Sunday, December 30, 2018 (White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Waddell, AZ)

Matt and his partner from Camp Fridge were due to be here around 8 to 8:30 this morning...so our day was all planned out. Although we had no idea how long it would take for the repair, we were hoping it wouldn't be more that a few hours...that would give us the afternoon to do our grocery shopping.

However we received a text from Matt saying they had had "an issue" this morning and wouldn't be here until 9 or 9:30. Apparently they had a break-in at their warehouse where the thieves tried to steal some copper piping and now they have water everywhere. At 10:00 when they still hadn't shown up, Steve called...he was very apologetic and said they'd be be leaving in 15 minutes, takes about 30 minutes to get here...so we expected them to arrive around 11:00. Keep in mind we still had no food and hadn't eaten anything yet...other than toast and peanut butter. While we waited, we went for a short walk along a trail that was just behind the trailer. There are lots of hiking and biking trails here...we would like to return here sometime and spend some time exploring the area.
They finally arrived at noon just as Steve was about to call again! So much for having our day planned out perfectly!

They got right to work...fridge is out...
Old cooling unit...
Rebuilt cooling unit installed for $1,195.00 US and a 2 year warranty...
Sliding the fridge back in...
They had recommenced using non scented Fabreeze to get rid of the smell...

Three hours later they were done...and we off to do our shopping. Our first stop was lunch at Costco. Nothing like having to get a mountain of shopping to do...i.e. total restocking...and it's after 3:00 before you even get started. Oh...and it's about a 45 minute drive to even get to the stores!

It was 8:00 by the time we got home...then all the groceries had to be put away. We had a bite to eat...roast chicken from Costco...relaxed a bit and then went to bed.

We are SO looking forward to getting to Quartzsite tomorrow!!


Saturday, December 29, 2018 ( Travel to White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Waddell, AZ)

We woke to a cold windy morning...37F/3C...but it was sunny! Steve stayed inside until about 10:00 before venturing outside to start his packing up...and I got busy inside.

Once all packed up and ready to go, we went up to say goodbye to Dale and Chloe...thanks so very much for all your hospitality! It was wonderful spending time with you and we really appreciated being able to leave our rig while we flew home for 2 weeks. Dale insisted we pick some fresh lemons and grapefruit from their trees before leaving...thanks Dale!

My concern about getting out of their driveway was unfounded...we had no problem and were soon heading to highway 60 west...and then I-10...
Good bye Phoenix...
Gila River...

We arrived at Estrella Mountain Regional Park shortly before 1:00 and like last year, once through the gate, Steve pulled over on the side of the road so I could go into the Nature Centre to pay for a couple of nights of primitive camping near the horse arena. 
To my surprise, they told me that camping in the arena area was no longer allowed due to some construction...what?! Cec and Alan had double-checked for us a couple of weeks ago and were told it was okay...obviously something had changed between then and now! They suggested White Tank Mountain Regional Park, about 20 minutes away.

Back out at the truck, I called White Tank and found out that only camping in the overflow was available...$15/night, no services. That works for us...so we found a spot to turn around and headed there.

A little road construction along the way...

White Tank was a little further away than we wanted to be but with no other choice, we will make it work. After stopping at the gatehouse for our permit, we were given directions to the overflow...just follow the road to the very end of the pavement.
 It was quite a long roller-coaster ride in...

At the end of the pavement, you go through a wash to a huge parking area...
Overflow camping is on the east side of the lot. There were a few other rigs parked there and after checking out the area, we picked a spot, levelled off and unhitched. I did a minimal setup inside and then called Cec.
Alan and Cec picked us up just after 3:30 and we went back to their place...where we sat and chatted with a drink and then Cec prepared dinner...
 A delicious dinner!
 After dinner, the dishes were cleared and they taught us how to play Mexican Train...we've heard about it and know quite a few folks who play it but had never tried it. Lots of fun!
But alas the evening must come to an end...we all got back in the car and they drove us home. Thanks so much for a wonderful evening, Cec and Alan! So great being able to see you again and thanks for coming all of the way out to White Tanks to pick us up! Hope we see you again in Q!


Friday, December 28, 2018 (Apache Junction, AZ)

Dennis and Suzanne were up before us this morning...they wanted to be up early with us and what do we do? Sleep in! LOL!

