Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Guess The Temperature

The title of today’s blog is courtesy of Kevin.  He took this picture last night.  I admit it, I get cold easily.  I especially don’t like any cool breezes on my ears.  So, the thermometer said it was 68 degrees and the hood was up.  Honestly, the air feels cooler as soon as the sun goes down.  It has something to do with the lack of humidity. Kevin thought our boys back in the cold Midwest would get a kick out of this picture.

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Yuma Caravan Oasis ShuffleboardWe’ve been pretty much hanging out at the RV park relaxing and participating in some of the park activities.  We’ve played shuffleboard a few times.

 

We’ve been swimming and bike riding.  On Thursday the guys played golf.  On Friday night we went out for a fish fry.  This time the food was very good. 

On our way to dinner we stopped at a few RV dealers.  We looked at Heartland, Carriage and Montana 5th wheels.  We saw some great features, but nothing that would make us want to give up ours.  Joan saw a Big Horn she liked.  I think she REALLY liked it.  We’ll see what happens!

Yuma Caravan Oasis Joan, Kevin, Al, Carol, John Today our friends, John and Carol are leaving Yuma so we had a little cocktail party yesterday afternoon to say goodbye.   From left to right are Joan, Kevin, Al, Carol and John.  We’ll see John and Carol again in Wisconsin in April.

Joan has a hiking booklet someone in the park lent her.  Yesterday we decided to try one of the suggested hikes.  It was supposed to go to an old mine in the desert back in these mountains.

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It was not a marked trail.  We parked at the designated spot and followed an off-road vehicle road.  The directions weren’t the best, and we ended up following a wash, scrambling over rocks and boulders.  Eventually, we got to an area where we thought we saw the roof of the mine.  There wasn’t a safe way to get down so we went back.  I took some pictures of what we thought was the mine.  After zooming in on the computer, I think we were just looking at rocks.  We never found the mine.

But, that’s okay.  We hiked for 1.5 hours and got a good workout on another fantastic day.

Yuma Hike Kev and Ev

We made our way back to the car following the ATV trails.  I’m beginning to appreciate the desert beauty more and more even though there is no green grass.  I think the gorgeous weather has a lot to do with it :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cash Out

Yesterday we went to the Paradise Casino in Winterhaven.  According to their website, the lunch buffet was buy one get one free on Wednesdays.  Also, new Player’s Club members received $10 in free slot play.

It turns out they discontinued the buffet offer over a month ago.  It would be nice if they updated their website with that info.  When we asked about it, the cashier couldn’t have been more unfriendly.  She very obviously couldn’t care less about customer service.  The poor customer service was evident throughout the casino. 

Oh well, you did get a $2 discount on the buffet with your Player’s Club membership and we were hungry.  The buffet was very mediocre at best.  Not a lot of choices, and very little flavor!  I managed to eat enough to be full, but I wouldn’t eat there again.

Next, we hit the slot machines.  We found a smoke free room with about 30 machines in it.  That was nice as the rest of the casino smelled like an ash tray.

When we were in Vegas, we figured out that with free slot play, you can’t cash out any of the “free” money on your card.  However, if you win anything, you can cash out your winnings and continue to play with the “free” money until it’s gone. 

So, my strategy was to cash out as soon as I was up a few dollars.  I ended up cashing out 10 times before my free money was gone and ended with total winnings of $18.50.  I almost never gamble; and the few times I have tried it, I usually don’t win.  So, it may not sound like a lot of money, but I was excited about it.  Kevin won a little, too.  We were up $27 total.  On the way home, Kevin decided my new nickname should be cash out.

That means our $13 lunch was covered with a little left over.  Every Monday during the day the casino has a 50+ special.  Anyone over 50 gets $10 free slot play.  Since the Territorial Prison Historical Site is nearby, we may go there on Monday and stop in at the casino to see if we can win a little more.

On the way home, we stopped at LaMesa RV and looked at Carriage and Heartland 5th wheels.  We’re just looking, but our friends Joan and Al are in the market for a new one.  They found a Big Horn they really liked.  We’ll see what happens :)

Back at the park we spent about an hour in the pool and hot tub and watched some TV before bed.  I know, it’s a rough life we’re leading.

