Saturday February 1, 2014

Hawaii Trip!

See the trip details HERE

Thursday January 16, 2013

Packing for Hawaii!

We are packing for our trip to San Diego tomorrow and then head over to Hawaii for the cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. We stay in San Diego overnight then take a flight over to Hawaii. We will then take a cruise around the islands and then spend a couple of days in Honolulu before we head back to San Diego. We have booked 4 tours on-line so we get the tours that we want to see instead of waiting to get on the ship to book.

We won't be able to post when on the ship but we may send some pictures to Facebook, we will see how that works. Al didn't get the smart phone from in time to help the posting process, oh well!

Saturday January 11, 2014

Chasing Roadrunners!

Things have been pretty quiet here, we have been relaxing and enjoying the great weather. We also went up to Palm Desert to do a large shopping during the week, it's about 70 miles north, about 10 miles more than the normal trip to Brawley but there are many more stores to choose from, including a Barnes and Noble for books.

There is a roadrunner running around the campground (we suspect he's being fed!) and Suzette took some videos, the following shots were captured:

Sunday January 5, 2014

Test with Playbook and some random stuff!

This is a test using the tablet.

Well, the playbook didn't do too well!! As you can see on earlier posts the font size has been changed and I can't get the size of some sections back to what they were before. This was a test to see if I could post to the blog via the Playbook when we take the cruise in Hawaii later in the month. Looks like I will have to rely on Facebook to update our progress. The other problem with the Playbook is that it doesn't support Java and I need this application to upload pictures to the blog website.I don't want to lug the laptop with us to Hawaii, that's why the Playbook experiment.

Today the resort has cleared out, a lot of campers staying over the Christmas/New Years period left yesterday and some are leaving this morning, the place is quiet.

Yesterday Al took a picture of one of the "toys" in the campsite next door. It's a unique vintage jeep, unique because the owner took off the body then cut and extended the frame to give additional seating. On first appearance it looks like a 4 door modern jeep but there are actually two rows of rear seats behind the driver.  The neighbours also had three off road motorcycles and a Ford pickup to haul them in addition to the motor home on the campsite. Based on this Al feels definitely "toy deprived!"

Wednesday January 1, 2014

Into The California Sun!

We made the short run from Yuma to the Springs at Borrego today, with the one hour time gain we arrived just around noon pacific time. We are mostly set up and we enjoyed some great afternoon temps in the mid 20's C.

We welcomed a great visit from friends Mark and Carol who we met a few years ago in Kino Bay Mexico. They hail from Los Angeles and they are staying in the state park here. It was great to see them again, we hope they can stay around the area so we can grab a meal with them in Borrrego Springs before they leave. Like us, they miss their time in Mexico, maybe we can take a run into San Carlos next winter with them.

We plan to finish the set up tomorrow then do some relaxing and some walking around the area.

Al has got lazy, this paragraph and picture is taken on Thursday. The set up is now complete, the sun shade is up and the barbie is connected, ready for the steaks this afternoon. It was tough staying up last evening with the additional time change, 9 pm is midnight back home. We've given up on the Toronto news at 6 pm, we are only looking at the late night news to help the adjustment. Watching TV in the east is probably causing the failure to adjust our internal clocks.

On the way over we saw many more campers in the dune area east of here, and the resort here is completely packed, including the dry camping overflow area. It's a good indication that the California economy is improving!

Saturday December 28, 2013

Thinking about heading west again!

Our stay here in Yuma is coming to an end, we head into California and to Borrego Springs on January 1. It's been fun here but we are gypsies at heart and we look forward to California. We have been enjoying the warmer weather here, we walk or bike each day. The other thing that we've been doing is watching the international space station pass overhead. Our neighbours who attended a pot luck before Christmas indicated that everyone at the dinner watched the station go by, one of the folks had checked the NASA web site for the information.

Al checked and found the website that shows dates and times for the traverses, the web link below gives passes over Yuma Arizona but you can input your location and it will give dates and times wherever you are.


For those of us old enough, it brings back some memories! Al remembers standing in the back yard of his parent's home and watching Sputnik fly overhead, that was 1957. That event was significant and probably sent a few shudders into those in power in the US at that time, after all, if the USSR could lob a satellite into space they could lob something else at them!

