Saturday, October 31, 2015

More Desert Plants

We walked in the other direction along the fence this afternoon. This staghorn cactus is in the midst of the mesquite bushes -

This very old saguaro is amazing. If you look closely, you can see, in spite of its center top being broken off many years ago, it has little "arms" trying to grow from the middle. It's hard to tell how old it might be. We've been told they are at least a hundred years old before they start sending out arms...

This is a view of Auntie Violet looking back at her from the fence. This is the other side from the picture I posted yesterday. As you can see, we are parked facing out towards the Verde River Valley, instead of into the park. On the far left of the coach is a mesquite tree with the Palo Verde tree closest to the coach. The rig on our right is the same neighbor we had last year.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Our walk this afternoon took us over to the office to check for mail, plus a chance to chat a bit with Sandy, who manages the office at Eagle View RV Park. According to Sandy, the Park has more reservations than it had last year at this time, though we had been thinking it wasn't as full.

These bright orange flowers with the feathery leaves is over next to the swimming pool fence -

We had a couple of packages waiting at the office for us. Daughter MM had sent a box. It was not as packed as usual as she sent it off early so that we could get our ballots in the mail by next week. We also had a large box with a several prescriptions from Group Health. They send a 90 day supply at a time, so we should be in good shape for a while.

This is a shot of Auntie Violet looking from the office. As you can see, we have a nice little area with a Palo Verde tree that gives shade to our chairs in the morning and early afternoon.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Little Visitors

It was raining lightly when I first woke up about 6 AM. It cleared off a bit, then later about ten AM we had a brief thunderstorm: some lightening, thunder and a bit more rain. It cleared off again and we had a very pleasant afternoon. We went for a short walk along the fence. These prickly pear cacti on the other side are thriving -

As we were sitting outside afterwards, we noticed a pair of cute little birds -

A bit bigger than a sparrow with a long slightly curved beak -

With their buff bellies, we're pretty sure they are little rock wrens -

They played on and around the RV for over an hour while we were watching and trying to decide what they were.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

More Settling In

We got a few more things unloaded from Toad II today. We're gradually getting settled in. I found the slide supports (that Forry just could NOT see!) in the back of the rig. We put them under the big slide on the passenger side as extra support when we are parked for a long time in one place. I also go the big rug out of the passenger side bay, but it's still sitting on the concrete pad. Maybe we'll get it spread out under the Palo Verde tree tomorrow.

The "Gang of Three" showed up again this afternoon. They had come by yesterday just after sunset.

The three of them come up the bank, walk along the fence for a ways, then go back down. You have to look hard to see the other two hiding in the bushes.

It was overcast when we got up this morning, but gradually cleared off as the day went by. The Four Peaks appeared to be shrouded in shadow as we looked across the Verde River Valley this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Grocery Day

Having a bare refrigerator and cupboards dictated a trip to Fountain Hills to the grocery store today.
We got our showers out of the way, then headed into town.

The GPS needed to be reminded about taking the shortcut over the hill through the reservation over to Fountain Hills rather than going around on Highway 87. I had sat down added up the parcels and written a check to the Adams County Treasurer for the second half of the property taxes. The envelope needed to be postmarked by October 31, so our first stop was at the Post Office in Fountain Hills.

The street renovations that were started when we left last spring are finishing up, but there are still narrowed lanes and diversions as they finish striping etc. It didn't take us long to get re-oriented.
The Safeway store here is laid out just backwards of the last one we shopped at in Oregon, I ended up walking to the other end of the store to start my shopping. It's so much easier when I follow my usual routine.

When I went to pay for my groceries, my credit card was rejected. I used my debit card without difficulty. By the time I got the groceries out to the car I got an automated call from the Credit Union inquiring about a possible unauthorized credit card use!

When we got home I called the credit union and reminded them about our traveling status. Evidently, our original notifications of our mobility had run out. I really can't get upset with them - I'm actually glad they pay attention!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Setting Up

When we arrived at Eagle View RV Park, we hooked up the water and electric. It was a larger than the regular task as we parked  backwards to normal setup as we wanted to be able to look out the coach window at the view out across the Verde River Valley. We had to run both the electric cord and the water hose underneath the coach from the driver's side to the passenger side. Once we got that done, we put down the jack pads and then the jacks and left it go at that.

We started to put out the sewer hose the same way yesterday running under the coach, but quickly realized that we needed to replace our hoses. We had been talking about it and rather than having to do it twice, we decided to wait to do it until today after we got new ones. So a trip to Camping World in Mesa was in order. We bought new sewer hose (with the transparent corner I wanted); two new guest chairs; blue tabs for the tanks; and laundry soap for my washer/dryer.

When we got home, it didn't take us too long to run the new hose under the coach and get it hooked up. I was glad to get the tanks drained as I've been wanting to wash the sheets.

