Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Well, it would appear Jacquie and Jim’s real estate saga is over.  The certified copies of their passports came back last Thursday and they were able to get their realtor to pick the copies up and deliver them to the title office to get the deal completed.  There was a big sigh of relief!
 On Sunday morning, we were on the road about 9:40 heading for Indio, CA to meet our friend Carolyn who used to live two doors down from us in Salmon Arm, BC.  We hadn’t seen her in person for six or more years.  She and Aileen email often.  Aileen drove til Chirlaco Summit where we took a break.  There were strong winds blowing at us all the way and blowing dust in several areas.  We arrived at the Jackalope Ranch Restaurant about 11:55 our time which was an hour ahead of when we were meeting the group.  We took a short exploratory drive a little further then came back to the parking lot so we could get the best shady spot for Mitzy. 
I think it was about 11:30 when Carolyn arrived driven by son in law Richard and daughter Liz.  Later son Cary and daughter in law Robin arrived from Oceanside.  We sat out on the patio and had a great visit.  They were all very friendly.  Most of us had ribs, some combined with chicken, and they were pretty good.    
After about three hours of visiting, it was time to hit the road.  After our farewells, we went across the road to Shield’s Date Farm to get me a date shake.  We also got Bev some Mejool dates and Aileen some coconut sugar.  Unfortunately, the shake wasn’t very good, as they had them premade so not very fresh and not much flavor either. 
Traffic was really heavy all the way back to Quartzsite.  Aileen suggested it must be Sunday traffic as it was predominantly cars and RVs/ATVs.  With the terrible wind going and my driving 80 mph home, our gas mileage was only 9.8 lp100k.  That’s the worst in a long while.  We’ve been getting low 8’s lately.  We drove up to the motor home just as it got dark so that was good.   We just had a bowl of soup for supper then it was early to bed.
Jim and I have been out a few times looking for geocaches and the ladies have joined us some of the time.  They have also been to the tee shirt and sock stalls a couple times as well as the local Beall’s Store.  We made another grocery run to Parker this morning.
We moved down to Quartzsite this afternoon and will probably be here the rest of our stay.  Our two weeks free at the last spot was up tomorrow and we didn’t want to move on New Year’s Day.  We are a little further back from the highway than in previous years and I think there will just be the Jordan’s and us here this season.  We’re hoping no morons move in close to us as has happened in the past. Thousands of acres to choose from and some people just have to crowd you.

Aileen and I would like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!  

Mitzy and friend outside the Jackalope Ranch Restaurant

Carolyn and Aileen

A full size model motor cycle made of laminated wood.  A piece of art in the lobby at Jackalope

Aileen, Carolyn and Carolyn's daughter Liz

Part of our view at lunch

Liz living on the edge

Richard, Carolyn, Liz, Aileen, Cary, Robin and me

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


We hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and got to spend some time with family and friends.  We’ve had a gorgeous day celebrating our Christmas in the desert.  Not a cloud in the sky and warm enough even with the light breeze.  The only noise is the occasional vehicle driving by on the road.  It has been dropping down to below 4C at night so lots of covers are needed.
Jim and I got out geocaching a bit on Sunday but they were all ones I’d found already.  There is a new series not too far from here that we will try next.   While out on the ATV’s the other day, Jim and I found some little sand dunes so the next afternoon Aileen and I walked in to take some photos of them.  It was so peaceful back I there as we couldn’t hear a sound other than nature.
Aileen and I bought a new stove the other day which has a larger oven.  Our old stove needed some repair and I didn’t think it was worth spending money on it when it wasn’t what Aileen wanted.   Jim came over Monday morning and we got the stove changed out.   The new stove looks good and the drawer underneath is still usable.
We did our turkey outside in the electric roaster using the Honda 2000 watt generator and it went well.  Last year was much cooler and the turkey took longer than planned.  This year I covered the cardboard shelter I used to contain the broiler with a cotton sheet and the turkey was ready in 3.5 hours.  The cooking was shared between our motor home and Jordan’s then we ate over at their place.  We had a great meal, of course, with lots of leftovers.

