Really? A Winery Here?

That’s what I exclaimed as hubby and I were driving back through Arkansas toward Tulsa from Memphis. We tend to travel the back roads when possible because you never know what and who you will find. If we like something we will grab a bottle or two to bring home, and if they sell them a couple of wine glasses.

We drove west out of Clarksville, AR on old hwy 64, crossed I-40, passed through Hartman and Coal Hill, and unbeknownst to us were entering Arkansas wine country. I will admit it was simply beautiful. The green hills along the Arkansas River running south of the Ozarks blew me away. After passing a couple of signs for wine tasting I said lets stop at one of them. He was onboard, so we stopped at the Post Familie Winery in Altus, AR. It was a very friendly tasting room, rustic and comfortable. They had a couple of good dry wines. A Seyval (similar to a savignon blanc) that I liked (rare for me,) and a red I had never tried but enjoyed, a Chambourcin.  We bought a couple of bottles.

FYI, I am a dry red wine fan. I love a really good Cabernet Savignon.

Another time I said the same thing was on the southern tip of the Big Island, HI. We drove south out of Kailua-Kona where we had been staying for seven days and heading to a B&B in Volcano for a couple of nights. The two-lane highway wound and twisted through the most brilliantly colored flora and vivid green trees and ferns I had ever seen. This desert girl was enraptured. We saw a sign for Volcano Winery! We had enjoyed the best coffee and now a winery. I was ready to toss my return ticket in the lava. The wines in Hawaii have amazing fruits blended into the grapes, very floral. They packaged very nicely for us the three bottles we brought back.

Hubby and I had a great trip with our destination actually in the middle of the whole vacation. We headed to Red Lodge, MT for a family reunion which took us through Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico. We used our National Parks Passports to find places to visit on our travels. We were pulling a fifth wheel so we could stop in RV parks or road side rest areas, and the occasional Walmart boon-dock. On our way through Nebraska (on a back road) we found an RV park and a winery in a small town near Scotts Bluff in western Nebraska. The winery has since closed and I don’t remember the name. I will admit these were not the best overall wines, but there were a couple we liked and brought some bottles back with us.

The Arizona wine country has some award winning bottles, and the area is in the rolling hills of Southeastern Arizona. Many of the vineyards were started with vines from Napa, Sonoma, and Europe. You drive south out of Tucson to Sonoita, AZ on AZ-83. In Sonoita you will find some retailers who can provide maps to the area wineries. There are also a few in the Willcox area. I really like Coronado Winery, Flying Leap, and Kief-Joshua the best. Many of these have their own vineyards and supplement with area grown grapes from different vineyards. If you are in Southern Arizona and have the time it is worth the trip through the area.

With a road trip coming up in a few months we are looking forward to finding new wines to try and fill our Passport to the National Parks book with some new stickers and cancellations!

Cheers!

-N

 

 

 

Coast to coast-almost part 2

I have an amazing son.

Saturday, after we got the RV all set, hooked up and running, we took Chuck to the airport.He had to be at work the next day so he had to escape back home. My sister, Lisa, picked him up at the Tucson airport, and Aaron and I settled into getting his house in order.

A big thing we discovered was a seal at the base of the toilet had somehow got twisted and was across the opening!

Nasty. The toilet paper was getting caught on it keeping it from draining-ok TMI.

When we bought the RV we purchased extended warranty insurance which covers a lot. It does cover the bathroom thing, but only the connections. Really?! Seals wear out and are not covered! Suffice it to say we were majorly bummed. The repair guy I talked to who does warranty covered repairs suspected this and instead of us paying out of pocket for him to come repair it he said, “If your son is good with tools he can do this himself and will save you some money.” Needless to say Aaron is just like his dad about fixing things. So Aaron took off the bolts, tilted the toilet on its side, (I cleaned it up-no need to have my repair man gagging) and we found the seal was fine just twisted. He replaced it and taa daa! It worked perfectly.

Across the street from the RV park is a huge RV sales, service, and supply store. We headed over to get a look at it. He can get his propane there, discounted because of where he is staying, we got some black water tank deodorizer, a new sliding piece for the front door, and a new sprayer for the toilet (it was leaking.) Aaron met the lady who works in the store, and when we got back he got to work doing more stuff.

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Another problem we found was the nut that connected the gas to the pilot lite on the stove was loose. So he took it apart, tightened the nut and the pilot lite worked perfect

After all that it was time to set up his PO Box, and have a bit of fun. I will say this, Winter Garden, Florida is beautiful. The streets are clean and the trees and shrubs groomed, the buildings well tended and Jill at the Post Office is a very cool woman.

Aaron and I decided to head to the Atlantic on my last day in Florida. We planned to stop in at Kennedy Space Visitor Center and then head down to Cocoa Beach for some ocean time. The Space Center was very interesting, very interactive and a bit pricey. Still as space geeks we dug it. My late uncle Jimmie Forehand was truly a rocket scientist!