Sunset this evening:

Later -

And looking the other way -

I saw a comment on Facebook today warning teachers and nurses both: There will be both a full moon and Halloween this weekend. Be prepared!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Quiet Day at Eagle View

We slept in this morning - at least Forry did. I was up early enough to take a bag of garbage out to the road for the daily garbage pick up. I fixed orange rolls for breakfast, but that's bout as ambitious as I got.

We watched the last day of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) National Finals this afternoon. JB Mauney had clinched the 2015 Championship last night. That turned out to be a good thing as Bruiser did a number on his collarbone and badly injured the connection to his xiphoid process, so he couldn't ride today.

We spent a bit of time working on our sewer hookup this afternoon, but decided we needed to buy new hoses. That will tomorrow's task.

While we were working on it, our neighbor (he was our neighbor last year as well) came over and we spent an hour or so visiting and watching the sun go down. A few cows came wandering by on the other side of the fence, but I don't think they were watching the sunset...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

We're Here!

We left Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel in good time this morning. Both of us were well rested and ready to go.

Instead of taking the freeway all the way, we took the shortcut, Hwy 93, south and east. A good share of it is actually four lane highway already. It is a beautiful drive, known as the Joshua Tree Forest Byway. The nicest part to me is beginning to see saguaros again.

It was a good and fairly easy drive until we got into the new construction of the 303 Loop. Our GPS just did not recognize the new construction. We finally ended up using Google Maps on my iPad to get us through greater Phoenix.
Finally we got far enough east to connect with Highway 87 which took us into Apache country and to Fort McDowell Road. Soon we were at Eagle View RV Resort! We are back in WARM country - we were nice and sweaty by the time we were hooked up with water and electric. We are glad to finally arrive!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Jello Day

I had a suspicion last night when we went to bed that we would NOT be traveling today. I could tell Forry was really tired - even though he insisted he wasn't. It was a different story this morning however, he was very willing to say he wanted to go back to sleep when I woke him.

I called the office as soon as they opened at 8 AM to see if we could stay another night. It's a good thing I did as when I went down later to pay, the lady told me the phone had been ringing all morning and they had only one more site left. And only three left for the weekend! She had a whole stack of site reservations on the counter. Sites weren't get a chance to cool off. Folks pulled out by the eleven o'clock check-out time and others seemed to pull right in.

It was a gorgeous day today. The skies were blue, it was nice and warm with a slight breeze. We are now definitely in the land of cacti -

Auntie Violet is parked at the very end of a row, almost tucked over the bank -

Across the "street" are several rigs that belong to work campers. The lady who checked us in this morning lives in the Hitchhiker across from us. She got off of her shift at noon and she and her hubby took off on his motorcycle for the rest of the day,

I took advantage of the quiet day and caught up on the laundry. We had our first acorn squash of the season for dinner tonight. So good!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

We Make It To Arizona!

We left Sierra Trails this morning and headed east towards I-40 across the Mojave Desert. It wasn't long before we started seeing our first yuccas.

And not much later, we began to see the groups of cholla cacti -

After a long day of driving, we finally came to the Colorado River, the border between California and Arizona.

It's always good to see the first Arizona sign -

Our next sightings were the Ocotillos. Note how green they are after last week's rains! They normally look just like brown sticks during the dry season.

And then the Palo Verde trees. Literally translated as "green branches", they are seen all over the state.

As we neared Kingston, we began to see the red rock and bluffs that say "southwest" to me.

We stopped for the night at Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Stable, about twenty miles east of Kingston. We'll continue on tomorrow - unless we jiggle the jello and decide we need a rest day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sierra Trails RV Park

Sierra Trails RV Park outside of Mojave, California, is another sort of funky place we usually stop at. The park itself is nice with a wall around it and lots of trees and greenery. The area for transients, however, is a clear area in the back of the park. It has several 30 amp hookups with water spigots and barbeques. Last night and most of the day today, we were the only ones here.

Looking down the other way. You can see a portion of the block wall around the main park.

A peek through the entrance into the main park. It's pretty nice and there are many permanent residents.

Looking out the back, you can see some of the ruts of the run-off from last week's big rain -

Earlier this morning, the maintenance crew spent some time filling some of the ruts in -

This is one of the big juniper trees alongside this side of the park fence -

It has some of the biggest bunches of juniper berries I've every seen -

The berries are huge, as big as the end of my thumb -

Later this evening, three rigs have pulled in and plugged in for the night. We're no longer out here alone...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shaking the Jello

We left the Merced area this morning with plans to take our usual route - on down 99S to Hwy 58, then east on Hwy 40 to Mojave.

The Merced River at the edge of the RV Park was pretty placid this morning. Forry said he saw a couple of people out there fishing this morning when he got up.

The RV sites here are pretty treed, so no satellite reception. I'm standing by the river bank. The RV in the site in front of me left extremely early this morning.

