Thursday, January 18, 2018


It has been 3 1/2 weeks since our last blog.  Lot's to share.  
Christmas Day was spent with our dear friends Gary & Steph Vogel at their campsite in Coronado, CA right on the bay!
Gary's two sons and daughter-in-law were there and we had a fun day of eating and in the evening playing Mexican Train.
If you remember we ate Thanksgiving outside and now we added Christmas dinner.

The Vogel's and us(not sure if that is proper English) left the very next morning to go to our campground to attend the Rose Parade.  We went with a tour group and are so glad we did.
We went to one of the many companies that build the floats for the parade.  This company had 5 floats entered.
We learned that there are 30-50 flowers per square foot.  Each float runs between $75,000 - $400,000 to build with the average being $200,000.  The company receives shipments of flowers from all over the world daily for weeks with the longer lasting flowers arriving first.
Some of the supplies waiting to be used

Gary and Steph working on removing Silver Leaf from the stem, cutting one end to a point to look like the other end, applying flue and setting in the cardboard boxes to be put on the float.

Just a few of the many buckets of Silver Leaf - everything is marked so they know what float it was ordered for  -
seeing the float you worked on come down the parade route is really exciting.
We were decorating 4 days before the parade so there were flowers everywhere.

The individual hands on decorating is much more intense than I realized.  The company we were at has 50 full-time employees but for weeks before the parade they can have as many as 500 volunteers per day!!  Besides tour groups like ours many people that live in the surrounding towns come as families every year, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts and even the teens from the marching bands that will be in the parade come.

Jerry ad I also worked on Silver Leaf

Fortunately they sent the younger people up on the scaffolding

Here is one of the bands volunteering
This is the artist's rendition of the AG float we worked on 

This was on another float they were building. The piece is painted in the desired colors so the volunteers know just where to place the live vegetation.
Most items get glued on so there are container of glue everywhere

Teens hard at work

each kernel of corn glued on one at a time 
Here is a volunteer actually putting the Silver Leaf on the silo for the AG float.

So much beauty and it all smelled so good

removing the small purple flowers from the stems

As long as it is natural most everything you can think of gets used.

I am not a fan of brussels sprouts but I love turtles - t
his guy was eventually covered with brussels sprouts to get much his color
The brussels sprouts

pumpkin seeds glued on one at a time

Cases upon cases of vials that the fresh flowers will be placed in at the last minute and then the vial stuck into styrofoam

It was particularly fun to be able to spend this adventure with Gary & Steph
 The next day it was off to Equifest where all the horses that are in the parade perform

When we arrived at Equifest they gave us these seat cushions and were happy to have them the day of the parade!!

Before we took our seats we saw this young cowboy 

The start of Equifest - we had great seats

This was a really funny skit with the policemen hanging at a coffee shop
 After Equifest was over we were able to go and meet the riders and horses.
The Clydesdale dog - 

Such magnificent horses

Cute little therapy horses
 The next day was Bandfest where all of the bands perform.  
It is held at Pasadena City College. There are 4 sessions over 2 days.  
We were there for one morning session.

This was the first time ever that a band from Africa Performed

The bands were amazing - it was easy to see why they were chosen to march in the parade
After Bandiest we went to the Ronald Reagan Library

Seal on the outside of Air Force One.  George W. Bush was the last one to use this particular plane and it was moved to the Ronald Reagan library after it was decommissioned  

Reagan's portrait in Jelly Belly's

 Also on display in the library was a Titanic exhibit

This is a replica of what the ship looked like when located

The radioman sending out the mayday

We were given Sunday off to rest up for our 4:45am departure the next day to the Rose Parade

Some of the people who had spent the night in order to have a good view

Here we are, grateful for our seat cushions waiting for parade to start.  Once again great seats.
The tour company did a fantastic job
Good Year blimp overhead taking pictures
The parade officially started when the Stealth Bomber flew over

This is "our" float that our Silver Leaf went on and it won the Wrigley Legacy Award for the most outstanding display of flora presentation, float design and entertainment.
 I could post many more pictures but the pics the next day in the park are actually more up close and personal.  All of the floats are parked right after the parade in a huge park where the public has two days to go and view.  Since we were up at 3:15am we were very happy to wait and go the next day.  There are people at each float to answer your questions and tell you about the float.

This is the front of the AG float we worked on
More AG float
More AG float
 Was amazed at all the detail -
Cranberries, seeds and flowers

His entire face is seeds

Note the onions
This float was worked on by another group when we were decorating

brussels sprouts on the turtle!!
Some other facts we found interesting about the floats.  They are all judged the afternoon before the parade.  The floats travel 3-5 miles an hour on the way to the parade.  Any high parts of the floats have to be able to bend down to go under bridges and overpasses.  The line up for the floats starts at 5:00am so they move in the wee hours of the night with people going along and attaching anything that may fall off.  After the showing in the park and flowers that are still in good condition are given to convalescent homes.

The last night of the tour we had a nice dinner.  All week the couple that hosted the tour kept telling us they would have a large give away the final night and we shouldn't miss it.  I won and was so excited - opened the package and it was a package of Angel Soft.  It was hilarious!!

The next morning we headed to Yuma, AZ.  Jerry and I had been in CA for 3 1/2 months.  
Definitely time to move on and to a land with lower fuel prices.
We drove past Palm Springs - think they have enough windmills?

The day after we arrived the four of us went to Algodones, Mexico.  This is a delightful town that caters to American and Canadian Snowbirds.  Very reasonably priced dental care, eye glasses, hearing aids, prescription drugs, etc.  Jerry had been there 2 years ago but Gary & Steph had never been.  You park and walk over the border.

Jerry and Steph got glasses and we all went to the dentist.  Jerry's and my cleaning that runs $112 at home cost $35 each.  Gary and Steph both got CAPS - not sure what they cost stateside but am sure they are more than the $250 they paid.
While in Yuma we toured a Date Farm called Martha's Gardens.  
It was a very interesting tour. 
While in Yuma some other dear friends of ours were in town, Nancy & Jeff Jeffries, so we all went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday -71 - where has the time gone?  We had a lovely evening.

Gary and Steph left Yuma last week headed to Texas to do a mission project.  Jerry and I are still here leaving on Monday for the Phoenix area where we will be for a month.  After working 3 projects in a row and then doing the Rose Parade we were ready to just relax and enjoy so have just been relaxing, getting some things done around the motorhome and catching up on paperwork.  We have really enjoyed Yuma - the weather has been perfect.  No rain, 70's during the day and low 50's at night.

I had mentioned in our last post about the terrible fires in Ventura County very near where we had been in California.  It was the worst fire in CA history.  It burned huge average of trees and brush.  This is now the time for rain in CA and they are having terrible mudslides in the area where the fires were.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Since we just finished our second calendar year (2 1/2 total) on the road here are some stats -
In the Jeep we traveled 10,044 miles
In the motorhome 7,167
We added Florida, North Carolina and Utah to states we hadn't visited before in the motorhome.

We had a wonderful 2017 in our coach.  Had so many adventures and met and spent time with many wonderful people plus being home in Illinois for four months visiting family and friends.  We are immensely grateful for this opportunity and good health to pursue our dreams.  We feel very blessed and remember frequently to be thankful to our Lord for all of these blessings.

And no blog would be complete without a current picture of the best part of 2017 - the birth of our grandson Vincent

May all of you enjoy good health and many blessings in 2018 - hugs to all Carol & Jerry