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Start Your Engine (Day 1 Summer Road Trip 2012)

So we’re off, having gone from Lake Havasu at 7:10 on Thursday morning, and arriving in Phoenix around noon. A slight motorhome challenge delayed us while still in the city limits of Lake Havasu, when, in the faithful Country Coach motorhome, Jerry discovered the radiator water level to be low. Poured and hosed in water. Voila! Problem solved.

One of the neat things about motor home travel is the option of pulling to the side of the road for meals or snacks should violent hunger strike the occupants of said motor home, and going-down-the-road snacks and sandwiches don’t seem enough. We had eaten no breakfast, having arisen early, and having presented Melina’s birthday present to her. We had discussed driving awhile, then we would stop to eat. Bouse was the place Jerry chose.

Jerry turned on the generator, we ran the air-conditioners, and I actually cooked bacon and eggs. Well, the bacon supply was of such skimpiness that I’m not sure it even counts, but we did have one slim slice each. I cleaned up the dishes, grabbed my camera, and went out the door so that I could preserve the moment.

With all due respect to its founder and to its current residents, I do not believe I would choose to live in Bouse. 🙂

We had scoured the area as we drove so as to select a level place; this spot held promise, as there appeared to be no customers around and we wouldn’t be in the way. From the slatted roof of this structure, cool shadows played on the ground.

I had noted what might be a bird’s nest in the upper reaches of the structure, so I pointed my camera there, but I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to see a mama bird with babies on her nest. I did enjoy looking at the old buildings and loved the name of the area where we stopped: Pricklepear Square.

What sort of people have lived here over the years? I pondered as I walked about. Founded as a mining camp, there are no doubt  countless stories of intrigue and drama in what now is just a dusty little place on Arizona State Highway 72.

Why choose to live here? for just a few miles away is Parker, that beautiful little town through which runs the sparkling blue waters of the Colorado, and which is surrounded by jagged, splendid mountains. Interesting. Just a few miles farther is stunning Lake Havasu.

Perhaps it is the solitude, the sense of history…the memory of a culture long gone.

Road trip mileage:  Today–200     Trip total–200

Arizona Family Road Trip Journal RV Travel

To Phoenix!

Summer road trip. Day 3 Saturday, June 4

Jerry left with Mike before 7:00 am with plans to attend men’s prayer meeting down at the church, then they would pick up some things to do a little motor home maintenance, before we headed out. While they were gone, I went again to Staples to pick up a poster I had ordered and to take care of a couple of other things. One of the things I had to take care of is a secret from Jerry: I bought more dishes! It’s okay, though, for even though I do not need more dishes, I bought these at a thrift store for next to nothing, and aren’t we to be good stewards of our money, and I bought just a few pieces, and besides they are so cute, and anyway there were still a few inches of empty space in my cupboards…reasons like that. 🙂

As I pulled up in Mike’s driveway, I saw a commotion at the rear of the motorhome; a few feet away was parked a mobile tire repair truck. What? A breakdown already? Seems as the men were installing an extended valve stem (I think that’s what it was) something broke, and with a loud whisss… sound, one of those huge tires began flattening. Quick repair, though from a friendly mobile tire mechanic.

Our children treat us with such kindness and such thoughtfulness. Mike climbed up on a ladder and gave our windshield a final cleaning. We said good-bye to sweet Mike and Melina, Mike hooked the Jeep to the motor home, and we were off.

The drive along the Colorado River near Parker is a beautiful one. Red stony mountains rear up from the valley floor through which flows the magnificent river. Lots of campgrounds and water play in this area. As we drove, we came upon this vehicle; it was so peculiar looking that at first we couldn’t even tell what it was. We followed it quite a ways as there was no space to pass, and we never did figure it out exactly. Either some kind of a pool or a very large water toy. A couple of people seemed pretty relaxed in it.