Suzanne and Dennis made us all a delicious breakfast...quiche, bacon and toast. A good hearty breakfast to start the day!

Dennis' Santa Fe apparently has a third row of seats...something I didn't know when I was trying to figure out how all six of us were going to get into the car! So we all piled into their SUV...including suitcases and miscellaneous other things (see the Bud box?). It was cozy!
I started to get in the very back with Steve but found my claustrophobia got the better of me, so Don changed seats with me..whew...thanks Don!

When we arrived back at Dale and Chloe's, we unloaded everything from the car. And when I opened the trailer door, I was welcomed with a constant "beep, beep, beep" from the fridge...oh, and a very unpleasant smell. The fridge had turned off...a high limit warning. It had obviously been off for a number of days because everything in the freezers was thawed out...we lost everything in the fridge and freezer. Not exactly what we wanted to come home to!

We gave Dennis, Suzanne, Don and Rhonda big hugs and said goodbye to them...enjoy the rest of your stay! Just a few more days for Don and Rhonda and a couple of months for Dennis and Suzanne. Thanks for your hospitality (and doing our laundry!)...so great seeing you all!

Then I grabbed a couple of big garbage bags and began the task of emptying the contents of the freezer and fridge...yuck! And scrubbing it inside and out! Not exactly something I had planned to do as soon as we got home!

While I did that, Steve tried to get it going again but it was a no go! Next it was trying to find a mobile repair company. He ended up finding a tech on-line that only works on RV fridges. Steve called him and he was able to come by at 12:30.

After looking at it, he determined that the cooling unit was shot...and it will cost $1195 US for a reconditioned replacement. More maintenance costs! Oh well, it is what it is! We leave for Estrella Mountain Regional Park tomorrow, our usual stop to visit friends, Alan and Cec, on our way out to Quartzsite. Looks like we will stay an extra night there...luckily the RV techs said they could come out there to repair it on Sunday.

The Hi Limit Module, normally Steve can reset it by placing a strong magnet behind the light...
With the insulation pulled way you can see the yellow powder indicating a refrigerant leak...

We unpacked our suitcases and after everything was put away, we drove into town for some coffee mate for Steve's morning coffee...and some peanut butter and bread for breakfast!

At 5:00 Dale and Chloe picked us up and we headed out for dinner...WooChi Super Buffet. Nothing like a good feast of Chinese food and oh my...we had that! (Forgot to take a pic) We wanted to take them out one last time to thank them for all their hospitality and left the choice of restaurants up to them. Excellent choice, guys! It was delicious! Of course, we totally oinked out!!


Thursday, December 27, 2018 (Back to Mesa, AZ)

After coffee in bed, showers and taking advantage of the free breakfast downstairs, we finished packing our suitcases and were ready to catch the 8:30 shuttle to the airport. It ended up being a good time to be at the airport...there was no wait at Air Canada to get our boarding passes and drop off our suitcases, security was a breeze (virtually no one there...that was a first), and we cleared US Customs...unique but nice that we won't have to do it once we get to Phoenix.

Goodbye Vancouver!


Mount Baker in Washington State...

It was cloudy most of the way to Phoenix...ready to land...
The plane touched down in Phoenix about 20 minutes early than scheduled but since we are seated at the back of the plane, it took forever to disembark. And to top it off, a number of other flights had just arrived as well so it took a long time for our suitcases to make it to the baggage carousel...frustrating because I knew my brother, Dennis was waiting out there in the holding lot to pick us up!

But finally we were out and found not only Dennis, but my other brother, Don in the car as we loaded our suitcases in the back. Another brother? you say...well I have 4 of them...Dwight in Victoria, Dennis in Mesa (right now...they actually live in Kelowna, BC), Don in Bowser Bay on Vancouver Island, and Doug who lives in Chilliwack, BC.

Don and Rhonda came down to spend Christmas with Dennis and Suzanne and happen to still there, so we get to have a visit with them as well...bonus!

We had a great evening...a few drinks before dinner...(Don, Rhonda, Dennis, Suzanne, me and Steve)
Followed by a delicious dinner..turkey lasagne, Caesar salad and garlic toast. Yum! 
Then we played a game called Spinner...we had a blast! 
So nice getting a chance for one last visit with my bros and sister-in-laws before we get back to our rig in Apache Junction!


