Wednesday, February 29, 2012


That wasn’t the best night for sleeping.  We were awake several times in the night.  Aileen finally got up about 5:30 to wash her hair then fed Mitzy.  I took Mitzy out then did the power cord, garbage and readied the car while Aileen put the slides in and the jacks up.  We pulled out about 6:02 am and headed down to the ferry lineup.  We were about number five so no problem getting in without a reservation.  It cost us $247.50 this time, I believe.  The crossing got quite rough with the ship wallowing side to side and slamming down into troughs causing spray to come over the bow and drench the windows.  I was starting to feel quite queasy for a while.
                The customs guy was very polite and easy to get along with which was good.  We got out of town as fast as we could and started up the Malahat which the electronic signs proclaimed to be bare and wet.  Not!  We ran into snow before even starting up the first hill and before long it was sticking to the road.  The guy in front of us had a two wheel drive pickup towing a car on a dolly and he did quite a bit of fish tailing.  The Terra motor home felt very secure, which was good.  I’m not sure about some of the rest of the crew though!  We stopped at a rest area south of Nanaimo for lunch and the rain mostly stopped for it.  We even had some sunshine in the Nanoose to Parksville area.  Thankfully it was not precipitating while we did our set up at Charlie and Sheila’s.  It was 3072 kms from Florence (1920 miles) to Errington where we will be for the next few weeks.

This pilot boat was getting lots of water over the bow just like we were

Oh, Oh!

And then it got worse!  At least most of the other traffic was driving carefully

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Yucky on the windshield

Our plan was to hang around Victoria to visit the kids on the weekend so I thought we’d stay a couple more nights at the cheap park in Elma since it is so expensive near Victoria.  However, Aileen found out this morning that wasn’t the case after all, so we decided to head for the ferry today, blow through Victoria and get further up Island.  We are in Sequim, WA tonight and hope to get on the ferry in the morning without a reservation.  We took a drive out to Aberdeen, WA this morning but there wasn’t much to see as the weather went downhill on us.  It started raining before we got to Aberdeen and didn’t quit until we were in Sequim hours later.  We had snow building up on the windshield several times whenever the road gained a little elevation but it wasn’t sticking on the road.  We only put on 180 kms today in about 2.5 hours of driving.  That would be about 112 miles, I think.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Not too far north of Grant's Pass we ran into this

I took Mitzy for a big walk in the cold before breakfast.  We drove over to the gas station about 7:30 but it was a couple minutes past eight before we had the $294 gas in and the car hooked up.  I drove for a couple hours then Aileen for about one and a half up to lunch.  I did the rest and tonight we are in Elma, WA.   The Passport America park I had planned on staying at near Castle Rock is now a KOA park and PA is not honoured.  I am wondering about my wisdom in taking out this membership.  I had intended using it enough on the way north to cancel out the cost of joining but with only this park in Alma and the one in Gila Bend, our savings are about half of the $39 fee.  Another I wanted to stay at wasn’t valid in February while yet another wasn’t valid on the day of the week we would have been there.
We put on 726 kms (425 miles) yesterday and 614 (384 miles) today.  So much for our target of no more than 500 kms (300 miles).  Yesterday our excuse was getting past the possible storm.  Today was getting away from that danged freeway.  Most of the RV parks along I-5 are right along it so they are horribly noisy which is not nice for two people who seem to have very sensitive hearing.  I guess there are times when some hearing loss does come in handy.  The next drive for the motor home will only be to Sequim which is not much more than 125 miles, I think.  I’m considering staying here another night and perhaps taking a run out to the coast tomorrow to poke around.  The lady said it was only 19F degrees here this morning so we’ll just have to see.  We dumped our tanks when we arrived this afternoon and filled the fresh water tank.  That way we don’t need to have any hoses hooked up to freeze.

