Friday, September 12, 2014

The Dry Run

Ideas! Ideas! Ideas!

clip_image002Thank you all for so many helpful hints!!

We’ve tried to follow up and plan our winter. We must have come up with at least a dozen different scenarios. What with no home to travel in and a new vehicle to replace the Tracker, our summer was a lot of changing and searching. We did some visiting and touring hoping to get a feel for what it would be like to be homeless.

We enjoyed our travels but still have no idea what our winter will be like.

So-o-o we are doing a dry run to New Mexico, maybe check out some spots in Texas, and then come back through Casa Grande and Yuma . . .Who knows!

We enjoyed our travels this summer but still need to test out our new situation!

Our 2014 Summer Travels

First, we went up to see Chuck & Sheila in Wetaskiwin to take part in our usual card-playing marathon . . . I still can’t win but we enjoy our visits with them so much that it really doesn’t matter.

Then we went off to Eureka, Montana in the Tobacco Valley, to spend a few days with Faye and Carl.

Faye was our neighbour way back when we first came back to Alberta from Cape Breton. Their place here is so comfortable and relaxing. When they first moved there, it was a lazy kind of place. Originally, the Tobacco Valley was a logging area but when the logging died out, some farms and ranches and a lot of home-styled crafts supported the community.

Development has now crept into the Valley. Californians looking for a quieter life-style and Canadians looking for a simpler, quiet summer get-away are now moving in.

It has become a busy, bustling community but we managed to find some out-of-the-way places to explore.

You always find Faye surrounded by her animal family.


Gardens and cooking were our big things then . . . gardens and food are still big but wildflowers and out-of-the-way places always top off our visits.




Stalking Back Roads

We took the time this summer to stalk some back roads to find old weather worn buildings that have always fascinate me.

The first sighting we made was of the Old and the New.

There are very few old grain elevators left and even fewer sitting side by side.


An old barn (that is still in use); the shed in the middle of the field; and an previously loved old cabin hidden in the trees . . . all watched over by our bull of loving grace.





Not only are buildings well used, we can across Cooper’s Auto Sales that had a field of wrecks about the same vintage as the buildings.



Finally, we got to Del Bonita (an obscure little border crossing) that is desperately fighting extinction.


They have developed a Ghost Town Street to attract people going through.


We are so fortunate to live where we do!!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

 On Being Half-Homeless . . . Help!
If Change is so good . . . Why do we feel so lost?
Dad had so many great saying . . . but the one that comes to my mind over and over is:
I saw a man who wasn’t there,
I looked again – he wasn’t there,
I looked again – he wasn’t there,
I wish he’d go away
I was never sure what he meant until now . . .
I saw the motorhome that wasn’t there,
I looked again – it wasn’t there,
I looked again – it wasn’t there,
I wish it would go away.
I look out to where the Motor-Home should be . . .

 The memory of our little winter home is fading but it’s tough to imagine travelling without it.

And what are we going to do next season?
This has been such an interesting exercise - planning for a southern adventure without an RV. It really does change your whole concept of travel. The three options we’ve come up with (in order of what we would like to do):
1. find Park-model units to rent for a couple of weeks up to a month in two or three different parks
- maybe even Texas or Louisiana

2. find a small affordable Class C that we can purchase and leave down south
3. find condos to rent for a couple of weeks up to a month in two or three different places
We’ve had a little help from our friends to find places but any more suggestions would be most appreciated!!
Can you help?
Do you know any RV parks that might rent out Park Models for a week to a month?

Friday, June 6, 2014

And Life Goes On

Well . . . it happened!

We have threatened it a few times but never carried through!

We managed to almost clean out the Motor Home every spring for the last three years but never went any farther.

This year . . . we totally emptied her out . . . actually got an ad together and put the MH up for sale!


IMG_7402 IMG_7405 IMG_7414 Overhead  RV interiorOriginal

As Diane would say . . . Holy Crap! 

The ad was on Kijiji less than 24 hours and we had two calls.  The next day a gal came to see it . . . she was impressed!!

The next thing we knew, she arrived with a Bank Draft for more than we were expecting and took our little home away!

