Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year a day early. We usually conk out early, so I won't have a chance to wish everyone a Happy New Year at midnight tonight.

Mom is cooking a smoked turkey and I am making some goodies to take over, so we will have a great dinner and afterwards we will play cards. Should be lots of fun. Last time we ended the evening in a draw, both couples winning the same.

Yesterday the temperature climbed into the mid-60's which was great because there was no wind and the sun was out, so it was actually warm enough to be out in shirtsleeves. We went to the mall in the morning and walked and then did some shopping for a new TV for the bedroom. Haven't found anything yet.

Today the temperature is supposed to get up to 78. Whoo hoo! I can't wait. That will mean that Neal will want out to sit most of the afternoon. He loves getting out and laying in the drive. I have a cushion I put out for him and he lays on it. He gets excited when other dogs come to visit. Most in the neighborhood now know Neal and know that he cannot walk much, so they will come up and they greet each other. Neal loves having other dogs (and cats) around, and it is good for him to have that interaction.

A lot of people come around to look at our canopy. It is good looking, if I do say so myself. It is so nice to have a dry place to sit if it's raining. And a dry place to park the car. We do have a problem with the noise when we run our air conditioners. They vent straight up and the air echos against the roof of the canopy. So we are experimenting with ways to deaden that noise. We only have one close neighbor and he says it doesn't bother them, but we don't care to hear the noise when outside. We shouldn't have to run our AC's as much with the canopy, so it won't be a big problem, but we will figure something out.

The sun is shining and no breeze yet. . . that is a bit odd for the valley, but it may start up later. A great day coming up!

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Keepin' Dry!

Well, I am glad we got our canopy up when we did, because since Christmas we have had steady misting, drizzle, and almost rain. Fortunately, everything under the canopy is dry, which means Neal can go out to the "doggie" yard and do his business without getting wet. It has been cold also--cold for south Texas that is. Yesterday it was in the mid-50's, today 50 seems to be the high.

We decided to go out to Penitas to mail a package to our friend, The Texan, and went to Wal-Mart too. I asked Mom if they needed anything and she said they were probably going to go out as well because they were getting cabin fever and just wanted to get out and do something.

Apparently that is what everyone here was thinking because we saw a half dozen people from our park. . . and that was just the ones we knew! It sure it hard to get motivated to do anything with this weather. We just want to take naps. Hahahaha. Oh well, I guess that doesn't really matter. We can if we want to! This is winter in the Rio Grande Valley. In a couple weeks it will all be behind us and we will be sitting by the pool.

Till next time. . .


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

Today we unwrapped our presents early and talked with both the kids. We visited with Mom and Dad and got to listen in on their conversation with my sister. We gathered at the hall around noon and had dinner with others from the park. The turkey and ham were delicious as were all the trimmings.

Mom and Dad have been coming down here for over 20 years. We are newbies!

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

We're home!

The workers were back today at 8 a.m. and worked quickly to attach all the facia, gutters, and downspouts. They worked nonstop to get finished. Mario was back with his three little boys and they again worked tirelessly, one painting welds and two moving tools and fetching screws, etc., for the workers. I asked Mario if he paid his little boys. He just grinned and said yes, but I asked him if I could give them something for helping. He said yes and just before they all finished and left, I asked the boys to come over. I told them I appreciated them coming to help their dad on our building, especially because it was their Christmas vacation. I was impressed with how hard they all worked and then gave them each $20 for their help and to make their Christmas extra special. They all thanked me and wished me a Merry Christmas. It was so nice to see young boys neatly dressed, working without whining and staying busy all day, never complaining about the work or wanting to go home. I hope the work ethic Mario has instilled continues with them as they mature.

The last thing they did was to make two "X" shaped cable tension braces. They work to steady the structure. We had a lot of neighbors suggesting they thought it was moving a little too much. We had 35 mph winds and two workmen on top walking around. Well, duh. By the time they were down and the braces in place, very little movement was discernible.

