A Travellerspoint blog

Winter in the Desert

Late 2015 to February 2016

Peoria, Arizona

We traveled to Arizona earlier than usual (1st of October instead of late) because Brad had been dealing with severe pain due to his hip. It seems the Robinson's hips are genetically problematic and as Brad's was bone on bone it was time to replace the joint with a new titanium one. The new surgery for hip replacement is less invasive (incision from the front of the leg) and Brad was on his feet shortly after surgery walking around. Needless to say Brad rehabbed in a couple of weeks and as of this writing is completely healed and walking without pain again.

It was so warm when we arrived (105F !) that Brad bought and erected a Tiki hut for shade and to set up his outdoor kitchen in. It has since become a favorite hangout for our friends in the neighborhood and a few other Tikis sprang up. It's so nice to extend our living environment to outside and especially to have Brad's trifecta of cooking apparatus; his smoker, fryer and grill! We also have our little convection oven outside for more counter space for me!

We visited my brother John Cooper and his wife Lisa and Lisa and I attended a "Day of the Dead" tea together.

The last pic in the group is of Brad's awesome fried chicken, sooo good!

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Newport Beach, California

We headed to So Cal for the holidays and stayed at Newport Dunes RV Resort on the back bay of Newport Beach for the month. It's a favorite of ours as just a short bike ride away you can be on Balboa Island and take a quick ferry ride over to the peninsula and then on to the boardwalk where you can ride up the coast.

One of our favorite dive bars (right off the ferry) and our first stop for a coldie is "the Class of 47" where we hang with the locals when low and behold who should be perched on a stool at the bar, none other than Dennis Rodman! He enjoys rather an infamous reputation with some of the more affluent residents of Newport Beach but is a favorite among the blue collars. We got to know him as he regularly hung out at the "Class of 47" and he admired our tattoos (which helped him remember us, too) and on one occasion he favored me with a bottle of his vodka, signed the bottle and insisted that we take a pitcure! Well, I still have the bottle, (thanks Dennis!) and one of these days I'll crack it open and try it with someone who likes vodka (Brad does not) to ascertain it's desirability...

Being in Newport enabled us to see Brad's family easily and we also enjoyed the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade with all the rich guy yachts decorated with lights and the opening ceremony fireworks.

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Christmas Eve with Jack & Marilyn Robinson

We spent Christmas Eve at Brad's father's with his brother Lance and wife Tina and were treated to Chinese dinner out. So good to see the Robinson men together (between them they have 7 hip surgeries!).

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Christmas Day with Marie Aspenwall

We spent Christmas with Brad's mother and Lance and Tina and went to Dim Sum at Sam Woos for lunch, Chinese twice in 2 days, yum! (If you have not tried Sam Woos in the Irvine, Ca area it's the best outside of San Francisco China Town!)

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Visit with Adam and Sarita Wetzel

My nephew Adam and his family were on holiday from Fairbanks, Alaska where they live and we were able to get together for an Italian feast at Buca di Beppa and send them off with presents for the kids Hazel and Christian.

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Quartzsite, Arizona

After the holidays we headed back to Arizona with an overnighter in Quartzsite to rock hound a little, the weather was chilly and wet so we hightailed it back to Peoria. I did manage to find a pretty stone to make a necklace for a friend.

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Peoria, Az

We made it back to our home base and Brad got the Tiki hut set back up for me to decorate and promptly bought new flowers to replace the ones that had gotten frost bitten while we were away. Seems the month of December was pretty cold here, anyway we had John and Lisa over in the hut for a luncheon and settled back in for the rest of the winter.
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The Barret Jackson Car Auction, Scotttsdale, Arizona

Brad being able to walk comfortably again we checked out the Barret-Jackson car auction held in Scottsdale and saw some fantastic cars and trucks. Quite the venue, we recommend the event, lots to see!

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Waste Management "The Players Championship", Scottsdale, AZ

We also attended the "TPC" golf tournament put on by Waste Management this year in January, we had perfect weather as you can see. the pics are of a little roadrunner bird that ran by, also of Phil Mickelson at the tee and one of Jason Dufner looking right at me as he walks down the fairway (for you golf followers).

