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volume3                         January 1992                      number 1
The Parade Was Great 
Rain was predicted for the 103rd Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California, New Years Day 1992, but God must love flowers because the rain held off and the sun shone brightly. We had been in the Los Angeles area until the 27th when we drove to San Diego to spend some time with our Rose Bowl host Chuck Fisher. Chuck was like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus as the day came to leave for Pasadena.  He had rented a 34 foot motor-home and had it fully stocked with food, bedding and U of M bumper stickers. Much to Ron's chagrin, we placed three such bumper stickers on our house. For such a Michigan State Fan, Ron was a good sport.  Early New Years Eve day, we all took off for Pasadena. Chuck and seven guests traveled in the big motorhome while we followed closely behind in ours.  We arrived before noon but got a little messed up on parking.  Recent rain had eliminated much of the RV parking spots and we were misdirected to a "Bus Only" parking area.  It was late in the afternoon when we were asked to leave the lot and had to find another space. We were crammed in tight but all worked out well and spirits were still high. 

Since this was all new to Ron and I, we wandered around the float building areas and were thoroughly fascinated at all the work and detail in each of the floats. We talked with people who have worked on the parade for years and got a lot of inside information.  The flowers were magnificent and so very fragrant. 

Chuck's boys (Tim and Dennis) and daughter (MJ) along with her fiance (Marty) did a super job of feeding the group.  After dinner, Ron and I walked the mile or two to Colorado Boulevard where the parade would be the next morning. Bleacher seats were set up all along the street, but wherever there were no bleachers, people were camped --- holding on to their front row seats. Some came two to three days before the parade to ensure a spot.  That did not look like fun to us and we were even more grateful for the grandstand seats that Chuck had purchased for us all. 

A little later, we watched the floats leave the construction area and line up for the ride to the parade beginning. During the parade, they are driven by a person inside the float but to get to the starting point the floats are towed by truck. We learned that the parade driver has to stay with the float to the very end (when the floats get back to the work areas after the parade).  Their bed for the night is the hard plywood driver's seat in the cramped quarters of the float belly.  Both jobs (float driver and tow driver) are honored duties that go on for years. We talked with one young man who has towed for many years and he had his young son with him who was looking forward to his day. 

There is no partying in the parade circles - not on New Years Eve.  The floats must be moved, repaired and guarded all night.  The judging goes on in the middle of the night too --- at 3am.  We were in bed by 11:30 and up early to walk to our parade seats. 

The floats were even more attractive the day of the parade because they were adorned with pretty girls, children, handsome men and the hydraulics were working.  Some were drawn by beautiful teams of horses and the marching bands in between the floats made for much merriment. There were also many colorful equestrian units in the parade.  The horses and riders were so colorfully outfitted that it was a treat for ones eyes.  There were 60 floats, 22 bands and 29 equestrian units in the parade which lasted nearly two wonderful hours.  Did you know that most floats are decorated with more flowers than an average florist will use in five years? 

With the parade over it was time for the football game. Walking into the Rose Bowl stadium was a dream come true. Michigan's famous marching band put on an exciting pre game show. But less than 20 minutes into the game, we knew that it was not going to be pleasant. Michigan looked horrible;  or was it that the Huskies looked so good?  Barbara Eden (remember I Dream of Jeannie?) sat right behind us and even her magical wink didn't help. Yes, she too is a Michigan fan. But we won't talk about the game.  As I said in the beginning --- The parade was wonderful!! 


More on Hot Springs then a fun day at 
Universal Studios 
 When we last "talked," we were in Desert Hot Springs, California, which is very near Palm Springs. We met up with good friends Esther and Jack Perram while there and I was able to help Esther get the word processing program going on her new computer. Yes, she didn't wait for Santa and bought a nice lap top after we had left them.  Esther and Jack knew the Palm Springs area and wanted to show us a few sights, primarily the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Quite frankly Ron and I probably wouldn't have taken this ride had it not been for our friends and we would have missed a great opportunity. Since we had ridden the tram in Utah, we figured that one tram is as good as another. Wrong!!!!  The Palm Springs Tramway goes from 2,643 feet to 8,516 feet in about 14 minutes. The 80 passenger, enclosed cars are very smooth except when crossing one of the towers.  At tower crossing time, the car swings and everyone gasps.  On top of the mountain, is the 13,000 acre San Jacinto Wilderness State Park with 54 miles of hiking trails, five primitive campgrounds, and ranger station. We stayed in the comfort of the observation area and enjoyed a nice dinner with a view of the tiny lights sparkling from towns below.  It was a wonderful evening.  On our way home, we noticed some sort of goings on downtown Palm Springs. We parked the car and took part in the Thursday Evening Downtown Event.  The street was closed to traffic, vendors were all along the five block area and several bands played here and there.  We bought some home made bread, fresh vegetables and did  lots of looking. When we left Desert Hot Springs, we moved to a CCC in Redlands.  We were no longer in the desert and found Redlands to be very charming. The palm trees there were especially pretty. They were the fattest and most majestic I had ever seen. 

