RV

Weeks 27 – 29: Yuma and Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Yuma

This was our second year back in Yuma and this year was even better because my nephew’s family lives there now and we driveway surfed for a week.  The next week our friends Chyerl and Jesse joined us  camping in the desert off Sidewinder Road about 14 miles west of Yuma (which is actually in California).  I was surprised by the way I felt when I saw the “Welcome to California” sign.  I felt really happy to be back in the state I’ve called home since 1979.

We parked in Kevin and Mariya’s driveway where they an an RV spot. I still don’t know how Ralph backed our 33 foot Motorhome in the spot. As you can see from the photo below, it was a very tight spot, so tight in fact that we couldn’t get the door open all the way and had to squeeze through it for the week we were parked there.

Driveway surfing...we barely fit

Driveway surfing…we barely fit

We took advantage of Kevin, Kevin’s tools and the many RV stores in the Yuma area to complete a long fix-it list. Ralph installed a new toilet, kitchen faucet, water pump, check the slides, light fixture above the kitchen sink, valve extender on a tire, and hinge under the bed. I also purchased new curtains for the front of the rig. Yuma is an RVer’s dream. There must be 50 RV parks filled with mostly Canadian’s (seasonal) and many RV stores and dealers. Yuma also has three “swap meet” type marketplaces for you to spend your money in. We bought a sun screen to hang from our awning to block the sun and a roll up table to use when there is no table at the campsite. Both things we’ve wanted to buy for a while and they had very good prices at the swap meet.

We had such a good time with the desert Furtah’ s. Mason, my grandnephew, is almost four years old and was so much fun to spend time with. He warmed up to us pretty quickly and had Ralph playing with him and his toys in no time! After we moved to the boondocking site on Sidewinder, they came out to visit us twice.

Arizona Swap Meet...the desert Furtahs: Kevin, Mariya and Mason

Arizona Swap Meet…the desert Furtahs: Kevin, Mariya and Mason


An usie...Mason and I

An usie…Mason and I

We all went across the border into Los Algodones, Mexico for the day. Ralph was our tour guide because he has been there a couple times before. Mariya wants to get some dental work done at the same dentist that Ralph had dental work done. The seven of us (including Chyerl and Jesse) walked across the border and the four blocks to the dental office. Mariya met the dental staff and checked out the office and made an appointment for a full consultation in March. We then went to a great restaurant for lunch and drinks. For seven lunches, four beers, one margarita and a couple of soft drinks the bill was $44.00. We purchased several things from the vendors that like the sidewalks and then walked back across the border. There wasn’t even a line at the border crossing. We all had a fun time and I think the desert Furtah’ s will be returning in the future.

Mason's first trip to Mexico

Mason’s first trip to Mexico


Colorful Mexico

Colorful Mexico


Mexico

Mexico


A day in Mexico...great lunch

A day in Mexico…great lunch

Chyerl, Jesse, Ralph and I went Geocaching one day and found eight geocaches.  They were all located along Sidewinder Road and pretty easy to find.  We had a long walk and came across this marked grave.

 

RIP in the desert

RIP in the desert


Looking for a geocache

Looking for a geocache


We found it...actually eight of them!

We found it…actually eight of them!

The next day Kevin, Mariya and Mason came out to our campsite with the s’mores fixings and we had a campfire. Little Mason really enjoyed himself out in the “wild”. Jesse got out his drone and flew around the area video taping.  When I get a copy I will post it here.

Drone pilot and co-pilot

Drone pilot and co-pilot


Drone flying over the desert

Drone flying over the desert


Another perfect Ralph campfire

Another perfect Ralph campfire


Desert Furtah's at the campfire

Desert Furtah’s at the campfire


S'mores in action!

S’mores in action!

I never tire of the beautiful desert sunsets.  I was very sad to leave Yuma and the “kids” and look forward to my next time in Yuma.

Desert Sunset

Desert Sunset

Lake Havasu City

From Yuma we caravanned with Chyerl and Jesse up to Lake Havasu City and stayed in the back lot of Prospector’s RV, the same place we stayed last year. We took advantage of their pool and showers and had a pleasant three day stay. We took Cheryl and Jesse to the Desert Bar. They couldn’t believe we took the Mini Cooper up the Desert Bar road last year. This year we had the Honda CRV and it was just as bumpy! We also went to an old car show at SARA park speedway. Also we had to make a stop at the London Bridge.

We started the last part of our trip back to California and the next stop: Death Valley!

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Week 26: Tucson, Ajo and Gila Bend, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

We were very happy to be back in Arizona.

Back in Arizona!

Back in Arizona!

Tucson was our first stop and we camped at the Gilbert Ray County Park, a small campground in Tucson Mountain Park in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. It is a county park that is very close to the Arizona – Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios and Saguaro National Park West.