The old stove still in place

The new stove installed, note the drawer front is much smaller

A tarantula with a gallon jar lid for scale

I noticed the tarantula under the motor home one afternoon then he came out into the sun

Late afternoon at the little dunes

Our current parking spot, us on the left, Jordan's on the right

Turkey is done!

My roaster shelter

John (me) Aileen, Jacquie and Jim ready for Christmas dinner

Friday, December 20, 2013


We’re in the desert but it doesn’t look like what one would expect for a desert.  According to Wikipedia, the Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California, and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest deserts in North America, with an area of 311,000 square kilometers (120,000 sq miles).  In this area there are vast areas of Greasewood shrubs (Creosote bush) and Palo Verde and Mesquite trees as far as I can see with their differing and changing shades of green.  There are even a few Saguaro Cactus within our viewscape.  With the welcome heavy showers we had overnight, the green should continue for a while.  We’re basking under sunny skies today and the solar is fully charging the batteries.   Yesterday’s relentless wind has gone and so far we just have a light breeze today.
We arrived in the Bouse area just before dark Tuesday and grabbed the first spot we came to.  Unfortunately, the internet was not very good in the whole area where we like to be so we moved over to the two week free camping area at about two mile on the Plomosa Road.  We hadn’t planned on coming over here for a few more days but the internet was too frustrating to endure.   It’s amazing how we’ve come to rely on the internet on a daily basis in such a short time.  Even with the Wilson Trucker Antenna we couldn’t get very reliable service on the other side of the hills while here we are getting great internet just with the booster and little antenna.
We had a bit of excitement on the drive over.  Just as we were coming by Casa Grande on I-8, a tan Chevy Tahoe came screaming down an on ramp just ahead of me.  Not far behind was a police Tahoe in hot pursuit followed by at least five more marked and unmarked police vehicles.  Suddenly a ways in front of us there was a lot of dust billowing up.  It appeared the bad guys cut across a tilled field expecting to go cross country to elude the police.  They didn’t get far as I could see their Tahoe hung up on a rise which I think was an irrigation ditch.  It looked like their front wheels were hanging in the air but they might have ripped the front axle off too.
I’m looking forward to getting back to some geocaching while we’re in this area.  I noticed on the computer that well over one hundred new caches have been placed close by so I won’t have to go as far as I thought.  Jim is getting well hooked on geocaching as well.
Jacquie and Jim arrived this afternoon.  It seems they managed to get to deal with a title office up in Mesa yesterday and got the paperwork signed and the money is in trust so they can allow the new owner to take possession of the lot.  If the title office in Florence knew what they were doing, they could have told Jacquie and Jim they could get their passports certified down here at an IRS office rather than having to send them back to Canada.  When we get around to selling our property some time down the road, I think we’ll avoid those turkeys in Florence.   They seemed so great when we were buying.

The first two photos are sunset
The following ones are all sunrise

It was a little different seeing the fog after last night's rain

Monday, December 16, 2013


Jim brought his two wheeler over yesterday and we loaded it on my trailer first then put my ATV on.  They fit well together with room left over for various other items.   It would seem we will be on our own for a few days as Jacquie and Jim have run into a snag on their sale.  It seems Arizona now requires a certified copy of your passport if you’re a Canadian selling property.  Well, it would have been nice if they’d been told that earlier on in the process!  Today was to have been the closing but they are now in limbo until the copied passports arrive back from Canada.
I’ve had to do a bit of work on my ATV again.  It needed new front tires so I shopped around and got a pair ordered in Casa Grande.  When I removed the right front wheel, I noticed the brakes were worn badly worn on one side.  I managed to get a set of pads ordered at the local auto parts store and got them changed.  We went over to Casa Grande and had the tires installed on my wheels in a matter of minutes on Wednesday.
Aileen cooked a gluten free turkey for our ATV club December potluck which passes as a Christmas party.  There was a good turnout again and I was asked to take a group portrait.  I’ve been out on some club rides and Jim and I were out a couple times geocaching.  Since some of the caches were well spaced and others required more extensive walking, we didn’t get large numbers.
On Saturday, we and the Jordan’s went to Mesa and Gilbert.  Jim and I spent some time wandering about Harbor Freight (guys toy store) while the ladies went to Dollar Up next door.  We all came away with packages.  Next up was lunch at Five Guys Burgers which was a first for Jacquie and Jim.  Once again we had a good meal.  We sat outside where it was much quieter as they have loud music pounding away inside.  We had a table with shade for Aileen and sun for the rest of us and Mitzy was able to sit with us as well.

