Thursday, October 10, 2019

RV for Sale (not ours) and a Day at the MIM

Yesterday was our 37th wedding anniversary so we wanted to do something to celebrate. As many years as we've been coming to Fountain Hills, other than to attend a concert we haven't visited the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix, about 20 miles from here. 

Over 7,000 instruments from 200 countries are displayed, and you get to listen to various instruments and music on headphones that are given out when you purchase a ticket ($20).

We got lucky as it was a quiet day at the museum. I read it can be a zoo when busloads of kids on field trips are there.

There were some very unique instruments on display.

Woodstock exhibit

Elvis memorabilia

Portion of the Italy exhibit

There are many rooms and galleries, so for over two hours we toured the downstairs and part of the US/Canada room upstairs. We took a break to head out for lunch at Mellow Mushroom Pizza, just a mile from the museum, and wandered around the High Street area after eating. We then returned to the museum to check out the rooms of the rest of the world. We got a bit bogged down with the Asian, African, and Middle East sections. By that point all the music was beginning to sound alike, and not at all pleasing to our ears, so we called it a day. It's a very impressive museum and worth the price of admission. To really appreciate it all would require multiple visits but we enjoyed what we saw and heard. It was fun to do something different for a change.

If anyone reading this is in the market or might know of someone interested, our friends Alex and Ellen are transitioning from a class A to a 5th wheel and are selling their motorhome. It's a very classy and well cared for 2003 42' Monaco Dynasty that is rigged out for serious boondocking, with a lot of extras and upgrades.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Last of ABQ and the Beginning of our New Life in Fountain Hills

Our new home, within walking distance of almost everything town has to offer.

Yes, we are alive and well and settling into our apartment in Fountain Hills, AZ. I've been meaning to do a blog post but it's been a busy time and there isn't really a lot to tell. I decided to write this because I followed a lot of full-time RV blogs over the 10.5 years we were on the road, and I was always struck by how most people just dropped out of the blogging world after they moved out of their RV. Now I fully understand, since most of what we've been doing is not really blogworthy, but I was always curious about how they made the transition since I knew we would be doing the same one day, so here is the short version of our past couple months, in case anyone is interested.

But first, a few more photos from our house/catsitting gig in Albuquerque. We loved the location of the Sandia Heights neighborhood we were in but didn't get a warm fuzzy feeling about Albuquerque in general. It was still a good three months living in a lovely house, with tolerable temperatures, and very sweet cats.

We miss Luke and Keira. They were both such fun to have around.

On some of the days when temps got near 100 we were happy to drive less than an hour up to 10,000' Sandia Crest for a cooler hike.

Very scenic views from our last hike on the Crest trail

New restaurant "Ten 3" that opened a couple days after we left

Our first housesitting experience was a good one, and it's something we will most likely do again in the future if we can find one in the right location.

Waiting for us next to the garage when we pulled up one day.

We left Albuquerque on August 16th just after the homeowners returned from Italy. They kindly invited us to stay another night but we were anxious to move on and get settled in our new apartment, despite the fact that it was still triple digit heat in AZ. We spent a night in Show Low,  a fun evening of margaritas and dinner with some Jojoba Hills friends on our way to Fountain Hills. 

Unlike some fulltime RVers, when we left Pensacola in October 2008 we didn't keep anything that would not fit into the car or Lazy Daze, so furnishing an empty apartment was a daunting task. Since our friends Terry and LuAnn were already living in the apartment next to ours, they got our key so we could have a few things delivered before we got there. We were so glad we did that since at least we had a reclining loveseat and mattress and were able to spend the first night there in relative comfort. The following day we went to the Lazy Daze and grabbed a few things from the kitchen, then began the long process of shopping for everything else. If anyone is in the market for a mattress, so far we are very happy with the soft hybrid one we ordered from Amore.

Besides hours spent in furniture stores, we also did a lot of internet shopping, mainly on Amazon. Of course, that meant assembling everything since things came boxed. We got pretty lucky and most of what we ordered was not too difficult to put together, except for some patio furniture we bought locally, which we returned in mid-assembly due to missing parts and various other issues.

Below is the anatomy of a dining table and chairs. It wasn't the easiest to put together due to the number of pieces, and the seat frame of one of the chairs was cracked. Amazon's offer was to return it (they would send someone out to pick it up and we would not have to box it back up), or they would pay to have it repaired if possible. I really liked it and they would not have a replacement for a few weeks, so Jim found a local handyman who came out and fixed it in a day for $25 and Amazon gave us a credit. They got off easy.

Here are some recent photos of the apartment which is now mostly furnished. The rest are things we can live without for now.

The bedroom is still a work in progress

Went from barely 12 inches of counter space in the RV to now over 12 feet but I'm not complaining.