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Sharon's Projects
These are some of the projects that kept me busy the last couple of months: "Goddess Earrings" (see the woman figure?), Chiastolite "Cross Stone" cabochon necklace with beaded bezel, "Spring Bee" quartz cabochon pin with beaded bezel and copper bumble bee, and "Dragon" beaded lighter cover.

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Lastly, looking forward to our summer travels up the coast of Oregon and Washington but for now the Tiki hut feels like home! XoXo ~ S
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Posted by curlysharon 14:50 Comments (2)

Spring & Summer Trek 2015

Setbacks & Soirees

Peoria, Arizona

We spent the winter at Casa Del Sol, a very nice gated retirement community made possible by our friends Jimmy and Glenn who got us into the place by watching and waiting for an opening (snowbird season). It was nice to be in one spot for a couple of months to relax and get some routine maintenance done on the rig and catch up with our friends who also fulltime in the same brand of 5th wheel. The winter weather in Peoria (Phoenix) area is pleasant and we also visited with my brother John and his wife Lisa who live nearby.

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California

We headed out of Peoria en route to northern California with an overnighter at Harris Ranch off hwy 5 (you can park overnight in the parking lot for free space permitting), best steaks on the road! The next morning just south of Los Banos we heard what we thought was a tire blowout on the rig which was surprising as we had just had bought new tires on her all around before leaving Arizona. After successfully maneuvering us to the emergency lane Brad went to investigate. It's frightening to be on the side of hwy 5 with semis whizzing by and your loved one having to be outside with little room! What he found was that it had not been a blowout of the tire but the entire wheel with brake still attached had been ripped off and was no where to be seen. Luckily there was just enough clearance with the dangling remnants of the suspension to lump the 6 miles into Los Banos going no more than 10 mph. The mechanic that roadside assistance sent helped Brad find and retrieve the wheel in the median of hwy 5 and you can imagine how fortunate we were that no one was hurt or (worse!) when it spun across the freeway.
Later we learned that the culprit was a defective Dexter No Lube hub that had catastrophically failed and sheared off. Well, there was nothing to be done but to leave the rig for what we thought would be a week or 10 days and continue up to the Sacramento area where we were to go camping with family and friends. (Anyone that has spent time in Los Banos (translated - bath, bathroom, toilet!) will understand our haste to leave!)

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Oregon House, Coloma, Nicolaus

As members of Thousand Trails (TT -nationwide campgrounds) we were able to stay in stocked manufactured cabins for a good rate and that made our time away from the rig pleasant enough to be considered a vacation. We did not anticipate having to be out of our home for what turned out to be a month+ so staying in the cabins helped alot. Our first stay was in Oregon House at TT Lake of the Springs campground. Our daughter Loretta and her fiance Jeremy and their friends came out from San Francisco to tent camp and it was a good thing we had the cabin as it rained over the weekend and we had room for all to hangout dry and warm!

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Next it was off to Coloma and a stay at TT Ponderosa campground. The cabin was small but new and we made the best of it visiting friends and exploring a bit with a trip to Uncle Tom's Cabin and some other favorite rustic bars.

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Our final cabin stay was in Nicolaus at TT Lake Minden which was by far our favorite cabin as it was on the lake with a porch that extended out over the water. We had beautiful weather during our stay and really enjoyed ourselves with all the revelers over Mother's Day weekend. After having to extend our stay another week due to still nothing happening on the rig we were anxious to get results and threatened to move back in to her repaired or not!

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San Francisco

We love that our daughter lives in the San Francisco Sunset District which lends itself to visits in that favored city so we (again) made the best of it and stayed a couple nights on our way down to Los Banos. Jeremy and Loretta are gracious hosts and took us on a walk with their beloved Corgi "Zero" who zoomed along the sand.

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Well the threat to take up residency at the RV service shop worked and they had the rig ready for travel less the replacement rim (which still proves to be elusive as of this writing 4 months later!) so we were able to use the spare rim and headed back up to Roseville.
We stayed at the fairgrounds and spent Memorial Day with our good buddy Scott Whitaker and his kin, always a feast and good time!
Lastly we stayed overnight in Sacramento and tramped around on our bikes to a few old hangouts while we waited to hear about the rim...

