Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quartzsite Shopping

The first thing we noticed when we arrived in Quartzsite this year was the fancy new sign. Whew! Really classes up the place. It seems they have four of them to cover all the ways in. Pretty impressive.
The camels are to commemorate the local experiment by the Army to use camels. I understand it didn't work out too well.

As soon as possible, Ron visited the world famous (at least to RVers) Quartzsite Bakery. Just walking in the door is enough to make me gain weight.

Over the course of several days, we did what all the visitors do - go shopping. There are several areas of town that are packed with vendors selling whatever you're looking for. I didn't know I was looking for an animal hat until I saw it.

Anyone for a delicious snack? (At least there's no trans fats.)

Ron is in heaven with all the hardware booths.

Then on Saturday, the 'Big Tent' opened. Covering three football fields, the Big Tent is the place to find anything you need for your RV. From lights to braking systems, from water pumps to tow bars, from cookware to satelite TV, along with the ever popular jewelry, it's all here. And so are the RVers.

With their little buddies.

I have to wonder if this dog is having any fun. Yes, there is a dog in there.

It was a cloudy, cold day when we hit the Big Tent so Ron was just happy to find this campfire to warm his hands.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Quartzsite

Dave had asked if I could get some pictures from up high, so last Sunday Nancy joined us for a hike up 'Q' Mountain.

Although it's not a long hike, it is steep with lots of loose rocks. But the view is pretty cool.
The background on the previous picture is the town which is mostly comprised of RV parks and restaurants, but, until recently, no hotels. In fact the story is that somebody burned down the first hotel built several years ago. I don't know if that's true or just a myth.

Looking down from the top, here's the 'Q' on Q Mountain.

This is a small section of public land dotted with a few of the thousands of RVs.

And all the white dots out by the mountains are more RVs. And the big RV show doesn't even open until Saturday.

From the top of the mountain, we could see this mine so we had to check it out.

After doing a full inspection, Ron decided it was probably a stamp mill where they brought the rocks from the surrounding mines.

But there was no doubt where the trash dump was.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Farewell to Joey

Yesterday we attended a 'celebration of life' for our friend Joey who was the unofficial social director of our WIN RV group. My best description is that she was wonderfully unique. She will be sadly missed as was evidenced by the turnout for her memorial. There were no tears (or not many), but instead a remembrance party that she would have been proud of.

Our WIN poet, Randy, wrote a fitting poem to help send her on her way.


If there be life beyond this one
then Joey Shelton's there
bringing spirit folks together
for parties in the air.

Perhaps she drives a heavenly rig,
A class A Cloudmobile.
A special bed for Sadie waits
beside the steering wheel.

And with her friends already there
enjoys celestial beauty.
Dorothy Prince, our founder and
Billy and Nora and Judy.

Joey played our travel game well,
becoming a part of WIN history;
ranged a thousand roads with us;
staged a murder mystery.

Organized a kayak circuit;
lent a sympathetic ear;
cared for Mr Pete Bonine
during his final year.

But her greatest gift to us
was laughter, full and hearty.
Like no one else Joey knew
how to throw a party.

It's no trivial claim to fame
that one throws parties well;
It called us out of our separateness
when she rang the social bell.

And if there be no life beyond,
then she lived this one well;
with cheer and hope through ups and downs
of life's carousel.

Randy Vining 1/10/12

We love you, Joey! Happy heavenly travels.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Big 'Q'

The RVer's Mecca called us and we answered the summons. The last two weeks of January, tens of thousands of RVs take over the tiny town of Quartzsite, Arizona, parking on public land in the surrounding desert. This is a conservative estimate, some guess as high as a million. For three days, we prepared. Ron cleaned, caulked, and waxed the RV. It looks gorgeous until the first sand storm anyway. I shopped and planned two weeks of meals. Although years ago, I got over the feeling that I would never see another grocery store, the feeling is justified in Quartzsite.

After gassing up at Fry's (60 cents off on 35 gallons with my accumulated Fry's points), we were off and running at 10 o'clock. The trip through Phoenix was as harrowing as ever, but we rewarded ourselves with a stop at Cracker Barrel for brunch. Nobody does breakfast better.

And by late afternoon, our destination was in sight.

Because we're early for the main event, there was no problem finding a great spot to park. Soon the RVs will be bumper to bumper.

It wasn't long before Ron was back up on the roof. Uh-oh.

So, here's the scoop. After listening to me whine for years about how the TV cuts out every time the slightest breeze blows the satellite dish, Ron created a spring system to hold it steady. When he finished his invention, we tested it by cranking the dish up and down to make sure it worked smoothly.