Thursday, December 13 to Wednesday, December 26, 2018 (Coquitlam and North Saanich, BC)

This is going to be a long blog post...but I'll try to keep it as brief as possible!

Thursday, December 13 has finally arrived! The day we fly home to meet our newest grandson, Issac, and spend time with family and friends.

Suzanne was up early to cook us a delicious breakfast...and then we showered and packed our suitcases. We had some "summer" clothes that we didn't want to take with us...they will go into another bag we brought along. Suzanne even offered to launder them for us...now, that's service! Thanks Suz!

Dennis was keeping an eye on the traffic and it was fairly heavy on the way to the airport. So not wanting to take any chances, especially with the early Christmas travellers, we headed out just after 10:00. It ended up only taking us about a half hour, so we were early...but better early than late! Thanks Dennis and Suzanne for all your hospitality...see you in a couple of weeks!

The Westjet kiosks weren't working to print off our luggage tags, so we had to stand in line to see a customer service rep...then we had the usual rigmarole getting through security. With lots of time to spare, we found a restaurant/bar near our gate...Cowboy Ciao...and relaxed with a beer....
Our plane was about 10 minutes late leaving but we were soon on our way...taxiing over the road below...
 Bye Phoenix!
Sure looks a lot bigger from up here...
The Grand Canyon in the distance...
Lake Mead and the Colorado River near Vegas...
Hoover Dam and the new bridge...
Las Vegas strip...
Looks like a couple of volcano's...
We had a good flight with just a little turbulence as we neared Vancouver...no wonder as it was a miserable rainy evening on the BC coast.

Clearing Canadian Customs was a breeze...they now have kiosks where you scan your passport, answer the questions that used to done by paper on the plane before you landed. Unfortunately, there were a number of flights landing at the same time and we had to wait for our suitcases. I hate standing there watching all the luggage come down the conveyor belt and you're waiting and waiting for yours...afraid that it isn't going to come. But at last it did, and we finally got through into the arrivals area where Chris was waiting for us.

The traffic on the way to Chris and Angela's place was terrible...the fact that it was dark, raining and windy didn't help. In fact it was some of the rainiest weather on record! When we arrived, Angela had dinner waiting...and Isaac was sleeping. It was all I could do not to pick him up...but alas, after a delicious dinner, I finally got my chance...he's now 10 days old.

 Okay...you can hold him too...but only for a moment LOL! Isn't he just perfect?! 
Friday, still being on Arizona time, we were awake very early. So I went downstairs and put the coffee on. About 5:30 Chris came down with Isaac...he had had a rough night, and therefore so had mom and dad. Chris left him with me, I fed him a little formula to supplement what mom had already given him...while Chris and Angela went back to sleep.

Three hours later, Isaac was ready to be fed again, so Chris came down to get him. They also had a check-up appointment with the doctor and had to get ready.

Once they had gone, I finally decided I had better shower and get myself cleaned up. Steve had been working on picture editing all morning and had some ready for a blog. Yay...another blog update done!

I also received some very sad news today...Tucker, my walking buddy for a few summers, passed away. I was so saddened by this...I can't imagine how Sue and Doug felt loosing their furry son. He was such a beautiful (or should I say handsome) Golden Retriever with such a personality...Rest in peace Tucker...you will always make me smile when I think of  all the fun we had at both Tunkwa and Monck Provincial Parks.
Saturday (Dec. 15) morning Chris brought Isaac down to me just after 6:00 and I got to snuggle with him while his mom and dad went back to sleep for a few hours.


Our other son, Rob, and his family are coming over today from Vancouver Island to meet their new nephew and cousin. Rob, Angie, Conner and Bryce arrived around 11:30. They visited for awhile and then went to check into a nearby hotel.




Just after 2:00, Bev (Steve's cousin) and Rob arrived, followed shortly by Esther and Paul. Unfortunately, other family couldn't make it...but it was so nice to see those that could make it. Of course, they were all anxious to meet Isaac.
Paul, Esther and Bev holding Isaac...

Rob returned with the kids, leaving Angie to rest at the hotel...probably best as she is just getting over a cold. Uncle Rob holding his new nephew... 
Bryce and Conner opening Christmas presents from Uncle Chris and Auntie Zia (Angela)...
Bev and Rob...
Me, Paul, Esther, Bev, Chris, Rob, Angela and Rob...
Both cousins wanted a chance to "hold" baby Isaac...

