Friday, December 16, 2016


A silent night,

A star above,

A blessed gift 

Of Hope and Love.

GREETINGS from Northeast Oregon!

             With a foot of snow on the ground and a low of minus 9 degrees forecast tonight, it appears winter has arrived in Baker City.  We arrived home with Grandma Mac after Thanksgiving and are thrilled to be HOME for the holidays.
            To say we have been on the road a bit this year would be a huge understatement!  We left in March for a visit with Grandma R and brother Randy in Albuquerque, NM.  Brother Rob’s son, Matt, was getting married outside Asheville, NC, the first week of May, so we decided to volunteer travel to the wedding.  We worked with Habitat for Humanity in the hill country of Mason, Texas.  It was a great two weeks with family and friend visits mixed in.  We then traveled to Nachez, MS for a week of sightseeing and history lessons.  A 2 ½ week Habitat build in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, followed.  We worked building houses that included safe rooms in the area the tornado devastated five years ago.  It was an interesting time in a deep South town, home to the University of Alabama.  Many new foods to try, and Rick even attended the spring football game, along with 70,000 others!
            From there it was to Huntsville to visit the NASA Space Museum and then to Kentucky and Mammoth Cave.  We also enjoyed a pre-graduation visit in Eastern Kentucky with a young man we had been sponsoring for many years.  Asheville and play time in the Great Smoky Mountains took place before the wedding.  It was a great trip through new territory, although dodging the thunderstorms and tornados that occur there in the spring was NOT fun! 
            Grandma R is still doing well in New Mexico and enjoys visits with her great grandson.  Grandma Mac turned 97 a week ago and is still living in her Bandon home.  A few more health concerns, however, have led Ging and her sibs to more extended visits.  So, Ginger had several trips for mom and beach time! 
            This fall found us again in Kalispell with Habitat.  And then, since we missed working for CHRPA in Tucson in the spring, we worked there for two 90 degree plus weeks in October.  To cool off, we snuck another 10 days in Kalispell to help meet a Habitat deadline.  Thanksgiving was in Bandon with visits from both sons. 
            Jed is in his second year as a visiting professor of physics at Willamette University in Salem, OR.  He is thriving there and hopes to be offered another year.  (It looks promising!)  Luke finished his term as youth director at our church here in Baker City in June.  His girlfriend, Kady, returned from a Peace Corps stint in Indonesia.  They did some traveling and biking before settling in Beaverton, OR for awhile.  There are job applications out so who knows what is next for Luke!
            Rick still enjoys hiking and snowshoeing, with some home repair and volunteer medical transporting thrown in.  Ginger is always creating or teaching arts and crafts.  With her extended time at the beach, she has participated in creating art from materials washed up on the beaches (Washed  She remains active in our church, most recently as substitute pianist for morning worship as we search for a new organist! 
            Who knew retirement was going to be this hectic and fun?  We know we are blessed to be able to do our volunteer traveling.  We revel in the incredible people we have met while enjoying God’s creation.  We have no plans to stop! 
            We wish Christmas blessings to you and your loved ones.  Peace,
                                                    Rick and Ginger

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November Habitat Trek to Kalispell, MT


Thursday, 11.3.16
Baker City to Kalispell, MT
540 miles

            A beautiful day for a drive!  A scattering of clouds, enough for a brilliant sunrise behind us to the Southeast, blue skies, sunshine, and a splash of golden tamaracks along the way! 
            For this ‘speedy trip’ we have opted for the 20 miles further route along US 395 thru Tri-Cities.  Not the most direct, but four lane which means we can put the car on cruise control, hit 70 mph, and GO!!  Rick drives us up to a truck stop just north of Pasco, I take us to Post Falls, Idaho, and Rick on in to Kalispell.  We left at 6:15am, arrive at 4:30pm Mountain Time, so 9:15 hours with a stop at Subway for lunch!!  Not bad!!! 
            All through northern Idaho we marvel at the golden glow of the larch and the aspens on the hillsides.  Some cottonwoods still have their color as well.  Many of the aspens hill on the hills are barren.  Right near Lookout Pass on the ID-MT border, we find fresh snow on some of the peaks.  We stop for a restroom break in St. Regis, and end up purchasing a metal sculpture of a bear with pine trees.  The price was reasonable and the colors are stellar! 
            Dropping down into Flathead Valley, we see plenty of snow on the highest peaks of the Mission Mts to the south, plus north of Whitefish the peaks are white.  Through the gap at Columbia Falls?  Heaven’s Peak and other high peaks of Glacier are mantled in snow.  SOOO pretty! 
            We get checked into our cabin Kintla and assess our needs.  A trip to Walmart is in order to pick up a few forgotten items, plus some food stuffs.  The cabin has a rear window over the queen bed that looks out to the mountains - the same ridge we see from our  trailer on other trips.  We pull the bunk beds down from the wall, which leaves a tiny nook to park the porta potti!  Somewhat private!  The bunk beds store our clothing supplies.  There are four chairs and a table, a mini fridge and a microwave.  We brought our 2 gallon jug, so if we just fill it once a day, we have ‘running water’…(sorta!)

Friday, 11.4.16
Habitat Day 1

            Up at 6:30 in the DARK!  The sun isn’t scheduled to rise until 8:20 today!  I’ll be glad on Sunday morning when we ‘fall back’ to Standard time and at least it will be light before we leave for the job site!    But just as we are leaving I see the sky starting to turn some awesome colors to the southeast.  It is amazing how far to the south the sun is. 
            We work today with 5 members of the Credit Card Processing Company,  NXGEN.  (I’m sure the letters stand for something, but I don’t know what!)  Rick and I and a gal name Lori put up the 1x4 nailer slats on the gabled ends, south side.  Then Rick was sent off on a personal errand for Steve with Steve and Genia’s son, Brenton.  (They were moving doors and a washer-dryer!)  I went out to the north side of the house and helped with the siding there for the rest of the day. 
            Lunch was provided by Jimmy Johns – box lunches that were very good with sandwich, pickle, chips, and a huge cookie!  Rick got back finally for his lunch also! 
            Three local volunteers were also in today – Pete, who Rick trained a year ago; Jim, a new local recently moved here from Alaska; and Jan, a frequent volunteer from Whitefish.  Homeowner Korey Davidson was also in for the morning. 
            We wrapped up at 3:30 and another stop at Walmart for such items as Kleenex and hand sanitizer!  Lazy evening  - enjoyed a brief visit from Kathy as she and Clint got settled.  We will be giving them a ride in the am! 