Topped off with fuel, and because we hadn’t eaten all day, I made us a sandwich and we ate lunch in our motor home on the Pilot station parking lot in Quartzsite. Arrived safely in Phoenix around 4:30. I scurried about getting everything set up in the motorhome and preparing a little meal for our friends the Hogans who would be here around 6:00. (My new dishes looked wonderful on yellow placemats!)



Miles today: 212               Total trip miles:   462

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Out and About in Lake Havasu

Summer Road Trip Day 2 Friday, June 3

Gorgeous weather in Lake Havasu today, although, even with moderate June temperatures here, it is a jolt from Crestline, where our spring has been a cool one. We were still using our furnace in the mornings before we left. No furnace here; fans and air conditioners instead. Small annoyances in the motor home are the sounds of the fans and the air conditioners.

This was a busy, fun, profitable day in several areas.

1. BACKSLIDING…the bitter bite of beelzebub

Early in the morning, I made a cd of the 168 page manuscript, ran it down to Staples and ordered ten sets, which I will use to send out for critiques and for editing. They are so nice at the Staples store here. She ran me a proof, I signed off on it, understanding it would be ready by 4:00.

2. Peanut brittle

“You do what you have to do.” “You make it work.” “It is what it is.” Christ Alive is a gung-ho home missions church with an upbeat, positive attitude. They sell peanut brittle like crazy in several businesses around town, with nice displays at the airport, restaurants, beauty shops and the like.  They need a kitchen. “We’ll make it in my garage,” Mike decided. AND WE DID! Portable gas camp stove, boiling cauldron of water to clean the pans…Marvelous! So neat I happened to be here to help get the garage kitchen set up and give a few pointers about cooking the delicious candy. Onward, Church!

3. The old Wal-Mart building is becoming a Hobby Lobby!

4. Shopped at Wal-Mart for groceries and a few supplies for the empty larder in the motor home.

5. Phone call from Staples. Print job ready several hours early. $110.37 print bill. When I picked it up, I ordered a laminated poster for my book, LINK TO EXCELLENCE. I’ll be pushing book sales in the churches during this trip. I don’t like this part of book writing, as I am not a good promoter of my work. It embarrasses me…but neither do I like having boxes of books in the basement at Crestline. 🙂 So here goes! Book promo time! Step right up! Blue light specials coming to a church near you!

5. While I was in Wal-Mart, I received a phone call from Crystal, one of our sweet converts from our CIP classes here in Lake Havasu. She had dropped by the motor home for a little visit. “I’m checking out in a few minutes. Wait for me,” I told her. Emily is one of her children, a 3-year-old beauty.

6. I don’t know of a finer hostess than is sweet Melina. She is an exceptional cook, and presents her meals in beautiful, creative ways. She and Mike are the greatest couple; he does an exceptional job at the grill. Appetizers at 6:00, followed around 7:00 by the tastiest of lamb chops, fresh corn on the cob, a salad of fresh spinach, candied pecans, strawberries and mandarin oranges, so delicious I was gazing into the bowl wanting more, when all the while my tummy was saying, No! Garlic bread, watermelon…After we were in the motor home almost ready for bed came a pounding on our door. Mike handed in a tall cup of ice cream–coffee with chocolate covered almonds! “Try this, Mom.” We couldn’t, though, and it awaits us now in the freezer.

Arizona Family Lake Havasu Photography RV Travel Travel Vacation Journal

Summer Road Trip–Lake Havasu City, AZ. (Day 1)

“Two o’clock,” I said to Jerry as I closed the door to our car and settled into my seat. “We’re half an hour early.” And so we were, as we had planned to leave at 2:30.  I’m hoping that early beginning portends smooth traveling for our summer motor home trip that will take us through Arizona, across several states, and that will wind up in Louisiana, before we begin the return trip to California.

Our Jeep was crammed with clothes, books, cameras, computers, a printer, and a few groceries from the fridge in Crestline. Mike had called and wanted us to pick up a 3-burner camp stove at Costco, so we pulled into the store in Victorville to see if they had what he wanted. They did, and while Jerry paid for it, I bought us each a Very Berry ice cream sundae at the Costco snack bar. Delicious, huge, and a bargain at $1.65.