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The rim being still no go we decided it was time to head north to Oregon and friends that were waiting for us. It was my 50th birthday (June 4th) the morning we left and Brad treated me to breakfast at the Tower Cafe before we hit the road. Later when we stopped for the night in Yreka (long ass drive) he bestowed my gift of a delectable bottle of Don Julio tequila and we drank to my health.

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Oregon

The friends in Oregon earlier mentioned were expecting us to attend a work party to help set up for the "Oregon Country Fair" held in Vaneta, Oregon every 2nd weekend in July. The OCF is a huge cultural festival celebrating music, entertainment, craft and food artisans and basically everything 'Hippie'! I was fortunate to have my good friend Cher (Bear) invite me to be her 'Significant Other' during the Fair this year. We were also invited to an early work party weekend to help set up Traffic Camp, which Cher is a part of. Being there on site early allowed us to see the surroundings before all the structures and people are there which was amazing considering the 400 acre area is in a flood plain and most of the Fair is re-constructed every year. I have grouped all of the photos from the OCF together with a gap between Pre Fair construction and the Fair itself. Brad was also allowed to camp overnight with me and we had the best time, it was like no other festival or fair that we've attended and we look forward to being a part of OCF for many years to come. Indeed most of the volunteers are second and third generation Fair people having been in existence since the 70s.

Pre Fair

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2015 Oregon Country Fair

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Our Sweet Hippie Friend Cher Bear
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Many thanks to Cher for inviting us! I encourage everyone to attend (or volunteer!) the Oregon Country Fair and get your groove on!

Newport and Pacific City, Oregon

After the work party in June we headed out to the coast and the cool temps of Newport, Oregon, our favorite city on the coast. Because of our travel plans for the summer we had a shorter stay at our campgrounds on the coast but as always had a wonderful time and got our fill of oysters! Whaler's Rest Resort-

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We celebrated our 26th Wedding Anniversary

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Pacific City, Oregon

We were able to spend a couple weeks at Pacific City TT and visited our friends at the Sportsman Grill and Bar, best Razor Clams on the coast! I enjoyed hiking the hilly campground and walking the beach. We missed out on the 4th of July (better luck next year) but we had fine weather as usual.

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Ocean Shores, Washington

After the OCF weekend and the warmer temps inland we looked forward to the sea breezes and quiet of Oceana TT campground on the Olympic Peninsula. The surf there is so shallow that the beach sand is hard packed enough to ride your bike and Brad and I wasted no time riding up the beach to our favorite bar the Green Lantern and saying "hi" to friends there. The quiet was short lived however as the weekend exploded with Bike Week put on by the local casino and bringing in hundreds of bikers. Actually, we planned to be there for it as we had an excellent time last year and this year was no different!

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Fairbanks, Alaska

I had not been to my hometown of Fairbanks in over 20 years and it was time to fly up (after storing the rig outside of Seattle) and see my mother and family. Lots of change occurred in my absence but plenty had not changed at all. Fairbanks is beautiful in the summer months (July & August) and my mother's garden was in full bloom with all the midnight sun. We toured the surrounding areas hitting the dive bars and old saloons as we went. My excellent friend Julie Engfer Jones (since high school) and her hubby Nathan kindly took us around to their favorite spots and both being musicians/performers we heard more live music in Fairbanks in 2 weeks than we had in the last 6 months (excluding the OCF)! We were treated to the Alaska Salmon Bake and saw Nathan perform at the Palace Saloon; they brought us out to Ester's Malamute Saloon to hear 'The Milk and Honeys' (a female acoustic duo with beautiful harmonies) and to the Boatel Sleezy Waterfront Bar where we heard an awesome Dixieland Jazz band fresh from New Orleans! We had the best time with Julie and Nathan on our last day driving out to Chatinika Lodge for bloody marys and fried chicken and to listen to another of their lovely friends sing. Then it was back out to Ester to hear a jam session on the porch of the Golden Eagle Saloon and finally they let us hangout at their house til Julie took us to the airport at 11PM! What great frdsien, can't wait to come back! Next time we've decided we'll purchase a small trailer to drag up and do a more thorough exploration of Alaska.

