August 2016
Hot and steamy!   That was the weather in Ohio at the first of August.  The area had seen very little rain during our visit, but the humidity was still quite high.  Yuk!  But, we made
good use of our time during the first week of the month as we were preparing to head west once again.  The camera didn't seem to come out much, but we enjoyed visits with
Tom's sister and brother-in-law, Ron and Judy, Mary's brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Beth, and good friends Kathy and Dennie and their son and daughter-in-law and grandkids
from Iowa.

We made a "tourist visit" to the Toledo Firefighter's Museum...something we'd been meaning to do for several years.  Housed in an old fire station and staffed by volunteers, the
museum is full of memorabilia that we found very interesting.  We learned a lot about our home-town and the fire department that we'd never known!!!   Well worth the visit!!!
We celebrated Tom's birthday with one last pizza and domino night at Kathy and Dennie's and the next morning we moved out of our place at the Extended Stay America in Toledo
and began our journey west.  First stop was at Mary's mother's in Jackson, MI.  We had arranged a "mini-family reunion" and were joined by Mary's brother and sister-in-law as well
as our son and daughter-in-law and baby Evelyn.  We shared a tasty meal at a local restaurant and a visit at Mom's place afterward.  Great-grandma and Evelyn had some good times
together, especially.

From Jackson, we continued west to Kalamazoo to spend a few days with Reid, Kathleen and Evelyn.  They're pretty well settled in their new house.  We ventured out for another
birthday dinner and delighted in our moments with Evelyn during our stay.  She is growing and changing so fast!!!!  When the family headed up north for the weekend, we made a
last trip to Mom's in Jackson for a day and then continued our trip west ( and a little south, as well.)
Driving through Arkansas on a rainy afternoon, this time in the car rather than the RV, we made a last minute decision to make a call to former Palm Creek neighbors, Connie and
Dennis.  Connie told us she'd had a pot of soup simmering on the stove all day and to "come on down."  We found our way from the freeway to their home in Hot Springs Village and
had a wonderful visit.  "The Village" is a beautiful place hiding in the mountains and forests and their home is lovely.  We had a great visit that made us realize how much we miss
them in Arizona.
Next stop was Leander, Texas.  Ann, Matt and our three granddaughters are pretty well settled in their new home as well.  Lots of projects had been completed since we stopped
there in June.  While there for several days we took the opportunity to drive down to New Braunfels and check on the Dutch Star.  It's still sitting in the lot at PPL Motorhomes
awaiting its next owner, but hopefully soon someone will come along and begin its "next chapter."  On the way back to Leander we stopped in San Marcos for a short visit with
grand-daughter #1, Coffey.  She and #2, Close Ann, had returned from their summer in Europe the week before and Coffey repacked and two days later was off to campus to begin
her job as a "resident advisor" in her dorm at Texas State.  We had a little more time to visit with Close Ann and she was able to show us some of her photos of the trip and share
some of their adventures.  She had another two weeks before she had to report to campus.  Merrick was also getting ready for her school year in a brand new high school near
their new home.  We weren't able to see the inside of the school, but its "state of the art" and each of the freshmen and sophomores (the only students this year) will be given a
laptop to help with their schoolwork.
After our fun visit in Leander we made the looooong drive across Texas to New Mexico.  In Las Cruces we had another fabulous visit with Mary's cousins Geoff and Bethann.  Geoff
has been working diligently on family genealogy which led us into some wonderful sharing of family stories, memories and a few new discoveries.  We made a trip to the downtown
Farmer's Market and had some tasty meals before our departure.
Finally, on August 21, we made our return to Palm Creek.  We'd had rain most of the previous week, so the sunshine was welcome.  Casa Grande was even having a bit of a "cool
spell" with temperatures in the 90's rather than 100's....but by the end of the month we were back to 105*  We were very pleased to find that there were no problems with our new
house....not even a heavy layer of dust inside.  But we got our car unloaded just in time to experience one of Arizona's "haboobs".  Fortunately, it was a small and quick one.  We
checked in with our friends Marilou and Harry and Ranger Bob who had spent the whole summer here.  And then we began the "fun" of organizing, trying to remember where we
put things when we moved in, and beginning to furnish the house.  It took us a few days to get back on the 'Arizona schedule' of getting up early in the morning to get chores
completed while its still fairly cool.  Our first round of pre-7am golf showed us how much practice we need to get back into shape!  We attended a lunch at the clubhouse where
we re-connected with some friends.   Some new neighbors moved in down the street, so we're not alone on the block any longer.  Mary and the new neighbor had a fun night at
card bingo where they enjoyed the company of more residents.  We don't see too many people outside during the day around here.
It's good to be "home" and we're looking forward to the return of
the many winter residents here in the park.  We still have some work to do
to get the house "in shape" and that will be something to
work on as the winter approaches.
We didn't slide down the pole, but it was there to
see, along with lots of interesting memorabilia at the
old TFD station #18, now a museum.
Reid, Evelyn (and Kathleen, too) surprised Great-Grandma
by joining us for lunch.
Later, Evelyn read a book with her Great-Grandma.  
They are both avid readers!
Grandpa and Evelyn shared breakfast.
Evelyn also enjoys songs.
There was great food, conversation and some good
laughs with Connie and Dennis.
Along with several blocks of booths offering all sorts of food, art
and other things, we visited the Branigan Cultural Center and the
Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Las Cruces.
TV weather reports give us a picture of  what's coming.
It was a "mild" storm this time.  The haze is all dust and sand.  The
mountains are invisible.
We had a choice of sandwiches, coleslaw, chips and pie and ice
cream for desert at the August lunch in the ballroom.
We had a chance to visit with friends we hadn't
seen in a couple months.
Thanks to our friend Sue Helpler
for the 4 photos above.
The bees found a few last cactus blossoms
Mary found a rainbow - but no pot of gold - on one of her early
morning walks in the park after a rare rain.
The players were all set and ready for an evening of "card bingo" on our first Saturday night back in the park.
(photo by Sue Hepler)
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