Lisa’s Brother asked her when we were going to post another blog. Here you go John.
On 14 February we arrived at Foothills West RV Park in Casa Grande to meet up with our friend and solar guy Marvin, owner of Precision RV. If you go to precisionrv.com you will find a picture of our Newmar Dutch Star with a roof full (2000 watts Lithium Ion/Hybrid inverter setup) of solar panels Marvin installed last year.
Last week we had a company listed on the Winegard Trav’ler Satellite web page come to replace the turret. What a job. Of course there is a long story to go along with this.
I’ll try to make this short. When we wrote our last blog we were boondocking South of Ajo. We packed everything up and pushed the button to stow the antenna and we got this message – SKP Motor Stall. That didn’t sound good. Now we have a giant dish and antenna sticking up on the roof on travel day. I’m sure every RV’er is afraid they will forget to stow the antenna and here we are not knowing what to do.
After many attempts to stow it I went up on the roof and decided the satellite dish was too heavy to fly off the RV but the antenna might flop up and down.
So what to do. Ta Da, bungee cord is the answer to many RV situations. Bungee cord the antenna to the dish. It wasn’t perfect but it would have to do. So with Lisa driving the truck behind me, hazard lights flashing, we both drove 22 miles down Highway 85 at 45 MPH.
We made it to Hickiwan Trails RV Park where Lisa researched and discovered how to lower the dish manually. Many more trips up and down the ladder, 14 feet on top of the beast, we had it stowed. I had my exercise for the day, OK then, safe to move on to Casa Grande.
Many things happen to our RV home but the way I look at it we only have the Dutch Star and Truck to maintain. Plus it keeps us young and our minds flexible moving around to new places and solving situations that come up. What else do we have to do after all. One of the best things – I no longer have a big yard to maintain. Yeah!!!
Today my Sister and my Brother-in-Law arrive in Phoenix and we are going to a Dine-in Theater with them tonight. Lisa and I had this experience with her Sisters and Niece last year. We really enjoyed the theater dining and the good company. So we are looking forward to this evening.
Thanks for dropping by. We love hearing from you in the comment section. We would like to know your name (email optional). Good evening all.
Today I woke up feeling much better after catching a flu bug on Sunday. Poor Lisa is not so lucky she woke up yesterday with a terrible headache, high temperature and overall malaise. She made chicken soup for me Sunday and I’m so glad she did. Her soup is keeping us hydrated, providing needed nutrition and is easy to heat and serve. It took me three days to feel better so this is not the dreaded A(H3) version. Thank goodness.
What did we do before we got the flu?
Saturday, 3 February
It was a lazy Saturday morning. Made our coffee, sat outside, absorbed sun rays and enjoyed just being out in nature for awhile. In the afternoon, with the temperature rising, we got in the truck and headed into Ajo for something to eat.
Estrella Restaurant boasted the best hamburger in town so we went inside to order us a burger. By the time we got there it was between lunch and dinner, the owner asked if we minded coming back in about 20 minutes. Not at all. We walked across the street to the Ajo Central Plaza and ended up at the visitor center inside the old railroad station.
We learned most of the town and the Central Plaza was developed by John Campbell Greenway. As the manager of the New Cornelia Pit Mine he wanted to establish a town where his miners would raise their families. The town included the Central Plaza, two churches, and the Curley Public School. If true, this type of compassion towards immigrant miners was not the norm during the industrial revolution and was intriguing to me. Who was this guy?
I looked Greenway up in wiki. He graduated from the University of Virginia and Yale; early employment included a furnace helper for the Carnegie Steel Company; and joined Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War earning a Silver Star at the Battle of San Juan Hill. These are but a few of his accomplishments (really this guy had quite the life) before he was hired to develop the New Cornelia into the first large open pit copper mine in Arizona. Maybe he had a respect for laborers after his time working for the Steel Company.
That brings back memories of my Dad telling me stories about his time working at a Steel Mill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dad was another amazing man.