Click HERE for an article at Wikipedia that gives some more details.

Monday December 23, 2013

Global Warming (or Cooling) or What??

Well, the folks back home are having it a bit tough! The ice storm is still giving lots of grief to people in eastern Canada. The power went off at our house for a bit longer than 24 hours, our daughter's place in Newcastle is still without power and some places aren't going to get power back until after Christmas day.

Our neighbours Paul and Janet sent over a couple of pictures of the large tree in our side yard, a branch broke off and landed on the roof:

They were also good enough to pull the branch off the roof and start cutting it up. They indicate that there is some damage to the eaves but from the pictures there doesn't seem to be any roof damage. The tree was a gift from Al's parents back when the house was built, it came from Scarborough where a squirrel had planted a seed. We call it a walnut, not sure what exact kind of tree it is but it provides great shade in the side yard.

It' s interesting to arrange stuff from the distance, an insurance claim has been filed (E-mail just received says they are experiencing a high volume of claims, haha). We got off relatively unscathed.

Around here it's the last days of preparations for Christmas. We went shopping at Fry's and every cash register was running, they were almost out of buggies! Lots of stressed folks shopping! Another indication of the ice storm back up north, our TD credit card was declined, called TD, no problem with the card but TD is having "technical difficulties", suggested we try again in 3 hours or so!

We've been pretty laid back, we went over to Algodones Mexico for some neat Mexican handcrafted stuff (we will go back before we leave Yuma) and we made our annual donation to the natives here at the Cocopah native casino. Suzette was up $0.75 on an input of $40 after 2 hours at the slots but Al lost $40 (maybe a little bit more!). we are walking and biking to get ready for the Christmas calorie input, probably not enough to offset the intake though!

Wednesday December 18, 2013

Who says that you can't have a great sunset in the desert??

Today it's been cloudy on and off all day, but quite warm. A front is coming in and some rain is expected over the weekend. Al captured a couple of pictures of the sunset, it rivals some of the best we have seen on the coast of Mexico:

You can just see the person on the ATV on the hill enjoying the sunset as well:

Our neighbour's Christmas decorations look good!

We are off to Algodones Mexico for the morning tomorrow to see what treats are there!

Monday December 16, 2013

Warmed up!

We have got a couple of days of warm weather, it got up to about 24C today and we are in shorts for the first time in a week or two. We have been enjoying the time, we had a great happy hour at Leo and Lynn's place last week and the annual festival of lights parade came by the lot on Friday. We also have used the time to do some shopping.

Al has had the old 5th wheel tailgate on the new truck, it originally was purchased in 2003 for our old Ford. We've had a couple of indirect comments from neighbours back home "old tailgate-new truck!" and even a direct comment from the owner of the RV park in Vermillion Bay back up north "why don't you get a spray can of paint and fix that thing?". Well, one of the nice things about being down here is that prices are much cheaper than back home, Al ordered a Canadian manufactured tailgate through and had it couriered here to Yuma from California (2 day service at about $60 extra cost) for less total cost than it could be bought back home. Don't quite understand why, but why not take advantage?

The bikes have been used, but we confess, the input of good food has exceeded the output from biking and walking. We promise to do better in January!

Our neighbours next door have done their usual great job in building and lighting their Christmas scene!

We look forward to checking out the Christmas lights next week!

Sunday December 8, 2013

Keeping Warm!

We have been doing some shopping and we checked a couple of flea markets (pretty quiet as most of the snowbirds haven't arrived yet!) but we have mostly been keeping warm. The temperatures here have been warmer than in Texas where it's been below freezing with snow earlier in the week and in western Canada where it has been downright cold, but it's still cool. When the wind is coming from the north it's a cold wind and it hasn't gotten above 15C during the day and it got down to 5 overnight a couple of times. Still, it's better than being back up north.

We've kept busy by walking and riding the bikes, we are trying to get a couple of miles in while increasing the duration as we get in shape and get rid of "numb bum" from the bicycle seats. Next we will do some more touring around the area.