Saturday, 11.5.16
Habitat Day 2
            Today we worked with a group from Grace Church, a non-denominational church down south of town.  Good workers, most of whom have worked previously for the affiliate in the past.  They also provided a wonderful chili lunch with all the toppings: fritos, cheese, and sour cream!  Fresh home baked cookies and some fruit. 
            And the hot meal was a blessing on what was a very cold morning!  Rick found the roof a challenge as there was about a ¼” of frost layering everything at the beginning of the day.  It took me over an hour to get my fingers warm enough to function very well ….and I was running the cut station! 
            Rick and two Grace partners worked on siding the gable, while Steve assigned me back to the front of the house (the COLD NORTH SIDE!) with another 2 men from Grace to continue siding there.  Mike and Jacob were great to work with and we made pretty good progress over the course of the day.  Had a few tricky cuts to make around the porch roof gable and the upper windows.  I will probably be back on the siding crew for the front on Monday.  Rick has just 3-4 boards left on the peak of his section. 
            The highlight of my day today was the visit of Jen and Mahrias Schultz.  Jen and EJ will be working on Monday, but Mahrias will be in school all week and wanted to see me.  I finished up some cuts and then ran to the car to get the two pieces of mail we had for the kids (I tried sending them to the wrong post office number).  Mahrias gave me a tie-dye half heart, one of the ‘Best Friends’ sets where each of you get half.  I have the Friends half and Mahrias kept the Best side.  Wow.  How often do you get to be ‘best friends’ with a 9 year old girl you met on a Habitat build??  I was nearly in tears as I hugged her and thanked her for the honor.  They are such a gracious and wonderful family.  But then again, all the families that have been selected for this project have put in OVER the hours required and are such caring, loving people. 
            Rick worked with a young man knowledgeable about the Glacier wilderness and he finally identified the peaks we see through the gap for us!  The big one in the middle is indeed Heaven’s Peak and the one barely visible to the right is part of the Oberlin complex. 
            When we returned to the campground with Clint and Kathy, we found the Hinkles just finishing their connections and set up!  A little reunion time gathering and then time for showers!  I went back over for some Happy Hour time later in the evening, taking pippernutters to share.  They were a hit, especially after we warmed them up in the microwave. 
            We are in bed before 10 – even with the time change we can’t stay awake any later! 

Sunday, 11.6.16

            Wow.  I forgot my phone would automatically adjust for the time change, so I kept subtracting an hour when I looked at it this morning.  The result?  I was in bed for over 10 hours!!  Unheard of!! 
            We spent a pretty lazy day.  I caught up on some computer stuff, went ahead with my scripture meditations (getting the actual verse onto the page), finished yesterday’s prayers and did today’s, posted to Facebook.  Rick took a short walk, watched the Steelers to a loss, and took a short nap!  I went to JoAnn’s and the grocery store!
            We all gathered at the Hinkle trailer for dinner.  Delicious casserole from Diane, salad, from Kathy, and I brought some fancy breads.  Mostly lots of laughter, reminiscing, and tall tales! 
            While the weather was a bit overcast and a few drops of rain in the morning, by afternoon we had some sunshine and blue skies!  Can’t say it warmed up a lot (maybe hit 50 degrees!), but not a bad day of rest! 

Monday, 11.7.16
Americorps Habitat Day 1

            We are given a slight reprieve today to arrive later as the Americorp group will have a longer orientation before their 6 week stay.  A good thing as it put us still in the cabin during a stellar morning sunrise from behind the Mission Mountains. 
            The 10 member Americorp crew looked so clean and trim in their brand new pants, sweatshirts, and boots.  They all have white hard hats.  This is their first day on their first assignment.  REAL rookies!  But what a great group of young people – one from Utah was the furthest west, the rest scattered across the east coast and southeast from Minnesota to Texas, Massachusetts to the Carolinas.  Steve had already broken them up into some ‘teams’ assigned to Rick, Clint, Pete, and myself – they just didn’t know who we were at the time!  Rick had two gals up on the roof to help him finish up the gable siding and then they tackled caulking and eventually painting later in the day.  Pete and his helper were working on the gable end just below Rick.  Clint had one young man helping him with the porches and in the afternoon, the installation of the sheetrock window. 
            My crew was big – three Americorp guys plus homeowner Mary.  Our task was to finish up the siding at the front of the house.  We had two trickly boards to cut, with windows to go around and the gable peak to deal with.  After that, clear sailing between two windows to the top of the second story windows.  Then the sheetrock truck came with a load of rock to drop off.  We cleared out of the way, moving to the back of the house where a few boards still needed to be put up over the backdoor.  Basically we got some good advice from Steve after lunch and with a little input from me I turned two of the boys loose to figure out the piece!  It took them two tries and a lot of ‘honing’, but they got it!  Mary and I prepared the side of the garage for siding and got three layers of boards up.  Tomorrow morning…the front of the house will get finished because Clint got the window installed so we can return and do our thing! 
            By the time we cleaned up and Steve visited with our crew, it was 4:30 when we left the site.  We were to be at Mackenzie River Pizza at 5pm to meet Katy and Erin from the Habitat staff.  We both wanted to shower, so ….we didn’t get there until 5:25!!  Oops.  Great dinner, though, with the pizza compliments of Habitat.  We all split up the drinks and tip. 

Tuesday, 11.8.16
Americorps Habitat Day 2

            Another beautiful sunrise today, only this time we are enroute to the job site so I can’t get as good a picture.  Still…what a glorious way to begin any day!  I am going to use yesterday’s sunrise for today’s prayer picture. 
            Steve isn’t here to begin the day, so we are under the leadership of Clint and Tom to open things up.  I get coffee made and straighten out the service area somewhat.  The corps kids arrive a little after 8 and we quickly get signed in and back into our work teams.  My crew is responsible today to FINISH the front siding!  Rick’s team just keeps getting bigger throughout the day as more and more youth were put to caulking and painting. 
            We didn’t go quickly, but we got ‘er done by the end of the day.  Some trickly cuts to maneuver and a little more teaching to be done on measuring and cutting!  Then we ran out of siding, but needed to finish the job so the caulkers could get on it.  Had to be creative, but we finished!  I released two of my guys to Rick mid-afternoon and Tyler and I nailed in the final pieces up on the top layer. 
            We ate lunch in the 50 degree delightful weather on the picnic tables with the kids.  Discovered their home training base is McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento! 
            We were beat by the end of the day at 4pm!  Back to cabin to shower, do laundry, and kick back, trying NOT to listen to election coverage!! 

