Thursday, February 26, 2009

Day 50 - Feb 26 - Arizona City (Casa Grande)

Fairly quiet day today. Worked on computers a good share of the time. Linda had just bought a new Toshiba so Tom was getting it all set up for her. Mine had been having a lot of problems --- ssllooww --- so we worked on it for a while also. Loaded a MalWareBytes program that Tom has had good luck with. After loading and running it showed 248 questionable files on my machine. I deleted all of them, and now it does seem to be running better, but still a little slow. Still getting some "Pop Ups" that should be blocked. I guess I may just have to put up with that. I have Vista on my computer and I guess 4 mbs of Ram is recommended and I only have 2. Tom just upgraded his to 4 mbs for $86 from "Best Buy". I may follow suite.Then Denice and I went down town Casa Grande for groceries. Found a "Fry's store, and stocked up. Now we can eat again!!! Do I look like I'm fading away?? - The frig is filled to absolute capacity.Once home and supplies all stowed away, had Tom and Linda over for a rum Caesar. After they went home, we cooked Catfish on the Barbie and Denice made a skillet of fried rice and chopped veggies to go with it. The rice and veggies had time to almost get crisp. What a Supper. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Washed dishes, too a couple of pics of the new moon, and now updating the Blog. One thing we sure notice down here is the short time from sunset to DARK. my eyes get pretty heavy soon after dark.
Good night for now .

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 49 - Feb 25 - Arizona City ( Casa Grande )

Up and on the move today, but again just a fairly short day, from Organ Pipe to Casa Grande.The lady at the Registration Hut told us if we were going that way to go by Highway Indian # 15. On the map it appears to be just a gravel road across the Tohono O'odham Indian Reserve, but she said it is a new wide paved road all the way. It turns off Highway 86 at Quijotoa and takes you right into Casa Grande. Since Tom and Linda are at High Chaparral RV Park on Battaglia Road we decided to travel that way. Battaglia Road intersects Indian #15 just prior to Casa Grande. Once on the road we indeed, did find it to be an excellent highway. Wide shoulders and new pavement. Found High Chaparral RV Park, without a hitch, thanks to GPS and "2009 Streets and Trips". Arrived just after noon and went to register at the Office. Brenda, the clerk, said "Hey, you know its dinner time and I'm in the middle of lunch. Just go and find a spot near Tom andLinda and come back sometime this afternoon for the paperwork". Pretty Laid Back!! So that is what we did. Tom and Linda were in H6 and we took H3. Got all set up and went and had a beer with tom and Linda, and reviewed notes of each other whereabouts for the last month. Then Tom and I wandered over to the office for the "paperwork". By now Brenda had forgotten when we came in. She thought yesterday, and then said for the 4 days I was planning on staying that it would be $40. Tom says "How come he gets such a good deal when I pay $20/Night"? Brenda kids him a long and says, "Because he's just a better person".Anyway we eventually get it all sorted out. $20/night for all services. We will stay 4 nights, leaving on Sunday. Tom and Linda plan on leaving Saturday, heading back to Yuma. Us to Tucson area.For dinner we decide to go out with Tom and Linda and their friends Jim and Martha Orcutt, from Conrad, Montana. We go to Chris's Diner just up the road. The meal was good, but large. We all brought "Doggy Bags" home. Sat outside and BS'ed until after dark, and then turned in.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 48 - Feb 24th - Organ Pipe National Monument

Denice rolled me out of the sack at 5:30AM this morning to walk to the edge of the desert and take sunrise photos. I grumbled a lot, but of course went anyway. I guess I was rewarded, because the sunrise was great and the photos turned out well. Returned to ELTORO and had bacon and eggs for breakfast. Then prepared for a drive to Alamo Canyon. Once in the jeep and on the road there was a warning indicator telling that the left front tire of the jeep was low on air - only 23 lbs. This is the same tire that I had fixed in Quartzsite. However at 23 lbs decided it was OK for the drive. Alamo Canyon is back down the highway toward Why for about 10 miles, and then to the right on a dir raod for an additional 3 miles to a remote campground and parking area. By the time we reached there it was hot (80 ̊F). We debated whether we should go on the 1 mile walk to the old Ranch buildings or if we should just bypass it. After reading the signs indicating a fairly level trail, we decided to walk a little ways. We took a jug of water and set off. It was a nice walk and in the end we walked all the way to an old adobe brick ranch house. That was far enough. There was supposed to be more to see farther up the canyon, but by then we had walked enog so we turned back and returned to the jeep.Back at the RV Park I started my little air compressor and pumped the tire back up to 40 lbs. We'll see what it is in tomorrow morning. Just lazed around the rerst of the day, enjoying the heat and trying to find shade. Toward evening Tom Neal & Linda phoned just to check in and let us know that they were over in Casa Grande.Later after supper of Pork chops and salad we decided to call them back and let them know that we would change our route over the where they are camped and spend a day or two with them again, as our paths would not likely pass again on this trip. They were happy to here that, so will see them tomorrow.Elwin Eddy and Marleen never did show up back here. Indications are that they are in Picacho, that is only 10 miles from where we will be going to see Tom and Linda, so maybe we will catch them as well. More sunset pics and then to bed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 47 - Feb 23 - Organ Pipe National Monument

Started the day with some good sunrise photos.

