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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 Installment #2

Our winter travels are finished. We spent the entire three months in Quartzsite and the California desert with a few side trips ~ and a few more like-minded people added to our growing list of RV friends.  The roads were great all the way home ~ we spent three nights on the road.  The price of diesel when we left in December was $3.00 a gallon ~ the price on the way home was over $4.00!!  The day after we arrived home, it began snowing ~ and, again, we are wondering why we didn't stay south longer.  Luckily the snow turned to rain and was gone by afternoon.

One of our outdoor chairs will never be the same after taking a trip in the California wind ~ we found the chair the next morning a quarter mile away from the campsite. No indication of which motorhome the chair hit as it found its way out of the circle of RVs.

Happy Hour became a tradition around the campsite ~ No matter what we were doing or where we were, we all managed to be back by 5:00 pm for "happy  hour".  Of course, one of the reasons was because if you weren't back at camp by the time it turned dark ~ there was a good possibility that you would get lost.  My home-made Kahlua was a big hit ~ the amount I brought with me, and the amount I made during our stay ~ shocking.  Good thing I bought more vanilla (one of the Kahlua ingredients) in Mexico for next year's batches!!

This blog will have a lot of interesting pictures we took at the end of the blog.  As always, you can double click on the pictures for a larger view.

Videos are also at the end of this blog ~ one of  Tony on ATV going over rocks in a desert wash....and one of Dennis ATVing around the sand dune bowls...and one of Sharon's ATV race.

This year we had great ATV guides (Larry and Darlene Red from LaGrande OR). One of our many trips with them was through the Narrows….

….and the Stone Cabin

Bill, Arnie, and I decided to race ATVs up the desert floor ~ Penny stood very far away and lowered her arms to start the race. I watched the guys, kept my hand on the brake and revved the engine until the start of the race as they were doing. I believe the front wheels came off the ground. End result was (1) ~ Bill; (2) ~ Arnie; and (3) ~ Sharon ~ but I was close enough that I didn’t have to eat any of their dust!!  (See Video #1 at the bottom of this blog on YouTube.)

One Saturday morning several of us went to a craft show in Yuma ~ we always see how clever others are and sometimes come away with ideas for either Tony or I to make. Three of the best things we saw were:

Canes with the handle looking like a hand saw

Pressed flowers framed in various designs

A clever holder for a wine bottle and four wine glasses

Yuma had a Mardi Gras celebration which we all went to for a fun evening ~ Cajun food, ice cream and beer (what a combination). We enjoyed the art museum that evening looking at photographs by John Hoskin and the artistic ventures of James Thurman and his McMuseum of Anthropological Archaeology Art museum ~ chair made of obsolete eating utensils and....

....another chair made of obsolete paperback books.

This picture is of Dan with one of the locals dressed for the occasion...giving Dan a string of Mardi Gras beads.

Mom and Bob flew to Yuma to spend a week with us in the desert. Bob’s purchase at the vendors was the hat you see here giving the illusion of a full head of hair.

Mom’s main purchase was a rhythm clock (a shock to all of us). We assume she was “SKI”ing ~ "Spending the Kids’ Inheritance". Picture is of Mom and Tony when Mom was handing her credit card over for the clock.  We took Mom and Bob many places but believe the markets and card playing were Mom’s favorites; Bob seemed to like the ATV riding, visiting with the guys around our campsite and the crazy resident dog, Ginger, who chases reflections.

This picture is just to prove Mom was on an ATV.

My son, Dennis, visited us a week later ~ we filled his days with the vendors, a trip to Mexico, the sand dunes, and a long ATV ride. Not sure Tony will let Dennis and I take the ATV by ourselves again ~ the flag was missing when we came back; the next day a tire needed air; and one of the cup holders is no longer useable….but Dennis and I had a great time ~ I chauffeured him everywhere on the ATV so he could look around. His only driving of the ATV was on the sand dune bowls. One ATV ride was to the pictured American Girl Mine.

This is Dennis as a tourist.  Dennis arrived in time to spend my birthday with us.  Thanks to all of you for all the birthday wishes through phone calls, emails, and facebook.  As always, around my birthday, I go to the casino for my yearly gambling ~ again, I was not successful....but did leave a small donation.  Jeanne was the winner at blackjack this year.

While in Mexico we got a good picture of electrical wiring in Los Algodones Mexico ~ would never pass inspection in the USA.

Luckily, Tony carried a hack saw in the motorhome for Dennis to remove a padlock on his cargo trailer to rescue his pickup keys.

Mike and Linda (along with their dog, Buddy) spent several hours creating this “stone graffiti” ~ maybe more of us will decide to do the same next year.

On one ATV ride we came across a NOAA National Weather Service radiosonde ~ that created a lot of interest within the campsite as we educated ourselves on what this thing was all about. See website.

We discovered Big Al’s restaurant at Gold Rock RV Park and Museum ~ we ate lunch there several times ~ a short 10 mile round trip on ATVs…unfortunately Big Al was older than all of us and his memory was failing ~ he couldn’t take more than two orders at a time.

On a trip to the Yuma Proving Ground’s museum I snapped this picture of a ribbon frame camera (some of these cameras are still in use today).  Also learned more about what we thought was a "weather balloon" on Highway 95 near the Yuma Proving Ground ~ it actually is an aerostat balloon that views threats from high above.

