On the road back to Texas!

It has been a while since I’ve posted. When we left Texas on November 26th for Las Vegas, we thought we’d be gone about 30-days to take care of the details we needed to tend to for Bob’s brother who was brutally murdered. We ended up being in Las Vegas for 60-days. Our saving grace was Bob’s daughter Julia and her husband Chris, and of course our two grandsons, Austin & Ben. We went to shows, went bowling & golfing, and out to dinner a lot. So with all the bad came a lot of good.

Bob’s children all came to Uncle Richard’s funeral and that was a big help. We also enjoyed spending some time with our ex-sister-in-law Carolyn.

When we first arrived in town we were overwhelmed with all things we needed to do to get everything settled. We took it one day at a time and eventually got everything done that could be done at this time. Being there during Christmas and New Year’s delayed our ability to procure the legal documents we needed. That and some repairs on the rig made our stay stretch out to 60-days. We did get the new window made and installed (the first one did not fit so a second one needed to be manufactured). This was the window behind the couch that a rock totally shattered.

We had the annual maintenance done on our hydro-hot system and it took them three attempts to get that all right. It all worked great until they did the maintenance. Sometimes it get frustrating getting maintenance done! We had all the oil changes done and all the filters changed.

We bought a new vehicle… one we had been drooling over for some time. We bought a new Chevy Suburban LTZ at Henderson Chevy in Henderson, NV. We had some major problems with that place, not professional at all. The SUV is great but they were not. We would never buy from them again!

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We were blessed on many levels. The Las Vegas Metro Police were wonderful to work with. And they put the Victims of Crime in touch with us to help guide us through the whole maze of things to do and helped with expenses. Even in the darkest of times, silver linings do shine through. It’s amazing.

Our son-in-law, Chris, sells discount tickets on the Las Vegas Strip for Tix4Tonight. So we enjoyed a Christmas concert by Mannheim Steamroller (I have their CD’s). We saw the Country Superstars who are very talented impersonators… they performed Wynona Judd, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Big & Rich. My favorite was their rendition of Big & Rich. Lots of energy in that performance. We saw the musical History of Las Vegas and it was great! It was kind of sad to see the original icons of the strip come down, like The Sands & many other historic casino/hotels. Lots of nostalgia in that show!

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with Julia & family. Christmas Day we prepared a big meal. I bought a 26 pound pastured turkey at Whole Foods and we roasted it and had all the trimmings.

On New Year’s Eve we were going to cruise the strip on foot (they close the strip to auto traffic at 6:30 that night because there are so many people walking around), but Chris ended up in the ER with the flu and I had a nasty sinus infection. So at midnight we went outside our rig and watched the fireworks at the Stratosphere. Our campground is right across the street. Fantastic fireworks!!!

On January 6th, we bought tickets to see Penn & Teller. I’ve been wanting to them for two years. We almost got to see them that night… I don’t know if I got the flu or the Norovirus (both were making the rounds) but 5 minutes into the show I was in the bathroom going at both ends. After 20 minutes I told Bob we need to go home… NOW!

I spent the next six days in bed with nausea and other maladies. Finally, I got well.

We drove up to Mt. Charleston and ate dinner at the ski lodge. There was lots of snow up there!

Then, finally, on February 4th we went to Penn & Teller and got to see the whole show. It was fantastic. If you go to Vegas, the shows are great. I did a little gambling, but I found it boring and did not enjoy throwing money away. But we did love the shows!

We were afraid we would not get to see Penn & Teller before we left, they were out of town for the week before we left. When we got to Phoenix we realized why. We were watching the Dr. Oz show and there they were on his show.

20130211-115026.jpg This was up at Mt. Charleston.

Finally, on Feb. 6th we got to leave Vegas. We spent four days in Mesa/Apache Junction. The Mesa/Apache Junction KOA is a very nice park! I got to spend time with a dear childhood friend, Angie Darzes-VanDaele. She now publishes a bridal magazine for Arizona brides. We spent several hours together and even though we had not seen each other in probably 45+ years, it seemed like all that time just melted away. It was so good to see her 🙂

We strolled through the Mesa Market Swap Meet one morning. I found a cute little powder blue golf bag that I just had to have. My current bag is a 25 year old style and weighs a ton. This one is nice and light weight. I’ll take it out to Big Cedar Country Club in Teague and go golfing.