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Mom's Garden

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Dive Bars & Saloons

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Malamute Saloon, Ester gold camp

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Chatinika Lodge, old gold camp mining dredge

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Ester, Ak Golden Eagle Saloon

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It's now the 3rd week of September and I can't believe were headed back down to Arizona for the winter! We've been fulltimimg for almost 5 years already and the time sure has flown by. (No, we don't plan on stopping any
Safe travels to all

Posted by curlysharon 15:36 Comments (1)

San Diego Explorations ~ January/February 2015

Birch Aquarium and Balboa Park with all it's diversions

San Diego

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We thoroughly explored San Diego this visit with trips to the beaches (various dive bars), Old Town, Stone Brewing, Birch Aquarium and Balboa Park. We love San Diego's laid back and friendly vibe. We saw our friends Darryl and Nancy and had some great food, all while enjoying pleasant weather.

Birch Aquarium

We spent a rainy afternoon wandering the halls of this notable aquarium on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. As the pictures show the variety and beauty of the specimens were outstanding; it was so peaceful and tranquil we were swept away.

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Balboa Park

We had time on our hands and so bought a weeks pass to visit the many museums at Balboa Park which also included entry to the San Diego Zoo. Our first stop was the San Diego Air and Space Museum exhibiting an excellent cross section of aviation history.

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San Diego Automotive Museum

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San Diego Natural History Museum

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San Diego Model Railroad Museum

By far the most fun exhibit, Brad was ready to volunteer and take up residence with the old guys that ran the museum.

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Botanical Building

How lovely to walk among the beautiful specimens featured in this unusual building.

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San Diego Zoo

I love a good zoo and this did not disappoint!

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Love, love, love San Diego!

Posted by curlysharon 10:13 Comments (1)

The Robinson Family Christmas 2014

Robinson reunion in San Francisco!

The Sunset District, San Francisco

Seasons Greetings! Keeping true to my word of more timely blog posts I offer for your viewing enjoyment the 'Robinson Family Christmas 2014', hosted by Loretta (our daughter) and Jeremy (her boyfriend) at their lovely home. All was festively decorated according to Robinson specifications, beer and fridge well stocked and presents under the tree. We were greeted at the door by Zero, their adorable 2 year old Corgi who enjoys the distinction of grandpuppy and center of attention. Our son Tom and his girl Ally flew in from Seattle and soon the good times were rolling!

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Our first day out was for bar hopping and dim sum in Chinatown with a visit to the Fortune Cookie factory...

Chinatown

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North Beach, Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill
Crossing over to North Beach we were determined to show Ally as much of San Fran as possible being a newbie to the city. So a climb up to Coit Tower the landmark dedicated to SF firefighters was next, which led to another climb up and down Telegraph Hill. The views were worth the hike and we even spotted the famous wild parrots that make their home on the hill. Loretta our Sherpa guide pressed on, and soon we were sipping much needed libations at Pier 23 Bar on the Embarcadero, enjoying the sunset.

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Presents Aplenty!

Because Tom had to be back to work on Christmas day we exchanged gifts early. My best gift was being all together as it had been 4 years since our last family Christmas. The gifts were numerous thanks to Nana Marie (Brad's mother who keeps Christmas in her heart throughout the year) and everyone felt spoiled indeed! What cheer, laughs, hugs and food, with smiling faces all around because sometimes you do get exactly what you wanted for Christmas.

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We're so thankful to Loretta and Jeremy for the kind hospitality and grateful for the time together. We have been blessed in many ways and look forward to what we hope will be a Robinson family tradition!
Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy New Year!

Posted by curlysharon 14:56 Comments (0)

Summer Travels 2014 continued

Coastal Washington, the Olympic Peninsula & Leavenworth

Ocean Shores

Our first Washington campground was just outside the coastal town of Ocean Shores where we checked out the Lytle Oyster farm, made friends with the locals at the Green Lantern and the Pirate's Cove, went to a bike rally and even rode our bikes on the beach!

