Tuesday, December 15, 2009
We went to the San Diego Zoo, lots of steep climbs and declines, some really cool animals and a lot of RAIN? Who would have thought that after weeks in the deserts of this country, we would run into three days of rain in southern California? Vicki got to see her favorite bird of all time, the secretary bird. We went through quite a bit of effort to see one of these in Africa back in 2000, so getting to see one up close and personal was a joy for her. On a funny note, the bird walked right up to a man on our side of the glass and Vicki said "that bird really seems to like you!" She then commented about what might be fed to this bird. The man then informed us that he was the caretaker for the Secretary Bird and the Condors. He went on to inform us that they usually fed it rats, but for a treat now and then, he would put a lizard in the enclosure to allow the bird to hunt.
The weather isn't bad now, with nightly lows in the mid 50 degree range and daytime highs in the mid sixties, predicted to be in the mid 70's in the next couple of days.
We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our daughter Kacy, who is flying out to meet up with us for 12 days. It's been 6 months since we've seen her, we can't wait. Some of the Photo's here are just to show Kacy where she will be staying for a while...
Monday, December 14, 2009
Leaving Yuma along I-8 west, the first thing you run across is a large recreational area dominated by HUGE sand dunes. Miles of unspoiled windswept sand dunes open to recreational vehicles. From there, it is a short trek across some very flat ground (mostly agricultural) leading to a stretch of some of the most inhospitable terrain you can imagine. Boulder fields, rock and boulder covered mountains for miles on end. There is some very steep terrain involved, but nothing serious. I would be careful in the heat of summer with some of the climbs. The exhaust brake and downshifting weren't quite adequate on some of the downhills, the occasional application of the brakes kept everything comfortable though.
We had a heck of a time settling on a campground in San Diego, but finally chose one and arrived without any mishaps, until we got into the office. We handed over our Discover card and were promptly sent into a panic when we were told it was denied. We paid with a Visa card and as soon as we were set up, checked our Discover account, all appeared to be fine online. We called Discover and were informed that everything was OK. We used the card later and it worked perfectly. Panic for nothing. Two nights in, the water-police knocked on our door at 10:00 pm to inform us that they had shut off our water due to a drip at the hook-up. Ok, there was a drip about every 20 seconds or so, but upon hooking up, I noticed the drip, tried several different fittings, moved our regulator and finally diagnosed the problem to be the campgrounds anti-flowback valve attached to the fitting. The water police didn't care and we ended up with 50 feet of hose stretched over to an unoccupied site with a good fitting, finally satisfying everyone. The next morning, I started looking at other peoples hook-ups, 75% were leaking... Oh well. This gets better, trust me.
We decided to extend our stay here as the park is maybe 15% full and in a great location with reasonable prices for San Diego, and luckily we were switched to a site without a leaking fitting! We once again tried to pay with Discover and were not shocked when they said it was denied, however we were sent into another panic when they said our Visa was denied also. At our insistance, they tried again and all was fine. I think the office workers are secretly filming the panic on peoples faces when they try to check in. We were still panicking while the couple next to us was being informed that there was no record of their reservation...
San Diego really is a beautiful city! More later.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Ok, a couple of new experiences here. First, it is absolutely wonderful to be able to use the pool and hot tub in December while looking at palm trees and desert cactus. A far cry from last December when we were looking at snow and trying to keep the chicken's water from freezing in the coop. The sign at the pool was a new twist for us... We're glad it's there though.
Another thing we ran into and took advantage of was a mobile vegetable and fruit vendor. We heard the typical ice cream truck "London Bridge is falling down" music approaching, and were shocked to see a truck pulling a trailer load of great looking fresh fruit and vegetables trolling the RV park. We bought asparagus, lemons, grapefruit and tomatoes. It was all very good.
