Interests in our 5th wheel

My very favourite interest is reading; I read almost anything I can get my hands on! I read at the laundromat, I read at the doctor’s office, I read at Canadian Tire waiting for my husband! At this very moment I probably have 20 unread novels in my part of our clothing cupboards which are not huge in a 5th wheel.  My best reading time is in the morning after my husband gets up, readies the coffee and brings me my first of 3 “in bed” cups of coffee.  I can go through a lot of pages on 3 cups of coffee.  I also read in the evening, since there’s never anything on TV.

Since I have been in Retirement Mode, I have taken on the domino game of Mexican Train with a bunch of my lady friends.  We play every Wednesday afternoon in Quartzsite and those games get pretty hot and heavy sometimes.  We eat, drink and are merry!  And I have learned several new words over the past few years.  Our husbands have learned never to plan anything which might interfere with Mexican Train.

I have taken classes in Iris Folding cards and Card Embroidery over the past few years.  I love doing the embroidered cards, such a nice way to spend an infrequent “all alone” afternoon.  I taught my 91 year old mother to make the Iris Folding cards and together we make and donate many cards to the Gift Shop at the hospital in Creston, British Columbia.  I have also put many cards into hospital sales and the like. It is very rewarding to make these cards and have so many people praise them.

The cards below are Iris Folding cards made by my mother; she does such beautiful work – we are so proud of her!

A couple of friends and I took a class in long pine needle basket weaving last winter; our instructor who is from New Hampshire is so talented.  Unfortunately, none of us is!  She keeps telling us that “your basket will tell you what it wants to be” and to a point that is true.  We start off with a resined piece of rock; Quartzsite is the capital of rock and rock products!  Each rock is a different shape and so each basket will start off in a different shape.  I can’t honestly say that mine have spoken to me, but they are taking shape.  I did find, over the summer, that it’s not too much fun doing it by myself, I much prefer to sit out under the awning and weave with at least one other friend. We live close together during the winter, but most of us go our separate ways from May to the end of October.

I also do online calendars of Quartzsite each year.  They have become very popular with all of our friends, this year I have sold 35 of them.  They are photo calendars, with many photos of our friends, our activities and all the fun that we have.  “As good as scrapbooks” is what people say and we all save them to keep our memories alive.  I am very proud of my calendars! The photo on the front of the 2015 calendar is our “front yard” on the desert in Quartzsite.

calendar
calendar
basket
basket

Finally, this winter, my friend, Cathy, and  I are laboriously learning to make a beaded wall hanging, which is supposed to look like this:

Our latest refrain is: “Beading, beading, beading/though our hands are bleeding/keep those needles beading, RawHide!!  We have so much fun beading and taking out so many of our rows, but….things are finally coming together!  And about time too! Our friend, Maggie, who is generously helping us, is very patient with 2 rank amateurs!

Quartzsite abounds with crafters – beaders, weavers, jewellers, and many varieties of artists.  It is such an interesting place to spend the winter.  If you can’t find what you want at one of the vendors, you probably don’t really need it!

 

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You Only Live Once/Retirement

I’m so glad we did what we did when we did it!

I recently viewed a blog called YOLO which stands for You Only Live Once; what a fascinating title and so true.

I have been thinking and thinking of how to explain this concept to our friends of retirement age; it seems so many of them think they can’t retire until they have amassed a great deal of money.  Then, it seems as though they almost reach the desired amount of dollars and then one or both discover they have some condition/disease that will prevent them from ever achieving their retirement goals.

Carpe diem! (Seize the day)  My new life’s motto!  We truly never know when our last day in this lifestyle will come and as each day passes, we realize how lucky we are that we are still capable of living it.

Many years back, when we used to talk about retiring, but really had no idea what retirement would be like, my husband wanted to sell everything, buy a huge motor home and travel all the time.  That thought horrified me!  I have to have a home base was my panicked thought.  So now we have a condo that is rented out since neither one of us wants to live there (yet, anyway), a post office box in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a Canadian phone number for six months of the year and a Canadian “hotspot” for internet over the summer months, and Canadian family and friends to visit!

We travel almost constantly, from the moment we cross the border back into Canada until we start feeling the sting of winter and gratefully cross back into the U.S. on our way to Arizona.  We have spent 7 years doing this and we can honestly say that “these 7 years are the best years of our lives – so far”.