We arrived at Gilbert Ray about noon in order to ensure a campsite because they do not take reservations. Good thing we arrived early. We were the first in a line of many to get a site for the fours days we wanted to stay and explore Tucson. As soon as we finished setting up we headed over to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. I read a lot about the Desert Museum on the many blogs I follow and was anxious to see it. And I must say it was fantastic! There are two miles of trails that wind through various Sonoran Desert habitats featuring flora and fauna native to the region, 16 desert botanical gardens, and earth sciences center cave showcasing minerals, animal exhibitions and animal-keeper demonstrations. They almost had to kick us  out of  the place at closing! It’s the number one attraction in Tucson and now we know why.

Desert Museum

Desert Museum

Desert Museum

Desert Museum

Desert Museum

Desert Museum

Fox at the Desert Museum

Fox at the Desert Museum

Desert Museum-Cholla Cactus

Desert Museum-Cholla Cactus

Desert Museum

Desert Museum

Desert Museum - Mountain Lion

Desert Museum – Mountain Lion

Yes...we see you.

Yes…we see you.

The next day we drove downtown to Tucson’s 4th Avenue District to meet a riding friend of Ralph’s for lunch. It’s a funky area with shops and restaurants. It was a lot like 6th Avenue in Austin. I love college towns. They are so alive with well…everything! After lunch we went to the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show. What a place that was! It had everything from ready-made jewelry from dinosaur dung to ancient fossils for sale. It was interesting with a lot of eye candy.

Funky 4th St in downtown Tucson-top of a bar

Funky 4th St in downtown Tucson-top of a bar

Funky 4th St in downtown Tucson-all locks

Funky 4th St in downtown Tucson-all locks

Funky 4th St in downtown Tucson

Funky 4th St in downtown Tucson

Fossil

Fossil

Fossil

Fossil

Tucson is surrounded by Saguaro National Park East and West. The National Park was established to protect the Saguaro Cactus. The area we visited was like a forest of cacti. It was something to see. We took the scenic Bajada Loop Drive to explore the park. Here’s a few photos of the beautiful area.

These boots are made for walkin'

These boots are made for walkin’

Ramada with picnic table. Love this!

Ramada with picnic table. Love this!

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro Cactus

I also toured the Old Tucson Studios. I wasn’t sure about going there, but I decided to and it was interesting and educational too! The studio has hosted 300 film and TV productions since 1939 including film classics such as Rio Bravo, Tombstone and The Three Amigos. Many, many famous stars walked the streets of Old Tucson like John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Clint Eastwood and Kurt Russell. There was a film playing that showed all the films made at the studios and the various stars. The scenery and buildings are authentic and some very old. There was a fire (arson)  several years ago, so some of the buildings were rebuilt after the fire. I took a walking tour and a train tour of the entire grounds. Loved it!

Old Tucson Studio

Old Tucson Studio

Old Tucson Studio

Old Tucson Studio

Old Tucson Studio

Old Tucson Studio

Old Tucson Studio

Old Tucson Studio

After the studio tour I headed over to the Mission San Xavier Del Bac, a historic Spanish Catholic mission founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kina. It was destroyed by Apaches in 1770. The current building was built between 1783-1797 and is the oldest European structure in Arizona. It is considered the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States. It was so beautiful! They are refurbishing the building.  As you can see the left side has been completed.  They are trying to raise funds to complete the right side.

Mission

Mission

Mission

Mission

Our time was short in Tucson and I hope to get back there sometime in the future.

Ajo, Arizona

We drove about 120 miles southwest from Tucson to Ajo, Arizona in order to visit Organ Pipe Cactus National Park. Ajo was a copper mining town back in the day. It’s a cute, little town about 25 miles north of the park. It is not far from the Mexican border so there were a few border patrol check points.   Let’s just say…we didn’t fit the profile. We actually boon docked (no hook ups) in the wild on Darby Well Road (BLM land). It felt so good to be back in the wild and the wide open spaces.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Historic Ajo

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Old Copper Mine

We spent the next day at Organ Pipe and drove the 21 mile Ajo Mountain Loop. Stops were numbered along the way and there was a brochure that guided us through the 18 stops. The park was formed by Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 to project the Organ Pipe Cactus which are rare north of the Mexican border. The cacti do not like cold weather.

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Organ Pipe Cactus

Organ Pipe Cactus

 

Gila Bend, Arizona

Our next stop was Gila Bend (pronounced He-la Bend) so we could visit the Painted Rock Petroglyphs Site. There is a campground right at the site. The campsites were very large and private with no hookups. Our senior rate was a whopping $4 per night. We could walk to the petroglyphs and also found a Geocache nearby.