I had a Canadian visitor from Pleasant Valley who I wanted to tell to leave this morning. It's not unusual to be the talk of the park when you put something like this up. But today Mario and his men were stringing the cable tensioners. It's not anything you should be standing underneath. And this man seemed detemined to talk to one of the workman, a man who does not speak English. He was attempting to talk and when the man didn't answer, he continued following him and touching his arm, etc. Normally one of the little boys would have come to the Mexican's rescue, but none was available, so I walked over and explained that Angel didn't speak English and asked if there was something I could help him with. He rudely said, "Why? I'm not holding up progress or anything, am I?" I was quite taken aback by this nasty demeanor especially because I was not confrontational. I thought I might suggest he step back as well because no one should be standing under the cable tensioners. I told him no he was not, but that Angel would not respond because he doesn't speak English. The man then asked if the building was mine and I said yes. He then asked me if I was rich. I just looked at him. He said I didn't have to tell him but that he was Canadian and if he had put up such a building, he would be rich. Then he launched into something about the Canadians in the space program. . . . It kind of went like that until he said he had to get back. He seemed to have some problems, mental and physical. . . some sort of tremors. From the way he digressed, I'm not sure what his problem was, but I am glad he chose to leave when he did. I was about ready to ask him to leave.

While Mario was working on the cable tensioners, he was using a woven wire to place around the cable end. This woven wire would grab the wire and when tension was applied, it holds the cable end firmly in place. Terry had never seen this and it is very neat looking. The finished building is quite impressive, we think, and very neat underneath and outside. We are very pleased. The workers finished at 2 p.m. and we were back "home" by 4 p.m.

I had made lasagne this morning, so Mom baked it at her house and when we took a break from setting everything back up, we had supper with Mom and Dad. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And the work continues. . .

Today Mario and his men were on the job before 8 a.m. They weren't here yesterday except to clean up the pad late in the day. The concrete around the posts was still curing. But that isn't to say they weren't working. When Mario arrived today he had the trusses on his trailer, already welded up with brackets, etc. It was obvious he had worked all day getting the material ready and he had all the material on his trailer except for the trim and guttering which he picked up later in the day.

We had a lot of wind yesterday and there was wind today, although not as bad. Mario said he did all the welding like he did because it would be easier to put things together in the wind. He had measured everything and made the cuts, so all his men had to do was put things together on site. Everything fit together perfectly. We were unsure if Mario's promise to finish by Christmas was going to ring true, but after today, we know it will. They will be done tomorrow.

It was interesting to watch the men work. No one sat down on the job; they all worked hard from 8 a.m. till they stopped at 6 p.m. They did take a lunch break and we gave them lawn chairs and a table on which to set the food Mario brought them. None of the workers speak any English, but they were grateful for the meager hospitality we offered.

Mario brought his three oldest sons and they were busy all day. They helped the men unload the rafters/trusses and the purlins. They were heavy, but the boys worked together with one other man and they got the job done. When the workers were hoisting the rafters up, the oldest boy was working the winch. He obviously has done this before, because he knew what he was doing. Mario was very patient with them and I could tell by watching that they liked helping their dad. Mario called the lift a "Mexican crane." It was truck winch powered by a jump start. Standing 15 feet up on the scaffolding, he did his job well. They strapped the rafter to the winch and it took little time to get the job done. But I was glad when the third one was up and in place. The purlins were a little easier. Mario fashioned a hook which they tied onto a strap. With a strap on either end of the purlin, the workers pulled the beam up to their station and bolted it in place. When the boys weren't busy offloading material, they busied themselves taking tools to men and fetching bolts.

After all the rafters and purlins/beams were in place, the workmen took their lunch break. After that, they placed and screwed all the steel roofing in place. While they were doing that, the oldest boy worked brushing all the welds where the rafters rested on the posts and then spray painted them with primer.