Then got on with the morning with good old Oatmeal Porridge. That is usually reserved for Sundays, but since we missed yesterday, decided to have this morn. Anyway needed a health start to the day as we are going on the loop road tour today. Denice packed a big lunch, leftover chicken, potato salad, fruit and other goodies. The Loop Road is a 21 mile loop east of Organ Pipe and circles around a Diablo Mountain. It is just dirt a good share of the way, but when it gets to steeper terrain is paved. Great desert scenery is observed every mile of the route. They, at the park headquarters, recommend allowing at least 2 hours for the whole route. I don't know how you would be able to do it that fast. We left at 9:00AM, and weren't home until 4:00PM. We did stop for 1/2 hour for our lunch at a Ramada ( a picnic table covered with Octillo branches for shade). We just moseyed along at about 5 - 10 MPH, and stopped when ever something interested us. Lots of photos!! It is a "one way" road so you can stop most anywhere you desire. During the whole day we really only saw about 15-20 other cars on the entire route. Just another great day. But we were beat when we got back to ELTORO. It was hot, around 80 degrees F.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 46 - Feb 22nd - Oregon Pipe Cactus Mun

Just a short message - On the move today - and will be away from internet for a few days - will fill in later - trouble with computer - Oh Shit ---

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 43 - Feb 20th - Ajo RV Park

Up this morning and Denice makes an Omelet - Great way to start the Day. Head off down the road with Organ Pipe National Monument as a destination. We know that every year at about this time a 2nd cousin of mine spends a few weeks at that RV Park, so we thought that just by chance they may be there now. Elwyn Eddy was originally from Burmis, Alberta, and his wife Marleen from the Crows Nest Pass, but of course have not lived there for eons. Elwyn worked and retired from Telus in Calgary many years ago. Since that time they have been living a good share of the time in their 5th wheel, travelling between Calgary, his home residence, Vancouver Island where they own a lot at Fanny Bay, Burmis where Elwyn still owns the lot where his parents used to run the local grocery store/ service station right below the now famous "Burmis Tree", and southern Arizona. However, when we checked at the gate the register lady said that they had left as their 14 day time limit was up, but they would be back on Sunday or Monday. She and her husband new them well and said that they thought they had gone to Picacho State Park south of Phoenix. So no luck there but we left my cell number and e-mail and hopefully they will call Sunday. If they do we may move down there for a few days to be with them before we travel on. WE ARE RETIRED AND HAVE NO SET TIME SCHEDULE OR DESTINATION. JUST DAY BY DAY!! Returned to Ajo and went to the local IGA and stocked up on groceries. AGAIN! Damn, if we just didn't have to eat we could surely travel cheaply! Put all the groceries away, and had a cooked chicked from IGA for supper. No more than finished, than we noticed it looked like a good sunset, so we hurried and headed out on the "Loop Road" to find the perfect spot. Only need to travel about 3 miles to find that one, and it was a pretty good sunset as this photo will confirm. Returned home to complete this Blog!!!!!!!! I'll fill in a bunch of photos tomorrow. It's 10:30PM - away past my bedtime ---------------------

Day 42 - Feb 19th - Ajo

Moving Day - Decided to move back to Ajo to the Shadow Ridge RV Park .. We need to dump and replenish our supply of food and water, wash clothes, etc, etc. Packed up in the morning and broke camp at about noon. I drove ELTORO and Denice the Jeep. Got all set up in the Park, and then Denice went to the Park Laundry and did the wash. While she was doing that, I went and washed the Jeep. It wasn't real dirty, but had a fair amount of desert dust on it. That completed we went and toured the sites of Ajo. Not really a lot to see !! Decided to eat out for supper as we did not stop for lunch so went to the "Ajo in the Wall" restaurant ( Do you get it? Ajo pronounced Ahh ho in the wall) in the Plaza at about 4:00PM. We decided we would have the filet mignon for $19.95. However they only had one left so I chose the Halibut steak instead. Both meals were exceptional, Denice and I exchanged portions of each meal and both were delicious. No spuds, just meat and a great sauce on each, and some Brocolli. My halibut had some capers and artichokes in the sauce - not sure I care for either of them, but they were OK. Returned to ELTORO and read until dark.