After a lovely few hours catching up with Bev and Rob, and Esther and Paul, they all headed off. Great seeing you all..Merry Christmas!

Sunday (Dec. 16) I was up at 5:30...about a half hour later, Steve joined me downstairs. Chris didn't bring Isaac down until about 7:00...leaving him with us and going back to bed for a couple of hours.

Rob, Angie and the boys arrived just before 11:00...and picture time, of course! All the Colibaba boys...Grampa Steve with Conner in front of him, Chris holding Isaac, and Rob with Bryce...
Love this  picture! Angela and Chris holding Isaac...and Rob, Bryce, Angie and Conner (we're very proud of our sons and their families! xo)
Rob, Angie and the boys left just after 3:00 to catch the ferry back over to Vancouver Island. It was so nice having the whole family together! We'll see you in a few days!

Angela's parents invited us all over for Sunday dinner, so we all managed to pile into the car...Angela and I in the backseat along with Isaac in the baby car seat.

Bis Nonna (Great Grandma) holding Isaac and Marc (Angela's brother)... 
Dinner time! We always look forward to an Italian dinner and home made wine. Steve taking a group selfie...Steve, me, Amanda (Joe's fiance), Joe, Luigi, Nonna, Marc, Lucy holding Isaac, Angela and Chris...
And before we leave, a family picture...
Thanks for a wonderful dinner and evening, Lucy and Luigi! So wonderful seeing you all again!

Monday (Dec. 17)...this time change is really causing havoc on me. I was wide awake before 5:00 this morning! Hmmm...on the other hand, maybe I'm just excited about having my "Isaac" time LOL!

Chris brought him down just after 6:00. I gave him some formula and then he stayed awake for almost 2 hours! He seemed more alert and curious about his surroundings.

We had a pretty "chill" day today...doing a little of this, a little of that, a little TV...just enjoying time together.

Tuesday (Dec.18) saw our usual start to the day. I'm really going to miss my early mornings with Isaac...we've gotten into quite the routine of Chris bringing him downstairs after Ang has breastfed him; I then get to give him a small bottle of formula while Chris and Angela go back to sleep for a couple of hours.

I took care of a few odds and ends...booking a hotel near the Vancouver airport for December 26 when we come back from the island to fly back to Phoenix. I also purchased our travel medical insurance for the rest of our stay in the USA.

Angela cooked the best ribs for dinner...absolutely delicious! A great dinner!

Chris and Angela decided to sneak in a nap while Steve and I stayed with Isaac...at about 10:00 they came downstairs and it was time for us to head to bed!

We had our usual start to the day Wednesday (Dec. 19)...and then I put on a load of laundry and we packed our suitcases. Our time with Chris, Angela and Isaac has come to an end...we are heading over to Vancouver Island today.

We got one final picture of the new expanded family before leaving...
Chris drove us to the ferry...with plenty of time to spare for the 3:00 sailing. Thanks for all your hospitality, Chris and Angela! We are certainly going to miss baby Isaac...but they have promised to send lots of pictures! Looking forward to seeing you all again in April!

Rob picked us up at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal and, as usual, dropped us off at the airport to pick up a rental car. We have 2 days of appointments, so decided it would be more convenient to rent a car for Thursday and Friday.

When we arrived at the house, we had a wonderful greeting from Conner and Bryce! They were so excited to see us and give us our Christmas presents...we had to unwrap them as soon as we got in the house! Thanks for the beer and wine, little ones...you know your Gramma and Grampa so well...LOL! That saved us our normal trip to the liquor store on our arrival.

We spent a lovely evening sitting around the kitchen table....dinner and chatting with Rob and Angie...oh, and I think a little beer and wine was consumed!

Thursday (Dec. 20) and my first appointment...with my optometrist. I received the "full meal deal", taking over an hour and a half. The results...my eyesight has deteriorated significantly (which I knew), new contact lenses for distance only, I will need 'readers' for close-up (no more multi-focal lenses)...and a referral to an Ophthalmologist for a cataract consult when we return in the spring.

Steve had dropped me off and while I was in my appointment had driven into Victoria to pick up my prescriptions for my knee injections tomorrow...$730! Yikes...sure hope it works!

