Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Pictures

Wow! Did we have a busy weekend! We took the car over to San Diego area (from Borrego Springs, only about 90 miles) and visited with relatives on both sides. Ron's newly engaged daughter Kelli and fiance Sean were our wonderful hosts. While we were there, Ron's granddaughter McKayla from Salt Lake City was also in town for a soccer tournament. She's sixteen and driving(!) and I've been watching her play soccer since she was 11. It's fun to see how she and her teammates have changed over the years. They are young ladies now and impressive both on and off the field. We were able to catch all three of their games.

Here's McKayla with her grandpa Ron. Aren't they both adorable?

I also met up with my niece Corrie and her family - what fun! I know all of my readers also read my sister Diana's blog and have seen pictures of them, but they're MY relatives too!

Here's Mara mugging it up at McDonalds' playland.

I had to laugh at Jonathan climbing all over Ronald - it's a good thing he's used to kids. :-D

Here's the whole gang complete with Brian. What a great family - I'm so glad they were able to make some time for us.

On Saturday evening, we helped Kelli and Sean decorate their Christmas tree. To be honest, we were very little help, but it turned out great. Here's the happy couple with the finished tree (and practicing for all those wedding pictures.)

Oh, I forgot to mention that I went with Kelli to order her wedding dress on Friday - cool!

I agree with Jay Leno about not dressing up pets, but when Kelli put the Santa hat on Lucy, I was right there with the camera. Doesn't she look cute, but miserable?

And here she's thinking, "What the heck is this thing?" Or maybe, "Oh no! What next?"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have been having some chilly and really windy weather for our week in the desert, but today was perfect for the big celebration. Every year we are reminded how lucky we are to live in this wonderful country and have the freedom to travel and live as we choose. Although we have a house now, I think I'll always be an RVer at heart.

Here we are parked in our little spot of the desert. I counted about 70 rigs and 85 people were signed in as of this morning. I understand about 10 more were expected to arrive before the feast.

Our dinner was planned for 2 o'clock and everyone set up their table with flair. Randy's was particularly creative, but somehow I doubt that he had anything to do with it. :-D

Ten turkeys and two hams were ordered and brought in from a grocery store in Brawley, about 80 miles away. Right on time, our volunteer servers in their cute chef's hats unveiled the food.

Every participant also contributed a dish so you can imagine the amazing choices. Cheryl seems pretty happy with her selections.

What fun! Here we are right in the center of all our friends. What? You don't see us? Let me help . . .

How's this? We enjoyed sharing our table with Jim and Nancy who was doing my dirty work and taking the annual picture from Nelda's ladder. Thanks, Nancy. Unfortunately I forgot to have somebody take a picture of our table so she will remain a mystery.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgivng Trip

This year for Thanksgiving we decided to join our WIN friends in the Anza-Borrego Desert of Southern California. As we like to say, we celebrate Thanksgiving in the desert with 100 of our closest friends.

But first we stopped for a couple of days in Yuma where we saw my sister Diana and friends Sue and Ken, along with many other wonderful people. We stayed on BLM public land behind the VFW on US95 north of Yuma. This is a favorite winter spot for boondockers desiring a free place near town (two week limit), but there is a catch - the mainline of the Union Pacific is right across the street, with trains running all day and night. Luckily, I like the clickety-clac of the iron horse and have no problem sleeping through it.

I didn't get a picture of the conglomeration of rigs, parked every which way, but this one was pretty unusual with the roof patio. It turned out to be a fellow WIN that I didn't know.

But the most unusual sight was this Schwan's truck which drove through the area honking his horn and looking to make a sale. I don't think they realize how cheap boondockers are.
On Sunday, we continued our trip to our rendezvous point near the town of Borrego Springs. We arrived at the traditional Thanksgiving spot just before dark and hurried to find a spot.

On Monday, a group of us did the popular Palm Canyon hike - three miles round trip with some rock scrambling at the end. We were greeted by the walrus log.