Wednesday, 11.9.16
Americorps Habitat Day 3

            FOG!!  We wake up socked in!  Rick spies a deer grazing in the meadow behind us, a gray shadow.  By the time we get to the job site, we have risen above the low lying fog.  Today is forecast to be the warmest of the remaining year – nearly 60 degrees.  PAINTING!! 
            We get the group started, having heard that Steve will be a little late.  Rick gets most everyone working on the paint process.  Tom, Kathy, and Diane are still working in Ben and Davida’s house to be ready for today’s dedication.  I bopped around painting, touchup caulking, pounding in nails for awhile.  Then Rick asked me to work on some soffits at the back of the house.  I painted soffit for a bit, then transferred to the door frames.  Shortly before lunch, Steve asked me to put together a crew to finish the siding on the garage wall.  (More siding has been delivered.)
            And then….the day took a turn for the worse.  At the beginning of lunch, Tom called Rick and I over to the garage across the street to tell us that Katy Branston, our vibrant and enthusiastic volunteer coordinator, was found earlier in the morning deceased in her garage.  The group is stunned and in shock.  We had to hold it in until Steve was able to return and quietly share the news one by one with the other local volunteers and the Americorps leader. 
            In spite of the news, my crew finished the garage wall.  We struggled at times, but we got the job done!!  Thanks to Pete for helping us finish up with some trim at the top to cover up a wide gap left in the soffit at the top. 
            By days end, Rick and a team of Americorp boys, plus homeowner Korey, had disassembled 80% of the scaffolding from the house, leaving just enough to finish up the back upper gable paint.  Rick was tired!  We were all a little emotionally drained.  Before leaving, Rick and I walked out to the front of Davidson’s house to take a look sans scaffolding….and the day took a turn for the positive….
            Jen Schultze and the kids pulled up and Mahrias ran out of the van to give me a huge hug.  The next thing I knew Rick was hugging someone enthusiastically and I suddenly realized it was….Sarah Swanson???  What in the world??  Then I remembered that Sarah was driving down from Fairbanks to Los Angeles!!  In a crazy detective effort between Sarah and Shelli, they found Rick and I on the job in Kalispell!  Wow!
            We were ready to leave anyway, so we invite Sarah and Jared to follow us down to Five Guys Burgers for an early dinner.  (They were hoping to trek several more hours before stopping for the night, enroute to Yellowstone.)  We spent a wonderful hour plus visiting, getting to know Jared, Sarah’s boyfriend, and catching up on each other’s lives.  What a bright spot in an otherwise low day! 
            Good phone visit with Shelli when we got back to the cabin. 
Thursday, 11.10.16
Americorps Habitat Day 4

            God blessed us with another sunrise this morning.  The fog that came back in early evening disappeared during the night and the sky was vibrant with color today. 
            Steve spoke with the group at the beginning of the day on grief and allowing everyone the chance to grieve in their own way today.  And then…time to get to the task at hand!  Landscaping crews, paint trim and wall crew, Clint is doing porch work with an Americorp helper (Rayne) and Tyler is helping Tom.  I grab a caulk gun and spend the morning caulking all the missing spots on the back porch and then doing the soffit and wall that we put up yesterday.  It took longer than anticipated – and three tubes of caulk!  In the afternoon, I painted some and caulked some more! 
            Rick didn’t paint very much but bustled from one spot to another assisting his crew with ladders, brushes, etc. so they could get the job done!  He had youth on the roof, on ladders, everywhere!  But by days end…MOST of the painting is done.  We have a few touchup places to do on Friday, plus the second coat on garage west wall siding (it hadn’t been pre-painted when we put it up).  The yard got graded and ready for the sod turf to be delivered on Friday am. 
            All the Habitat staff and the four homeowner families were on site at lunch today, along with the pastor of one of the local churches.  He led the Habitat family in some words of encouragement and hope, and then we circled up as one big group hand in hand to join in prayer and a celebration of Katy’s life.  Erin and Vicki from the office are truly in shock.  Vicki is due to deliver and take maternity leave at any moment.  I’m sure Erin is wondering how in the world she is going to handle all the details that must be done to close Ben and Vida’s house, as well as the Davidson house. But mostly they loved working with Katy and her presence in the office, her spirit, and her life.  As the homeowners left, I took the opportunity to say goodbye to each, as we would be leaving after Friday…until next June! 
            Jen Schultze brought Ethan and Mahrias by the RV park at 4:30 today to ‘play’ with Rick and Ginger for an hour.  I invited Norrells and Hinkles to come join us at the gazebo and they visited with Jen as well while Rick played tetherball and more with Ethan and Mahrias and I visited all the little western village buildings!  A quasi Happy Hour time! 

            Showers, dinner, and a quiet night, plus early to bed!  

Friday, 11.11.16
Americorps Habitat Day 5

            This is to be our last day with the Americorps kids, so Rick and I leave the park early to stop at Walmart and pick up a couple dozen donuts to take to the build this morning.  We arrive shortly before the Thrivent volunteer who ALSO brought two dozen donuts!  The kids will be in bliss!!  Thrivent is also sending 5 volunteers and lunch today.  Wow.  (Incidentally learned more about the organization and the $75,000 grant they have invested in the Davidson home – the grant with the end of the year stipulation for completion!)
            It is a foggy morning, and unlike the other foggy morning this week, this NEVER burned off.  It was a day of 100% humidity all day long.  Cold and damp.   Painting was miserable, especially on flat horizontal surfaces because nothing ever dried.  I had a crew of two boys, Thorne and Calvin, who finished the second coat of wall on the side of the garage, touched up a few spots needed, and then I excused them to the sod crew.  I worked alone rest of the day on spot caulking and trim touchups …. Marginally successful on the latter! 
            Rick worked all day on laying down the vinyl flooring in the utility room and bathroom of the Schultze house.  Lily was his helper!  Clint had Rayne helping him finish up the trim work on the front porch.  I caulked for them as needed, but we weren’t able to get the paint on the posts by day end. 
            The rest of the group, under Tom’s direction, leveled and raked the yard, got the front flower beds marked out, and then laid all the sod, which was delivered around 9am.  A perfect damp day for that task!  God may do all the watering necessary over the weekend! 
            Mid-afternoon everyone but the Americorps kids wrapped up work and met in the Schultze house to visit with Jack and Anne, Katy’s brother and aunt.  Rick and I said our Corps goodbyes first, as they left before we were finished.  Homeowners were again gathered, a few local volunteers, and we just had a time to remember Katy and meet some of her family.  It was good for both parties.  Lots of laughter, memories, lots of tears. 
            Back to the cabin to do some initial packing, take showers, etc.  At 6pm we drove down to Los Corporales for dinner with Hinkels and Norrells.  A good time with some good food.  Back to Tom and Diane’s trailer to visit until 9:30pm!!  We have to drive tomorrow!  Time to hit the sack!  P.S.  Fog is still just as thick tonight.  What a gloomy day.  Steve said this is typical winter weather for Kalispell.  YUCK!

SATURDAY, 11.12.16
Kalispell to Baker City
540 miles

            Left Kalispell at 7am, still mired in a thick fog.  Left the thick stuff when we drove out of the lake basin, but still foggy until St. Regis.  I drove from Regis to Post Falls, which was through some rain, but nothing too heavy.  Rick took the sunny stretch of Eastern Washington.  I drove from Richland (temperature 69 degrees!) to Dead Man’s Pass, and Rick took us home, arriving at 3:15 Pacific Time.  Yes, we picked up an hour!  Good to be home. 

            A week of heavy emotions.  We were glad we were there to establish some bonds with the Americorp kids, which should make it easier for Tom and Clint in the next two weeks.  Definitely glad we were there to help out and be support during the chaos of Katy’s death.  It was a tough medical week for Genia, hence also for Steve.  Biggest regret is we didn’t get to see Genia.  Her white cell count is soooo low, Rick and I didn’t want to take ANY chance of giving her a bug that might cause her problems.  We would have had to mask up totally, etc.  But…if we helped Steve, I can consider that a hug for Genia.  Steve can deliver it.  

