Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
January 17, 2017 - Florida Keys

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Blogger Get Together

I’ve been following the blog of Kevin and Ruth for a few years now. They are a couple around our age from Canada who have been spending the last few winters in their motorhome in Mexico. They have also been to Africa and South Korea in the past two years. They read my blog too, and we occasionally leave comments for each other.

They were going to be near Yuma for a few days, so we made plans to get together for an in person meeting. It’s funny how small the RV blogging world is. We’ve met several fellow bloggers in the past. You feel like you already know these people, although you’ve never met them in person. You know about their families, their travels, their ups and downs, and their opinions. However, meeting in person is always a treat.

We enjoyed meeting Kevin and Ruth, and we commented on each other’s accents. When you only know people through reading their words, its nice to hear get to hear their voices.

An added treat was that two other blogger couples joined in this get together. Kevin and Ruth were kind enough to host this little gathering at their RV. They were set up at the Pilot Knob LTVA just across the Arizona border in California, about 20 miles west of where we are staying.

The two other couples were Ray and Cindy from Utah and Janos and Maggie from Canada. Although I had not been a reader of either of their blogs in the past, it turns out Cindy is a quilter and Ray does her quilting on a long arm machine. Janos and Maggie are originally from Europe. We all had much in common, and their was plenty to talk about for the two hours we visited.

Yuma, blogger get together

Ray and Cindy are on the left, then Kevin and myself, Janos and Maggie in the back, and Kevin and Ruth on the right. What a group of great people!!

Although, I’m not complaining, the weather this past week hasn’t been the greatest. We had rain on Monday all day and again on Thursday night. It’s been cloudy and a bit cool all week. Just not what you expect in southern Arizona. But don’t feel too bad for us, the sun is coming back today and next week will be in the 80s. Yippee!!!

We played pickle-ball with Bernie and Cathy again and will be golfing today. Tomorrow Dick and Wanda are coming over to watch the Super Bowl. Should be a good time even though our team isn’t in it.

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

Monday, January 26, 2015

Farm Smart Visit

On Friday we drove about an hour west to El Centro, California with Dick and Wanda to do a tour at The University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Desert Research and Extension Center, or Farm Smart for short.

The farm consists of about 250 acres where research is done in areas of irrigation, pesticides, different types of plants that will thrive in the desert, and even livestock feed. The program began and 9:30 am and ended at 2:30 pm.

There were probably about 70 people on the tour that day. We had a little cooking demonstration of carrot and ginger soup, and then got to sample it. Quite tasty! There is a group of researchers from the University of Wisconsin that comes here and does research on carrots of all things. They are growing lots of different varieties including purple, blue, and red carrots.

Next, we got on a wagon to tour the farm fields. I forgot my camera, so this picture is courtesy of their website.

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We learned lots of interesting facts including how this area called The Imperial Valley, which only receives three inches of rain a year, can grow all of these wonderful vegetables. Water comes from the Colorado River. Farmers have to pay for the water. They actually have to call and reserve the water, and then it is released to their fields through canals with gates by the Water Authority.

During the winter this area along with fields in the Yuma Valley supply about 80 percent of the vegetables consumed in the country. Next time you are at the store check to see where that lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli came from.

Along the irrigation ditches we saw several burrowing owls. Our guide told us there is quite a large population of them here in the winter. I sure wish I would have brought my camera. Here’s a picture from the web that looks very much like what we saw.

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At the end of the field tour, we were taken to a field where we could pick our own vegetables. Each of us had been given a very large bag and were let loose. Choices included head lettuce, romaine lettuce, green and red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, swiss chard, beets, cilantro and radishes. We picked quite a bit, and will be eating some delicious fresh vegetables for the next few weeks.

Farm Smart EvThanks to Wanda for taking our pictures. Here I am working hard to tear the tops off of the beats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here we are with our bounty (and muddy shoes).

Farm Smart Tour Kevin and Ev

After all that hard work, we were treated to a delicious chicken taco salad for lunch. Then, we went into a classroom for a power point presentation with more information. Each day during the winter months 8 to 10,000 Mexicans are brought across the border to work the fields. They are paid $9 an hour and are insured. They have to be ready for pick-up in Mexico at 3 am and are then transported across the border in white school buses pulling trailers with port-a-potties. In recent years, some machines have been invented to do some of the back-breaking work. Every day as we drive around the Yuma area we see the buses parked near the fields with lots of people working out in the sun picking vegetables.

At the end of the day we were treated to an ice cream sandwich and door prizes were given away. All of this for $20 a person. There are similar tours in the Yuma Valley through the University of Arizona, but they are twice as expensive. I’m glad we did the Farm Smart tour. It was an informative and enjoyable day.