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Olympic Peninsula

From there we had an overnighter on the Olympic Peninsula to Sol Duc Hot Springs resort where we hiked and soaked. We explored Rialto and Kallaloch beaches and met up with Brad's 2nd cousin Ashley as she was vacationing with her friend on the peninsula. We had lunch together at the beautiful and rustic Quinalt Lodge. We took in the ancient yellow cedar stand with the oldest being somewhere around 2000 years old. These groves have not burned for more than 1000 years and contain the oldest trees in Washington.

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The weather was fantastic and the oysters were delicious! We bought them by the quarts and had oyster casserole, fried oysters and bbq'd oysters baked in the oven in muffin tins!

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La Conner, Seattle & Birch Bay, Washington

We traveled to the picturesque town of La Conner on the Swinomish Channel where we explored the surrounds including Whidbey Island, Deception Pass, the Oyster Bar restaurant (best oysters I've ever had!) and Taylor Oyster farm. We made a trip into Seattle to visit Tom & Ally and stayed in a lovely B&B in the University District. Later, we had Tom & Ally out for a visit to La Conner and rented them a cabin for the weekend.

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Spot prawns were our favorite lunch, steamed daily at the local fish market!
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Blaine, WA and Vancouver, BC

Traveling north our next three weeks were in Blaine, Wa known as"The Gateway to the Pacific Northwest" on the border of Canada. We enjoyed the campground of Birch Bay filled as it was for Labor Day and we explored the area including a day trip into Vancouver to visit Chinatown for some wonderful food.

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Mt. Baker, northern Cascade mountain range. Elevation10,781 ft

As we drove around we could see Mt. Baker in the distance (approximately 100 miles east) and we decided to go up for a hike. We were rewarded with many beautiful vistas, a waterfall and a good hike in the Mt. Baker Wilderness as it's called.

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Shelton, Washington Oyster Fest!!!

Finally, the crescendo of our 'Summer of Oysters', the Shelton Oyster Festival home to the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship and the Washington State Seafood Festival! Held at the Shelton fairgrounds the camping area was more of a free for all with tents and big rigs sprawled in no particular order and parties (and partyers!) overlapping! The seafood (not just oysters) was so delicious we made a valiant effort to try it all along with downing pints of micro brews and taking in the crowds and the live music. We did our best to keep up with the other revelers but by Sunday afternoon we were spent and in need of a nap, boy those folks can party! After all, this was our first year at it but we'll be back next year to celebrate again!

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Leavenworth, Wa & Octoberfest

After limping away from the campgrounds in Shelton it was time to head up to the mountains and prepare for our 2nd weekend of festivities; Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Wa. We had visited Leavenworth 4 years earlier on the maiden voyage of our 5th wheel but had missed the world renown festival in the alpine town by a week. We vowed to return and this was our year! The Bavarian village of Leavenworth is nestled in the Cascade mountain range and home to Oktoberfest the first three weekends in October, with Oom-Pah-Pah bands, lederhosen, dirndl girls, veal & sausages and of course the beer! We camped nearby but stayed for 2 nights in Icicle Village (the downtown area) of Leavenworth to avoid driving and therefore indulge ourselves entirely. The venues were large to accommodate the crowds and the music was lively with several bands playing all the time. The hearty joviality was infectious with everyone singing, swaying and toasting! The town was all dolled up and the quaint shops doors all open & welcoming (wellkommen!). We hope to attend many more Oktoberfests, maybe come early to explore the picturesque area more but after 2 weekends in a row of major fun we were ready to head south once again.

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Eugene, Oregon and back to California

As our 'Summer of Oysters' came to a close we beat feet back southward. We made a quick stop in Eugene to visit a dear friend that I had not seen since my days in Alaska, 20+ years ago! We had good (quiet) fun with Cher and again hit the road southbound to California.
In closing this post I'd like to add that I'm happy to have gotten it down (and uploaded) before the close of the year! I hope to be more diligent about posting regularly, maybe even get the man for whom it's named to post occasionally! Happy trails to all our friends in the New Year!

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Posted by curlysharon 11:11 Comments (1)

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