I will close this blogpost with a collage of Katy memory of an awesome, talented, vivacious, and brilliant young lady...gone way too soon.  May we learn and reach out to all those who suffer from the hidden disease of depression.  May we spread her sunshine with every home we build.  May we work with her enthusiasm and zeal, and may we treat everyone with the love she shared.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Southwest CHRPA Trip October 2016

Monday, 10.3.16
Baker City, OR to Wellington, UT
585 miles

            Wow!  This was our single longest day of travel in THIS trailer.  (We did log a 700+ day moving Luke back up from Tucson in the tent trailer, but that was due to a navigational error as well!)  Our goal was to get to Randy’s house in 2 days – feat we have done before in the car, but never towing the trailer.  It even beat our longest day last spring in our epic 3 straight days of 500+ coming home from North Carolina. 
            We got an early start, leaving Baker City at 5:45 in the dark!  Rick drove us to Mountain Home, and since we hit the Boise traffic between 8 and 9 (we lost an hour there!) the traffic wasn’t too bad. I drove from Mountain Home across the Utah border into Snowville …or about 175 miles.  Then Rick steeled himself for the Salt Lake City run of miles – about 170, 100 of which is just blitzing traffic the whole way.  We purposely didn’t stop to eat for long in Snowville, as we didn’t want to hit SLC any later in the day! 
            By 3:30 we were through it all and gassing up in Springville, ready to take Route 6 up and over Soldier Summit and into Price.  Got a little worried when we saw a sign saying Route 6 was closed at Soldier Summit as we entered the canyon, but it turns out there was an accident that closed the road for awhile.  By the time we got there, they were loading the upside-down vehicle onto a tow truck and traffic was running fine.  Prayers for whoever was in the car. 
            Through Price and into Wellington, where we arrived around 5pm.  We found the Mt. View RV Park, part of the National 9 Hotel.  What mountain we are supposed to be viewing, I don’t know, but the showers are warm, and the Outlaw CafĂ© provided a good dinner! 

            There was a dusting of snow on the Wasatch Mountains, visible between all the clouds as we drove through SLC.  The aspen trees around Soldier Summit had lost many of their leaves and were groves of white trunks.  Pretty vistas.  

Tuesday, 10.4.16
Wellington, UT to Edgewood, NM
535 miles

         Up and on the road early again, pulling out in the dark at 5:45, picking up a coffee from the 24/7 Shell Station and heading south!  At least this stretch is the most unscenic of today’s drive and it was in the dark!  The lightning eastern skyline with silhouette mountains was beautiful to watch change as the sun rose, and the early morning light was spectacular on the red rock cliffs of Moab country.  Rick drove until Moab, and I took us into Cortez.  We gassed up in each.  I figured I had enough pictures of the stretch from Cortez over!  Wanted to be ready for southern Colorado, which was well worth it!  Cottonwoods, scrub oaks, aspens – all changing colors.  We saw some snowy peaks.  Just a beautiful drive over to Pagosa Springs. 
         We stopped in Durango briefly to grab a bite to eat from the trailer, gas again in Pagosa before heading south of 84 toward Santa Fe and the cutoff down to Randy’s.  It wasn’t fast driving today, as the only interstate was the 25 mile stretch on I-70 around Green River. 
         Chama country of northern NM beautiful.  We passed Ghost Ranch where Luke was just 10 days ago!  Arrived at Randy’s around 5:15pm to find a maze of cars in their parking lot.  Everyone was here, including Patty’s carpool partner and her husband (who is doing construction work for Randy!) They are building some sheds, etc. so we had to wiggle our way into a different spot for the trailer, but got it done! 
         Everyone (10 of us) went out for dinner.  Randy said it was a celebration of birthdays dinner.  Reg and Dom in August, Rachael and Ran in October!  Rach’s is Friday.  Went to a local family restaurant.  Nothing fancy but good!  Jaxon slept through most of it, finally crashing after no nap

Click HERE for pictures of trip so far

Wednesday -Thursday, 10.5 and 10.6
Hanging out at Randy's

           Not much to report.  Lazy days at Randys with Mom there also.  Played with Jaxon.  Got a haircut from Regan.  Grocery store. Walks. Phone calls. Goodbye to Randy as he leaves EARLY Friday am for California on business. 


Friday we took Mom back in to her apartment, stopping at Regan's new house north of Randy's to take a look-see!  A nice mobile home on 6 acres.  Mid-afternoon meal with Mom at the Chinese Restaurant nearby.  Spent afternoon working on the puzzle we gave her for Christmas!  Made GREAT progress!  (She had pieces scattered everywhere!)  Early to bed back at Randys.

Saturday.  The weather is changing and rain is on the way.  We spend a lazy morning and don’t get to Mom’s until 11:45am.  Mom and I go to see the movie ‘Sully’ while Rick watches football.  Then we meet with Patty and Rachael at Applebee’s for dinner.  Good time.  Rain off and on.  More puzzle work.  Lightning coming home.  Go to sleep to the sound of rain on the trailer roof and the roll of thunder in the distance.  

Sunday.  We were ready to get dressed and leave when Mom called this morning to say she had just gotten up and didn’t feel like going to church.  So we watched Balloon fiesta coverage on TV and went in around 11.  Apartment still cold, so during halfway of the Steelers game, Rick walked over and got Mom a little space heater.  I cut out needlepoint plastic for a nativity she wanted to make.  Pork roast dinner.  BIG thunderstorm to come, so we outran it home by 6pm.  Trivial Pursuit with Ry, Rach, and Patty until nearly 10p.  Ry won.  But close as we were all in the center at the end. 

10.10 – 10.11

Monday.  Another lazy day of family time with Mom!  Rick and I took a walk at Randy’s before leaving at 10 to head in to town. Arrived to find Mom had finished the puzzle last night!  Hurray!   TV watching, putting gas in Mom’s car, helping with a few tasks – not an overly exciting time.  Mom took us to dinner at Village Inn.  Rick took car through car wash and saved one hub cap only to discover another fell off enroute home.  We couldn’t find it.  Beautiful sunset over town.  Fun playing with Jaxon while watching The Voice once back in Edgewood. 

Tuesday.  Last day to drive in and spend with mom.  But first, a morning of laundry.  Rick took a walk.  Beautiful sunrise today.  Went to Olive Garden mid-afternoon with Mom.  Portebello Ravioli are always a treat!  Back to Edgewood at 8:30 (had to stay and watch NCIS with Mom!), goodbyes. 

