Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Changes to Our RV Lot in Benson

Now that we’re back on our lot at Cochise Terrace Resort in Benson for most of the winter, we’ve been thinking about more improvements. We considered a hot tub and thought that’s what we really wanted. However, after shopping and careful consideration, we finally rejected that idea. A hot tub would take a lot of space on the patio, and would require maintenance during the warmer months while we’ll be traveling elsewhere.

We decided what we really wanted is a free-standing awning and bigger patios. We took advantage of Don’s son Craig’s youth and energy while he and wife Liz were here for a short visit after Thanksgiving. Craig did the hard work of crawling around on his knees to lay the added pavers to enlarge the patios.


Next came the awning. While it was under construction, we moved to a neighbor’s empty site for a couple of days.


It was a little tricky getting backed into the site while dodging the saguaro cactus on the driver’s side and staying far enough away from the awning on the passenger side to allow our slides to move out, because the awning is too low for them to fit underneath. We enjoyed having a place to park Carrie the car under cover because it snowed a little the next day.

Meanwhile, on our lot the installers dug holes for six awning posts.


It was interesting to see the awning take shape.


I could never do this kind of job. Just the thought of climbing one of those tall ladders gives me the shakes!


It was even trickier than it was on the neighbor’s lot to get backed into our site, because of the slant of the driveway and the brick planter on the driver’s side. But, with Don’s excellent help by walkie-talkie, I managed to put the Phaeton in the right spot.


The awning is tall enough to go over our slides, and it shades the southern side of the coach, especially the refrigerator and the entertainment center. In warmer weather, the DirecTV DVR has shut down several times because of extreme heat in the cabinet, which is directly above the co-pilot seat. Even the motorhome’s awnings don’t shade that cabinet, since it’s between the large awning and door awning.

After putting our patio table and chairs back in place, and arranging the folding chairs, we strung some Christmas lights along the fence. Now we’re ready for the holidays! If you’re in the area, come by to see us!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving in Cave Creek, AZ

What a nice time we had with Ken & Maryanne Watson and their family! Maryanne is an excellent cook, and she directed the various kitchen helpers in preparing and serving a wonderful spread of yummy food. DSCN0215


DSCN0216Don’s son Craig and his wife Liz joined us here also.




The Watson’s place has two full hookup sites for RVs in the back yard, and another can park in front of the house, with water and electricity. In the photo below, you can see Craig & Liz’s Allegro motorhome parked on the left of the building and our Phaeton on the right. The building contains an apartment and shop for Ken’s wood projects.


DSCN0207Ken & Maryanne’s Discovery motorhome is parked in front of the house in the circular driveway.




Joining us for dinner were:

Eric, Maryanne’s son DSCN0276






Ken’s son Ken Jr. and his wife Julie DSCN0322 DSCN0323

Ken Jr’s son Matt and girlfriend BeckyDSCN0326

DSCN0258Ken’s daughter Nellie, shown here trimming her friend Anna’s hair






Nellie’s 3 daughters:

T.J.                                      DSCN0308 Amber


Angela and daughter SkylaDSCN0295 …  and Scott, the baby’s DadDSCN0277

Ken is a proud great-granddad!DSCN0261






DSCN0288Last but not least, Dennis & Susan Mittleider, long-time friends of the Watsons’, rounded out the group.





Don brought his Orion smoker to cook one of the turkeys. He brined it overnight (soaked in a salt/sugar/water solution), then stuffed it with fresh lemon halves and covered it with herbs and olive oil. The bird went into the smoker on a poultry rack surrounded by cherry wood chips.  

DSCN0239Don then loaded the smoker with match-light charcoal, reserving a few briquets for the cup on top, which creates the heat convection.  He lit the charcoal, and set a timer for 2 hours and 20 minutes for the 20-pounder.

DSCN0271Craig helped pull the bird out at the proper time, and Don removed the rack. What a beautiful outcome, and the taste was superb!  And it’s such an easy way to cook a turkey in a remarkably short period of time.





Accompaniments included two types of dressing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, homemade dinner rolls, pumpkin bread, corn pudding, cranberry gelatin mold, three pies (pumpkin, wild cherry and lemon meringue) and lots of deviled eggs. What a feast! 

DSCN0256We even had wine tasting, with almost everyone declaring the $2.99 “Two Buck Chuck” Charles Shaw Chardonnay the winner over a $6 Barefoot and a $20 Washington Hills.


DSCN0248Besides eating this marvelous dinner, we enjoyed sitting on the patio, enjoying beautiful desert views and perfect weather and watching hummingbirds hover around the feeders.




DSCN0319We ended this wonderful day with a bonfire.





