Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! ("Our 12 Months of 2009")

December 25, 2009

Hello To All Our

Dear Friends & Family -

This year has been sooooo wonderful!! BUT, all our travels have kept us so busy that the only way to bring you our now customary “12 Months of 2009” is to go to the other side and send it electronically. So – here on our blog - is your Christmas/Holiday letter from us aboard the Magic Bus traveling around the west.


January – There was much Skiing, Sundance and the Freestyle World Cup with lots of family and friends.

February – We celebrated our niece, Deme’s, seventh birthday in Scottsdale - along with sister Barb’s and Mother’s birthdays - and cousins Julie and Mike’s anniversary (also got to sit for cousin Baby Bear!).

Deme enjoying her birthday celebration

March – This is the month we loaded up the Navion and headed east to Beaufort, SC to see the wonderful and amazing triplets - and their Mom and Dad (cousins Bethany & David). Along the way we saw many long-time friends - Kacy and her family, the Clemens, Art Molter & Wendy, golfed with Jim & Rebecca along the Robert Trent Jones Trail, lunched with cousin Dodge!

One of the triplets was enough to wear Gary out.

Elizabeth can handle two with aplomb.

On the Robert Trent Jones golf trail in Alabama.

April – Headed back west through the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore - also found the Cowboy Chocolatier (see our blog below for his address - worth a look!).

After the fog finally dissipated at Mt. Rushmore.

May – Back to Phoenix for a Jimmy Buffett concert, 3-mile cancer walk with sister Barb and niece Deme on Mother’s Day and Deme’s DoReMi presentation of Alice in Wonderland. Elizabeth and Mother Dorthy set sail for an Alaskan cruise while Gary visited his Mother Eloise and daughter and granddaughter.

Walking for the cure in Phoenix.

Elizabeth and Dorthy in Alaska.

June – Lots of golf - despite the rain!

July – GRANDDAUGHTER’s (Haley Erin) FIRST BIRTHDAY celebrated in Park City! Around that was more golf and outdoor concerts with friends.

Haley hittin' 'em with gramps.

The Hengsteler's (Shannon, Heather & Haley).

August - More golf, including the club’s men’s tournament - the Kemosabi - where Gary and his guest (Jim Stinson) WON their flight! Also, a month of visits from many friends - AND, we took delivery of the new and improved Magic Bus!!

The Last of the Mohicans (it is a long story) finally win their flight before crashing and burning in the finals.

September, October & November – September 5th we loaded up the Bus and headed North to Glacier National Park, our first stop in our THREE month road trip that included Glacier, Waterton National Park, Banff and Lake Louise, Whistler, Vancouver Island, Oregon, Central CA, Santa Clarita CA and Phoenix, AZ!! (ALL the details of this trip are given below in a blow by blow description on the BLOG!) We thoroughly enjoyed EVERY part of this trip whether it was the beauty of our many National Parks or the warmth of the friends and family we visited along the way.

Grillin and Chillin'

E & G enjoying Glacier National Park.

Black Bear enjoying the berries of Waterton.

December – Loaded up the car to drive to Beaver Creek, CO, to attend the World Cup ski races with friends. Then, loaded up Magic again and headed for CA and AZ for Christmas. We began celebrating with our first Christmas on the 20th in Lemoore with the Hengsteler (daughter’s) family - Gramma and Gramps (us) gave Haley the pink chair.

Haley enjoying her new chair (climbing gym?).

Then moved south in the state to have Christmas day dinner in Magic with Gary’s Mother, her husband Tom, the Hengstelers and Elizabeth’s Mother, Dorthy.

Christmas Dinner in the Bus

Four Generations

Then over to Scottsdale to celebrate one more time with Sister Barb’s family on the 28th! We will also have the opportunity to visit with many more cousins while in AZ and hope to ring in the New Year with much family and lots of friends there.



Lots of Love – Elizabeth Biaett & Gary Dickey

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home & Gone Again - - - :-))

Just a quick posting to bring you all up to date.