I had wanted to visit Universal Studios while in the LA area but didn't want to take away from our time with family so we decided to make a run for it from Redlands.  We figured we were at least two hours away and to get there by opening time (9a.m.) would have to battle rush hour traffic --- but what the heck.  We set the alarm for 4am and were on the road by 5.  We didn't bother to eat breakfast figuring we would be in the Hollywood area by 8a.m. and could eat there. Traffic was great at the beginning and predictably slowed down to stop and go for the last hour. It was not a difficult ride except for the time of day. 

After breakfast, we were one of the first in line to enter Universal Studios. 

It was not at all crowded and we were glad to be on the first back lot tram tour. The tour first gave us a close up look at the back lots and the facades of buildings which look so real on screen. Then it took us through an earthquake of about 8.3 on the Richter scale. We also experienced an avalanche, the Psycho house, the battle of Galactica, a flash flood and Jaws. As our tram entered one sound stage, we realized there was trouble. King Kong was there - tearing up the place and he was within inches of my body,  His eyes were glaring and I swear I could feel his breath on me. Pretty realistic!!! 

The day was interesting, exciting and relaxing and Universal Studios does a great job. We easily saw every show  --- everything from stunt shows to Star Trek.  It would be hard to pick a favorite because they were all so good.  Especially endearing was the animal actors stage. The tribute to Lucy was well done too. Oh and there was the ET ride - charming!!!  I kind of saved the best for last.  We were on the Candid Camera show and Dom DeLuise sat right next to Ron. If you ever watch that show look for us.  We should be on camera. 


Potpourri by Ron

Isn't it ironic?  On Christmas Eve we went to Bethlehem -- Bethlehem Lutheran Church, that is, in Canyon Country, California.  We attended the 11 p.m. candlelight service. 

Did you know that the colors maize and blue make green when mixed together?  My only comment on the Rose Bowl is, "Go Blue" or is it "Go blew".  I'm sorry Chuck --- I couln't resist. 

Seriously Chuck, we are greatful for your hospitality and think that U of M is a mighty fine school. We were really pulling for them and will do so again. 

I've always prided myself as a good cribbage player, but recently found out that euchre is not my game -- Chuck and his boys proved that.  Cribbage anyone? 

We enjoyed our visit with Uncle George, Aunt Delores and cousins Karen and Gary. Karen and Gary live in the L.A. area and it was neat to get re- aquainted with them. We visited them at Gary's beautiful apartment in Hollywood.  No, he's not an actor, he's an architect. 

I loved Universal Studios.  It's a terrific experience and if you are lucky, Marilyn Monroe will kiss you on the forehead. 

Palm Springs is really classy.  The Toyota dealership, after servicing our tow vehicle, returned it to us washed and vacumed.  Of course the oil change and lube cost $35.00. 

I wanted to see Mayor Sonny Bono while in Palm Springs, but couldn't make connections. After all we did go to different schools together. 


Separate Vacations
   It was a hard decision but we had to do it.  It was the best way to handle seeing our new grandchildren. Ron flew to Michigan and I stayed in Los Angeles.  Here is a short re-cap. 

Ron's Vacation
My LA to Detroit flight touched down in a blinding snow storm late Sunday afternoon on Dec 15. The runway was snow covered and the DC 10 used every bit of it.  To my surprise Karl and Kurt were both waiting for me, however, Kurt was there to catch a plane for Massachusetts later. After hugs we headed for the bar to watch the end of the Lions game. Luckily Karl had his four-wheel drive vehicle because the ride to DeWitt took almost as long as my flight from LA to 
Detroit. 

My visit to Michigan turned out exactly as I had planned.  I wanted only to visit with my kids and their spouses and spend a lot of time with my grand- children.  I read books to them, played games on the floor, went to three school Christmas programs,  attended Erika and Ryan's Sunday School Christmas program, went to Mary and Richard's ice skating lessons and even had a chance to baby sit while daughter Marty did some last minute Christmas shopping.  I was thrilled to hold and snuggle with my new granddaughters Kailee and Taylor.  I'm sure others have beautiful grandchildren, but these new granddaughters are extra special.  They are not only beautiful, but have lovely smiles and they snuggle real good.  I'm very proud of all my children and grandchildren. And Dave, I missed you, but we will get together next summer. Also a special thanks to Kurt for the use of a frequent flier ticket (first class yet). 