We’ve had a couple nights of card games with friends and this afternoon we are invited for supper with our Grand Junction, CO friends Ken and Marie.  Jordan’s will join us and another couple from Grand Junction we haven’t met yet.  Tomorrow Aileen and I head for the western side of Arizona where we’ll hang out until late January.  I guess the Jordan’s will join us when they get things settled with their sale. 

Aileen using her new talk and type program to get Mom's diaries onto the computer

Our neighbours Bud and Arlene with their volunteer award which they asked me to take a picture of.  I gave Bud the image on a flash drive and that afternoon he gave me a nice Christmas card with the photo on.  He'd taken it to Walgreens' Drug and for $20 he got forty nice cards.  Click on the picture to enlarge and read the award.

   Our little attempt at holiday decorating.  Jacquie gave us the large angel as it was too big for them to take when they leave.  It fit our front window quite well.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


We’ve had much cooler weather the past few days and the electric heater is running most of the time to keep the chill away.  I’ve been bundled up in my warmest clothes on our walks lately.  I don’t care if the neighbours joke about it, I intend to keep comfortably warm.  We had frost a couple of mornings and it looks like we’re not done with it yet.
I had a boot go on my left front axle on the ATV so after a long drive up to Chandler for the parts, Jim gave me a hand yesterday to change it out.  We were done in a little over an hour which is way faster than I had anticipated.  
We have been searching the stores for Keen shoes and sandals and for some reason they are in very short supply.  We’re wondering if the factory had a fire or something as even online, it is difficult to find many sizes.  We managed to find one pair each at Cabela’s the other day but not the ones we were looking for.  The big show store where we found so many last year doesn’t even have any in stock and the “sales” staff didn’t even know there was a brand by that name.  I can’t believe how unknowledgeable much of the sales staff is in this area.  The other day when Jim and I went to the ATV dealer for parts, I got chatting to one of the salesman.  The dealership sells Honda ATVs.  When I asked if they had any side by sides in stock, the reply was “Honda makes side by side?”  Well only for several years and they have a new one called Pioneer that has been featured in lots of the media for the past couple months.  Enough of that rant!
Jim and I have done a bit of geocaching.  We anticipate doing lots more when we go over to the Quartzsite area.  We are heading there on the 17th of this month.
Mitzy had another spell of not feeling well and showing it at both ends.  Once again good old canned pumpkin came to the rescue.  For some reason the pumpkin seems to be a powerful remedy for stomach upsets in canines.  Aileen made some pumpkin dog cookies which Mitzy is very fond of.
We are cooking another turkey tomorrow for the ATV club December potluck/Christmas party.  We had a nice turkey for the US Thanksgiving and will have another in the desert for Christmas.  While shopping in Coolidge the other day, I noticed the store had a free turkey if you had a $100 order.  Since the turkey was gluten free, we got busy raising our order up from $25 to just over $100.  It wasn’t too hard once I started adding more steaks to the cart.  This turkey will provide a nice meal for us and friends after we return from Quartzsite.

We continue to work on Mom’s diaries and Aileen has unleashed a new weapon on the project.  It is called Dragon Naturally Speaking and it is a program that listens to your speech and types it out for you.   There was quite a learning curve to get it up and running but it seems to be working fairly well.  Aileen says it is faster than her typing and it is easier on her body since we don’t have ideal typing positions in the motor home.  I have finished printing the year 1995 which ended at page #4,856.

