You are currently viewing archive for March 2013

2013/03/31: Happy Easter

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Since we've been home we've completely unloaded the trailer, unloaded the truck including the tool box and managed to find homes for all the things we've unload ... and I already don't know where some of the items are. Guess I'll find them some day. I've also made a trip to Burlington, sorted through four months of mail and have started working on income tax.

The pile of snow has been melting and the grass is now visible in spots. I'm actually not minding the cold weather as it's keeping me in doors (except for walking Zaph) and focused on some projects I've been working on.

This fall our neighbours became grandparents for the first time. Dustin was born in late October so we didn't get a chance to meet him before we went south. Dustin (with his parents) is up visiting his grandma and grandpa. Grandpa and dad brought Dustin over for a visit.

I'm not sure if Dustin is reaching for Zaph or for Zaph's toy.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
First task this morning was to winterize the trailer. This involved dumping all the tanks, including the fresh water tank, emptying the hot water heater, blowing the lines and putting RV antifreeze down the drains. By 10am we were on the road heading home. The border crossing was probably the fastest one we've ever experienced ... only one vehicle in front of us and after three questions we were waved on through.

Once we were across the border and heading north again we started seeing more snow on the ground. Just past Exeter snow had drifted onto the southbound lane. Luckily snow only drifted onto the northbound lanes a couple of times. By 5:30pm we were backed into the driveway, staring at the huge pile of snow on the side of the driveway and chatting with one of the neighbours. It's good to be home.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
The snow was flying at the RV park this morning. By the time we left there was a light coating of snow on the truck and the sun was shining.


Camp Lakewood RV park is a pretty park and just minutes off the highway. Great place to stop if you're driving through Effingham Illinois.

Happily, another good travel day. Todays drive is the shortest of the four days but we loose an hour as we cross into Eastern Daylight Time so it works out that we arrive at Fireside Resort RV park in Auburn Indiana mid afternoon. This park is just off Highway 69, so again it is very convenient. Not as pretty as Camp Lakewood but perfect for winterizing the trailer.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
There were about six RVs and a number of tractor trailers parked along with us at the Forrest City Walmart this morning. I always find it interesting to see the different units that overnight at Walmarts.

The weather was pretty good today, mostly sun, some cloud, a minute or two of rain and a couple of snowflakes. The traffic also co-operated, not too heavy even in the construction zones.

A "it's a small world" thing happened today. We stopped at a rest area and got out of the truck to walk around when a couple from another truck called out hello to Ed. Turned out we knew the couple from Oleander Acres in Mission Texas. The other couple is on their way home to Michigan.

Tonights stop is at Camp Lakewood RV park in Effingham, Illinois. Given the below freezing temperatures we're happy to be in an RV park with electricity to run the electric heaters and the electric blanket.

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I'm sitting in the trailer in a Walmart parking lot in Forrest City, Arkansas. Mileage wise today is the longest day of travel .... also the drive through Tyler makes the first two hundred kilometers feel longer. Late this afternoon I was extra happy that we were heading east and not west. Before we even got onto highway 40 in Little Rock, Arkansas there were signs about highway construction and major slowdowns. We continued onto highway 40 as we didn't have an alternative. Sure enough about 30 miles down the road the traffic slowed to a crawl then stopped. Took about 20 minutes of crawling and stopping for the traffic to merge into one lane, then we continued on our way though a bit slower than the posted speed limit. When the east bound traffic was busy merging we noticed that there was no west bound traffic on the highway --- it was all coming down the on ramp. Three quarters of the way through the construction we saw paving repairs being made in the west bound lane --- the reason for the detour. As we continued east we watched the backed up west bound traffic --- about 20 kilometers of it.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
My sister, Carol and I share the same birthday but we're not twins. She's six years older than I am. As our weekend visit was so close to our birthdays, Ed and I extended our stay by a day so Carol and I could celebrate together.

I had a great day. First a little shopping, Ed bought a few things but I didn't find anything I needed or wanted. Next a little jumping at my sisters. A great niece and a great nephew were on the trampoline when we arrived so I decided to join them.

It's not as easy as it looks, but it is a lot of fun. I managed to bounce on my knees and back to my feet and after numerous attempts I could bounce to my butt and back to my feet.