Wednesday December 4, 2013

Touring Around

In preparation to look around in Yuma this month we went to the visitors center that is located on the Colorado river right on the border with California. It's located at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park that contains a few original buildings (including the quartermaster's house and kitchen which is Yuma's oldest home, 1859). We obtained lots of tourist information and will do some additional touring as the month goes on.

It' s interesting to learn about the Colorado river, back in the 1800's it was a mile wide in some some spots and was a major transportation vehicle (river boats) for opening up the south west. Today the river is a virtual trickle when it goes into Mexico due to the substantial use of irrigation. We learned that about 60% of the fresh vegetables used in the USA in the winter season are supplied from the Yuma area.

Some pictures:

This is a photo of the wide Colorado River in the old days:

Some old rolling stock:

A wheel from an old stern wheeler:

A vintage cement mixer:

The original storehouse of the facility:

Lots of history here!

Monday December 2, 2013

Yuma Arizona

We arrived yesterday and are parked on our rental lot in the Yuma foothills. Our neighbours are already starting to decorate their lot for the Christmas parade coming later this month.

Al thought that he would take a couple of pictures for our friends Charlie and Pauline who are probably enjoying the great weather at their condo north of Puerto Vallarta:

The lot that Charlie and Pauline rented has been changed, there is a new structure being built at the back:

The solar farm that was under construction last year is now complete, the solar panels tilt following the sun's arc during the day.

The Foothills area is pretty quiet, quite a few of the lots are for re-sale, it must be a better market compared to last year.

We are settling in, we did some shopping and tomorrow the bikes come off the RV, time for some exercise!

Saturday November 30, 2013

Picacho Peak State Park

We arrived in this park before noon today, it's only about 40 miles north of Tucson. The run to Yuma isn't too long but we like to break it up and stopping at Augie's in Gila Bend didn't work for us last year because of the construction workers who filled the campground there. We always like to stop here at Picacho, it's comfortable with great views:

We overlook a hill that's close to I-10 and we have a site looking away from the others. Nice! The park was full last night with Thanksgiving weekend campers here, things will empty out tomorrow.

By the way, additional pictures taken at Old Tucson Studios are posted below.

(Black) Friday November 29, 2013

Old Tucson Studios

Today we took a trip to this attraction on the west side of Tucson. It is an active film studio with an impressive list of films and TV series produced there including three John Wayne movies, the TV series High Chaparral and a number of Little House on the Prairie episodes. There are three pages of filmography credits lasted in the history book that we purchased.

Some pictures:

Lots of stage coaches!

The set of High Chaparral is located beyond the sign:

A replica of the first public school built in Tucson was constructed for use in movies:

This is one of the steam locomotives first used in the west, it's real, it's currently being used in a movie shoot, the boxcar behind it is made of styrofoam!

Another stage coach:

It was well worth the visit to the studio!

Thursday November 28, 2013

Thoughts on (US) Thanksgiving

We are enjoying our stay here in Tucson, the park has filled in a bit with US folks enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday period. There are lots of preparations going on for Thanksgiving dinner, one of our neighbours has a wood smoker going (probably with a turkey in it!) in what promises to be a great tasting dinner. We bought a small boneless turducken, it will be going into the oven in an hour or two.

Al was sitting on the patio enjoying the warmer weather reading an E-book and overheard a (one sided) conversation which brought into focus just how fortunate we are, it went something like this:

A young boy was riding his bicycle on the road and he stopped to ask his father a question (his father had just got off his cell phone) the boy asked " Was that mom on the phone" I didn't hear the answer but I assume the answer was yes. The next question he asked was "is she dying?" not referring to his mother but his grandmother who was at a hospital. Again, I didn't hear his answer. His third question was "will she have to pay?" and for the third time I didn't hear the answer. The substance of the call was obvious, the boy's grandmother was in hospital, perhaps with an end of life affliction and one of the boy's main concerns was the ability (or non ability) for his mother or grandmother to pay for the care needed at this stressful time.

