Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
However, sometimes they come right out and show off right where you can see them! These acorn woodpeckers are part of a flock of five or six that come out to play every afternoon. Today they were flying in and out of the trees and off and on of the Toad.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
We decided to take a run over to nearby Julian this afternoon and check out the apple pie situation. This little early mining town is at a high enough altitude to raise good apples. They have a reputation for both baked goods and apple pie -- and have some kind of apple pie festival every year. Forry had heard one of the MDS folks who had worked up here in the past talking about it. He thought it was our friend Darryll, so called him up and asked him where to find the best place to buy a piece of pie. Darryll was pretty puzzled, had only been in this area with the Ritzville group, so obviously wasn't who had told him about it.
Julian is sort of scattered along the highway in a couple of different chunks. We stopped at one where a little farmer's market was going on; sampled some different nuts, some hard cider, and bought some blood oranges and a loaf of bread. A little later we stopped at Dudley's "Famous Bakery" that advertised pie by the slice. It was packed with a line almost out the door! (In addition to all of the bikers, there was a horde of Miata convertibles who were having a rally in the area.). By the time we got to the counter, all of the pie slices were gone. It was really sad as we ended up having to buy a whole apple pie instead...
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Auntie Violet and the Toad settled into Site 106 --
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
We needed to stock up on groceries (Forry's jug of cereal milk was Yuck! this morning -- and no way would he use my yogurt...) before we leave Wellton tomorrow. We could have gone into the little grocery store in town, but we had this card for a free "Baby Blossom" appetizer at the Texas Roadhouse in Yuma that had an expiration date of March 31st.
It made complete sense to drive the forty miles into Yuma this evening and eat at the Texas Roadhouse and then go get groceries at a store that also carried Starbucks coffee beans (heaven forbid that we would run out of Starbucks!). Sounded like a plan to me!
We had never been to one of the roadhouse franchises and said as much to the young waitress when she was explaining the menu to us. It turned out to be a pretty fantastic meal! The "Baby Blossom" is very similar to Outback's "Bloomin' Onion" and just as tasty. We decided to go ahead and order full rib racks instead of 1/2 racks or splitting one, thinking that we could have leftovers for our traveling tomorrow. We could have ordered just a single rack and still had leftovers! They did give you a large sharp knife with the cutlery, but we had absolutely no use for it -- the meat on the ribs fell off with a touch of the fork. I also had a huge sweet potato -- actually a yam -- as a side that they fixed with toasted baby marshmallows. They also served wonderful yeast rolls with cinnamon butter, and another side of green beans. Forry was a little more circumspect and had a dinner salad and broccoli as his sides.
Before we finished eating, the manager came over to our table to welcome us as "first-timers" to her restaurant. She gave us another card for a free "Baby Blossom," this one without an expiration date! She said that way we could use it whenever we returned to Arizona OR we could use it at the new Texas Roadhouse franchise restaurant that a friend of theirs was opening soon in Couer d' Alene!
I don't think this is the last time we'll eat at a roadhouse...
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
This is a Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla). It doesn't look like much from a distance -- note the bottom picture -- but when you get close, it is quite dramatic. The plants range from a light pink to a very deep rose. If you have a bit of an imagination, you can certainly see how it got its name.
Two more of our neighbors left this morning -- it is getting to be a very empty campground! We will only be here two more nights ourselves.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The next two pictures are of the Desert Lily (Hesperocallis undulata), sometimes called the ajo lily. This is one that my flower books say doesn't always bloom every year and may actually lie dormant for several years during droughts. Its bulb was used by Native Americans for food. A cluster of the lilies was blooming along the road near where the pavement turned into gravel and rock.
Monday was a good day for wildflower hunting. We were fortunate enough to spot many of the early spring blooming flowers. The KOFA WLR area is rich in plant life with lots of ocotillos, saguaros and cholla cacti, mesquite and manzanita. I'll continue to share some of the pictures we took over the next couple of days.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Monday, March 22, 2010
The fellow on the left has just stooped over and cut off the head of lettuce and is putting it in a plastic bag that he is bringing to the table on the front of the machine --
The workers travel to the fields in large buses towing trailers with porta-potties --
We went to KOFA National Wildlife Refuge today. We had driven through the northern road of the refuge a month or so ago and wanted to see the main part of it. It was a great day for getting pictures of the early spring wild flowers! I'll share some of them tomorrow.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
We did take a quick run into town to pick up a few groceries and took a short drive through the farm country in the valley close to town. Just feet from the cultivated fields where the debris (most likely left from the original leveling of the fields for irrigation) is piled up, was a blanket of Desert Sunflowers (Geraea canescens) :
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Forry was just driving into the airport when I gave him a call as my plane taxied in. And by the time I got to the curb, he was waiting for me. We stopped at Denny's for an evening breakfast, then headed home to Auntie Violet who was waiting for us at the RV park in Wellton.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tonight we went out to dinner with our group plus the Intercultural Reference Committee -- 13 of us in all. We went to a place called Bravo! Cocino Italiana a couple of miles from the hotel. Good food and good company!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
It was a nice flight -- the middle seat in my row was actually empty! I slept part of the way, then enjoyed the chic lit novel I was reading on my Kindle.