We left Phoenix the morning after Thanksgiving and spent all of three days at home. You see, we had a World Cup race in Beaver Creek, CO that we had to get to. So - after taking care of mail, bills and unloading the Bus - we were off again but, without Magic this time. Just a plain old car trip.

All our usual ski ‘buds’ were there with us to cheer Ted, Bode and the rest of the US skiers to the finish line. Ted took a 4th place in the Super G and Bode took a 4th in the Downhill - good points for both - and a good warm-up for the Olympics!!

After the WC we were actually home for a whole week! During this time we spent lots of time with our many friends in Park City that we had not seen for three months - lots of dinners and drinks to celebrate the wonderful holiday season and warm friendships!

December 16th Magic was loaded up again and we were off to celebrate the Holidays with family in California and Arizona. This makes me think - “when will the 12 months of 2009” letter get done and out to all of you????? Perhaps this year I will do the unthinkable - send an electronic letter - perhaps posted on our blog!?!?!??!?! Stay tuned and I will let you know the decision.

Love to you all - E&G

Memory Lane

Well - our last ‘blog title’ was “we’re back” - meaning we had another blog posting. However - many of you thought we were home - early!! Not a chance. So - here is the last week of our 3 month tour ----

Just like all the others, the week was PACKED. This one, though, held many days of reminiscing for Elizabeth. It was decided that Gary needed to see Iron Springs (just outside of Prescott, AZ) and the family ‘cabin’ where summers were spent back in the ‘good ole’ days’. So, we loaded up the car with Mother, friend Phyllis, Gary and Elizabeth and headed north. Gary saw the softball field where we spent many a summer night watching two or three men’s softball games an evening (unfortunately the Dairy Queen across the street no longer exists). Then we headed to Whisky Row - the usual main drag in old turn-of-the-century (1800‘s to 1900‘s) towns where all the miners would congregate at night to drink and ????. Of course, Mother and Phyllis found the oldest bar in town and saddled up!

The Longest/Oldest Bar in Prescott

The Ladies of Whisky Row

A quick lunch on Whisky Row and we were off to Iron Springs. We knew we were getting close when we found Humpty Dumpty - still welcoming everyone!

Humpty Dumpty has gone patriotic.

E & G are rockin'

After pleading with the caretaker, we managed to get into the ‘camp’, which looked about the same as it did 40 years ago!! (The Biaett cabin, however, was nothing like what we lived in!!) The old General Store was just as we left it - as was the caboose that hasn’t moved an inch in all those years.

The old country store hasn't changed at all.

32 KBUS has travelled a lot farther than this one.

The caboose was there on the very tracks that brought the many Phoenix residents up to their cabins way back when. The thought just occurred to me - we began our trip in Glacier National Park where all the lodges were built by the RR’s in order for the ‘touring public’ to have a destination when they rode the trains. Now - here we were in another area that was basically created by the RR’s as a destination for Phoenix residents to get out of the heat in the summer. Very interesting the ‘power‘ and place on our country’s development that the RR’s held.

Another afternoon, I drug Gary to the “original Los Compadres” - my most favorite Mexican food restaurant ever!! Myself and my sisters grew up on their food and still go back there every chance we get when visiting. The original is still the same - even serving on paper plates after ordering at the window.

We also watched lots of football - attending the old rivalry game of Michigan vs Ohio State at Phyllis’s daughters house. AND - of course played more golf - FOUR more days! This week the courses we played provided a lot of entertainment in the way of animal/bird viewing. Unfortunately, Gary did not have a camera (I know - hard to believe!!) the day we had the most entertainment - on the Boulder course. This particular day I had a coyote follow me down the fairway, a whole herd (seriously about 20) of javelina cross the fairway in front of me so I could not hit my ball (2 were especially ‘frisky’!) and eagles on the hunt. We did get pictures another day of some beautiful cranes ----

The Snowy Egret isn't going to find any snow in this neighborhood.

Also, for all the golf fans who are actually reading this, we have included the full list of all the courses we played on our trip at the very end of this posting - enjoy and let us know how many of the same you have also played!!

