Monday, March 31, 2014

Back to Work

As this is being written, it is Monday morning.  We met co-workers over the weekend and got to know them.
Across the country the “social service business” of taking care of children and youth has been evolving over the years.  Here in Oklahoma, the Circle of Care facility is moving toward more foster family housing.  The existing buildings, which will be used for this foster care, are in need of cleaning, painting, door replacements, shutter repairs and similar maintenance work.  That’s what we are here for and we are ready.
We plan to start with outdoor work today since the weather forecast is pleasant.  We will save the indoor work for days when rain is forecast.  Unlike Nevada and Arizona, they DO get rain here.  Since we are along a line between Oklahoma City and Joplin MO, we also know we can expect strong winds.
This may be our first NOMADS project where storm shelter locations were part of our initial meeting.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum

Almost nineteen years ago, on April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City was the location of the worst terrorist attack prior to 9/11.  One Hundred Sixty Seven people, including 19 preschool children, lost their lives in the bombing of the federal building.  We spent a lot of the mid-day at the Memorial site and its nearby Museum.  It was well thought out and presented.
 Above is the reflecting pool where Fifth Street used to run.  There are 167 empty chairs behind the trees.  They are in 9 rows, one for each of the floors.

 Across the pond to the north stands a 90+ year old American Elm, now named the Survivor Tree which stands as a symbol of human resilience.

On both ends of the reflecting pond are doorways with time of day etched into the walls, 9:01 representing the innocence before the explosion, and 9:03 representing the aftermath.
For more details, see 
A visit here is highly recommended to anyone visiting the area.
This was our second full day and will be our third night in this city.  We stayed put because of severe wind warnings.  By evening the winds have finally diminished, but they had been measured at close to 50 mph.  Driving with those winds is very difficult.
Tomorrow, Friday, we will pick up our mail in Gore OK and find a place to spend the night before setting up in Tahlequah for the next 3 weeks at the Childrens Home there.  We will be working with 3 other couples, 2 whom we have not met and another from Georgia whom we worked with last spring in Louisiana.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sitting it Out

We had been staying ahead of some weather, but we were ready for a short stop.  We are staying on the near west side of Oklahoma City for 2 nights, Tuesday and Wednesday.  The forecast is for a cool and rainy day, with gusty winds later.  Since we have a short distance to go, and lots of time available, we set aside Wednesday for vacuuming and dusting the whole place (took about 20 min).  Later we will do a little shopping.
Today’s rain will be the first since we got the new Winnebago, so it will be a “leak test”.  We have decided to schedule a stop at the Winnebago factory in late April to have the last of the warranty work finished.  They should have ready access to any parts needed.  That will also allow more time for Minnesota’s snow to melt before (?) we get there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back to the Green

As we mentioned in the prior posting, we used 2 days to get to Amarillo TX, so we are now back in the Central time zone.  The lack of freezing temperatures didn’t quite work out as expected, however.  There was one more freezing night in the forecast – Monday.
At least we now have a working thermostat, and we have our choice of gas or electric heat at night.  Our issue with heating continues however, since we learned over these two days that the engine heat doesn’t get to the front seats when we are driving.  The vents and air conditioning work fine, but we haven’t needed that since we got to New Mexico.  We still have plenty of time to get to eastern Oklahoma by the end of the week, so we had the Freightliner service group in Amarillo look at it Tuesday morning.
They had us in and out in less than 2 hours, since they couldn’t do anything about it.  They said we had to take it up with Winnebago.  Now that the temperatures are supposed to go up, and since we are nearly done traveling for awhile, we will hold off and have a few remaining repairs made at the Winnebago plant in late April.
We got out of Amarillo early enough and the weather was good enough (although cool) that we kept going to Oklahoma City.  We will be watching the weather forecast closely before deciding if we travel closer to Tahlequah where our project is or sit out the wind on Wednesday.

By the way, today's title refers to the fields alongside the Interstate.  We haven't seen green fields since we don't know when.  They sure are good see once again (trees too).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

On the Move Once Again

This past week has given us a couple of starts and stops. 
On Monday we took our time finishing last minute errands and packing up for a mid-day departure from Tom and Paula’s place in Glendale.  We said our goodbyes to Paula, Tom, Tomie, Phil, and Elsie. 