Day 41 - Feb 18th - Ajo Desert

A Lazy Day!! Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs for breakfast. Lazing around outside when some people from Oregon came by and told us about a old mexican cemetary up a side road that we should go see, so we did. It was very well kept with all the crosses in good repair and painted white. Many gravesites were adorned with flowers and Icons. A lot had bottles of water beside them, that we do not understand, but being in the desert, it certainly must relate to a supply for the "Great Beyond". We then continued on up that road for another 6 or 8 miles ending at a locked gate at the entrance to military property and a Wildlife Protection Zone. We turned back, and returned home, but were happy with our little tour into the remote desert. Going by our Jeeps GPS we estimate that we were about 15 - 20 miles from the Mexican Border. Its great to see the desert in its own pristine environment with little human intervention. One think we do wish though, is that it would sure be nice if those that did tread would bring their garbage back with them. Especially glass containers, namely beer and liquor bottles. If all would help by backing a garbage bag with you and take more out than you leave, in time it should become a much cleaner country!!! Its nice to be on my "High Horse" and pass my thoughts along, but I'm sure it will never happen. In the afternoon we went into Ajo just for a drive and bought some stuff - A new book for me to read, a map of the Ajo area, and a bracelet for a Granddaughter. As we driving around "Old Eagle Eye Denice" spied that the DQ was open today, So she did get her Peanut Buster Parfait after all. I had a Caramel Sunday. Not Bad!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 40 - Feb 17th - Ajo Desert

Just lay around all day today. Nice warm sunny day. Temp never went below 48 ̊ F, and was up to about 78 ̊ F at 2:00PM. We spent a fair amount of our time just trying to get some real good photos of our resident hummingbird pair. They are tough to get good ones as they move so fast. Never went anywhere today. Just read and relaxed. I did a couple of domestic chores. A little repair on the Bar-B-Que, and installed an LED bulb in one of the inside fixtures. They are good, in that they use next to no power, but they are expensive and do not give as much light. I'm sure over the next year or so they will come down in price and quality will be better. Not much more to report for the day. Wiley Coyote made his tour again today just at dusk. Unable to get a photo. Spagetti for supper. No sunset to get excited about -------------

Day 39 - Feb 16th - Ajo Desert

Today is just kind of a relax day - not a whole lot of activity. Just took photos of the desert, and humming birds, desert shots, finches, Oh yes a gopher. That’s about all we have seen today. A wiley coyote came by just at dark and wandered around at the front to the motorhome, but it was too dark to take a photo. He was not the least bit afraid, and just wandered around looking for a free meal. When he got none he just meandered away and continued with his wanderings. At about 3:00PM as I was just sitting out in the sun enjoying, an old prospector type gentleman wandered out of the desert, and came to chat. He was quite a talker, and we talked for an hour or so. He was originally from Boise Idaho and spent his time "Rock Hounding". He explained there was little to find here, but the weather was good, so he spends his winters around here. His favourite area is the the northwest of Dillon, Montana, between Dillon and Hamilton along highway 43. I'll have to keep that in mind in case I ever get real energetic. He says there a lots of chrystals there. You just need to know where to look, and what to look for.After he went on his way we put on a small beef roast on the BAR-B-Que for supper. It was good !! Leftovers for lunch tomorrow.We are just enjoying ourselves relaxing in the sun with no interruptions or distractions. We think if we are going to continue with this type of lifestyle, we should buy a small Honda Gen set, and a catalytic heater. The gen set would allow more use of it as it is quieter and uses less gas than the large one in the motorhome. Using it all the time seems a little "Overkill". Then the Catalytic heater would give some heat overnight without using battery power. It does get quite cool overnight. Last night it went down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit! We have been leaving the furnace off and just using a warm comforter, but by morning it is a little chilly! On with the furnace then. The salesman ar the Quartzsite RV show explained that thy are quite safe as the heater would only produce carbon monoxide for a minute or two when you ignite the hater, and from then on it produces carbon dioxide. The windows may fog a little, but at low temperature should not. Also uses minimum of propane.Anyway will have to give that some more thought. $$$ outlay - Gen set $1000, Heater $400, Heater hook up $100, Total about $1500 - Thats Canuck Bucks so add another $300 - Round figures $2000