I met this afternoon and evening with the Intercultural Reference Committee of Mennonite Church USA. I knew most of the members, but enjoyed getting to meet the few I hadn't had a chance to meet before. We meet again tomorrow at 8 AM, so I'd best wind this up and get to bed as that's 6 AM Yuma time!
By the way, I brought my new little mini HP computer with me. It's a lot nicer typing my blog on it then on my iPhone!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
When I was Moderator of Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference a few years back, I was pretty forceful in encouraging the group to have one of our annual meetings at our furthest outpost, Anchorage, Alaska. We had had a very successful gathering in Kalispell, Montana -- many people planned their vacations for before or after the meetings. It gave a great boost to the little church in Kalispell and made them feel like they truly were part of the conference. We figured by giving everyone several years notice, we could do something similar in Alaska.
So this year, June 25-27, we will be meeting in Anchorage. Forry and I are planning to take Auntie Violet up the ALCAN highway and spend a summer in Alaska, but this was not the year. We debated about whether we should fly up and finally decided that after I had pushed so hard to have it there, we'd better show up.
I got on line with Alaska Airlines today and found I had just enough FF's left for coach tickets for Forry and I! That's the END of the "working woman's" collection of frequent flyer miles. Can't think of a better way to use them.
Monday, March 15, 2010
From this whole field of growing lettuce ---
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Forry remembered a place we had stayed at for a couple of nights in February of 2009 when we were on our way to work with Mennonite Disaster Service in Dulzura. It's on the Passport America 50% discount list, so we called to see if we they had room for us. It turns out they have a lot of people leaving for home in the north this week and have lots of room.
It's a whole lot different here at M & M RV Park than at the RV Resorts we had been staying at in Mesa. It does have the obligatory VERY busy railroad tracks running along the back of the the RV Park. You can go out the gap in the back fence and walk along the tracks, but you've have to dodge all of the debris (tree trimmings, grass and trash) piled between the fence and the tracks.
We slept in this morning after all of the early mornings at the Gypsy Gathering and stayed around Auntie Violet all day. Forry has four months of the ranch books he has to get entered and sent off to our accountant as he needs that information in order to finish our personal taxes. So Forry worked on that while I did several loads of laundry. I made a pretty awesome pork stir-fry for supper with yellow peppers, onions, celery, cauliflower and lots of ginger.
Friday, March 12, 2010
This morning we had an appointment for her at 11 AM to be weighed. One of the precepts we have been taught over the years at Life On Wheels conferences is to make sure your RV is not over-loaded. The weight of the coach has a direct effect on its ability to stop in a timely manner and IF you were to be in an accident and it could be proven you were overweight, it could affect both your liability and your legal status!
We had been over a truck scale and knew that Auntie Violet was not over her gross vehicle weight. What we didn't know was how well her weight was distributed. This rally was the first place we had been where we had an opportunity to have each wheel or set of wheels weighed.
The folks from the Recreational Vehicle Safety Foundation have individual scales that they slip in front of each wheel and then have you drive slowly onto them. Each scale gives a weight of that wheel or set of duals. We got an initial weight report and will get a detailed analysis in the mail in the next couple of weeks.
Why is Auntie Violet acting so pissy about it, you ask? She doesn't think it was fair that both Forry and I were on board when she was weighed and that nobody mentions that it's not just her weight, but ours as well...
Thursday, March 11, 2010
This one was taken a little farther away. If you don't recognise her -- and I won't tell her if you don't -- she's the second one in the row parked behind the Jeep Liberty Toad.
Today was another busy day of seminars and visiting vendors. We've been at the Yuma Fairgrounds long enough that I can find my way around to the various seminar locations without looking at the map. Since I am VERY directionally challenged, it's always nice when I get to that point. But, I don't get nearly as much exercise as I do when I get turned around and find myself at the opposite side of the fairgrounds from where I need to be!
