Good to Be Home

I use the word “good” to describe many things in my life – and that is a good thing.  Lisa and I enjoy good pizza, good weather, good music, and a good movie.  When I say it is “good” to be home – something seems inadequate about the word.  Lisa and I have been so excited getting home after five months in Arizona that I am struggling to find the right word to express our feelings.  Seeing our family, including our grandson, after five months away in the Mohave Desert is a joy impossible to describe.  Let’s just say it is beyond “good” to be home – but it was not easy getting home.

Lisa and I left out of Kingman around 8:30AM Arizona time on Thursday Nov. 7th.  As we were about to pull away from the Kingman KOA Campground where we had called home since the middle of June – our camp friends arrived to bring gifts and say good-bye.  Tom and Diane from Redding, California arrived to bring some of Tom’s homemade relish, jelly and a handmade wind-chime.  Kay, who with her husband Glenn, had moved from Ohio to make Kingman their home, also arrived to wish us off safe and we tearfully left these wonderful people and new friends.  After stopping to have all our tires checked out – we were finally on our way on I-40 heading east.

Our hope was to get all the way to Oklahoma City on that first day and we were making pretty good time all the way into New Mexico.  Just outside Albuquerque we stopped for fuel and I noticed one of the tires on our RV was low.  We found a place that had air and I did my best to fill the tire to the same level as the others.  It concerned me that our RV tires had been sitting for five months in the dry desert heat and it had crossed my mind to have them all changed out before we left.  But we decided to try to make it home on our old tires.  Probably not a good idea.

Just outside Tucumcari New Mexico, the tire blew.  I immediately thought that I may have added too much air which caused the blow-out.  We managed to pull our vehicle and RV over to the side of a very busy I-40 – but not as far off the road as I would have liked.  Trucks and cars were flying down the road just a few feet from where we pulled off and in the darkness – it was a little scary trying to determine where we were or how this could be fixed.  On top of all that – we had very little phone service and could not determine by our GPS where we were located.  Lisa called AAA (highly recommend this service BTW) and tried our best to give our location.  It was simply too dangerous to try to walk to the nearest mile marker.  As she was on the phone trying to get help, I noticed car lights pull in behind our RV and I stepped out hoping it was a state trooper.  Two young men walked up and asked if we needed help.  They appeared to be about twenty-five years old and told me they had run over part of our blown-tire and noticed we were in need of help.  Fortunately, they managed to tell me our location since they had full service on their phones and it gave us all the information we needed to get help to us.  They said they were on their way to Dallas from LA.  I think they disappeared back into heaven as soon as they drove away.

Finally – after about forty tense minutes on the side of the road – a wrecker service arrived and changed out our tire and we were back on the road.  Thank God for “good” people.

The delay forced us to stop for the night in Amarillo, Texas and we pulled into the KOA campground around 10:30PM.  The wind must blow through the panhandle of Texas night and day and though it was not as bad as when we drove to Arizona in June – it was enough to keep us up most of the night.  It also did not help that we had run out of propane and had no heat.  Lisa and I huddled under every blanket and warm clothing we could find to stay warm through the cold night.  We have never wanted to be home more.

As soon as dawn broke – I warmed up the truck and we were soon on our way – again.  Our son’s future mother-in-law, Connie Johnson, followed our progress home on ‘Facebook’ and her comment that she was “praying us home” brought tears to our tired, bloodshot eyes but also provided us with enough encouragement to get us all the way to Owensboro at 1:30AM Saturday morning.  (I hate to admit that I did discover we did, in fact, have propane enough to stay warm – I misread the tank indicator.  I just told Lisa that I wanted to cuddle with her so I pretended we were out of propane.  She did not think that was funny.)

We have now been home for a week and are getting ready for our son’s wedding at Disney World and a reception here in Owensboro in mid-December.  Along with that we have been helping our daughter, Heather and “fun-in-law”, James Morris remodel their kitchen.  We are staying busy.  Seeing our grandson, Conner Jack, was a joy beyond words and our house has been filled with people almost night and day since we arrived.  We would have it no other way.  Where we go next with Lisa’s work is anyone’s guess.  When we leave is also uncertain.  We will leave all that up to God who is working it all out from a vantage point far superior to ours.  But, for now – we are just glad to be home.

And it is good to be home.  Love – Steve and Lisa.