It was a great time and I would love to go back and spend the whole day exploring.

Cocoa Beach was special because it was clean, beautiful, not too crowded, and it was my son’s first visit to the Atlantic Ocean. The waves were great, at least 3-4 feet, and a nice breeze was blowing in.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been there to introduce Aaron to every ocean he has seen. As an ocean lover it is my pleasure. This day finished with a drive back through Orlando at rush hour but we had enjoyed such a relaxing, cool day we handled it with the help of Sirius radio comedy shows and classic vinyl rock music!

Part three is my drive back to Arizona, by myself, all the way from Florida with a special side trip in Mississippi.

Cheers!

-N

Coast to Coast-almost, part 1

I have been out of communication for two weeks while I help my son make a move from Texas to Florida. It was a huge thing for him and hubby and I had the honor of helping him accomplish it. He was hired as a stage technician at DisneyWorld.

You see, Aaron and Chelsea will be living in it until they find a place to move into, probably an apartment or rental house.

First step was in Catalina and getting our 5th wheel ready for the move.  Got it cleaned up, stocked up, and made sure everything was set. Then we took the truck in for service. It’s a 2004 F250 diesel, a real workhorse, and it was time for the checkup. We were told it needed a new serpentine belt and rear pinion seal!! Only about $600-700. Color me dumbfounded. The service guy said these had to be done before we pulled the RV all the way to Florida. Chuck decided to look on you tube for videos – maybe he could do it himself since the seal only costs $15! After his research he figured he could do it, he needed two new tools. The belt actually cost more, but didn’t require taking apart the drive train. The plan was to leave at 1am on Wednesday morning after Chuck got off work Tuesday at 11pm. But…the truck needed these two things done before we left.  So the rush was on!

Monday morning we bought parts and Chuck started working. The pinion seal was the worry since it required disconnecting the rear drive train, pulling the seal, filling the diferential fluid, and putting it all back together. He got it half done, stopped to go to work then picked it up Tuesday morning. It was a relatively easy job and he felt confident. It worked like a charm. But then the belt came next and it was a freakin’ nightmare. We finally got on the road Wednesday morning at 4:30am! We had both be up since 7am Tuesday morning but we headed out for Lewisville, Texas. After eighteen hours of driving we arrived at the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Lewisville. The facilities manager, Jeff Hobson, gave us permission to park for the night. He was amazing!!

We slept for about four hours, solid hard sleeping, and got up to meet up with Aaron so he could store his stuff in the trailer. He was driving one of their cars out with us, so we filled up and headed out I-20 toward Shreveport. About an hour out of Lafayette it starting raining. An annoying hard rain, especially in the evening, at rush hour, on the highway, towing a 5th wheel. We made it to an amazing rest area just inside Mississippi and spent the night. We started out and managed to arrive in the Orlando area Friday night around 8pm Florida EST. We bunked again at a rest stop and the next morning we cut out at 7:30 am, grabbed some coffee and donuts at the Dunkin Donuts and were at Winter Garden RV park by 9am.

The rush was on again to get the trailer set up, plugged in, and turned on before we had to get Chuck to the Orlando Airport by 1:30pm for a 3:00pm flight. I was staying for a few days to drive the truck back to Tucson.

But we did it!!

Chuck did go coast to coast thanks to Southwest. He flew from Orlando to San Diego to Tucson!

More to come. Cheers!

-N

Inherit this

Recently I’ve been reading several stories where the main character inherits all kinds of cool stuff like houses or businesses from unknown or long lost relatives. I would love for this to happen to me.

Picture this: a long lost, maybe estranged relative would leave me a lovely Victorian house (haunted is ok) with some nice property and a couple of million in a basement vault or maybe the key to a lock box in a bank containing dozens of pieces of priceless jewelry and 1000 shares of Apple in my name.

It could happen.

My dream would be an unknown ancestor in Kent with a title and a castle filled with enough valuables and a large enough estate to support my living there. That would work.

Does anyone know of someone this has really happened to?

I’m just hoping once my hard working husband gets this place ready, it sells with enough of a profit that we will be mostly out of debt. We had someone stop and look at the 5th wheel this morning!! Cross your fingers and pray for a buyer. It is a beautiful, roomy RV with a nice flat screen TV and fireplace!

I found an interesting bookmark while going through boxes in my office. It is from a place called “Piece of Mind Books” on S Buchanan in Edwardsville IL. I have never been there so when I googled it I found it had closed back in 2011. What was interesting was it had been opened and owned by the same person the whole time. The owners had moved at one point to try to salvage the business after a Borders opened nearby and cut into their traffic. The new place then closed thanks to Amazon and the online book market.

This bookmark is for the original location! How cool it that?  No clue how I obtained it. Sounds like a story.

Cheers!

-N