Tomorrow they will finish up the trim, facia, and the guttering. We are so pleased with our canopy. It will be so nice to be out of the sun. Now I know we come here for the sun and the weather, but the best part is the shade. It can be 100 degrees here in the sun and a cool breeze blows in the shade. In the winter time, it is easy to be comfortable here in south Texas. And if we are ever here in the summer, the canopy will protect us from the sun. In fact, once "winter" is over in the valley, the sun will be hot and we will be enjoying our shade. We should be able to get by with less air conditioning as well.

We do seem to be the talk of the park. I'm sure everybody has their own idea of how they would do things differently. One resident spent quite a bit of time this morning watching and when I greeted him, he said, "I've got six grandsons I'd like to bring down here to show them how to work." Hah. A lot of people hire Mexican workers and they don't all work the way our crew has. I cannot say enough about Mario and his crew. We called him last Friday night, we signed our contract on Saturday, they started on Sunday, and they will be done on Thursday. They have been very professional, reliable and qualified. They arrive looking professional, with shirts emblazoned with the company name. Even though we cannot speak their language, they have been very respectful and we are glad we found them to do our building. Anyone in the valley who is looking at doing some commercial work, I would be happy to pass on contact information.

Till next time. . .


Monday, December 21, 2009

The work continues. . .

Today the workmen came back and set the posts in the ground and concreted them in. They didn't get started until about 3 p.m., so it was after dark when they finished. Terry helped them clean up and I moved the car around to shine the headlights on the lot so they could finish.

We didn't do much today except to watch the progress. We moved the motorhome Saturday so the workers would have plenty of room. We also didn't want any damage to the motorhome from all the work being done. We are parked on Mom and Dad's street, one street over from ours. We are about 4 lots down from Mom and Dad on the opposite side of the street.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Work has started. . .

The workers arrived this morning and worked until 4:30. Their goal today was to get the holes dug for the posts that will support the superstructure. Three of the holes had to be cut through the concrete. Obviously those took the most time. They used a diamond blade on a circular saw to score the concrete and then used a hammer drill and a jack hammer to take it out. The holes were about 20 inches square and the concrete was several inches thick. They had wire in the concrete they had to cut and when they finally got to the dirt, they then used a post hold digger to go down about 4 feet. Prior to doing all that, they had to lay out the building so they would know exactly where the posts would be. We are using a commercial contractor and he has been very nice and very professional to work with.

I have pictures to post. I have, however, been dealing with a dying lcd screen on my 2-year old Gateway laptop and so I have switched to the Mac. I don't have my programs and stuff on here, and I am still in a learning curve with the Mac. I will try to figure out the picture stuff tomorrow and get some shots up.

We were very pleased with the progress today. Mario had asked if he could start today--actually a day early--and we were ready for them. They really want to get it done by Christmas and that would be great for us.

So check back tomorrow and I will have some pictures up.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Things are looking up. . .

Well, I am feeling much better and the rain has stopped. Just getting out and spending time in the sunshine really helps.

We did do some looking over at Hidden Valley in our quest to find a builder for our canopy. We found one we liked and stopped to talk with the owner. It turns out he just had his done in March and he had a card with the builder's name. We came back and called him and Mario came out yesterday morning. Before the day was done, we had a contract. We got our building permit and the workers will start Monday morning setting posts. It will be 36' wide, covering most of both lots we have and 45' long. They will have to wait until late afternoon Tuesday or Wednesday to start with the super structure. Mario says if the weather cooperates they will be done by Christmas. Hopefully that will be the case, but even if they don't get done by then, it won't be long after. There is a vacant lot a few doors down from Mom and Dad. They know the lady who owns it and she has relatives that are coming in on the 30th. She will rent it to us for the time we need up to the 30th for a really reasonable price, so we are going to do that. It's very close to Mom and Dad and will give us the opportunity to be right there to watch the work being done.

I can't wait to be under cover. Anyone who spends time down here in south Texas knows how brutal the sun is. We don't complain because we like it sunny and warm, but motorhomes are not known for being really tight and it is expensive to keep it cool with the sun beating down on it. This will help tremendously by reducing the exposure on the coach. Also, right now when it rains, Neal has no choice but to go outside when it is wet and do his business. Since Neal always falls down, it means it is hard for him to stay very clean. So this will be good for him. And it will give us all a place to sit out in the shade and enjoy those cool Texas breezes any time during the day.

