Our Travels

Our retirement began February 3rd, 2006. This is an account of our travels. We hope you enjoy them. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge the picture. Please leave a comment for us...we love to read them.

Monday, January 28, 2008

2008 Travel - Installment #3

In our travels in the desert, we finally spotted a roadrunner . Also attached are some pictures of others boondocking in the area to show how they add portable structures to their motorhomes giving them more room for entertaining. When most of the activity was finished in Quartzsite you wouldn’t believe the lines of motorhomes at the Pitt Stop (to get propane) and the dump stations (to unload black and grey water and add water) (filling up, emptying and getting ready to head to other destinations).

Our friends from Vancouver, WA (Penny & Arnie) arrived in Quartzsite towards the end of January. After an evening with Butch & Mary and all our Quartzsite friends (picture around Butch’s “water heater fireplace”), we teamed up with Penny & Arnie for a couple of days boondocking near the Mexican border and then on to an RV park – the Pilot Knob – for five days. By February 11th (our 48th day on this year’s excursion), we headed for the desert for boondocking – 4 miles north off Interstate 8 on Sidewinder Road. We met up with new friends Dan & Jeanne, and James & Jan from California.

In Yuma we visited the Yuma Vendors where we always see new things – one of the more ingenious this year was the “perfect pet” – a small dog curled up in a pet bed, looking very real, and even more real when, upon a closer look, we noticed that the dog was breathing – a simple thing to accomplish if you have the right batteries to put in the dog. Another new thing are “nude sandals” – stick on soles – perfect for those who like to go barefoot – not too perfect for walking in sand and gravel – they will come off if they get dirty! (http://www.nudesandals.co.uk/sandals.php) Also, the Nada chair – check it out – it was very comfortable, even though it looks silly http://www.nadachair.com/how_it_works.html

Our Peanut Patch tour picture shows a slab of granite with jalapeno fudge. We were given free samples of natural peanut butter, peanuts, and fudge (http://www.thepeanutpatch.com/).

Tony spotted a tow dolly built to carry a car and an ATV (picture). Who knows, maybe next year we can bring the ATV with us also.

One day we toured the Center of the World – Pictures are of the God’s arm sundial, spot that has been declared the center of world, steps from the Eiffel tower that were obtained when steps had to be replaced, and the pyramid in center of picture was where the center of the world spot was housed (http://deuceofclubs.com/rv/cal203.htm).

Down the road we spotted this sign - end of the world humor due to the Center of the World.

Notice the pool rules at Pilot Knob – guess maybe we were there to lower the average age of the RV park. (http://www.whresorts.com/sunbelt_usa/resort_directory/resort_pages/sw_region/ca_pilot_knob/pilot_knob_sb_1.htm).

Every day we see a lot of buses hauling workers to the fields, followed by a trailer with their porta potties.

On-site, I couldn’t resist this picture of the big and small – Arnie on his ATV and Dan on his ATV (1/2 the size and 1/10 the cost).

We are close to the Yuma Proving Ground and Marine Corp Air Station and often watch the helicopters training day and night.

Lack of ability to cut trees down here, in the evening we have a California fire – cardboard pressed log, environmentally safe and each log lasts one hour. So far we have gotten up to a four-log evening.

We visited the Gold Rock Ranch and museum. Picture is of their sheriff’s office (http://www.goldrockranch.us/).

Now, maybe you can tell by this time that Sharon got a new camera – very small, but very powerful.

One evening, our motorhome was rocking – Tony, with flashlight in hand, sprang outside to catch the person big enough to rock a motorhome with the leveling jacks down. The next morning we learned that it was an earthquake – in Tijuana, 250 miles southwest of us, with a reported 5.4 on the Richter scale. As a matter of fact, for the past two weeks, we have felt tremors in various places in and around Yuma and the campsite.

We went out to watch all the kids on the sand dunes during the President's Day three day week-end. http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/recreation/ohvs/isdra.html

We took a trip over to El Centro and north into the desert to look at other sites to go to when we leave this desert area. Interesting to be below sea level while driving. The picture shows the sea level on the side of the silo.

Yuma had an air show - this plane was practicing the day before. Clicking on any of the pictures should make them bigger and easier to see what we are talking about.

Finally we found a way to keep in touch better and have internet service wherever we go - this Verizon Wireless AirCard 595U modem is a great way to travel. We sent ourselves emails all the way back to the campsite in the desert, and have since travelled 25 more miles away from anything and still able to get the internet.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008 Travel Installment #2

Thanks for all the phone calls and emails we are receiving. We really appreciate hearing from everyone.

We keep hearing about all the snow in Moscow….and keep putting on hats and sun glasses because of the bright sunny days in Quartzsite, Arizona. The vendors continue to amaze us with their items for sale. To date, we and our friends have purchased over 20 of the “amazing price” windmills at one of the vendors. Tony continues to find tools and bargains that are too hard to pass up.