Tonight was the last of the door prize drawings. It's pretty incredible how many door prizes are collected by Nick and his crew -- eventually every single coach attending the rally got a door prize. And some of them were pretty nice stuff! By the way, the final count of rigs attending seems to be 220 RVs, give or take 1 or 2. Add to that total the several hundred people who have come on different days as day attenders, and you have an idea of how many people have been running around here!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
We are next door to a Marine training base --
After three days here, people just pause in their conversations until they can be heard again and then just go right on talking like they never stopped.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
David Bradley, Singer/Yodeler --
Sunday, March 7, 2010
There were puddles and then it rained some more --
After we finally were parked, we headed for the fair's theatre building to get registered --
Emptying the black and then the gray tanks, flushing them out, then waiting to make sure everything is drained before you can pack all the hoses away...
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I can see part of the evidence -- the portable clothes dryer has jeans, sweat-shirts and dish towels on it -- must have done the last of the laundry.
There's a smell of mushrooms and sour cream in the air -- the beef stroganoff I finally made for Forry for supper tonight (he's only been asking for it for a LITTLE while!).
There's red marks on my cheek -- must have taken a nap somewhere along the line...
I've crops ready to harvest in Farmville -- must have gotten some planting done...
There are fresh blueberries in the fridge -- evidence of a quick trip to the grocery when I discovered I'd forgotten the tomato juice for the stroganoff.
The lawn chairs on the patio are moved -- must have had some time out there enjoying the sun and my Kindle.
Must have been just a nice quiet day. Tomorrow we head for the Gypsy Journal RV Rally at the Fairgrounds in Yuma. At least I'll be able to report that!
Friday, March 5, 2010
One of the characteristics of a SKP (Escapee) park is afternoon get-togethers. Every weekday afternoon at a park, most park residents meet in the clubhouse. One member acts as the MC and they follow a regular routine. First new arrivals are greeted, handed a microphone and asked to introduce themselves, give their SKP number, telling where they're from, how long they are staying and where they are going next. Second on the agenda is recognition of birthdays and anniversaries. Next there are announcements, then any jokes of the day, RV tips and a thought for the day before the group is dismissed. Sometimes there is quite a line-up for announcements, jokes and tips, other days there may be only one or two and the MC sort of fills in. It is sort of hokey, but it's part of what ties SKP communities together. You know that whatever SKP park you go to, there is this familiar routine.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
BUT, the opportunity to have electricity, Internet and being able to do laundry for a few days makes Site 52 just fine!
I finished up getting all of our tax records together this morning for our accountant. So this afternoon we went in to Casa Grande to the post office to send the stuff off by Priority Mail. We had also finally gotten a call from the dispenser at the Costco Hearing Aid Center in Spokane giving us the "procedure code" for the new hearing aids Forry had gotten last fall. I had sent the paperwork in to our health insurance asking for reimbursement (we have an $800 benefit for hearing aids) and they had sent it all back saying they needed this code (I don't understand why they couldn't have looked it up in their code books...?) first. So anyhow, we mailed that off today as well.
We had planned to eat out while we were in Casa Grande and wanted to have Mexican, but had no idea what there might be in the area. I did a search with the "yellow pages" app on my iPhone for Mexican restaurants and got a couple dozen names of restaurants. One of the neat features of the iPhone is it gives you the distance from your current location. We decided to just go to the closest one -- and it turned out to be a winner! We had some of the best sopapillas we've ever eaten!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
BUT, it turned out the woman in the office had lost track of how many RVs she had waiting for a space in the Boondock area and it turns out that there was another RV that had come in before us. No one else left today, but at Happy Hour this afternoon another fellow announced that he would be leaving tomorrow for ten days. We don't know if he has a site that he allows to be rented out when he is gone or not. We'll have to wait and see tomorrow.
We are allowed to run the generator in the evening for three hours, so I am getting some work done on the computer while it is on. I have been working on getting our tax stuff ready for Cleon our accountant. I think I have it pretty well finished, so I have a few minutes to catch up on my blog and Facebook!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Hopefully, someone will leave in the morning and we can get moved in!
Monday, March 1, 2010
Forry's been complaining about the valve that opens and closes the black water tank so that it can be drained. It has an electric switch, but he has had to tap the actual valve handle with a hammer to make it work while I hold the switch down on the opposite side of the coach (of course, it's on the opposite side, isn't that the way it always works?!)
Last night the valve stuck half open and we couldn't get it closed. Knowing it was getting worse, Forry had purchased a new valve when we were at Camper World last week. So after extensive flushing of the tank this morning, we got the valve to open all the way, then flushed it well so that he could replace the valve.
It really pays to have a man who knows how to fix things! It took a couple of hours to get the job done -- I wonder what it would have cost to have hired someone to do it down here in Arizona? The last time we were at Uhlmann's, one of the guys said they were making $90/hour.
The old valve was fairly corroded -- I would presume it's from all of the hard and salty water we've experienced as we traveled....