It was around 6:30 when we pulled into beautiful Lake Havasu, and since we hadn’t eaten since lunch (strawberry sundaes don’t count 🙂 ) we stopped at Bad Miguel’s. Every Thursday after 4:00, every item on the menu is at half price at this neat little Mexican place.

Take a look at that sky. This place has incredibly beautiful sunsets.

Our motor home had been parked at Mike’s in Lake Havasu for a couple of weeks, and shortly after we pulled into their driveway, both he and Melina came out to greet us and to help unload everything into the motor home. What a help that was.

So here we are, first day into the trip, safely parked in Mike’s driveway. Jerry is asleep. I will be shortly.

250 miles today.


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Retreat to Rincon

Because it was 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon before our motor home repairs were finished, Jerry and I debated whether to stay another night in San Bernardino or head on up the Pacific Coast. Our annual church camp meeting convenes next Monday in Santa Maria and we had planned to spend a couple of days in Rincon, a regional beach park near Ventura. The issue with going in the evening, is that it is not possible to make reservations at Rincon and it is difficult to exact a spot during the summer. Usually those who leave a site do so early in the morning, so by 10:00 am, most spots are gone for the day.

Onward! was the decision and luck (or God or something) was with us, so that a few minutes before 7:00 as we slowly moved down the camping strip, peering about for an empty spot, a motor home pulled onto the roadway.

“Get out, Shirley. Run over and save the spot.”

I slid my feet into shoes, crossed the highway,  and while Jerry drove to a place where he could turn around the rig, I stood our piece of ocean-front property.

From our open motor home door after we had set up, I viewed and photographed the sunset. Shortly after dark, Jerry and I plopped exhausted into bed, windows open, the cool ocean air wafting over our faces as we slept.

On Wednesday morning after breakfast, I scrambled down the rocks and walked along the beach for a couple of hours. Magnificent and a’roar with power.

At the place where I had to turn around, I spotted this limb whose curve and sandy position attracted me (and my camera, I could tell.) I crouched, snapped two shots and just as the third view was in my lens, the branch began moving, was knocked down by a crashing wave (as you can see) and rushed me, so that the lower part of my body was drenched. I think I’m not the best judge of the essence and trajectory of ocean energy.

The tide was definitely coming in, I decided: I could see the beach was narrowing. Wisely, I headed toward our rig.


My devotional blog is here.

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First Christmas Card

DSC_0113, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

In our mail that had accumulated while we were home for Thanksgiving was this–our first Christmas card of the season. What a joy to receive it and to see the faces of these our children, Steve and Dearrah, whom we have not seen since August. Soon it will be more than a card, though, for on the 24th of December, they will visit us at our home in Crestline!

Receiving that card gave me a little jolt, I must confess, for it brings to the front of my mind that my own cards are not finished–actually I haven’t even bought them. 😦 I wrote a couple of weeks ago about not having done shopping yet–don’t know what it is, but I am quite behind this year with my preparations. (Did get most of my shopping done when I was home at Thanksgiving time, though.) I believe it may be because I’m in the motorhome and it all is just so different from last year at home in Crestline when I wrote this:

DSC_0322, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

I’m so excited about Christmas and am completely through decorating my house. While our family and friends were here for Thanksgiving, Andrew helped with the outside lights, hung the giant wreath on our stair wall, and the lighted globes in the game room window. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I try to make it last as long as I can. I forget about this beautiful young lady after I pack her up in January, but I always grin when I find her in a box as I tear through my decorations. She sets on the window sill behind my sink. We smile at each other a lot!

Finally, we’re having winter here and that makes me even more excited. I love every minute of it.

Alaskan Storm To Impact The Area Monday And Monday Night

Special Weather Statement From The National Weather Service

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A cold winter storm will likely bring the first widespread rain and snow of the season late Sunday night through Tuesday. Snow levels will start around 6000 feet, but lower to near 4500 feet by Monday night. Several inches of snow are possible. Snow, rain, and fog will likely make driving difficult.