Day 38 - Feb 15th - Ajo Desert

Sunday Morning - Up and do our Sunday Morning ritual - weigh in and check blood pressure. Neither one of our weights are desirable - Oh well, what the hell !! Blood pressure good for both of us. Mine down lower than it has been for a while - This relaxing in the desert must be agreeing with me. Then Oatmeal and toast for breaky, then for a walk in the desert. Great Sunrise pics, and then some great ones on the desert as well. Decided to go into town near lunch time. First to the view point for the mine as it was not open the other day, but it was this AM. We each took a stitched photo panorama of the compete pit. An elderly gent who volunteered gave us a lot of history of the site. When asked if all the copper was removed he advised that it was not and new owners had planned on opening the mine again as early as this spring, but with the lag in the economy and the price drop of copper the decided to delay. Not sure when they might start again, or what the price of copper has to be to make it economical. For lunch, denice had her lips wrapped around a DQ Hamburger with a peanut Buster parfait for desert. She was sure the DQ was open the other day, but when we drove up today it appeared to be closed for some time, so we went up the street to a cafe that John and Brenda had recommended. It is called Marcela's. Hamburgers were BIG and GOOD!! No dessert required. Returned to our desert home and relaxed in th PM.Took some pics of the same small sparrows at our feeder again. No sunset tonight. It just fizzled out and went down without any fanfare. After soup and a toasted cheese sandwich for supper, we were just sort of lazing around and Denice stepped on the entrance carpet, and one of those little devils of a thorn was in the carpet and imbedded itsely in her foot. OUCH ! OUCH ! Dr. Lang to the rescue with the tweezers, but of course I broke the end off, and then had to dig. More choice language from the patient about entering the House with my shoes on and bringing in thorns in when some people are walking around in their bare feet !!!Well, I spent some time with a flashlight and tweezers removing any more that I could find. Hopefully I'm forgiven. Sorry Denice!!

P.S. Are we sure Dennis is the culprit for bringing them in?????? Let' not go there!

Day 37 - Feb 14th - Ajo Desert

Up and on the move today, but not too far, only about 7 miles. Denice just drives the jeep and I ELTORO. Take to Scenic Loop Road - it is just a dirt road - and lots of washboard, so we just drove slow - about 20 to 25 MPH, but arrived at our chosen site by about 10:00AM. Had to do some maneuvering around with the motorhome to get in just the right place, where it was level enough and where we had the right Cacti in our front yard. After a couple of tries and walk arounds we agreed that it was perfect. So we set everything up. Even put out the bird feeders. For the Hummers, and one for the others. No birds showed up for quite a long time but finally some did show up. I don't know what they were. I think Denice said that they were house finches. For me, anything that is big is a crow or a raven, if it's small it's a sparrow. Wondered around the desert for a while. Its really nice desert here. Lots of cactus's, but still room to walk between them without getting snagged on them. There are a couple of real mean ones around - they all are sharp - but some are worse than others. There is one called a "Cats Claw", I believe, and it has spikes just like a cats claw.
They are curved in the opposite direction to the stem, so if you rub against it as you pass, it just snags onto you. OUCH!!! I"ve been digging a few out of my hands! Another thing we have agreed on is, that we both should buy leather hiking boots, if we are spending time here. Running shoes just don't cut it. Those spikes - especially the Cholla - just go right through rubber soles. I should have brought my work boots, but I had no intention of doing anything that might resemble work. Denice wears "Crocks" quite often and they are a definite NO NO. Soft rubber soles are just a invitation to those little suckers. I have pair also and spent an hour the other day with needle nose pliers pulling them out. You know what a porcupine quill is like. Well, these are just the same. Work right through into your foot.
Not a very good sunset tonight. We are in a great place for both sunset and sunrise photos. So will have to wait for another day. Pork Chops for supper ------.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 36 - Feb 13th - Ajo, Arizona

I'll see if I can get this Blog completed early and published. Tomorrow we are moving to a spot we have picked out on the desert for some "Boon Docking". The location in behind Camelback mountain. You get there by travelling toward Why about 2.3 miles from the Plaza, turn right and follow the Scenic Loop Road for 4 miles. The spot we picked is right against some saguaro cactus, and has some trees as well that we can hang some bird feeders on. No one will be close to us, the nearest about 1/2 mile away. Should be able to get some good sunrise and sunset pics from there. Hope so. We'll see.
started the day by going down town and doing some touring there. Went to the Chamber of Commerce to get some info as to the sights etc. Told about the old copper mine, so we must go there. Went over to the Ajo Plaza and promptly made a loop around through it. How would I know that it was only one way, and like any good Canadian, I was going the wrong way!! Wondered what all the locals were pointing at, eh!!
Then went up to the old mine museum, and looked at all the old stuff. I guess it's good, but that stuff does not really turn me on. The big open pit did though. The main gate was closed so we couldn't get really close to look down at it, but it is 1 1/2 miles across and 1100 feet deep. The brochure says that they hauled the material out by train - something like 35 miles of track to the bottom. It says that they removed a Gazillion tons of ore from the pit. The ore was worth some 6.1 Billion Dollars. The Gold, Silver, and (something else ?) paid for the mining operation. The Copper produced was all profit.
After that we had some lunch and then went for another tour of the Scenic Loop Road, and this is when we picked pout our favourite parking spot.
Returned home and stocked up with some groceries at IGA. Denice's turn for cooking, so we will have a good one tonight. Chicken on the Bar-B-Q, Greek Salad, and potatoes/onions medley on the Bar-B-Q.
Just to let you all know there will be no Blogs for the next few days as we will be away from Internet hook-ups, but the cell phone (403-620-7448) should still work if you need to contact us. As soon as back in WIFI country will update the blog as to our activities.