That's us...the large one in the middle

That’s us…the large one left of middle

Another Geocashe found!

Another Geocashe found!

Painted Rock Petroglyph Site is an ancient archaeological site containing hundreds of symbolic and artistic rock etchings, or “petroglyphs”, produced centuries ago by prehistoric people’s.

Petroglyph Site

Petroglyph Site

Petroglyph Site

Petroglyph Site

Petroglyph

Petroglyph Site

Gila Bend has made national news by becoming the nation’s leader in the creation of a modern, renewable energy grid. It is home to four solar plant operations. I don’t understand why there are not more of these solar plants.

Our next stop is Yuma and a stay with my nephew Kevin and his family. And then friends will be joining us in the desert for some fun!

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Another beautiful sunset

Driving from Gila Bend to Yuma

Driving from Gila Bend to Yuma

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Weeks 23 – 24 Apalachicola, Port St Joe and Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Port St Joe

St Joseph’s Peninsula State Park is on a peninsula at the end of the road on the Gulf of Mexico. St Joseph Bay is on the other side of the peninsula. This park and the next one are listed as two of Florida’s best state parks. The weather was very cool the entire time we were at the park and there was a small tornado that took out four power poles and we were without power for one day.  I took the opportunity to drive the 35 miles eastward to visit the small town of Apalachicola, population is about 2400.

Sugar sand beaches, but no emerald waters. Too stormy.

Sugar sand beaches, but no emerald waters. Too stormy.

Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico

Beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

Beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

Looking west at sunset

Looking west at sunset

Campfire

Campfire

Guess where this truck is from?

Guess where this truck is from?

Answer: Texas!

Apalachicola

“Apalachicola” comes from the Apalachicola tribe  and is a combination of Hitchti words apalahchi, meaning “on the other side”, and okli, meaning “people”. In original reference to the settlement and the subgroup within the Seminole tribe, it probably meant “people on the other side of the river”. Many inhabitants of Apalachicola, have said their name means “land of the friendly people”.

In 1849, Apalachicola physician Dr. John Gorrie (1802–1855) discovered the cold-air process of refrigeration and patented an ice machine in 1850. He had experimented to find ways to lower the high temperatures of fever patients. His patent laid the groundwork for development of modern refrigeration and air-conditioning, making Florida and the South more livable year round. The city has a monument to him, and a replica of his ice machine is on display in the John Gorrie Museum.

Thank you Dr. Gorrie for the ice  and thank you Wikipedia for the info!

First Ice Machine

First Ice Machine

Maker of first ice machine and a Mason

Maker of first ice machine and a Mason

Apalachicola has a downtown area with nice shops, restaurants, and bars and I explored most of them.  The next day I returned for the Oyster Cook Off.

Once a year there is an oyster cook off for non-restaurant folks to show off their skills.  There is also live music and things to entertain children.  The music was from a band that is a regular in Nashville and was EXCELLENT!  I indulged in fried oysters fresh from the area and they were delish!  I don’t care for raw oysters, however, I love fried oysters.  Makes a great meal along with a local brew.  I talked with a few locals and had a great day.

Oyster Cook Off

Oyster Cook Off

Apalachicola River

Apalachicola River

Fishing vessel and nets

Fishing vessel and nets

Our next stop was Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, just east of Destin.  We had the worst weather here; storms and a tornado watch.  We were parked in a protected area so we didn’t get all that much wind. I ventured into Destin one day and went to the Fishing Museum and talked with the docent who was born and raised in the area.  Her family photos were in the museum.

Destin was a small fishing village and now is a large fishing village.  They hold the Fishing Rodeo there once a year.  Fishing is unique in Destin because there is an ocean shelf not very far offshore with a very deep drop in the ocean.  This means that you can fish for deep ocean fish a very short distance off the shore. I didn’t get any photos while in Destin.

The panhandle area of Florida is very different than South Florida and is truly the deep south.  Many more Southern accents and much, much less populated than the rest of Florida.  However, it is catching on with snowbirds and there is a lot of development occurring.  I would love to return  when the weather is better.

Next stop New Orleans!

 

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

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Week 13: Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Hanna City Park, Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is a public beach and city park near Mayport and Jacksonville Beach. It’s 447 acres of mature coastal hammock, which is rare to find along Florida’s heavily developed Atlantic coast. Part of the park was known as Manhattan Beach, Florida’s fist beach community for African Americans during the segregation period of the US. It started in 1900 by blacks working on the Florida East Coast Railway and flourished until 1940. The park has a very nice camp ground, hiking trails, off road bike trails and a fresh water lake.

While in the area I spent a lot of time exploring the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve which includes Fort Caroline, Dutton Island , Kingsley Plantation and the Theodore Roosevelt Area.

 

Getting used to the cloudy skies... lots of rain in these here parts!

