Tempe Holiday Reset

Our month stay at Catalina Spa RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs is up 12/16/19 and it is time to go about 280 miles East to stay in Tempe with our daughter Megan for Christmas. Leaving the springs is always hard.

I love the warmth of the hot-spring-fed swimming pool and spa for much-needed exercise. Soaking up the minerals from the pools is like a little detox and skin treatment all in one! The sound of coyotes and owls and sights of the prevalent hummingbirds always make me happy. Sunset views against the San Jacinto mountains is a nightly show. Well, a daily show since the Winter sun sets so early!

We won’t miss the unusual stormy weather with high winds and lots of rain (this is the desert, not our home in Oregon after all). The winds whip up the sand making the views hazy and it knock over the folding chairs, sweeping away the patio rug every so often. Sand finds its way into every crevice in the RV too.

Holiday Traditions

I am aching for some holiday traditions so I set up a new mini tree in the RV even before Thanksgiving! My heart is so happy to see how beautifully Megan decorated the house. It’s fun planning meals and baking with Megan as I look forward to Ian’s arrival with his friend, Wesley.


Despite being wary of adding more weight to my already struggling bod, Megan and I made 4 of our favorite types of cookies: chocolate chip, peanut blossoms, cashew tassies and sugar cookies. Okay, I did more overseeing and recipe reciting while Megan ran the mixer but it was a joint affair overall.


Besides menu planning and menu shopping, we had a mini foodie fest. With such a small gathering of five, we like to have special meals like Prime Rib for Christmas and Steak Oscar for New Years Eve. We found that the Sous Vide water bath cooks the meat to perfection requiring only a quick sear once it comes out of the cooking bag. A favorite app for managing recipes, shopping list and menu planning is Copy Me That check out the link to our gear page for more info.

Christmas Eve Italian is a must and this time it was lasagna. Bruce has converted us all to biscuits and gravy lovers and it is a Christmas morning tradition now.

We watched America’s Test Kitchen Cuban Sandwich Assignment recipe development on You Tube and decided to give it a try. It entails three steps: making bread, roasting pork, assembling the sandwich. Making bread is a first for  Megan and Ian and they both got into the action. Assembling the sandwich recipe includes roast pork, ham, salami, swiss cheese, pickles, yellow mustard, on yummy fresh baked bread. Put it all together and press it into melty goodness. It was fun to make and definitely a new “go to” recipe for us now!


Wingspan is our new favorite game and we’ve been playing it often. Even with die-hard video gamers, Ian and Wesley found it fun and the scenarios change every time so we haven’t been bored with it yet. There aren’t any big rivalries so it’s peaceful too. You don’t even have to be a bird lover but if you are, the powers and scenarios make more sense. Gamers are probably already used to thinking in terms of the bird’s power assignments, so it’s no wonder the guys learned fast and did well.

We also played Dragon Farkle but it does create some rivalries because players battle each other when someone gets ahead. Regular Farkle is much friendlier.


Getting Stuff Done

The breaks in our feasting traditions were interspersed with projects.

Rock Polishing

As a rock lover, I have been collecting rocks forever and Santa brought me a rock polisher this year! Oh boy, more to figure out how to store in the RV! The rocks from Rockhound State Park New Mexico, Lake Wenatchee Washington, the Oregon Coast and even Namibia will look so much different polished. What I didn’t fully realize is how long it takes to run the polisher. There are typically 4 rounds and the first round can take as long as 6 weeks!  WHAT???  I couldn’t wait that long so I kept the first round to 3 weeks on the first batch.

Purging and Reorganizing

Purging is easier to do in stages. We take things out of the RV and into our storage in Megan’s place and then out to donation or resale. There is no shortage of items to review – old and new. Things that we aren’t quite ready to part with are much easier to give up after they have been sitting in storage for a year. So far, there are only a few things that I wished we had kept. There may be items we will miss if we ever decide to travel less and settle into a sticks and bricks house again.

I used this same technique with the kids when they were young. Just store items that they aren’t ready to part with – out of sight, out of mind. Kids are much less attached to stuffed animals, school papers and such after they have been stored a while. Neater rooms and no tears!


There is always maintenance to do on the house and vehicles. Bruce and Megan replaced lightbulbs, reset lighting timers, installed a dimmer switch and replaced broken cabinet hinges.

I helped Megan pick out paint colors for some projects she is gearing up for and we got our hair cuts together. Megan’s cut was significant as she had been growing it out for donation to organizations that make wigs to benefit people undergoing cancer treatment. I’m sure that unusual reddish color is fun for them to work with!

Kayak Refinishing

Our Pygmy kayaks were purchased from the original builder more than 10 years ago. We have enjoyed them a lot more in the last year because we carried them with us which meant more exposure to sun and saltwater. It is time to refinish them before heading toward Florida again this year. Bruce found some lamination issues on my kayak requiring more extensive repairs which delayed our departure from Tempe a week or two while waiting for the finish to dry. It worked fine, we just cut out a couple of planned stops on our journey toward Florida.

Time to Go

After over a month in Tempe, we look forward to our next destination. I feel almost ready to travel but conflicted about moving further away from our family members in the West again.

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