Our three month trip was concluded with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family at sister, Barb’s. This was a perfect way to end a fabulous trip - and we were both very grateful for the many friends and family that had shared our travels with us!!

Two more days and we were home:-(

Much Love to All of You - E&G

Golf Courses Played on Fall, 2009 Trip

1 - Old Works, Butte, Montana

2 - Whitefish - North Course, Whitefish, Montana

3 - Waterton Golf Club, Waterton, Alberta

4 - Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta

5 - Talking Rock, Kamloops, British Columbia

6 - Tobiano, Kamloops, British Columbia

7 - Nicklaus North, Whistler, British Columbia

8 - Whistler Golf Club, Whistler, British Columbia

9 - Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai, California

10 - Soule Golf Course, Ojai, California

11 - Phoenician, Phoenix, Arizona

12 - Ranch Manana, Cave Creek, Arizona

13 - The Legend at Arrowhead, Phoenix, Arizona

14 - TPC - Champions Course, Scottsdale, Arizona

15 - Camelback Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona

16 - Legend Trail Golf Club, Scottsdale, Arizona

17 - Starfire, Scottsdale, Arizona

18 - Vista Verde, Rio Verde, Arizona

19 - Dove Valley, Cave Creek, Arizona

20 - Troon North - Pinnacle, Scottsdale, Arizona

21 - Boulders - South, Scottsdale, Arizona

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Long Time Coming

Well - the last couple of weeks have been in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area and I didn’t think there was much to write about (so I haven’t) - until I started to put some thoughts down. We have really been busy!!

When we arrived in town, the first thing I saw was an ad for the ‘Arizona State Fair’! Now Gary is NOT a fan of any fair since I drug him to the Utah State Fair to ‘check it out’ right after we moved to Utah. BUT, this was my very favorite thing to do as a kid - and it was always over my birthday. So, several of my girl friends and I would go to the fair and spend an entire afternoon/evening there making ourselves sick on all the rides that would spin us and turn us upside down AND eating cotton candy and chocolate fudge. SO - this year I talked Gary into going with Deme and me so they could relive my youth with me. Deme and I went on all the rides I could stand at my old age (and then a few on her own, as neither Gary nor I could do the upside down ones any more!) Then we ate ice cream, fudge and cotton candy until our tongue and teeth turned blue!! Deme and I had a BLAST!!!!

Blue 'cotton candy' lips and all

All of this fun and frolic was followed up with Halloween. Not sure when Deme was the scariest - at the fair with her blue teeth or dressed up for Halloween?!?!?!

Freaky Vampire

The first two weeks of November have been packed --

First there was Golf School. Three days of relentless instruction and hitting thousands of balls on the practice tees. The first question the first morning was “What do you hope to accomplish?” Can’t speak for Gary - but my answer was “get more distance out of my driver and transfer my ‘warm-up’ on the practice tees to the course”. After 2 days of hitting balls on the practice tees and being told “you are hitting GREAT”, we moved to the playing lesson on the third morning. After my first tee shot the instructor said “wow - you are a lot different on the course than on the practice tees! What has happened?” On the third tee he said “put away your driver and use your 3 wood!” So much for my objectives!:-((((!!!! (I think Gary felt about the same as me.) No pics to document this experience.

On to more fun activities!

Second came the Greek Festival. With a brother-in-law named Santorios - and a niece named Demetra Santorios, you bet we needed to take this in. As in all Greek Festivals, the main attractions are the food and the entertainment. After taking in the food, we made our own entertainment in the surrounding park as we were a bit early for the ‘scheduled’ entertainment. We played checkers, posed with the various park sculptures - in some cases trying to recreate the poses (even if they were up-side down) and just had a good time.

Fountains and femmes

Deme, Dad, dog and the big guy

Life imitating art ??? (None of us could do a handstand:-( )

Then the ‘girls’ had a proper English Tea, as the guests of Phyllis and Mother Dorthy. Eating was involved again - as was being properly attired with “the hat”! A selection was provided by the tea house, and we all had a great time selecting just the right hat for the afternoon.

Nice hats!

Tea time - pinkies up!