On our walk this morning, the skies were rather heavy

Tonight was very colourful

This saguaro was rather interesting I thought

I've seen this horse silhouetted against the sky before but decided to stop for a photo when headed out on our Tuesday ride last week

I'd call this Cactus Hill

Some of the pretty country we ride through

Saturday, November 30, 2013


We were invited to a wedding up at the clubhouse yesterday and what a hoot that was.  The theme was Hawaiian and everyone was given a lei.  It said on the invitation that it was never too late to get lei’d!  Joanne was Aileen’s hairdresser in the park but has finally retired at 80.  In fact, she and new husband Jim are both 80.  The clubhouse was nearly full of well wishers and we had a great time. 
The festivities did start off with a traditional wedding officiated by the winter minister in the park, then the Hawaiian show began.  A troop of authentic Hawaiian dancers entertained us for most of an hour and the performances were very good.  When audience participation started, it became hilarious. Immediately after supper dancing began and the DJs had some great music.  Lots of the older people in the park are very good dancers and know how to have a good time.
Aileen and I drove down to Oro Valley, just north of Tucson, to the farmers market this morning.  We didn’t buy anything but had a good look around.  Mitzy received lots of attention.  It would appear some people go to these things so they can meet and greet pets.   We had a nice lunch at Olive Garden then wandered a few stores in the mall.  Our day was mostly overcast which was a change from the beautiful clear sky day we had yesterday.  Jim and I enjoyed that while geocaching on our ATVs a few miles north east of here.  I was able to get my ATV belt replaced for a reasonable charge so it is back carrying me around the desert and mountains.
Jacquie and Jim have sold their lot and have to be off it on December 16.  They may come back and rent for a couple months every winter.  They will head over to Quartzsite on the 16th and we plan to join them on December 17th.  Our “plan” is to stay in the Quartzsite-Bouse area until the fourth week of January when we’ll come back here.   I will be scouting out some trails to take the club members on when they come to visit.
I saw in the Duncan, BC paper that my Mom’s Cousin Vi passed away a couple weeks ago at 87.  That generation is dropping fast.  Sister in law Sheila lost her Mom just last week.  We continue to slog away on Mom’s diary.  Aileen is well into 1998 while I’m still back in 1996 proofing and printing.  Mom continued the diary pretty much until she went into care but we’re not sure how far we will continue to print, as her dementia was getting fairly advanced by then.   
We walked a bit in the Parks then mostly in the desert on Thursday morning.  Getting into the spirit of the American Thanksgiving, we had the turkey in the roaster at 7:55 and it was well done by noon.  It was nice to have an excuse to have another turkey feast.  We puttered at getting things organized and ready then Crutchfield’s and Jordan’s arrived bringing lots more food and dessert.   We had a bountiful repast then Aileen suggested cards later.  She regretted that as she ended up with a minus balance.  Jacquie won.  We had fun anyway! 

We walk every morning before breakfast, even in the nasty wind and rain a few days ago and have only missed going to the pool once since we arrived.  We’ve seen some nice sunrises while walking out in the desert behind the park but I seldom take my camera.  I’m not the sharpest tack in the box first thing in the morning.    

There was enough cake to feed twice as many people.  Those table are 30 inches wide so you can see how big the six Hawaiian cakes were and we ate most of the wedding cake first.

Aileen and our friend Betty who we bought our property from nearly five years ago

The bartender who was a grand daughter of the wedding couple sampling the pina coladas

The 80 year old bride and groom supported by their grandchildren

The Hawaiian warrior and fire dancer was quite a character

About a third of the guys who volunteered to make fools of themselves 

The warriors learning their roles

Boy could those girls swivels their hips!

Eating fire for the bride and groom.  I liked the expressions on some of the others.

Sunrise this morning

Palmilla, a member of the agave family

Palmilla sends up a tall flower stalk with lots of flowers

Barrel cactus boogie

A Christmas wreath made of peppers

Lots of peppers at this booth at the farmers market

This neat old building was adjacent to the farmers market