Think I was trying to grab my knees. Thought I might feel the effects in my legs and knees but no it was my shoulders that got stiff with a couple of hours.

We even talked Ed into trying a few jumps.

Timmy (my great nephew) was a little confused about when the actual birthdays were as we had birthday cake and sang happy birthday to Carol on Saturday when niece Kim and her family were visiting, had pineapple cake and sang happy birthday to me on Sunday as we were eating out on our actual birthdays. Timmy was happy when Monday arrived and he could give us our presents. Timmy's dad took him to the store and turned Timmy loose at the "girl cards" where Timmy chose Carol and I beautiful birthday cards. Timmy also chose our birthday presents --- a sticker book for Carol and a puzzle book for me.

Sarah, my great niece, also bought us nice birthday gifts. One of my gifts was a stuffed hamburger ... guess who claimed that.

Carol, my nephew Tim, Timmy, Sarah, Ed and I went out for lunch ... I don't cook on my birthday and I didn't think my sister should either. Panera Bread was the restaurant of choice. We wanted a lightish lunch as we're also going out for dinner.

After lunch, the dogs convinced us they needed to go for a walk.

The kids were good with the dogs and the dogs mostly listened to them.

The geckos are plentiful in east Texas. Saw at least a half a dozen geckos in my sister's yard.

Ed watched these two for quite a while. Not sure if they were fighting over the fence, a larger territory or something else.

Ed and I needed to take Zaph back to the trailer before going out to dinner.

We ended up with a couple of stow-a-ways. Timmy wasn't so sure about sitting beside Zaph in the truck but he wanted a ride in the truck bad enough that he stayed. Think Timmy enjoyed Zaph's company in the end as he used Zaph as an arm rest. Sarah was thrilled to have Zaph's head resting in her lap.

Dinner was at Coyote Sam's where my nephew Terrance (Ted) works. Terrance was working the bar but he served our table as well. If you're ever in Tyler Texas stop by Coyote Sam's for some great food.

Think I have to chalk this up as a great birthday.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Several old war birds flew into Tyler airport and air museum for the weekend. Thought it would be something interesting to check out.

Timmy is good at hamming it up for the camera .... guess when your dad is a photographer you get use to having your picture taken. This is one of Tim's photos.

While I was looking at the model airplanes one of the museum docents asked me if I wanted to hear an interesting story about them. Of course I said yes. Apparently, shortly after the US entered WWII blocks of wood were given to boys and they were asked to carve models of the fighter airplanes. The models were then used to train the pilots to identify friendly and unfriendly planes so they would know which ones to shoot at when they were flying. If you think about it, WWII was the first war where airplanes were heavily used and new planes were being introduced quickly. Electronics was in it's infancy so identification had to be by sight.

This display brought back fashion memories .... some of them not so good.

This is a B-17 Flying Fortress. The fellow in the front on the right flew in this plane. He says it looks exactly the same as when he stepped out of it.

The plane was opened up so you could walk through it. Darryl found some places a tight fit ... actually so did I. The men who flew these planes worked in very small quarters.

The B-24J Liberator also allowed people to walk through it. That's Tim inside aiming the gun at his mother.

Sarah and Timmy giving the gun a try.

The Messerschmitt Me 262, the first jet fighter. This is one of three replicas that are still flying. The Messerschmitt could have changed the war for the Germans, but it was too little too late. The allied forces managed to grind maintenance and production to a halt with continued bombing runs. There are no original Me 262s are left flying.

You could buy rides on this Huey.

Some of the planes always on display at the museum.

Zaph relaxing at Carol's home.

2013/03/16: Family Time

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
When we surfed the Internet in Arizona we found three brands of trailers that met our criteria for a new trailer. Two of the brands we were able to see when we were in Apache Junction, the third brand was at an RV dealer in Tyler. This morning we ran a few errands and went to check out trailer. This afternoon we went back to my sisters to visit. Kim, Sabeel and kids, Tim and Timmy and of course Darryl and Carol were there. Ted was at work and Sarah arrived back from Girl Scout camp in the evening.

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Ed brought his camera to show Tim as Tim is a photographer. Tim took a number of shots of the Omar and Timmy on the trampoline.