A little further north and the co pilot was starting to get nervous but then we dropped a thousand feet and all was well

Sunday, February 26, 2012


We were up at 6:17 this morning and on the road at 7:14.  I topped off the tank next door so we didn’t have to worry about gas the rest of the day.  I drove 2 hours and 40 minutes getting us well beyond Sacramento before making our first stop.  Aileen drove the next 1.75 hours then I drove us the rest.  We got in to Henderson’s in Grant’s Pass a little after 4 pm, so about nine hours today.  That’s where we had our suspension worked on so successfully last year and they told us to feel free to come and plug in outside the shop if we were passing by, so we did.  There was lots of wind in several places along the way, but nothing like yesterday   I had planned to take Aileen to The Vine, the great gluten free restaurant we ate at last year, but they are closed on Sunday so it was supper at home. 
The weather for the next few days looks rather lousy and especially, wet.  We are planning on taking two days to get to Port Angeles, where we’ll take the ferry to Victoria, but it seems we might have a bit of snow even in the lower elevations.  I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.  The forecast for the Siskiyou Mountain area is predicting possibly several feet accumulation as there is about four inches of rain forecast coming in from the coast.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


That wasn’t the best night for sleeping and certainly the exact opposite of the night before where we had absolute silence in the hills above Bouse.  We were up at 6:20 this morning and on the road at 7:12 am.  The wind all the way to Tehachapi was just awful.  Our gas mileage went right down the tube and lots of time I had to slow down a fair bit.  The motor home was in third gear at 3200 prm for miles when it should have been in fifth at 2200 rpm.  We stopped for gas north of Bakersfield.  In Arizona, you just stuck the nozzle in the tank and locked it on.  In California, you have to push the nozzle in to depress the spring then hold the trigger the whole time.  Both my hands were tired by the time I got done.  We stopped for lunch just before getting on I-5 from Route 46.  Aileen had a short nap then took over driving which is why I am typing this at 12:53 along I-5, and we’re still fighting the wind.  We got to Santa Nella and checked in to the RV park of the same name.  At least we’re a little further from the freeway tonight.  535 kms for us today.
The weather forecast now has tomorrow looking like the only non snowy day for the Siskiyou Pass so we’ll check in the morning and if it is still the same, put in a longer day and get ourselves over the pass.  It’s the highest point on I-5 and the weather can be very fickle.  

Between Mojave and Tehachapi, there are hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of wind turbines.  Aileen grabbed this picture as we were rocking along in the wind 

Aileen grabbed this shot as we came careening down the mountain from Tehachapi to Bakersfield.  Shooting out the window is a problem with reflections

Another of Aileen's and she managed to snag a crow to pose

These many thousands of cattle in this feedlot along I-5 didn't smell very nice, I was dozing and came to wondering what the horrible smell was.  I shot this through the window screen

We drove past miles of these almond trees in bloom and there were many places where the orchards were on both sides of the road.  That was poor planning as the honey bees tend to go from one side to the other and the mortality rate is very high.  I cleaned the windshield three times so we did in quite a few honey bees ourselves and there are thousands of vehicles using those roads daily.  Where the orchards were on just one side of the road,there were no bees on the roadway

Friday, February 24, 2012


We had a leisurely start to the day and didn’t get on the road til 9:20.  We drove a couple back streets in Bouse then stopped in Parker for gas and a quick look in Walmart for a small refillable propane tank but, none there.  We had an early lunch near Needles before getting on I-40.  We had set our clocks back an hour when we crossed the Colorado River earlier.  Looking ahead at the weather for northern California, I see there are several days of rain/snow with the snow elevation levels to be very low.  There seems to be a window of better weather on Monday so after projecting ahead, I called and made a reservation in Santa Nella for tomorrow night.  It is a little more than we like to drive in a day but puts us in position for Monday if the opportunity is there.  No pictures to show from today but I have just a few from yesterday.

I thought this little water company compound was rather cute

A hand held HDR shot of this old Diamond T truck while on my bike ride yesterday

I took this picture while bike riding after supper last night.  That is my pack sack on my back, not my hunchback

Last night's sunset was a little better than the night before

Thursday, February 23, 2012


All these flowers were taken in the desert behind the campground in Gila Bend

Most, like these little daisies are nearly stemless and hug the ground

West of Gila Bend were some fine alfalfa fields which were being harvested, note the large truck with silage aboard

Blue Herons and Egrets shot at 60+ mph

Brittle Bush brightened the highway for miles

Sunset over Bouse looking east
This is Dateland with the trees on the left where we stopped and loaded up on dates