Up the street from the plaza is the Curley School. A large building too big to fit into the picture frame and capture the detail. The picture below is only one-third of the school.
The school has been modernized to provide affordable work and living space to attract artists to Ajo. Throughout the western states artists have gravitated to historical mining towns like Bisbee, Arizona and Silver City, New Mexico attracting tourists from all over the U.S. It was fun to see the artist murals (below) throughout the town.
Lisa and I had a great day enjoying the mixture of the”old” 1900 Spanish architecture and the “new” artist murals in this historic mining town.
You might be wondering did we ever get our hamburger? Yes we did. We had a hamburger, fries and a beer. It was really good. Since we have not been to all the restaurants we cannot verify they have the “best” burgers in Ajo.
We always appreciate hearing from you in the comment section, we would like to know your name (email optional). Good evening all, thanks for stopping by.
It has been almost two years since we have posted our blog. I have never been one to keep a journal or diary so it is not surprising I have not created a new habit of blog writing. Lisa has been patient with me, however, after two years it is time to write or give up on it.
I have good intentions and reasons for writing a blog. First, Lisa and I want to let our family and friends know where we are and what we are up to. Sharing our experience through pictures and story telling. In a way bringing them along for the ride. Second, a blog is like keeping a photograph album/journal of our full-time RV journey.
We have decided to give it another go.
Today we are boondocking for a free 14 day stay on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land in a beautiful desert landscape off Darby Wells Road, Ajo Arizona. Thank you Harry S. Truman for creating the BLM agency in 1946. Our hope is to enjoy these lands when ever possible. With the Federal Land Grabs recently we are not sure how long they will remain our public lands.
We are enjoying fantastic views with our morning cup of coffee. Saguaro, Organ Pipe and Cholla cactus every where.
Scat and tracks on the desert floor are evidence of deer, rabbits, javelina and burros. No visual of anything other than birds so far.
We love being in the desert in the winter. Warm weather, clear blue skies, nature abounds, beautiful sunsets and at night we can see the stars. A few folks drive by but mostly total quiet solitude.
This coming week we will be going into Ajo to explore the town, try a couple restaurants and visit the Organ Pipe National Monument.
Note: A few changes in 2017
As some might notice in the first photo a lot has changed since our last blog. After selling our house we traded in the 30 foot Thor ACE and now live in a 40 foot 2016 Newmar Dutch Star 4041. Much more comfortable for full-timing and a coach we can count on for years to come. Since we have the power to tow a truck we traded our Honda CRV for a Dodge RAM 4×4 so we can travel down the more rugged roads we like to explore. The really sad news was saying goodbye to our Chow mix dog Pepper. We miss her very much. She would love this camping site.
We always appreciate hearing from you in the comment section, we would like to know your name (email is optional). Goodnight to all, thanks for stopping by.
Today we are in Yuma at the DelPueblo RV resort. We arrived on the 29th of January and planned to stay for a week. Some slight health problems with Pepper had us rearranging our schedule to stay for some medication to come in. (There is nothing serious just her age creeping up.) We plan on staying until the 13th then will slowly start making our way to the Bay area for a family commitment in mid-March.
Prior to this we spent 8 days at the at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area. We had a great stay with many beautiful days, the sea was normally calm and the Sea Gulls, Pelicans and many other birds (Lisa will fill you in on her bird sightings) continuously flew up and down the East side in front of our camp. We lounged around with our binoculars and Lisa’s camera watching them gather or fly by. Whenever I am around a body of water I feel calm. Lisa says “It feels good for my soul here.” I agree.
I pulled out the Coleman Stove and the Weber Grill (not seen here) and cooked breakfast and dinner when I’m not lounging in the sun enjoying the view.