Today's run was more of the same of yesterday's most of the day. Lots and lots of orchards and lots and lots of vineyards. We did notice one large orchard where the trees were being cut down, but more that had new little trees started in them. There are also many new vineyards started.

As we drove along, we noticed ONE sign that said Highway 58 was closed due to the mud slides of last week. There was no other information about detours or alternative routes. I checked on the internet and found an article in this morning's Los Angeles Times saying it would be closed at least until next week. I tried calling the California DOT and only got a recording. The man at AAA knew it was closed, but wasn't sure where they were re-routing traffic.

Finally, I called the fellow at Sierra Trails RV Park in Mojave where we had planned to spend the night. He said that traffic was being sent down I-5 to Highway 138 and across to Highway 14. So that's the way we went. As we went south, the country changed from vineyards and orchards to pastures and hilly country.

I hadn't asked if Hwy 138 was okay to take an RV on, so I was pleased to see lots of trucks heading up that way into the Tehachapi Mountains. I wished I had counted them, we met several hundred.

We caught a glimpse of Lake Quail off to the north and saw several fishermen.

We even began to see some Joshua trees. I had read somewhere recently that the drought has been very hard on them and these looked a bit tough. Some of the ones we saw later in the Antelope Valley were quite a bit greener looking.

When you go our usual route over Tehachapi Pass, you see many, many big wind turbines. When we went today's way over Tejon Pass, we saw lots of solar panel "farms." The area is a hot bed for California's Clean Energy programs.

It was almost dark when we arrived at Sierra Trails. I was sure glad I still had some kraut ranzas from the MCA sale left to heat up for supper.

Monday, October 19, 2015

We Just Keep Driving Along

We continued south on I-5 today through the heart of California's farm country.  In spite of the drought conditions, there are many crops being raised. The first part of the trip took us through recently harvested rice fields. From the looks of the stubble, it looks to have been a very good crop.

And we saw orchards, lots and lots of orchards! I still say California should follow the example of many Washington and Oregon farmers and put signs on the fields telling us what they are raising! (Please forgive the dirty windows of the coach!)


Flying J/Pilot fuel stations are few and far between on this stretch of I-5. We finally came on one near Dunnigan. It was really busy! The trucks were three and four deep waiting to fuel. Diesel was $2.679 a gallon.

A ways south of the truck stop and Sacramento, we turned off onto Hwy 99S. Now we started to see more and more vineyards along with the orchards. We also went by the Blue Diamond plant - I know that many of those trees we saw must be their almonds!

Just past Merced, we pulled into the Merced River RV Park. This is another park we often stop at right along the river. The woman who checked me in said they had had a very good summer and were still having busy weekends, but today there were many pull-through sites available.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Old Orchard RV Park

We have been stopping at Old Orchard RV Park in Orland, California for seven years as we have traveled south. It has a rather unique layout, with the sites arranged in a circle. Traffic entering goes around the outside of the circle, and departing traffic has a one-way route inside the circle. That makes all of the 62 sites basically pull-throughs. The rest rooms and laundry are located in the center of the circle along with what is left of the

The park has gradually getting sadder and sadder looking. The man who ran it had a stoke about four years ago and was still in the hospital when we stopped. He passed away two years ago and his widow has been running the place with the occasional help of her daughter.

There was one other over-nighter here when we checked in last night. They left early this morning and no one else has stopped by today. Such a contrast to Seven Feathers where we saw 50-60 rigs coming and going every day.

There are maybe a dozen or so permanent RV residents on the other side of the circle. Forry thinks there are less of them than there were when we were here last year.

As predicted, today was spent resting up. We did unhook Toad II and drive the 13 miles back north to the Safeway store we passed yesterday. It was a very much needed trip at the smallest Safeway I have seen (though one of the clerks told me the "one in Chico is smaller.").

Saturday, October 17, 2015

On to California

We reluctantly packed up this morning ready to leave Seven Feathers RV Resort -

The resort is beautifully landscaped with birch trees and rhododendron bushes.

It is one of the prettiest and nicest places we regularly stop -

It was a drizzly, foggy day as we headed south on I-5 through Oregon's beautiful mountains -

We crossed into the almost instantly drier California. About four miles into the state, you're channeled into an Inspection Station along the freeway. A uniformed officer came up to the driver's window and asked whether we had fruit or plants to declare. When we said no, we were waved on our way (good thing we'd eaten our last apples last night...).

We were quite amazed to see how far the level of Shasta Lake has dropped due to the drought -

It's a good thing these are floating docks. They used to be up there at the level of the trees!

We drove more hours today then we probably should have. Forry is really tired tonight, so we will stay at Old Orchard RV Park in Orland, California tonight and tomorrow. We drove the same distance last year, but we're a year older and Forry's still recovering from his back surgery last summer.