Saturday, February 28, 2009


While the campsite wasn't pretty, the road puddles weren't bad. Stockton-Lodi RV Park

Near Bodega Bay, CA

Mitzy running off steam at Wright's Beach, CA

Wright's Beach,CA camping - we're the left one

We had quite a night. Mitzy was ill several times and very restless. From 2-4 AM none of us got much sleep. She started to perk up after lunch today. Aileen thinks she hoovered something on the beach yesterday morning. We got on the road about 10 this morning and have come 214 kms to just north of Brookings, Oregon. We are in Harris Beach State Park and are up on a bluff with the ocean across the road and 100-200 feet down. The weather has turned cloudy and there’s been a few spits of rain. Gas was $2.599 in CA and right across the border in Oregon it was $1.999! The girls are all enjoying a long afternoon nap making up for last night. Well the cat slept most of the night too but hey, a naps a nap.
We had an email from Wendy and Randy day before yesterday. They left Florence AZ 5:15 Monday and were home in Parksville just after noon on Thursday. They were surprised to find 4 inches of snow in Port Angeles Thursday morning when they awoke. They are a little faster travelers than us!
We were able to sign up for email for $4 for the day here so have been uploading pictures to the blog. They will of course be out of sequence with the text but it shouldn’t matter too much. The last blog before this will be the matching text.

The above were all MacKerricher Beach

Black Oystercatcher

California coast near Fort Bragg

California coast north of Fort Bragg

Coast road

Harbour Seals

Friday, February 27, 2009

Slowly moving up California

Feb 23, 2009
We made a slow start today. It was about 9:30 when we got under way. We took Highway 99 north from Bakersfield. Aileen drove the last stretch before lunch. We made it to Stockton-Lodi RV Park about 3:00 this afternoon. We had stopped here on our way south in November. There’s no freeway noise as 99 is 1 mile east and I-5 is several miles west. There is a train track very close but not too many trains using it, I hope. We plan to head west from here out to the coast and likely into more rain. We had showers off and on all day but the temperature stayed mild in the mid to upper 60s F. If Wendy and Randy haven’t passed us today, they surely will tomorrow as they were leaving Florence early this morning and I think they were still planning this route.
Feb 24
On the road shortly after 9:30 but promptly took a wrong road and after a couple miles of incredibly rough pavement we dead ended at an abandoned ferry dock across a levy! It turns out we had to go a few miles up I-5 then turn left. We bumbled our way out to the coast at Bodega Bay. The roads are something else; very narrow, very rough (California is becoming known for its rough roads!) and very busy. I saw several really good photo opportunities with green rolling hills and fluffy clouds and sheep or cattle to give scale but no way to stop. I found that very frustrating. Note to self – do not come this way ever again! We couldn’t even find a place to park to have lunch til nearly 1:30 and then it was just beside a gas station. We saw no other RVs so I guess everyone else is aware of the difficulties in this region.
The coast, when we finally arrived, was spectacular and it was mostly sunny, going against the forecast I saw this morning. We stopped in several pullouts to gaze at the ocean and take pics. We are camped right down beside the ocean at Wright’s Beach, just up from Duncan’s Landing. No services and $35 (that’s US$) for the night but I thought Aileen would like the treat; it is $25 if you are further back with no view. We are very impressed with the size of the waves. I was standing well back, I thought, taking pics when a higher wave soaked me almost to my knees. This is a very steep beach and apparently the most deadly in California, I read later. Mitzy had a ball running til she dropped. Our travel distance today was 233 kms (146 miles) but it felt like more than double that with all the abuse our bodies were subjected to. We’ve wanted to see this area for years and now have and are unlikely to venture to this particular section again. We hope the rest of the California coast will be quiet for us.
Feb 25
A quiet night except for the occasional thump from a larger wave. The sun even visited for a little while this morning to cheer things up. The coast was less exciting today, less large waves but also further from the water for the most part. Yesterday was definitely the best this part of the coast has to offer. There were mostly private lands along today’s route, so no access or small rec areas that said no RVs or trailers. The road was pretty interesting too. Some corners you almost meet the back end of the trailer on and some of the hills are quite steep. There were lots of really narrow sections and just enough traffic that you had to pay attention all the time as to where the trailer was in the lane.
We made it to Fort Bragg and MacKerricher Beach State Park. Its only $20 per night but few services. There’s just half a dozen of us camping here. We went back into town for gas and groceries before supper. We were on the road before 9 this morning and arrived here around 2 PM, I think. 184 kms total distance today which doesn’t include about 12 km to town and back. There was supposed to be a Wi-Fi hotspot here somewhere but it turns out you have to sign up with AT&T. We will hang up here for at least two nights to let the ladies recuperate as they’re tired from yesterday’s pounding.
Feb 26
Aileen put in about 12 ½ of bed time last night and slept most of it. After a foggy start today turned out nice and sunny. I went in to Fort Bragg and got the truck serviced while Aileen and Mitzy had another hour nap. We went for a couple long walks out to the ocean and enjoyed the pounding surf. After lunch, we went for a drive but didn’t get very far as we stopped so many times. I took over 500 shots today and tonight I was ruthless and culled out over 400. The beauty of digital!
We saw a pair of Black Oystercatchers and dozens of seals out at the beach. Only two seals came out of the water for us. We mostly have the beach to ourselves which has been nice. This park has been the best beach we’ve seen yet as far as huge waves and accessibility without crowds. Wright’s Beach was good in that you were camped right at the beach but it didn’t have the beauty and size that this one has.
Feb 27
We went for a final walk out to the beach this morning and there were lots of seals sunning themselves. The ones on the beach were very spooky but the ones with water in between us were calm. We hit the road about 10 AM and traveled to Fortuna where we are in Riverwalk RV Park since it has Wi-Fi and enables me to post the blog after several days. We traveled about 188 kms to get here. We had some interesting road today. After leaving the coast and heading inland we were treated to a corkscrew road for over 20 miles driving through forest of mostly Redwoods, Douglas Fir and Arbutus. One corner was slow to 10 mph, most were 15 or 20 mph and there were a lot of them.
One of the lenses fell out of Aileen’s glasses at lunchtime but luckily the screw was still attached. I managed to file a little screwdriver down enough to tighten it partway and we were able to get it fixed properly this afternoon in Fortuna. We went to Safeway for some groceries before supper. The girl in the campground office gave me a sale flyer which had a $10 off coupon so that helped. We went to the Eel River Organic Micro Brewery for supper. Aileen had a seafood salad and I had fish and chips. Both were very good!
I am again having trouble getting pictures to upload onto the blog so will probably post the text then keep trying to get pictures online. I have 18 images I’d like to share this time. We should be pretty close to the Oregon border tomorrow night if not into Oregon. It will likely depend on what we see along the way.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Caliente Wildlife and ON THE ROAD AGAIN!

