Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflections on 2016… Part 2

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Our last new state to visit in the mid-western USA was Iowa. We really didn’t plan to spend much time there yet we were surprised at how much we enjoyed Iowa. By the time we left we were astonished that we spent 18 days there! Maybe we did so because we were finally into a more summer like weather pattern and the severe weather alerts were more infrequent.

Best Iowa Memories – Our visits to the University of Iowa and in particular the beautiful campus of Iowa State University. We saw yet another state capitol and happily met up with full timers Jane and John in their home state.

Worst Iowa Memory – While we loved visiting the city of Dubuque we were saddened in how much if the city is in need of refurbishing. Someone with deep pockets has a gold mine awaiting them there!

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Over leaving Iowa we entered a familiar state, one we have visited before, Wisconsin. We spent 18 days in this beautiful state and would have stayed longer but we had our medical appointments scheduled in Minnesota.

Best Wisconsin Memories – We never realized how many RV friends we had from Wisconsin until we visited Madison and Green Bay. Seeing many of our friends was indeed the highlight to our revisit to this state but we also really enjoyed revisiting Lambeau Field.

Worst Wisconsin Memory – Another state without a bad memory. Our only complaint was the weather again but this time it was because it was pretty hot while we were visiting.

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After Wisconsin we moved over to Minnesota for the next 11 nights. We had only been in Minnesota one other time and it was only to visit Duluth so we saw more of the state this time around. Our main reason to be there this year was to have our annual physicals at the Mayo Clinic.

Best Minnesota MemoriesUrban hiking in Minneapolis and lucking into seeing the new Minnesota Vikings Football Stadium upon its grand opening.

Worst Minnesota Memory – Waiting for the results of a couple of skin biopsies for me and results from a polyp taken off of Sharon but at least they all turned out to be non-cancerous!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What Did We Do in 2016? A Reflection in Time… Part 1


What a year we have had. The year 2016 wasn’t all great but we sure enjoyed living life on the road in our beautiful country. We started the year off in Florida at Imperial Bonita Estates where we wintered a few months including the whole month of January. By the time we left Florida we  logged 44 days of 2016 in this beautiful state.

Best Florida Memories – The white sandy beaches at Bonita Beach, the people at Imperial Bonita Estates and the Nokomis Drum Circle!

Worst Florida Memory – Our first major boo-boo happened to our RV.

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From Florida we only spent two nights in Alabama and did not need to stay longer since we didn’t require a visit to Red Bay for any RV maintenance. We thought about going there to have our RV repairs done but we had no idea what the insurance would cover at that time so we moved on to Louisiana where we spent 35 days with most of it at our favorite RV park and location for fun at Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville Louisiana.

Best Louisiana Memories – All the different Festivals in Louisiana and having fun with friends at Betty’s RV Park!

Worst Louisiana Memory – Leaving Betty’s RV Park!

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We moved on into Texas and it would be 62 days before we left the state of Texas and our former home. It was while we were there we decided our summer goal would be to check off the middle states in the USA, or as they are often called “the fly over states.”

Best Texas Memories – Reconnecting with friends and family. Having fun with our grandkids once again and enjoying the Texas wildflowers!

Worst Texas Memory – Figuring what was wrong with our slide out and repairing it.


After leaving Texas we headed north and first up was five nights in Oklahoma. This would be our first new state to visit this year. We might have stayed longer but this is tornado alley and we were in prime season.

Best Oklahoma Memories – Walking around the University of Oklahoma campus, a school I strongly considered going to for my college degree.

Worst Oklahoma Memory – Watching the weather closely for tornado watches… Yikes!!!

Scooting further north we entered our second new state of the year, Kansas. We also hastily drove through Kansas because of the weather but lingered long enough to stay 10 nights.

Best Kansas Memories – The grand tour of Kansas City with future full-timers Karen and Mark, hiking in the tall grass prairie, Kansas City BBQ at Oklahoma Joe’s  and our visit to the state capitol.

Worst Kansas Memory – Like Oklahoma our worst memory was our constant monitoring of severe weather in the state.

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After leaving Kansas we entered yet another new state, Nebraska (our third new one this year). We only spent five nights in Nebraska as we were still running away from the spring storms or we would have stayed longer.

Best Nebraska Memories – Our urban hike in Omaha was a great surprise and one we really enjoyed. We also loved our visit to the state capitol and visiting the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Worst Nebraska Memory – No real bad memories since we didn’t stay very long and the weather was improving.

(To be Continued…)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to One and to All!!!

It’s Christmas time once again and time to reflect upon the great year we have had. We started out the new year in Florida and will end it here in Arizona and what fun we have had in between. I will save the details about our story for the year end review of our travels. Until then we simply wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and of course a wonderful Happy New Year! May all your future travels be safe and joyful in the upcoming year…

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Back in AZ and Hiking the Hieroglyph Trail…