We’ll miss them!!  We had a short driving day to Casa Grande where we wanted to check out an Escapees RV park.  Who should we meet there but Dave and Nancy Hilmo once again.  We had them over for dinner Tuesday evening.
While there, we learned that our heating/cooling thermostat had “locked up” and stopped working.  The service department at the RV dealer was no help, but by calling the manufacturer we learned of an independent service shop in Tucson who had warranty authorization.  They couldn’t fit us in until Friday, so we took an extra day in Casa Grande to relax, then moved to a small park in northwestern Tucson for Thursday night.  This gave us the chance to get together with Dan and Pam and see their new-to-them park model in eastern Tucson.  
Friday morning’s stop for service was very quick and easy.  They showed us how to reset our electronic thermostat (no mention in the manuals) and we were back on the road in less than ½ hour.  We had a time zone change at the Arizona/New Mexico border; from MST to MDT and stopped at another Escapees park in Deming, right on Interstate 10.  We are now at higher elevations, which means cooler nighttime temperatures.  Now that the thermostat works we can actually run the furnaces or heat pumps or air conditioning (something we haven’t had to do all year).
This note is being written and posted on Saturday morning, while we are taking another day off. The park held a pancake/waffle breakfast this morning where we had a chance to meet with some new neighbors.
The northern route across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas (Interstate 40) is still subject to overnight freezing temperatures, so we are taking our time heading east and then north.  Tomorrow we will catch US70, taking 2 days to get to Amarillo, Texas.  By the time we get up there, there should be no more freezing (we hope).

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Getting Ready to Roll Once Again

As mentioned in our last posting, we are slowly winding things up here in the Phoenix area.  The past week was a busy one, starting with 2 days of RV driving school for both of us.  The new rig isn’t that much different, mechanically, than the prior one but the extra 4 feet in length is all between the wheels.  The longer wheelbase will make our first attempt at getting into the cabin an adventure.  We learned some techniques for backing to the right (blind) side that should help.
On Thursday we met with some former neighbors who are also now former Minnesotans.  The Mortensons have also retired to their lake place (in Wisconsin) and sold their home in Minnesota.  They have become “snowbirds” and spend their winters here in the Phoenix area.  Although we hadn’t seen them in 2 years, we got together at their place in Mesa while our new motorhome was getting a final servicing at the dealer and had a great visit.
As expected, the dealer finished their work just as rush hour was starting.  Instead of playing in traffic, we called another couple of former Minnesotans, the Hasserts, who are now year-round Arizona residents.  On our way to dinner we also chanced to meet Tom and Sheri, fellow Nomads we last worked with about a year ago in Louisiana.  We said it before: “what a small world!”
Saturday we took a sightseeing drive in the morning to the northeastern part of the area: around McDowell Mountain park, to Fountain Hills and Saguaro Lake before entering Mesa once again.  We spent a good part of the afternoon with Bob’s cousin Dean and his wife Pauline who are spending March in the Arizona sun.
Sunday will be our last full day in the metro Phoenix area.  We will have dinner with Paula, Tom and Tomie this evening and leave mid-day tomorrow for a short trip to Casa Grande.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Minnesota Escapees

It’s been 2 weeks again since we last updated the blog.  Dang, how time flies! 

This title comes from all the visitors we have had from Minnesota recently.  Paige’s Mom, Joyce, left to return to Minnesota yesterday morning.  We spent a lot of time with her during her 3-week visit.  We went to Queen Creek for olive oil, Ceretta’s for candy, and visited many restaurants.  She also was a great observer while we painted the overhang on the patio.  Sounds like the weather in Duluth is finally warming slightly so she timed her visit south well.  Here she is with her brother, Phil:

On Wednesday night, Paige’s sister and her friend, Pam and Ron, arrived for a visit.  We went to the Botanical Gardens to see the Chihuly glass exhibit yesterday.  We had seen this exhibit 2 years ago also.  Very beautiful, distinctive works staged throughout the gardens.

We’ll be winding up our visit in Phoenix during the next 2 weeks by getting our taxes done, taking a driving class with our new motorhome, getting warranty work done on the new motorhome in Mesa, and trying to visit a few friends.  Then we will be on the road to Oklahoma for our next Nomads project.  When that is completed in mid-April we will assess the snow situation in Minnesota.  When the snow has melted at the cabin, we’ll head up there.  Given the terrible winter Minnesota has had, we don’t have high hopes that we’ll get up there before early May.