Nesting Spotted Dove

Nesting Gila Woodpecker in Saguaro

Spotted Dove and young in Saguaro

Bee in Greasewood

Male Cactus Wren doing his guy thing
The above five pics were all Caliente wildlife!

Horned Toad (a lizard) shot near Amboy, CA

Un named as yet

The orange appears to be a parasitic growth - it felt soft, rubbery and moist

Not sure what it is but the fruits are like mini tomatoes

John photographing, Mitzy undermining him - shot by Aileen

Coyote Gourd - shot by Aileen

John and Mitzy - shot by Aileen
February 19, 2009
We’re winding things down here in Caliente. We moved back into the travel trailer Wednesday and today will finish summarizing the park model. Jim, the previous owner helped us through the process this morning. On Tuesday night we played Mexican Train with the Jordan’s, Caouette’s and their friends from Sorrento, Dennis and Pat. Pat was the big loser at over 500. Last night Aileen and I played with the Jordan’s and I set a new record. On one hand, I picked up 14 tiles before I got to play and had 257 points against me when that hand ended. I had 609 points at game end. Yeah right, the score keeper wins!
We, the Jordan’s and McKinnon’s went to L&B Mexican Restaurant in Florence for supper Wednesday night and the food was excellent. We saw several of our neighbours eating there also.
Monday night and Tuesday were quite rainy but Wednesday was beautifully sunny and warm. Thursday morning was frosty. Aileen and I walked over to Jordan’s and then we four went yard saling next door in Florence Gardens. I bought a beer mug and Jacquie got a magazine rack. Big spenders!
Thursday night, the six of us went to the Missouri Opry at Florence Gardens clubhouse ice cream social and it was an excellent evening. We saw some pretty incredible music by the leader on guitar, banjo, fiddle and drums. He, his daughter and a second man were all good soloists while his wife sang harmony. Ice cream was served after the performance. I would think over 200 attended which was pretty good considering Caliente also had something on in their clubhouse. Aileen and I went to the pool afterward for our last swim this visit.
Friday morning, Feb 20th, saw us pick up Jacquie and Jim before 8 to go to a couple of near by yard sales. Jacquie bought a laundry cart for a dollar and that was it. Then it was home to finish packing, closing up and spraying for weeds. It was very tight getting the trailer out onto the road. I think I may have to move one of the support posts back a couple feet to make it easier. Either that or a shorter truck would make it simpler. 10:30 when we got on the road.
We stopped at Florence junction for coffee break as breakfast had run out. Good thing as it was a long while getting through greater Phoenix. It was over 100 kms from the time we hit the Highway 60 freeway until we were clear of stoplights northwest of Phoenix and 1:30 when we stopped for lunch 10 miles before Wickenburg. The route was well marked but there were so many stoplights to contend with plus a lot of traffic. Some sections are 6 lanes each direction plus merge lanes.
We are camped at Burro Creek BLM park. Pretty quiet but full except for a few tent sites. If we’d been much later there wouldn’t have been room for us. We drove 290 kms today and were 5 hours from Caliente to here. That would be just over four hours driving. We went for several walks. I gave one of our gallon water jugs to an old couple who had forgotten theirs and were tenting. They were very happy. We’re looking forward to an early night as we’ve been late to bed and early up for several days. No yard sale alarm tomorrow!
Feb 21
We spent 11 hours in bed last night. Best sleep in a long while. It was frosty this morning (Saturday). We were at 1900 feet elevation. On the road about 9 AM. Several stops including one emergency (make that PANIC!!!) when the cat did a smelly in her crate in the back seat at 60 mph. Just before Kingman the snow was not very far above us. Didn’t think too much of that. We had lunch west of Kingman at Haviland rest stop. We stopped early at a boondock spot we’ve stayed in twice before near Amboy, California. We managed 331 kms today. Aileen had a long rest with the ladies (Sophie and Mitzy) this afternoon. I took my camera and macro lens for a walk around looking for flowers. I did see 6 Desert Bighorn sheep (2 were babies) but only briefly as they were very nervous. There were very few flowers about. When I stopped here on my way home last year 6 days later than this, there were lots of flowers. Later I saw a Horned Toad, about 4 inches long including the tail. Awhile later Aileen found another which co-operated better for pictures. Aileen had a nice phone chat with her friend Bev in Victoria tonight.
