What a difference…

What a difference a year makes!

Only now do we realize how much we were in “vacation, ” or “tourist” mode for all of last fall. Go here, see that.

It was a wonderful trip down to the Arizona desert in 2018, taking about 9,000 miles. Hope you enjoyed traveling with us via our posts. But we’ve not made many posts this year (OK, this is only the second one). We have entered fully into “living” mode in the RV.

Having left the northeastern corner of the country for the indeterminate future, we had to decide what to do with doctors. We could keep our current ones, but that would mean returning to Maine and MDI moderately frequently–not the easiest place in the world to travel to. So we decided to create a new locus for our health care needs.

Our current expectation is that the longest period of time that we will spend in any one place for the foreseeable future is here in southwestern Arizona. So we decided to use the Phoenix area as our new medical “home.”

Being the fifth largest city in the US, and being a mecca for retirees, Phoenix has a plethora of doctors: doctors with expertise in the vicissitudes of aging (ageing for those of you outside the US and Canada).

Also, being the 5th largest city comes with first world problems!

So, much of the last several weeks has been spent starting relationships with various doctors in the Phoenix area. One of the advantages of trips to Phoenix is that it has a great ham radio store (and restaurants, well-stocked supermarkets, other stores, and…)!

Kathe had an unresolved issue while being treated in Maine when it came time to leave, so her doctor put us in touch with an appropriate specialist in Phoenix and suggested that we get there sooner than later. Kathe was able to get an appointment in the near future, so this trip south was very different from last year’s. We basically plotted a straight line from Indiana to Quartzsite, and boogied on down with mostly one night stops and a few two nighters. Not the way we normally enjoy traveling, but possible. That’s why there haven’t been pics taking you along as we explored new places.

So beside saying “Aaaahhhhh,” and following the instructions to “Look straight ahead at the white light,” what else are we doing?

Mostly it has to do with people. We are enriching friendships with people we met last year and those we met 30 years or so ago. And making new friends.

Henk and Mary, renewing friendships from long ago. We’re in Palm Canyon, in Kofa NWR.

Kathe is getting back into quilting, and I’m starting (finally) to do some hobby programming. (I didn’t do ANY programming the first year of retirement, which stunned me.) We’ve gotten our bikes tuned up ready for some riding this winter. Kathe will be taking her first classes at the local Gem and Mineral Club in the next few weeks: silverwork, lapidary, and faceting.

We have also returned to an old favorite hobby: amateur radio. You may know it as ham radio. We are in the process of putting up some antennas that will make it possible for us to make contacts not only locally but also around the country and hopefully, internationally. Kathe made three contacts yesterday — her first in more than ten years!

This year’s site on the desert is a bit of a “neighborhood” — we’re camped next to our friends James and Gloria. We’re farther back from the main road which means far less dust. We’ve edged our large “sites” with rocks and the areas around the antenna poles (we both have one) are landscaped with white quartz rocks. After all, this is Quartzsite; there are plenty available!

Our current ham antenna “farm”: a 40 meter dipole antenna for Kathe, and a 2m / 70cm vertical antenna for Al.
(L to R) Rhett, Scarlet, James’ ham antennas, James and Gloria’s Solitude (our antennas are just out of frame, to the left).

Astronomy and night photography are very well-suited for desert skies. We are keeping better updated on meteor showers, etc. If we can successfully stay up late (always a challenge!) or get up during the night (even MORE of a challenge) to hit a the peak of a shower, we’re sure to be rewarded. It’s dark out here!

We also plan to do some exploring of the southwest this winter. We only did one local trip all of last winter, to Joshua Tree NP. We hope to do many more than that, and already have a trip planned to Death Valley in February.

Thank goodness for airplanes, cell phones, and the Internet. We’ve really felt the distance from family this fall and it’s been difficult at times. Fortunately, we were able to easily return to New England for some much needed family time last month. Before and after that visit, we’ve kept in touch throughout each day; the coverage here on the desert is pretty darned good right now. Distance is never insurmountable when love for family is of utmost importance.