Day 35 - Feb 12 - Ajo, Arizona

Well we finally have WIFI again, but it sure is slow. Started updating the missed days last night, but finally give up and went to bed after updating to Feb 11. Am going to get yesterdays done now. Here goes:

Well, its time to be on the road again. Pack up and prepare to move - usually takes about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. Say Goodbye to our neighbors - only met them yesterday, but seem like really nice people - Roy and Sherlyn. They are from Vancouver Island near Parksville. On the road by about 9:30AM - went into Seeley and filled with Propane - $2.49/ Gal -- We were down to 1/4 tank. While we were filling the "Blue Angels" were at it again, only this time giving a full performance right over their Base - What a performance, if we had only been at the spot at the south end of the runways, where we spent time over the last two days!! OH WELL, Murphy's Law!! We did get some more good shots though. Denice was just a clicking away while I filled with propane. Then we stopped again at a rest site along the highway ---- More Clicking ---Then travelled leisurely along Highway I-8 ( It is a nice freeway and not nearly as busy as I-10) to Gila Bend, then onto 85 to Ajo, Arizona. Decided to stop here for a day or two. Parked at Shadow Ridge RV Park right behind the Shell Service station. After settling in we decided to go on a little sight seeing tour that the Lady at registration desk had recommended. It is a 10 mile Loop road around Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak. Just a great tour, and lots of all kinds of Cacti, Organ Pipe, Saguaro, Hedge hog, Barrel, Prickly Pear, Cholla, Ocotillo, Jojoba, and Mesquite, Ironwood, Paloverde and Elephant Trees. Also its in BLM Land so we think we may move up there day after tomorrow, and spend some more time "Boon Docking"Back to ELTORO by dark and BAR-B-Que'd Weiners for supper. Even hotdogs are GOOD when on Vacation!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 34 - Feb 11th - El Centro

Up early again this AM. Off to see the Blue Angels take off, then to El Centro to IHOP for Breakfast. Back home, rest, then out so see Blue Angels again at 1:00PM. Then south to highway 98, follow it west to where it joins I-10 and then back to ELTORO. Hamburgers for supper.

Day 33 - Feb 10th - El Centro

Up early this morning - Toast, bacon, and eggs for breakfast. Weather looks good - sunny and calm, so we get a early start by driving over the the end on NAF runways by 8:00AM --- But not soon enough, 4 of the "Blue Angels" were already off and practicing. We could see them but the were slightly too far away for good photos. However we were not dissapointed!! Soon two more of the took off.

They roared down the runway, stayed low until the near end and the immediately turned vertical and went straigt up until out of site. Pretty Impressive !! Then the four that had first left, returned and landed on the runway closest to us - Good Photo Ops!! A couple of large twin engine propeller "Troup Carrier" Planes then spent the next hour circling and practicing "Touch and Go" cyles. We soon tired of that and returned home for lunch.

After lunch went for a tour of El Centro and then to Calexico right on the Mexican Border, but we did not cross over. Bought some groceries in "Food for Less" - mostly Clamato juice so we can have a "Rum Caesar" now and then. Return to the RV Park and indeed, do have a "Toddy"This is Tuesday, our night out for supper, so we go over to the Rio Bend RV Cafe and have dinner at 4:30PM. Denice has the ground Sirlion steak and I have the Special of Shrimp and Fries. Mighty Fine!!! A few more sunset photos, and then turn in.