Fourth was a wonderful hike with cousins Walt and Jan in the Tonto National Forest (cactus not trees). We took the Metate Trail. For those of you not familiar with the Indian Southwest - a metate is the ‘scooped out rock utensil and grinding rock’ that was used to ‘mash’ corn (or other food item) to a powder or flour. Along this particular trail we found the ruins of a ‘kitchen‘ with the metate.

Hiking with Jan, Walt & Deme

A matate ... what's that ?

Trekkin trio

During this last couple of weeks we were also meeting up with old friends. We had a very nice dinner with Linda Stinson (from Chicago and PC), who was in town with her parents in tow. We also met up with one of our old Touche partners and his wife, Rick and Lisa Wolf, who now have a place in Scottsdale, for a nice dinner.

We are also trying to see how many we can include for dinner parties in Magic. This past week we had 5 guests, for a total of 7, for dinner and Sunday night football! We figured we could include three more if necessary. So - we are ready to be the entertainment center on the Alaska trip next fall!

Oh - also along those lines - we have decided that the name “Magic Bus” needs to be replaced with “The Magic Traveling Sports Bar”!! Everyone LOVES our outside entertainment center - including us.

One more thing - for our golfing friends - we now have the golf school out of our system and are back to playing our game and enjoying it! We also now have 18 balls from the new courses that we have played on this trip. And, we still have another full week to go!

Well - that is our two weeks of nothing! Will have to get our rears in gear so we have more to report in the next posting.

Love to you all - E & G

PS - There were no pictures in our last posting, as the chief photographer on our tour was a little slooooooowwwww with the shutter finger!! So - here are a few pics from our stay in CA -

Four generations

Hi great-gramma

You take it

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ma & Pa - Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive!!

OK - OK. Many of you have sent emails saying “where are you? We’ve been checking the blog and there have been NO postings.”

So - here we are in AZ - but much happened along the way!

Since last we left you, the Magic Bus has been an entertainment facility. While in Valencia/Santa Clarita we had three - count them - three dinner parties!! All old, dear friends. One evening my old traveling companion (before Gary!), Janet, and her husband Perry joined us for dinner ‘in the Bus’. Of course much of our conversation centered around the Lakers as they now share those tickets with us. Another evening Dennis and Liz Kneier came out for dinner. That night we relived old Touche times, 3-day walks (Liz did the 3-day with me both of the last two years while Dennis worked the pit stop with Gary) and anything else we could think of to talk about. The last evening Steve Campbell, our previous next door neighbor and friend, who is now attending Cal Lutheran University, came over for a home-cooked meal. There was a lot of ‘catching up’ to do with him. Magic is GREAT as an entertainment center and dining hall!!

In between the entertaining we spent many hours with Gary’s Mom - visiting and lunching. We even got some time with Tom and more time with Heather and Haley!

On the 15th of October we headed to Arizona for our annual ‘stay with Deme while my sister and brother-in-law, Barb and Andrew, go on their anniversary weekend’. Again, Magic performed admirably! Deme stayed with us for two nights and LOVED the Bus - especially Gary’s infamous shower!!

We are now back to golf - trying to take in as many new courses as possible. Need to add to our ‘ball display cases’ back in Park City. The only news there is that we are both taking a three day ‘class’ next week and yesterday I FINALLY broke 100:-)

No pictures to go with all this news - but we had lots of fun along the way never the less!

Love to you all - E & G

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fun with Gramma and Gramps

Well, since last we left you we have been ‘grandparenting’ - and having a GREAT time at it.

We spent 6 days in Lemoore, CA on the Naval Air Base in their RV parking area. This works out perfect, as it is about 2 blocks from the Hengsteler (Heather, Shannon, Haley and Joseph) on base household - a nice walk! We played, shopped, played, ate, played, went to tumbling class, played, walked, played, got a halloween preview, played - in short - we had a wonderful time being Gramps and Gramma!!