We got an early start Wednesday morning and were actually on the road by 8:20.  Aileen drove the first leg to Dateland where we stopped and bought some dates and had the really tasty date shakes.  We arrived in Yuma ahead of schedule so we found a place to park the motor home with the car still hooked on, then we walked up to Parrish’s Bar and Grill where we met our Salmon Arm friends Ray and Edna for lunch.  We had a great visit then they gave us a ride back to the motor home.
After departing Yuma, we headed up 95 then took Plamosa Rd almost to Bouse where we found an empty spot to spend the night.  Our nearest neighbour is about half a mile away.  The highway is quite close but later at night there is next to no traffic.  We sat outside and watched the semi sunset.  We mostly stayed put today.  Aileen enjoyed some real down time for a change.  I went for a long bike ride into and around most of Bouse.  Furthest I’ve ridden in years so my butt is complaining tonight.  We did go for a walk around the area this morning before it got too warm, well it didn’t get too warm for me.  I sat out in the sun and read after lunch.  I guess we will move on along the route north tomorrow although it would be nice to tarry longer.  If we did then we’d have to put in longer days later to get to the border in time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We hit the road about 10:30 after saying farewell to several friends.  We made a quick stop in Coolidge for water and a couple grocery items.  We also stopped in Casa Grande looking for a replacement valve for our little portable barbeque.  I did look at a small refillable propane cylinder but they were $60, nearly double a 20 pounder.   The barbeque can still be used but not too easily since the valve handle broke off.  We only went as far as Gila Bend since we aren’t in a hurry and this gives Aileen time  for a long nap.  She has been running low on naps lately.  We are at the Holt’s Shell Station campground using our Passport America card for the first time.  Our full hookup site cost $13.50 including taxes.  The membership should be paid for with no more than four nights use.
We had a large group riding Saturday, at least 19 or 20.  Eddy decided I should take lots of pictures since it was my last ride of the season and helped set up several photo ops.  I shot 421 pictures in all.  We had a really good ride and once again, I got to ride on trails I’d hadn’t before.  And here I was saying I’d ridden all the good stuff.  The past two weeks have been an eye opener and now there are lots more trails I want to check out next time I’m back here.
I managed to share my ATV digital slide show with quite a few club members and other friends and have received enthusiastic responses from several of them.  I like to share my photography and it has been a little more difficult while on the road.  When we lived in our house and were there most of the time, I would put on slide shows for seniors homes and other groups.  It would be great to have a good quality digital projector but carrying a large enough quality projection screen is the big issue.
Aileen was sad to hear her cousin Richard had succumbed to cancer on Saturday.  He was two months younger than her.  She was glad she and her sister Anne managed to get to visit Richard last year while he was still able to enjoy the get together.  Aileen had a bad reaction to some food she ate the other day and was violently ill in the night.  Lucky me slept right through it all!  We both finished up our typing for the community paper yesterday and turned in the results and the key to the collection box.  Someone else will have to step in and finish the next issue.
Yesterday, Aileen went to the Celiac Support meeting and came away with a huge book detailing all the brands and foods that are gluten free plus much more info.  The members of the American Celiac Association apparently get a new copy every year so one chap was giving away his last year’s version.  Aileen was delighted to accept it.   We went to Bud and Arlene’s for supper last night and Bud put on a good feed.  The best part was he and Arlene paid close attention to what was used in the preparation and Aileen had no ill effects at all.  She was so pleased.  I took pictures of the pirate ship Bud bought during spring fling and downloaded them onto Arlene’s computer.  I put the ATV show and the two rides with Pete and Randy on there also.  They will get lots of pleasure out of seeing all the backroads scenery they used to enjoy when they were younger and roamed around in their little Suzuki 4x4.  They are also looking forward to sharing with family and friends when they return home.