Packing Up and Going Home

When my brother and I were kids playing in our neighborhood – back in the day when summers seemed to last forever and playing outside was mandatory – our dad would step onto our little front porch and blow a whistle indicating it was time to go home.  We could hear that whistle blocks away and knew that he meant business.  It was time to get home – and now.

The whistle is blowing for Lisa and I.  We hear it blowing for us to get home finally after five months here in Kingman.  And so the packing up has begun and Thursday morning – we will head east toward Kentucky.

There is much that we will miss here in Kingman – the mountains, the warm weather, the sunrises and sunsets, the people we have made friends with.  We may return someday for either a visit or with Lisa’s work – who knows?  We hope to visit JC and Carol again in Vegas and stop by to see how Glen and Kay are making out in their new house outside Kingman.  We may even bowl again with Diane and Tom (although I doubt another 254 score is possible).  Lisa is going to miss many of the co-workers who have become friends – and we both will miss the staff here at our campground.

But – nothing can keep us from home.  Last year we missed Christmas while in Loma Linda, California and it was one of the worst, most painful holidays we ever experienced.  We vowed that if at all possible we would never miss Christmas at home again.  When we get home there is a kitchen to remodel, a wedding to plan, holidays to celebrate, and family and friends to catch up with.  One of my first stops will be for a chocolate long-john from “Rolling Pin” bakery and a good, greasy, hamburger from the “Dipper”.

But there is also a little grandson who has grown over the past five months and we can’t wait to get our hands on him.  What a reunion it will be.

Home – We are going home!

See you soon!

Steve and Lisa

Clark Gable (and donkeys) Slept Here


Steve feeding the burrows

Steve feeding the burrows

Lisa with the "Oatman" gunslingers

Lisa with the “Oatman” gunslingers

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married here in Kingman, Arizona back in 1939.  I have no idea why.  Perhaps they just wanted to get away from Hollywood – and if that was the case – they did a helluva job.  Kingman ain’t Hollywood – trust me – and that’s a good thing.  Come to think of it – maybe it is understandable why they came here to get hitched.  They then honeymooned in a local gold mining camp town called “Oatman”.  Lisa and I traveled there on her final day off from work before we head back home in a week.  People had told us from day one that “Oatman” was a place we had to visit while here in Arizona.  One of those “must sees”.  Famous for it’s daily mock gun fights and roaming burrows that saunter through town, “Oatman” is located along thirty miles of the longest stretch of the original Route 66 still in use.  Winding through the Black Mountains and Mohave Desert, Lisa and I weaved our way along the narrow roadway amazed that people actually traveled this route on their way to California several decades ago.  The entire length of “Oatman” could not be more than a mile long and along with the “Oatman Hotel” where the Gable’s spent their wedding night, it features shops, restaurants, bars and hungry burrows waiting to be fed.

“Oatman” was originally a mining camp in the early 1900’s that became popular with prospectors after ten million dollars in gold was discovered.  The town is named after Olive Oatman, an Illinois girl kidnapped by Yavapai Indians and forced to work as a slave.  After being adopted by Mohave Indians, her face was tattooed in the Mohave Indian tradition and she was later set free very near where “Oatman” was settled.  Hence why the name “Oatman” was adopted in her honor.

Aside from experiencing all the history of the place, Lisa and I had the most fun feeding the wild burrows.  Tame enough to allow them to feed out of your hand, these donkeys have grown in population having descended from pack animals the early prospectors used.  The animals arrive each morning at about the same time the stores open for business and they seem to know what parts of the town provide the sacks of feed since they will walk up and down the wooden, plank sidewalks waiting to be fed.  If not careful – the animals can become somewhat aggressive – biting and kicking each other trying to get to the free hand-outs.  As evening approaches, the burrows make their way back into the hills surrounding “Oatman” – only to return to town the next day, as if they are reporting for work.  Lisa and I bought two bags of feed and laughed at how quickly they would gather around trying to get a bite of food.  Even after the food is gone, they follow people up the street thinking more food is on its way.

Lisa and I commented that after finally making our way to “Oatman”, we believe we have now seen just about every famous place in north-west Arizona.  Now we wait for the next week to pass so we can finally gather all our things, hitch our wagons and head east.  Homesick, sunburnt, and a little tired of desert living, we are looking forward to ending our time here.  But, leaving a place after five months brings a little sadness to both of us as we have grown to love these people and these places.  Who knows if Lisa will be called back here in January – who knows where her next assignment will take us?

But we know where home is – and that is our next destination.

Love, Steve and Lisa