Well, we’ve had a little winter here in Lake Havasu–couple of days of rain, and pretty cold temperatures. We’ve taken to wearing jackets and have the furnace on here in the motor home. But there’s no snow. 😦

Last night Jerry talked to Ken, our neighbor in Crestline, who said, “Tell Shirley she missed the first snow. Little dusting a couple of nights ago and some still on the ground.” I get teased even in Crestline because I love snow so much. Don’t think I have posted a picture of the little wooden image I have which says, “Think Snow!” but one day I will. A couple of years ago when we had a large amount of snow that wouldn’t seem to stop, Ken and Nancy demanded I remove the sign from our deck!

No matter where we live–the holidays are rolling and Christmas is in the air! I’ve strung lights and greenery across the dash of our motorhome, and some pretty red beads are hanging from stacked up glass cake stands, and I have twinkling clear lights around an arrangement that sets beside my computer and it cheers me, and sometimes we turn our XM radio to the 24 hour Chrismas Carol station. Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year …even here in the middle of the desert. Anyway Jesus lives here too…and it’s His birthday! I need to bake some cakes…and certainly get the cards going.


My devotional blog is here.



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Durango Vacation Journal Wrap-up

The first we noticed was a man taking pictures of the truck parked next to us. “Wonder what that’s about?” said Jerry. We had pulled out from the Kit Carson RV park in Flagstaff around 7:00 Saturday morning, and at this truck plaza a few miles east of Kingman, we stopped to eat breakfast. Numerous people were running around snapping pictures, and it appeared that one man took a picture of our motor home, so whatever the nature of the event, it must have included vehicles other than 18-wheelers. After we had eaten, Jerry eased out of the lot, and we probably would have asked someone about the photography, but no one was close as we drove away. Anyone know anything about it? I-40 east of Kingman on Saturday the 15th.

Anyway around 11:00 we were home–well sort of–our RV home in Lake Havasu. DJs. The temperature on our outdoor thermometer showed 104 degrees. A breeze was blowing, so it wasn’t bad.

I have a couple of left-over thoughts from our wonderful vacation in Colorado.

I Need Hiking Boots

I wore white tennis shoes to do my “trail-work” and although the shoes perform well at home for walking and such, I found them inadequate in Colorado. They did not have enough grip on the soles. Once when I wanted to get down to some heavy equipment at one of the mines, I was a little nervous about the steep, rocky descent, but Berl said, “Here, take my hand. You can make it.” And I did, despite my slipping and skittering around a bit. When I climbed back up, I think I was so funny looking Lavelta took a short video of my struggle, and I saw Jerry standing at the very top with a sort of frown on his face. He’s gets irritated with me sometimes if I’m too adventurous. Anyway if I had hiking shoes like this, I would no doubt master mountain climbing.

We Saw Early Changing of the Leaves

It was amazing, but almost overnight the leaves started turning. Before we left, the Aspens had taken on that brilliant neon-yellow hue.

Wranglers are better than Cherokees for 4-Wheeling

Wireless internet service is spotty and often undependable when traveling. Sometimes it’s great.




Colorado is a beautiful, educational place to take a vacation.

I’ve done a fair amount of traveling, and I can think of no better place for a couple or a family to vacation than in the state of Colorado. Our trip was both stunningly beautiful and highly educational.

Having a camera to take pictures helps you to see.

Nikon D50

America is the greatest country in the world. How blessed I am to live here and to travel among its people and its other treasures. Meeting people along the way as we vacation is one of my greatest joys. God Bless America!


My devotional blog is here.











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Durango Vacation Journal Part 11

Pink and Black, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

We fell into bed last night, exhausted from our strenuous day at Mesa Verde, but this morning we arose rested and fully recovered. It has been a “down” day for us, though, for we had business to tend. One negative aspect of vacationing in a motor home in which you already live is that it is hard to escape mundane day-to-day routines. I know the drawer in which I keep the bills and where the checkbook is, and I knew I had better spend a little time among such stuff if happy relationships with insurance and utility companies were to continue for the Gerald Buxton family.