We are still in shock but I think we were ready . . no real choice now – we are 1/2 homeless!

Now what are we going to do?

Oh!! That is such a good question?

The Summer of 2014 is dedicated to  figuring out the next phase of our ever changing lives.

Friday, April 25, 2014

March Madness . . . Part 2

Oh my – when we left Quartzsite, we thought we had way more time than before we needed to hit the going-home road . . . a few days at Lake Mead . . . a week at the Escapees Park in Pahrump (I love the way that word rolls around my mouth and the pops off my lips) . . . a quick tour of Death Valley . . . would put us on the time-line to head home.

We checked into Pahrump only to realize that we had lost a week somewhere along the way . . . Long story short we only spent three days there . . . wandered around Death Valley and Amargosa and headed off . . . homeward bound.

Death Valley

Even if geology isn’t your thing, approaching and driving through Death Valley gives you a sense of all the tremendous geological happenings throughout the ages. The valley is a basin surrounded by rugged mountains, both barren and colourful.

Death Valley was formed from debris sliding down the sides of the mountain ranges into this enclosed valley of the Great Basin region.


Death Valley Junction

We revisited Death Valley Junction and the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House that we discovered when we took a wrong turn on our first visit to Death Valley.


Like so many of the small towns in southern California and Arizona, Death Valley Junction was built around mining (borax was mined around Death Valley Junction until the late 1940s) and the railroad. And like so many southern California and Arizona towns, it died.


Apparently in the mid 1960s, Marta Becket, an actor from New York (obviously with lots of money), undertook restoring the opera house and the attached hotel. Being a very creative woman, she painted frescos on the walls throughout the hotel (very folksy) and she and her partner presented performances every Saturday until his death a few years ago.




To our amazement, Marta is still alive and still presides over a Saturday night performance.

The complex is showing signs of age and neglect, but I was assured by a gal (who was working to convert the old barbershop to on art gallery), that they are in the throws of revitalizing the whole area.


Artist Drive: is one of our favourite tours in the Valley.

The impact of the millions and millions of years of geological eruption and settling are everywhere. The Artist Drive takes you up into a unique colourful rock formation. A one-way trail winds in, around and through the lava and sedimentary rock.


One section called the Artist Palette gives a fascinating view of the layers created from the movement and folding of the earth’s crust. Each stratum represents eons of geological time of rain, wind and erosion.


A raven was standing guard at the Palette. He considered it his job to have his picture taken and posed for us as well as at least a dozen other visitors’ photo shoots.

Badwater Salt Flats


After the water receded (billions of years ago) it left some areas smooth and barren and others covered with heavy salt residue. The Badwater Salt Flats, with a well-developed visitor area, is one of the most fascinating salt areas.

The story goes that the flats were named by an old miner who brought his mules there to drink. When the animals refused to drink he named the area Badwater Flats.


The flats lay 282 feet below sea level. There are walks that go for miles out onto the salt. It seldom rains in Death Valley but pools of water seep up from underground springs and dot the salt-white land.


Tiny salt-resistant pupfish are only found here and flourish in the waters.

For millions, perhaps billions of years, the region we now call Death Valley has erupted, flooded, shifted, scorched and revitalized itself over and over again. It has and will always continue to change. Scientists, prospectors and visitors alike are drawn to the mysteries and promises of the valley.

And here we were wondering if we have clean clothes to make it home. Ludicrous, isn’t it?

We made it home on April Fools Day! – Do you think that means something?


Friday, March 21, 2014

March Madness . . .

