Mar 24, 2010


Before we left last Fall, we had some wiring updated on the RV as well as a new HD satellite dish installed, and we replaced and relocated both TV's.  We have 3 ways to get television reception.  The satellite, an antenna for local channels, and we also have a cable input that we can use if we are staying in a park that has cable hookup.  We discovered early on in our travels that our cable hook up no longer worked.  Something got unhooked during all the re-wiring.  Since we seldom use the cable input we didn't worry about it and we planned to stop in Ohio on our way back to Michigan to have it fixed.

However when you are staying at an Escapees park, it is nice to hook up the cable because they post all their weekly activities on one of the cable channels.  If you can't hook up it's harder to keep up with what's going on.  So Monday I decided to see if I could figure why our cable wouldn't work.  I went to Home Depot and bought a few parts and then went to work.  It only took about 15 minutes of testing and tracing the wiring to find the problem.  Best of all it was fixed with only a two dollar part.  So now we have access to channel 3 for the park schedule.  Judy quickly noticed that a 'moderate' hike was scheduled for Tuesday morning so we walked down to the activity building and signed up.

Tuesday morning at 8am we met 14 other people at the activity center and formed a 5 car caravan down to Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  Yes, we were dry camping in this area last week but the Park is so large that unless you know where to go it is a bit overwhelming.  We ended up turning onto a two track going towards Buttes Pass.  After a couple of miles on this dusty, bumpy trail we stopped at an overlook.

At first I was confused, because you couldn't see the canyon.  But we soon scrambled down into the "slot".

We went through some areas that were really a tight squeeze.

You wouldn't want to get caught down here in a rainstorm.

It was amazing to see flowers growing out of the hard dry clay.

As we walked further down, the canyon widened out.

After taking a break the group split in two.  Half of the group went back up the way we came, and the rest of us went on down into the canyon to an area where we had to hike a steep incline back up to the top.  We then walked along the edge of the canyon back to the cars.  About a 4 mile hike round trip.

After everyone had made it back to the trail head, we all drove over to Julian for pie and ice cream.  Not a bad way to end a hike.  Julian has more bakeries than any other small town we have seen.  Judy even bought a frozen apple pie that is sweetened with apple cider instead of sugar.  It's still in the freezer for another day.

We are really enjoying our stay here, but on Saturday it will be time to move on.  We are headed over to the Central Coast where we will be parking our RV for 6 nights at a local winery- for FREE.  More about that next week.

Until later.

Mar 16, 2010


Saturday we left Lake Pleasant for a short 3 hour drive to Quartzsite.  We dry camped in the free 14 day BLM area just east of Q.  We went into town and did a big load of laundry and picked up a few things at the produce market and hardware store.  What a difference a couple of months make. Compared to January, when we were last here, it is practically a ghost town now.

Sunday morning we continued our trip west.  Our destination was Borrego Springs, California,  25 miles west of the Salton Sea.  We arrived late afternoon and soon settled on a place to dry camp.  Our nearest neighbors were 300 yards away.

This chunk of desert is supposedly private land owned by a developer.  But apparently he has long since disappeared and no one seems to care if you camp here.  Since we could see at least 20 other rigs we figured we were OK.  It didn't take long to set up camp and it was soon time for wine and cheese.

We discovered that Mollie shares something in common with her friend Linda.  Mollie doesn't like goat cheese either.  I don't get it.  There is nothing like goat cheese spread on a cracker with a little fig jam on top.

Monday morning we went to the state park and visitors center.  We picked up some local maps and info.  This area is known for it's wild flowers in the spring.  But with all the cold weather the flowers are not here yet.  We decided to take a little drive to Julian, about 25 miles away.  We heard a rumor that there are several little bakeries known for their pie.  Of course we found one.

I won't show you our lunch, but I will tell you half a sandwich and a piece of apple pie with cheddar cheese is a pretty good lunch.

This morning we decided to move on.  The flowers just weren't there and with no phone, or internet service, we decided to pack up.  That's one thing we like about this way of traveling.  If we aren't crazy about where we are, we can always move.  We made a short hour and half drive to another of the Escapees Parks.  This one is called Jojoba Hills SKP Resort.