It interests me greatly that as I dealt with the bills, while sitting in my motor home in Durango, Colorado, there originated from a Los Angeles radio station Dennis Prager whose voice spoke from my computer. At the same time, on same lovely Apple computer, I traveled to our bank in San Bernardino, opened up electronic pages of our checking account and computed figures. Amazes me.

So, after a leisurely start this morning, and a treat of bacon and eggs for breakfast, I tackled the bills. Jerry accomplished various tasks about the place, paramount among which was walking to the next door rig, sitting in one of Berl’s chairs and holding forth on who knows what subject. Another of Jerry’s crowning accomplishments for the day was the stretching out and careful arrangement of his body on a recliner situated pleasantly under our awning. Magazines and newspapers were at hand, as were cups of coffee and assorted other drinks. Once I went out and he looked up at me, grinned and spoke: “This is quite the life, you know.”

We did make one little jaunt in the car–to the post office, where I dropped into an official US post office mail slot the checks I had written earlier in the day. We drove a bit around the downtown area, then came home, cooked and consumed tacos. As Jerry and I stood around the outdoor grill, we looked across the meadow and saw the magnificent pink cloud you see above.

This butterfly was perched on these flowers as we visited a mine site on our return trip from Ouray a couple of days ago. The butterfly appeared tame, and hardly moved at all, so I was able to get very close to the beautiful creature. He looks to be woven of the finest silk.


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This lovely sunflower lives at the small farm near the glider airstrip down the highway. His elegant head is heavy.


My devotional blog is here.

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Durango Vacation Journal Part 9

DSC_0004, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

On our way to church yesterday, as we crossed the bridge, I spied several people floating down the Animas River and wished we had time to stop for a picture. We didn’t, but on the way home, again there were several people visible on the river, and of course we stopped then. The Animas is a beautiful river that runs rapidly through the middle of Durango. There are signs in several places pointing to a river walk, and I believe I read somewhere the walk consists of a paved trail that extends five miles. I want to walk part of that before we leave.

Anyway, yesterday I stood on the bridge and watched the floaters as they developed from specks in the distance to recognizable persons who approached the bridge where I stood, then floated under me and emerged on the other side. One group of young people were friendly and started yelling hi and waving, so of course, I yelled back and snapped lots of pictures. They were so vibrant, I called, “I write a blog and you’ll be on the internet tomorrow.”


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That seemed to please them, and just before they disappeared under the bridge one of them called, “What’s the name of the blog?”

“Shirley Buxton,” I answered. I doubt if they remember my name, but just in case, if any of you are reading here, please tell us so. That surely looked to be fun yesterday, and when Jerry and I got back in the car, I said, “I’d love to do that.” I’ve checked it out and there are a couple of options as far as floating the river is concerned.

Not far from our RV park is the Durango Soaring Club where they tow Sailplanes aloft, then release them to silently glide back to the landing field. As we were passing the field yesterday, there was one taking off, so we pulled in and watched. We didn’t stay long enough for the glider to return, but did watch as the tow plane landed.

While Jerry talked to the people about the particulars of the flights, I wandered around and took pictures. Contiguous to the flight field is old farm equipment and a garden.


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Taken in (See more photos here)

The spectacular sky began to darken and there came a feeling of rain as we entered the car and drove to the RV park. We visited with the Stevenson’s under their awning for a while, then rain squalls began in earnest, lasted for awhile and lifted. Jerry grilled our dinner outside, finishing up the task in sprinkling rain.


My devotional blog is here.


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Durango Vacation Journal Part 8

DSC_0005, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Would that proper introductions were possible, but I’m afraid I do not know this gentleman’s name, although after meeting yesterday, we spend a few marvelous minutes together. He fully filled the open doorway of the art supply shop, and other passers-by stopped as did I and rubbed on his ears, and after checking with his owner, who stood red-shoed in the dim reach of her store, a couple of women bent over and hugged him. He remained impassive, retaining the regal detachment you see pictured here. I would have spent more time photographing him, especially those eyes, but I could see there was at least one person among the crowd who wanted to go into the store, and with this adoring crowd around the star, it was impossible. “He’s a bloodhound,” the owner said as she continued working. I couldn’t hear well when she told how old he was, but someone responded with, “Oh, he’s young then.”