After the canopy, we will start the plans for our two "sheds." One will be a Texas room and the other will be a cart garage/workshop for Terry.

So we are going to be busy between now and Christmas. Fortunately all our gift buying and wrapping is done and we can concentrate on the new building.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remember when. . .

Remember when I said if it ever stops raining I will get out and take some pictures? Well, it is STILL raining. Grrrr. We have had a couple days where it cleared up, but not a whole lot of sunshine. Not sure what is going on with the weather, but at least I am glad I am not in the ice and snow. But we are now into setting records for rainfall, so who knows when this will all end.

We did get out one day last week and met with a group of RV.netters at the Paradise Roadhouse to hear 12String Tim and Sharon. They are a performing duo who have thousands of songs in their collection and have lots of props that add to their show. They are very good and our group really loves going to hear them. We didn't stay for the entire show as we had something to get back to the park for, but we will plan to see them again, perhaps several times this winter.

Several of us ended up sick after that outing, so some germ must have thought it had a good opportunity to "spread the joy" around so many unsuspecting Winter Texans. I have been battling what appears to be a sinus infection since then and I am getting better, but it hasn't been pleasant. The cough has been the worse. I cannot seem to lay down without starting to cough.

One of Mom and Dad's friends who lives just two doors down from us died over the weekend. He had bought a bicycle and was out riding. He fell off and hit his head. It's unclear if that is what killed him or if he actually had a stroke, but the result was the same. He actually seemed fine after the accident, but collapsed later and never regained consciousness. He died on Sunday. He and his wife have been in the park about the same time as my parents and they are among the longest residents here. We will miss him.

We have not given up on getting a canopy erected here and getting a building/Texas room built. But the weather has not lended itself to our looking, so we are just waiting until it breaks and we can get out. The best source is to drive around Hidden and Leisure Valley parks where a lot of new construction is going on and make some inquiries. So hopefully we will be seeing some action here later in the season.

I have been finishing up Christmas wrapping and trying to find inside jobs to do while the rain continues. That will have to do until the sun comes out!

Till next time. . .


Friday, December 04, 2009

Weather. . . .

What can I say? If it ever stops raining, I will get outside and take some pictures. We are having winter in Mission, Texas, right now. Forty-two degrees and raining. Yuck. But it could be worse. . . we come down here to get out of the snow and 42 degrees is still warm compared to what we could be experiencing.

We arrived here Sunday, one day ahead of schedule, because there was a winter storm approaching the desert southwest and promised to cover the same territory we planned to be in. I am certainly glad we tuned into the weather site. Some new friends we met in Deming said we got out at the right time because it started turning cold there. We got our coach set up on Sunday but didn't do much else. It got up to 81 and was sunny. Then Monday it got gloomy and rainy, but not too cold. Still didn't do much except visit with Mom and Dad. I got her computer back on line with our air card so she can now follow my blog and stay in contact with other family members.

Tuesday was a cool but nice sunny day, so we got out and put our solar lights in the ground and my other "bling" consisting of garden flags and name signs, etc. Having all the rain on Monday made the ground super soft and a perfect day for getting that done. Knowing how hard the ground gets, I determined correctly that it was an easy job after the rain. And now it has been raining and gloomy once again and promises the same for at least today. But no matter, it is still in the forties, we are safe and snug and keeping plenty warm with our Olympian propane catalytic heater which keep us and Neal nice and warm.

Last night I finished most of my Christmas shopping on line with just one more item to go. That certainly is much easier than past years. I took several hours to do it all, but when I think of going out and driving to the stores, I'm sure I saved a great deal of time--and saved me from the crowds.

Once this weather breaks and I get all my other little jobs done, we will get out and visit some with our Winter Texan friends, so be forewarned!

Till next time. . .


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Not Bad for a GIRL!