Carol and I both have birthdays on Monday. Kim's husband Sabeel starts a new job in Oklahoma on Monday so today was their only chance to visit. Kim and family gave each of us wind chimes and a mug. Thanks Kim and Sabeel, love the wind chime and mug.

I offered to bring desert and Tim suggested a store called "Fresh" which is a prototype for a new store format for the Brookshire chain of grocery stores. We didn't spend a lot of time in the store but it definitely looked interesting .... huge meat and seafood counter, lots of fresh vegetables and a wonderful looking bakery. Ed and I opted for a chocolate birthday cake with Happy Birthday Carol written on it. When I put the candles on the cake I first put my age then realize I needed a bigger number!

Darryl, Kim, baby Sobia, Sofie, Sabeel, Omar, Carol and in the back row, me, Timmy and Ed. Tim doesn't like to be in photos so he took the picture.

Since we only see the gang once or twice a year we do family photos. Heres Ed, Timmy, me, Sobia (yup I'm holding a baby), Omar and Sofie.

Omar and Timmy are cousins and best buddies.

Kim, Sofie, Sobia and Sabeel.

Sarah arrived back from Girl Guide camp after supper so we needed to take a few more photos. Timmy was happy to have his picture taken after we told him he could make funny faces but Omar was there under protest. Kim has happily holding Sobia and Sofie.

2013/03/15: Flint and Visting

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Another beautiful morning. A really nice feature with I-35 RV park is the free breakfast. The buffet breakfast included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, cereal, toast, juice and coffee. What a nice treat.

Todays drive was relatively short --- about three hours. No detour, good roads and light traffic ... Ed couldn't ask for anything more. We've stayed at the AOK RV park in Flint a number of times now. It's the nearest RV park to my sister's house in Tyler.

In the afternoon Ed went in search of a badly needed haircut and I did a couple of loads of laundry and a quick cleaning of the trailer. About five o'clock Darryl, Carol, Tim, Timmy and Ted arrived to pick us up for dinner. (Sarah had been dropped off to go to another Girl Guide overnight camp.) We had a good dinner and a nice visit.

2013/03/14: Whacko in Waco

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today's drive was a little longer than expected. About 10 minutes into the drive we were to turn left and Ed said "now what" ... there was a "road closed" sign across the road we were turning onto. It looked like a lane was open but as we didn't see any traffic on the road we decided we didn't want to take the chance of the road being actually closed a couple of miles down the road. Thank goodness for GPSs and mapping programs. As Ed continued driving straight I found us a new route. A little longer but it got us to Waco. The scenery was nice and the traffic light so all was good.

We were driving thru a small town when this building caught my attention. The building is a court house with an eagle on the roof..

Tonight's stop is in Waco Texas at the I-35 RV park just off, you guessed correctly, highway 35 just north of Waco. A new bridge is being built about a mile south of the park and the construction makes it a little challenging to get to the park. During check in, Ed was told about Evie, the official greeter, and Buba, homeland security. They weren't visible when we came in but were expected shortly.

That's Evie between Zaph and myself. Apparently, Evie, a great dane, still has a bit of growing to do. Zaph was a bit intimidated by her but soon was ready to play.

Buba likes to survey the park from the back of the golf cart. He's been bitten by a couple of small dogs so he doesn't leave the safety of his golf cart very often.

The park was larger than I expected plus it had a number of amenities that I didn't expect --- a golf driving range, trails, games room, cafe and a ....

pet wash. Zaph was happy to visit this platform as he doesn't read. Baths are not his favorite thing.

During our walk around the park I heard the definite clucking of hens .... thinking there was a pen with some chickens in it I was surprised when we came around the corner and saw free range chickens in front of us. Luckily Zaph didn't react. This pond seemed to be home to several ducks.

2013/03/13: San Angelo

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Left the main highways today and drove on secondary highways. We drove past a lot of wells today, initially thought they might have been oil wells but after we drove past a building with a sign about gas wells I'm wondering if the wells we saw were actually for gas. Given Texas speed limits, even on secondary highways, are higher than the speed Ed likes to drive it doesn't effect our driving time by much.