It brought into sharp focus exactly how lucky we Canadians are to have a health care system that covers all of us, we don't have to worry about paying the bills or if our insurance plan cuts us off if we have a "pre existing" condition. It's very fortunate that 50 years ago or so in Canada we embarked on our medicare system before the "for profit" insurance companies, hospitals and doctors were well enough organized to derail the implementation of the program as is happening here presently in the US. Al is old enough to remember the time before universal medicare, he fractured a bone in his foot in public school and the treatment in hospital was covered by a private insurance plan called "physician Services Incorporated (PSI)" provided by Al' fathers company. Al also remembers the month or so that his father spent in hospital at the end of his life, he died in hospital of cancer. Not a single cent was invoiced or paid, even though much of the time was spent in a private room.

It's interesting to hear conversations here about health care. When we explain our system in answer to questions most US folks end up saying "you folks live in a socialist country" and by association refer to us a socialists. Well, it's far from the truth, we are die hard Conservatives, we just feel that we have the right to proper medical care, and more importantly, all Canadians do. It's clear to us that we all pay extra to get this care, the price of alcohol, tobacco, gasoline and some other goods here in the US is substantially cheaper than the Canadian price with most of the additional cost going to support our medicare system. We feel it's well worth the cost to look after everyone. It seems that some folks down here feel that they are prepared to let others suffer financially (or die) than to look after their fellow man. Sad!

We won't talk about the excessive cost of health care here and that doctors earn more than double for an office visit compared to Canadian doctors or the "sue me" mentality that may be driving some of these costs!

Unfortunately, not a good tale to tell on Thanksgiving but that's the reality.

Sunday November 24, 2013

All settled in!

We are now settled in here, we survived a couple of days of heavy rain, Al finally got a pause in the rain and erected the dish yesterday so we could check out Canadian TV. We took the opportunity to get a couple of items from Camping World today and we spent some time on the patio during the warm part of the day.

A couple of pictures of the campground:

Lots of fluffy clouds following the rain:

There are lots of empty campsites, many snowbirds haven't arrived yet:

There are some folks coming into the park however!

We aren't alone here as Canadians, we met a couple from Alliston Ontario, they had previously lived in Grand Valley. Small world!

Friday November 22, 2013

Tucson Arizona

Just a quick note that we arrived here at Lazy Days RV resort in Tucson just after noon today. We have been looking at the weather forecast and the weather in east New Mexico was calling for snow and ice pellets today so we decided to spend only one night in Deming last night. We were treated to a nice dinner and some great conversation by Chuck and Wanda at a local Deming restaurant, we then retired for the evening. We still haven't completely adjusted to the time changes so we were up just after 5 am, we packed up and headed west. It was breezy and cloudy most of the way to Tucson but it had been raining here earlier in the morning (the first rain in a long time according to Vicki on the desk here at Lazy Days). The rain started again (this time heavy!) after we were set up, the dog park here (located in a low lying area) is completely flooded. We plan to stay here until after the American Thanksgiving when we will head towards Yuma.

Wednesday November 20, 2013

Carlsbad New Mexico

We are in the Carlsbad KOA north of the city, we arrived here yesterday around noon after gaining another hour due to the time change. One thing that we noted on the run from Monahans is the dramatic increase in oilfield activity (and employment!). It's clear that the new frackting technology is instrumental in increasing the "tight" oil production. There was a continuous run of tanker trucks taking oil from the fields to tank farms compared to almost no activity a few years ago. The increase in employment can be seen in Carlsbad, the KOA here has quite a few oilfield workers as monthly campers. The receptionist indicated that these folks work quite hard with long hours (as we confirmed when pick up trucks started leaving the park just after 5 am this morning) and the requirement to move to another location without notice (she indicated that a number have lost their monthly deposits because of the quick moves). It's clear that there is a dramatic increase in US oil production and that many of the fields here in New Mexico will be producing for a number of years in the future. The smell of oil (read as "the smell of money") is stronger here than it's been any previous year we have been here.

We took the opportunity to tour Living Desert State Park in the north end of Carlsbad. It's on top of a hill that overlooks Carlsbad and they have displays of plants and animals of the desert. It was well worth the visit. We took a few pictures:

This raven spread his wings for us when we walked through!

