Time to Head North!

Well, what a winter, our second as retirees, snow birds, full timers, vagabonds, bums, whatever you want to call it. We had hoped we could take advantage of the Traveling Vet program with the VA Medical system and maybe get Keith’s knee replaced and that cataract that fired up last winter removed. Well, the VA Traveling Vet program worked and he had his knee replaced in January. He was not a happy camper the first two weeks, but soon found he was on the road to recovery, finished his physical therapy, met all the requirements to earn the tee shirt and get discharged! We loved Champion Physical Therapy in Wickenberg! Then the Traveling Vets called and it was a green light on the cataract removal. That also was successful and he is so happy with his ability to see again.

We thought we would begin the trek north after that was done, however, those Traveling Vets surprised us again, and we got the go-ahead to remove cataract number two on April 15!! So there we were, we had lots of alternate plans and were ready to move on, but instead moved to Luke Air Force Base on April 13, daughter Jaime’s birthday! We would be closer to the eye surgery hospital and eye doctor office. That would make two much shorter trips into Phoenix. We thought we would be able to head north on Sunday the 18th, but alas, like good law abiding citizens we had checked our firearms at the Armory and had a heck of a time getting them released back to us! But that only delayed us by two days, they found the answers they must have needed on our “checkered pasts” (!) and we headed north on Tuesday!

We were both really looking forward to the trip north, and to seeing friends in Montana, Eastern Washington and Family in Western Washington. Lots of summer plans and as it starts to really heat up down here, we are looking forward to cooler weather again. But, we’ve already made plans to be here again next winter, moving to Site 20 instead of Site 2. More enclosed with shrubbery and oriented in a better direction.

We have had a great time here in Arizona, spent time with brother’s John and Bill, both here at camp, and there at their oasis in Palm Springs. Granddaughter Bailey and her boyfriend Keegan joined us at Christmas. That is memory we will always treasure. The final treasured memory of this winter in Arizona was when son Jason and grandson Gracen came down and spent a weekend with us. We went on a 51 mile RZR ride on Saturday. Then on Sunday we drove up to Williams and spent the night and then on to the Grand Canyon on Monday. They returned to Whidbey Island on Tuesday, both smiling, I think they enjoyed their time with us also!

Palm Springs — Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, The Oasis in full bloom, Berries at a Farmer’s Market and Joanette and John walked (alot)

Bailey and Keegan, Joanette’s new haircut, highway 60 litter pick up day, the aftermath, Keith’s bruises and incision.

Oh my word, one more moment to treasure! We got to spend the day with Joanette’s “new” nephew, Brien Kedish, his wife Taralee, and two of his three boys, Oliver and Fletcher. Denver was away, but we will connect with this wonderful family again and again. They live in Scottsdale, although they are both from the Olympic Peninsula, just a ferry ride from Whidbey Island, we only met for the first time back in 2006 and hadn’t seen each other for, sad to say, about 12 years. We now have a great reason to go back to Arizona and look forward to spending lots of time together, going over family photo albums and Keith’s passion, Ancestry.com!

So we head north, up the Highway of Hope, US 89 to Page Arizona where we gawked at the beauty of the Colorado River, Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell, hoping to one day spend some time on that sapphire blue lake. We spent one night at a lovely campground there, Walmart and then on to Ephraim Utah and another Walmart. Now, staying at a Walmart parking lot is not bad at all, surprisingly! Close to shopping, and in Ephraim we were right across the street from a beautiful cemetery which we took advantage of for a nice long evening stroll. Chief thought it was a like a dog park with a maze! He had a good time. We discovered there were lots of Scandanavian settlers in Ephraim Utah!

Then on to Pocatello, Idaho were we opted for a RV park behind the Shoshone-Bannock Casino. Like that so much we stayed two days! We did a nice walk along the Snake River and took advantage of having electricity and water, for heat and showers — we’ve noticed the temperature dropping as we head north. We also noticed the weather report for our next destination (Anaconda, Montana) had snow and 21 degree overnight temperature in the forecast which is why we stayed the second day! From Pocatello to Anaconda an easy, scenic drive and into Washoe Park along the banks of Warm Springs Creek, no electricity or water — we are boondocking — relying on our solar system! Jaime and James came for supper, games and then James spent the night with us. Lots of blankets, set the furnace on 65 and survived the night. We woke up to drizzle, rain and then snow. We had a great time with James and Jaime, dinner at our place, dinner at their place, but alas, we took no pictures as proof of the visit. We’ll stay one more night then it’s on to Hamilton to see daughter Kristin, and Steve, before making our way to Hot Springs!

The view of the Bitterroots from “up Skalkaho Road”! Stunning!

We made it “north”.

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