Day 32 - Feb 9th - El Centro

Sat around in the morning after breakfast and then decided to drive over the the east side of NAF (Naval Air Facility) That is where the Naval Precision "Blue Angel" Aerobatic team practise. The Rio Bend RV activity center had given us the best area to watch the jets take off and land, so we drove to that area - only 4 or 5 miles from the park. We were told that the practice times were usually between 8 and 9 AM and then again at noon till 1 PM. We were there at about 10 minutes to noon - nothing happening - we were able to get to a point just to the south of the runways and in between to two most used ones - only about 1000 ft from the ends of the runways, but outside the Military Protected area. We watched and waited to see some activity for nearly an hour. There were several jets (F-18's, I think) sitting out in the pads by the runways. People were working on them and it appeared that the were readying them for flight. But no "Blue Angels". Finally at about 1:10PM 6 of the F-18's were started and taxi'ed to the end of the runway. We watched and photographed them taking off into the Wild Blue Yonder. Amazing the Blast of noise that they produce when you are on the business end of them!! Never did see the "Blue Angels" today. Guess they are not practicing today. May be because it was rather a cold windy day today. Returned to ELTORO and relaxed for the remainder of the day.

Day 31 - Feb 8th - Twentynine Plams

Up early this AM and decide to get on the road - weather looks good today. We had been holding off for a couple of days as weather was threatening rain and wind so we were "On Hold" but sun shining this morning and calm, so stored everthing and on the road by 8:00AM. Cruised down Highway 62 to I-10 and then through Indio, veered to right onto Highway # 82 and followed south past the Salton Sea. We were quite surprised as we hadn't been on that highway for a couple of years and found a lot more activity along that route. It had always been rather desolete as a result of the salty ground from the below sea level Salton Sea. But now we see housing projects and tourist stuff showing up. Saw one new housing development wth show homes starting at $99,990. Looked like fairly good homes too. They must be trying to attract people to the area. Not sure what you would do here, but don't be surprised if some golf courses don't spring up. Not sure where the water will come from, but we do see the odd Palm tree growing here and there. Arrived at El Centro about noon and turned west for 8 miles on I-8 to Drew Road, then south 1/2 mile to the Rio Bend RV Park. Seems quite nice, and we are parked right on the little lake. Set up, clean house, make supper, take some photos, and end of day.

Day 30- Feb 7th - Twentynine Palms

Same as Yesterday ---------

Day 29 - Feb 6 - Twentynine Palms

Not much to report - just Lay around and read most of the day as it is rather wet and cold

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 28 - Feb 5 - Twentynine Palms

Left ELTORO at 9:30AM and headed to Riverside, California to meet with my most famous Cousin Shirley. She was Calgary Stampede Queen way back when. She still in great shape and has been in every Calgary parade, but two since she was the Queen.

She's still a Queen in my books!!

We were to meet her and her husband Don Bertoli in Riverside, as that is approx 1/2 way between Orange County, where they live, and Twentynine Palms. We had arranged to meet them for lunch at the Old Mission Inn there. As we had never been there before were not too sure of our route, but the GPS in our jeep sure proved it's worth and we met them right on time at 11:30AM. The old Mission Inn is a very large old hotel that many of the US Presidents and many movie stars have stayed at. Shirley and Don had stayed there once, and so she knew here way around and gave us a Great Tour of the place, with some great photo oportunities. Here is a brief history borrowed from there brochure;
From its modest beginnings as a 12-room adobe boarding house to its current stature consisting of 239 guest rooms, the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa has been the keystone of Downtown Riverside since 1876. In the late 1800’s wealthy easterners and Europeans flocked to Riverside in search of a warmer winter climate along with the desire to invest in the area’s profitable citrus industry. By the 1890’s Riverside was the richest city per capita in the United States. This consistent influx of tourists to Riverside made Frank Miller, the Master of the Inn, recognize the dire need for a grand resort hotel.
Frank Miller opened the first wing of his new
hotel in 1903. The Mission wing was built in
Mission-Revival style architecture and sought to incorporate different structural elements of the 21 California Missions. Mr. Miller went onto add three more wings to his hotel: the Cloister, Spanish and completed it with the Rotunda wing in 1931.
Over the years the hotel has served as host to numerous celebrities and dignitaries.
The Presidential Lounge pays homage to the 10 U.S. Presidents that have passed through the doors of the Mission Inn. The current bar stands where President Theodore Roosevelt once slept during his visit to the hotel in 1903 and the lounge is also the site of Richard Nixon’s wedding to his wife Patricia. Whether it’s the JFK Cosmopolitan or the Herbert Hoover lemon drop, the lounge’s signature cocktails will leave you feeling very stately.