Most of our friends know that Terry and I share the driving duties for Phaeton Place. Well, since we left Tucson, I have done all the driving and Terry has been navigating. He knows the Delorme program better than I and when we are in certain areas, I prefer to have him navigating.

We left Deming on Friday after Thanksgiving. It was really a bittersweet exit because we met several couples at the Thanksgiving dinner that I would have loved to spend more time with. Ross and Dorothy are planning on making it to the valley later this winter, so hopefully we may see them again. Dan and Rita are new fulltimers and really excited about traveling. They have done a lot of planning and are getting set up to do some serious boondocking as well. We wish all our friends safe travels and plan to see them on down the road.

Our plan was to take four days to drive to the Rio Grande Valley and our lot in Mission, Texas. The first day was such an easy drive, but rather boring across I-10. I didn't mind putting that leg of our journey behind us, so I suggested we travel on to Fort Stockton, a few more miles than we had planned. The park Terry had chosen for us to stay turned out to be a real dump and neither of us wanted to spend a night there. Instead of driving back to one of the other parks, we decided to drive on to Sanderson. We have stayed at the park there before and knew we would be comfortable. So after 409 miles, we got parked and hooked up for the night.

Leaving Sanderson the next day, we drove on to Eagle Pass. This was an easy drive, but finding the casino was not so easy. But we did make it and found an empty spot in their RV park. What a joke that is. I hope the next improvement they make is that park. We paid to park and then were never able to get the electric to work. We have a surge protector to save us from damaging equipment in the coach. It showed we had unreliable low voltage and would not allow power into the coach. We tried two different sites and decided after that to forget trying to get any resolutioin to the problem. It wasn't as cold in Eagle Pass, so we just boondocked. I had noticed one of our friends in Arizona had made an early move back to home base because of the impending winter storm. So I looked that up. I really need to be a little more diligent there because we had a storm heading for us.

Today was to be a short hop to Laredo, then on in to Mission on Monday. But Monday is supposed to be wintry weather in the high elevations of Arizona and Texas with snow appearing even at the valley floors. A slushy mixture is possible, and no one in a 40' diesel pusher wants to push slush and snow along the road. Today, however, was a beautiful day with sunshine and warm weather. So the choice as I see it was this: (1) lay over in Laredo and run tomorrow in rain and wind all the way to Mission where we set up in the same. . . OR (2) make the run to Mission today in the sunshine and warm weather setting up in the same. Hmmmmm, you guessed it. . . no brainer there.

So we arrived here at our lot in Mission at 2:30 after an uneventful drive. Those are the best kind. Mom and Dad were excited to see us and even fixed us supper. We just did minimum setup as we were tired from our three day/900 mile journey with me behind the wheel. NOT BAD FOR A GIRL!

Now we will see if the weatherman was right!

Till next time. . .


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Moving on. . .

Our time in Deming, New Mexico, is drawing to a close. We are here at the Escapees park and it is one of our favorite parks. There are not a lot of people here in the winter because it does get cold, but the ones that are here are very friendly and we have gotten to know several people since arriving on Monday.

Today was our Thanksgiving dinner. It started at 3 p.m. and we had signed up by tables. Each table had a designated person who met with everyone at that table prior to today to determine what each would like to bring. I took pecan pies and cranberry salad. Those are two of our favorites. The park supplied the turkey and gravy. It was all very good. There were twelve people at our table, three Canadian couples and three American couples. A nice mix. We really enjoyed talking with every one and we ended up visiting with new friends long after the dinner ended. We hope to meet with these people later on. One couple will be coming to Mission later this winter, so perhaps they will catch up with us there.

Tomorrow we set our sights on Mission, Texas, where we hope to be in a few days. We don't drive long or fast, so it will be a leisurely journey, but we are thinking by Monday we should be there.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Easy does it!

Well, we are enjoying the weather here in Tucson so have stayed a few more days. The days are wonderful. . . warm, sunny, no wind, etc. The nights, however, require the heat pumps as it gets into the 40's some nights.

