Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Salvation Mountain, The Slabs, and the Salton Sea

We really hate not having the internet !!

One positive though, is the awesome library here in the Foothills.

This is probably one of the nicest libraries we have visited.

Teresa and I were longing for a road trip, and decided to see for ourselves what others have told us about The Slabs near the Salton Sea.

Of course, every successful road trip starts with an amazing breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

With that out of the way, we drove out to Niland, California, where the Slabs are located.

I sure do not want to offend anyone, but Teresa and I were afraid to even get out of our car in Niland to ask for directions.

And from there it went even more downhill.

The Slabs, or Slab City as some call it, is a unique snapshot of some very colorful characters.

But first, a bit of a history lesson.  In the early 40's, the US Marine Corp built this base and called it Camp Dunlap.

When it was decommissioned in the 60's, the military removed the buildings, but left the cement slab foundations in place.

Since that time, many folks stay here for free.  

Some are snowbirds, who leave in the spring with their rigs, and some are homeless, who live here year round in poverty.

Sorry, we don't have photos, but we were very uncomfortable, and also out of respect for the residents.

Apparently The Slabs were not quite as threatening, even just a few years ago.

Okay, now just on the edge of the slabs, is a place called Salvation Mountain.

This "mountain" is a piece of art created over many years by one man.

Made of straw adobe, it is covered in thousands of gallons of paint, much of it donated.

Although the artist is currently not present, there are many volunteers trying to maintain it under the unforgiving harsh conditions.

Our next stop was the Salton Sea.  

We parked at a recreation spot, with the intentions of having a picnic on the shoreline.

Not going to happen !!  Not only was the smell horrible, but the beach was covered in dead fish.

The problem is this sea was accidentally created by the flooding of the Colorado River, and because there is no outflow of water, it is slowly getting more and more salty, and will no longer support life.

On the plus side, it is a birder's paradise.

We had a great laugh at the outcome of our road trip, and were soon heading for home, holding hands and listening to some relaxing CD's.

No matter what we do, or where we go, we are just thankful to be doing this together.

Our time here is running short, and on Friday we will be arriving at the most beautiful resort we have ever seen in Palm Springs.

See you there !!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Zen and the Art of Roof Maintenance

We wanted to thank everyone for their comments and emails regarding our "homesickness".

I think I made it sound like the only reason we are feeling this way is because of the Grandchildren.

They are the number one reason, but not the only reason.  We miss the rest of our family too, and we miss our condo, and just being home.

Another issue that upset us was not being able to support family members whom have lost loved ones this winter.

Why am I telling you this ?  Because we know there are people like us that are planning for their own travels.

We want to present both sides of the snowbird life.

The positives are many, but there are a few negatives as well !!

Today, I tackled a job that I have been wanting to do for a couple of years now.

Many of you know that the caulking on a motorhome needs to be done every couple of years.

This is especially true on the roof, as the sun, wind, and rain beats down tirelessly on this flat surface.

There is a miracle product out there called Eternabond.  This is a four inch wide tape, that sticks and seals to any surface.

You simply wipe the area clean with acetone ( nail polish remover ) and apply right over the old caulking.

It was fairly easy to do, and looks great.

Best part is this stuff lasts for many years, so although somewhat pricey ( over $2.00 per foot ) once applied you are good to go.

Now with that job done, we can get back to simply relaxing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy Birthday Mya, and Homesickness

Today is our Granddaughter's birthday !!

Where have those three years gone.

Speaking with our son this morning, it sounds like Mya had a great time at her birthday party.

Teresa is more than a little upset at missing this special day.

And so am I.

In fact, we need to come clean on something. 

We are suffering from homesickness this year.

As last year was our first year away, I think the excitement of following our dreams helped mask our feelings.

Well, except at Christmas last year.  There was no consoling Teresa as the tears freely flowed.

This year, even though we flew home for three weeks at Christmas, we are both thinking that maybe five or six months away is just too long.

Besides, now we have two grandchildren tugging at our hearts.

Many of you know that Teresa and I spend the first hour or so of each day having coffee in bed, while we talk about our lives.

More and more these talks have been about our future travels.  

