Football day in the neighborhood…Planning for the future…

On this date in 2016, we were in Sydney, Australia, about to board our ship for a 14-night cruise to Auckland, New Zealand. Our hearts go out to all of the people of Australia who are dealing with the horrific fires throughout the continent and to all of the firefighters and first responders who sacrifice their lives in an attempt to extinguish the rampant fires. For more photos from this date, please click here.

Yesterday, we attended the 3:00 pm party by the pool. When it started, it was a pleasant 70F (21C), but by 4:30 when the sun was no longer shining on our table of eight, and the temperature was dropping rapidly. 

We’d dressed for the warmer temperature, but when the sun wafted away, and we were left in the shade, we decided to head back to our “park model” (as they call the permanent homes in RV parks). It was simply too cold to sit there the way we were dressed.

Tom picked up Margie at the Mesa airport at around 10:30 pm to return from her granddaughter’s wedding in Minnesota on New Year’s Eve. I stayed behind when he left to pick her up at almost 10:20 (her plane was late) while Eugene accompanied him.

They all met at Colleen’s place to catch up with Margie and eat chicken and coleslaw at 11:00 pm when they returned. Tom returned to our place by 1:00 am, and I awoke immediately to greet him. We both fell asleep in no time.

Today is another Minnesota Vikings football day with the game broadcast on local TV. We won’t get together with everyone today since it’s easier for all of us to watch it, if interested, on our TV. There will be plenty of gathering in the upcoming weeks.

Watching football isn’t my favorite pastime, but I do enjoy watching the Vikings play, perhaps because I know how much Tom wants it and my two sons, Richard and Greg, who both are quite enthusiasts.

Today is an otherwise quiet day for me. Tom will watch other football games for which I have little interest. To keep busy, I’ll continue to work on the new 2020 travel spreadsheet, transferring pertinent data and conducting more research for the six months we’ll spend in Europe this coming spring and summer.

We’ve decided we’ll stay in Spain and Portugal during our last two-plus months and now must decide where we’ll stay in the first four months, most likely in and around the UK, to avoid the Schengen visa requirements.

At this point, the possibilities that appeal to us are Scotland and the island of Jersey, where we could easily spend two months in each location. Today, I’ll begin researching these areas. We’ve already found several great possibilities in Spain and Portugal.

Once we decide on the itinerary and appealing holiday homes, we’ll begin booking the locations. As much as we enjoyed moving every few weeks in England this past fall, we’ll welcome staying put a month or two at a time after the constant moving while in India.

Sunday dinner will be easy today, a spiral sliced ham, rice for Tom, green beans, and salad. To avoid drying out the ham, we’ll only warm small sections at a time since it’s already cooked. Spiral sliced ham may become dry when baked in the oven to reheat. 
It will be a quiet day, relatively uneventful, which can “change on a dime” and fast become another day of socializing. We’ll see how it all rolls out.

May you have a restful and peaceful Sunday!

Photo from one year ago today, January 5, 2019:

We drove for five hours to Kathy and Don’s home in Pretoria, South Africa. Don, on his birthday, knocked lemons off the tree in their yard for us to take back to Marloth Park. We stayed for four nights at their lovely home. For more details, please click here.

An incident on the freeway…The active social life continues…

It was fun to sit by the firepit with Tom’s sisters, spouses, and other residents in the RV park.
We are so appreciative to be able to use Margie’s car while here. It’s an older Cadillac (2001) with over 128,000 miles, but it appears to be in excellent condition.

Yesterday, we had to return the rental car to the Phoenix Airport we’d rented in Las Vegas on November 28th. I drove the rental car while Tom drove Margie’s Cadillac. The drop-off went smoothly.

On our way back to Apache Junction, a 35-minute drive, the Cadillac suddenly started acting up, and then…it was dead. Tom managed to get the car to the shoulder while we sat there trying to figure out what was wrong. 

We don’t have AAA or another roadside service. Why would we when we’re always traveling outside the US? Plus, in the past seven years, we haven’t had a single rental car breakdown. (Thank goodness).

Tom tried a few times to restart it to no avail. Were we out-of-gas? How could that be? Margie had informed Tom that the gas gauge wasn’t working, but she had kept track of the mileage using the odometer to ensure she’d never run out of gas. She felt comfortable we had plenty of fuel until the re-set odometer read 300 miles.

We were pretty far from an exit ramp, making it too long a hike for Tom to take off on foot to buy fuel. Cars were zooming past us at a high rate of speed. Then, I remembered there was some roadside assistance through our Visa credit cards.

I called the number on the back of the card, was on hold for a considerable time, and finally was referred to another number. Over 40 minutes passed until I reached the correct department and was told we’d be hearing within minutes for a service vehicle to assist. 

The cost for the service would be $69 if we were out of fuel and another $69 if the car had to have the vehicle towed under five miles, more if over. We requested the service vehicle come prepared with fuel, and we’d see what transpired when they arrived.

In all, we’d been sitting there for an hour, waiting. Much to our surprise and delight, a car zoomed past us but stopped on the shoulder and backed up to reach us. 

A kindly man offered to take Tom to a fuel station, where he purchased a gas can and fuel for a total of $17. It took about 15 minutes for them to return while I waited in the car. The kindly man drove him back to the car. 

Once the fuel was loaded into the car, much to our relief, it started. At that point, we realized that perhaps the remaining fuel that Margie thought she had in her car had evaporated while she was away during the off-season. Tom gave the man who stopped a $20 bill and the gas can from keeping. He hesitated to accept, but Tom insisted, grateful for the assistance.

None of that mattered. I called and canceled the order for service, and we were on our way to a gas station and then to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. From there, we shopped at Fry’s for items for a light meal to serve when the sisters and husbands visited last night after the gathering at the firepit.

Once again, we had an excellent evening as we continued to enjoy our time in Apache Junction.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow!

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, December 12, 2018:

Zebra on the veranda! We knew we had to be very cautious not only for our safety but for his as well. If we startled him or told him to get down, he could have broken a leg on the slippery tiles. Instead, we tossed pellets on the ground near the bottom of the steps. For more photos, please click here.