Since we have great shopping near our camp, we decided to do a bit of Christmas shopping and so that is what we have been doing. Since our arrival in the valley is later this year, we would like to have it pretty much done by the time we get there.

We have met several people in our park here and they are very nice and friendly. We also meet their dogs. . . yesterday it was Taz, the basset. What a beauty at 55 pounds. He is a rescue and is fulltiming with his family. What a great story. Neal, our rescued Scottie, is doing well for 13 1/2 years. He is our handicapped boy, but he never complains. . . as long as his food is out on time.

Last night we started hearing a lot of noise-like explosions in the distance. We went out to see fireworks east of us against the mountains. What a display! We can only assume that since there was a big, big football game at the University of Arizona that perhaps the fireworks were a celebration of a victory. That would have been over 9 miles away, and the lights were low on the horizon, but we still got a good view.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, November 19, 2009


We are in Tucson, having arrived late yesterday afternoon. This is one of my favorite towns. My uncle and grandfather are buried here, having lived much of their lives here in the sun. We have been here several times and try to see something different each time.

Today we went to Sabino Canyon. This is a canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains. In the 1930’s, a road was built through the canyon to allow visitors to access a variety of trails in the canyon. That road closed to traffic in 1978 and now they offer a 45-minute 3.8 mile tram tour into the foothills of the mountains through the canyon. There are nine stops and you can get off and hike the various trails and get back on whenever you wish. The main road ascends from 2,800 to 3,300 feet and crosses Sabino Creek over nine stone bridges.

In addition to the beautiful scenery, we were treated to a rare occurrence. A ring-tailed Coatie was rooting in the mud in a creekbed. Our tram driver stopped so we could see and he was still there on our return trip, only this time he had two roadrunners hanging around. It was quite awesome.

A lot of people were hiking the trails. There are, of course, the normal dangers of hiking in the desert, i.e., snakes and mountain lions; and the guide gave a few instructions to those who were going to get off and hike.

When I was about six years old, my parents drove me and my two sisters out here to visit my aunt and uncle and grandfather. We went off to a canyon and picnicked. I remember a stone dam where we walked. A bit of water was running over it. Tonight while I was telling my Mom about our day she said, “I wonder if that’s the same canyon we picnicked in when we were out there years ago. I described several things to her and we think it is probably the place. Talk about a blast from the past!

It was a most enjoyable ride through the canyon and I would highly recommend it. You may even want to hike some of the trails.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

California's Plank Road

Our last day in Yuma was spent sightseeing. We drove west on I-8 crossing into California and entered the area known as the Imperial Valley. It is here the Glamis Dunes sit in silent grandeur with ripples on the hills made by the winds whipping the delicate sand around. Here also is the site of a piece of history most people don't know about.

In early 1915, a road was built across seven miles of the dunes to allow automobile travelers quicker access to the west coast. From Yuma, the distance to San Diego was shorter than the distance to Los Angeles. The original road was made of planks which were laid end to end. Two parallel strips of wood 25 inches wide made travel across the shifting sand feasible and it quickly became very popular. However, it was not very durable and under heavy use it deteriorated. The solution was to built a second plank road, one in which the planks were laid across the roadbed and iron ties were used to hold it in place. These sections were preassembled and laid down with an elaborate contraption. The road was a single lane wide and there were many turnouts made to allow traffic to pass. The logistics of the road created to its downfall. Keeping the road clear of sand was a nightmare and the amount of traffic taking advantage of the road was indicative of the need for a better route. A new asphalt/concrete road was built and opened in 1926 and the Plank Road was history. Several sections were removed to museums and much of the wood planks disappeared as campers used it for firewood. A 1500 foot section remains near the Grays Well area in the recreation area. If you find yourself in Yuma, you should take a drive out here to see it.