Once I was done, we met our good friends, Rob and Nancy, for coffee...and enjoyed a fabulous time catching up with them. (Forgot to take a pic.) Far too short, my friends...looking forward to being able to spend more time with you this spring!

It was a super windy day today and as we drove home, there was a lot of branches, trees and debris on the roads...

And as we turned into the driveway, a cluster of trees were down! We had to walk through the side yard keeping an eye out in case a tree came down on us...
 Looking back down the driveway (that's our rental car down there)...what a mess!
Once making it up to the house we also discovered the power was out. And it was still just howling out! It turned out to be a major wind storm that came across the island. I had an appointment for a haircut but cancelled it...I'm not going back out in that! At least I managed to change it until tomorrow.

Steve got a fire going in the wood stove...and when Angie and the boys got home, he went down the driveway to help them make their way up. Thankfully Angie had picked up pizza for dinner!

Rob arrived home in the dark after work...but we had been in touch with him. It was a pretty crazy drive home from Victoria for him...lots of trees and branches down! 

Friday (Dec. 21), not surprising, Rob decided to stay home...there is a huge mess to clean up! Good thing he has a chainsaw!

I had an appointment with my Orthopaedic Surgeon whom I've been going to for years for my knees. I discussed possible knee replacements down the road...that will be the very last resort, when the injections no longer work. I guess I'm lucky...at least I am still able to walk, but not pain free. After the injections, I finally got out of there after 11:00..an hour and a half after my appointment time.

I had a haircut appointment at 12:30 so decided to just go into Sidney, pick up a few groceries and have a coffee...and was back home just after 2:00.

While I had been away, Steve, Rob and the kids had been busy outside most of the day clearing the debris from the driveway and bucking up the trees on the driveway that had fallen. At least they will have lots of firewood for next winter!
Tree down over the septic field...
Another down in the lower yard...in total 7 trees down, but thankfully none near the house or any of the really big ones came down...
Bryce thinks it's a jungle gym...
The boys helping pick up branches while Grampa rakes the driveway...
Rob cutting away...
Conner stacking...
Bryce helping to unload the truck...at this age they still think this is fun!
Now, that looks better!
Still branches down behind the house though...
Steve took a walk to the subdivision behind us...they were really hit hard. There must have been a down burst of wind here...about a dozen trees were down in this one spot...
Hard to see but the Arbutus tree leaning over the road has power lines hanging from it...
Looks like the whole neighbourhood has to park here. The power pole behind the cars is leaning as is the one it's connected to that's further up the side street...
This guy is helping to clear the road...
The roots of a windfall...
A windfall has been cleaned up on our street. Rob and Angie's driveway is the next one up the road on the right...
That was a big cleanup but was only the driveway...Rob and the boys have much more to do around the yard...
Saturday (Dec. 22) Angie and I faced crowds in town to do some grocery shopping and then we got ready for the Christmas Party Rob and Angie are hosting.

Food being prepared...Angie, Conner, Bryce and Rob...
Folks started arriving just after 5:00...Jennie (Angie's friend), Mike (Steve's brother-in-law), Rob...
Jennie talking to Nadine (Steve's sister) and Amanda (Nadine's daughter)...Angie in the background...and Rob enjoying one of his delicious chicken wings...
Bryce and Conner playing with Jennie's 2 kids...
Steve with good friends, Nancy and Rob...
Me and Nancy...
Angie, Rob and Dwight (my brother)...
Vanessa (Dwight's daughter) with her son, Jordan...
Dwight holding his grandson, Jordan and Rob...
And a group picture!
Matt (Nadine/Mike's son), Angie holding Bryce, Rob holding Conner, Rob, me, Nadine, Steve, Vanessa holding Jordan, Dwight and Helen (Dwight's wife)....front row: Nancy, Mike and Amanda...
What a great time! So good seeing everyone! Thanks for a great party, Rob and Angie!

Sunday (Dec. 23) we all decided to get out for some fresh air and exercise. We took the trail behind the house that weaves through various subdivisions in the area. We went off the trail to check out this Christmas display. The owner of the property has been doing it for years...you should see it at night when it's all lit up! It also goes along the right hand side of his property. We met the owner and he said he has around 100 items on display and spent a lot of time chasing many of them around during the windstorm...