The Palm Canyon hike is very popular for good reason. As you travel up the canyon, you are treated to colorful cliffs, a variety of desert plants, hummingbirds, and sometimes Desert Bighorn Sheep. We weren't lucky enough to see the sheep this time, but the ocotillo were nice and green after recent rains.

You have to wonder where these giant rocks came from. Since the most likely answer is the canyon wall, I kept a sharp ear out for any sounds of cracking from above.

There is always water at the head of the canyon, but we were all amazed at how far down the canyon it flowed this year.

You have to cross the water three times on this hike and this is the first time I remember having to use the logs rather than just walk across. Nancy's doing a fine job here while Joel watches.

At the end of the 1 1/2 miles is an oasis of native California Fan Palms - quite a sight.

Joel, Claudia, Nancy, Maynard, and Rich enjoyed a rest in the shade of the palms.

Here's Bill heading back through all the cattails. I love all that green in the desert.

The Sacred Datura, although beautiful, is poisonous and may be fatal if swallowed. Even the desert plants without thorns are dangerous.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Road Trip!

In early November, I went on a road trip with my (almost 90 year old) father. I don't know about him, but I had a great time even though he wouldn't let me drive. After all, I AM the baby.

I flew from Phoenix to Pennsylvania and the next day we took off driving 800 miles to Florida in two days.

The first part was beautiful driving though the rolling hills of Maryland and Virgina. The leaves were past their prime, but I enjoyed them.

We hit some light rain in North Carolina where we stopped for the night, but the next day it was a real gully washer.

Our destination was Jacksonville where his sister and my two daughters and son-in-law live. Knowing my father loves trains, Christy thought we could tour the old railroad terminal in Jacksonville. It's really pretty cool looking, but unfortunately it was locked up. They now use it for special events. Here are Christy and her Grandpop looking for an open door.

On to plan B, we hopped on the people mover monorail and rode around downtown. Christy pointed out the downtown lighthouse, which actually contains the elevator for the huge Baptist church parking garage.

We zoomed by the building where my other daughter Laura works on the 27th floor. It's also where I wwwoorrked too - even on the same floor. (It's even hard to type that word.)

Here we're reflected in one of the buildings - can you see us waving?

The next day Christy gave us a personal tour of the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) where she works. We were all impressed with the quality of the exhibits. They have really turned the place around since my last visit.

Here are the two sets of siblings in front of the giant head, the entrance to the 'Body Within' exhibit. Meet my Aunt Milicent, father Ellis, and daughters Christy and Laura. Son-in-law John was at work. Some people will do anything to avoid a picture.

There's a nice view of the Jacksonville downtown from the MOSH rooftop.

Ah, finally we caught up with John - working hard preparing to make us dinner. What a guy!

Christy snapped this as we sat down to enjoy John's famous pork chops. Yummy!

Oh, and I can't forget to introduce my grandson Vaughn. Isn't he cute?

And my granddaughter Phoebe who is a bit antisocial.

That's better. Here she's keeping her mother's feet warm.

All too soon, it was time to head back to PA. We traveled back though South Carolina - land of the very tall billboards.

And laughed at all the signs for South of the Border. For those couple of people who have never driven I95 and been inundated with the ads, South of the Border is a true tourist trap just south of the border of North and South Carolina. I think it started as a gift shop, but now they have everything from miniature golf to a reptile lagoon.

Back in Pennsylvania, I was determined to find some fall color. These pretty red bushes were in the woods near my father's house.

It seems the yellow leaves fall earlier - I looked far and wide for this one.

But the prettiest trees were at the home of the nursery wholesalers. I guess that's no surprise.

I did have time to meet my cousin Linda and her mother Beatrice for a nice lunch before my return flight. They both looked great, but as usual, I forget to take a picture.

On my trip back to Phoenix, I changed planes in Detroit. I didn't remember being in that airport until I used the underground walkway between terminals. It's a migraine sufferer's nightmare - the walls flash and change colors in time to the music. Pretty, but those flashing lights would really get to Ron.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig. This picture is for my Aunt Bea who never saw it when I posted it before.