Decided to go with "only" a 55" TV since the living room is not that big. It seems huge!

Our balcony, which has been getting more use now that the mornings and evenings are cooler. Fearless Kitty Rescue is the building with the red awning on the right just across from us.
We have a little view of the lake and fountain when it's going off.

We also have a front row seat for events along the Avenue. This was the high school homecoming parade. Next up is Halloween in the Hills, which might be more entertaining.

So other than working on furnishing the apartment, we've been walking early in the mornings when it's cooler, working out at the gym, volunteering at least a few times a week at Fearless Kitty Rescue, and Jim getting some minor medical issues taken care of. We're enjoying living here so far. It's great having Terry and LuAnn next door, and Alex and Ellen showed up early at the nearby RV park a few weeks ago, so with friends around it feels like home here already. 

There are many sculptures around town.

The community center and library are just a couple blocks away.

Very nice library. We haven't been to the museum yet.

Great views from the Lake Overlook trail.

Monsoons were sparse this summer so the desert is quite brown.

Unlike the park around the lake that gets watered with reclaimed water.

Some of the locals out strolling down the street one morning,

In case you were worried, yes we have cat photos.

Beautiful Sibbi got adopted despite having some stomach issues.

New Mexico kittens. The shelter in Las Cruces was out of space so Fearless Kitty took some. Pictured are Taos (on the floor), Santa Fe (black and white), Soccoro and Belen. There were 5 but Las Cruces got adopted.

Jim is holding Chris, who has been adopted twice and returned, not due to anything he did. It shouldn't take long for him to find another home since he is very sweet and affectionate.

Dodge loves laying in whatever box he finds.
Even if he barely fits.

It's a challenge cleaning the kitten rooms. They run to the cabinet and try to get in as soon as we open the door.

So that's about it for now. The Lazy Daze survived the summer in storage but the house batteries did not, so we replaced them a few days ago and all is well. In a couple weeks we are planning a little trip to Cottonwood to see if we still remember how to do the RVing thing. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

10K, Plaza to Plaza, and Catopia

But first, a few pics of our feathered friends through the windows.

Four is the most I've seen at one time.

I love the rufous but he isn't very nice to the others.

This Gambel's quail did a good job of keeping the hummers away from the feeder.

On the first 100 degree day in Albuquerque we took a drive back up to Sandia Crest for another hike, this time on the 10K trail, named for its starting elevation of 10,000'. It was short on views but long on shade, and in the mid 70s was a nice respite from the heat.

We went out the 10K trail.

Then made a 5 mile loop by coming back the Ellis trail, which was more open but still no views of anything but trees.

There were a few flowers and many Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.

Another day we decided to go to Old Town Albuquerque for our walk. I found an online brochure for a self-guided walking tour from the downtown Civic Plaza to Old Town Plaza. We decided to start at Old Town since there was a visitor center there that supposedly had the brochures for the walk. The couple working in the VC had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about the Plaza to Plaza walk, and they both said it was several miles and we wouldn't want to do that. I told them it was only 1.3 miles according to what I read, and the woman kept looking and finally found the brochure. The man then stated that he was 94 and didn't walk much anymore. They were cute but not very helpful.

This is the smaller plaza where the visitor center is located.

We saw this same Peruvian group, Amauta, the first time we visited Old Town ABQ in April, 2009.

San Felipe Neri church across from Old Town Plaza

Old Town Plaza, the official start of the walking tour.

One of the many historic old homes we saw along the way to downtown.

We passed through some interesting old neighborhoods that have been or are in the process of becoming gentrified, and then soon we were in the modern downtown Civic Plaza. We took a detour back to Old Town for a nice 4 mile walk.

Civic Plaza, with Hyatt Regency on the left.

City/County Government Center

Jim went back to the ophthalmologist a few days ago to get punctal plugs inserted in his tear ducts, and since the office was just a mile from Catopia Cat Cafe we had to stop by and check it out on the way home. What a great place, sort of like a group home for very adoptable cats from several local rescue organizations. It's $5 per person to go in and hang with cats for as long as you like. They have a small gift shop and cafe serving coffee, snacks, muffins, and cookies from a local vegan bakery, along with wifi, charging stations, games, puzzles and books. Worth checking out if you're a cat lover. 

They were setting up for a Painting with Cats class.

This one reminded us so much of one of our previous cats, Quincy.

It's a good thing we're still cat sitting and can't adopt one, because Poppy was the sweetest, most affectionate cat, and she has been declawed in the front. She will be adopted soon, I'm sure.

Sleeping buddies.

Most photogenic.

That's about it for now. We're down to a little over two weeks left of our house and catsitting job in Albuquerque. It's been fun.