Getting used to the cloudy skies… lots of rain in these here parts!

That's us!

That’s us!

The Timucuan
For thousands of years the native people depended on the rich natural resources of the St Johns Estuary. These pre-Columbian (before Christopher Columbus arrived) natives made contact with the first European (French) arrivals to the area in the mid-1500s and are known as the Timucuans. The Timucuans offered food to the French and helped the strange newcomers build Fort Caroline. The natives did not long survive contact with the Europeans. When the Spanish arrived (and drove out the French), they imposed their own culture on them through the Mission system. The natives had no immunity to the European diseases and were wiped out 100 years later.

Timucuans invented BBQ!

Timucuans invented BBQ!

Fort Caroline was built in 1564 by the French, mostly Huguenots (protestants). King Phillip II of Spain (Catholic) viewed the French as heretics and in 1565 captured Ft Caroline and massacred the French. The French recaptured the fort in 1568 and the Spanish took over again. “La Florida” would remain in Spanish control for the next 200 years. It was the first time European nations fought for control of lands in what would become the United States and it would not be the last!

Kingsley Plantation:  Florida’s Oldest Plantation Home

Kingsley Plantation by built by slaves in 1798 as the centerpiece of  a massive plantation on Fort George Island.  Florida was then a Spanish colony and the  plantation was symbolic of many such that  developed in the extreme northeast corner of  the future state. American planters came  across the border from Georgia looking for  rich lands where they could grow cotton,  tobacco, sugar cane, corn and other crops.

A unique structure, the Kingsley Plantation  House actually shows that considerable  thought went into its design and construction.  Built with numerous angles and numerous  windows, the house was designed so that  windows could be opened in all directions to  let breezes blow through to bring comfort to  the residents inside.

The front of the home faces the Fort George  River, a common feature of many plantation  houses. The river, not the road, was then the  focal point of the farm and the primary route  of transportation and communication for the  farm. Schooners and barges were loaded  there with Sea Island cotton and other crops  for transport to market.

In 1814 the plantation became the home of  Zephaniah Kingsley and his African wife,  Anta (Anna) Madgigine Jai. A planter who  came to Florida in 1803, Kingsley married  Anna after purchasing her as a slave in Cuba  in 1806. He legally freed both her and their  children in 1811.

The Kingsley family prospered under  Florida’s Spanish government. Anna was her  husband’s partner in the operation of the  farm and she also owned land and slaves of  her own.

Things changed in 1821 when the United  States gained possession of Florida. Laws  were implemented greatly restricting the  activities of both slaves and free blacks.  Zephaniah Kingsley fought against such
laws. Despite the fact that he owned slaves,  he was an early proponent of treating people  according to their abilities, not their color.

He debated with lawmakers over the civil  liberties of free blacks and even wrote a  major treatise on the subject. By the 1830s,  however, the situation became intolerable for  the Kingsleys and they decided to leave the  country.

Giving 50 of his slaves their legal freedom,  Zephaniah Kingsley relocated them along  with Anna and their two sons to Haiti, which  had become a free black republic following a  bloody revolution.  He died in 1843, but was  long survived by Anna who eventually came  back to Florida where she died in the 1870s.

The Kingsley Plantation is now maintained  by the National Park Service.  (Info taken from the website).

Main House

Main House

Slave Quarters

Slave Quarters

More ruins of Tabby construction

More ruins of Tabby construction

Slave house ruins

Slave house ruins

Tabby (oyster shells and sand) covered in stucco. This was a fireplace.

Tabby (oyster shells and sand) covered in stucco. This was a fireplace.

Inside of slave house

Inside of slave house

Theodore Roosevelt Area and the Willie Brown Nature Preserve (no, not the politican Willie Brown)

The nature preserve is miles of thickly wooded peaceful nature trails, vast grassland that supports both water and land animals, ancient piles of discarded oyster shells which yield clues about an extinct culture, and the legacy of preservation bequeathed to all by this property’s last private owner, Willie Browne.

In 1960 Willie gave seven acres of land along Mt. Pleasant Road to the Campfire Girls organization for a place to build a campground and lodge. During the last years of his life Willie struggled to keep his property. Though real estate developers eagerly offered him millions of dollars for his property, Willie refused to sell. “Money cannot buy happiness and this place makes me happy,” Willie once said. Willie worried that there would come a time when Jacksonville would be so densely populated and developed that no wild areas would remain where people could enjoy the natural beauty of “Old Florida.”

In 1969 Willie Browne donated all his land to The Nature Conservancy with the stipulation that it or any future owner would keep the land in its natural state. Willie requested that the property be named for his hero, former president Theodore Roosevelt. In December 1970, Willie Browne died alone in his cabin, content that he had done everything possible to nurture, conserve, and protect the gift of land bequeathed to him by his father. With his passing, Willie bequeathed his conservation values and his precious gift to all of us, for all time. Thank you Willie!