Feb 22
Only ten hours in bed last night! We went for a walk first thing this morning to show Aileen some of my botanical finds of yesterday then were on the road about 8:45. Today has been cloudy all day with showers since Barstow. We had a long stop on a side road near Edwards Air Force Base for lunch. Gas was $2.659 at Ludlow, Ca. Yesterday it was $2.159 in Kingman, Az. We are spending tonight at the Orange Grove RV Park just east of Bakersfield, California. No heated pool or hot tub but high speed wi-fi. Aileen picked us a nice large orange which was really sweet and juicy. Still showers off and on and more forecast tomorrow. Guess its back to long pants again – groan. When we came through Tehechapi on the way here, up at 4,000 ft elevation, the snow was almost down to our level. I came through here 6 days later than this last year and it feels like a month earlier. There are hardly any flowers out yet and the hills are not nearly as green. I had heard that last year was a late Spring but obviously this year is later. We drove 338 kms today arriving here at 3:00 PM.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winding down in Florence

Scrambling because the creek is running in the side canyon

End of the road for most

Moth or butterfly?

An old guy showing off! He's having fun though
We’ve been getting into travel mode slowly. There is much more to consider before leaving now that we are Arizona land barons! Aileen has been questioning the neighbours about the best way to summer-ize the park model. Several have given her their lists which she has condensed into one. She has also arranged with a younger neighbour to come in and clean a few days before we return in the Fall. We went to a few yard sales and found some sheets to cover the furniture with. There was a huge yard sale today here in Caliente in conjunction with Spring Fling which is major fundraiser for the park. Piles of stuff, some of it was pretty good and also low priced. The crowd was very large at opening and Aileen watched two guys almost come to fisticuffs over a three wheel bike she thought she might be interested in. She spent $1.50 and I spent nothing. We and the Jordans went to the big breakfast at the clubhouse after. The food was good and the company also. We had several couples from Washington at our table.
The Jordans are settled on their new lot and are tidying up the landscaping and cleaning out the shed. They have the Caouettes and another couple coming Sunday. One couple is renting a lot in Tierra and the other here in Caliente. Jim was over this morning going over the solar system on our travel trailer trying to see if he could spot anything out of place or broken which could be causing our charging problems. Unfortunately nothing jumped out other than a dirty ground connection which he cleaned up. We have played Mexican Train two of the last four nights. Randy and Wendy have been touring around the area enjoying themselves. One day, we took the Jordans and drove to Box Canyon. We parked the truck at the bottom of the canyon and walked for awhile. We went up the little side canyon first and the light was fairly forgiving for photos in places. I did some experimenting with different white balance for different effects. When we went up the main canyon we met quite a few vehicles including jeeps, quads and one motorcycle plus several other pedestrians. The light was higher than last time we were there so it gave us a different perspective. Even though it was breezy at times, it was warmer than we expected. Yesterday we were sitting in Tag’s Restaurant in Coolidge waiting for our lunch when Wendy and Randy strolled in so we ate together.
We have set our departure date as Friday the 20th so we have lots to do before then. Aileen had to visit the local dentist on Wednesday because of a broken tooth. He has patched it up and hopefully it will last until we return to BC. We need to get Aileen in for a haircut next week also. She cuts my hair and does it very well but we’ve haven’t gotten up the courage for me to try cutting hers. Maybe some time when we will be away from civilization for a few weeks.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Slowing down