I made three trips to Mexico this year ~ Tony only went the one time we went with Dennis. My first two trips were simple ~ no waiting to get out of the country. When Tony, Dennis and I were ready to return to the U.S., the “stand in line and wait” was scheduled to be over three hours. We opted to pay a pedicab $5.00 per person to take us to the head of the line (there was only an hour wait for this service). Not sure who is getting all the money for this service ~ but the pedicab certainly gets preferential treatment at the border crossing.  During the wait, Dennis went back to get his tennis shoes cleaned by the locals.

Picture is of Penny and Jeanne, waiting to go through the huge metal bars to cross over from Mexico to USA.

We managed a couple trips to my favorite restaurant ~ the Texas Roadhouse ~ for their BBQ ribs and were introduced to a new chain ~ the Black Bear in Lake Havasu City (family dining at its best). Picture is of our last fling before ending our winter vacation at the Texas Roadhouse (left side ~ Larry, Dan, Tony; right side ~ Darlene, Jeanne, Sharon).

One of the last ATV rides (as the weather turned unbearably hot), this picture was taken of Darlene with Ginger (the campsite dog) with an umbrella to keep out of the scorching sun.

Other company visiting were David and Kelly from Willets CA; Dan’s daughter and family from Willets CA; and Jeanne’s daughter and husband from Phoenix (Shelley). Shelley and Russ fashioned this RV for themselves. Russ introduced us to the new technology of star gazing by using a cell phone (star map application).

Tony did a lot of scrounging ~ a bit of steel left by the railroad after building a second track ~ a tow bar from an abandoned car and other metal from another abandoned dragline (picture below) ~ and  three steel pipes (pictured on left) that were found in the desert. Dan dragged them down to campsite with his ATV, so Tony could legitimately say that they just appeared beside our cargo trailer.

We left the California desert campsite to spend one more evening in Quartzsite with Butch and Mary as well as Randy and Bonnie. Then we moved on to just south of Lake Havasu City AZ. Larry and Darlene met us there for a few more days of fun. This time Arnie and Penny were the ATV guides ~ they took us to the Eye of the Needle ( a rock formation that you can crawl through) Picture is of me just after I had crawled through the hole. Of course, there was a geocache there. The ride to this formation was up a very steep hill…and then a very steep climb to the top. Unfortunately, Darlene is not too excited about being in high places. Darlene had a new nickname for Arnie for a short time during that four hour ATV ride.   The morning we began this ATV ride, 23 jeeps left our parking area.  We were out on ATVs for over four hours and didn't see the jeeps until just before we got back to the campsite ~ just to give you an idea of how vast this area is.

No matter where you go, people find you....one afternoon at our new site we had visitors ~ Butch and Mary stopped by with their visiting granddaughter, Kendra and her husband Sean.  At the same time, Penny and Arnie arrived for Happy Hour (notice Arnie's new candy apple red toy on the left).

Interesting things we saw on our travels:

A “very” low rider pickup

Great sunsets

And the moon as close to the earth as it will ever be for another twelve years.

Near the sand dunes, we saw this RV with huge printing on the door of the toy hauler "Caution ~ door opens at sight of sand"

We stayed long enough to see a lot of the desert flowers in bloom ~ first picture is of the prickly pear cactus.....
...and the “fairy dusters”

Eight accordionists all playing together at the Arizona market reminded Tony of his Dad's wartime dance band.

A vertical take-off plane ~ practicing taking off and landing at the Marine Corps Base in Yuma.

A motorhome with a deck ~ I can only hope that Tony never parks by this guy ~ he would think he has to upgrade again!!

A pickup motorcycle

Spring break in Lake Havasu City AZ with all the college kids paying $25.00 each to ride this slingshot.

A covered golf cart

A huge wooden hat

Salt and Pepper shakers fashioned from spoons and forks ~ I actually bought this item at the Lake Havasu flea market to sit on our dining room table.

A bike rider that had ridden far enough ~ he was sound asleep on the desert

Planters fashioned with kids jeans and tennis shoes seen at the Parker flea market.

A man walking around the flea market with a bird on his shoulder ~ not tied down

A lamp at an antique stall just like the one I used to have in my bedroom as a young girl ~ price $19.95 ~ imagine the lamp cost a couple of dollars sixty years ago.

These were hanging in trees in a Walmart parking lot ~ our government at work...

...and inside the little box!!!

Never did get a very good picture of the Blue Angels practicing for a show ~ they spent a lot of time right over our campsite.

Dennis bought one of these hummingbird feeders at the Arizona market.  Everyone seems amazed that we can put up a hummingbird feeder in the desert and within ten minutes a hummingbird will be using the feeder.

Back pack on a dog ~ nice way to not have to carry all the goodies that owner bought at the Racetrack market vendors.

Motorcycle hauling a trailer with a hole in the middle of trailer ~ dog had his head sticking out of the hole.

Not very unusual down here, but again a dog in a doggy stroller

Crazy looking motorized trike

US Army Overland Train ~ we saw this at the Yuma Proving Ground

Sign with information about the Overland Train

The three month winter vacation was fantastic...thanks to all our friends and relatives.  We look forward to another great winter in 2012.  But, now we have a few short months to plan our next big adventure ~ my 50th Class Reunion in Alliance NE the  middle of August; the Phillip Family Reunion in Allilance in September; and then the big trip to UK to visit all Tony's friends and relatives and attend Tony's son, Neil and Becky's, wedding on October first.

Video #1 ~ The ATV Race ~ Sharon, Bill, and Arnie

Video #2 ~ Tony on ATV ~ it's a lot steeper than it looks from up above!!

Video #2 ~ Dennis in bowls on sand dunes

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