Last Wednesday Dick had a dental appointment in Mexico so we tagged along. I was able to buy a pair of no line bifocal prescription sunglasses for $39 including the frame. Can’t beat that deal.

I also got a painted metal sun sculpture. I really don’t have room for it, but I just loved how it looked with the sun shining on it. I wasn’t going to buy it, but as soon as you look at something, the vendors are making deals. This started out at $35. As I was walking out the door, the guy kept dropping the price. When he got to $20, I couldn’t resist :) We’ll have to find a place this summer at Derge Park to display it outside our fifth wheel.

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Saturday was a beautiful sunny day. We golfed with a group of friends at Fortuna De Oro RV Resort. We’ve been doing this most Saturdays and really enjoy the game, weather and company. My knees are feeling much better, so this week we’ll be playing pickle-ball again.

Today its raining, which is rare for this time of year. We’ve had rain a few times since we’ve been here. I’m thinking there will be lots of blooming cactus this spring.

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Yuma Crossing Bike Trail

Yesterday we drove to Gateway Park in downtown Yuma to ride our bikes on the Yuma Crossing Bike Trail. The three mile paved trail runs along the Colorado River and a wetlands area. It is not a loop so we actually rode six miles out and back.

With all the desert around us here in Yuma, it was refreshing to see some fresh water. I didn’t realize there was a wetlands area here. Part of the bike path is between the wetlands and an irrigation canal.

This egret was enjoying a beautiful sunny southern Arizona day.

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There were a few ponds along the way. We saw mostly American Coots, but there were also a few ducks swimming around.

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The Ocean to Ocean Highway Bridge is next to Gateway Park. The bridge is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. At the time of its opening in 1915, the bridge provided the first safe, economical crossing of the river at Yuma, and it was the only vehicle bridge across the Colorado River for 1,200 miles. It was a critical link in joining the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans with a highway. Can you believe it only cost $72,150 to build!

Only one lane of traffic can cross at a time so there are stop lights at each end. There have been several restoration projects over the years, but it is pretty amazing that it is still in operation after 100 years. In fact, the original timber was covered in concrete and remains to this day.

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There is a second bridge behind the Ocean to Ocean bridge that I believe is for trains. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see the six foot tall letters with the name of the bridge. Hanging from the center of the bridge was a doll hung by its neck. What’s the matter with people!

We chose to go biking yesterday rather than join the Monday hiking group because my knees have really been bothering me. I did some research online and found that hiking down a steep slope is just about the worst punishment you can give your knees. That’s just what we had done the week before.

I have some arthritis in my knees, but they’ve never really given me much trouble. I thought I could just ignore the pain and keep going, so we played pickle-ball last week, and I went to Aqua Zumba. No wonder my knees weren’t improving. My research said I need to rest and elevate them. So, I’m taking it easy this week. I figured biking wasn’t too hard on them as I wasn’t putting as much pressure on them.

On Sunday Dick and Wanda came over again to watch the Packers play the Seahawks for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Packers were winning all the way through, and it looked like our team was headed to the Super Bowl again. Kevin and Dick were even making plans to go to Phoenix to take in some of the activities the week before the big game.

Unfortunately, our team totally self-destructed in the last five minutes and ended up losing in overtime. That was sure a big disappointment. Oh well, baseball season is just around the corner.

This morning I saw this hot air balloon out the window as I was reading blogs on my computer. We’ve seen quite a few of them in the area since we’ve been here. I saw an ad to ride in one for $250 a person. I believe I’ll continue enjoying them from the ground.

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As you can see, the sky is blue. Our weather has been fantastic this past week with highs in the upper 70s and lows around 50. Next week is predicted to be more of the same. I am so grateful to be able to experience winter here in Yuma. I so love my daily dose of sun!!

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

*Rosetta Translation*

I’m guessing with all the traveling full time RVers do, there are times you may be in need of a translation service.

My family could have used such a service when my mom received some documents from Germany that we needed to fill out and return after my dad passed away. Luckily, our documents had some directions included in English, so we were able to muddle through. But, I’m sure there are times when that’s not the case.

I have come across a company at http://www.rosettatranslation.com that will professionally translate legal, medical, financial and technical documents in all major languages. The list on their website included twenty-four languages.

You never know when such a service might come in handy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Telegraph Pass Hike

Today we joined the hiking group for a hike known as Telegraph Pass. The day started out cloudy and the tops of the mountains were actually hidden, so we couldn’t see where we were going when we started out.

It took us about two hours to hike about three miles to the top of the mountain ridge. There were two choices once we started climbing. There is a concrete road that is very steep. The road is for workers who service the cell towers up at the top. Most of us chose the second option of a rocky path that had lots of switchbacks to get us to the top. We all chose the road to come back down. It was very steep, but at least there were no lose rocks coming down.