It took us three days to tour and photograph the Sculpture sites in and around the Anza-Borrego Park and we did miss some because they had been damaged by the recent storm and the road was not passable. The sculptures were exciting but we were disappointed with the lack of wild-flowers and not too anxious to stick around. 
Just before we left last fall there was a rash of pay-it-forward  incidents of people buying rounds of coffee for all the folks in a local favourite coffee shop (Tim Horton’s). The practice spread like wild-fire in Canada and we found ourselves experiencing the same thing at the ice cream shop in Borrego Springs. The fellow in front of us insisted on paying for ours and a few others. It was a very strange experience.
La Quinta and Lake Cahuilla
BUT it was time to leave the dry and desolate part of California and find a spot that felt more alive. A County campground (The Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta) filled that goal – in a couple of days we felt revitalized and needed to leave the cultivated city and head back to Arizona and Quartzsite..
The Highlights of our visit were spending time with our Truth and Consequences friends, Deb & Jer, Deb’s Mom’s Gum Gallery, and our trip out to Palm Canyon.
The Gum Gallery!
Deb’s Mom, Joanne Brunet has been collecting gum and gum paraphernalia since she was a young child. It is now housed in a dedicated building on their property in Quartzsite.
Joanne is hiding behind this huge crocheted gum ball machine that one of her fans crocheted for her.

Palm Canyon
Quartzsite is comfortable for us. We love our spot along the wash where we can treasure the flora and fauna around us.
I don’t remember ever seeing the Palo Verde in full bloom like it was.
Palm Canyon is in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and the subject of the painting done by our friend, Elizabeth Lauder. that travels with us no mater where we go. Until now, we had never been out there . . . but now we that have the Tracker . . .
Seven miles off SR 95 a windy, desert road takes you to the entrance to Palm Canyon. Along the way, Fred managed to capture some flowering cacti spied by Sheila’s eagle eye.
 IMG_7359As with most canyons, Palm Canyon is the result of thousands of years of volcanic eruption, wind, flooding and erosion that continues to this day. The name comes from the unique grove of California Fan Palms that exist in the canyon. Apparently they are Arizona’s only native Palm trees. Some believe seeds were brought into the Canyon by birds and grew in this protected environment.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

We came for the Flowers and Stayed for the Sculptures

Borrego Springs is a small resort village in the middle of Anza-Borrego State Park about 25 miles west of the Salton Sea in California.
The first time we were there was near the end of February, 2005.
DesertLavender DesertLilly DesertPrimrose DesertVervain HendersonCanyon Ocotilla
The whole winter had been rainy and the flowers flourished.
This year there had been about 4.8 inches of rain since July 1 but then there was an extended dry period and then a deluge of rain in mid-February. Too little – too late. P3060007 Even the creosote and the brittle bush were struggling to produce green leaves. 
Our viewing of flowers was limited to a few cactus flowers and others cultivated shrubs around the Visitors Centers. IMG_7282
ChollaOcotillo (4)
OcotilloFairyDuster (2)
Fairy DusterPricklyPearBloom (10)Prickly Pear
We knew that our chances of seeing wild-flowers was slim but we did want to re-explore the metal sculptures we had discovered then.
The collection has expanded from just a few renderings of pre-historic animals and historic Borrego figures to about 130 sculptures scattered over 30 sites throughout the 3000 acre Galleta Meadows owned by Dennis Avery (the grandson of the Avery Office Supplies who died just a couple of years ago). His philosophy was . . . “Blessings are meant to be shared”. And he commissioned Ricardo Breceda to create the sculptures.
Here are just a few of our favourites! (Fred is hoping to put together a Slide Show with many more  of the sculptures).
IMG_7256 IMG_7257
The Scorpion and the Grasshopper share the same site. In life the nocturnal Scorpion lays in wait for its prey-the grasshopper.
The sun and the abundance of water in the area led to the development of vineyards. The water and thus the vineyards both disappeared but the sculptures of the workers remain as a reminder.
These Camelops roamed the area and are ancient descendants of the camel. The are called Camelops because the limbs on each side moved in conjunction with one another.
Not a reproduction of a pre-historic animal but a 350 foot imaginary creature with the tail of a rattlesnake, the body of a serpent and the head of a Chinese Dragon. It’s huge and winds under the road.
This canine accompanies the sculpture of Pedro Font who was considered a spiritual leader of the mid 1770’s expeditions to California.
Three of the 6 flight-capable Wind God birds in North America were found in the Anza-Borrego area. The bird had a 17 ft wing span and stood 4 ft high. It existed about 3.5 million years ago. The sculpture is about twice the original size.
These horses became extinct approximately 11,000 years ago.