I have challenged myself to pick a picture from each month of 2016 that represents what that month meant to me. This is not an easy task. And not because I kept on average 1000 images for each month of last year, but because each picture brought back memories of all the adventures, good and bad, that Randy, Roxy, Otis and I went on, the friends we met and the sights we saw.
January : The Great McDaniel Adventure had arrived in Ajo Arizona mid-December. We had the entire Sonoran Desert to explore and we were having a great time doing just that. The Sonoran Desert is beautiful and I would love to make a trip there one spring when it is in bloom.
February : Little did we know that we were exposing the dogs, and ourselves, to the deadly disease, Valley Fever. Roxy did come down with the sickness and most of the first of the year found Randy and I hoping and praying that she would get well. Roxy did get well and she is now in remission.
March : By March, The Great McDaniel Adventure was chilling in Benson Arizona. The highlight of March was a surprise visit from our grandkids and their parents. We hadn’t seen Shaun, Cristy, Will and Sammy since 2009. Words can’t describe how wonderful to actually hug them in person.
April : We left Benson and made a beeline to Elkhart Indiana to attend our very first rally : Entegra’s Springfest 2016. I am fairly certain that this will end up to be our very last rally. Too many early mornings for this gal, too many of the Entegra owners did their best to put the poor Entegra staff through their paces.
May : The Great McDaniel Adventure headed west from Indiana. Our destination was 1900 miles away in Newport Washington. There, we found our piece of heaven at Spring Ridge Estates.
June : Randy, Roxy, Otis and I settled on our own piece of land in our new community at Spring Ridge Estates. We were content to just sit and enjoy our view of the Hoodoo Mountains and to watch Roxy and Otis run, jump and play without being attached to a leash or in a fenced dog park.
July : The property at Spring Ridge officially became ours. I didn’t have to go far to find oodles of photo opportunities right on our 2-1/2 acres. Bugs, flora, critters, everything was fair game to me and my camera.
August : My in-house chef tried his hand at making bacon. Oh, my holy stars ! Is homemade bacon ever delicious. Randy now has his very own kitchen to prepare food for the barbecue and the smoker as well as the space to set up his cooking toys. Randy is a very happy man.
September : Roxy and Otis had a heyday when this little guy came to visit. Since our property had been unused for a year or so, I think he was a bit surprised to find it occupied. He wasted no time scrambling up a tree and chattering at Roxy and Otis. It only took one more time for the squirrel to realize that Roxy and Otis were the new tenants and he had better find another place to hid his nuts.
October : After almost three years in storage, all of our worldly possessions, minus one ’56 sedan, arrived from Arkansas. Everything Randy and I owned fit into a 15′ U-Haul truck. The U-Haul was driven by one of the best young men on this planet, Jonathan. Randy and I were happy that Jonathan spent a couple of days with us before heading back home.
In October, Randy and I learned the hard way that Randy had a wonky heart valve and was headed for open-heart surgery sooner than later.
November : Our first snow ! Randy and I spent the month getting ourselves, and the motorhome ready for the snowy and cold weather that was to come.
December : The highlight of the month was not the forty feet (*) of snow, nor the sub-zero temperatures, nor the various issues that sub-zero temperatures brought to us. It was Randy sailing though at record speed, open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. That man is amazing !
(*) Just a slight exaggeration.