One of the things interesting about the Salton Sea is the diverse reaction to the place itself. We had read favorable and some very unfavorable blog posts. In case there is someone reading this and might be interested in visiting the Salton Sea I hope you will read other opinions and decide for yourself. But honestly, I almost did not camp here due to what I read and I’m glad we decided to give it a chance. The unfavorable attributes do exist. It is a landlocked saline lake and the salt concentration is extremely high killing off many fish washing up on the beach providing the birds with a seemingly never ending food source. This is not the place to walk along the beach and collect sea shells. We stay up along side the beach and enjoy the sun, water, mountains, birds, sunsets and spacious camping (there are approximately 8-10 linear camping spots along the beach). It also is right next to the highway and railroad tracks. That has not been distracting for us nor interfered with our experience. During the summer months I understand there is a strong smell from the sea. Since it is January, we have not experienced a strong unpleasing odor.
We arrived on the 21st of January to meet up with Jackie and Joe (my Sister and Brother-in-Law) while they were at Palm Springs for Joe to attend a conference. We met up with Jackie at our camp on Saturday and headed out to Salvation Mountain and Slab City. We have read so much about these cultural landmarks from many RV Bloggers we had to go see it for ourselves.
Salvation Mountain is the lifetime creation of Leonard Knight as a tribute to God. The picture does not do it justice. It is something you have to see in person to really appreciate the amount of work of this 150 feet wide and 50 feet high mountain of straw, clay and paint.
Slap City is East of the Sea and is named from the concrete slabs left there after the World War II Marine military barracks called Camp Dunlop was dismantled in 1961. People started living there free of charge after it was abandoned by the military and turned over to State of California. Now squatters and snowbirds live in the desert with no water or electricity. It is a very interesting to see old trailers and shacks intermixed with expensive motorhomes, fifth wheelers and trailers.
On Saturday we had lunch with Jackie and Joe at the Jackalope Ranch on Highway 111 in Indio, California. This place was humongous 22,000 square foot lodge with beautiful landscaped gardens with water features and it was great food. We really enjoyed the company, atmosphere and food.
After lunch we went to the International Banana Museum. Yes, I said the International Banana Museum. The only one in the world and described on their own website as “the most aPEELing destination on the planet.” Hahahahahaha!!!
Birds of the Salton Sea
One of the nice things about the Salton Sea was the birds. We didn’t get a lot of pictures but we did get to see gulls, pelicans and egrets every day. This was one of the things that made the Sea so peaceful and relaxing.
We haven’t been to any exciting or unique restaurants in the last month. So no beautiful pictures of food or buildings.
We haven’t done a great job of updating the blog, but will try and get better.
It is a nice feeling to be back on familiar turf. We arrived in Tucson on Saturday. The plan was to leave on Monday to continue our journey to New Mexico. Plans in our world are flexible and tentative. A wind advisory forecast describing strong, vigorous trough aloft, gusting winds exceeding 50 mph in New Mexico today was a very good reason to stay put and enjoy the sunny weather in Tucson for a few days.
This was a nice little break from being on the road breaking down and setting up everyday. Pepper enjoyed her time sniffing around all the buildings and bushes catching up on e-mail messages left by other RV dogs. Her other favorite pastime is her version of TV. She lays on the dash board and watches people and dogs pass by. It seems to be a very common pastime for RV critters as I see many dogs and cats hanging out when we go for our walks.
What did we do? Well of course we had breakfast at Sunny Daze every morning. The decor is fun with Pink Flamingos and a beach cabana feel. Great food, diverse breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, plus super service with a smile. I feel like the ladies have adopted Lisa and I. They take very good care of us there. Thank you ladies, see you soon.
Besides eating we relaxed, slept in, did our shopping, laundry and had the guys from Xtreme Power Wash clean up and make our car and RV sparkle again. They did a superb job and the cost is very reasonable.
We will be heading out tomorrow morning. It is our next to last leg to our final destination in New Mexico.
We would love to hear from you in our comment section. Thanks for tuning in. Till next time…
We roll out this morning and head to “Peggy Sue’s 50’s Diner” in Yermo, California. Peggy Sue’s is an original roadside diner built in 1954 and serves up all the 50’s diner favorites. French toast, eggs, bacon and coffee is a great way to start the day. Little did we know this was only the beginning of our time travel to the past.
