Thursday, March 29, 2012

Color, Changes and a Cruise

053012013(Jan) Our weather here in Yuma is very spring like with temperatures most days up in the 80’s and with very little humidity, it is a wonderful place to live. The flowers around the Foothills are in full bloom and gorgeous. Petunias (above) love the Yuma climate.The cacti, in particular, are so interesting have beautiful blooms. Below is the brilliant Yellow Bells Trumpet Bush.

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231Chuck and I are doing lots of biking, usually 6 to 15 miles a day.  We try to walk 2 miles each day, also.  One of the apps on my new phone is called RunKeeper. It’s great for keeping track of miles walked, cycled, ran, skated, etc. It will tell you how far, elevation gain, calories burned and much more. Yes, we did have to get a different phone as mine literally broke in half. We chose to go with a Motorola Razr. Along with having to get a different camera, because dust got inside the lens and it was not able to be fixed, and then getting new glasses, we ready for the spending to ease up!

 

NEW 1 019Having fun with friends hasn’t changed. To the left is a group shot of the Alber’s party. That’s a Chicken Enchilda Feast, above, with Gene, Bill & Kaaren, Chuck & I and Ron & Sharon 008Playing one last game of Pegs and Jokers with Jim & Diane and Ron & Sharon at our MH, above.

We’re getting ready for our Panama Canal Cruise. We leave San Diego next Tuesday and will sail on Holland America’s Rotterdam.  It is a 14 day cruise with stops in Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas, Mexico, El Quetzal, Gautemala, Fuerte Amador, Panama an all day trip through the Panama Canal, a stop in Cartagena, Colombia and after 2 days at sea we will dock at Fort Lauderdale. We’re going with 4 other couples. When we get to Florida we’ll drive across the state and stay at one of our friend’s homes in New Port Richey for 6 days before flying back to San Diego.  It’s a dream come true for me as I have always wanted to cruise. Chuck & I are both pretty excited about it and glad we are going on this adventure with good friends. We’ll report back when we return!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yuma’s Riverside Parks

034(Jan) Yuma has done a marvelous job of creating several parks and wetlands areas downtown along the Colorado River. We took the opportunity to ride our bikes along the bike trail from the Eastern Wetlands area, through Gateway, Yuma Crossings and the West Wetlands over to Joe Henry Memorial Park. This is a very nice, paved walking/bike trail though some beautiful riverside areas. 043Day one took us out along the canal to the Joe Henry Memorial Park where we remembered having a Moore family picnic some 10 years earlier with Gale & Joanne and Jackie & Butch. We road back through the West Wetlands area where the Colorado River Crossing hot air Balloon launch is held each November. This extensive park included an exhibit on the Army of the West, a Hummingbird Garden, a Solar Garden, Frisbee Golf area and a huge Castle Playground for children.

055Chuck at the bridge leading into the Army of the West display. The Army unit, known as the Mormon Battalion, crossed the Colorado River near here. 036The Army of the West paved the way for future generations when they blazed a 2,000 mile trail in 1847 from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California. The march to secure the western border during the Mexican American War is the longest sustained march in US military history. 048
082We stopped at a small lake to watch people fishing and sailing an remote controlled sail boat. 066Above is the Solar Garden and the Hummingbird Garden is at the right. 076

114108Day two found us exploring the Gateway area near the Ocean-to Ocean highway and railroad bridges, the sleek construction of Interstate 8 and on to the Yuma Crossing State Historic Park. Built in 1915, the Ocean to Ocean bridge, pictured below, was the first and only vehicular bridge over the Colorado River for 1200 miles for decades.

112 106Interstate 8 looking west at left and east at right. The Ocean to Ocean Hwy and Rail bridges above with Saint Thomas Indian Mission in the background. 092
136A $700,000 Cotton Picker, above and a Historic Steam engine, right 148The area near the Hilton Hotel downtown with storyboards of Yuma’s early history. 142

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Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, site of the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, was used by the US Army to store and distribute supplies for all the military posts in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas. A six month supply of clothing, food, ammunition, and other goods was kept at the depot at all times. The supplies were brought from California by ocean vessels traveling around the Baja Peninsula to Port Isabel near the mouth of the Colorado River. There, cargos were transferred to river steamers and brought upstream to Yuma. Today at the park you can visit the Officer’s Quarters & Kitchen, Storehouse, Corral House and the Office of the Depot Quartermaster.

We had just missed the city’s annual Lettuce Festival so some of the remaining Ag Equipment Displays were still on the grounds including a huge new Case IH Cotton Picker. We’ll get that event on our calendar for next year!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Up, Up Away

(Jan) Wow! Incredible! Breath Taking! Fun! Our friend Tom is out here at Ogilby boondocking near us and he offered to give Chuck and me rides in his Powered Parachute! Saturday’s and Sunday’s weather were too windy but Monday morning dawned bright and clear with virtually no wind. Time to fly!

028Jan strapped in ready to go. Pilot Tom is straightening the chute. 034Take-off and ……. 046Headed toward the mountains.
086Chuck’s turn! Tom & Chuck ready for take off. 095Flying high. 090Coming in to land.

Flying at 30-40 MPH, ground speed, and having very little structure around you is an amazing thing! You can feel the wind streaming past and as you go higher there is a feeling of ‘stillness.’  We also hit an temperature inversion as went higher. The air was warmer, around 70 degrees and dropped back down to around 63 as we got closer to the desert floor. The sights were incredible!  We have walked and hiked in the desert and the mountains many times but this was an entirely different perspective. You can see so far!