Wednesday, 10.12.16
Edgewood, NM to Tucson, AZ
484 miles

      Whew!  We have GOT to stop driving these 500 mile days, but I don't see that happening in the next month with what we have planned!  
      We are ready to back into the driveway and access Randy's 'dump' as soon as Patty pulls out of the garage at 6:50am.  By 7:30 we are leaving the food mart in Edgewood, armed with fresh coffee!  Rick drives us down to Socorro, via Estancia and the 'Eastern' route (avoiding downtown Albuquerque!)  A few miles longer, but worth it!  We stopped for gas in Socorro and then over to Sophias for a breakfast burrito!!  Cheers to Jed and all the time he spent in this little town and then we are on down the freeway.  Realize within 20 miles that this is a good stretch for me to drive (and Rick has already put in over a 100 miles) so at Fort Craig we exit the off-ramp, switch drivers, and I drive straight across and re-enter the freeway!  
          I-25 south towards Las Cruces is just a series of hills - up and down - with mountain vistas in the distance and considerable dry land dotted with sagebrush.  Not the most scenic in the west.  Into Hatch, the Chili Capital of the World, and our drive through town is a non-stop spectacle of red chilies ....drying on the rooftops, hanging from every imaginable spot.  Harvest time I guess!  I take us across the shortcut to I-10 west at Deming.  Gas.  Rick drives again.  Gas again in Lordburg to make sure we can make it to Tucson!  

          Arizona is MUCH prettier this time of year!  The land is greener, ocotillos greening up, sunflower bushes along the highway, not to mention a beautiful sky of clouds.  I enjoy the vistas of the freeway from the border to Tucson.  
           We gain an hour as Arizona does not go on Daylight Savings Time, so we are officially now on Mountain Standard Time - same as Pacific Daylight.  
           We pull into the CHRPA 'Campground' around 3:30pm and find old friends Carrie and Kat in the office, along with the new bookkeeper, Linda.  Discover we will begin work at 6:30am!  Ouch!!  Still on summer work schedule as the temps are still in the 90s by afternoon.  So, 6:30 to 2:30pm days.   
            We get the trailer in the second slot, hook up, and head to the store to purchase some groceries.  That breakfast burrito has worn off!  Back at trailer to be met by Cara, one of the new MVS kids, who welcomes us, gives me the internet password, and lets me into the SOOP lounge to get the key.  What a deal!  
            Dinner sitting outside in the WARM air (it is still 85) enjoying what I hope is the first of many spectacular Tucson sunsets - a full 360 degree sky of color!  LOVE IT!  

THURSDAY, 10.13.16

          Our first day back at CHRPA begins at the incredible hour of 6:30am!!  We get up at 5:30am to eat, dress, and get ready to walk the 100 feet over to the office.  
          A smaller crew today as most of the Mennonite House, along with Josh and Abi, have taken off for their annual Rim to Rim hike at the Grand Canyon - 42 miles total.  Wow.  We meet James, the Jesuit volunteer, and Mary, the YAV volunteer.  Rest of today's crew is 4 of the older local volunteers, plus Dustin.  Rick and I are reintroduced, Scott asks a little of what we have been doing, and assignments are made.  I work with Dustin, Rick with James and Ed (a local).  But since it is Thursday and the day for CHRPA School, we learn about lead paint protection, etc.  At 7:30, everyone loads up their trucks and heads out.  
          Rick and his crew head out for two jobs  involving new steps and floor support, and concrete work for a new handrail.  It seems they have a few glitches along the way, but return to the office around 2:45 with both jobs done.  Rick spent much of his time UNDER the mobile home trying to fix the floor.   
          Dustin and I had a relatively smooth day filled with roof patches, toilet installations, and alot of plugged drains and leaky faucets!  It was a good refresher course in plumbing!  We also stopped to take pictures of a Sajuaro 'Crown' and a date palm tree filled with fruit.  
          Lazy afternoon and evening.  Sky was cloudless so sunset was not nearly as spectacular as last night!  

Friday, 10.14.16
Sabino Canyon Hike

         Today is forecast to be a warm one….again!  (In fact, 90’s are the forecast for the next week – unseasonably warm weather!  Just our luck!)  So…we decide to head to the hills, but I can’t say we thought it all through real well.  A little too late in the day and the canyon didn’t end up to be as shady as I had pictured it.  Oh well….lived through it!
         A bit of a lazy morning, but by 10am we are heading north east of Tucson, past some of the more affluent housing areas in the town.  We pay our $5 fee, later realizing this is a federal area and our senior pass would have gained us access!  Ugh!  Our shuttle ‘tram’ passes cost another $20, but they will provide a ride 5 miles up the canyon to the end of the trail.  Many visitors forgo the shuttle and walk both ways, but the majority are walking on the narrow road and not on the trails up above. 
         Learn a few interesting facts enroute up – the road was built by the CCC as the original route to the top of Mt. Lemmon.  Funds ran out and the route was determined to be ‘not the best’.  Until the 1960’s private cars could drive up the road, crossing the single lane narrow stone bridges over the creek.  But cars got too big and the road was closed to vehicles until the Forest Service took over the shuttle service in the 1990’s.  The canyon is unique to the Sonoran Desert because of the variety of zones – the creek has water most of the year.  There are six distinct ‘seasons’ in the canyon. 
         Rick and I chose to go to the end, hike up a .5 mile connector trail to the Phoneline Trail which took us back down the canyon about 500’ up on the ridge above the road and creek.  Our total hike was about 5 miles in length.  We started hiking at 11:30 UPHILL – in the peak heat of the day!  I wasn’t prepared for it, water wise or whatever, because I got a little faint and light-headed.  Had to stop frequently and sit down in the rare shady spots.  A liter of water later and an energy pouch Rick had in his pack and I was able to continue and complete the whole trail.
         Which I really wanted to do.  We were hiking in prime saguaro cactus country, with ocotillo, stool yucca, cholla, prickly pear, and barrel cactus also.  Yellow rabbitbrush, creosote, and mesquite bushes.  Orange mallow wildflowers, tiny Trailing Windmills, a morning glory type flower. Various grasses with white plumes.  Tiny geckos only 3 inches long darting across the trail and the music of songbirds.  The canyon walls were alive, the rocky outcroppings forming columns and pillars. 
         But it was HOT!  Very warm in the heat of the day.  I have to admit the connector trail down to the road 3.4 miles later was a welcome sight.  Considerable traffic down in the canyon on the shuttle, but we only passed 3-4 other hikers – most people smarter than to hike on exposed ridges when it is that hot in the middle of the day! 
         Back to Shuttle Stop #2 to collapse until the shuttle arrived to take us back down to the Visitor Center. 
         A stop at McDonalds for a well earned ice cream treat and then shopping at Albertsons. Back to trailer for dinner and quiet evening!  
         Addendum:  I had to do a little internet research to find out the whys of the name Phoneline Trail.  We did see a few metal poles in places that indicated a phone line perhaps once ran along the hillside.  But why?  I found out! "Phoneline Trail was built in the early 1900's to facilitate the construction of a proposed dam about a mile beyond the end of the current roadway. Happily, the dam was never built. As you travel the trail, watch for a few remaining rusted poles that once supported the phone line for which the trail is named."  Thank you Google for the answers! 