Later in the day, Smokey and Pam came to visit and we sat out at our campfire with them and John and Doni. We decided to go to Da Boyz for pizza so we once again got to visit with our friends before we started our trek east. We had a nice campsite in Yuma and enjoyed our times with fellow members of our Graduating Class of 2005. We will see them all again, perhaps at Escapade next fall in Goshen.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yuma, Arizona

We have been relaxing here in Yuma. Yesterday we went to the Arizona Marketplace, a large flea market, and walked through the many rows looking at stuff. I bought a couple shirts and Terry a couple tools. Hard to believe there are tools he still doesn't own. We also bought a new RV mat to place outside where we sit. It is the type that is supposed to lay flat and wind won't catch it.

Today we are watching the Nascar race of course, so I am getting some laundry done. I fixed a large dinner (for us) of stuffed green peppers, potatoes, salad and flan for dessert. Now I have the first of two fruitcakes in the oven. I usually make them around holiday time and that is fast approaching. I plan to surprise my Mom and Dad and send them one of the cakes in time for Thanksgiving. They love them and last year I had found Mom ordering one on line. I told her we could make much better ones and we did. In fact, after I made the ones for Christmas, Mom and I ended up making them again before we left the valley. They are THAT good. I know, I know, you say fruitcake is never that good, but these are. First, they are all fruit and nuts. . . NO CAKE. No flour. They use Eagle Brand milk and coconut to bind it together. Super good. I will post a picture tomorrow when we cut one.

Till next time. . .


Friday, November 13, 2009

Say Goodbye to the "Q!"

I took this photograph one morning waiting for the sun to come up over the mountain. When it did, there was too much cloud cover by then to see, but this was beautiful nonetheless.

Last evening we spent our last night sitting around the campfire with our friends. It was a bittersweet time because I really hated to leave, but we have more places to see and more friends to visit. We had already extended our stay by one day, so it was time for us to move on. We said our goodbyes this morning as our friends were headed to Algodones, Mexico, for the day to check on dental procedures. I told Bob and Betsy I would let Chiquita, their dog, out before we left so she would be in good shape by the time they returned. About 10 o'clock, we pulled out into the street and hooked up and rolled slowly away from Rainbow Acres. This is really a great place to stay while in Quartzsite and we appreciate the hospitality of The Texan and company.

We drove on down to Yuma, which is less than 100 miles. It is a straight shot down 95 with a couple of interesting views. We drove through LaPosa North and South, which are 14 day fee areas on the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. The fee is because you have both water and a dump station available. There were RVs everywhere, but very few. That will change daily as people pull in to spend time in this desert oasis. Continuing on we passed through the Yuma Proving Grounds and the Imperial Dam cutoff. Just before we got into Yuma we passed the towers for the "Bridge to Nowhere." This 800-foot-long suspension bridge spanned the Gila River when it was built in 1929, and was named McPhaul Bridge in honor of Henry Harrison McPhaul, "the only Yuma resident who ever became an Arizona Ranger." But it was considered to be too flimsy for modern traffic, and when a dam was built upstream in 1968 the river was diverted and the highway was rerouted over a much smaller bridge. The bridge is closed to all traffic, but you can view it from the gate. We were there a couple years ago.

Once we got into Yuma, we pulled into the Flying J for fuel, saving 30 cents a gallon over what the truck stops in Quartzsite wanted. We pulled into the parking area then and called John, our friend who is giving us a place to park in the foothills alongside his 5-er. We fixed lunch and waited on John who arrived and escorted back to the site. It's a good thing because the foothills subdivision is built with a golf course in the middle and several arroyos or washes pass through which you cannot cross. So it takes making the right turns to get to where you want to go. We parked and got setup. This is a beautiful spot with a lot of RV's in this area. While we were talking, Pam and Smokey called and wanted to meet us for dinner tonight. We all met at the Mad Chef and had an excellent dinner. It was great to see everyone again, but I forgot my camera, so we don't have a picture.
Tomorrow we are headed to the Arizona marketplace. . . a giant flea market.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The "Q"

We are in Quartzsite, having arrived on Monday afternoon. Our friends, The Texan and his wife and Jim and Sue are here. The Texan has rented this lot for the winter and has graciously allowed us to crash here for a couple days. In the picture front row, me, Betsy and Bob (The Texan). Back row, Jim, Sue, and Terry.