We have been here before and really enjoyed it.  It didn't take long for them to find us an RV spot and we got settled in.  We will be here long enough to have mail sent and take care of a little business. And since there is a Verizon tower on the hill above the park, our cell phone and wireless card work great.  The weather is beautiful, and the flowers are out.

They describe the climate here as a Mediterranean type climate with warm days, cool evenings, low humidity in the summertime and a mild winter season.  We are about an hour and a half from Los Angeles and sit at about 2000 feet above sea level. All in all a very nice place to spend a little time.

Until later.

Mar 13, 2010

Burros and Vultures

Wednesday we packed up for warmer weather.  Of course not without problems.  Our jack leveling system does not like cold weather.  The jacks came up but the sensors said they were still down.  Which means a annoying warning alarm beeps at you continuously.  It wasn't until we were half way back down to Lake Pleasant that the beeping stopped.

Arriving at Lake Pleasant Regional Park we checked in and managed to get a nice site.  Not the same one we had before but two sites away.  20 minutes later the bird feeder was up, chairs out, and grill set up.  It's nice to be back where it's warm.  We decided to get a few errands out of the way, so we hopped in the car and headed out.  We wanted to get our PowerTank (which we use for filling tires) refilled with C02.  A welding supply in Phoenix was recommended, and they were gracious enough to fill it on the spot.  Normally you have to leave it overnight.  Then we headed over to Bookmans to trade in some books and use up some store credit we had.  Then back to the RV for fish stew for supper.

Yesterday we decided to go exploring with the Explorer.  Judy packed us a lunch and we headed off on Castle Hot Springs Rd.

Yes, the same road that our GPS misguided us a few weeks ago.  See blog entry from a couple of weeks ago.  This road makes a giant U about 20 miles long.  We were cautioned it might not be passable.  About 6 miles down the road we found ourselves driving down a river wash.  Kind of weird to find this mailbox out in the middle of the river bed.

After crossing the river a couple of times with water a foot or so deep, we came to another crossing that didn't look good.  After checking it out on foot, and realizing if we got stuck it would be really expensive to get towed out, we decided to turn around.  Maybe when things dry out we'll give it another try.

On our way back out to the main road we saw these wild burros grazing.  Wonder if they are related to the ones we saw at Imperial Dam?

We headed off towards Vulture Mountain BLM area.  This area is south of Wickenburg, and just north of the Vulture Mine where I was last week for a photo workshop.  Yes I will post some the images I shot there when I have them prepped.

We found the BLM area and checked out a small group of boon dockers.  I think we'll look into staying here on our next trip.  We found a picnic table at the Vulture Mountain Trail Head and enjoyed our lunch.  I took a few pictures of cactus.

We had to be careful to keep Mollie away from the Cholla cactus.  They look furry and friendly but they are not.  I stepped on one and the needles stuck into my hiking boots.  I sure wouldn't want to have to dig them out of Mollie.

We then headed north to check out the Escapees Park at Congress.  This park has a different setup than the one in Bensen.  We really liked the permanent lots.  The lots are large and you own the lot and any structures on it.  Some of the lots had a permanent home along with room for an RV.  There is a separate area for seasonal rentals.  The area reserved for seasonal rentals, I think we would pass on.  Too much like a parking lot.

We then continued north to the ghost town of Stanton.  During it's zenith as a gold mining town, miners were reputed to find gold nuggets the size of potatoes.  We didn't notice any laying around so we headed back.

On our way back we needed fuel, and wouldn't you know it, there was also a DQ at the Mobil station, so we enjoyed a cone on the way back to the RV.  A great day of exploring.

Tomorrow we are packing up and heading west.  Our first stop will be Quartszite, then on to Borrego Springs.  

Until Later.

Mar 11, 2010


We want to wish our granddaughter Mia a very happy fourth birthday today.  We love you and hope you have a great birthday, and hope you have a good time at your party on Saturday. 

Mar 10, 2010


Saturday John went down to the Vulture Mine near Wickenburg  for a photography workshop.   Sunday the workshop continued here in Prescott.  You can read about it here.  It was a really great workshop and Rich is a good instructor.  Rich has been undergoing some medical problems, but like any good instructor didn't let it get in the way.  His posts on Sat. and Sun. will give you a little taste of what we worked on.

