Happy Holidays 2023

           Another year for the record travel distances. We put another 5,706 miles on Arthur and broke 100k in Sid. But the big news is we’ve hung up our tools. Well kinda. Read on:
We had a wonderful snowless winter in the DFW area getting to spend a lot of time with grandsons Logan and Max. Thank goodness for FaceTime so those two don’t forget us. But nothing is better than being with them in person.
It was Bunner’s turn for repairs. He finally had a shoulder surgery. Yet that damage could only be mitigated since the rotator cuff he’d severed in 1978 had atrophied to the point of irreparability. Good news though, shaving all the other garbage out of there brought wonderful relief. Except……when going through the physical therapy a badly compromised neck disc hit the point of no return requiring insertion of a titanium basket. Didn’t know how much pain had been caused by that one until a couple months out when the pain was noticeably GONE. OPS (Old People S**t) sucks.
Our first venture out was spending a couple weeks in Big Bend National Park in SW Texas. This dipped our camping toes into what it’s like to camp in high heat. Oh, and throw in a sudden storm with thunder, lightning, and 60 mph winds. We marveled at the luck that the orientation of the trailer had us headed directly into the wind and allowed us to watch picnic tents, coolers, and all manner of debris blow by while we felt no rocking. Bunner wrote a spectacular blog on this one. Wittmack, while not a hiker, really enjoyed driving a “high clearance” vehicle through some crazy nearly impassible roads.
Also included in this leg was an evening at the McDonald Observatory just outside Ft. Davis. OMG you have to read the blog on this one. Please. So amazing.
            A nice yet unremarkable stop in El Paso before heading to Dragoon AZ. We’d seen the road sign many times while back and forth to Phoenix during Sarah’s college days and were curious. Surprise! Movie set. Interesting little campground. While it was crazy hot, we were sheltered in a spot behind a tall rock formation. Some of the accidental good things that can happen while on the road.

Wittmack was justifiably nervous as our first project was to help brother Rusty with a carport conversion to garage. Was Bunner going to be able to carry his weight – or over-do and need more attention? As it turned out the project went pretty smoothly with Russ chipping in a huge share when we were doing bits he could contribute to. Wittmack dutifully filed for a permit for the project. Since we were on a time limit, we proceeded knowing that what we were doing was not something an inspector would have issues with. Got the project finished and to date, 6 months later, the City still has not responded to the permit application. Oh well.
            We should mention, brother Rusty lives in southern AZ, south of Tucson. One of our cooler days of work (all in the shade of the carport) was 105. That was June, the cooler part of our summer……the real fun was yet to come.
            After completing that project, we headed to SoCal to visit friends and family. We seized the opportunity to travel via less traveled routes. The first was the highway through the Sonoran Desert. Our route was one that pioneers took via stagecoach. It was well over the 100-mile mark before we came upon what had been an oasis with a water hole. That had to have been an unbelievably brutal trip.
            Our first stop was Camp Pendleton (USMC). The campground was 9 miles in from the East Gate, 12 miles in from the West Gate and 6 miles in from the South Gate. Whoa. We shared a great evening with Wittmack’s brother Jim and his son Max – now a paramedic with the Chula Vista FD. Really proud of you Max.
            We dashed off to Irving to spend an afternoon in Irving with a great guy we’d become friends with during our Pisgah View Ranch days. And to stretch our traveling a bit farther we reconnected with friends in Rolling Hills Estates. Special treat to see Lou and Ilse and to see son Joe and meet his wife Sheena. Wonderful people all with a special place in our hearts.
            Switching to a tight yet tidy campground in LA’s north valley (112 deg) in Northridge, we connected with brother Steve, daughter Linzi, her hubby Trevor and cutie bug KJ now over a year old. AND also brother Jim’s daughter Hanna now a grad student in architecture at UCLA. Bounced over to see some great Silver Lake friends, the Feller-Otto