Two more trips to the Grubstake restaurant for Tony’s favorite fish & chips. Tony’s second cousin Linda & Mike from Lewiston arrived for their first experience in Quartzsite. Mike and Tony went on 4-wheeler to take pictures of boon dock camping at it’s best (boon docking – camping in the desert with none of the in-town amenities such as water, sewer, and electricity – thousands of motorhomes do this around the area, but this picture shows a “little bit” of a more primitive campsite than most). Next picture is of another "boondocking camper" (not quite so primitive).

We spent an evening out in the desert around a campfire – people bring their own wood to burn and usually put it in a washing machine tub to contain the sparks with legs welded to the bottom of the tub. All the holes in the tub provide a lot of light around the campfire. One of the couples (14 people in all) has started collecting “Vaseline glass”. It is yellow-green glass that is made by adding 2% Uranium Dioxide to the ingredients when the glass formula is made. The unusual thing about it is that with a “black light”, it glows http://www.vaselineglass.org/ . Another evening campfire was made available by another couple within walking distance from our RV park. We learned more there about metal detectors, or as the wife put it - it was her "gold detector". Another evening was spent with a California couple - as we were sitting in their motorhome, another motorhome pulled up beside them, put down the jacks, pushed out the three huge slides, and knocked on their door....the salesman and bossman from a lot where they had been looking at motorhomes. Not sure the outcome of that yet, but it was a pretty good sales technique. Our friends from Washington should be arriving today - with luck they will be able to park across from us.

We made the mistake of bringing along a Christmas present we received – the world’s most difficult jigsaw puzzle – a 529 piece puzzle, double sided, depicting the same artwork on both sides, rotated 90 degrees. Spent a little time each day for almost a week until we got it done. Any of you that want to try your luck, just let us know and we’ll bring the puzzle to you.

We have ridden our scooters around the vendors – it is so much easier than walking up and down the rows….but the amusing stares and comments are the same as they are in Moscow when we ride around town. We stopped to watch a chainsaw artist…he made the bear making look so easy. He asked me if I wanted to give it a try with his chainsaw…it was tempting, but I didn’t try. Next to his spot was a motorcycle sales vendor.

We continue to do geocaching and have even introduced another couple to the hobby. On one geocache adventure, about 10 miles out in the desert, we ran into another geocacher from Canada (picture). This is our first experience at meeting someone new at a geocache.
Another geocache was out in the open, camouflaged to look like a cement block. See if you can find it.

On one of our trips far out into the desert, a gate had to be opened and closed – Tony was elected to do the honors. Unfortunately on the way out, he closed the gate with him on the wrong side of the fence. Mary & I managed to find a geocache after some mountain climbing.

One quirky geocache was found in a tree – see the picture of me with the dinosaur. Another cache was near a water wheel at an RV park – here a man walking by mentioned to me that I should be wearing gloves because of the potential scorpions in the area.

The giant big top tent opened up on Saturday – 69,000 square feet of covered exhibit areas. Some of the interesting things we saw were people getting their teeth whitened for $99.00 in 15 minutes (three customers in the picture);
pet strollers, even double decker ones;

two unusual golf carts – the white one was a Cadillac escalade.

We found an item we have never seen before - the Snap Capp (http://www.snapcapp.com/ ). They come in all colors and purple caught my eye. Tony was demonstrating the "no leak" snapcapp to friends, but forgot to put the lid on tight....another embarrassing moment for the Englishman! (mainly because he was demonstrating over someone else's leg).
Look at the website for many photos and information about this “largest gathering of RVs and RVers any where on earth” (http://www.quartzsitervshow.com/ ). Tony found yet another miniature RV vehicle to add to his collection on the dash of our motorhome. We saw zcoil tennis shoes (http://www.zcoil.com/) and learned about the "necessary" armadillo dollar (http://www.armadillodollar.com/ ), travel lawns to go where you go, and laptop stands to hook on RV chairs.
We spent an afternoon with friends from Nampa, Idaho. We got together with Linda and Mike for a few meals during their stay. On Tony's birthday they had a BBQ . Mike's Dad, Dan & Jeanne, gave Tony a miniature flask to go on a keychain that they had found at the Quartzsite vendors. Mary & Butch took a birthday cake for the event.
We hung up a hummingbird feeder beside the motorhome and it only took a couple of days before our first hummingbird sighting.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 Travel - Installment #1

After leaving in a snowstorm from Moscow the day after Christmas (Wednesday), we arrived in Quartzsite, Arizona, on Friday. Car and motorhome were very dirty, mostly from the salt on the roads. (picture) Our first overnight was in southern Idaho at our favorite overnight parking spot – Wal-Mart. Temperature was 22 degrees F when we woke up – we had a lot of defrosting to do – the windshields in the motorhome are huge! Finally by Friday about noon, we reached warmer weather. Getting through Las Vegas was interesting – Tony was determined to cross a four lane highway to get going in the right direction. The first traffic he stopped was a cop. Luckily, a trucker let us into the traffic flow. Arriving in Quartzsite on Friday afternoon was a stroke of luck for Tony – our first meal was at the Grubsteak restaurant – something Tony has looked forward to since last year – a restaurant owned by a British couple, serving Guiness beer and fish & chips (just like they serve in UK).