In the middle of the lobby sits a rather unique chair made especially for President Taft who weighed roughly 350lbs. and stood six-foot-five. Frank Miller heard the rumors of President Taft getting stuck in the White House bathtub, so he had a special chair commissioned for this very prestigious and rotund guest for the banquet that was to be held in his honor. A prime example of arts & craft style furniture, the Taft chair has been a spacious photo spot for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Robert Redford, couples and countless schoolchildren.
Frank Miller traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia on family vacations. Mr. Miller would always return with more “stuff” than he went with. Whether it was antique furniture, paintings, statuary or a bell, Frank could never resist a great bargain. The Miller family bell collection once exceeded 800 and today 400 of the Miller family’s’ bells can be seen strewn throughout the exquisite grounds of the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa. Las Campanas, the hotel’s authentic Mexican restaurant, is home to an array of historic bells. The Nanking temple bell nicely adorns the Cantina section of the restaurant. This bell was one of the first items to leave China after the Boxer Rebellion in 1912 and Louis Comfort Tiffany once wrote Mr. Miller a blank check in an attempt to purchase this bell in which Frank ultimately declined. Another prized bell in the Miller family collection can be seen in its new location. The oldest dated bell in Christendom, A.D. 1247, is now being showcased right outside the Mission Inn Restaurant in the California lobby. On a trip to England, Mr. Miller purchased this bell and two others for around twenty-five dollars. When Mr. Miller returned to pickup the bells that he’d purchased, the shopkeeper only brought out two. The shopkeeper realized his mistake and told Frank that the bell wasn’t for sale. Frank objected with a written receipt of purchase and returned proudly to the Mission Inn with the oldest dated bell in the world.

We had a great lunch. We all elected just to have salads, as well all need to look after our figures. All were great, and we had time to chat about some of our ancestors and lineage. Funny, how when you get "ON IN AGE" that these things start to get more important. After a couple of hours we broke up our party and went our separate ways. Arrived back to ELTORO by 4:00PM.JUST ANOTHER GREAT DAY!!!

Day 27 - Feb 4 - Twentynine Palms

Dennis in the kitchen this morning. Omelets with Crisp Ground Beef, and of course sauteed vegees. It was good even though my good wife had some misgivings.
Then went on a tour of Twentynine Palms to take photos of approx 22 murals, as this is supposed to be the "Oasis of Murals" in California. Denice got good shots af all 22 I think. Now, the photos probably do not do them justis, as each one is on a wall, some of them up to 80 to 100 feet long.
Then went hunting for a good grocery store as were were getting down on supplies. Drove up and down all streets with no success. Lots of businesses, but no groceries.
So we headed down the road to Yucca Valley and found a really good "Stater Bros." store. Quality was good and prices reasonable.
While at the counter, running the stuff through Denice asked why there is no stores in Twentynine Palms? The clerk said there is, a Stater Bros, the same as here and also a Country Ranch Market. Guess we were not very observant on our search. Anyway, filled the cart, and returned to ELTORO, but on the way, guess what? There was both the Staters and Country Market right on highway 62!!! Boy are we blind or what? Unloaded, and packed away all our stuff. Had a shrimp cocktail from our supplies for lunch, and then Denice went and did some more of a very large wash that had been building up. I guess we were about to start buying new clothes, if we hadn't found a laundermat. BAR-B-QUE'd ribs for supper, with potatoe salad and Garlic Toast. A few clouds tonight so thought could be a good sunset, but it kind of fizzled out.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 26 - Feb 3 - Twentynine Palms

Today we did the Joshua National Park tour. Left ELTORO at about 9:00AM and headed south to higher land from Twentynine Palms. Stopped at the Park Headquarters and Info Place.
bought a One Year National Park Pass for $80 ( We have found that money well spent as it covers all US National Parks, BLM Land, and Federal Recreational Land.) In the past we have found that a lot of the sites that we visit fall under one of these categories, and the costs soon add up. So then we continued on into the park, and saw a million (I'm sure) Joshua trees, a lot of outstanding rock formations - huge boulders strewn about in mountainous piles, great desert scenes, etc., etc. We also saw some little critters. Mainly lizards, Squirrels, a type of gopher, and

some birds. The piles of rock remind us of a very industrious farmer who has piled rocks from his field in these huge piles. But this is on a very large scale!!! Took a couple of short strolls through the more interesting rock gardens. All paths are well maintained and easy walking as the ground is a soft, but fairly firm sandy material, No steep climbs or slippery sideslopes! One of the viewpoints we went to was called Keys view. And from there at 5185 ft elevation we could

look down on the entire Coachella Valley that Palm Springs to Salton Sea. We could see all the cities, San Andreas Fault, and even the windfarms west of Palm Springs.Back to the Rocks, we
did see some adventureous soles doing some rock climbing! I guess this is a fairly famous place for this extreme sport. It's Ok for them but definitely not for me !! AND FOR SURE NOT DENICE!Got back out of the park at 5:00PM at Joshua Valley, and returned to ELTORO at the
RV Park for hamburgers for supper.We were out of cell coverage all day and when we got back to reception area had a call from my cousin Shirley in LA. Called her back and set up timing to meet Her and Don at Riverside at the Mission Inn on Thursday at 11:30AM for lunch. We will book an additional day here at the Park so now will not be leaving until Friday.