         Not sure you can describe days of relaxing much more than these.  It was HOT, mid 90’s both days.  Our little AC unit hummed along much of the time!  Saturday am we did some laundry over at the MVS house, hoping to get ours
My accomplishment for Saturday, along
with the laundry and a book. 
done before all the kids came back from the Grand Canyon and had lots to do.  They had cleaned their bikes out of the SOOP lounge, so I took advantage of the cooler air in there (and the ceiling fans) and spent four hours tending the laundry and putting together a puzzle of Sonoran Desert flora and fauna.  Quite nice.  Rick was watching football games!  We read. Finished my books.  Easy dinner. 
         Sunday we walked across the parking lot to the Mennonite Church and worshipped there.  Greeted warmly as old friends.  Their denomination is in the same turmoil as PCUSA, only perhaps a bit more critical.  Churches are withdrawing based on sexuality issues.  So rather than be silent, Shalom is doing a whole series in October on Sexuality.  Today it was on Intimacy.  Well done. 
         Off to explore some thrift shops and eat at Beyond Bread.  Back to trailer by 2pm.  Afternoon spent visiting with family and friends on phone.  I put together the border of another puzzle after dinner.  Talked with Mom as I clicked picture after picture of the evening sunset, which was MUCH more vivid than the past two nights.  (Clouds in the sky again!)
         Heard the kids come home from their hike at 11pm.  They’ll be tired today!  

Monday, 10.17.16


           Up to the sound of the alarm at 5:30!  The air is so pleasant at this hour and the trailer is a nice 60 degrees!  There are enough clouds in the sky to cast a little color to the sunrise. 

         Rick was scheduled today to work with Mary, the YAV.  Mary is from South Carolina and just a little reserved.  They had a good day, repairing a roof, rebuilding a bathroom floor, and then installing grab bars and a new toilet.  They didn’t get back until 3:30 – a LONG day! 
Mel fits the pieces
  I worked with Mel, a relatively new CHRPA local volunteer who retired from the railroad a year ago and started volunteering here in February.  We worked well together installing a gas hot water heater  (at a house in which Dustin and I obtained the necessary paperwork last Thursday to proceed).  I learned a lot, cut some pipes, soldered a couple joints, held the light, fetched tools, and tried to be a good sounding board for Mel while he thought things through.  (He had not installed a gas heater before!)  We finished at 1:45, taking 6+ hours for the job.  We never stopped to eat lunch.  But we got it done!  We did NOT get to our second job, however. 
Our pipes BEFORE installing heater.
         Back to crank on the AC and discover ANTS!  Little bitty ants on the front bed area (I think they discovered the open package of rice krispee logs!)  Got rid of a lot of them, and Rick took care of even more when he returned. 
         Worked on the puzzle a little more and early to bed.  

Tuesday, 10-18-16

         Rick just told me he checked the weather and we should have 90 degree days the ENTIRE time we are in Tucson.  Just our luck – a freak October heat wave.  (Or global warming!)  Mornings, however, are delightful!  A perfect 60 degrees with sunrise around 6:30, just in time to walk through the CHRPA office doors! 
         Rick goes out today again with James – more floor repairs and a little plumbing work to do.  They are once again the last to return…Rick doesn’t come back until his jobs are done.  No excuses!  They also had to drive clear out on the Ajo highway a few miles.  Rick did the driving today, so he worked hard on a hot day. 
         I was paired with Dan Wilhelm, second in command in the CHRPA office.  We had some steps to build, and a roof to repair.  We totally replaced steps at a mobile home and also replaced the tread on another.  I got to use the circular saw and did ok with it.  (Not my best power tool!)  I cut all the boards while Dan screwed it together.  Then off to check on the ceiling repair.  This widow had a beautiful mobile home filled with nice things.  Yet her ceiling was sagging and it wasn’t due to water damage.  We checked things over and will get back to her as to whether the problem is even something CHRPA will handle.  While we ate lunch, Kat emailed Dan a few more jobs, since it was only 11:45pm.  We finished up the day patching a roof and fixing a leaky swamp cooler and then snaking out a plugged bathroom sink.  All success repairs! 

         Late afternoon, Rick and I walked down to Taco Giro, one of our favorite little Mexican restaurants on 22nd.  We each brought half home for dinner tomorrow night!  Rick had crab enchiladas and I had a shrimp burrito.  Tasty.  Made good progress on the puzzle tonight and once again early to bed.  J

WEDNESDAY, 10.19.16

         Wow!  Two nights in a row in bed before 9am!!  But 5:30 comes soon enough and we are ready to begin a new day.  Another HOT day. 
         Rick and YAV Mary team up once again and have a relatively easier day than the past two.  They have to work on an AC unit, fix a pedestal sink, and then auger out a plugged toilet.  They also confirm arrangements for us to bring pizza to the YAV house on Friday night! 
         I partner with Don today.  Don is a part-time local who splits his time between St. Louis and Tucson.  He works at CHRPA 3x a week.  I worked with Don previously when we built some steps together.  Anyway, today’s job was massive.  We had to tear out some old cupboards and countertop/sink, replace the sheetrock on the wall behind, and install the new cupboards and sink.  We made the job just a hair harder when Don accidentally nicked the hot water pipe with the saws-all and we sprung a leak, which obviously had to be repaired first!  That took a couple tries to patch successfully (AFTER we finally got the hot water turned off, mopped the floor, etc. etc.!) Then sheetrock on the wall – we cut the first panel together and then I screwed them in while Don cut the rest.  A quick mud job and finally time to move the cupboard units in.  We got them attached together and to the wall, then took a break for lunch.  Cut the countertop and sink hole, and I attached the end pieces to the countertop while Don screwed the sink in place and installed the drains.  We got the counter set in place, but then discovered we didn’t have the right connectors for the water pipes.  Call to Scott, who put out a HELP call to Rick and Mary at the Home Depot!  Thankfully they arrived about 20 minutes later with the needed parts!  We got the job done!!  Whew! 
         Our client, Evangeline, had quite the menagerie at her home.  An old dog named Pooh Bear, two cages of parakeets, two ducks, four chickens, a tortoise, and I'm not sure what else was roaming around the place!  

         Quiet evening.  I put 90 some pieces in the puzzle before Luke called around 5:15.  We talked for an hour.  Rick is in bed by 8:30 once again!  