Friends!


cropped-cropped-friends.jpgThis image has become the truth of our nomadic life.

 Over the past few years, both in Canada and in Arizona, we have met and become close friends with so many wonderful people.  We have friends from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, New York, Arkansas, Colorado, Utah, California and South Africa.

We met one couple on the desert who are from Alberta, and it turns out they lived 5 houses down from us in Calgary for 18 years and although we knew their children, we had never met them.  We are now traveling companions!

We met a couple from Vernon through a friend from Idaho; turns out the wife had gone all the way through school with Roy in a tiny town in southern Alberta and they hadn’t seen each other for 48 years! Neither recognized the other! Wonder why?

We have met a rocket scientist, a millionaire from Florida, a copper mine manager,  a real cowboy, many musicians, many truckers, some veterans, teachers, nurses, secretaries, bartenders, hair dressers – you name it, we know some friend who has done it.  Life has become so interesting with all of these lovely people to talk to.  My husband, Roy, has written a book on the history of the Root Family and he is really “into” recording the stories of our friends onto DVDs. People who think they’ve never done anything remotely interesting in their lives are surprised when other people are really interested in what they have done. He has done a story on a “real” cowboy, who led a life most of us can’t even imagine; also a story on an engineer from South Africa which sends chills down my spine!     It most certainly is “a small world after all!”

What is there to do in Quartzsite, Arizona?

We have been asked this question many times; our answer is always the same – we are so busy there, we hardly have time to think!  If you love music, there are jams every day, bands at the Yacht Club and Beer Belly’s – 2 of our very favourite haunts.

We are into country music, the more the better.  At the Yacht Club, a country/western bar, a great band called “Hot Country” plays every Friday and SaIMG_5731turday night, Sunday night too when it’s really busy in January/February.  There is karaoke there Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, under the competent direction of Donnie Miller, who also leads Hot Country.

When I first told my family I went to the Yacht Club in Quartzsite every weekend, they had visions of us all dressed up and doing ballroom dancing!  Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth.  We love our boys – Joe, LD and Donnie, and love wearing our cowboy boots and  jeans  to dance when they play! Millie McClatchy is a guest singer with Hot Country!  A wonderful lady of 84, who lives and breathes country music.

Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Donnie Miller
Donnie Miller
LD
LD
Millie McClatchy
Millie McClatchy

BEER BELLY’S is another of our favourite haunts; a fun-filled outdoor beer garden, close to Quartzsite’s famous RV Show held in January.  Chuck and Barb Oys are wonderful hosts and friends.  Carol is the world’s best bartender, so efficient, so friendly, with a great collection of funky hats and a collection of T shirts to complement them!  She also sings like an angel.

Joe Lonsdale and Duke Michaels are popular entertainers there; when they sing, the place is hopping!  During those lovely hot days of winter it’s wise to get there early or you’ll never find a seat!

Short Change Carole!
Short Change Carole!
Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Duke Michaels
Duke Michaels
our friends, Chuck and Barb Oys
our friends,
Chuck and Barb Oys

Moving Day!!

For 5 years we called a 30 foot Holiday Rambler 5th wheel home; it trailer outsidewas comfortable and well furnished – unfortunately it was “cramped quarters” for the 3 of us! In February 2013 we purchased a 1994 34 foot Travel Supreme 5th wheel – old but gorgeous!  We now have a desk, a roomy bathroom and a beautiful china cabinet/entertainment centre!  At last we’re not tripping over each other or the dog!

We live on the desert in Quartzsite, Arizona for 6 months of the year and back in Canada for the other 6 months. Our home base is the Calgary area in Alberta; our doctors are here, our mailbox is here and we have a daughter and Coffee on the Desertgranddaughters here. We spend the summer in British Columbia where we have a son, his family and many “snowbird” friends.

Life on the desert is awesome!  no sand, no dunes, just lots and lots of gravel, bush, and sunshine!!  We stay in the BLM Long Term section, only $180 for 6 months – water, garbage disposal and sewer dump included!  Such a deal!  We are within the town limits and close to many of the vendors for which Quartzsite is famous!

We are in a group of 8 units on the desert, some Canadian, some American.  A better group of friends you just couldn’t find!

A "Friends" flag; a gift from some Colorado friends!
A “Friends” flag; a gift from some Colorado friends!