Chris and I golfed at the Desert Rose golf course in Vegas. By the 13th hole I was getting very discouraged as I was majorly topping the ball and could not get under it to save my life. Finally, Bob suggested I take my glasses off. You see, I wear trifocals and they were messing up my depth perception. As soon as I took them off my game improved! Who knew!?!?

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Bob is going to take a few lessons to see if his back will take golfing okay. Chris lent him a few left handed clubs. I sure hope he can do it!

In Mesa we found a quaint but very busy farmer’s market, recommended by the staff of the KOA. Superstition Ranch Market. I bought vine-ripe strawberries at 4 lbs for a dollar, big red peppers were 3 for 99 cents as were green and orange peppers. We bought vine-ripe tomatoes and raspberries, fresh cauliflower and sweet potatoes. I pressure cooked the sweet potatoes last night and they were so good. All of this stuff is grown locally and it shows. My freezer is stuffed… I prepared and froze all of the fruit & peppers. YUM!!!

The day before we left the Mesa/Phoenix area, my cousin Spencer and his wife Lois invited is over for a visit & dinner. They are RVers too. Remember, I came from a family of RVers! They love to take their two sons and go to the Dunes in California (near Yuma, AZ) and play in the sand on their 4-wheelers. We had a wonderful visit. Time went so fast… we were embroiled in telling old family stories about our grandparents, uncles, and cousins 🙂

We really liked the Mesa/Apache Junction area and it was full of “snowbirds.” We may come back & spend some time during the winter months. You never know…

Yesterday, we left Mesa and headed out on Superstition Highway (60). It was a scenic route and very pretty. We even saw more snow, but not on the road… thank goodness 🙂

Wednesday we will pull into San Antonio where we will go to Ironhorse RV and have a water filtration system installed, complete with a UV light and sediment filters. Since we go all over, it’s much easier make sure we are drinking pure water without having to haul bottles around and keep filling them.

Are we going back to the gate guarding gig?

Probably not.

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Mt. Charleston photos…

We did not realize the damage the commercial generators can do to a rig. We burned up two 50 amp Surge Gard surge protectors. Thankfully one was replaced at no charge since we took out the extended warranty on it in August when we bought the first replacement. Better to burn up those puppies than to fry all of our electronics! On the last gate we gained 30-45 minutes a day on our clocks. That is dirty power… megahertz are too high.

When we were in Vegas our washer/dryer would not work right. When the repairman came out he found many melted parts in our washer and the plug and outlet were scorched. So we had a new outlet installed and had to buy a new washer/dryer.

Also, our dishwasher never would work on the industrial generators. It would throw a fault code. But when we go to a campground or use our generator, it works fine.

Bottom line, our rig is our home and it is just not worth ruining it. I don’t miss the shifts, the bugs or the DUST… nor the coyotes, Javalina’s or the wild pigs. And thankfully, I never saw an illegal or a rattle snake… but I knew both were lurking out there.

I’ll keep you posted on what we are doing. In the last two months, I don’t think I had my computer out over a dozen times and that was not for very long. We put 1400 miles on our new Suburban in the time we were in Vegas. We were very busy getting things done and playing.

There are things we will miss about the gate guarding. It was a hard call for us to make. But when Richard was murdered, we decided life can be short… you gotta live while you have the chance. We are starting a new chapter now.

Till next time…

Vicky

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Penn & Teller stage.

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The Las Vegas KOA at Circus Circus where we stayed.

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A tribute to a gentle soul…

I never had a brother… but I had the next best thing. My brother-in-law, Richard Heron.

Richard in Arkansas, September, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012 is a date that has changed our lives forever. That’s the day we found out Richard had departed this world (way too soon).

Before I continue, I want to share something most of us feel pretty comfortable about. It’s that unthinkably bad things happen to other families–not our own.