062Flying over Chuck, our MH and Jeep. 065Tom and Chuck at sunrise. 070A hill that’s been mined.
071Tom’s friend Max flying ahead of us toward the Dunes. 069Tom and Jan in his rearview mirror. 073Flying towards the Cargo Muchacho mountains.

078048A foot note; Several days ago Tom had told us about some desert art that he had spotted from the air and gave us the co-ordinates. Dean & Judy and Chuck & I hiked over to that area to see it and explore the elaborate design. When I was up in the powered parachute with Tom, he flew over the design. Wow! The intricacies of the design were incredible and much easier to see. It was wonderful to see both perspectives.

Thanks so much, Tom!  We loved flying!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Slab City

033(Chuck)The Slabs are located near Nyland, CA which is on the east side of the Salton Sea. It is the concrete remains of a WWII Marine base which was called Camp Dunlap (1942-1961). It is a boondock area for some 150 full time residents and many more transients who pass through in the winter. It has been glamorized and quite possibly over glamorized for several decades. As we were planning our departure from Anza Borrego, Judy indicated that she wanted to stay at Slab City for one night. Underground Weather indicated that we were in for a windy day and it seemed like a good idea to spend it at The Slabs. This community is notorious for some characters who may be antisocial, uncooperative and very possessive of their space. I did not want to wander in and park where someone deemed that I should not be at that particular time so I e-mailed our friend Marty who inhabits there occasionally and asked for advice. Marty said ”Go find the LOWS” and gave us directions. The LOWS are of course Loners ON Wheels which is a singles RV group. They have maintained a presence at The Slabs for decades. We stayed on a small corner of their area and felt secure for the two days of our stay. 025

Marty asked me for our impression of The Slabs and it is mixed with more frowns than smiles. I have read blogs of folks who have shared conversation with some of the more famous of the permanent residents and many seem to glorify and honor the free spirit and encourage the admiration of the down and out. I did not seek these people out. I spoke with only one neighbor who was a Canadian spending the winter in a warm climate. When we drove around in the area we saw large areas of trash of all descriptions. Dean and Judy took a walk and found a church group from Borrego Springs distributing clothing, furniture and personal grooming articles to a group of young, barefoot and very disadvantaged people.

We looked over Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain while we were there and he has indeed found a way to express his love of Jesus. The mountain is his canvas and donated paint is his medium.

020 017Salvation Mt. is at the entrance to Slab City. Our friends Dean & Judy are to the left above. 013The photo above is inside the ‘building’ at right in the photo to the left.

035Nearly anybody who has RV’ed in the West has heard of Slab City . If you have never been there it is probably worth the experience. The winds were calm by the second day and as we left the Slabs we could not help but notice the words on the blockhouse by the road “Caution Reality Ahead”.

(Jan) The Moores and Sheeleys moved over to Ogilby Road on Tuesday. It has been so much fun being with these dear friends hiking and playing Pegs & Jokers, talking and sharing evening meals. Dean & Judy spent their summer in the Maritimes so they shared some wonderful cod from New Foundland with us and also, some moose from Nova Scotia. And thanks to friends Richard & Peggy, we had a meal of crab from the Oregon Coast! Dean & Judy headed back north on Saturday. We’ll miss them but we are planning to cruise through the Panama Canal with Poutneys, Richmonds and them in April.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Anza Borrego State Park

011(Jan) Anza Borrego State Park, located in south central California comprises 600,000 acres of mountains and desert. It’s a hikers paradise with 110 miles of trails and we and the Sheeleys enjoyed several great hikes during our 5 day stay. 

The Palm Canyon hike is 2.7 miles, one way, from the Visitor’s Center, down through the campgrounds and then up a winding desert canyon to a lush Palm oasis. We crossed the stream in the canyon several times on log bridges and passes by many038 palm trunks and large boulders that were carried down stream during a flood which occurred in 2004 according to a Park volunteer we talked to. After a stop in the shade of the Palm grove we climbed up to an overlook above the palm grove and then headed back.  We were treated to a rare sight about half way down. We were able to watch two big horn sheep (borregoes) for nearly 20 minutes as they posed for pictures and climbed the dizzying heights on the cliffs above the trail.

The Slot hike is in the Badlands on the eastern side of the park. We entered the slot canyon several hundred feet uphill from the parking lot and the fun soon began! We were delighted to find very narrow twists and turns as we scrambled down. In several places we were required to slide through sideways. There were several side passages to explore on the way down and then again on the way back as we hiked the slot both ways instead of hiking back through the desert.

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mooreBorrego Springs is home to many delightful Metal sculptures by Ricardo Breceda on Dennis Avery’s Galleta Meadows Estates. Dinosaurs can be found south of town with sculptures of everything from mastodons to missionaries to jeeps four wheeling to the north. 008

 

 

Here’s a couple of shots of Dean & Judy and Chuck & I helping pick grapes and getting in the middle of battle between a scorpion and a grasshopper. Fun times!

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042 - CopyJulian, California, a quaint mountain resort town, was founded in 1869 when gold was discovered in Coleman Creek. The four of us enjoyed a fabulous burger & fries at the Julian Café and Bakery but were too full to taste that world famous apple pie that the town is also known for.050

During our stay we also met up with fellow Boomers several times.  Nancy & Dave were boondocking right in our area and hosted a Happy Hour for ten Boomer friends; Larry & Joyce, Steve & Donna, Judy & Dean and Chuck & I. The following evening Steve & Donna invited the Boomer group to join them at Font’s Point to watch the sunset over the Borrego Badlands; spectacular views and a fun time visiting. It’s been a great visit to Anza Borrego.

 
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