Look here in Peggy Sue’s parking lot is a Shasta travel trailer. So, is this an original 60’s Shasta Airflyte or a new retro?
Driving on Interstate 40 in California between Ludlow and Needles, holy moly, look at all the Classic cars pass us by. Hahahaha, what an amazing day. We played 50’s and 60’s music till we pulled into Needles for the night. Poor Pepper and Lisa put up with me singing, hopping and a-boppin along the whole ride.
Afoot and lighthearted I take the open Road healthy, free, the whole world before me… – Walt Whitman
8 AM my alarm goes off. Well it really goes off at 7:30 AM but we stay under the warm covers snoozing for another half hour (What, do I hear a groan out there? We are retired after all). After a lazy morning getting ourselves, Pepper and the RV ready for the road I relax behind the wheel and leave Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield, California, turning onto CA State Route 58 East and make our way to Barstow. I love driving the RV (Can everyone tell Connie is the writer today?). The open road as seen through the beautiful panoramic view of the cab windshields. I have dreamed about this for years and here I Am. An Arizona Lizard living the Nomadic life.
We get to Tehachapi Pass and I turn on “Tow Haul” a great feature on our Thor ACE making driving in the mountains (even with car in tow) much easier. It automatically down shifts while climbing or descending.
One of the activities we enjoy is eating at Mom and Pop restaurants along the way. Today we park on the side of Tehachapi Boulevard and eat lunch at Tacos Samich. Cool name, huh? Pepper sat on the dash watching people until we came back to hit the road again.
Part of this lifestyle is the opportunity to stop and hang out in the little towns along the way. We get back on CA 58 East towards Mohave. It has been a few weeks since we have been in the desert. Very familiar and us Lizards would be feeling pretty good right now if the temperatures were much higher. Tehachapi had a high of 44 degrees today and it will hit 37 degrees tonight in Barstow. Yikes. I told Pepper I promised after this Birding adventure in New Mexico we would stick to the “Sandal Weather Plan” in the future. We adopted the “Sandal” Plan from Nina and Paul from “Wheeling It” Blog fame. The idea is to follow the mid range weather, not too hot, not too cold and stay in sandals and shorts. I love that plan. Lisa and Pepper agree.
Ah, we made it to Barstow. Time to set up, take Pepper for a long walk, fix dinner and watch a little TV.
We left San Jose on a bright sunny Halloween morning. What a beautiful day to be on the open road. We stopped for lunch at Casa de Fruita before heading over Pacheco Pass. Our waiter was a bit grizzly but provided service with a smile.
We arrived at one of our favorite RV parks – Orange Grove RV Park off of Hwy 58 on the East side of Bakersfield. The staff were very friendly, facilities were clean and the spaces roomy, with long pull throughs.
Sunday found us setting out to see one of the “famous” sites in Bakersfield-Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace. We had a very nice brunch and enjoyed the Buck Owens museum.
Due to rain and windy road conditions we decided to hang out in Bakersfield a few days. We were able to get some needed errands done. One of the best things about staying for a few extra days was learning Bakersfield is known for its Basque food. What a pleasant surprise. We had a fantastic lunch at one of the local favorites – the Wool Growers Restaurant. So good and more food than we could possibly eat. Thank goodness for to go boxes.
Tomorrow the storms will pass and we will continue our travels to New Mexico.
Spent a nice day relaxing and doing laundry at the Fort Stockton RV Park. We decided to stay put due to the increased winds in west Texas. With wind gusts upwards of 45 – 50 miles an hour it is like driving a giant billboard down the highway. Ok maybe a slight exaggeration.