We know our motorhome is too small to continue, but we are wondering if it is wise to spend more money on a larger motorhome, when we will only be heading south for three months or less.

Lately, we are thinking maybe it would be a better idea to rent a park model or house.

We really enjoy being snowbirds, and the RV lifestyle.

The tough part for us is trying to find a balance between this lifestyle, and our desire to be near our family.

We know everyone loves their own families as much as we love ours, and can totally relate to our feelings.

I guess we will just have to find which path is right for us !!

The Foothills of Yuma

Yesterday we made the short move to the Fortuna Foothills.

This is a unique neighborhood  where you can have a house, or a casita, or just an RV lot.

Sorry for not letting everyone know we got moved safe and sound, but we have NO INTERNET.

Of course, we knew this ahead of time, but I was hoping for some kind of unsecured network.

It is very quiet and relaxing.  In fact, while I am here at McDonalds, Teresa is home reading.

I am low on battery power already, because I had a few days worth of blogs to read ... lol.

I am guessing that future posts will be hit and miss, unless I get a part time job at the local McDonalds!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bob's B'day = Good ; Ed & Marilyn Leave = Bad

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone !!

It doesn't matter what your relationship status is at the moment, everyone can celebrate love.

Today is also our best pal Bob's birthday !!

The guys had a plan to go touring today, while the ladies wanted to hit an indoor flea market.

Us guys headed to the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park.

The prison was in operation from 1876 until 1909.

It is a very interesting part of history and we learned a lot of facts.

There were a total of 3069 prisoners housed here over the years.

Part of that number were 29 female prisoners.

There were six people to a cell, with a small bucket for a latrine.

Not a place I would like to stay for sure !!

After our tour, we headed to the La Fonda Restaurant, which was Bob's choice as he is the Birthday boy.

The gals arrived shortly after us, and brightened up our table considerably.

We all get along so well together, that soon we were toasting and laughing at the days events.

This restaurant receives great reviews, and you can now add our six votes.

After lunch, we met at Bob and Janet's for happy hour.

We all enjoyed cold beverages, and Bob was very generous in sharing some chocolate covered strawberries he received as a gift.

We all had great fun watching Teresa "move in" to her new purse she bought today.

She is a great sport, and took all the kidding in stride.  In fact, she dished out a few jabs herself.

Now for the emotional part. 

Ed and Marilyn are heading back to Phoenix in the morning, and hinted to the fact that they might not be coming to Zion and Bryce next month.

This means we might not see them again until next winter.

They have become very close to us, and we hated to let them go, but we assured ourselves we will meet up again.

Yep, it is a reality of this lifestyle, that you will meet wonderful people, then have to move on down the road.

But, as witness to the tears in Teresa's eyes, knowing that reality doesn't make it any easier at the time. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Back to Mexico

We had such a great time in Mexico yesterday, we decided a repeat performance was in order.

This time we had an agenda.  

Go directly to the restaurant, go to the pharmacy, go to the liquor store, and finally go to the end of the line to cross back.

We love eating on the outside patios wherever we go

Our waiter from yesterday, Caesar, was wonderful again.  He remembered our favourite drinks, and brought out our chips and salsa.

Caesar knows how to please us

If you go to the La Parrilla, you owe it to yourself to try the Hawaiian Shrimp.  

Bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp

The entertainer was playing a bunch of our favourites, and in fact we bought a few of his CD's, to remind us of our visit.

Marilyn and Ed with their new glasses

Bob and Janet with their new smiles

Teresa and Trent - nothing new here

While we were enjoying our lunch and drinks, Teresa made a decision that she wanted a couple of vases.

We asked our friends for some bartering advice and received a few good tips.

Armed with that knowledge, we confidently found a vendor with beautiful vases.

While Ed and Bob were telling the vendor the price was still too high, I was already paying a higher price than the guys were negotiating ... lol.

Tell me these aren't great looking vases

Oh man, I sure took some good natured ribbing about that one.

Teresa was in her glory, because she has been looking for a vase for our condo for nearly three years.

Oh ya, I forgot to mention that yesterday we bought two bottles of our most cherished alcoholic beverage - Amarula.