I would call this a strenuous hike because of the elevation. We climbed about 1,150 feet and hiked about five miles round trip in three hours. By the time we got to the top, the sun was shining, and the views were spectacular.

This is the back side and looks into what is known as Dome Valley. You may remember that in mid December we did another hike with the group that went up a different route. We didn’t finish that one because there was no path and we were climbing on loose rocks. If we had finished that hike, we would have gotten to see Dome Valley, so it was nice to be able to finally see it. There are lots of farm fields all around Yuma, and Dome Valley is full of crops.

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Yuma, AZ Telegraph Pass Hike Kevin at topHere are some of the cell towers at the top. Kevin is resting on the side. Those are some big structures up there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yuma, AZ Telegraph Pass Hike Ev at top

Here’s me on the other side. That is the Yuma foothills down below. The city of Yuma is actually way at the back at the horizon.

We finally got back to the truck feeling proud of our efforts, but also quite tired. Those five towers way up there is where we were.

Yuma, AZ Telegraph Pass Hike from the bottom. We hiked up to the five cell towers

I soaked my sore muscles in the hot tub this afternoon. That sure felt good.

We’ve been at The Palms RV Resort now for almost two weeks. Our opinion is that while it is a very nice park, it is not our cup of tea. All of the lots are for sale in this park. There are about 450 sites, but only 150 have been sold. Some sites have houses built on them, some have RV pads with sheds or casitas and others are just RV pads.

We were walking around one day and a few of the houses were having an open house. We did some investigating and this is what we found out. A basic unimproved lot is $79,900. We saw a nice 1,200 sq. ft. 2 bedroom, 2 bath furnished house that was selling for $289,900. The taxes on that house are about $2,500 a year; taxes on just a lot are around $1,500 a year. HOA fees for everyone are $160 a month. The common areas and pools are very nice, however we don’t see the value here. We’d rather rent and have the option of moving around.

Here’s our site. The site to the right of us is empty, so that is nice.

Yuma, AZ our site at The Palms RV Resort

Here are some of the houses that are for sale just down the street from us.

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There has been construction going on at these sites since we’ve been here, usually starting early in the morning. Since there are still so many lots not sold, I’m guessing there will be construction noise happening in this park for many years to come. Kevin has not been happy about the early morning noise.

Yesterday our friends Dick and Wanda came over to watch the Green Bay Packers defeat the Dallas Cowboys. That sure made everyone happy. They’re coming again next Sunday to watch the Packers play the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. That’s going to be a tough game.

We’ve been keeping busy playing pickle-ball and golfing with our friends Bernie and Cathy at Fortuna De Oro. We sure are enjoying the sunshine, although it rained most of the day yesterday. That’s rare, but good for the plants, I guess. Maybe we’ll see some blooming cactus in a while.

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

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

We want to wish all of our family and friends a very Happy New Year. Our wish for you is health, happiness and peace in the coming year!

Blue Happy New Year 2015 Greeting Art Paper Card

It’s hard to believe another year has come to a close. 2014 was another enjoyable year in our full time RV lifestyle. We started the year in Texas and then made our way to New Orleans where our boys joined us for a cruise. It was a very memorable and fun trip.

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We spent the rest of the winter exploring the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. As luck would have it, the winter was one of the coldest in much of the country, and that included the Gulf Shores. Even though it wasn’t as warm as we would have liked, we enjoyed exploring many new places.

Destin Florida Sunset 1

In April we returned to Wisconsin to once again camp host at Derge Park. An added bonus to returning to Wisconsin this year was that we picked up our new Pinnacle fifth wheel. We sure do love our new home.

New 5th Wheel, April 2014

We had a fun summer and before we knew it, it was time to head south again. Due to some changes in Amazon policies, we decided to not work there this year. Instead we headed to Yuma, Arizona in October where we have been staying at Fortuna De Oro RV Resort. We’ve really enjoyed our stay here and definitely plan to come back.

When we thought we would be working at Amazon, we made plans to drive to Nebraska for Cathryn’s graduation and then continue to Wisconsin for Christmas. We still made that trip, only our starting point was Yuma, Arizona instead of Kansas. It ended up being over 4,000 miles of driving. Wow, that was a long trip! Next time we’re going to fly if we’re that far away again.

The trip was totally worth it though. As I reflect on the past year, my best memories are of those spent with family. I love seeing new places and the freedom of our full time lifestyle to explore, but spending time with family makes me very happy.

Today we are moving to The Palms RV Resort about ten miles down the road. This will definitely be the shortest move we’ve made so far. We booked the reservation last April when they were offering a buy one month, get one free deal for first time visitors. It’s supposed to be a very nice place, but we kind of wish we were just staying at Fortuna De Oro.

Our friends Dick and Wanda are also arriving in Yuma today for two months, so I’m sure we’ll be having some fun with them.

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