On being gone

Life changed dramatically for Leslie and I this year. On January 12th our first grand child was born to our son Patrick and his wife Mysha. Ronan Michael Baker may be the cutest kid ever, of course I may also be slightly biased.

I stepped down from my role as Group President for ASSA ABLOY EMS & HS on March 1st. I have been with Securitron since 1984, we sold to ASSA ABLOY in 1998 so it has been a great run. But time for me to dedicate to Leslie and the family.

We leased our home in Phoenix the beginning of May and moved full time into our 44′ long Newmar Dutch Star! So we are on the move and look forward with great joy to spending more time with friends we have made all over this country. Hope so see you on the road

Problems in Phoenix

We arrived in Phoenix September 6th. This is much earlier than we planned because our dear friend Butch got married on the 7th and our oldest son James is marrying his beloved Alma on the 25th. The first problem was the heat as it has been over 105 degrees every day. Then as I was emptying the black tank (sewer) on Saturday the motor pump died in the middle. While I was able to override it with other manual devices it was blazing hot work and of course a little messy. Then the day we were leaving for Chicago (Scott) and Reno (Leslie) I mistakenly pulled down a curtain rod and it hit (and broke) the AC controller. To say AC is important in the summer in Phoenix is a bit of an understatement. It is fixed now so hopefully the rest of our time in Phoenix goes well.

Chili -My most requested recipe

1 lb each ground beef (20% fat) and link Mild Italian Sausage (cut into small chunks)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

4 jalapeno peppers diced (remove seeds if you want less heat)

12-20 cloves of garlic, minced (I will actually use 30 or so as I love garlic)

1/2 bottle any dark beer

1 15 oz can each kidney, pinto and black beans

4 tbs chili powder

1 tablespoon each oregano, dried basil, cumin

1 teaspoon each crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper

2 cans 15 oz diced tomatoes

1 can 15 oz tomato sauce

1 small can tomato paste

1 can 15 oz beef broth

1 tabelspoon honey or molassas

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

Heat large stock pot to med-high, add oil until it is hot. Saute onions (adding salt & pepper) for 5 minutes, add jalapenos (and more salt) for another 5 minutes, then 5 more minutes with garlic added. Slide veggies to edge (or remove) and brown beef and sausage. De-glaze with the dark beer. Add everything else, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for hours. The longer the simmer the more the flavors mature. I like to cook one day then refrigerate over night and simmer for 6-8 hours the next day before serving.

Wine Country RV Park – Paso Robles, CA

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

We love the area around Paso Robles, not just all of the wine tasting but the easy access to generally beautiful country. The facility is great with nice sites, easy freeway access, on site activities, pool, hot tub (and one hot tub for adults only), and we have made many friends there. They also have little cabins for non-RV friends to stay at! I would give it 5 stars but the price is a little high. Not outrageous, but high.

Cheeseburger Magic

2 lbs ground beef
1 Tbls each Worcestershire, Hot sauce and Soy sauce 
Salt & pepper 
12 cloves of garlic, minced 
6 Hamburger buns 
Onions, sliced
Cheese for melting on burgers

Mix ground meat with Worcestershire, hot and soy sauces. Mix in salt, pepper, garlic and 2 tbls softened butter. Form into six each 1/3 lb patties. Heat large fry pan to med-high. Saute onions 10-15 minutes until all are caramelized and some are even charred. Fry burgers 3-5 minutes, flip and repeat on other side. Add grilled onions to top then place a slice of cheese over onions. Melt cheese. Lightly butter each side of buns and toast. Assemble and enjoy

Pismo Beach Village RV Resort

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

One of Leslie’s favorite places, mostly based on the great location on Pismo Beach. 400 sites total with about half used by members and half available for daily rental. Nice sized sites all with tables and fire pits. On site store and restaurant very well done. We just loved the area and the resort. Would get 5 stars if the sites were just a little nicer or the beach was easier to access.

Flying Flags – Buellton, CA

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

We like the area with Solvang, Santa maria and Santa Barbara in easy distance. This is a very large park with many options for staying. In addition to the RV sites of varying sizes, there are little tents, classic Airstreams, and different cottages people can rent. We were met her by friends and family who don’t RV but they stayed in these other option. Great facilities as well. What holds it back is it can get very crowded with tight spaces, and the prices are high considering to average space quality.