After getting all set up in a campsite – unloading bikes and scooters, putting bikes together, washing down motorhome and car (with only one misstep – I fell over while washing the car when I stepped on top of a rock pile) – we began the fun of discovering Quartzsite again. A lot of the vendors are already set up. Tony found another miniature motorhome to add to the collection started by his son Jonathan. New Year’s Eve we had a total of ten people in the motorhome for chili, chips and dip, cheese & crackers, party hats and noise makers.

We then began our geocaching adventures – have found almost 30 in the area. One of them we didn’t find mentioned “might be muddy”. I personally found this to be true. Trying to reach the container, I walked in the mud – no problem, right? Shoes can be cleaned! Unfortunately, I sunk in mud up above my shoes – had to walk out of shoes in stocking feet, and pull shoes out – what a mess!! (picture) Another one (picture) was very clever – clue was “can not wash away”. Cylinder was attached to a large rock with glue and person hiding it had put the cylinder in a hole in the ground with the rock over it. People who had hid this cache were across the road watching us as we found it. (picture) Another cache hidden way out in the desert – had to walk at least a half mile – when we rounded the corner there was a jeep. We assumed the guy needed help getting out of this spot (no one would drive back in there, would they?). We were wrong – the guy had his metal detector beside him, digging away for something he wasn’t willing to let us see, and needed no help from us. (picture of jeep – good advertisement for the Jeep).

We found that the cane chair is a necessity for geocaching….great tool – after we locate the geocache, we sit on the cane chairs, look at all the stuff inside, sign the log book and don’t have to sit in the dirt. Today our cane chairs proved even more interesting. Friend Mary and I were watching a parade (Tony & Butch were sitting in the car). Everyone threw candy at us, walked over to talk, and one clown came over and made us a balloon hat which attracted even more attention from the parade entries. Told Tony I thought we should have entered the parade on our scooters, but not sure I can convince him before we come down next year.

A craft fair we attended gave us many ideas of fun things to make. We were particularly interested in one item made of MDF wood, calendar pictures, and polymer resin. Also saw banks made from old post office box doors (picture).

Geocaching in the desert has proved to us that we like caches closer to town – some of the


caches took us to Ehrenberg, California, to see the Ehrenberg cemetery and jail (pictures). Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Tony found a bucket of huge nuts and bolts and brought them back.

..... .... (picture). Mountain climbing has been added to our list of events (see Sharon on top of mountain and Tony after a very long walk in the desert). The time spent recouperating to heal the sixty plus year old sore muscles is now up to three days.

We went with Butch & Mary with our tow dolly to help a friend that had vehicle problems. Managing to get his pickup on the tow dolly proved to be an engineer’s nightmare (engineer being Tony), but we finally got it done with the help of another pickup and about six different minds.

Yesterday we were in Algondones, Mexico, and Yuma, Arizona. The picture in Mexico shows artists spray painting pictures on various items - mail boxes, lanterns, and satellite dishes. I decided to try my luck at getting a pair of glasses from the Mexican optometrist at a fourth of the price in the United States. We left one of the Alaskan geocache trackable items in Mexico. Figured this is as far south as we will get. To see the places we have been geocaching look at geocaching.com, click on “hide & seek a cache” on the left, and search for singo under the “found by username”. So far we have found 92 caches in eight different states, one cache in Mexico and moved 14 trackable items from one cache to another. Thank you Angie, Phyllis & John for introducing us to this great sport of geocaching.

Tony has been having a great time at the tool vendors. Unfortunately some tool vendors have items for women to look at – we will now have a ten foot windmill in our yard (garden, for the British) when we get home.

Two consecutive full days spent with Butch and Mary (see sunset on 1/9 and sunrise on 1/10)


made us decide to take a day off and catch up. We have been cleaning house, putting up a hummingbird feeder, adding paddles to our awning to keep the desert wind from ripping the awning when and if the wind comes up, trying to get local channels on our satellite dome so Tony can tape the “do it yourself programs”, and just generally taking it easy. The many inches of snow we hear about in Moscow makes us know we are glad we are in “sunny Arizona”.

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