Willie Brown

Willie Brown

The Browns

The Browns

Mushrooms Growing on Tree Stumps

Mushrooms Growing on Tree Stumps

Mound of Oyster Shells

Mound of Oyster Shells

 

“A Behanding in Spokane” was playing at the Players by the Sea theatre in Jax Beach. The play was a little weird. About a man that had his hand cut off by gangsters and spent the rest of his life cutting off hands and looking for his hand. It was mildly entertaining.

Another Beautiful Sunset

Another Beautiful Sunset

Next stop St Augustine, Florida.

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Week 12: Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Florida

Amelia Island is a barrier island in north Florida just south of the St Marys River. We drove 100 miles south to reach our next campsite at Ft Clinch State Park. As you may have guessed, Ft Clinch is an old fort and is one of Florida’s first state parks (1935).

Florida has done an outstanding job with their state parks. There are 161 state parks and 10 state trails. In comparison, Georgia has around 50. The State of Florida has preserved historical and beachfront lands over the entire state. The parks are reasonably priced at around $30 with water and electric, and they are half price for Florida seniors. They book up early, especially on the weekends. I booked around June and was able to find sites during the week, but not on most weekends.

Fort Clinch State Park is located on the top of Florida’s northernmost barrier island at the site of a Civil War-era fort. It is surrounded by the Amelia River, the St Mary’s River and the Atlantic Ocean. We parked on the river side under a canopy of live oaks dripping in Spanish moss. We could walk to the fort along the water. The fort was named after General Duncan Lamont Clinch, a prominent figure of the Second Seminole War. Construction began in 1867 and it was built at the mouth of the St Mary’s River to protect the natural deep-water port of Fernandina. It is an excellent example of the Third System of Fortifications. Although it was never completed, it still served as a military post during the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War II. The fort is well preserved and the rooms in the fort are full of period items.

The Egan Creek runs along the park and is a wildlife preserve. The Egan Creek Greenway was purchased by the city of Fernandina Beach for conservation and passive recreational use. The Greenway was a great place for a hike and wildlife viewing. I was told there were alligators in the creek and that they were very tame. And sure enough we came upon one sunning itself near the edge of the water. Ralph spotted it first and it didn’t move at all when we approached it (at a safe distance). We were told there was an entire family of gators further up the trail. The Greenway is a beautiful place for hiking and biking. A little gem I would never have known about if I hadn’t taken a trolly tour of the area.

Greenway Hiking Trail

Greenway Hiking Trail


Cited on our Greenway hike

Cited on our Greenway hike

My morning walks along the water were full of sea life. There was a pod of dolphins hanging out in the area for the entire time we were camped here. The first morning I was startled by them swimming about 10 yards from the beach. They were so close I could hear them exhaling through their blowholes. It was thrilling! I’ve had the opportunity to swim with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key and I’ve supported the center for many years. I just love dolphins and the center does excellent work with dolphins,  manatees and seals.

View of morning walks

View of morning walks


Horseshoe Crab found on the beach

Horseshoe Crab found on the beach

I also found a HUGE horseshoe crab lying on it’s back. I turned him over so he could get back to the water. Ralph took a walk later and found him still on the sand so he gave him a ride to the water. I also found a jellyfish one morning. Didn’t touch that sucker! I’ve been stung by one many, many years ago and have never forgotten the feeling. Mr jellyfish was one his own. There is also a fishing pier at the park and it’s a half-mile long. That’s a very long pier!

I went into Fernandina Beach the small town at the top of Amelia Island. The town is pronounced like two women’s names; Fern and Dina and is rich with history. Amelia Island has 4,000 years of recorded history under eight flags. They say, “The French visited, the Spanish developed, the English named, and the Americans tamed. And let’s not forget the natives, the Timucuan Indians.

We went to the Amelia Island Museum of History in the old jail building and had an informative talk by one of the docents. We learned so much about the area. Many of the houses and buildings in Fernandina Beach are listed on the National Register, as is the entire 50-block historic district. I wandered around the town for a couple days and took it all in. I stopped at the Palace Saloon, supposedly the oldest bar in Florida, for a White Cosmo. Delish!

In jail AGAIN!

In jail AGAIN!

Before these historic buildings lined the streets of Fernandina Beach, pirates roamed the town and the island. The likes of Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Pierre and Jean LaFite, Calico Jack Rackham, Stede Bonnett and others all called on the relatively safe haven of Fernandina Harbor at some point. Pirate use of the island came to a head in 1817 when the French took control of the harbor.

Amelia Island is a wonderful place to visit and I will be back sometime in the future. I kept thinking, “What a great place this would be to live.”