I forgot to take pictures yesterday, so nothing interesting to see today. 

I’d like to welcome new readers Susan, Trailcamper, Judy and John, and Laura from Wisconsin.  I’m so glad you’ve joined our journey.

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quartzite

We made the 65 mile trek to Quartzite today with Joan and Al.  None of us had been there before, and we were excited to see it.  After all, we’ve heard it’s the Mecca for RVers.

Well, I must admit, we were rather disappointed.  It’s just a giant flea market.  One of those things to see once, but we won’t be going back.

There was one very large tent with lots of RV vendors.  The problem was, it was so overcrowded in there, you couldn’t really get close to anything you might want to look at.   We squeezed our way up and down the aisles, but didn’t really get to look at much.

We did find these “Hot Socks” which you put in the microwave and they keep your feet warm for hours.  I tried them, and they work great.  Only thing is there is a funky odor, so I hope that goes away.

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Once outside, there were many more vendors, aisles and aisles of them just like this.

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We found a good deal on an outdoor RV mat.  It was about half the price as Camping World.  A good percentage of the booths were magnetic bracelets, balance bracelets, herbal remedies, arch supports, therapeutic crystals and all kinds of other items that are supposed to make you healthier or younger.  Go figure :)

We met some friends of Joan and Al’s at Grubstake for a late lunch.  The place was very crowded and understaffed.  I had the fried clam strip special and Kevin had a 1/2 lb. burger.  It was okay, but nothing special.  You certainly did get a lot to eat.  I only ate half and was still stuffed. 

After we got back, Kevin and I went for a swim and hot tub soak.  It felt good to get some exercise. 

So, all and all Quartzite was a bit of a disappointment.  It was very interesting to see all the boondockers, though.  It went on for miles and miles. 

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Monday, January 24, 2011

They Did It!

The Packers are going to the Super Bowl!  We’re very excited.  I did look up how far it is from Yuma to Dallas.  It’s over 1,000 miles.  That’s as far as it is from Wisconsin.  I also checked out ticket prices on Stubhub.  The lowest were over $2,000 and the most expensive yesterday was over $589,000 for a 30 person suite.  Anyone out there want to buy it?  We’ll come!

So, I guess we’ll just stay here and enjoy the game.  There are quite a few Packer fans in the park.  We’re ordering shirts on line so we’ll be all set on game day.

I promised a picture of our site.  As you can see, we’re on a bit of an angle because the site isn’t quite deep enough.  Good thing we paid for a premium site to make sure it would be plenty big enough.  We supposedly have room to park two vehicles (we only have one).  There is supposed to be enough room to park on both sides of our unit.  It’s awful tight on the front side.  I wouldn’t want to try parking in there.  At least it gives us some extra seating room outside.

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We do actually like this park.  It’s very quiet, and there are lots of activities.  We played shuffleboard again this morning and are going to try playing Euchre tonight.  We just learned how to play so it should be quite interesting.  

I was wondering if anyone would notice anything unusual about the picture I posted yesterday.  Did you see Kevin’s name on the scoreboard.  It was one of those pictures you could order as a gift and have someone’s name put in there.  He got it quite a few years ago.

Another beautiful day with temperatures in the 70s and sunny.  I hear Milwaukee is above freezing now.  Hang in there.

Tomorrow we’re going to Quartzite for the day.  We’ve never been there.  I can’t wait to see what it’s all about.

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Meeting More Blog Friends

I’ve been following the travel journal of Jo and Fred Wishnie for a few years.  I discovered their blog while I was researching and planning our fulltime RV dream.  They are also from Wisconsin.

When I realized that they we would all be in Yuma at the same time, I sent Jo an email and we made plans to meet.  Yesterday they came and visited us at our resort.  We had a very nice visit, and I enjoyed playing with their dog, Boo Boo.  We no longer have a dog, so it’s nice to get my dog fix once in a while :)

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As you can see, Kevin did not want to have his picture taken.  I told him it goes in the blog no matter what kind of face he is making.  Thanks, Jo and Fred, for coming for a visit.  It’s so nice to finally meet you!  I’m sure we’ll see you again some time.