The next new experience was kind of dirty... Really dirty. Back in Las Cruces New Mexico, we had the RV washed and waxed. It looked fantastic thanks to a couple hours of very hard work from a crew of three men and two women. Sitting in Yuma one night, the wind picked up and carried copious amounts of sand and dust with it... I didn't realize it was as bad as it was until I took the dogs out for their late night walk in a choking 35mph dust storm. The windows were open on the RV and we woke up to a thick layer of dust inside, a filthy RV outside, and one totally filthy Jeep. The dog water bowl outside looked like it was filled with mud...
Speaking of dogs, life is never dull. We enjoy working on the occasional jigsaw puzzle during longer stays in parks and just recently found out that beagles really enjoy eating any dropped pieces... We were just glad that he left us one corner of the piece so we wouldn't be searching for it. The aussie on the other hand finds himself in the strangest places. In the photo, he is perched on the 10 inch deep counter in the bathroom. Cats have nothing on this guy. Coming next, the trip into California.
Friday, December 4, 2009
There are so many RV parks in Yuma, it is almost impossible to choose one. We found one with a really entertaining website and good reviews but when we pulled up, it is a 55+ park. They didn't mind at all and we changed our reservation from two nights to a week after staying just one night. The people here are from all over North America, probably one third Canadian, and all very active. The area around Yuma is apparently a major winter destination for snowbirds. We went to the grocery store today, and there was no way to tell what state we were in from the license plates in the parking lot. Probably 25% of the plates were from Arizona.
Nothing like Christmas lights around the pool and spa, with palm trees everywhere... I also like the military aircraft flying out of the Yuma airport. Harrier's and F-18's mostly, with the occasional C-130 mixed in. If you google-earth this airport, Air Force One is parked on the tarmac. Not here now, but cool.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Well, Vicki, myself and Sue had a great Thanksgiving with Vicki's parents and an additional aunt and uncle whom I had not previously met! Fantastic people and great company! We had Vicki's best friend Sue and one of our daughters here at the same time. The dogs were glad to have a house and fenced in yard to romp around in with relative safety in the Sonoran desert. We did have an incident with a ring tailed cat while Sue was outside having a smoke. She survived and was not injured... Probably scared the heck out of the poor little animal though.
The scenery while driving around this area is out of this world. We were driving back from the Phoenix airport after dropping off Kaitlin and Sue for their flights home, and in the distance you could easily see the snow falling on Mount Lemon while we drove through the desert... Very interesting and quite beautiful.
We also went to the Double Diamond Casino where I lost $21.00, Vicki lost $20.07, and Kaitlin and Vicki's father Ed Cleaned house... On the way home from the slaughter at the casino, we stopped at San Xavier Mission, really beautiful. The interior is so incredible, it is almost unbelievable. We are only posting one photo of the inside of the mission due to time constraints, but if asked, I have detailed shots that are unbelievable! Please notice the shots of the lions guarding the hill, two beautiful bronze statues on the mountain. Some jerk with a high powered rifle put a bullet through the temple of one of the statues cracking the entire back of the statue. Good shot from probably a half a mile away, but I hope the fool pays for it in some way, someday.
I've learned a lesson about the dogs also, when a beagle needs to go... he really needs to go. I was talking with a fellow aussie owner outside the RV when Vicki let the beagle out to visit. I wasn't paying much attention until I realized that my left foot was warmer than my right foot... it was also soaked. Now, I know that I talk too much and ignore my surroundings, but this was a real eye opener. I don't think I like beagles anymore.
We also visited Tombstone, it is a tourist trap with poor quality gunfight re-enactments designed for children... Don't go unless you like the saloons and the history that you need to look closely to find. I feel bad for Vicki, we threw out the back seat for the Jeep not thinking that we would need to carry passengers with less than four legs... WRONG! We picked up Sue, and Vicki has been riding around in a low beach chair in the back of the Jeep while the dogs curl up next to her. Just can't hit the brakes hard or corner too fast...
The volcano's are really interesting while driving across the desert. There are miles of volcanic rock just spewed across the landscape. I would not have wanted to be anywhere near there when they were falling out of the sky.
We got a great little Christmas tree which looks great on the dashboard, especially with a full moon over the RV... Keep in touch everyone!