Just after noon we arrived at the KOA in San Angelo. San Angelo is a larger city than we were expecting. My original plan had been to stay here for two nights so we could explore but slowing our pace won't allow for it. Maybe another we'll pass through and explore the "river walk". In San Angelo there is a large reservoir and a lake with a river joining them. The area is mostly flat with a few buttes (small mountains).

We needed to pick up a few groceries so while we were out we stopped at this park on the lake near the RV park. Zaph couldn't understand how a stick in the ground could stop him from swimming.

There were people enjoying the small beach but no one seemed to want to go in the water.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Only 375 km today, which was good as we had a bit of a late start. Very pleasant drive with one low mountain pass and no cities. Only slow down was caused by a border patrol stop. As we hadn't decided on the rv park when we left this morning, I pulled out the mobile broadband modem and connected to the Internet --- isn't technology wonderful. After reading several rv park reviews we chose Fort Stockton RV park.



It's a very comfortable park. Even though a lot of people have stopped here for the night it doesn't feel crowded. As an added bonus the park has a restaurant, which has a very reasonably priced menu. Ed and I both had country style ribs, homemade mashed potatoes, green beans and ice cream... yum.

2013/03/11: El Paso bound

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Up early once again and after saying good-bye to John, Carol and Caity we were on the road.

Ed has decided to try something new. Instead of spending a full day driving and getting exhausted and grumpy, he's decided to try driving less than 500 km a day so he can quit by mid afternoon. West Texas doesn't have a lot of towns and thus not a lot of RV parks so he's actually getting to drive less than 400 km a day except for today. Today's drive was 515 km so we could get through El Paso. Worth the push except El Paso was busier than Ed remembered. On top of that the cloverleaf exit that we took the last time we visited the rv park was changed causing us to miss the turn for the RV park. Luckily, we were able to make a u-turn a few miles up the road and backtrack to Mission RV park. When we chatted with the fellow that checked us in, he explained the new directions for coming in and leaving. Learned a valuable lesson today ---- recheck directions to RV parks -- don't assume you know them.
Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Caity turned three today. No big party for her this year, just her buddy Zaph to help her celebrate.

Zaph wouldn't carry the bag with the presents in it, but as soon as I put it on the ground he started tearing at, but Cait was quicker

she got her mouth on the ball and took off with the ball still in the bag.

Zaph had a turn carrying the balls.

Happily, Caity got the balls back. After this photo Caity's mom took the balls and removed them from the cardboard and gave one ball to each dog. Not as much fun, but less arguments.

Caity also got an indoor toy.

Once again we out did ourselves with a wonderful dinner. John made a Parmesan glazed chicken which we had with rice pilaf, salad and fresh asparagus. Yum.

Ed got a great photo of Cait showing off your new haircut.

2013/03/09: Tucson

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Still cool today but the rain has stopped (or at least mostly) and the wind has died down. We were up early and on the road by 7:40am .... pretty amazing for Ed. It felt a bit like home to pull into the Pima Fairgrounds RV park. Definitely a place we would stop again. Zaph and Caity were happy to see each other. John and Carol came to Tucson from Cottonwood while Ed and I opted to stop in Apache Junction for a few days.

Currently, there is a horse show and an RV show at the fairgrounds. We took the dogs and walked around the RV show stopping for a free burger. I'm amazed at the size of some of these fifth wheels and motor homes. There are more large ones than small ones so people must be buying them. Ed and I can't imagine pulling long fifth wheels. Also spent a few minutes watching the horses jump.

2013/03/08: Winter Storm

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Ended up running a few errands yesterday and not much else as the cold is still winning. Hopefully, I be better soon.

A winter storm hit the Phoenix area today. The plan had been to get up early and be on the road by 7:30am in hopes to beat the storm ... unfortunately the storm didn't read the weather forecast and arrived a couple of hours early. As we didn't need to be in Tucson today, we decided to stay put for another day.

Apache Junction got just under an inch of rain and some high winds, other areas around Phoenix received larger quantities of rain as well as hail and graupel. Tucson avoided precipitation but had 25 to 35 mph winds.

The Budget RV Park in Apache Junction is a really nice simple RV park.

We could see the Superstition Mountains from the rv park.

