Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Eighty and Forty Five

Well, it has taken us more than a few days to get comfortable. The place is very worn and it seems everything we touch falls apart.
Fred has spent much of his time trying to make things safe and liveable:
After three weeks of considering alternatives - vacillating between whether to go or stay - we have decided to stay put and make the best of it. Our best strategy is to take many, many trips away.
January 6th , 2015 – a memorable day – Fred’s 80th birthday and our 45 years being together!
Gads – 45 years, imagine!
We found a funky little Inn north of San Diego on Leucadia Beach in Encinitas, California. With our usual pre-dawn departure, we arrived and were able to check in early in the afternoon.
First stop? The beach, of course!
Four levels on the steep staircase down to our first view of the surf, the birds, the people and the beach.
 














 







 



 














































We spent time on three different beaches: Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Carlsbad and then we went up to Oceanside to see how the other half live. 

The People!!
Southern California has a culture of its own!
The beautiful people . . . whether it is the fellow running up and down the staircase leading to the beach, or the mother running along the road pushing a double stroller, or the matching Lululemon clad couple running along the beach . . . they do have their own culture. I was pleasantly surprised how friendly they seem to be – they actually talked to us and when asked, gave good directions. Having said that, there is an air of arrogance and rightness.
Many of the beaches charge for parking so the roads up from them are heavily lined with vehicles no matter what time of the day it is.

In Cardiff-by-the-Sea, I found my own old man by the sea and spent time just sitting and learning about his life. (I don’t think he was that old and he probably slept on the beach but he was quite a character and told great stories). 





















In Oceanside, we stopped to talk with the tiny little woman who was polishing her husband’s motorcycle, “He promised to take it out for a long ride if I polished it for him,” she told us. She was standing in front of a parked small Class C motor home that she calls her clothes closet. Their small boat sits in the marina across the road and it’s smaller than the motor home.


 
Plants and Flowers
 Don’t know the names of them, but these are some of the plants and flowers we discovered:






Old Town
Our last excursion was to the Old Town right down in San Diego. We have been there before when I was down training with a group in Escondido but that was years ago. It certainly has become more touristy but still worth the time. 












We wondered around for a few hours and this enthusiastic young gal took Fred under her wing and gave him all kinds of directions on taking good pictures. 


 (Same picture-different perspective)





We’re back and planning our next excursion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We Made It

Big questions – what do you need for a three and a half month trip living in someone else’s space? Especially when you are not sure what it looks like or what is there?

I packed, unpacked and packed again.

Do I need a mixer? Do I need a vacuum? What about Fred’s bread maker? How much can we pack into the Journey?

How do we know that the place we just put a deposit on really exist or if it really looks like the pictures we just saw?

Then it became: “nothing more we can do – if we need anything we’ll have to buy it. If it isn’t what we think it is . . . we’ll just deal with it.

Geez, I wish we still had the Motorhome!”

Crying over spilled milk? You betcha!

Did I have a choice?

Yeh, either go with it or stay home!

No choice – get back to work!!!!

We left in a dusting of snow . . . Hm–m-m, not bad. Some snow all the way to Conrad, Montana . . . still not bad.

Good weather and good roads all the rest of the way . . . Hm-m-m great!

Our First Misadventure

Everyone at home who drives down in a car or truck make Pocatello, Idaho their first stop. Okay – sounds good – we can do that.

We used either Booking.com or Best Western to find a reasonable accommodations.

Best Western had three places in Pocatello and we chose the least expensive one. As we passed a road sign, it said 80 miles to Pocatello. We looked at the GPS and it said 30 miles. Opps! The motel that turned out to be in Idaho Falls turned out to be just terrific. Good blunder!

Virgin River Gorge

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Each time we travel through the gorge (that takes us out of Utah, through a small piece of Arizona into Nevada and Mesquite), I am awestruck by the mere overwhelming geological spectacle.

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The next stop was at Mesquite, Nevada. The Virgin River rooms are hardly worth the advertised price of $27.00 but the Champagne Brunch at the Eureka was a plus.

Las Vegas

It’s been almost 15 years since we spent any time touring around Las Vegas. When we were there in 2000, there were complimentary attractions and the customer was royal. Now money is king, there are no real comps and every attraction comes with a substantial fee.

clip_image008Freemont during the day is certainly not the attraction that it is at night but you do see the reality of the place.

 

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People-watching was a consuming activity – all sizes, shapes, colours and languages. We toured the Strip via the double-decker bus. Our seat mates were a nice young Pakistani couple from Pittsburgh and behind was a newly retired couple from Scotland. We managed to sit in the front seats on the upper deck and got above the heads of the crowds to capture some shots.