Joseph, Heather & Haley - Dinner in the Bus

Taking a stroll to Tumbling Class

Little tunnel rat

Tumblin trio - Haley gets a kiss from BFF, Zoey

Haley observes Gramma and Gramps in tunnel of love

Kiddies in the cubbies

Get that bubble

Getting prepared for trick or treating

Gimme a kiss

There was also a ‘quick trip’ to Pasadena during this time for another ‘Touche Partner Retirement Dinner’ for OLD friend Richard Giss. It is always fun to welcome another to the ranks of the retired - as we are ever hopeful to have friends join us in our travels. We would like to make a convoy!! It is also fun to catch up with many old friends (that it seems you only see at retirement parties and funerals these days). Speaking of old friends, after Lemoore Jim Malone opened his doors to us for a few days. Here we enjoyed a little golf, a little eating and a little visiting - just perfect.

Valencia Travel Village, an RV park around the corner from Eloise (Gary’s Mother), is our home for the next few days. In case you didn’t guess - we are now out of the National Parks phase of our trip and into the ‘visiting friends and family‘ phase.

More later - Love to All - E & G

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oregon Trail

We have had a wonderful stay in Oregon this past week! We arrived on Monday after another ‘tour’ on the ferry to get us back to the ‘mainland’. You would think after the last ride, we would be old pros - but this was a MUCH smaller, older ferry that gave us another new experience loading and unloading. But, we made it to Port Angeles, WA just fine after more whale sightings!

Tucked in the ferry hold en route to Port Angeles, Washington

A beautiful drive took us to our interim stop at another wonderful RV park in Kelso, WA, where we washed Magic so the bus was all ‘spiffy’ to meet our old friends in Oregon. On the drive we passed this place called Marathon Coach ----( ) . If you want to be ‘trailer trash’ you might check this out!!

Boy, did we give Priscilla & Steve a ‘fright’/laugh when we pulled up in front of their house with our 36’ house on wheels!! It was fantastic to see them again - and to see all that they have done to their farm in the last couple of years. There is a new beautiful home surrounded by many additions to the herd (150 sheep now!) and the ‘facilities‘ for the sheep. They have even recruited help from Shawn (and his dog Sam). After getting ‘the tour’ we had a good old fashioned ‘chat’ with cocktails and dinner - and a late night as we had several years to catch up on!

Due to our late night, we took it easy Tuesday morning before driving to Crater Lake (a 2 1/2 drive in each direction), which everyone but me had seen. Crater Lake was formed after the collapse of volcano Mount Mazama over 7,000 years ago and is the deepest lake in the United States at 1,943 feet (592 meters), and the seventh deepest lake in the world. It is also the fifth oldest national park, founded in 1902. The extreme depth and pure water combine to create a blue gem that stuns many first-time visitors into silence - if only one can see it. As mentioned in previous postings, we have had absolutely beautiful weather - which I was bragging about to our friends. So - it rained and SNOWED all the way to Crater Lake!! When we got to the lake - it was in a cloud, not to be seen. So - what else - we ate! After lunch, as we walked out on the patio of the Lodge, the clouds broke and we had 2 minutes of sun and I actually got to see the lake!!

On the road to Crater Lake

We can almost see the lake

Priscilla & Elizabeth

A beautiful rainbow over the Salt Marsh Ranch awaited our return.

A rainbow at the Saltmarsh Ranch

Our stay at the Salt Marsh Ranch would not be complete without a ‘walk around’ the farm to meet all the sheep, the guard Llamas - Lucy and Hank, the guard dogs - TJ, Chewy, Jacob and Isaac, and the herding dog - Molly.

Hank the Llama lookin for some lovin

Isaac needed a scratch

Molly - keeping on herding

Molly is somewhere behind this group

A view of the barn from one of the grazing areas

TJ (the dog) and Llucy Llama watching us closely

Wednesday afternoon we moved Magic to an RV park just outside of Ashland and had company for dinner - Brian Campbell, our friend and former neighbor who is attending Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Again, we had a delightful evening just chatting and catching up. Our last day in Oregon was another wonderful day of lunching, shopping, dining and going to the Shakespeare Theater. What more could anyone ask for??

More later - E&G