One of the few things we will miss about living in a sticks and bricks house (S&B) is our own washer and dryer. I (Lisa) seem to lose at least one thing every time I go to the laundry mat. Usually Connie’s socks. (You can tell when Connie adds to the narrative). This time it was Miss Pepper’s stylish sleep shirt. Yes, we do put a sleep shirt on her at night when it will be cold out. It is actually a Thunder Shirt, they are made to be snug around her little body calming her down during storms.
We really enjoyed the Roadrunner Cafe at the park, liked it enough to eat 2 dinners and a breakfast there. They have a small menu and the food was excellent. One of the things we both enjoyed was the vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce included with dinner. It reminded us of our childhood. It is nice to find “Mom and Pop” cafes on the road. Reminds us of our own local “Mom and Pop” restuarant the “Morning Star Cafe” owned by Brenda and Matthew Pratt in Palominas, Arizona.
Saturday, April 25th
Left fairly early this morning, we thought a short trip to Van Horn (120 miles) could be done before the afternoon winds picked up. Once near Van Horn we made the unfortunate decision to continue on to Sierra Blanca, Texas – only another 33 miles up the interstate. What a mistake! According to our old version of “The Next Exit” there are two RV parks in Sierra Blanca; but both seemed to be closed. Actually the whole town looked closed!!! Dead!!! Nada!!! So decided to keep on moving West to El Paso. It is only about another hour; however, we were caught in some very high winds which made the trip seem longer more difficult and our bodies down right weary. Thankfully, Connie was at the wheel and she handled the winds very well.
Lisa did a stint of driving earlier in the day. (Don’t worry we won’t bore you with to many driving pictures).
We made it into El Paso at about 4:00 PM and stayed at Mission RV Park.
Sunday, April 26th
The weather for today between El Paso and Deming, New Mexico was again very windy. Been there, done that. So we decided to get back on the road tomorrow (Monday). Slept in today, went out for breakfast, stocked up on groceries and replaced Peppers Thunder Shirt.
After a great time birding and meeting new friends in the Mission, Texas area it was time to head home. We felt rushed on the way to the hop and that is NOT the way we want to travel. Our bodies are much happier when we take our time and go slow. We decided not to rush in any way on the way back to Arizona. We have plenty of time to make it back by the 1st of May, so will go slow. We headed out late Sunday morning and spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Alice, Texas. We had stayed there on the way down, so figured it would be a known stop on the way back.
Monday, April 20th
It was on to the Escapees Park in Hondo. Fairly equitable day of sharing the driving. Connie drove further than I did but not by much. I made a mistake and forgot to put the gas cap back on the RV when we filled up with gas so had to go find a new one upon arrival in Hondo. Lucky for me, the local Napa had one in stock. We decided to spend two nights here and rest up a little. We really are not into driving hard every day and want to enjoy the journey. On Tuesday we took the CRV for a drive around the area and ended up in Castroville, TX. Castroville was settled by folks from the Alsace region of France. We wanted to try Haby’s Bakery, and boy are we glad we drove there. What a place, if you are ever near Castroville you really need to give it a try. On Wednesday we left the Escapees Park and travelled to Sonora, Texas. Another parking lot night. The drive from Hondo to Sonora was pretty windy and at times rainy; it was also very pretty with all the Texas wildflowers on the back roads.
Thursday, April 23
Hard day of travel in the winds today. We had thought we would make it to Balmorhea State Park. Unfortunately, the winds that come roaring over the plains had other plans. Connie drove the first 75 miles and I was due to drive the next. The winds were to strong for me so Connie took over and got us the rest of the way to Ft. Stockton. Very difficult to control the RV when the wind is blowing hard enough to send it off the road. We settled in to an RV park on the outskirts of Fort Stockton and made arrangements to stay until Saturday morning. We are hoping that by staying we might miss some of the super strong winds between here and Van Horn. It is supposed to be blowing in excess of 40 mph on Friday and later Saturday afternoon. If we get out of here early enough Saturday we can beat the late afternoon winds to Van Horn. Pepper took all of the wind and hard driving in her usual “it is a riding day” style.