The on ramp near the park had a family of quails while the ramp at the next exit had a Roadrunner.

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Happy saguaros, think they must get watered occasionally.

This yard is almost a saguaro forest.

2013/03/06: Moving On

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Monday ended up being a day of rest as one person in each trailer was ill and didn't feel up to sight seeing. We all did rally sufficiently to go out for a "last dinner". Jim and Esther are staying in Sedona for another couple of weeks, John and Carol are headed to Tucson for a few days before starting the trek home and Ed and I are off to see Apache Junction before starting our trek home.

Tuesday was moving day. Didn't manage much more than moving as the cold is still winning.

Today even though the cold is still winning I went with Ed to check out a couple of RV dealers that carry the brands of trailer we're interested in. All this thinking hurts my brain.

2013/03/03: Scenic Drive

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
I've been fighting a cold for a few days and finally declared defeat ... the cold has won. Today I would stay home and keep Zaph and Caity company. Jim has also succumbed to the cold so he and Esther also opted to forgo the scenic drive. That left Ed, John and Carol to see the "scenic drives".

It was cloudy today so not the best day for photos but I think Ed still managed to get some pretty good ones.

I think this is Cathedral Rock.

Midgley Bridge.

The road winding up the mountain on Oak Creek Canyon Drive.

At the scenic overlook at the top of the mountain.



2013/03/02: Jerome

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Jerome was built in the late 19th century on Cleopatra Hill, overlooking the Verde Valley, more than 5,000 feet above sea level. Supported in its heyday by rich copper mines, it was home to more than 10,000 people in the 1920s. As of the 2010 census, its population was 444. Today it is an artist community.

Looking up at the town of Jerome.

From the main street in Jerome looking across the valley.


In the 1930s a dynamite blast combined with general shifting caused parts of the town to crack or slide. One particularly powerful blast caused a whole block to slide to the next level, and the "sliding jail" came to a rest a block from its original location. Most of the buildings were dismantled but the jail was left where it landed.

A street in Jerome.

When we finished our tour of Jerome we drove further up the mountain to over 7000 feet. Here we found snow.

Where there's snow there's snow ball fights. Esther and I had Carol in our sights.

We thought we'd drive up into one of the Recreation Areas and were stopped when we found this snow covered road.

What is that? .... just some old pipes. Carol and I were checking out the mountain across the way.

Looking down the mountain.

2013/03/01: National Monuments

Category: General
Posted by: The Agnew Family
Today we visited two national monuments and one national forest site. The first site was Montezuma's Castle National Monument. The site was incorrectly named for the Aztec emperor Montezuma as he had nothing to do with the Indians in this area and in fact had not been born when this site was built. The cliff dwellings were built by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people and was occupied from approximately 1125-1400 AD.

There are two dwelling sites here. The larger one has crumbled over time with only a few walls remaining. This one was found fairly intact over 60 years and with some maintenance remains in good shape.

A close up view.

The second stop was Montezuma's Well National Monument. Again Montezuma had nothing to do with the well. Formed long ago by the collapse of a limestone cavern, over 1.5 million gallons of water a day flows continuously into the Well. The constant supply of warm, 74 degree water was the life-blood of the people who made their home here. The water enters a "swallet" and flows through over a hundred feet of limestone before re-emerging from the outlet into an irrigation ditch on the other side.

The well.

Down by the water looking up at the cliff. There are cliff dwellings here as well as a cave by the water's edge.

Zaph and Cait relaxing.

This woman enjoys playing her flute by the well. Ed and John spoke to her and found out she is an East Indian and makes her home in Penetanguishene Ontario --- not too far from us.

Last stop was the V Bar B Heritage Site. Acquired by the Coconino National Forest in 1994, the site is protected and kept open to the visiting public. The volunteer on duty at the site was very informative and answered all of our questions.

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There are at least two distinct periods of petroglyphs at this site. The photo on the left shows petroglyphs from at least 1000 years ago as desert varnish covers the carving. The photo on the right is of petroglyphs made between AD 1150 and 1400 as the carved area is free of desert varnish. Desert varnish is created by manganese-oxidizing microbes and takes about 1000 years to cover the rock, at least according to the volunteer.

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Having fun with mom's hat.