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.

Friday, March 27, 2009

2009 March

This will be our last installment for the 2009 "snow bunny" adventure to Arizona and California.

We thank all of the people listed below for a great time this year. We thoroughly enjoyed the campfires, cookouts, conversations, tourist treks, game and card playing, ATVing, and birthday parties.

Arnie and Penny
Butch and Mary
Dan and Jeanne
Gary and Sandy
Gary and Sharon
Jack and Jerri
James and Wanda
John and Greta
John and Peggy
Ken and Virginia
Larry and Roillena
Larry and Sherri
Mike and Linda
Randy and Bonnie
Randy and Nancy

We had planned to go to Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming on our way home, but have decided to make that trip later in the year since we saw everyone in February for Bernadine's Memorial Service.

These are pictures of a couple of vehicles we have spotted in parking lots in Yuma. As it got hotter in the desert, we started going to Yuma more often - air conditioned Walmarts and Sam's Clubs are wonderful in over 90 degree weather.

This is a picture of Tony, with a borrowed hat from Arnie. Arnie sewed a hair piece into one of his hats, just for fun. OK, so maybe sometimes, we don't have enough to do in the desert so we have to find something to do for fun.

We went to Mexico for dinner with Dan and Jeanne. They drove their car into Algodones.....it took longer to drive out than it would have taken to walk out.....and people do not like it when someone lets a car in the line - everyone honks....for some reason they prefer that you go to the end of the line and wait your turn. This is a picture of one street filled with dentists, ready and waiting to give you a deal on extraction, cleaning, plates, caps, etc. Whatever you need, they will take care of it for at least half the price if not more than it would cost in the U.S.

Sharon's birthday occurred during this month in the desert. Thanks to the Quechan Indians....the birthday lasted for several days. Everyone at the camp celebrated with snacks, drinks, and fireside conversation. One gift was a hat with a musical button on it - which played "God Bless America". Instructions were - "when the British give you flack, just play the music". Sharon almost wore out the music box. Later in the week Dan and Jeanne and Tony and Sharon went to the Quechan Casino (new this year). The casino was nice enough to let Sharon go away with $125.00 profit.

Exercising has become a necessity for at least one of us. We have been riding bikes a lot...one day we road down to the Interstate and back - a total of ten miles.

We took a day trip to the Imperial Dam Date Farm http://www.nvo.com/imperialdate/door/, the Imperial Dam and Martinez Lake. Pictures show an unusual tree, a tree
with a ladder up to it at a very high spot (this is how these trees are trimmed), and a grove of date trees already harvested with machinery sitting in the grove.

Next picture is of a very picturesque place across from Martinez Lake.

There was a car show and an air show while we were in the Yuma area. We drove around Yuma and saw a lot of the old cars cruising around. During the air show we went to both the Racetrack Vendors and the Yuma Vendors and watched the air show at the same time. This year we joined Sam's Club because we needed to buy new batteries for the motorhome.....eight years must be the limit for batteries the way we use them.

Another day trip was to Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately we were too late to see much of the wildlife. All the Sandhills Cranes had left just a few days before. Family and friends in Nebraska should have seen them by now. We will have to go back next year at an earlier time in the year. http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/CibolaNWR/. However we did get this picture of cactus in bloom.

Our ATV rides were always fun and eventful....through geocaching we found where kids had made bowls to ride their ATVs in and around. It was great fun. Then we went on to ride on the sand dunes for a little while but not very long. It was a little scary....not knowing what was over the next sand peak....or what wasn't there.

This picture shows where some people are living in the desert. Many of their belongs were inside the cylinders. It appeared that one person was living in the little shed.

One ride led us to hike up a hill to see what was there....see the computer picture....it was placed on top of a hill and used for target practice....much to our amazement, the monitor glass was over a quarter inch thick.

These two pictures are from our last ride before we had to be towed back to camp (some serious repairs needed in the transmission before summertime - actually our resident funny guy, Dan, said we weren't towed back, we were pushing Arnie's ATV with a rope). Pictures are of unusual formations of sand, and some sort of lizard (not sure what the proper name would be).

This picture shows more of the desert in bloom....yellow flowers lining each side of the road for miles.
Loading up and heading north from California desert to Quartzsite for a few days before we started home on Wednesday, March 25; and arrived home on Friday, March 27. It was a great trip. We hope we are able to go again next winter.

Thanks to everyone for all the fun we had this year. Thanks to everyone who reads and enjoys our blog. Thank you all for the emails and phone calls along the way. Staying in touch is great!!

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

2009 February

We are now on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land in California. Another month has passed and we are still enjoying the sunny climate. This morning it was 70 degrees F before 8:00 a.m. We have great telephone service and internet service here. The television satellite dome on top of the motorhome works very well. We can ride bikes back and forth on the desert floor for exercising (sadly needed). We can learn astrology in the evenings as the moon, planets and stars come out. Picture is of the Moon and Venus in close proximity. We are 20 miles from any shopping we want in Yuma plus laundromats, movies and eating out. We are ten miles from a gambling casino and entrance to Algodones, Mexico. Life for us really is exceptionally good.

