.
  Hey I finally figured out how to disable the mouse touch-pad today.  That thing has been the bane of my existence but the problem is solved.  I sometimes amaze myself as it was an easy solution, but has been driving me crazy for .... well 2 or 3 months.  Hey I used to have people to do this stuff, give me a break the learning curve is steep at this age.
  We did some more preparation stuff this morning, like packing a bit of stuff, putting other stuff away and generally trying to do what we can.  Marg did some laundry as it is one of those things that can be a problem by departure day if left to build up.  From past experience we know that the time to leave is suddenly upon us so everyday we need to do something.  One of the things I managed to do today was to put my poker money into it's special place.  I never take it home as I don't know how my luck will run next year.  I thought I had a tough year playing poker this year, but the crown royal bag would seem to contradict that.  LOL  I guess it is my nest egg or retirement fund for next season.
  Lunch was a sandwich at our unit as we need to eat up the groceries in the cupboards and fridge.  The refrigerated stuff is always a concern as it is either give away or throw away at the end.  In the afternoon Marg sliced and diced vegetables, parboiled small potatoes, fried chicken breasts and put it all together to be like a chicken pot pie, but with chicken breasts rather than small pieces.  The topping was a corn bread mix she made up and then put it in the bbq much like you would do with an oven.  Then she fried up some onions and perogy's for supper.  Desert was either cheesecake or coconut cream pie, both of which were very nice.
  The Smith's came for supper and it was nice, just the five of us.  It seems anyone named Smith likes Scotch whisky, so I gave them samples of about 6 different bottles I have and they really enjoyed that.  Well one bottle was the Irish whisky.  After all the sampling the Smith brothers both had a favourite Scotch, but what was really funny is they both came from Costco.  One was the 18 yr old single malt and the other was a single malt from the Tullibardine distillery.
  After supper we went down to say good by to friends who are leaving for Maine tomorrow.  They have weather challenges not unlike our own, so we wished them well.  There is another couple leaving either tomorrow or Tuesday for Grande Prairie, so we will see them off later.  Hopefully they will still be here when I get home from work tomorrow. It will be hot, so a tuff day to work.  LOL

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Saturday, April 7th

Another gorgeous day in the valley.  The temperature again got up into the 90's, 32 or so for my metric friends.
  This morning we went out to the Mesa marketplace where I traded pocket books.  As this is my last opportunity I wanted to at least start the week with ones I have not read.  The selection was still pretty good, although you can tell things have slowed down for them.  The parking lot was busy but that may have been a result of the car show they had going.  There were certainly a noticeable number of vacant vendor stalls.
  After that we returned to the rv park and Marg went on to Safeway.  She needed to pick up the ingredients for the contribution she agreed to take to supper tonight. While there she got a bunch more Safeway monopoly entry stickers.  The have a contest going on and with every purchase you get game pieces and if you complete a set, like in monopoly you win that prize.  There is a wide range of prizes and we are one entry away on many of them, but for the one we really want we need 3 pieces.  That is the million dollars, although the $25,000 would be OK.
  We did some preparation for leaving work around the place.  I took the bed and headboard apart so we could stand them up to make more space available in the AZ room.  Then we took apart the stools Marg bought and wrapped them, so they would pack better.  Then we moved some stuff into the AZ room, like my bike and other stuff.
  We checked the mail, yes we get Saturday delivery here.  It seems our mail has stopped coming from home.  Roger confirmed some of it is showing up in our mail box there now.  As there is a week or better in mail getting here, we always shut off the forwarding service a couple weeks before our planned return date.
  When we got back Marg made the coleslaw for supper.  Then she & I chopped a bunch of onions.  I got involved because the onions were bothering her too much.  Then I cooked about half of the onions so there would be a choice of cooked or raw.  Supper tonight is hamburgers and everyone is bringing something, so this was our commitment.  It was Arden's birthday so his brother and his wife were having people over to help celebrate.  As  luck would have it Arden brought a Dutch Oven dessert.  He is well known for his concoctions and they are to die for.  Tonight was a rhubarb one, very nice.  At the end I commented that it was very nice and the first time I recall him making rhubarb.  Well a long story short, I was given the leftover piece.  May have to eat that tonight when there is only Marg to share with.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Friday, April 6th

Well we are into our routine of checking the weather daily.  No not here, but on the route we travel to go home.  The temperatures here are pretty much the same, it gets up to the low 90's by early afternoon and the wind blew again most of the day.
  We went around the park this morning to get pictures of the cactus in peoples yards as it is the time of spring when it starts blooming.  The picture is the jumping Cholla cactus.  We got some nice pics and there are many more buds that will be blooming very soon.  After Marg went to water aerobics and there were four ladies today.  She took her new floating noodle and apparently it worked well.
  After lunch we were invited to friends for pie.  Well it was lemon meringue, so how can you pass on that.  The we went out looking for some boxes and garment bags.  We had no luck with boxes, so went to the Uhaul dealer down the road and bought four of them.  They were pretty reasonable at $1.25, not really worth running around to find used ones.  Earlier we had looked, without success, for garment bags.  Today we hit on a store that had lots, so bought four of them and now have what we need to start packing.
  We had a visitor in the afternoon who was looking for pictures of his deceased wife.  I had a memory stick of pictures made up for him.  She had not been as active recently, so I had to go back through all my photos for the last few years, but had some very nice ones.
  It was too hot to do too much, so we spent the rest of the afternoon in the breezeway.  Supper tonight was bbq and we finished the meal off with a dish of ice cream.
  This evening we had a bit of excitement with a fire truck and ambulance on the street behind us.  Apparently the old gal there needed some help and was taken away in the ambulance.  This kind of thing really gets folks out of their units and congregating on the street, so we got to visit with quite a few. 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Thursday, April 5th

Wowzer, another hot day.  The sun shone brightly and I saw 33C or about 92 on the truck readout, in fact when I got in it was 37C, but that was because it was sitting in the sun.
  We got off to a bit of a slow start today as it was pretty warm by the time we got up.  I did some work in the back patio getting it secure for the summer.  The winds here get pretty strong and it blew our fence over the first year, so now I brace it.  It's a small fence in an "L" shape, so I put in a couple of cross pieces and that seems to do it.  Then I organized some stuff in the garden shed, well there really is no garden, so I should find another name for it.  Need to start thinking about the stuff we don't use or need in the next week, sort of advance planning for departure day.  It was not a day for strenuous manual jobs.
  Marg did a few things around the house and passed on water aerobics today.  She overdid it yesterday, so took a day off.  Then we went for a bit of a ride around the park.  Well it turned out that way, but it started off as picking up the mail and then dropping off a set of keys.  There were no keys to our unit in the office [almost everyone else has them there], so I had a set made and put there just in case there was some need for them.  When we went by the pool, there were only two ladies in doing splash & thrash, so Marg waved to them.
  After lunch we had a visitor who came to use our wifi.  They have used it before and it really doesn't impact us and is a big help to them.  We went out to run a few errands, mainly to get another 5 gallon bottle of water for our cooler.  We stopped at Walmart and went in to look for garment bags, but they don't carry them.  I guess that will leave us checking on other dollar stores for these.  We did manage to get a couple of things, including a new pool noodle for Marg to take to water aerobics.  I found a sewer hose for the motorhome in the clearance items and then Marg found a top she liked.  That was about it, oh yes, some lens cleaning wipes to use in the vehicle.  Cleaning glasses while driving is always a challenge, no not me silly, Marg does that when I drive. 
  When we got back our internet user was still there, so we had a beer rather than go to happy today.