P1010545Today we went to the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.  There are big horn sheep and wild burros at the refuge.  You guessed it; we didn’t see any!  We did take a hike on the Painted Desert Trail.  It was another beautiful day, and we had an enjoyable walk.  Here we are with our friends Joan and Al.

 

We didn’t see much wildlife, but we did see a bunch of these little lizards .

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And we saw these birds.  I tried to identify what they are online, but I couldn’t find it.  Maybe Judy can help me.

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This hike in the desert reminded us of Death Valley.

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P1010549On the way out, we saw this blimp in the sky.  It’s used by the border patrol to catch drug smuggling planes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1010550We stopped at the Yuma Proving Grounds which is a 1,300 square mile area owned by the military.  They do testing of all kinds of military items and vehicles.  We saw these guys doing some type of parachuting exercises.

 

 

 

We stopped at the visitor center where there were a number of displays.  We waited around to watch the movie, but they never started it :(  There was a pull-off area with a bunch of missiles and tanks on display.

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Tonight we had the fish fry dinner at our RV park.  The food was mediocre at best.  We might as well have gotten a TV dinner and cooked it ourselves.  There was a guy who sang and played guitar during dinner.  He was pretty good.  After dinner they had the weekly jam session in the park.  All kinds of musicians staying here get together and take turns playing and singing.  There were a few talented people in the group, and some who just enjoyed themselves.

As I mentioned before, there a a lot of Canadians in this park.  We were quite surprised that almost all of them sang country songs.  We would have liked to hear some oldies.  We also enjoyed watching the dancers.  I’m honestly not trying to be critical because it takes a lot of nerve to get up there in front of people, and we don’t do it.  But, I must admit we did have to chuckle a few times.

So, our first week here at the park has come to an end, and we are having a great time!

There were some questions asked regarding our dune buggy trip in the desert.  Yes, it was noisy, but the engine was behind us so I didn’t think it was that big a deal.  We did go with friends, but we rented the vehicles along with the guide.  It was $199 per couple.  It was a lot of fun, and definitely a memorable experience.

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adventure in the Desert

Yuma Dune Buggy 1Today we went on an adventure in the desert.  These vehicles are called sand vipers, but they look like dune buggies to me.  Each one seats 2 people.  Kevin was the driver.  We went with our friends Joan and Al and there was another vehicle with two guys from Montreal.  Our guide’s name was Art, and he did a fine job of showing us the ropes.

 

We drove through the desert, some washes and some canyons near the Picacho Mountains.  We were actually riding in California.  There was an area out in the desert where people write their names using rocks.  It went on for miles and miles.  Art told us people have been doing this for 5 generations.

Yuma Dune Buggy Desert Names 1

Those are the Picacho Mountains in the distance.

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Here’s our group having lunch.  The price for the 3-1/2 hour trip which included sub sandwiches for lunch and waters was $199 per couple.   We had a great time, and would definitely say it was worth doing.

Yuma Dune Buggy Lunch

It was quite narrow in some of the canyons.  That’s Al and Joan in front of us.

Yuma Dune Buggy Canyon

I’m guessing our boys will be surprised to see that I went on this little adventure.  And, they’ll be even more surprised to see this evidence that I drove the vehicle by myself.  I even managed to kick up some dust.  Speaking of dust, we sure did get dirty.  I think this may be the dirtiest I’ve ever been in my entire life.  Thank goodness they gave us goggles.  There sure was a lot of dust!  We jumped in the pool as soon as we got back :)

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Yuma Caravan Oasis RV Resort CactusThis morning we played shuffleboard here at the park.  We must have done alright because they invited us to play again tomorrow.  There’s a huge cactus growing here in the park.  The full moon is peaking out behind it.

 

 

 

 

Here are two more full moon shots.  It sure is beautiful!

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It was another gorgeous day today with a high of about 80 degrees.  What can I say, we’re in paradise :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Weather Record

We left Escondido at about 10:00 a.m. yesterday morning.  After 3 hours of uneventful driving (that’s always a good thing), we arrived at Caravan Oasis RV Resort in Yuma, Arizona.  We lost another hour because we’re back in Mountain Time, so it was around 3:00 p.m. when we got here.