What's left of a dock

What’s left of a dock


Another beautiful sunset

Another beautiful sunset

Next stop Hanna City Park in Jacksonville Beach.

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Week Seven: New England Part 2

Plymouth, Massachusetts

We drove close to 200 miles to our next campground in South Carver, Mass just outside Plymouth. Shady Acres was a funky campground with a lot of seasonal campers. A seasonal camper rents the campsite for an entire (usually summer) season. They move in and set up shop; building decks, landscaping and even adding storage buildings. It was Columbus Day weekend and most campgrounds were totally booked. It was also the last weekend that most of the campgrounds are open. So we definitely have to move south from here. We chose this area so we could visit Plymouth and Boston.

Our first stop was Plymouth and Plymouth Rock. What I learned about the rock made me a little disappointed with the whole story.

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock

The rock had lain at the foot of Cole’s Hill until 100 years after the Pilgrims’ landing in 1620. When plans were made to build a wharf at the Pilgrims’ landing site, a 94 year old elder of the church, living three miles from the spot, declared that he knew the precise boulder on which the Mayflower pilgrims first stepped when disembarking. The man claimed that his father and several of the original Mayflower passenger had, when he was a youth, identified the precise rock to him. There have been doubts hinted about the accuracy of the identification, in view of his age and the dates of the landing and his birth, but there is no doubt that he grew up in Plymouth at a time when many of the original passengers were still there. Bill Bryson in Made in America says, “The one thing the Pilgrims certainly did not do was step ashore on Plymouth Rock. Quite apart from the consideration that it may have stood well above the high-water mark in 1620, no prudent mariner would try to bring a ship alongside a boulder on a heaving December sea when a sheltered inlet beckoned from nearby.” Having been a sailor in the San Francisco Bay for 14 years, I totally agree. So you can understand my disappointment.

Our next stop was the Mayflower II docked nearby. It is a replica of the 17th century ship Mayflower. It was built in Devon, England in 1955 from blueprints held by Plimoth Plantation (a museum with the old spelling so as to differentiate it from the town) using traditional methods. The ship is 106 ft long and 25 ft wide. That’s not a large ship and it carried 102 passengers and all of their cargo as well as supplies for the voyage. And for most of the passage, those not sailing the ship were below deck. It took them 55 days to make the crossing. Sounds like a nightmare if you ask me. But they did it; and all for the right to believe what they wanted to believe.

Mayflower II

Mayflower II


Mayflower II Below Deck

Mayflower II Below Deck


IMG_1043

Below deck

Plimoth Plantation was the last place we visited in Plymouth. Plimoth Plantation was founded in 1947 and is a living history museum that shows the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in 1627. The interpreters have been trained to speak, act and dress appropriately for the period. They interact with their “strange” visitors in the first person, answering questions, discussing their lives and viewpoints and participating in tasks such as cooking, planting, blacksmithing and animal husbandry. The interpreters were so knowledgeable spoke in that 17th century way; it was fascinating.

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1620 House


Inside Plantation House

Inside Plantation House


Interpreter

Interpreter

There was also a re-creation of a Wampanoag home site to demonstrate how the Native Americans lived and interacted with the settlers. It was very educational and interesting.

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Wigwam


Tree Bark Wigwam

Tree Bark Wigwam


Indian Village

Indian Village

Cranberry Bogs

I attended the Cranberry Harvest Festival in Wareham. I took a bus out to the cranberry bogs and watched as they harvested the cranberries. The cranberries grow in water on vines and when they are ready they shake the vines and the cranberries float to the top of the water. A large vacuum sucks up the cranberries and loads them into a large semi-truck trailer and off they go for processing. Ocean Spray is actually a co-op of cranberry growers. Again, educational and interesting!

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Boston and the Freedom Trail

We took the T Commuter Rail into Boston the next day. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. The 45 minute train ride gave us an opportunity to see the area outside Boston. It reminded me of riding the train in Europe. Public transportation in the East is sooooo much better than out West. We debarked at South Station and it was only a short walk through downtown Boston to the beginning of the Freedom Trail.

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile path through downtown Boston that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. The path winds from Boston Common to the USS Constitution in Charlestown. The trail includes stops at explanatory ground markers, graveyards, notable church’s and buildings and a naval frigate. We visited Boston Common, the oldest city park in the US (1634); a cemetery founded in 1660 that is the final resting place for Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine and Paul Revere; the first public school in the US (Boston Latin School); the Old South Meeting House built in 1729 which was the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party; and the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony to jubilant crowds and Paul Revere’s house. The information plaques in these locations brought to life the struggle of the Colonists against British rule and taxation. The straw that broke the camel’s back and pushed the Colonists to fight for independence was that fact that the British could search Colonists’ homes and businesses at any time without cause. After many battles with the British, the Colonists won their independence. We ended our day by the harbor where the Boston Tea Party occurred.