clan, both architects connected to all things Hollywood. Harry shared his Emmy with us, won for his Art Direction on “Glow”. And up to Santa Clarita with our “adopted” extended family Claudi and Nick Schlosser & Fermor. Traveled with them to see a geologic formation used in many a movie, including the Flintstones which Harry had worked on earlier in his career. Snuck in a dinner with Hanna reuniting her with our other ‘adopted” son Colton Muszynski from Pisgah View Ranch days who was hanging out in LA for the summer. Always fun to take college agers to a great dinner. They were clearly grateful.
            Dashed back to Phoenix cuz we weren’t hot enough, to spend a month. The first week Sarah, Mike, Sam and Happy were up from Hollywood FL for an event for Sarah’s college teammate. Interludes like these always wind up being great catch-up opportunities where things get cleaned, fixed, etc. It was just the 118 deg part that was tough. After Phoenix we headed to Page AZ and on the advice from a good friend we visited the upper and lower slots of the Antelope Canyons. Jaw dropping. Please go to our blog be amazed by what we experienced.
            From Page we drove through Monument Valley on our planned route back to DFW to share in our grandson Logans 5th birthday at his request! To get there required a few stops, some more jaw dropping. Stopping in Durango CO for a few days we toured Mesa Verde National Park’s Pueblo cliff dwellings. We did not know there are so many cliff dwellings in that part of the country. Again, see the blog. Plenty of pictures to boot. We drove up to Silverton, an old mining town. A very tough drive. We planned on continuing on to Telluride, but once we determined the 12 mile drive was going to take an hour and a half, we voted “no”.
            After a few days regrouping in Santa Fe, we headed out for some quicker stops in west Texas including a couple campgrounds we’re familiar with from previous travels. We made it to Logan’s birthday!! And had plenty of cake and great Logan time. And little Max is becoming quite the chatter box although we’re not with him enough to solo without mom and dad’s translations.
            It was here that we decided to lighten our load (literally) in preparation for our trip to Alaska in the summer of 2024. We cleared the back of our truck down to necessities and then picked up a few things we’d been missing. So, while we still carry  

the basic tool bags, the big guns are now in storage. We’ve had so much fun helping friends. It was hard to walk away, but relieving to have a lighter load and less congestion.
            From DFW we plotted 7 stops to reach our PNW destination by the scheduled November 1st date. We do get a little anxious not knowing what we’ll encounter in these unknown places. Bunner has become adept at using satellite images to see if they’ll pass muster – and our RV Life app to check out reviews from other traveling folks. This year’s best campground vote goes to the OK Campground in Mountain Home ID!
            In the middle of the route northward we were lucky to connect up with Ogden, Utah friends whom we’d known since our Germany days. So fun to see Alma and Frank and share stories about all our mutual friends. Frank has finally retired from Ski Patrolling and Ski Lesson teaching. He’s decided that at 83 he’s going to take time to have some fun! Many ski resorts give free passes to octogenarians who are still skiing!
            Lastly, before the atmospheric rivers set in, we discovered that we can get all day passes on the Light Rail for $1 and the bus for $1. So for $4 for the two of us round trip plus short Uber rides from the bus station to our campground we can travel all over the Seattle area. Mid-month we flew off to Hollywood FL to see granddaughter Sam in her performance as a mouse, a sugar plum, and an angel in a local production of the Nutcracker. Followed a day later by a ballerina themed birthday party for her 6th birthday. Brother Happy seemed content to take his place as second to his sister’s wild weekend. We walked the two of them to their respective schools a few times and had a great time.
            While we wait for the weather to change to snow, we listen to the rain tapping our aluminum roof and:

            We wish you all the Merriest, Happiest, Safest, Healthiest Christmas and most Prosperous New Year!

Our blog site, “Ms Fix It and The Pool Man,” can be accessed by entering: bunmacks.com in your browser. Enjoy!

The Pool Man TPM: randlekbunner@gmail.com 210-789-7457
Ms Fix-It MFI: susan@abcvisions.com  210-535-2785

Male member of the BunMack team. Happy to be Ms Fix It's lovely assistant on past and future projects. Maybe I'll learn some skills along the way. 69 years old when this adventure began, with expectations to help family and friends with their projects, see great sights along the way, and enjoy our life together.

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