My visit was great, but I missed Barb very very much. Although we both loved being with our families, we don't think that separate vacations are for us.  Next time there will be two of us to spoil the grandchildren. 

Barb's Vacation
I didn't have to go anywhere. We had parked in Mark's driveway before Ron left so I got to be with Mark, Ana and the family.  Robyn is a beautiful baby and so good.  It was fun to baby sit and Ana and I had many wonderful chances to get to know each other better. She had just become a Tupperware dealer before I arrived so I got to help train her. I have Tupperware in my blood, you know. 

Uncle Floyd (the movie actor) and his friend Theresa came out one day and took me to lunch. It was fun talking with them both.  I felt bad that I didn't get to spend much time with Mark and the girls but understood the problems Mark had at work and knew it couldn't be helped.  I also realized why young people have children. Such hectic schedules for families these days; only the young can take it. I missed Ron lots too so when it came time for him to return (Dec 22 - our anniversary), I moved our house to the Coast to Coast campground only four miles away so we could be alone for a few days before Christmas. Guess we belong with the old folks. Happily, I picked Ron up at the airport at 2 p.m. on Sun the 22nd. 

Back Together
To celebrate our anniversary, we went to The Blue Moon right near the campground. It was delightful.  The waiter brought us a sinful desert because it was our special day.  We celebrated Christmas by driving in and around several subdivisions on the way to late church Christmas Eve. After church, we opened our presents. Christmas day, we went to Mark's for dinner. He did a super job of preparing the traditional dinner and Ana's parents and brothers joined us. We are thankful for family near and far and the opportunity to be with them anytime but especially during the Holidays. 


Changes, Changes, Changes

What better time than a new year to make changes? We have three that are in effect right now. 

#1  We really are moving - at least we are changing our mail forwarding service.  Our gal in Denver informed us that she was moving her office and we had to notify everyone of the change of address.  Since we had to move, we thought we would move to TEXAS.  The Escapees (an organization of RVers) mail forwarding service comes highly recommended and we just might like being Texans if the new Michigan Governor has his way and begins taxing the previously un-taxed state pensions. 

Our new address - effective 2-1-92 is: 

Ron & Barb Hofmeister 
101 Rainbow Dr. 
Apt 2179 
Livingston, TX  77351-9300 

This change of address does NOT affect our voice mail.  We will continue to use the same number we have used since the beginning. 

#2 I am caving in and will only publish Movin'On every other month for a while.  I want to try that out and see how it works. I reserve the right to change my mind at a moments notice. But for now count on it every other month and be surprised if you see it in your mailbox more often. This might just be temporary.  We felt that now that the Rose Bowl is over and we will be scurrying to Texas, then cramming for our job there, we wouldn't have a lot of time for the newsletter come February. We did a good job of reporting on the Hill Country last year, so except for more detail on the LBJ ranch, we won't have much to report on. And we really are hoping and praying that somehow the airlines will lower their fares to England for next summer. We want to make another trip there to see a new grandchild (due in Feb) and take our bikes with us so we can bike into Scotland. If we can make this trip, we will be gone for five to six weeks and would not be doing a newsletter until we returned. All these things are up in the air and we will keep you posted. 

#3 If you are not a family member, you will notice that there is a month and year in the upper left corner of your mailing label. We asked that non family members send us stamps to help defray the cost of the newsletter and you all cooperated wonderfully. Some sent years worth of stamps so I am attempting to keep track this way. When you get to the date on your label, you know it is time to send a few more stamps.  Example:  If the date on your label is 1/92, this is the last issue you will receive unless you send more stamps.  I arrived at these dates by figuring one stamp for each issue (12 issues per year) but have complicated this process by deciding to publish less often. Every month that I don't send a newsletter, I will add a month to your date. And please feel free to correct me if you think I am in error. 


This 'N Thatby Barb

It seems like ages ago when we were in Desert Hot Springs with Esther and  Jack. We spent a lot of time together and had much fun. The good-bys are the hardest part of our life style - but then we never would have met if we hadn't been on the road. 

When we left the Perrams in Las Vegas, they went to Parumph, Nevada and had a great time at that Coast to Coast Campground.  They went to the famous Chicken Ranch (a brothel) and even got a tour.  Gosh, I've got to put that on our list of things to do next time we are in Nevada. 

We got to see the local Christmas parade in Desert Hot Springs.  It is fun to be part of a community at holiday time. 

Esther got a Compaq lap top computer which is smaller than ours and has more memory.  I just can't believe how technology is improving. Her printer (the new Cannon laser quality) is very small (smaller than her computer) and the printing is real quality.  We got our computer and printer two years ago. She paid half what we did and got much more. 

