Greetings from Las Cruces, New Mexico!
We started the new year with a visit to Big Bend National Park where we met up with Mike and Martha Sherman (Mike is an old Navy buddy of mine) and did some hiking and sight seeing. Mike and I climbed to the highest point of the park, and all four of us did some 4 wheelin' on the back roads.
We ran into some cold weather. We were cold during our first night in the motor home in a parking lot in Texas, so we turned on the catalytic propane heater. It ran briefly, then quit due to a frozen fuel line. So we fired up the 2 propane furnaces - neither worked. On to plan C. We started the generator to power our electric heaters. After sputtering and quiting a couple of times, the generator ran and saved the day. We spent the next night in a campground with electric hookups!
We have continued our work with the Red Cross; Dinah has been helping to clean out the "DAT house" (the building where Disaster supplies are stored), among other things, and I have been working, mostly on the computer, to clean up and close out old cases. Dinah has also been busy working as co-chair for the Mutt Show - a fund raiser for our local animal shelter. She also spends a lot of time embroidering things for Red Cross, Animal Shelter, friends and family, and for us.
I've spent a lot of time walking in the desert with Lily, preparing for the Bataan Memorial Death March (for more about the march, visit www.bataanmarch.com ). The march took place on Sunday 21 March with an opening ceremony at 6:30AM (it was still dark and about 28 degrees). The starting gun was fired about 7:10 and the first of about 5,700 entrants crossed the starting line. After a cold start, it warmed up to be a very nice day; not too hot and with lots of sun and no strong wind.
I had learned a few things last year, and so was able to do better this year. I wore a couple of old jackets over my running gear that I was able to simply discard in a box at the side of the trail when I no longer needed them (They were returned to a "lost and found" location, and the unclaimed stuff was given to charity). I made a point of using the porta-potty at the starting line just before starting out so that I was able to bypass the long bathroom lines at the first two water stations, and I brought my own foot care stuff so that I was able to patch my own feet when they needed it rather than waiting to reach a medical team. And, although I'm a hiker, not a runner, I ran on some of the downhill parts of the trail.
The official results have not yet been released, but I expect I completed the 26.2 miles in just under 6 hours 30 minutes - at least 30 minutes less than last year. If I am to do better next year, I'm going to have to learn to run!
We now have nine solar panels on our roof, generating electricity! As of noon today they have been operating for 6 days and have produced about 70 KW Hours. They are tied into our house wiring so that the power generated is either used by us, or sold to El Paso Electric. So far it looks like the system will produce more power than I had estimated originally, and it should pay for itself more rapidly than I had planned. I'm a happy camper.
We hope our friends and family in the east are beginning to dry out, and that you all will have a wonderful spring.
Dinah & Allen
Lily & Noodle
Obie, Cricket, & Tiggy
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