Our last post was just before we left Quartzsite. Here are a few more notes about things we saw before leaving.

One of the more clever craft items I saw this year was how to recycle an old pair of jeans (see picture).

A new item on the market that we had never seen was the innovative, decorative, comfortable, and inexpensive covers for common plastic/resin patio chairs and tables - http://www.toteables.com/covers-select.htm

Some other "snowbirds" have a lot of time on their hands - see the picture of their "front yard" decoration.

After spending at least a month for four years in Quartzsite, we finally went to their local museum. Mr. Barrett of Fernadale, Washington, made a complete miniature town of places he had lived as shown in the second picture. It took eight years to complete.

One of the last things we did in Quartzsite before moving on down south to the California desert was to attend the car show in the "Big Tent" - this is just a small sample of some of the cars we saw.

Our next leg of this trip is in the California desert on Ogilby Road (about 16 miles west of Yuma and 4 miles north of the Interstate 8). This month we have been camping with California and Idaho friends (Linda & Mike, James & Wanda, and Jeanne & Dan). Penny and Arnie should be here in a couple of days.
We took a trip to USMC in Yuma for a bus tour. K9 training, Drum and Bugle Corp practice (went from 93 to 24 students) to keep only the best of the best, and the robot were some of the interesting things we saw.

We have taken many ATV rides in the California desert - notice the rock formation made by some other "snowbirds" with too much time on their hands - almost looks like a desert "crop circle".

Next picture is of water in the desert - a very unusual site. Another discovery was this machine, just left after the mining operation was closed.

When we first got to the California desert, it rained "cats & dogs". We went into Yuma to a movie (Gran Torino, worth going to), and movie employees were having trouble keeping the torrential rain out of the building. That's the first and last rain we have seen.

Tony developed a tooth ache and let the Mexican dentists remove this tooth....but I don't think he will ever go back again to Algodones for dental care.

We attended a rodeo in Yuma - It's been almost ten years since we have gone to a rodeo and the team cutting and mutton busting were new events that we had never seen. Mutton busting has youngsters getting on a sheep and hanging on for as long as they can. The U.S. Marine Corp jumpers were entertaining at the beginning of the rodeo. When the Star Spangled Banner was played, it was difficult to keep your eye on the flag - it came out of a plane with a jumper and landed exactly in the center of the rodeo arena.

We have done a lot of walking in the desert for daily exercise. Took the ATVs to the sand dunes, and of course, found a geocache along the way. The kids have made interesting bowls in the sand which are fun to ride around in. The picture is not of any of our group. It is just crazy kids on the highest hills of the sand dunes going up and down all day long.

My Aunt Bernadine's memorial service was held 2/21. Tony and I drove to brother Jim's home in Green River, Wyoming and rode with Jim, Kathie and their daughter Brittany to the service in Alliance, Nebraska. Four of my brothers were there as well as numerous cousins, uncles and one aunt. It was a very nice mini Phillip reunion. Luckily our trip at this time of the year was relatively easy; some icy spots in Wyoming and a little blowing snow (see picture), but it didn't slow us down much.

Going to Wyoming through Las Vegas, we could easily see all the smog covering the city. On our way back through Las Vegas, we had dinner with Bill and Janet. They waited a couple of hours for us to catch up. We went up and down the Strip to see any new developments and to take a look at the Trump Tower....and then ate dinner at the 4 Queens Casino in the Fremont Street area. We split up before dark - Bill & Janet continued on to Los Angeles and we got back to the motorhome before midnight.

We have a new friend down here - Ginger. She belongs to friends we are camping with. She goes for early morning walks with Sharon. We found out what to do when walking and a dog comes barking at you.....just kneel down and wait - Ginger barked and barked at this man walking in the desert.....the walker just kneeled down, Ginger stood nearby and both dog and walker waited until Sharon got closer, then walker got up and continued on his way and Ginger and Sharon continued their walk.

We again went to Felicity, California, the "official center of the world", to see what had been done since last year. The Museum of History in Granite is still being worked on. Three men from France (did not speak English) were engraving the granite free-hand. We found this amazing and watched them for a long time. The chapel on the hill was completed this year. I imagine we will go back every year to see what has been added.

We took a road trip to the Castle Dome Silver Mines Museum and Ghost Town (in operation from 1864 - 1979 until silver prices took such a drop that processing the silver galena ore cost more than it was worth). This site is a very interesting blog that some tourist put together after visiting the silver mine. Pictures are of Dome Rock, the owner giving us a tour of the mine and graveyards, and the barbershop quartet that was singing in the church. The Dome is a 'plug' that rises up through the centre of a volcano and solidifies before it can decend back down.

On our travels and visiting with people we discovered a new web site that is fun to watch. At midnight every day Woot puts up a new item for sale - shipping is always $5.00 and when item is sold out, that's the end of sales for the day. Check it out, just for fun - Woot.com
Thanks for all your emails and phone calls. We appreciate hearing from everyone. Posting comments on this blog is great also. Stay tuned to find out what March has in store for us.

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