Monday, February 27, 2006

Yuma is almost history!

Well, today our good friends Mickey and Patti left. They headed for Tucson where they are going to have a little work done on their 5-er. We are going to follow them there, but we still have a few days left here. Wednesday we will leave and stay in Tucson for a couple days before moving on to Corpus Christi.

It has really been nice having friends to pal around with. We fixed breakfast for them this morning before they left so they wouldn't have to mess up their kitchen. It was nice to spend just a little more time with them.

Later today we went to the post office to mail our taxes in. The post office is not a trip I wish to repeat. We got there and took our number, which was 06. They were currently on 75. This was the second post office we had stopped at so figured our chances were better if we just stayed put. By the time they got to us, they were passing out numbers in the 60's. Hah. Oh well, at least ours got sent in.

Then we treated ourselves to another round at the casino. Once again, we stayed true to our word and ended up losing about $7 total. Spent a couple hours there, so it is still cheaper entertainment than the movies. The biggest disappointment was that I had a scratch off ticket for a new shirt which I got as soon as I got there. I put it down at one machine and failed to pick it up. It was gone when I went back. :-( So if you see someone with a Paradise Casino shirt, it is probably mine.

Tomorrow we will get ready to go. Oh, yeah, we actually have rain forcasted for tomorrow. Makes Terry happy since I finally got him to help wash the motorhome yesterday after nearly a month of pleading.

Oh well. Till next time. . .


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Good Friends. . . Good times.

Last evening. . . it being pizza night according to Mickey. . . we drove to the strip plaza a couple exits west and ate pizza at Da Boyz Pizza place. What a sleeper. I was expecting a quiet little place with dimmed lighting, etc. We walked in and it was more like McDonald's. Order at the counter, then find a seat. The waitress does bring your order to the table. They serve pizza, spaghetti, salad, and an assortment of beverages. The lady across the aisle graciously took our picture.
Then she asked if we had been there before. We said no and she said, "Well, the food is really good."

We were not to be disappointed. The pizza was among the best I have had. Better than any we have had on the road, that's for sure. We stuffed ourselves and brought half of it home. It was wonderful as were the breadsticks.

It appeared to be patronized (at least last evening) by snow birds. . . at least I assume they were.

Today we are up early (6:30 is now early for this retired person) and leaving after breakfast for the MCAS, the Marine Corps Air Station. They are putting on an air show and we are excited about doing something really different. We have only been to one other air show. They fly over our park every day so we have been anxiously awaiting this.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Still alive and kickin'

Thought I should let you all know we are still here and doing well. Enjoying the mild weather here in Yuma. And I am enjoying the Olympics for the first time in decades because now that I am RETIRED, I can stay up as late as I want because I don't have to go to work the next day. YAY!

We have been taking in the flea markets occasionally, which has been fun. Picked up a few (very few) items. We finally found a stroller for Neal, our handicapped Scottie, so now he can go for walks when we take Bailey. He is getting used to it, but riding in the cart certainly has a learning curve for Neal.

Last Saturday we went north of town and toured the Imperial Dam. It is a dam in the desert built as a control system to divert water from the Colorado river and desilt it for use in the irrigation systems in Yuma and the rest of the Imperial Valley.
There is a lot of farming here and Yuma is known as the Lettuce Capital of the world. They have 3 growing seasons and everywhere you see large scale farming of vegetables, citrus and dates. We walked along the dam. It is not a tall dam, but it is impressive nonetheless. We drove around the lake on the other side of it. There were some pleasure boats and fishing boats, but it was clear the lake was down. There has been no rain here for 150 some days, so it was definitely affected. They are predicting rain again for the weekend.

After viewing the dam, we drove through Bard, California, where we saw a couple wild burros along the road. They looked good and well fed for being wild. They are the ONLY wild animals we have seen. On way back down 95, we passed the McPhaul Bridge which is a suspension bridge which once spanned the Gila River, which is all but dried up now--at least there. It was a crossing point when the river was wider. It is this bridge after which the Golden Gate bridge was fashioned, and it looks odd just out in the desert with no water around.

Back closer to Yuma, we stopped off at a date farm and Terry and I shared a "world famous date shake." It actually was quite tasty and good. The date farms are interesting as there are rows and rows of date palms towering above the landscape. There were several groves in the area.