Then back on the trail...
 Conner and me...
Another windfall...
These are old ones...
The subdivision behind ours is still waiting to get some power restored. Ours was out for about 12 hours but theirs was out for days. BC Hydro said at one point over 330,000 BC residences were without power and this was the worst windstorm in decades. Crews from other provinces had to be called in as local crews were overwhelmed...
Bryce and Conner playing with one of their Christmas gifts that they were allowed to open early...air hockey!
I also did something that I've been wanting to do for a long time...pulled some old photo albums out of our storage box hidden away in the basement! It was wonderful reminiscing and Angie and the boys thought it was cool seeing pictures of Rob and Chris growing up. Sometime in the future we must pull all the old pictures out and have them scanned...but it really is nice looking at actual pictures!

Monday (Dec. 24) Rob left for work bright and early...I actually didn't even hear him leave. But it was a short day for him...getting home around 12:30.

Angie took the boys out, leaving Steve and I to just relax...and what does Steve do while relaxing? Edit pictures, of course! LOL We did go out for a walk...but it was very chilly out, so were only gone about 15 minutes or so.

Rob and I put the turkey in the brine that Rob had made yesterday...this is the first time we've tried this. Rob likes to experiment with various recipes when he has a chance...don't know where he got that from...wasn't me!

Angie and 2 very excited little boys got home late afternoon....time to commence Christmas Eve festivities! They opened one of the gifts from us...new Pyjamas...
I've never seen a little boy so excited about a pair of pyjamas...apparently Bryce loves dinosaurs and guess what was on the pj's I picked out for him...
 Steve, Conner, Angie and me playing 'Snakes and Ladders'...
 While Rob and Bryce played 'Connect Four'...
Our little cutie who loves to pose for pictures...
 Then it got busy in the kitchen! The boys helping mom bake some cookies...

Rob making Sambuca  Prawns...for the adults!
 Stand back kids! Rob is about to flambe the prawns...
 Flambe!
 Delicious!!!
And their annual Christmas Eve picture...
Kids in bed...shhhh...looks like Santa came!
Tuesday (Dec.25)....MERRY CHRISTMAS! The boys were up around 7:00 and so excited!
They had a wild time opening up all their gifts....


Our fearless crime fighter...
 A little reading before brunch...
Time to eat!
Steve and I borrowed Rob’s truck to visit the cemeteries and pay our respects to family no longer with us. While we did that,  Angie took the boys out to try their new scooters at the skate park...leaving Rob with some peace and quiet...and to get the turkey ready for the barbecue.

We got home around 1:00. Rob had just put the turkey on and I got busy making some other dishes....and Angie made Steve's favourite, butter tarts!

Dinner was a real group effort….and a lot of fun! We were all in the kitchen, drinking wine/beer, chatting and trying to co-ordinate everything to be ready at the same time.
Angie peeled potatoes and got them cooking, I put the stuffing and casserole in oven and Rob and Steve took care of the turkey...and then I made gravy.



Fabulous dinner! And the turkey was wonderful….we had never brined it before and the flavor was great and very moist.
Steve enjoying his butter tart with a splash of Bailey's on top!
And that was Christmas Day 2018....fabulous day!

Wednesday (Dec. 26) I was up extra early...just couldn't sleep so was up around 5:30! Sheesh! I quietly sat with my laptop, drinking coffee and working on a blog update until others started getting up.

After a delicious eggs benny breakfast (thank you, Angie!), we finished packing our suitcases. Yes, we leave today...taking the ferry back to Vancouver and flying out early tomorrow morning.

With big hugs, we said goodbye to Angie, Conner and Bryce and got into the truck. Rob dropped us off at the ferry terminal in time for the 11:00 sailing...thank you, Rob and Angie, for all your hospitality. We had a wonderful Christmas! See you all in April!

The ferries were very busy this Boxing Day as folks head home after spending Christmas day with family.

Ferry entering Active Pass from Tsawwassen (Vancouver)...
On its way to Swartz Bay (Victoria)...
Once on the mainland, we took a transit bus from the ferry terminal to Bridgeport Station, near the airport and then walked a few blocks to the Days Inn.

We spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling in the hotel...and then ordered pizza in for dinner. The end to our very fast 2 week visit home!