The community we are in is known as Rainbow Acres, a development of 500 sites which have RVs, mobiles, stick-built houses, etc. They are well kept and all are fenced in with brick fences on three sides and gates on the front. Left to right, The Texan, Phaeton Place in the middle, Jim and Sue's rig on the right.

I must say that we have been having Datastorm problems which is why I haven't been posting. Our Datastorm is the internet satellite on the roof of the motorhome. When it works, it deploys at the touch of a button and locks onto the satellite within 10 minutes, then allowing us internet access. Lately it has been taking up to an hour to search and then sometimes it never locks on. We put it down and re-deploy and then it clicks in. But when we got here, it would just search and search till it got "tired," then it would quit. I started asking questions on the Datastorm users group and they were most helpful. We did our own troubleshooting and decided it could very well be the transmitter, aka radios. It just so happens that Jim next door had an extra set, so they went up on the rooftop early this morning and changed them out. That did the trick. A little tweaking later and we were once again surfing. So we went into the Q later and bought a new set of radios and tomorrow will swap them out for Jim's spare unit.

Our days have been spent running around Quartzite looking at what's new. There are people here, but of course nothing like it will be in a few months. But that is good because it is easy to get around. Not much shopping to do, but no matter. The Q is a mecca for RVers in the winter and there will be hundreds of thousands of RVs in January when the shows start. There is a different show every week, like rock and mineral shows, flea markets, RV shows, car shows, etc.

I have been a bit disappointed with the night skies, however. We have had some overcast skies and consequently, not many stars. But perhaps there will be before we leave here. We sit around the campfire every night talking with our friends, listening to the coyotes, and laughing at stupid things we've done and share. We have decided we have all done everything that was in the RV movie and if we'd been smart enough to film it all, we'd be millionaires. Hah!

Till next time. . .


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Wow! What an awesome site. . . Hoover Dam. It is so massive it is actually hard to see--your eyes play tricks on you. I have been across the dam before but that is all I remember. . . crossing it. There is a visitor center and a parking garage so we parked and walked the rest of the way. We went to the visitor center to look at the exhibits and learn about how this dam was constructed. It was truly amazing to think of how they built this structure with the technology of the time. There were men, called high scalers, who sat on wooden swings and were lowered down the cliffs on both sides of the river so they could chip away at the rock. They were paid 70 cents per hour. Hah!

Some of you know they are building a bridge across the Colorado River to take the traffic off the dam. Since 9-11, they have restricted the traffic on the dam and all vehicles are subject to search. There is no longer any commercial truck traffic. Once they get the bridge done, traffic will flow smoothly across the river from Arizona to Nevada. We could see quite a lot of the new highway they are building and the road is going to be much straighter than the road going to the dam. It will surely be a timesaver for people who use the bridge a lot and perhaps commute from state to state. You will be able to see the dam from the bridge but the dam itself will still be open for foot traffic. The bridge is very high. While we were visiting yesterday the workers were using the cable trams to set in sections of the stantions for the roadbed. I had seen earlier pictures of the bridge before the arch was complete, but the arch is connected now, so they are working on the supports now for the roadway. I cannot even fathom the technology it takes to begin a project of such magnitude. I have a lot of respect for the engineers and workers willing to do this type of work. I believe the pictures speak for themselves.

On the way back, we stopped at an overlook for Lake Mead. I remember many moons ago sailing my uncle's boat on this lake. I wish we had the boat here. We would enjoy time on the water.

We drove through more of Las Vegas and I snapped a couple pix down the strip. The pyramid with the Sphinx is the Luxor, then the other is New York New York. We plan on going by tonight to get some night time shots.

Tomorrow we are leaving here and headed to the "Q." Quartzsite, Arizona, a boondocking mecca for RVers. We will be the guests of some friends, so we will have hookups. We are anxious to experience the endless night sky we remember.

Till next time. . .