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My favourite time was at 7 in the morning. It was relatively dark and quiet with fewer people.

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We finally made it to the Desert Holiday Park in Yuma on Sunday after a very slow trip down.

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The place here looks mostly like the pics only a bit more worn and smaller.
It has an overabundance of "stuff" like artificial flowers and plants and cupboards full of kitchen paraphernalia and bedding.
It may take us a few more days, but you know us, it will become comfortable.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We are not going to make it to January!

We’re ready to take the next step. We better be ready . . . it’s cold; it’s snowing; the wind is blowing . . . of course . . . the Chinooks come; the temperatures go up; the snow goes away; but the winds still blow. Then it gets cold; the snow comes and the wind blows. We’re ready to escape.

Mind you, that too has been a steep learning curve!

Looking For a Places
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After contacting at least a dozen ads on Kijiji, Craigslist, and Vacation Rentals we were totally frustrated.

Finally, we decided to leave December 5th with or without a place. We had such confidence we would find someplace to sleep and cook!

Lo and behold!

Just as we made up our minds not to worry about it we found a place . . . it never fails, does it?

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We will check into Desert Holiday, Yuma on December 15th. Yahoo!

It’s amazing how humans adjust to their conditions! We’re going to be ‘Park People’  . . . who’da thunk it!

Lethbridge actually has some neat stuff!

We have started exploring more around here but you have to see the view from our deck!!

I know . . . just like so many of our friends, we vowed not to take any more Sunset pictures but just couldn’t resist these from our deck.

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That’s it – I gotta go pack!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A DRY Dry Run!



This has been such a learning experience!
It is NOT fun traveling and staying in motels and hotels - at least not for us – schlepping everything in and out all the time is ridiculous, let alone a lot of work. I tried to pack an overnight case but we always ended up bringing in another suitcase or container. If it looked the slightest bit suspect where we parked the car, we brought everything in.
And then there were the meals. Even if we found a place where we could cook, it means buying food and storing it. We tried to find places that included breakfast. Like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when they were good, they were very, very good, but when they were bad, they were horrid! We did get a cooler that plugged into the Journey and had a couple feedings of rotisserie chicken and salad.
Thank goodness for our friends in Truth or Consequences, NM.
We were there for a few days. As well as enjoying their company, we realized we need a base-camp to travel from.
Texas is definitely out! It’s way too far; it is very crowded; and the humidity would kill me.
I forgot about the humidity. Even while we were in Truth or Consequences it felt uncomfortably humid and Texas would be even worse – not my choice of how to spend the winter (how quickly we forget).
Well, on to the next option
We have decided to try and establish a base – probably around Yuma. We did find a park and a place we thought we might like - looked at it - loved it - contacted the owner who seemed to forget she even advertised it for rent – I was totally pissed off.
Now we've decided to disregard looking right now and will restart our search again a few weeks before our leave date in the new year.
We chose
Yuma because we know the area better than anywhere else in the South. We considered places in Casa Grande and Tucson but we really don't know the options that well.
 So . . . it looks like we will head down January or February and take our chances!!

All that said, our visits with Deb and Jer and the tours of Colorado National Monument and the Dinosaur Museum at Fruita were outstanding!
Deb and Jer live on a small acreage on Locoweed Drive near Lake Caballo, south of T or C, New Mexico.
They have been there since 2012. Deb is the gal who organized the Authors’ Fair at Paul’s Readers’ Oasis Book Store in Quartzsite. That is where we met. Deb and I did that tour of the Hatch and the Chili places last year. They suggested that the National Monument was a must see.
(I’ve set up a separate posting for their place on Locoweed Drive, Caballo, NM)
The Colorado National Monument
I want to be a geologist in my next life!
Driving along the 23-mile Rim Road is like travelling through millions of years of the planet earth . . . up; down; hairpin turns; steep canyon walls; gigantic, towering monoliths; and rock formations that expose the earth’s life over millions, maybe billions of years. 
 





 One interesting thing about travelling this time of year, is that we get to see the fall colours. Just another reminder that even Mother Nature is constantly changing.

 


Fruita and the Dinosaur Museum
Our first visit to Fruita, Colorado was when friends Monty and Lee were there working at a local RV Park. I remember it particularly because it was the only time we celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving in the U.S. We actually took down turkey drumsticks to share with our American friends. We popped into Colorado to see them and then headed back into Utah-Arizona to tour the Canyons there.
This time, we spent some tome looking around and ended up at the Dinosaur Museum. They’ve done an impressive job! A few of them were even animated.




With the hot, hot temperatures, we were please the new car had such good air conditioning.

We left Fruita with a breathe taking sunrise.