 I don't know what kind of flower this is but it was all by itself within a foot of our ATV track.  I saw one other the same, miles later

Our large Saturday group posing for me

Orange mallow, I only saw two bushes all day

The hillsides are covered with these beautiful poppies

I climbed us a steep side hill above our lunch spot to shoot these 

Note five wiener Pete

And lastly, here's a bit of a rarity, pictures of me actually riding

Friday, February 17, 2012


We were up shortly after seven Tuesday and I prepared for ATVing with Randy, who is visiting Caliente for a month and is parked a couple spaces up from us.  However, the weather decided otherwise.  We had .36 inch of rain between 8 and 10am, according to neighbour Bud’s rain gauge.  I did go up to the meeting spot but I was all alone!  Randy and I went out Wednesday and the weather was great with no dust.  Two other guys joined us and we had a great ride exploring several trails new to me and one main one that I had ridden only once.  I went out ATVing again on Thursday with 16 others and again it was a great ride.  Tomorrow will be my last ride with the group this season.  I will have to put fuel stabilizer in the tank before parking it in the shed for the summer.
Aileen’s scooter has been malfunctioning for some time and we were thinking it must be the electronics causing the problems.  The batteries died the other day which we had been expecting as we thought the scooter was about 4-5 years old.  Boy, were we wrong.  They were 7.5 years old, doesn’t time fly.  NAPA had to hunt around to find the special deep cycle and when I installed them the scooter seems to be perfectly fine.  Aileen has been using it lots and has had no problems. 
Ken and Char, our friends from Billings, Montana wanted to take us out for supper before we left so on Tuesday we went to PF Changs in Mesa and had a great supper.  They do a super job with gluten free.  I put together a slide show highlighting my three years of ATVing this area and have been sharing it around with the ATV group and other friends.  It is about 17 minutes long and set to music.
For those who have been frustrated trying to leave comments on my blog, you will be pleased to hear that I have disabled the word verification part of the process.  Google has just instituted that two words require interpretation and typing and one is really fuzzy and difficult to understand.  One of the bloggers I follow, Rick, is a computer whiz and he described in today’s post just how to disable the blighter.   I thought I had done it some time ago but perhaps it snuck back in with the new interface that came out recently.
Aileen has been busy doing last minute things in the park model preparing for out departure.  She has also done some typing for the park newsletter.  She is still learning new things about her new computer which I imagine will be a long process.

A view from the Big Spline trail to the pass toward Martinez Canyon

A telephoto shot to the pass above

A view of some of the trails we have to choose from

The spring wild flowers are starting to bloom just as we are preparing to leave

Some one decided to add some colour to this prickly pear

One of our Wednesday stops was at an abandoned amethyst mine where I picked up this fist sized piece  

We happened on these Jeeps playing in one of the washes

Well, he made it around the rock in the above picture

This guy tried a different route.  His rear bumper is digging in the ground.  I think I heard a rumour that my dear sister in law, Anne, is going to let me take her Jeep out playing this summer. 

I find the lichen covered rocks in the Box Canyon area fascinating and I have to say my pictures do not do justice to the actual scene.  I can't portray the luminescence and depth of character that I see in person

Monday, February 13, 2012


Along the top of the world trail

The Ocotillo are just starting to bloom

Lunch in a secluded wash

Getting high on the top of the world trail

Along the top of the world trail with the Thumb in the background

82 year old Blue taken last Tuesday.  Today, six days later, he had triple heart bypass surgery.  The doctor said it all went well,  I imagine he's done riding for this season though

In Martinez Canyon

Grave on the way to Martinez Mine 

Below Martinez Canyon

Poppies are starting to bloom along the trails

Martinez Maiden

Honey bee at work

Poppies along one of our trails

We’ve pretty much sorted, cleaned and packed everything except the last minute things.  I modified the shed on the rear lot to accept my ATV and we’ve stored a few other things in there as well, until next fall.  If the lot sells, we’ll write it into the contract that we have the use of the shed until we return in November.  If it doesn’t sell, then we have the use of it longer.  I went ATVing Tuesday and Thursday last week and hope to get out three days this week since it is my last chance to ride this season. 
We’ve been busy with other things such as finding Aileen a new computer since hers totally died.  Well, the battery died, but there were too many other issues to make sense replacing the battery.  We had our monthly ATV potluck tonight.  Tomorrow night is a win, lose or draw party for one of our neighbours who is running for the board in tomorrow’s AGM elections.  Wednesday evening, friends Ken and Char are taking us to PF Chang’s for supper.  They have a great gluten free menu.
We plan to leave here next Tuesday, the 21st, heading back to Canada.  We are going to Gila Bend the first day, lunch with friends in Yuma Wednesday after stopping in Dateland for some dates and a date shake then Quartzsite that night.  No idea which route we’ll follow from there yet.  We are targeting crossing the border about the 29th of February or March 1st