After Katie's graduation ceremony we went out for a congratulatory dinner to bring a close to Katie's weeklong festivities. The next day we enjoyed Katie's company and made one of her favorite dinners, Tex-Mex styled enchiladas. We had a great dinner with Katie, Brooks, Sarah (her roommate) and with Sarah’s parents, Scott and Kathy which was a real treat. Katie’s roommate was also her teammate in college so it was really fun to reminisce and celebrate with Sarah’s family on our last night in North Carolina.
We  awoke early the next morning  to fly out of Raleigh and landed in Phoenix AZ by just after lunch. We called the shuttle after waiting for our checked bag for a long, long time. We happily reunited with our comfy Honda CRV and drove the 40 minutes west to Tolleson to pick up our RV. Freightliner performed the needed preventative maintenance items I had requested and we paid the bill. They were true to their word as the RV was plugged in the entire time and all the fridge/freezer contents were in great shape. What a relief!
Another hour later we made our way through Phoenix traffic in the HOV lane and pulled into Canyon Vistas RV Resort in Gold Canyon. What a neat site we have facing the Superstition Mountains with a perfect vantage point to enjoy some great desert sunsets although we may not see many during our week stay because of a predicted cold front bringing several days of rain and cloudiness.
Luckily we had a clear day our first full day so we took advantage of it and drove over to the Hieroglyphics Trail, one we had read about that sounded pretty interesting. Our total hike would end up being around 3.25 miles roundtrip and we would climb just under 600 feet in elevation.
This was a great hike at the base of the Superstition Mountains and it started out easy although it was a steady climb up. We were treated to amazing views over the vast Mojave Desert expanse. The landscape was dotted with the mighty saguaros standing tall. I learned a lot about he saguaros over the years but never noticed that there were both female and male saguaros (ha ha). Sharon hoped to see an Elf Owl in one of the cactus cavities but they remained elusive.
The trail next became a little more rocky with mostly loose rock about 1" in diameter along with some larger ones which required us to pay close attention to where we were stepping. We gained in altitude and the vistas in every direction were like scenes out of an old western movie. Nearing the end of the trail it was a bit more challenging requiring some mild rock scrambling at the end.
Then suddenly a small pond of water came into view and as our eyes gazed at the rocks near it we could see hundreds of really cool drawings. One can only imagine what the ancient natives were communicating as they carved into these rock walls.
Some of the heiroglyphs were obvious as to what they were depicting while others were not so easy to discern. One we saw looked like a monkey even though there were never any in this area. Perhaps it was actually a depiction of a mountain lion.
We found this to be a great spot to sit on the rocks to contemplate the native artwork and gaze back over at the desert valley below…And we sure were grateful to be back in shorts and T-shirts once again!

For a listing of some of the best hikes the USA has to offer check out this page Top 50 Long Distance Hiking Trails In The USA.

NOTE: We are in Gold Canyon, AZ at the Canyon Vistas RV Resort until December 26th then move over to Mesa Regal RV Resort in Mesa Arizona.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Introducing Dr. Katie Hinton…


Well the day finally arrived for our daughter, Katie, to graduate. We flew into Raleigh North Carolina and Katie was there to pick us up at the airport. She had been busy all week with the hoopla surrounding graduation week. She was excited to be receiving her Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree from Campbell University Saturday, December 17th. It has been quite the journey for her.


As a toddler we knew quickly that Katie was independent and strong willed as she wasn’t a cuddler (although she is now) and wanted to do things her way (not ours). We soon realized that she had athletic ability and when we asked her what she wanted for Christmas, everything she wanted was sports related. I remember buying many sports related items one Christmas and when I was checking out at the sporting goods store in Texas the clerk said “Your son is sure going to have a great Christmas!” My answer was quick with “SHE sure will!!!”

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Through her passion for sports we learned something else about Katie – she is very, very competitive. She played in nearly every sport girls were allowed to play. First it was soccer, then basketball and shortly thereafter she played softball/baseball, volleyball and participated in track. Her competitiveness was apparent as she could compete with the best kids in each sport and she was full of confidence. I remember her playing soccer games when she was around 7 years old and after nearly each game she would declare “I scored all the goals!" even though she didn’t.

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In her teens she continued playing most sports but eventually chose fast pitch softball as her sport of choice. While in high school she decided she wanted to compete at a higher level so soon thereafter she tried out and was playing on an elite travel team out of Houston Texas, a hotbed of college softball talent. This required and hour and a half drive to and from games and practices several times a week! Her gold softball team her junior year encouraged her to switch from hitting right handed to left handed to take advantage of her speed, especially if she wanted to compete in college. Sure enough after a year of hitting from the left she had mastered it enough to receive a full scholarship (athletic/academic) to Campbell University.


While at Campbell she started and played every single game (except one with an injury) all four years. By the time she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree after four years she was well prepared to tackle the world. She is still in the top ten statistical categories in softball at Campbell University. Her being a student athlete while taking a full load of courses helped her master time management and hone her skills in teamwork.


After college Katie had a passion for working with people and became a Physical Therapy Technician to see if that was her calling in life. After two years of gaining valuable work experience she applied and was accepted in the first ever class for the Doctor in Physical Therapy program at her alma mater. Three years later after countless hours of studying and taking classes, she reached her goal. And along the way she gained a new family – her classmates became her Physical Therapy family and the memories that she made with them she will cherish forever.


The ceremony Katie and her 35 other classmates in Physical Therapy finally arrived. After all their hard work they were each handed their diploma and joined many others who have completed requirements and earned their Doctorates! She still has to pass a board exam before she can become a practicing Physical Therapist but we have no doubt she will pass that hurdle in life too.


We could never be prouder of our baby girl for all her hard work and dedication. As parents we often wondered how our children would turn out and we were fortunate that both our son and our daughter fought through all the hard times to become great individuals with good character thus we feel great comfort in knowing they both will be very successful in life.


Congrats Katie and may I introduce to everyone – Dr. Katie Hinton… Look out world!!!

NOTE: We are now in Gold Canyon, AZ at the Canyon Vistas RV Resort.