The temperature was 86 degrees.  That’s a record for January 17th in Yuma.  We’ve witnessed several weather records this year.  From record rainfalls in Wisconsin and California to records lows in Utah and records high in San Diego and Yuma.  As long as we don’t experience any record snow, I’m good :)

Our friends Al and Joan and John and Carol were here to great us.  It’s nice to see them again!

P1010505 On the drive, we saw several of these cell phone towers.  From a distance, they look pretty much like a real palm tree.  Seeing them makes me laugh and think of cousin Dolly from Colorado.  While we were visiting, she told me how much she dislikes the cell towers in Colorado.  They are made to look like pine trees, but Dolly thinks they look like giant toilet brushes.  I think you’d like these palm trees better, Dolly :)

We were on Interstate 8 which is very near the Mexico border in Arizona.  This fence went on for miles and miles.  We also saw quite a few Border Patrol vehicles.

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The majority of RVs we saw between San Diego and Yuma were toy haulers or motor homes towing some type of off-road vehicle; Jeeps, motor bikes, sand buggies, dune buggies, you name it.  We also saw lots of RVs boondocking out in the desert.

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Our campground is a typical desert RV resort.  Sites are pretty close together with gravel and a concrete pad.  We have a FHU site, but only 30 amp electric.  The cost is $545 a month plus electric.  I’ll post a picture of our site next time.  There are mostly Canadians at this park.

There are lots of activities.  This morning Joan and I went to water exercise which was fun and invigorating.  We’ll also try out shuffleboard and play some cards.  On Mondays there’s a quilting group.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re doing.

Today the ladies went into Yuma for a farmer’s market.  There weren’t too many vendors, but I managed to spend some money.  I bought a very cute necklace, an Arizona t-shirt for only $5, and some more produce.

The guys are golfing.  I’m glad Kevin has some friends to golf with again.  He did go once by himself in Valley Center.  I don’t like to go to new places until he’s checked it out to see if it’s my kind of course.  Short, easy and cheap :)

Tomorrow we’re going on an adventure.  I’ll let you know if we survive.

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Daley Ranch Hike

Yesterday we drove to Daley Ranch which is part of the Escondido parks system.  The land was purchased in the 1800s by the Daley family where they lived and worked for many years.  The family heirs sold the land to the City of Escondido in 1996 when it was turned into a park.  There are many hiking, biking and horseback riding trails on the 3,600 acre spread.

The Daley’s built this ranch house in 1928.  It’s being renovated and looks like it will be a really nice house when it’s done.  What a beautiful location in this valley with lots of large trees and a creek running right in front of the house.

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The park had a nice trail map at the entrance so we were able to figure out some trails to hike.  After walking along the road to see the ranch house, we chose the moderate Boulder Loop trail.  It goes around one of the hills/mountains so you hike uphill around one side to the top and then downhill around the other side.  There are lots of very large rocks along the way.  The views from the top were beautiful.

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We hiked for a total of 2.5 hours and covered about 4.5 miles.  It was a great workout on another fantastic day.  I’m sure none of you will feel the least bit sorry for us when I tell you that we actually worked up a sweat as it was 80 degrees. 

On the way back home, we stopped and rented the movie Inception at Redbox.  It was a very interesting movie about controlling dreams; a rather complicated story which reminded me of The Matrix.

Today we did some chores, Kevin ran a few errands, and tonight we cheer on the Packers.  Oh yah, and I sat out in the sun for a while because it was another gorgeous day!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Carlsbad State Beach

Kevin suggested we take our bikes to the ocean and go bike riding.  What a great idea.  We had a wonderful day riding along the beach in Carlsbad.

California is very bike friendly with bike lanes on many of the roads.  Carlsbad Blvd. runs right along the water for miles, and there is a bike lane all the way.

We parked the truck at Tamarack State Beach and headed out.

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We rode a total of about 2.5 hours and estimate we covered at least 10 miles.  My legs feel a bit like Jell-O, but it was so worth it.  It was another spectacular day, sunny and in the mid 70s.