“Yes,” said the owner, “and they have a short life expectancy. I’ll be happy if he makes it to ten years old.”

We had arrived in Ouray around noon, and our first stop was a place to eat since we were both hungry, and we chose well, for the bowls of chili we selected and the salads were tasty, and respectively hot and crispy…plus the place was beautiful. Immediately on our leaving the restaurant we had come to the shop of the Bloodhound.

We roamed the streets of this old mining town for a while, and it was Jerry who suggested we check out the lobby of the Beaumont Hotel. I was stunned at the beauty we saw as we walked through the entrance, and it was a treat to find a gentleman at the counter who was eager to talk of the establishment and of its history. That’s a really fine link I’ve posted for you, which shows many pictures of the original building and its refurbishment. It sat empty for 30 years, and the complete restoration took 5 years.


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Taken in (See more photos here)




In the late afternoon we were to meet the Stevenson’s at Silverton, so we returned to our car, and just as we were belting up, Jerry’s phone rang. It was Berl. “Where are you guys? We’re at Silverton.”

“On our way right now,” Jerry responded.

From Durango on 550 to Ouray, we had come through Silverton, so we were now retracing our steps–but only to the tune of 22 miles I believe. That 22 miles, though, is the most challenging of any highway segment I can imagine. It is very curvy, with more than one sign limiting the speed to 10 miles an hour. Ten miles an hour on a major highway is slow…but quite appropriate. Curving 550 is a two-lane highway, one edge sets against high stone mountains, the other hanging on to bluffs that plunge hundreds of feet. There are no guardrails. It took us the better part of an hour to go those 22 miles. Scary, but strikingly beautiful. Actually, I believe it may be as treacherous as any of the trails we’ve explored, except there are no boulders or loose gravel…things like that. Jerry was good enough to pull over and let me take pictures, but he often warned as I opened the door. “Don’t get near the edge, Shirley!” These mountains contain large quantities of iron ore and the stream that cuts through at the bottom of the cliffs looks to be liquid rust.

Beautiful Silverton. I’ve walked through this little mining town more than one time, and I love the place. I could live in Silverton. Only around 500 people are there year-round, and when I was reading on the internet this morning, I learned it has only 30 frost free days a year, and only ten growing days for its crops. It is situated at just under 10,000 feet.


Historical picture credit



Durango takes it name from the Denver and Rio Grande Railway that arrived in Durrango in 1881. A main attraction of both Silverton and Durango today is the narrow guage railroad that runs between those two points. Click on that link and you can hear the train blow its whistle.The first year Jerry and I visited in Durango we boarded one of those authentic coal burning trains and traveled through incredibly beautiful countryside. It from that vantage point we first saw Silverton.


Yesterday, our return trip from Silverton was also exceptional. A short distance out of town, I had just loaded pictures from my camera onto the computer, when at the edge of the road on Jerry’s side, I saw them. “Jerry, look. Deer.” Still holding the Apple computer in my lap, I grappled around until I held my camera, which I found was not turned on when I attempted to press the shutter. I turned it on, focused and got a good shot of only one deer–the last one to cross the highway in front of us. But luck was with us, for the Mama and her twin fawns slowly walked up the side of the hill not far from my window. I got off a couple of shots, was changing lenses, and then they bounded away. What a treat to see that Mama and her babies.

Just before we reached our RV park, I heard the train coming. “Pull over here, Jerry, this is a good spot.” Just in time, for in the distance I saw black smoke, and then a tiny image appeared and grew bigger and bigger and finally blew by me. There are several open cars and we waved at each other–the train riders and the woman standing beside the track.


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My devotional blog is here.