I used to think that. I was wrong.

Several years ago we met a man who was just coming out of a tragic family situation. His brother suffered from undiagnosed bi-polar disorder and one day, he tried to kill his two sons. One died, the other one recovered. His brother is now serving time.

Our friendship grew because we listened to his pain and we  helped him through a very rough time in his life. Sometimes you don’t know why certain people enter your life, they just do. We like to think there are angels working all around us…

Now we know why this man came into our lives as we find ourselves in a similar situation. You see, my Bob’s brother Richard, was murdered by his own 32-year-old son, Richard Jr., on November 18th.

Las Vegas Review-Journal article

KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas Richard Heron video and report

The cold-hearted brutality of this act was so unthinkable, that the story was on the front pages of Las Vegas newspapers and was the top story on the news broadcasts yesterday. I’m not going to go into detail here, you can click on the links above for that.

It is so sad when good, decent people are struck down needlessly. Richard was a gentle, quiet man. He always treated me like his sister. I never saw him raise his voice or his hand to anyone.

He was enjoying being a “grandpa” to his 8-year-old grandson, Evan. I know he enjoyed playing out in the yard with him when he came over to visit.

Richard was Bob’s younger brother by three years. They sort of drifted apart over the years as families sometimes do. That is until 1997. Bob took a trip to Las Vegas that year (just a week before we met) to see his brother and get re-acquainted. And from then on, their relationship was rekindled. They became very good friends.

Over the years we have gone out to visit with him many times and he has flown down to Texas to see us. In September he met us in Arkansas for the memorial service we were having for Ruth, their 98-year-old mother who died on July 4th of this year. We were so glad to spend time with him. Our two Chihuahuas, Jack and Jesse, were permanent fixtures on his lap. You know what they say about animals and children… they can tell who the good people are!

Richard was a gentle and kind soul.

You’ll be missed little brother. Say hello to Mom for us. We’re sure you are enjoying a Manhattan with her now for happy hour 🙂

As I write this we are on the road in our RV (home on wheels) and on our way to Las Vegas. We have a lot to do to get Richard’s affairs settled. We left the oil patches of South Texas yesterday to begin this journey.

We will be spending Christmas with our daughter Julia and her family. They also live in Las Vegas.

Right now we are taking everything one day at a time. If feels so unreal. Loss leaves a deep hole that only time can fill.

Till next time,

Vicky

On The Road Back To Texas!

Spending the last six days in Las Vegas was fun and seeing family was great! We did discover we are not “fine dining” literate though. One night we took Bob’s brother to the “Top of the World” restaurant in the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino on the strip. The view was a million dollar view as the restaurant slowly turns 360 degrees.

Back to the fine dining though. It’s real hard to know what to order when you don’t even know what is on the menu. I mean Asparagus with aged lemon*&@??? I asked the waiter what the heck is aged lemon? To which he replied–it’s just lemon. I asked him what Arugula (or however it was spelled) was and he said, “Oh, it’s a vegetable and it’s green. Okay… thank you for that. And for $55 all you get is the meat, no sides or drinks. My husband, the bean-counting-accountant was not amused. I don’t think we will be doing the fine dining thing again anytime soon!

Now, while this is happening, there are people strapping themselves to a line and jumping off the edge of a perfectly good building!!! Not in this lifetime.

This brings up another passion I used to have… until I heard the news over the weekend. You see, when we go to Moab, Utah I keep wanting to do the tandem sky diving. It looks awesomely fun.

Well, last weekend a well-seasoned skydiver took a 70-year-old student on a tandem jump. This guy had over 11,000 jumps to his credit. Guess what happened… the main chute malfunctioned so he pulled the back up chute cord and it also malfunctioned. Both of them hit the ground at 40 mph. Neither survived I’m sad to report.

I’ve noticed that as I get older, I become less adventurous. Wild roller coasters just don’t do anything for me anymore, in fact they scare the bejesus out of me! I’ve now crossed skydiving off my bucket list.

That’s it for now…

Vicky