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Travel Stories

February 27, 2007 - April 18, 2007 

We left Sacramento in a rain storm on our way to Barstow to bring personal items and furniture to Arlo's Aunt Maybelle.  She had just moved into the California VA Home.  After settling her in, we went on to Yuma to spend time with RV friends.  From Phoenix we headed to the SKP North Ranch RV Park in Congress AZ.  There Arlo took a week long woodcarving workshop and Ruth took a beading workshop.  Our last week was spent at the SKP Sierra RV Park near Yosemite NP.  We visited with friends and enjoyed Covered Wagon Days.


Adventures of Krystonia

March 22, 2007

Greetings from someplace in Arizona.  Yes, we are on the road again.  For those who haven't heard, I will catch you up.  In our last newsletter on October 11, 2006, I said: "OK, back to the house.  We are currently in a 30-day escrow.  We may be homeless in about three weeks.  We are looking for a place to rent in the Sacramento area but do not want to commit until we clear escrow, 'just in case.'  If we can't find the right place on short notice, we will live in the RV for awhile."

The house fell out of escrow one week before closing!  Then the housing market went cold.  Did not even have anyone looking...  In the big picture this may have worked out for the best.  In December, Arlo's Aunt Maybelle moved in with us.  She will be 90 years old in October.  Because of a flair-up of a chronic back problem it was determined that she should not continue in independent living.  She is mentally alert and it was a joy to have her with us.  We took the house off the market.  During her stay we had help and support from Bill and Lee Mackey, her nephew from the other side.  They were wonderful, helping us move her out of her apartment, storing her furniture and taking her a couple of times to give us a respite.

On February 21st, she was accepted for admission into the California VA Home in Barstow, CA.   Bill drove her to Barstow for her interview.  Thank you Bill and Lee.  More about the VA Home in a minute.

We left Sacramento on February 27th with Krystonia filled with Maybelle's furniture and other stuff she wanted.  Since then we have visited with friends in Yuma, visited with family and friends in the Phoenix area and are now at the Elks Lodge in Prescott Valley.  Tomorrow we move to the SKP Park in Congress for a week.  Arlo will be taking a woodcarving workshop and Ruth will be doing beadwork.

We will be home about April 18th to start getting ready for our Alaska adventure this summer.  We leave with friends from Dawson Creek on June 20 for three months.  Probably will not put the house back on the market until we get home in September.

When we are on the road we do not pay as much attention to the news.  We have heard a little about the VA problems in DC.  Well, we a good news story about the VA in California.  California Department of Veterans Affairs runs three homes for California Veterans.  Aunt Maybelle is a WWII vet.  This qualified her for admission.  She will be cared for life at whatever level of care she needs.  The Home at Barstow is beautifully landscaped, spacious and friendly.  The food is great (We ate there 3 days while moving Maybelle's stuff in). For a percentage of her income, Maybelle receives everything she needs including medical and dental care.  If you are interested there are pictures and other information on the web at: http://www.cdva.ca.gov/homes/barstow.asp.  California really takes good care of their Veterans. 


Adventures of Krystonia

 April 5, 2007

Philosophers and Psychologists tell us about life transitions: entering adolescence, leaving home, marriage, and retirement, to name a few.  Psychologists warn us that how we manage the "crises" associated with these major transitions predict our future emotional development.  We also experience frequent "mini-transitions" between the major ones.  I believe these allow us to practice for the big ones. They can be fun, exciting, frightening, happy or sad.

We just completed a woodcarving and beading workshop that triggered all these feelings and more.  Each year the woodcarvers group of the Escapees RV Club sponsors a weeklong workshop at North Ranch RV Park near Congress, Arizona.  The beading was for spouses who are not woodcarvers.

The first day there is a feeling of being overwhelmed.  You are in a room full of nearly 100 strangers. There are many options. For the woodcarvers there are classes in chip carving, wood burning, bark carving, relief carving, face carving and beginners.  How do you decide where to start?  Feeling excited and frightened, I (Arlo) settled into the beginning class.  Although I had done some carving a year ago, I did not want to embarrass myself and felt safer playing dumb.  How am I going to get through this transition?  I needed a project, and ended up choosing a turtle to carve.  Later, I found out that it was not a beginning project.  Another transition, but I needed to have a challenge if I were to improve my skills.  As the days wore on and I was feeling more comfortable, I started exploring what other groups were doing when I took my breaks.  I was solving the transition.  Bark carving looked like fun, so I put the turtle on hold to try something new.  I soon found that I really enjoyed the freedom of finding things in the bark to expose.  The carvers in the group had great imaginations and loved to make up stories to go with their carving as they worked on them.  The carvings consist of whimsical houses, stonework, stairs, doors, windows, faces, and other features found in the bark.  I completed two.

The bead-working group at North Ranch had a fun filled week of beginning, intermediate and advance project kits all ready to go.  Such enthusiasm!  Oh, they were so patient and helpful.  I (Ruth) worked on beginning and intermediate projects in the morning and received help in the afternoons finishing my projects.  I made bracelets and earrings.  I definitely plan to return to learn some new techniques.

A room full of strangers became friends by the end of the week.  Sharing woodcarving ideas and some meals together bring you together.  In addition to woodcarving there were RV stories to exchange as a fellowship bond was developed.  Then it was time to move on.  Now there is a feeling of sadness as you see people "hook-up" and leave.  A lot of hugs and goodbyes, "We will see you next year."  We will be back; I only bought two knives during the workshop.  I need to come back so I can buy some more knives!

So we made it through another mini-transition.  We went from feelings of fear and apprehension, to feelings of fun and excitement, and finally, to feelings of sadness as we prepared to moved on.


Adventures of Krystonia

April 2007

We arrived home on the 18th.  Some final thoughts from this trip.  Be sure to look at the the pictures.  After leaving Congress, AZ, we spent Easter with Aunt Maybelle in Barstow.  Be sure to see her picture in her Easter outfit at her flower garden that we helped her plant.  She continues to be very happy at the VA Home.

Our last week before returning home was at the Escapee Park just south of the south entrance of Yosemite National Park.  Our friends Rita, Fred and Goon were there for Covered Wagon Days.  We had four days of Covered Wagon Days of fun and food, and 3 more days just relaxing and getting better acquainted with our travel buddies.

On our way home we visited two places of interest:  "The Tehachapi Loop", and Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

The Tehachapi Loop built in 1899, is without a doubt one of the great engineering feats of the nineteenth century.  This most notable railroad track remains in use today. The railroad line climbs in a spiral over itself, gaining 77 feet of elevation.  Observers from around the world who come to witness the most heavily trafficked single track main line in the country can see up to 40 trains a day.  In 1955 a monument celebrated its designation as a California Historical Landmark, and in 1998 it was honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.  Pictures at: http://www.trainorders.com/cameras/tehachapi/.

Allensworth is a very unique park unit in the California State Parks System.  It is the only one of its kind.  It preserves for us now, and for all future generations the positive contribution made by African Americans towards the development of the state of California. 

An ex-slave and four other African Americans founded the town in 1908.  It prospered and then experienced a decline, but it refused to die.  More information can be found at: http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=21298

If you have not looked at our "Favorite Links" page on our web page lately, I have done some updating.  If you have suggestions for links to add, please email us with your ideas.

Now it is time to get ready for our Alaska Adventure.  We leave on June 10th.  Will be home in mid- September.  See ya....




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