Thursday, 10.20.16

         Ah!  Another day in paradise working for CHRPA!  Today is ‘School Day’ and Dustin leads a lesson on electricity.  It seems we are always here for the electrical lessons!  But they are preparing for the initial Furnace startup, Swamp Cooler shutdown season in November. 
         Rick goes out today with Don (my partner yesterday) and Ed with just one job assignment.  But that one location, at a mobile home with a non-English speaking lady, involved multiple repairs and hence a full crew.  Rick said they replaced windows, repaired a section of floor, swamp cooler repair and roof patching, and more.  They were busy! 
         I went out again with Dan Wilhelm.  For starters we left our paperwork at home, but Dan knew where our first stop was located.  We had to install a bathroom sink, finish the trim above the shower stall, install a swamp cooler diversion vent, and repair a light socket.  Also fixed the step railing outside.  This was a mobile home that a young women, a domestic violence victim with an infant, has purchased and is trying to make habitable with the help of CHRPA.  It has a long way still to go!  We had to leave for awhile to pick up a faucet part (it was leaking), but got a lot done.
         Dan and I had a great experience today.  Dan had forgotten some of his lunch, so when we passed a tacqueria, he asked if he could treat me to fish tacos.  “Do you like fish tacos?”  Well, the answer is a resounding YES!  We ordered, and just as Dan was ready to hand his credit card to the clerk, a young woman came up and asked if she could buy our lunch.  We surprisingly said yes, but why?  She noted Dan’s CHRPA hat and said, “I like the work your group does.”  Wow.  Dan said that was a first in his 11 years working for CHRPA.  AND they were great fish tacos with the best corn tortillas I have ever tasted. 
         Dan and I then went to assess a hot water heater install south of town.  The Hispanic man must have ‘God bless’ed us 15 times before we left!  It was a good stop and he will probably have a new hot water heater on Monday!  We stopped at Sans to pick it up enroute back to the shop. 

         And now we have another weekend ahead of us!  We are taking pizza to the YAVs tomorrow plus a tour of the Mirror Lab at the UA.  But first, I get another 100+ pieces into the puzzle (it is now over half done).  

Friday, 10-21-16
A Day of Variety!

         Today included a little bit of work, a little tourist, and a little social!  Plus more ant control!! 
         We had an 11 am tour with the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab located under the stadium of the University of Arizona.  Parking in the UA garage was an experience in itself, but the tour was great.  A small group of only 6 people, we saw videos of the mirror construction and then walked around the lab abit to see what is currently going on.  They are making the 8.4m mirrors for the new Magellan Telescope being built in Chile.  Seven mirrors total, all with the honeycomb construction that makes them light enough (at 40,000 lbs) to transport.  It was very interesting to see! 

         Back to the trailer to work for the afternoon (again in the mid 90’s) in the new office addition space.  We got the floor cleaned and covered, plus the windows all taped in anticipation of primer painting tomorrow morning.  That involved another 3 hours each of CHRPA work! 
         When we got back to the trailer we found ANTS again!  In the sink, counter, and under the cupboard (especially in the bin that holds the agave nectar!)  Agh!!  But I had the Orange Death Dan Wilhelm brought in for us and those ants were dead in seconds.  It really does stop them in their tracks.  We killed, I wiped down, and then washed ALL the silverware, dishes, etc. 
         In the meantime, Rick was ordering pizzas for pickup to take to the YAV house over on 1st St. near CountryClub.  A delightful group of young people.  We sat and ate pizza and talked for two hours!  Two guys and three gals.  We explored their job assignments, college experiences, church backgrounds, etc.  This was our annual “Treat the YAVs Dinner”! 

         Tired tonight!!  

Saturday, 10.22.16
Paint and Party!

         I tried to spy some meteors during last night’s Orionid Meteror shower, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open around 4:30 very well!  I think I spotted one! 
         Rick and I were tackling the primer paint this morning in the office addition.  We worked until 12:30pm …. Rick manning the ceiling roller first, and then moving to the upper walls.  I did all the corners.  Still have 3 windows left, one closet, and a furnace alcove to do, plus the bottom third of the walls. 
         During our relaxing afternoon, I finished the puzzle in the SOOP lounge plus finished reading my Macomber novel.  Rick watched a fair amount of football on TV! 
         After a beautiful sunset, we left to pick up a bottle of wine and then dinner at Ali and Abi’s place.  Josh joined us as well.  Alli and her dad purchased the house this summer. Abi said this was their first ‘dinner party’!   We had a great fajita dinner out on the back patio – candlelight, garden lights, and ambiance galore!  Stayed until 8:45 talking about CHRPA experiences, YAVs, MVS, etc. 

         Great day!  

SUNDAY, 10.23.16
A Day of Rest???

         It was warm last night!  The trailer is 69 degrees and rising when we get up at 6:30.  But the early start was worth it – an awesome sunrise with a full semi-circle of light rays radiating out for the rising light.  I used the photo as the basis of my morning prayers. 
         Rick went over to the office to start painting the last of the primer coat at 8:30.  I waited and went to worship with Shalom Mennonite.  They are doing a series on Sexuality and Spirituality and today was a speaker telling his story of ‘coming out’ and wrestling with God to accept his sexuality.  It was very powerful.
         Afterwards, I went over to help Rick finish up, trimming out the final three windows and a closet.  Altogether we figured we spent 20 hours this weekend getting the primer coat done. 
         Afternoon spent putting together one last 500 piece puzzle (finished in 3 hours!) and doing the laundry at the same time.  Rick watched football.  We both made phone calls to Moms. 
         Late afternoon we headed down to El Sur for dinner.  Shrimp taquitos for me and carne asada burrito for Rick.  Good meal.  This is the only restaurant I know of where I can scoop the salsa and enjoy it!  His and Hers salsa for us.  Rick gets the hot one, I get my favorite! 
         Into Harbor Freight for a few tools before they close and then to the neighborhood Walmart Market for some groceries.  Too many clouds in the sky for a good sunset tonight!  Those same clouds are going to make for a warm night, holding all the heat in! 

         Got back to trailer to find a text from Scott inviting us to their house for dinner tomorrow night!  Oh boy!!  We said YES!  

MONDAY, 10.24.16
         Paint Day!  After the other crews are sent out, Rick and I confirm the paint color for the office and take off for Home Depot with a CHRPA check in hand to pay for 5 gallons of wall color and 2 gallons of ceiling paint.  All purchased, we discovered we will have help!  Dave, one of the board members, has come in to lend a hand with the project. 
         And paint Dave does.  An older man, he welcomes the chance to just ROLL (no one ever chooses to trim and cut!) and he proceeds to roll both the ceilings and the walls of the entire space!!  Rick does the intricate cutting up high of the wall color to the ceiling edge, which I cut all the windows, the corners, the closests, etc.  I am finished by 12:30p and lunch-time.  After a short lunch break, Dave and Rick finish up around 2.  Rick rolled the closets and then went back and did some touch-up on the ceiling.  But…with help we finished the whole project today.  We figured the whole process took us about 40 man-hours, saving CHRPA $2300 of labor costs (the bid they received).  Those painters were getting approximately $60 an hour!!  It looks really nice! 
         After lunch I asked Scott if there was something else I could work on, as the painters didn’t need me to finish up.  I ended up clearing weeds from the back of the office and along the south wall.  The tumbleweeds were so thick back along the wall, that you couldn’t even get into some of the trucks parked back there.  I spent an hour in the heat doing that and decided I was done!  I don’t think a plant grows in the SW that doesn’t have little burrs or thorns! 
         Lazy afternoon in the trailer cooling off.  A storm rolls in late, the wind picks up, and by the time we are leaving for Coverdales, we find a smattering of raindrops falling.  The north side of town had really gotten rain, however.  Big puddles in the road and we saw two amazing bolts of lightning horizontally cross the sky as we drove in Grant Ave. 
         We find Coverdales in the dark (a challenge!) and then spend nearly 3 hours in the most delightful of visits.  Alene, Scott’s wife, is really fun.  She couldn’t believe it had been 6 years since Luke had been here.  The house is an eclectic mix of recycled goods and SW flair.  So much fun and colorful.  We had a pasta dish, with option for chicken, tossed salad, crackers and cheese appetizers, and…. Apple pie!  Rick almost flipped when he saw the pie come out of the oven!  We sat around the table for over 2 hours just chatting about life, our kids, retirement, work, etc.  Before we knew it, 9 bells had come and it was definitely time to leave.  Scott gets up at 4:20am to bike to work by 6:15ish!!   
         Home and into bed by 10pm!!  