We have been in Prescott for a week and have really enjoyed it.  Except.... it's too cold.  Even though we are only 70 miles north of Phoenix, we are also 2000 feet higher and the temps are between 20 and 30 degrees cooler.  Which also means when it rains in Phoenix it snows here. 

This morning we awoke to more snow and blowing wind.  It's the kind of day you just want to spend inside.  You know, the kind of days we are used to back in Michigan.

We were planning on driving north to Jerome and also going on a scenic train ride, but it's just too darn cold.  So we are heading back south in the morning.

We are going to go back to Lake Pleasant Regional Park near Phoenix for a few days before heading west.  We will probably stop in route at Quartzsite for a day and then spend several days in the Borego Springs area. 

We really like Prescott and the people here, and can't wait to come back....when it warms up!!

The last couple of weeks have been stressful for us.  We love this RVing life style but you sometimes feel disconnected from friends and family.  Two weeks ago we got a call from some close friends back in Michigan.  The wife had undergone surgery for cancer last year.  Well, it looked like it was back and more surgery was necessary.  Then last week our son called with news that his expectant wife was in the hospital with serious complications related to her pregnancy.  Once again we have been reminded, that life is so fragile and so precious.  Good health is a gift and something we need to be thankful for every day.

The good news is that after our friend had surgery, it appears that it wasn't cancer after all, and our daughter in law may be home from the hospital this weekend, although they are going to induce labor a month early.   We want to be there to welcome our 5th grandchild into this world so we will be back in Michigan towards the end of April.

Until later.

Mar 3, 2010


We made the 75 mile trip north yesterday with only minor problems.  Soon after we got on I-17 the refrigerator started beeping.  Judy got up to check it and it said low dc.  We were not in an area where it was easy to pull off, so she turned the refrigerator off.  After getting checked in at our new campground, it was time for John to play refrigerator repair man.  After checking all the obvious things and plugging to AC, it still insisted on beeping and giving us a low DC warning.   The manual was of course no help beyond saying to check the voltage and call for a repair man.  It was time to head outside and check connections.  At first glance everything looked ok.  Then I remembered that we had taken the coach in for a recall notice on the refrigerator and that they had added a new part.  Checking further I noticed the new part, which is a thermal overload safety switch.
You can see this part in the picture.  The small red round part between the wires is the thermal breaker.  I pushed on it and heard a click.  I put things back together and came back in and turned on the refrigerator and all was well.  I won't bore you with my theory on why this happened but I did save on a service call.

After getting our little camp set up, bird feeders out, and our new chairs from Cabela's set up, we turned to the challenge of finding a place to get Mollie groomed.  The internet sure is wonderful.  A five minute search turned up 3 places.  The first one we called could take her this morning, and we had a $5 off coupon as well. 

After dropping Mollie off, who wasn't happy being left, we headed downtown to have breakfast and do a little grocery shopping.  I also wanted to stop by and meet the photographer that I am doing a workshop with this weekend .  When I was doing a goggle map search for his gallery I noticed a bakery cafe next door to him.

We walked into the Pangaea bakery and the smell of fresh bread and coffee greeted us.
We shared an omelet and a Pain au Chocolat.

And no it wasn't a pain to eat it.  We fell in love with these during our boat trip in southern France last year.  While we were sitting there we could see the owner putting baguette dough into the oven. So naturally we enjoyed a very leisurely breakfast, and when we left it was with a fresh baguette right out of the oven.  And to Bob and Linda,  it really was as good as in France!!!

We picked up Mollie and headed back to the RV for an afternoon snack.  Fresh french bread with goat cheese and fig jam.  Life is good.

Until later.

Mar 2, 2010


We have been enjoying our stay at the Road Runner Campground in the Lake Pleasant regional park just northwest of Phoenix.

Tomorrow we move on to Prescott just a couple hours north.

The hummingbirds have been fun to watch.

We sometimes have three fighting for the two feeding spots.
Last night we had a beautiful sunset.

I sometimes just have to sit and stare.  I can't explain it but I know His Hand is in both the little hummingbird and the grand landscape.

Until later