We continued our journey, traveling west on I-8 looking for the Algondones Dunes. Boy were we surprised. We were expecting a few hills, but as we traveled west, we began to see the hills on the horizon. It was awesome. Here is where they filmed movies like Starwars, Return of the Jedi, Stargate, Scorpion King, and others I am sure. There were so many four wheelers they looked like ants on the hills. There were hundreds of RV's and several campgrounds. Camping (boondocking) was available for $25 a week.
The campers all had 4-wheelers they were toting to ride the hills. I have to say, it looked like it would be the best fun. Unfortunately, people are not always careful and deaths do occur. In fact, last weekend, two people were killed in accidents at the Dunes. They extend for several miles west on I-8, but also extend way north to Glamis and beyond. Glamis is famous for the Dunes, but I guess there are some problems erupting due to the trash that people generate. People must always remember to follow the rules of boondocking--take everything you brought with you and leave nothing but footprints.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Roll the dice!

Well yesterday we decided to take in the casinos. Patti, the casino virgin could hardly contain her excitement. Mickey decided he was going to have to keep a tight rein on her. She loves games and he was afraid she would get carried away. Fortunately we had a great day and lots of fun and nobody is much poorer as a result.

We started at the Cocopah Indian Casino south of town. It is a smaller casino but not very crowded. We took in their buffet lunch before we started gaming. Then we hit the slots. Now Terry and I take only so much "gambling" money with us. Today it was $20 in ones. When we left there a couple hours later, I still had $16.00, so we had won/lost not too badly. I consider gaming entertainment. The guy sitting next to Terry hit the jackpot on his machine which was $2000. When we got up to leave, he took over Terry's machine and calmly pulled a $100 bill out of his pocket and started on that machine. I just don't think I could do that.

We drove across town to the Paradise casino. Patti was pretty pumped at this point and I think all Mickey was doing was following her around! Hah. The Paradise casino has the unique distinction of being built on the border of Arizona and California. So when you walk out the back door, you follow the "path" to the "California" room, crossing the border as you go. So the two buildings comprising the casino are in two different states!

Terry and I went to "California" and found a couple machines that allowed us considerable entertainment. Patti and Mickey eventually caught up with us and as we were strolling out, we decided to hit a couple machines before leaving. Terry hit for $23, so we actually broke even in our quest for financial stardom.

All in all it was an entertaining afternoon. I figure if you go to the movies here you spend $14 a piece. We played slots all afternoon and broke even, so we were happy.

A great day with great friends. Lots of laughs and excitement.

Till next time. . .


Friday, February 10, 2006

Yuma Territorial Prison

Today we went with Mickey and Patti and toured the Yuma Territorial Prison. It was built by the prisoners themselves in the 1800's and parts of it have survived to present day. It is now an Arizona state park. Part of the main cell block remains
and it is quite impressive when you stop to think about being confined there for even a brief period of time. The main cell block has many cells which are about 9 x 12 in size and would house 6 prisoners at a time.
There is a "dark cell" which was used for punishment. It was carved into the side of a hill basically and you had to enter a long hall to get back into the "room" which contained a cell which was like an iron strap box. You could stand in it, but at any one time, there might be 14 prisoners inside the box, with only standing room. While that may sound harsh, that was about the worst of the punishments and prisoners had excellent medical care and a library where they could read and study many things. The prison was self sufficient and each prisoner received training in a trade to make them less likely to return to the prison once they had their freedom.

The museum had a very informative film which we watched as well as many artifacts which were nicely displayed and easy to follow.

Anyone planning a trip to Yuma should consider taking in the Yuma Territorial Prison. While only a small part of the original prison remains, it still gives one a glimpse of prison life in the 1800's.

An interesting note is that during the early 1900's when the prison had been abandoned, the site was used as the Yuma high school. According to the information we received, the sports teams then were known as the Yuma Criminals and even today are still called the "Crims." Hah.

I remember many times in my teaching career various students complaining about rules set upon them. They would exclaim, "This school is just like a prison." Hah. Perhaps they would have liked to attend Yuma high school in the 1900's where school was indeed a prison!

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Los Algodones, Mexico

Today we went with Mickey and Patti and visited the quaint little Mexican town of Los Algodones. We parked on the US side of the border in a Quechen Indian Reservation parking lot. Very nice lot. All fenced in and paved. Walked across the border without a problem and were immediately accosted by locals hawking their wares, which were primarily pharmaceuticals (sp?) and dental work. We managed to get through the lines and the crowd at the border and walked around. There were so many more dental and optical shops than we are used to seeing in Nuevo Progresso. After the first hour and a half, I began to think that was all there was to the town. But then we turned a corner and we saw many more shops which had other items like glassware, wood crafts, food, blankets, etc.
It was interesting, but I didn't find anything I couldn't live without. I did by some more antibiotics that I have found useful, but we mainly looked.