Jacquie and Taffy with two differnet Saguaro in the desert behind Caliente
Jacquie and Taffy under a Mesquite tree

A windblown Saguaro

Lots of sheep raised around Coolidge

The dog park where Mitzy visits several times a day

Thomas, the weimeramer and Wayne from White Rock with Aileen and Mitzy

Jordan's lot (Mitzy inspecting)

From left - Jacquie, Jim, John, Aileen, Wendy, Randy
We’ve been slowing down a little. Aileen has had a bit of a bug for a while and the weather has not been conducive to exploring part of the time. We’ve had 1.4 inches of rain the past two days which is supposedly 20% of the yearly precip. We’ve been getting some strong winds too. We have been to Casa Grande and Johnson Ranch shopping with the Jordans. We’re still looking for a few things for the park model plus old sheets for covering the furniture for the summer. Apparently it is impossible to keep the dust out over the summer.
The Jordans have purchased a lot next door at Tierra Del Sol and are now in the same mode we were in a few weeks ago with money and legal issues. The lots over in Tierra are twice as large as here so more options are available in developing the property. The lot is immediately adjoining Caliente so handy to our activities and much closer to the dog walk than we are.
On Sunday, Aileen and I went to Phoenix to pick Wendy and Randy up at the Sky Harbour Airport. We ran into sleet and hail near Apache Junction and the temperature dropped to 8C. We drove Apache Trail all the way through Mesa, Scottsdale, Tempe etc. There’s a lot of town spread out for many miles. We found a Chinese smorg (buffet) near the airport which had very good chow. Got to the airport in daylight so had a long wait but we’d taken a book for me and Aileen’s sudoko. The plane was pretty much right on time at 7:48 PM. We were home shortly after nine.
This afternoon is the AGM at the park so we have to go and listen and hope it’s not too boring (or contentious) and hope it doesn’t drag on too long. We had the McKinnons and Jordans over for supper last night and then played Mexican Train after. Jim was the leader by a large margin while I was the biggest loser with four times plus four points more. I don’t understand how I can lose so badly so often when I’m the scorekeeper!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Florence update

At the Canada supper

Canada supper dessert

Florence Gardens, our sister park in front, Caliente in centre and Town of Florence in back

A Quartzsite cloud

A Caliente cloud
Last Thursday we went to Coolidge to change the park model registration over to our name. Park models are classed as a vehicle in Arizona which requires the motor vehicle branch business even though the only time it had wheels was when it was delivered. Pick a number and wait for an hour as the office is always busy.
We have been to Coolidge and Johnson Ranch with the Jordan’s but haven’t found much more for the park model. There are some large garage sales coming up here so maybe we’ll have some luck there. We don’t need anything urgently now so can shop more leisurely.
We and the Jordan’s went to the Canada supper on Saturday night. Good meal and friendship but the sound system was atrocious. Monday night, we four went to see five sisters originally from Saskatchewan perform. They are scattered all over now in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nebraska. The sound system degraded the show but the sisters’ singing was incredible. Beautiful harmony. It was amazing how five people could be so in sync with their timing. They did a couple numbers without music and that was a treat. They performed both gospel and 50’s pop.
Today we were entertained with the antics of moving in a park model underneath a cover where an RV had been. We happened to be visiting friends right opposite so had a ringside seat. The driver sure earned his pay. They had to remove two centre support posts and at one time had four guys on the roof of the park model holding up the cover roof and walking backwards as the truck backed in. I think it took the truck driver’s whole bag of tricks to get it in place.
Aileen is enjoying having room to have friends in for meals. The Jordan’s are coming for supper tonight for the second time and she’d like to have others over before we depart. Aileen bought a new crock pot a few days ago and used that for the first invitation and the roast and veggies were delicious. Tonight I get to BBQ steak down the street at the community BBQ.