Back to today, when I tried to tune in the satellite dish, I raised it, but was unable to rotate it to face south. How could we have both forgotten to test that? Hence, Ron back on the roof. Soon he had it working perfectly. Of course my solution was that we could just always park facing north. Then the dish would be facing the right way. Hey, what's wrong with that?

Here's to the end of a lovely day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taking in the Desert

The other day Ron and I took a short hike to appreciate the nearby desert. The Dutchman Trail is a gentle uphill grade through some nice scenery. It takes off from the end of First Water Road off AZ 88.

The trail has several stream crossings, some with and some without water. It's always a surprise to see water in the desert.

Just watch out for the cholla cactus.

I like the interesting rocks along the way.

After about two miles, we admired this view of Weaver's Needle then turned around.

On the return trip, we noticed these 'ancient' petroglyphs.

Hum, maybe not so ancient.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Although I tend to stay up until all hours, I don't like to be out at night. But this year, Ron talked me into going out for New Year's Eve. We had a blast at one of the nearby RV parks that cater to snowbirds. It's been awhile since we've gone dancing, and I had to laugh at the expression on Ron's face as he concentrated on his tricky dance moves. I swear I saw smoke coming out of his ears. Dancing is one reason why I'm glad to be a woman. I just follow.

We made it all the way to 11:15, then came home to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Did you know they repeat that? And have the guts to put 'Live' in the upper left of the TV screen? Who do they think they're kidding?

Then today demonstrated why we stay in southern Arizona for the winter. What a perfect day!

Happy New Year to all my blogger friends!

2011 Year in Review

When I wrote about the calendar that I created online, I had several people request to see all the pictures from it. Although they were probably just being polite, I thought I could do a recap of our travels in 2011 using those pictures plus a few extra.

We took off from Mesa in mid May and quickly reached Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places with its unusual scenery and cooler temperatures.

We worked our way north along the western side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and hit Sequoia, King's Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks along the way.
Continuing north through central California, we enjoyed waterfalls, the area around Mt. Shasta, and Lassen National Park. Our favorite camping spot was the free campground at Lake Shastina where we stayed for almost two weeks.

The beginning of July, we made it to Oregon where we used Klamath Falls area as our base for a visit to Lava Beds National Park and a great hike along the Pacific Crest Trail,

Plus a trip to amazing Crater Lake National Park.

Next we moved to beautiful, but buggy, Diamond Lake where we took an 11-mile bike ride around the lake.  We followed OR138 just north of the lake to see some of the many waterfalls along the North Umpqua River. These wild rhododendrons were along one of the trails.

We fell in love with the area around Bend, Oregon. Not only is the area incredibly scenic with lots of wonderful hiking, but the town itself is just the right size and the people are very active. This is Tumalo Falls.

Sparks Lake is also just outside of Bend and is probably the most photogenic lake I've ever seen.

But even Bend couldn't keep us forever and in early August we moved on to Silverton where we saw Silver Falls State Park and Oregon State Garden.

At this point, my calendar pictures jump from Silverton, Oregon, to Whidbey Island which is close to the northern border of Washington and our northernmost point on the trip. On the way, we saw Mt. St. Helens, a terrific Lumberjack Festival, Mt. Rainier (in the clouds), and the other side of Mt. St. Helens. But I chose my pictures for scenic value and picked this shot of a fisherman on the beach of Whidbey Island.

We took a fun boat ride through Deception Pass.

And I'll never forget my crabbing experience.

One of our favorite stops was Sequim, near Olympic National Park where a local WIN was kind enough to take us on a hike with views for miles.

We took the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia, where we took a tour bus to see as much as possible.

We had a great day exploring Seattle.

By mid September, we were back in Oregon in seriously cute Astoria. After that, we mostly hugged the coast all the way to Redwood Valley, CA. This seagull was at one of the rest stops along US101 in Oregon.

Here we have the Yaquina Bay Bridge

And Yaquina Head lighthouse.

And lastly, Cape Foulweather which luckily didn't live up to its name. All of these last three were in or near Newport where we also visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

We continued south along the coast with fun stops in North Bend and Gold Beach, OR, and Eureka, CA, then through the fabulous Avenue of the Giants.

We followed US101 to Redwood Valley, then took CA20 across the state to Sparks, NV. After a day trip to historic Virginia City, we continued across Nevada, moving shamelessly quickly with only a pause to watch for UFOs along the Extraterrestrial Highway.

We joined the WINs at Boulder Beach CG on Lake Mead for a well-deserved rest.

We checked out the new Hoover Dam bypass bridge and took a trip into Las Vegas. From there it was just a hop, skip, and jump back to Mesa and the end of our trip just before Halloween.