We discovered Carlsbad State Beach with a campground of over 200 sites.  The sites overlook the ocean, but don’t have hook-ups.  We did find out that there are four camphost sites with full hook-ups.  We stopped and talked to some very friendly camphosts, and they gave us an application.  We would definitely consider volunteering there.  It was a beautiful campground.  Here is one of the sites.

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It’s so incredible so see so many blooming flowers in January.  Here’s a collage of just a few I saw today.

Flower Collage

After our ride, we enjoyed time at the beach.  I took off my shoes and walked down to the water.  It’s very COLD!  The naturalist on the boat yesterday said the winter temperature of the Pacific Ocean off the shores of San Diego is 55 degrees.  I believe it!

That didn’t stop these people from enjoying themselves.

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The sun sparkled on the water like diamonds.

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P1010498 I took this picture of us using the camera timer.  The sun has kind of left us in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was an absolutely perfect day.  Thanks, Kevin, for the great idea and sharing the day with me!

I’d like to welcome a few more new readers.  Also, thanks for the comments some of you have left regarding places to see.  We did see Balboa Park on the trolley tour, but won’t have a chance to get back.  I’d actually like to go there and see the pipe organ concert someday.  We leave for Yuma on Monday.  I guess we’ll have to come back in the future to see some of the other places you guys have recommended!

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whale Watching

Today we went on a whale watching boat tour.  It was another gorgeous sunny day reaching about 70 degrees.  I made sure to take Dramamine, and all was well in the motion sickness department :)

Since we’ve been in California, I learned that tens of thousands of California Gray Whales migrate each year from Alaska to Baja, Mexico between December and April.  I just had to see for myself. 

There are a number of companies offering tours.  I decided to go with Flagship Harbor Excursions because they have a naturalist from the Birch Aquarium who narrates the tour.  She did an excellent job.

As we were cruising through San Diego Bay on our way out to the Pacific Ocean, we saw two dolphin swimming alongside another boat.

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Here’s the USS Midway Museum we toured while the boys were here.

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These sailboats were zipping along.  Aren’t they beautiful.

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I never tire of the downtown skyline.  Today there was a cruise ship in port.

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We saw many Navy helicopters and planes as well as several ships doing their thing.  These are Seahawk helicopters.

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And here’s a nuclear submarine.

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Once we got out into the ocean, we saw five different whales.  Three were by themselves, and two were together.  We saw them blow water spouts and flip their tails.  They all looked quite large.  Here are a few facts we learned.

The whales migrate about 10,000 miles roundtrip each year covering approximately 100 miles per day.  A baby gray whale weighs 2,000 pounds at birth and is the size of a Volkswagen Beatle.  The gestation period is 12 to 13 months.  A gray whale can eat up to 2,400 pounds of food a day.  They live to be about 70 years old.  An adult is about 45 feet long and weighs 33 tons. 

Gray whales were twice almost hunted to extinction.  There are now about 20,000 of them, and they have been removed from the endangered species list.  What a nice comeback they’ve made.

It was hard to get decent pictures.  I’ve made a collage of the ones I took.  The big picture in the middle is of two whales spouting next to each other.  You can click on the collage to see a bigger version.  Most of the pictures are of the spouts with a few tail flips.

Whale Collage January, 2011

After the whales blew the water spout, they would kind of arch up out of the water a little bit, and we could see their backs.  It was a very cool sight to see.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  It was one of those experiences that you just had to be there to appreciate it.

I talked to a couple who went on the morning tour, and they saw a pod of about 1,000 dolphins.  Too bad we didn’t see them.  We did also see sea lions and lots of birds including this pelican.

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On the way back we passed Point Loma and the Cabrillo National Monument.  We visited there last week.  On the right side of the picture, you can see the original lighthouse that was built on top of the bluff.  On the left side of the picture was the second lighthouse built down near the shore.  This area is still used by the Coast Guard today.  Parts of the movie Top Gun were filmed there.

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While we were waiting to board the ship, we walked to a park on the bay near the USS Midway.  There are several sculptures honoring the military in the park.  This one is of the famous picture taken in New York at the end of WWII.  It sure is big!

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This is a tribute to Bob Hope.

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Today was a great day!!!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!