I really liked the rustic nature of the Redlands Coast to Coast campground.  I think that it is more active in the summertime but did notice that they have a restaurant with out door patio (only open on weekends in the fall and winter) and a well stocked craft store that a lot of the women I know would love. The lady who owns it has regular classes too.  Someone said that the campground was one of the first in southern California. 

I am really going to miss California. It is beautiful in so many ways - desert, 
mountains, ocean, big cities and even a "City in the Country".  That is how the city of Poway is described.  Near San Diego, it is full of expensive homes and oh so beautiful. "Only in California" is a saying that applies every day in so many ways. 

I will not miss the driving habits and traffic on the freeways here though.  It is not that there is so much, it's that they go so fast.  I read in the paper today that a man drove from Pasadena to San Diego with his cruise set on 65 (the speed limit is 55) and counted 462 race past him.  And he passed only 29.  Why don't they enforce the speed limits here in California?  We notice that every day as we are traveling on a back road, some car will pass us on a double yellow line. 

This is a quote from Mark's Health News. "There are so many terrible drivers out there.  I mean, it's so annoying how motorists drive so closely in front of you." 

I couldn't get over all the flowers on the floats in the Rose Parade. Each single flower is put in a vial of sugar water and then put in position. There are thousands of individual petals and seeds which are glued on one at a time. What a labor of love. 

For Christmas, we got a wonderful video from Jim, Sue and Kristopher in England. Videos are a great gift for full-timers. No, they're not nearly as good as being there in person but they are better than nothing. Thanks a bunch!! 

NEWS SCOOP!!!  Just got word that the Pfennengers are the proud parents of a son, Benjamin Joseph, born on Monday, Jan 6th. He weighed in at 7 pounds 11 ounces. I had talked to Deb and Paul on the weekend and they were preparing to leave the park to go to the hospital.  Deb wasn't in labor but one week overdue and a big storm was hitting the park; many feet of snow had fallen. Love and congratulations to this neat couple. 

We sure appreciated all the nice Christmas cards and letters. We read and re-read every one more than once. We got lots of family type pictures too and enjoyed them very much. 

Thought you'd like to know our plans for 1992. As you know, we are heading to the LBJ ranch in Johnson City, Texas and will be there until the end of April.  When we leave, we are heading straight north and plan to be at the Hart Ranch, (CCC) S. Dakota by mid May. Then we will go to Michigan for the month of June and hopefully we will be able to go to England the first of July and stay there (biking up to Scotland and back) until the first of August. Upon our return, we would stay in Michigan a few weeks then head northeast and spend fall going down the eastern coast. We would be in Florida for November and December and somewhere in Alabama or Georgia for the early part of the next year. 

If we can't go to England, we will leave Michigan early (July) and really go northeast --- Toronto, Montreal, Maine etc then continue from there. 

Ron got me a Cannon Rebel camera for Christmas.  It is the best camera I have ever had and can either be simple or complex.  I'd like to be able to be a good photographer and surprise my family of professional photographers.  Look for great photographs in the next issues. 

We just heard that the Rydings who are at the LBJ ranch now will be staying on until the middle of March so we will get to work with them instead of replace them. They also report that the tram driver does the tour.  Ron is already practicing his tour. Honest!! 

Ron is becoming quite a handyman. Seriously!!  He did a wonderful job on a leaky valve in the holding tank and under terrible working conditions --- the parking lot at Chuck Fisher's condo. 

Seems like we never used to wear out a pair of jeans - not before full-timing. Ron and I each have two pair of thread bare jeans which I understand are hot items in Japan.  Perhaps we should recycle them. 

TEXAS HERE WE COME!!!

NATIONAL PARK QUIZ
1.  Outdoor scenes of the popular television series M * A * S * H were filmed in what is now a national recreation area near Los Angeles, California. Name this place. 

2.  Two deserts and two large ecosystems meet at an unusual southern California national monument, which takes it's name from extensive stands of an "undisciplined  tree" found in the western section of the park. Name this site, the headquarters of which are at Twentynine Palms. 

3.  Hot lava cooled and cracked some 900,000 years ago to form basalt columns 40 to 60  feet high resembling a giant pipe organ in what national monument which is located between Yosemite and Kings Canyon national parks in California? 

4.  Cereus Giganteus live 200 years and grow to a height of 35 feet.The giant cactus dominates the Sonoran Desert and is one of the main attractions of what national monument in southern Arizona? 

QUIZ ANSWERS

1.  Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. 
2.  Joshua Tree National Monument. 
3   Devils Postpile National Monument. 
4.  Saguaro National Monument, Tucson, Arizona. 
 

Copyright © 1999, Movin' On with Ron & BarbTM- All Rights Reserved 

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