1660 Cemetery

1660 Cemetery


Mother Goose Grave

Mother Goose Grave


Paul Revere Grave

Paul Revere Grave


Samuel Adams Grave

Samuel Adams Grave


Old Church

Old Church


Old State House

Old State House


Walking around Italian Area of Boston

Walking around Italian Area of Boston

 

Walking around Italian Area of Boston

Walking around Italian Area of Boston

The Boston Tea Party has always been a significant event for me, but not for the reason you may think. When I was in the 5th grade my Social Studies teacher asked me about the Boston Tea Party. I hadn’t done the reading so I hesitated before answering. He said, “Was it a ladies tea party with women in hats?” I answered, “Yes.” The entire class erupted in laughter and I was so embarrassed. I was never unprepared for class again! I think that event shaped me into the prepared person I am today.

Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor

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Next stop Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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Week Three: Traverse City, Grand Haven and Frankenmuth, Michigan

Traverse City (or as some call it Tra-verse City) is a small town on Lake Michigan/Grand Traverse Bay.  The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is very close. There are two campgrounds in the park and we stayed at the Platte River Campground. It’s a national campground so we used our National Senior Pass for half price camping. We don’t have reservations for camping anywhere except Florida in December and January and New Orleans. We read that part of the campground was first-come, first-served, so we thought we had a good chance of getting in because  it was during the week. We did get a spot for one night and had to move to another  for the second night. Ralph talked to one camper that told him you have to make reservations 6 months in advance to get a campsite. And we just waltzed in! It was a forested area near the Platte River and Lake Michigan. We did not have much time to explore due to a very strong rainstorm.

I went into Traverse City the day it rained to look around, have lunch and tour the old Traverse City State Hospital that has been redeveloped into housing, shops, restaurants and galleries. The old asylum has an interesting history. Northern Michigan Asylum was established in 1881 as the demand for a third psychiatric hospital in addition to those established in Kalamazoo and Pontiac, began to grow. Lumber baron, Perry Hannah, “the father of Traverse City,” used his political influence to secure its location in his home town. Under the supervision of a prominent architect, the first building, known as Building 50, was constructed. The hospital opened in 1885 with 43 residents. Over the years, changes in the law and mental health care philosophies brought on the decline of the institution. Use of the hospital slowly declined, and it was closed in 1989, with a loss of over 200 jobs to the local economy. Over the next decade, the community struggled with plans for reuse of the hospital grounds. In 1993, the property was transferred from the state to the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Corporation. Their efforts have led to the gradual but successful preservation and re-use of the former Building 50 as part of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a residential and commercial development. As of 2015 these buildings and cottages are occupied or being close to completion. I toured Building 50 and saw photos of the converted apartments in the grand old building. It’s good to see preservation and re-use of the beautiful, old buildings, instead of destroying them.

Building 50

Building 50

The next day we had to leave by noon, so we got up early and drove up to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and took the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. We also climbed the dunes. It was a very clear, sunny day and the Dunes and Lake Michigan were gorgeous.   I’m so glad we were able to see the Dunes. I would have liked to have spent a little more time in the area.   After the Dunes visit we drove about 150 miles south on Hwy 31 to Grand Haven to visit my former brother and sister-in-law, Wayne and Pat Johnson.

Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan

Footprints in the sand dune along Lake Michigan

Footprints in the sand dune along Lake Michigan

Climbing the dunes

Climbing the dunes

Grand Haven, Michigan

We were able to park on the street next to Pat and Wayne’s house. Actually it was in front of their neighbor’s house (with permission, of course) because that was the only level spot. We ran the electric extension cord to the garage and we settled in for a few nights. We had such a good time catching up and doing a little site seeing. Grand Haven is located on Lake Michigan and the Grand River. It’s a lovely, small town with a beach on Lake Michigan. Grand Haven State Park is located on the beach too. If we hadn’t been able to stay at Wayne and Pat’s we would have stayed at this “park”. It’s more like a parking lot on the beach. Pat and I walked along the break wall/pier in the morning with a few of her friends. It was a little chilly and a beautiful view. The next day they took us to the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. The park opened in 1995 and is known internationally for the quality of its collections, exhibitions, gardens and grounds. It has a permanent collection which includes more than 200 masterworks by artists from Auguste Roden to Ai Weiwei   If you are ever are in the Grand Rapids area, you must see this place for yourself.  Here’s a link to their website: http://www.meijergardens.org/