When we started back, we had a line at the border so we had to wait, but not too long. We had to show our driver's licenses and they punched in the license numbers into their computer, and we passed on through.

On the way back, we stopped at Bubba's barbecue and had a really good sandwich. It was a very enjoyable day and after we got home we just kicked back and relaxed a bit. Then the dogs prevailed upon us to take them for a walk. We walked Neal in his cart again. He seemed to enjoy it a little better tonight and didn't strain to jump out like he did last night. He will become content, I believe, to "stroll" instead of walk. Bailey does a good job of walking and so we all enjoyed the night air.

Terry is busy baking brownies now, so I will have to sample those later.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

News and Views

We are still here in Yuma. We have been exploring and just really enjoying the mild weather. It is hot enough during the day to wear shorts and cool enough in the evenings for a sweatshirt. Our furnace runs minimally at night. If it weren't for the dogs, we probably wouldn't run it at all.

We have spent a considerable amount of time visiting resale shops looking for a used stroller for our handicapped dog, Neal. He hates being left behind while Bailey goes on walks. Usually one of us sneaks out with Bailey. He needs to walk and Neal just cannot stand up and walk. He has a condition which acts a lot like Parkinson's and he just cannot manage to walk 3 steps without falling over. So today we hit paydirt and found a good stroller that we could buy cheaply enough. We brought it home, stripped it of all unnecessary amenities and put a container on it which will hold Neal and hopefully keep him from trying to bail out! Ho Ho.

I did take him for a walk. He does want to get out and walk, but I kept him in it and he seemed to eventually enjoy the new sites and sounds around the park to which he was exposed. It is far easier than trying to walk him.

We have visited a couple flea markets. There is one. . . the Arizona marketplace which is mostly new merchandise and seems to be quite popular. Bought a few things, but didn't overload on anything. Next day we went to the Park 'n Swap. It is definitely a flea market, but did have some other things. We went with Mickie and Patti. Patti bought grapefruit, 10 for $1, and shared them with us. They were wonderful. I also found rugs quite cheap. I would like to get some matching ones for in the motorhome for when I need to change them.

We are going to Mexico tomorrow. . . Los Algondones. Mickie and Patti haven't been there before and we haven't been to that town, although we have been to Nuevo Progresso in the Rio Grande Valley several times. Always a treat.

We have to get to the casinos yet. There are 2 of them here in town. . . well one is south of town a little. Patti hasn't even been to one. We have told her to leave her money at home and take just what she can afford to lose. ho Ho. Lately we have been taking the coins in our "coin jar." Last time we took the nickels and Terry won $72 on 75 cents. Not bad.

We had Mickie and Patti over tonight for coffee and Baklava. We found a neat little bakery that had fresh baked goods. It was delicious.

We continue to have lovely sunrises and sunsets.

Till next time. . .

Friday, February 03, 2006

Work Day

Well, today became a work day. Don't know if I intended it that way, but that was the way it went. Started cleaning the coach early to get rid of the Quartzsite dust. Gave it a really good going over. You would think that wouldn't take long, but it was several hours. Doing laundry at the same time. The washer/dryer only does small loads and I really do like it, but I am trying to play catch-up since we arrived here. I could have gone down to one of the laundromats here, but people complain the machines are always breaking down, so just decided to do it here. Mopped the floor also, as that is the only way to get the dust out. I really am pleased with the laminate flooring. It doesn't take much to make it look good.

Terry was busy cleaning out the car. He also started trimming the dogs. That is a big deal, since Neal is so paranoid about having it done. I finished Neal, then brought him inside for a bath. Another biggie as this 30 lb. Scotsman will do anything he can to avoid a bath. But in the end, he capitulates and Mom won as usual. He looks so much better, smells so much better, and he would have to admit, he probably feels better too. Then I went to get Bailey. Finished trimming him, then brought him in for his bath. Always save the best for last. Bailey likes his bath, so he cooperates and it takes much less time.

While I was doing that, Terry was hosing down their mat they lay on. It was filthy from Quartzsite. They lay on it outside though and it does help keep them cleaner as well as keeps them from "rooting" in the dust here.

Once we did all that, we took showers ourselves. Nothing like a good shower after the Quartzsite showers, which must be taken using minimal water.

Steaks are thawing for the evening meal. . . having skipped lunch. Think I will just wait now. We may take a bike ride. I think I may go lay in the sun. I can do that now and not feel guilty. :-)

Till next time. . .