Day 25 - Feb 2 - Twentynine Palms

Woke up this morning to a nice warm day in Twentynine Palms. Did all our domestic stuff, and then left for Indio to visit Leroy and Gayleen. Travelled west on highway 62, through Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and Morongo Valley on the way to Interstate I-10, then 20 miles east to Sun City, Palm Desert, where they live. Passed through Palm Springs where thousands of Wind
Turbines are covering every square acre of useable land - just row apon row of them. Turned of I-10 at Washington, and drove into Sun City. Pretty Classy Layout !!! Had to pass through security. Questionable that they would allow a couple of Canadian Riff-Raff in, but once through found a very luxurious place. Leroy tells me that there are 5000 homes, 9000 people, 36 holes of golf, and 3 clubhouses, each with a large array of club services. I commented to Denice that they shouldn't really mind if I just brought ELTORO in and parked somewhere just off to the side on one of those big Grass Meadows, that seem fairly common in the area!! Oh, I guess the call those Meadows, Fairways down here, but sure would make a great RV Park!! Anyway, had a great visit with my bother and wife. Gayleen was away when we got there, doing that Golfing thing. She said she had a fairly good day, and I know what that means. A fair day for her would be an exceptional round for most people! Good for you Gayleen!! They showed us around their

new "Digs". Pretty Uptown!! Took us over to one of the clubhouses and treated us to a great Lunch. Denice had a chicken ceasar salad, and I had an Italian Sub, that the owner said I would not be able to finish. Well I almost did, except for the bun! A jug of Beer topped it off. This was at 2:00PM and then Gayleen wanted to make dinner when we got back to their place, but we just
had to turn that down and headed back to Twentynine Palms by 5:30PM, arriving at ELTORO by 7:00PM. Another GREAT Day !!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 24 - Feb 1 - 29 Palms

Up this morning and get ready to move. Denice still in pain this AM. Bid farewell to John and Brenda and hope to run into them again down the road somewhere. They plan on going to Phoenix. Then down to Why, and then down into Texas. We plan sort of the same destinations, so we are very likely to Hook up again some where. Really did not have much time to visit with them as they both were away much of the time when we were parked together. Hope they have a more enjoyable vacation from here on in! Pulled out by 10:30AM and went back to Parker, and then west toward 29 Palms. Interesting trip of about 150 miles, but what desolation! Arrived at 29 Palms Resort by 2:00PM and checked in, $37.50 per night. A nice RV park but few trees. A couple of new Palms, but very young and small. I guess they maybe should change the name of the town to "35 Palms". Got settled and hooked up. Kind of good for a change to have unlimited water and power. A good laundermat, there so we did a big wash. After that went to ELTORO and BAR-B-QUE'd a big juice steak. Called My brother, Leroy, in Palm desert, and confirmed plans to meet them at their new home over there some time tomorrow afternoon. Also called my cousin Shirley in LA and left message that we would like to meet up with them in the next couple of days. Time to turn in.

Day 23 - Jan 31 - Quartzsite

Just Realized we ahave been spelling Quartzsite wrong all this time. It it Quartz + site. I stand corrected.
Got up this morning and had a hearty breakfast of French Toast and eggs. Denice was sitting in her favourite chair, and she just reached behind her to pick something up, and must have pulled a muscle on her right side. It really grabbed her, and she was in a lot of pain all day. I had to step in and take over a lot of the domestic duties she would normally do. I wandered out side and noticed the jeep had a low front left tire. Sensors indicate only 10 lbs of air. We had noticed a slight low pressure a couple of days ago, put some air in, and then it seemed OK for the next day, but I guess there must be a leak some where. I would expect it might be a cactus thorn through it, from the day we were out on the desert taking photos of the deer. Anyway got out my trusty little compressor and filled it up and then went down town to the tire shop. A big place, but they definitely need some lessons in courtesy. Kind of an ignorant bunch around there and a lot of dis-satisfied customers. Anyway did get my tire fixed. It was not a cactus thorn but a nail. The former owner must have had the same problem and put in a liquid called "Tire Fix". They had to remove all of that stuff, and then fix the tire. They told me it would likely make to tire pressure sensors unworkable and I would have to go to Jeep to get a new one installed. When I did leave the shop it indeed was registering 0 psi, but after a mile or so it started to work again, and has ever since. GOOD NEWS!