This is like Bailey's, but ten times better

The border crossing went much better today, with only about a forty minute wait.  We left earlier and that seemed to help.

Tonight is the premier of Survivor, and it looks like we will be having popcorn for supper.  

Another great day is in the books.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Los Algodones, Mexico

We were really excited for today to come, because our good friends Ed and Marilyn were arriving this morning.

They are staying in a hotel for a few days, so Bob and Janet, as well as us, met them at their hotel in the morning.  

The plan was to get them to Algodones, so they could get new glasses.

While they were getting fitted by the optometrist, the rest of us walked up and down the streets, checking out the wares.

It was quite busy, but we were able to move along pretty well.

Teresa has been looking for a new purse, and Bob is sure she squeezed every purse in all of Algodones.

Teresa is a softy, so this task was made more difficult for her, because she hates to say no to the hungry vendors.

When Ed and Marilyn were finished with their exams, we made a bee-line for a restaurant that had a great reputation.

La Parrilla is a little way off the main streets, but well worth the effort.

They even had a live entertainer who was quite good.

Our waiter, Caesar, was excellent, and made sure our drinks, chips, and salsa were always on hand.

We all had great meals, and agreed that this spot deserves a repeat visit.

Now for the only negative of the day.

The line up to return into the U.S. was nearly two and a half hours long.

Wow, our feet, legs, and backs were killing us by the time we got through customs.  When we went to Progresso, Mexico last year, the wait to cross back was only a few minutes.

We are thinking maybe an earlier return time might help with the long lines, but regardless, it was still a wonderful day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Outdoor Flea Market

We had a date today with Bob and Janet, and the fun began when they picked us up in the morning.

I am not sure what it is about flea markets that attract so many of us, but I think it is the thought of finding some hidden treasure for dirt cheap !

Well, believe me, we searched high and low, and we did manage to find a few treasures, and the price didn't break the bank either.

Double bonus.

After a couple of hours of shopping, our rumbling stomachs were trying to remind us we were way past lunch time.

Bob took us to a restaurant that had great reviews and great food.

The only problem was Bob took a page out of Ed's playbook, and the restaurant was closed on Sundays ... lol.

When someone suggested Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que, we jumped on the chance to go as we had heard great things about it, but had never experienced it for ourselves yet.

Oh my, were our meals ever delicious !!

We will be back for sure.  

As an added bonus, when the waitress discovered this was our first visit, she notified the manager whom came over and welcomed us with a free bottle of Famous Dave's Rich and Sassy BBQ Sauce.

We thought that was a very nice touch.

After our meals, Bob and Janet gave us a quick tour of the Foothills area, and showed us some of the local stores.

We were back home by supper, and relaxed with a drink.

It was another great day with great friends !!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Surprise Visit Today

Even though it was kind of chilly this morning, Teresa and I decided to lace up our sneakers and get some exercise this morning.

After a travel day of just sitting on our butts, it felt pretty good to get moving again.

We walked for about an hour in our park, and never even saw it all.

One thing we quickly noticed was that the majority of the folks staying here are from Canada.

After lunch, Teresa got busy dusting and cleaning the rig, which was my cue to make myself scarce.

I checked out an RV supply store, and the local Walmart, before making my way home.

Pulling up to our site, I noticed Teresa sitting outside visiting with a couple.

It didn't take long for me to recognize this great looking couple as Lloyd and Lorna, friends from back home.

These friends have been to Yuma numerous times before, and had great advice for us.

It was cool enough that we all needed sweaters, but that did not stop us from enjoying a refreshing beer in the sunshine.

All too soon, they had to say goodbye, but we sure were glad they popped in and brightened our day!!

Tomorrow we have plans with Bob and Janet, then on Tuesday, Ed and Marilyn will be here, so as you can see, our days are filling up.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Travel Day to Yuma

Teresa and I were awake fairly early, which was a good thing, because after three months in one spot, we were slow getting ready.

Eventually, and with enough persistence, we were ready to roll.

Ed and Marilyn, as well as Henry and Pam, walked over to our park for final hugs and best wishes.  Such great friends.

We also said goodbye to Rene, and neighbours Bob and Carol.