A Bald eagle:

Another desert bird that Al doesn't recall the name of (it's a hawk of some sort!):

They also have a prairie dog town, this guy started to make some noise as we got closer:

We woke up this beautiful mountain lion as we walked past:

This is a view of Carlsbad, the white roof in the foreground is a Lowes, you can just see the canal fed by the Pecos river in the center rear:

We are planning to head to Deming NM tomorrow, we will try to get into Rockhound State Park!

Monday November 18, 2013

Monahans Sand Hills State Park near Monahans Texas

We arrived here after a longish run from Ranger, we get to make up some time tomorrow as we gain another hour going into New Mexico. We are not sure what is happening but there are lots of flowers in bloom here in the desert:

We have our usual site in the park:

Some more pictures of the blooming flowers:

We are off to Carlsbad NM tomorrow!

Sunday November 17, 2013

In Ranger Texas

We have been on the move with Gary and Gillian, after Village Creek we moved to DeGray Lake (we were in the trees no no internet connection), we then moved to Lake Bob Sandlin in east Texas where we were introduced to a Chiilies restaurant (delicious food at reasonable prices!). Yesterday was spent in the Traders Village RV park in Grand Prairie Texas, next door to one of the largest Flea markets that Al & Suzette have ever seen. There were a lot of enticements, Al saw a chrome fifth wheel tailgate at a very reasonable price, now that he knows these exist perhaps one can be purchased farther west (one of the problems with taking a limited amount of cash to the market!).

Gillian took this shot of Al and Gary playing with the Honda generator, it was troublesome getting it started for it's one month "exercise", the problem turned out to be "operator error" on Al's part, you need to turn the fuel valve to the "on" position for the motor to start "don't you know"!

After the visit to the flea market yesterday and a great breakfast at IHOP this morning we headed west to our normal stop at Ranger Texas. The weather has been true "short sleeve and shorts" weather, 81F this afternoon here. They are expecting a cool down into the mid 60's tomorrow but it's been much warmer here than in previous years.

A couple of shots of the relatively empty campground:

It's off to Monahans tomorrow.

Tuesday November 12, 2013

In Village Creek State Park near Wynne Arkansas

We arrived here early this afternoon. We stayed last night in Natchez Trace SP in Tennessee. When we arrived yesterday it was 20C, we changed into shorts and T shirts for a few hours then the temperatures started to plummet, it was down to freezing overnight.

Yesterday Gary took a great picture of Suzette with Gary and Gillian's dog Annie. Suzette has partially "adopted" Annie:

It's still cool here in east Arkansas, at the time of writing it's below freezing. The water hose has been disconnected from the trailer and drained, we are running off water in the water tank inside the trailer. We are hoping for warmer weather so we can spend some time outside.

Sunday November 10, 2013

In Bowling Green Kentucky!

We arrived in Bowling Green yesterday and we are enjoying the warmer weather (15C during the day!) and the company of our friends Gary and Gillian. They introduced us to a dinner at Cracker Barrel yesterday and we enjoyed the food quality and low prices. We still haven't adjusted to "American portions", it's hard to eat all what's presented on the plate.

We stocked up on provisions today and went to a local flea market, Al bought a gauge that Gary told Suzette it was used for determining the correct size (diameter) of spaghetti! Really, it was a diameter check gauge for screw sizes! Lots of neat stuff at very good prices.

We head off for Natchez Trace tomorrow to start exploring some state parks. One of the advantages of being an official "senior citizen" is that we can get a fully serviced campsite for around $15. Wow!

A couple of pictures of the sites at the KOA:

We got a couple of nice pull though sites, Gary and Gillian's Titanium is next door:

Thursday November 7, 2013

On the Road!

We left home on Wednesday and we met our friends Gary and Gillian the Flying J in London, and we stayed at Harbortown RV resort in Monroe Michigan last night. Tonight we are in Garrett Indiana at Fireside resort. It's been a cool couple of days, tonight it will probably go below freezing. We are looking for some warmer weather further south!

Saturday October 26, 2013

Time to Head South!!

Well, it's time! These photos were taken this morning, it's been snowing all morning and it's not melting quickly. The furnace has been on in the RV to keep the water pipes warm.