Thursday, December 04, 2014

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Here it is almost Christmas, and I just realized I haven't posted since June! So much has happened over the past few months. If you're Facebook friends, you've heard it all and can skip most of this. :)  If not, and you're interested, read on.

In June we drove our grandson to Georgia Tech for his Duke TIP summer program, and then came home and started packing for our trip to California. My oldest son had just remodeled his kitchen and they saved their old one for me. A far better kitchen than I currently had. We took Bo to the Lone Star Dog Ranch to board for 3 weeks. It was hard for me to do, but I'd searched boarding facilities for weeks until I found just the right place.

For him, it was a three week resort vacation, complete with playmates! The Ranch posts daily pictures so I was able to keep up with him and his activities.

I'd post pictures, but theirs are copyrighted. If you'd like to see what Bo was up to, check out Bo at the Lone Star Dog Ranch. Once we'd dropped him off and I'd dried my tears, we were off to California, pulling a 6 x 12 trailer with our Ford Edge. Gotta give kudos to my Ford. It performed like a champ.

We drove through the middle part of West Texas so I could get some pictures and do some more research on the area where my Lone Star Cowboy books are set. I grew up in this area, but things have changed in mumblesomething years. Not a lot, but some.

Then we drove through New Mexico, stopping overnight in Roswell, visiting the White Sands Monument, before heading for Arizona and the Superstition Mountains. My book, Superstition, is set there and I'd never actually been there. I'd done all my research online. It was starkly beautiful, even though we hiked the park in 107 degree heat.

And then it was on to California! It's a long haul from east Texas to Los Angeles. Up and down hills and mountains, through rain storms and dust storms. I was never so glad to finally make it through the maze of L.A. highways and arrive at our destination.

 We stayed with our son for a couple of days, leaving the trailer at his house so he could use it to haul their camping gear up to Yosemite for their annual camping trip, and then we headed up the 101 (Pacific Coast Highway). It's been a dream of mine for a long time to make that drive. It's absolutely breathtaking. Sometimes literally when you're on hairpin turns coming down or going up a mountain.

The first couple of days were foggy and cold. After that it was mostly beautiful sunshine, but still chilly. We drove the PCH all the way to Washington, where we veered inland to Seattle because we'd spent so much time taking pictures that we were a full day behind schedule. We barely got to see Seattle because just after taking the trip up to the top of the Space Needle, we got a call that our youngest daughter had been involved in a bad accident. She wasn't hurt, but the two people on the motorcycle who hit her were.

There was nothing we could do from so far away, and our oldest daughter and my sister-and-brother-in-law were there to help her, but we'd lost the enjoyment of seeing new places and wanted only to go home. But we couldn't just yet. Our son and his family were on the way to Yosemite with our trailer, and we were supposed to join them. I really didn't think I'd enjoy it at all under the circumstances, but I did. Yosemite is beautiful, something every American should experience at least once. And yes, we roughed it.

After a week at Yosemite, it was time to go back to L.A. and load the trailer with my new kitchen. We got everything but the center island and the range hood in the trailer, and my son brought those out to us in October.

But first, we had two girls to move. My oldest bought a new house, so we moved her and the boys the first week in August. Then the youngest got a job and we moved her from our house to her new place the last two weeks of August.

We started work on the kitchen around the end of September, and finished it on the 22nd of November. We went from a small, cramped, rotting-floor mess to a beautiful, shiny new kitchen in just 8 weeks, doing most everything ourselves (meaning hubby did it and I handed him stuff). The boys came out for a week to help replace the rotted floor joists, run plumbing and electrical, and they helped carry in all the cabinets. Here are a few in-progress pictures.

And the finished product. I love it! Well, almost finished. We still have to put up the backsplash and do some painting around the window, but we're putting that off until after the holidays.

Needless to say, little to no writing has been done along the way. But now that life is settling down a bit, I'm back to work! I'm hoping to have a new release, the sequel to Lone Star Justice, out soon.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/Holiday season.