As we look ahead to the holidays, it’s still kind of weird to see decorations available (including snowmen, icicle lights, etc.) at Lowe’s and Walmart alongside huge greenhouses spilling over with flowering shrubs, hanging baskets, and cacti—especially when the temps are in the high 80’s and low 90’s!

We know that the MDI area has been having some pretty spectacular sunsets recently, but this wouldn’t be a “Lobsters” post without one of ours.

OK… Without two of ours!

As always, we hope that this finds you well and enjoying life. Thanks for traveling with us, and keep in touch!

-Al and Kathe: The Lobsters

19 thoughts on “What a difference…”

  1. What a lovely post. Glad you are back in the swing of things and that you are enjoying your time with amateur radio once again. Love you both and miss you very much! xox

    1. We miss you SO much, too, Lee! I’m so glad we were able to come to spend time with you and all of your family last month. I’m planning to come out some time around your birthday! How does that sound? I have plans! 🙂
      Love and hugs,

    1. Hey, Paula and Chuck,

      What fun to hear from you! Imagine us all around a raging campfire discussing the “news of the day”—I don’t think we’d need any kindling!
      Hope you two are well.

      Kathe and Al

  2. We thoroughly enjoyed our time together at a Quartzsite, which was a new experience for us. Also playing the collaborative games you taught us has been fun and bought them to play with the grandchildren.
    Love Mary and Henk

    1. It was indeed a terrific week! It always feels like we are able to just pick up the conversation right where we left off, doesn’t it? We have just acquired a couple new games and are enjoying them. Have fun sharing the games with your grandkids. Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! See you in February.

  3. Glad to hear from you. We are in winter mode – that means out of the gardens and back to the weaving . Taking your advice, Kathe, 20 minutes a day and projects can be finished and skills improved. Your sunset pics were beautiful-Gray November has been here for days!
    Bernie’s new knee is healing .
    Take care and enjoy the warmth and sunshine.

    1. Hi, Kay,
      SO glad to hear that your daily weaving is really reaping benefits! What are you working on? I’m glad I found a good home for my loom and all that fiber. 🙂
      Glad also to hear that Bernie’s knee is healing — you two should be back on the dance floor soon! Oh, wait . . .
      We miss you — the Pats are having QUITE a season, eh?

      Much love,

    1. You’ve been on my mind so much, Jamie. You have been such an inspiration to me and in my heart over these last few months. 🙂 XOXO, Kathe

  4. Sounds like you are settling in to your new mode of living. I’m happy for you! Elaine spent some time in Death Valley last year and loved it. We are settling in for the winter here

    1. Hi, Robyn,
      How exciting that you are back on MDI! At least for the time being, right…? Hope your new job is going really well, too. We’ll be glad to take any pointers about DV that Elaine may want to share with us–we’ll be going in the East side.

  5. Love to see photos of the sunset from your desert view. Looking forward to more photos of the places you find interesting.
    Trust that the doctor visits went smoothly and you have confidence in your new doctors. Not always easy to switch.
    Ham radio is a great way to communicate. Enjoy your renewed hobby.

    1. Hi, Jean! Yes, it looks like my new glaucoma specialist is going to be the one to figure this all out. She has such expertise! Hope your winter in Idaho isn’t too brutal. We sure hope to get up that way next year! XO, Kathe

  6. So glad to hear from you again. Hope Kathe gets her medical issues cleared up soon. Glad you have doctors that will know you, close now. We love hearing of your adventures and the pictures. You do have amazing sunsets where you are. God bless you. Jimm and Sue Ann Zajicek

    1. Good to hear from you, too! Where are your travels taking you these days? We have such fond memories of our lovely evening together in Shipshewanna–that was such fun!

      God bless you,
      Kathe and Al

  7. WOW!! so happy to hear from you two again!..and catch up..again. I love sitting here, at this old desk and watching this grand adventure! Thank you!

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