DSCN0333The next day we spotted a Javelina rummaging around the trees near the house looking for food.




DSCN0335Sue Pace, who visited the day after Thanksgiving with hubby Ken, also took some photos of this unusual animal.




DSCN0339As if we hadn’t eaten enough on Thanksgiving Day, Sue, Maryanne and I posed for this photo with a tray of thick, juicy steaks that we grilled outdoors and enjoyed later that evening.

All in all, it will be a holiday remembered for a long time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cochise Terrace Life

We’ve been on our RV lot at Cochise Terrace Resort in Benson for about 2 1/2 weeks now, and we’re settled in for most of the winter. But we already have a trip planned…more about that later.

DSCN0188 We’ve really enjoyed having Craig & Liz visit (Don’s son and daughter-in-law). They stayed 10 days and helped us with some projects we’ve been wanting to work on.

First, Craig wanted to build steps from the back of our lot down to the wash below. He decided it would be too steep without a handrail, making the job a little more complicated. So he came up with the idea to create a ramp instead. It goes at a gentle pitch parallel across the back side of our lot down to the wash, with garden border boards on the sides. Now Don can walk Shadow down there easily, and we can take a shortcut to other parts of the park.


DSC01685Another project was to expand the patios. We have two separate patios, created with cement pavers; one borders the motor home and the other borders the shed, with stepping stones connecting the two. The photo above was taken soon after we moved onto the lot last winter, before the fence was built.

We had enough space to move the motor home about 2 feet closer to the DSCN0087utilities on the driver’s side, and therefore could add 3 feet of pavers to the patio, placing them closer to the motor home to make it easier to access storage bays without stepping off the pavers.

Last year we weren’t able to find pavers to match, so we thought we’d have to get creative about mixing in another style of paver. However, a neighbor suggested we look at Sutherlands Hardware in Sierra Vista. Hurrah! They had the matching pavers, but not enough of them. We bought 90, and asked to be notified when they got some more, since we still need about 50.

I used a spreadsheet on my computer to create a grid and figure out a pattern for incorporating the new pavers with the old, since the color’s different due to exposure to the elements. We used alternating rows on the rear patio, and replaced about half of the pavers, moving the old ones to expand the front patio.


DSCN0099There, we created an alternating border with the new pavers, leaving the majority of this patio original.



The finished result is that few people notice that some of the pavers are new. As they, too, are exposed to sun, wind and rain, they’ll fade and blend even better. Although the rear patio isn’t quite finished awaiting more pavers, it’s still usable, just not yet expanded. Next, the fence needs to be adapted to the larger patios. But that project will wait for another day. We were all happy with our handiwork.

DSCN0088Even the 4-legged members of the family, Shadow and Koa, who had been supervising the whole project, approved. 




DSCN0127Having finished our projects, we took a day off for fun and visited the Pima Air & Space Museum at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson. 

There are too many aircraft to report on, but here are a few of my favorites.

DSCN0139 The Bumble Bee, credited by The Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest aircraft ever flown. This record was later broken, so the creator built Bumble Bee II and set a new record. This aircraft was destroyed in a crash, so only the original is on display.

DSCN0143Liz had fun playing pilot in one of the planes!




DSCN0144It’s long been my dream to have my own personal helicopter. Little did I know that the Hoppicopter was built a year before I was born! That would have come in handy during my commuting days.

DSCN0157The biggest plane at the museum is the SR-71 Blackbird, with a top speed in excess of mach 3 and a cruising altitude of over 80,000 feet.

DSCN0173Finally, I was fascinated by seeing the Sikorsky Skycrane, a twin-engine helicopter designed for heavy lifting. When reading about this on the web, I found the statement “…the helicopter can lift just about anything: tanks, airplanes, and even a house!”

DSCN0185The evening before Liz & Craig departed, Don treated us all to dinner at Gracie’s Station, which has become one of our favorite restaurants in Benson.


DSCN0187Don had to model the sweater I knitted for him. (Amazing -- it actually fits!)






DSCN0194 After bidding ‘the kids’ goodbye on Saturday morning when they departed for Albuquerque, we had a brief rain and were treated to a beautiful double rainbow.DSCN0202









As happy as we are to be in our ‘winter nest,’ we’re eagerly looking forward to our next outing. Ken and Maryanne Watson invited us to join them for Thanksgiving at their beautiful home in Cave Creek. The full-hookup site in their backyard awaits, along with lots of great turkey and all the trimmings, plus the fellowship of friends and family!

P.S. After publishing this post, I noticed the spacing didn’t turn out like I expected. Rather than try to fix it, I’ll wait to see if any blogging gurus out there can offer some advice. I’m using Windows Live Writer to create the posts.