Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Friends, Friends, and More Friends

We're back in Tucson now, but we had such a nice time visiting our friends Jan & Bill Mains in Casa Grande. We enjoyed meeting Bud & Susie Walsh, who not only fed us dinner the first night, but also bought our Honda 2000 generator so they can start boondocking in their beautiful Montana Big Sky 5th wheel.

And it was great to see Larry & Connie Farquar again. I found them in the RV park where we stayed while I was walking Gigi after we arrived Saturday. The eight of us went to dinner at Hong Kong Kitchen Sunday evening, and had yummy food. The portions were pretty generous, and several of us went home with boxes for another meal or two. Connie is to my right, Larry to Don's left, across the table are Bill, Bud, Susie and Jan.

Don and I went to Tommy's Bistro Monday night, as recommended by Georgia Dale Griffiths, and enjoyed both the food and ambience. Jan & Bill were suffering reactions to flu shots and stayed home. Thanks for the tip, Georgia!

As I mentioned previously, Don made arrangements to have dialysis in the area so we wouldn't have to rush back to Tucson. The Casa Grande dialysis center didn't have an open chair, so he opted for the Ak-Chin center in Maricopa, AZ, about 25 miles away. I took him there for his appointment on Tuesday afternoon, and returned about 6:30 with Jan & Bill to pick him up. The four of us then went to Plaza Bonita, a Mexican restaurant recommended by one of the dialysis techs. It was Jan & Bill's 19th anniversary, so we were happy to be able to celebrate with them. We all enjoyed our meals. Be sure to click the link below to Jan's blog, as she included more pictures of the artwork on the furniture at this colorful place.

It was hard telling these good friends "See Ya" because we had gone so long between visits. But it was a really special time that made a great memory. Sometimes friends can be even closer than family, and that's how we feel about these wonderful people. Thanks again, Jan & Bill, for inviting us to your place. We hope they'll come visit us in Tucson sometime I reminded them, the road goes both ways.

Jan posted a couple of blog entries about our visit. You can read them at Del Rosario's on the Road Again and Boo Hoo.

We had a local RV washing team come yesterday afternoon to wash the last several months' worth of dust and grime off our motorhome, and they did a good job. Unfortunately, it rained off and on during the night and this morning as we were packing up to return to Tucson. So we had to drive through puddles and road spray, and got the motorhome dirty again. Oh, well, it's only dirty on the lower 2-3 feet, so maybe we can do a touch-up ourselves.

On our way, we stopped at Speedco in Eloy to get the engine and generator serviced. What a great company! There was no waiting, and the mechanics quickly and efficiently did the services for about 1/2 the cost of what we might have paid elsewhere, and in a fraction of the time because they take rigs first come, first served, whether it's a motorhome or truck. 

Another few miles east on I-10 we stopped at Flying J for diesel and propane. After filling up, I drove around back of the station to the truck parking lot so we could go inside and have lunch at Denny's. When we came out, we heard a yell, looked around and saw a familiar sight - a familiar Phaeton with both Escapees RV Club and Adventure Caravans decals on the windshield. Plus a couple easily recognized - Pat & Tom Whitaker! What a great coincidence! Pat walked over to talk with us and share hugs while Tom drove around to park beside us. 

They were heading east, planning to spend the night in Tucson. So we agreed to meet later at Luckie's for dinner.

Pat said they debated when they exited I-10 whether to turn right for Flying J or turn left for Pilot, since the RV discount is valid at both stations. They turned right and we're so glad they did! It was one of those great coincidences that happen a lot to full-time (or most-time) RVers, even though the odds are pretty high that it shouldn't happen. We love it when it does.

Now that we're back in Tucson, we'll be following our usual schedule of dialysis and PT for Don, plus a few diversions to come. Stay tuned for more reports of our adventures.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

El Paso Bypass

Note: I tried posting this entry using Windows Live Writer, but Blogger doesn't recognize my password. After banging my head against the wall and trying all suggestions from friends as well as my own persistence in following prompts and searching for a solution, I'm now trying to post directly to Blogger without Live Writer in the mix. Crossing my fingers...

Several people have asked for these directions for bypassing heavy traffic on I-10 through El Paso, so I decided to write a post that can be easily referred to in the future. For RVers, this is a great way to avoid the heaviest traffic on I-10, and especially to avoid the steep climb/descent over Mt. Franklin. For anyone else, it’s still an easier way to get through/around the city. This is NOT a shortcut, but a low-stress bypass.

1. Exit I-10 at Joe Battle Blvd (exit #34) to get on TX-375 Loop (north/westbound).
2. Go approximately 21 miles, turn right (northbound) on US-54/Patriot Fwy. Note that this turn isn't well-marked with signs. DO NOT take Transmountain Road, as the climb is pretty steep.
3. Go approximately 2 miles, take exit 31 to FM-3255/MLK Jr Blvd, turn left (northbound). This becomes NM-213 when you cross into New Mexico (about 5 miles from last turn).
4. At the traffic circle (about 3 miles from state line) take SR-404/O'Hara Rd (westbound).
5. Go approximately 8 miles, get back on I-10 (westbound) at exit #162. If you want to go to Camping World or Flying J, go eastbound about 1.5 miles to Anthony, TX/NM.

1. Exit I-10 at NM-404/O'Hara Rd (exit #162). Turn left (eastbound). (See note above re Camping World/Flying J).
2. Go approximately 8 miles. At the traffic circle turn right (southbound) on NM-213. This becomes FM-3255 when you cross into Texas (about 3 miles from traffic circle).
3. Go approximately 5 miles, take the entrance to US-54/Patriot Fwy (southbound).
4. Go approximately 2 miles, take exit 29 to TX-375 Loop. Turn left (south/eastbound).
5. Go approximately 21 miles to get back on I-10 eastbound.

Total miles: 39, vs. 36 if you stay on I-10, with a lot less traffic and stress.