Our time here in the Phoenix area is flying by and it is almost Christmas. There are lights on many of the homes here in the resort as well as in Downtown Glendale. Josie was able to catch a ride in the El Mirage Christmas parade with our neighbor Carol. We have the RV decorated for the season with a Poinsettia to go with our ceramic tree and the snowmen Elaine gave us. We also have a wreath on the door and of course we always have our leg lamp in the front window. Remember it is a "Major Award." One thing that is missing here are real Christmas trees. Because it is so warm they do not last so most people have artificial trees. We live on the east side of the valley and we are surrounded by farm fields. One fifth of all rose bushes grown in the US come from this area. They also use the petals to make rose water perfume. There is a huge radish farm just down the road and we see them harvesting them daily. We have an orange tree in our back yard and we are told they will be ripe in mid-January. Our neighbor has already given us some of the Mandarin oranges from his tree. We are having our Holiday dinner on Christmas Eve since we will be heading to California on Friday to meet up with the Winnebago Adventures Group for the Rose Parade.
It was one year ago today we left Virginia Beach and set out on our Journey. We have traveled just over 8500 miles and visited 23 states.
We have visited many new places and revisited many we had been to before. We have met many nice people from all over the US and Canada and had a ton of new experiences with them which we have posted on this blog. We have also discovered what a small world we live in. In Lake Havasu Arizona we met a couple from Washington State who used to live on Hatton Street in Virginia Beach in the nineteen seventies. That is the same street where Josie was a nanny for the Noppers. They knew many of the same people we did who still live on that street and in that area. In Oregon we met a man who's father used to work with Jim Donahue at IBM. Josie and Jim had visited his home when he was a little boy.
Living in the RV with only about 300 square feet has been quite an adventure to say the least. We have added vent covers on the roof because of the winds in South Texas. We added sun covers for the windshield and tires and a sun screen for our awning because of the hot sun in Arizona and Nevada. We are glad we brought along a small space heater to take the chill off in the cool desert mornings and mountain evenings. Josie is glad she brought along the crepe maker for pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches. She also is glad we have one small and one large crock pot that makes meals so much easier to prepare in our small space. I am glad we brought the Keurig coffee maker and had the Direct TV satellite dish installed.
Josie and I both agree that the best thing we have done this year is attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.
We also have been joined in our travels by friends and family while we have been on the road. We were first joined in Texas by Bruce and Audra Stewart and then by my Cousin Mike and his wife Jeannie. My birding friend Ingrid Huskey came down from Austin with a few of her fellow Audubon members, and we birded the RIo Grande Valley for a couple of days. Josie's daughter Cathy and son-in-law Scott visited us in Arizona and Aaron Decker was also able to join us for a week in Arizona. While in California we were visited by birding friends, the newly engaged Laura and Chance. Our good friends Bob and Kathy Loomis joined us for a few fun days in Oregon. We visited with my cousin again in his home state of Montana and also caught up with Mike Lee and his girlfriend Lynnette. In Colorado I was once again able to meet up with my birding friend Ingrid Huskey for a day of birding. Then Leon and Laura Hoots joined us in New Mexico for the Balloon Fiesta. Just recently my brother Tom was here in Arizona for a two week visit.
We look forward to visiting many more new places in the coming year and meeting many more new people and also being visited by old friends too. We are not sure where we are going to go after spending the winter here in Arizona but we do know we will return to Virginia Beach on September 1st and stay at First Landing State Park for a week and then return for a month to the Holiday Travel Park where our Journey began a year ago.
Josie adds that this "Gypsy Life" has been a great experience for us. And we definitely have become closer friends. We are looking forward to another fun year!