Saturday, April 05, 2008

Where have you been, Carol?

Enjoying family and wonderful New Mexico winter sunrises!

Feb. 12, 2008

My two-month volunteer time at Pancho Villa State Park was cut short – and for a very good reason. Granddaughter Melody (who completed her 4+ year enlistment in the Navy and had returned to Japan be with her husband who was completing his enlistment) was returning to the States and wanted to stay with me until her husband completed his enlistment time in March. Would I? You betcha!

Melody and her Russian Blue cat arrived on Feb. 13. It had been a long flight from Japan; first to LAX and then on to Albuquerque. We both settled into my Rio Rancho home. A phone call from daughter Sue brought more good news: she would be flying into Albuquerque on Friday evening to spend 10 days with us. Wow! Three generations together again. And oops! I forgot to take any pictures!

We had a super time – shopping, eating at our favorite places – simply feeling blessed to be together. We attended the annual National Fiery Foods show together for the first time in more than 10 years. The days flew faster than we wanted. Sue left at 6 a.m. on Monday, March 3. And by 11 a.m. we were back at the airport to pick up granddaughter Christine. (My son’s 24-year-old daughter. She and Melody grew up together when both lived in Oceanside, California.)

Three more days of outings. Our big event began with an early lunch at the Shark Café at the Albuquerque Aquarium. Next we enjoyed the aquarium. After that we boarded the narrow-gauge train that travels between the aquarium and the zoo. The sun was out, making our trek through the zoo pleasant. I did remember to take photos – here are those two precious granddaughters:

Melody had a 6 a.m. flight to Indianapolis on Tuesday, March 11. Also that day her husband Derrick was flying from the Navy base in Washington State – with their two dogs – to Indianapolis. Melody called mid afternoon to say all had arrived and they were enroute to Derrick’s dad’s home where they will stay until their household goods arrive and they get a place of their own.

Whew! The next few days were for Jeremiah ready for travel – and for three more days with Sue. Yup! She returned to Albuquerque with husband Dave for some business things. More fun times with Sue, and she helped me finish packing my motorhome.

March 20. On a cold and frosty morning – 29-degrees – Cat, Jeremiah and I headed west. First stop was an RV park just off I-40 in Holbrook, Arizona. Brrr! It was cold there, too. No problem in my cozy rolling home.

It was a beautiful drive south on Arizona Highway 87 – a.k.a. Beeline Highway – toward Phoenix. As I dropped in altitude, the display of wildflowers along the road and nearby hills and mountains increased. They became a kaleidoscope of colors.

Besides visiting my brother and two sisters, I would be visiting some county parks to interview with park ranger/managers for a 2008-2009 winter volunteer opportunity. I found one park that especially appealed to me because the “work” I would be doing suits me to a T.

I spent two nights in Tempe – Jeremiah just fits my brother’s driveway! And had some sweet time with family. And I was finally in warm weather!

Sunday morning I continued west – surprised at how many 18-wheelers were traveling on Easter Sunday – and spent the night at Mayflower County Park along the Colorado River north of Blythe. More warm weather! And a good day to clean and reorganize my motorhome.

I also had time to finish reading The Roosevelts, An American Saga, by Peter Collier. The family – that produced both Theodore Roosevelt and a generation (and different branch of the tree) later Franklin Roosevelt – seems a prime example of power/prestige-driven people. Makes me glad I grew up in a normal home.

On Monday I chose to take back roads into North San Diego County – thus avoiding any more Interstate driving. Highway 78, is a two-lane road that snakes through the Anza-Borrego Desert, and then up into apple-growing Julian before dropping down to the coastal towns. I’ve been on this road many times and enjoy it thoroughly. I think the desert is most beautiful this time of the year. Wildflowers are in bloom and the cactus will be putting on a color show soon.

Tuesday was another day to kick back. I settled into space 16 at the Oceanside Elks Lodge RV area, reserved an Enterprise rental car for the next day, and started reading, “Chasing Churchill; travels with Winston Churchill” written by his granddaughter Celia Sandys.

On March 30, I traveled to Tucson and then Bowie, Arizona. Destination was Pancho Villa State Park to complete my two-month volunteer commitment for this year.