The drive to Yuma went very well, the only negative is we were driving into a headwind the whole way.

Just as we were setting up in our new park, Westwind RV and Golf Resort, Bob and Janet phoned and asked if we would like to join them for supper.

Of course we would, but we just need to do a couple of things before we go.

Unfortunately, I had some issues with the electrical pedestal, and by the time we got to Da Boyz pizza, we had made our friends wait for nearly thirty minutes.  Sorry guys !!

Back at our rig, we settled in some more, and relaxed with the cable  TV the park provides.

We are going to be here for the next nine days, and hope to see what Yuma has to offer.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Good Bye Gathering

Teresa and I have been scurrying around today, getting ready for our departure tomorrow for Yuma.

We have been here for three months, and have gotten very comfortable.

During that entire time, we have had our awning out and our patio decorations on display.  Well, except for when we went home for Christmas.

Getting all those chairs, tables, solar lights, patio mats, and little knick-knack items stuffed back into the outside storage bay required a shoe horn !!

The gang decided to get together this afternoon at one of our favorite restaurants, Los Gringos Locos.

We chose to be seated on their outside patio. Shortly after, we were all sipping on our margaritas and other beverages.

A bit later, we all ordered some great food.  

Teresa and I were able to partake in the conversation and laughter, even though we felt sad because we are unsure when we might be seeing these great friends again.  

We are very thankful that friends Ed and Marilyn are making the trek to Yuma for a couple of days next week.

With hugs, we said our so-longs, and headed back to the rig to do some more chores.

I am continuing to pack up tonight, while Teresa is off to the laundromat with a backseat full of laundry.

But that is okay, because it will take our minds off the fact that we will be saying good bye to this great place with great friends.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Teresa

And not just any birthday, but a significant one !!

Teresa is now part of the Nifty Fifty Club ... lol.

It was with kicking and screaming great dignity that she took this birthday all in stride.

Teresa received lots of birthday wishes today

We enjoyed a leisurely coffee or two in bed this morning, before getting ready for a planned luncheon.

I swear Teresa is obsessed with food.  I know, you would never know it to look at her, but seriously, she talks more about food and going out to restaurants in a day, than most people do in a month.

"Can you please speak up ??  Now that I am 50 I don't hear so well "

And for the last several weeks, she has been yearning for Red Lobster.

Today is also our friend Henry's birthday.  Not sure his age, but he did say he wishes he was turning fifty.

Henry is a real gentleman, because he said it was lady's choice, and so the Red Lobster it was.

Henry and Teresa share the same birthday

We all enjoyed our meals, and of course we had a great time.

We agreed to meet in an hour or so after lunch for cake at Henry and Pam's rig.

We all had a great laugh at the messed up cake.
Sorry, it is an inside joke, and we would hate
to embarrass Marilyn

We enjoyed a couple of hours of laughing and story telling, while the entire cake was devoured.

Teresa with Lee and Betty

We had eight people in this motorhome, and honestly we did not feel crowded at all.  This is a floor plan we could live with.

Marilyn and Ed

We love spending time with this motley crew, because they have all travelled extensively, and have great advice for us newbies.

The hostess with the mostest ... Miss Pam

It was after five by the time we said so long with hugs.

When we arrived home, we noticed a note on our door to head over to Rene and Jeanette's site to meet their family.

Although it was getting close to supper, Teresa said "Let's go" because she was promised some Grammy time with their ten month old grandson.

"Hi Easton ... I am your newly adopted Grammy"

Rene and Jeanette are such gracious hosts, as they gave up their grandson to Teresa's complete joy.

We also met their beautiful daughter, Ginette, and son-in-law, Trevor, whom anyone would be lucky and proud to welcome into their family.

Their friend, Rick, also arrived today, and I would not be surprised if he wasn't shopping for an RV, because he fits in perfectly.

By this time it was getting dark, so we reluctantly headed back for home.

However, the fun still wasn't over, because Teresa had many E-Mails waiting for her.

The icing on the cake was when our two children phoned and she had some chat time with our granddaughter, Mya.  Her heart was exploding and she was wishing she could be holding her granddaughter and grandson!!!

It was an awesome day, for an awesome lady.