Tuesday, 10.25.16
         Ugh.  That 5:30 alarm woke me from a deep sleep this morning, after a rather restless night.  I couldn’t figure out what blankets I wanted!  Hot, then cold, then hot, etc. 
         Rick is paired today with a relatively new volunteer we haven’t seen before, Sam.  An older guy.  They have a bathroom floor to replace.  Rick ended up taking the ‘lead’ on the repair – new toilet, new floor under toilet, new plywood under sink vanity, linoleum laid down.  The homeowner was ecstatic when she saw the results – far beyond what she expected.  She sent Rick and Sam home with a pizza in thanks. 
         I got to go out with Abi today to finish up a ramp for ‘Mary’.  She previously had a ramp, but it was too steep and she kept falling on it.  Abi and Mel had completed the framework yesterday, so we just had to lay down the tread boards on the ramp portion itself.  Abi drilled and screwed while I used the miter saw and cut the boards to size.  After a bite of lunch, we attached the rails on each side.  After we got the boards held in place, I screwed everything in while Abi prepared the new board.  Then I sanded it all while Abi installed the metal plate at the very bottom. 
         I made an inuk from my wood scraps, while telling Abi the story of Luke and the inuks, my art class inuks, etc.  (Abi is a studio art major so we always have plenty to discuss.)
         Afternoon spent wrapping up some details, repacking trailer, and being as ready as we can to leave after one job in the morning.  We have scheduled a trailer winterizing in Boise at noon on Friday, so we have some miles to travel in the next couple days!  

Wednesday, 10.26.16
CHRPA Day 8 Plus….
Tucson to Las Vegas
426 miles

         This was a long day!!  Up at 5:30a for a few pack up chores, return items to their CHRPA places, etc.  We report for work at 6:30 and by 7am are on our way out to one of the first places I visited two weeks ago.  Sheree still needs to have her kitchen faucet replaced!  She is the lady in an electric chair who was in a serious auto accident and broke her neck.  Rick enjoyed meeting her.  It took a little problem solving and we weren’t able to reconnect her water filter tap, but she said she wasn’t using it anyway because the filters cost too much!  One more stop to assess a broken bathroom shower and we are back at the CHRPA office by 9:45!  This was the first time Rick and I have gone out on a job just the two of us, but Scott knew we wanted to be on the road by 10:30 so we couldn’t head out for a longer job with someone else. 
         Rick takes a quick shower, we drain and shut down, and pull out of the CHRPA resort at 10:20.  Smooth sailing all the way through Phoenix to Wickenburg, although the mileage ended up more than we figured and we barely had enough gas to get to Wickenburg! 
         I drove from Wickenburg to Kingman – more gas!  I had forgotten how mountainous the terrain is on that stretch.  The Joshua Tree National Forest is located along the highway.  Rick and I began listening to a book on tape we bought, Cheryl Strayed ‘Wild’.  One CD down out of 12 or so!! 
         We got to Kingman around 4pm, so decided to push the extra 100 miles on to Las Vegas.  I found an RV park on the north side of town, and despite heavy traffic on I-515, we still found the park around 6:15 (in the dark!!)  A BEAUTIFUL sunset over Vegas as we drove through town.  Rick figures he drove through Tucson, Phoenix, and Las Vegas today!  He is ready for a leisurely drive tomorrow through the lonely mountain valleys of Nevada! 
         Showers and dinner from the fridge.  We will be ready for bed early!!  RV Park is right next to Nellis Air Force Base.  Three fighter jets roared overhead just after we arrived, but that was it….totally quiet all night long! 

Thursday, 10.27.16
Las Vegas, NV to Glenns Ferry, ID
544 miles

         Up shortly before 6:30 refreshed and ready to tackle the length of Nevada!!  We are on the road at 7:15am with Rick driving first up to Alamo.  We were ready to get out of Vegas (and it was a smooth departure without much traffic!) and head out on the open roads bordered by mountain ranges, sagebrush, rustic ranches,  and occasional wildlife preserves!  I drove from Alamo to Ely where we grabbed gas and lunch, Rick up to Wells.  More gas there.  We found snow decorated peaks in the Ruby Mts. and Hole-in-the-Wall Mt just outside Wells!  I drove to Jackpot, and Rick took us in to Glenn’s Ferry.  Now we have an easy hour plus drive in the morning to get to Bish’s RV in Nampa for our winterizing appointment. 
         We listened to three more CD’s from our WILD  audio book today.  Wish I had a map of the PCT to follow along.  I’ll find it before we head to Montana and listen to more of the book. 
         Ran into a little rain – mostly sprinkles.  More is forecast later this evening. 
         Parked at Trail Break RV park in Glenn’s Ferry.  A little rustic, but the $25 for full hook ups can’t be beat.  We will be able to fully clean out the trailer in the morning before hitting Bish’s.  She is going into storage when we get home!!  

Friday, 10.28.16
Glenn's Ferry to Baker City, OR
197 miles

          Raindrops fell all evening last night and frequently during the night!  Not a hard rain, just a steady light rainfall.  We slept much cooler, but even so, found the heavy sleeping bag too much! 
          Got good showers in the park restrooms, cleaned out the sinks, shower, and john thoroughly, so the trailer is ready for winterizing at Bish's in Nampa.  We have a 1pm appointment, but figure on arriving early, leaving the trailer and running over to Win-Co during the service appointment.  So we leave at 9:15 heading west!!  Lots of clouds and still alight drizzle, but the weather improves as we near Boise. 
          Bish's gets us in quickly and doesn't want us to unhitch, so Rick and I just hang around the dealership while they fix us up!  We grab some gas at a Maverick just down the road, stop at Win-Co for an hour shopping spree, and pull into Baker City at 2:15pm!!  No mail to pick up (gotta check on that!) and by 4pm we have the trailer all emptied out!  
          So good to be home, even if for only 5 days!  

Total miles: 3177
Trailer miles: 2770
Total nights: 24