Pat and Wayne Johnson

Pat and Wayne Johnson

Frankenmuth, Michigan

From Grand Haven we drove across the state to Frankenmuth for Car Fest. Ralph’s brother Roy had a 71 Olds Cutlass Convertible in the show. There were 2500 classic cars in show. I’ve never seen so many cars in one place like this. It was fun to walk around and decide which one I/we wanted to drive off. Later in the evening Roy and his friend Joe and Ralph and I had dinner at Zhenders (known for their chicken dinners, but none of us had chicken!) We camped in a really funky campground at Otter Lake. The campground accepts seasonal campers and some  have built decks on the front of their trailers. This is the first time we’ve seen something like this. By the way, there were no otters at Otter Lake! We stayed two nights before heading to Clarkston for some more driveway surfing at my best friend (from kindergarten), Dianne and her husband, Ken’s house.

View out our front window at Otter Lake campground

View out our front window at Otter Lake campground

Me and the big guy. When I got up I realized he had a wet hand!

Me and the big guy. When I got up I realized he had a wet hand!

Fancy Clubhouse

Fancy Clubhouse

Wooden spokes...cool!

Wooden spokes…cool!

Car Fest on the river

Car Fest on the river

Covered Bridge in Frankenmuth

Covered Bridge in Frankenmuth

The Happy Campers

The Happy Campers

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Lake Havasu, AZ, Feb 11 – 16, 2015

We drove back to Quartzsite to get new shoes for our baby.  Six truck-size tires were installed in Quartzsite.  Ralph noticed the front driver’s side tire wall was cracking.  This happens to RV tires much sooner than the tread wearing out.  They “age out” before they wear out.  If one was cracking, the others wouldn’t be far behind.  Good tires are extremely important on a 22,000 lb vehicle.  A flat tire or blow out can cause a lot of damage to property and life!  Nothing to mess around with so we called around and received a competitive price from an independent tire dealer in Quartzsite. New tires along with our new Tire Pressure Monitoring System gives us a more confident feeling moving down the road.  When the tires were off they checked the brake pads and of course, we needed them too! So we asked for a recommendation in Lake Havasu City and made an appointment for Friday. It’s been an expensive trip with all the new gear.  We are now totally prepared for our country-wide trip this summer, if indeed we finally decide to go.  From Quartzsite, it is only around 90 miles north to Lake Havasu City, AZ, our next home for a while.

In for new tires

In for new tires

In for new tires

In for new tires

I don’t know what I expected from Lake Havasu…the only thing I did know was that the London Bridge was purchased, dissembled, shipped to Arizona and reassembled.  I thought that was the craziest waste of money.  But, indeed it is here in all it’s glory spanning the Colorado River.

The London Bridge

The London Bridge

Another View of the London Bridge

Another View of the London Bridge

Havasu seems to be a small city full of Canadian snowbirds. It is a nice size small city that even has a Dillard’s Department Store.  We pulled into town thinking we were going to boondock, but the places we were told about were too crowded and not level.  So we started calling around to several RV parks to inquire about open sites. No vacancies anywhere!  Finally Prospector’s RV Park said they had dry camping available in their overflow parking area for $10 a day.  SOLD! We parked in the overflow parking in the back, however, it was right next to the Clubhouse, pool, hot tub, showers and laundry. Score! We stayed through the President’s Day weekend. A couple of days hanging at the pool and reading was a welcomed change of pace.  If we hadn’t found this, I don’t know where we would have camped.  They say to always have a plan B…now I always will.

 

Sunset from our "campsite"

Sunset from our “campsite”

We hiked at SARA park, just south of town. It was a great hike up into the hills to a vista overlooking the lake. The trails were not well marked and we did get a little lost, but ended up back on the road about one-half mile from where we parked. SARA park is a giant park that has venues for the rodeo, R/C airplanes, sports fields and hiking trails.

 

Reward at the top!  Hiking in SARA Park.

Reward at the top! Hiking in SARA Park.

We attended the Rockabilly Reunion on Saturday. There were several bands, none of which we liked. And they had a classic car and old motorcycle show. Ralph and I picked out our classic cars to buy (wishful thinking). Of course, we picked different cars! I like the Bonnie and Clyde cars and Ralph likes the old muscle cars. We ate dinner at the food court and left there pretty early. I like almost all types of music, including Rockabilly, but it has to be good music. Unfortunately, this was NOT good music.

On Sunday we took a ride to the Desert Bar. I read about the Desert Bar in a couple of blogs I follow and wanted to go see the place for myself. There are two roads that go up the hill to the bar; one is a dirt road that requires a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle and the other is a dirt road that an average vehicle can navigate. Both roads are about five miles long. As most of you know, I drive a Mini Cooper S…definitely not four-wheel and definitely not high clearance. So I thought, “No problem, we’ll take the “good” road”. We headed up the worst road I’ve ever driven on. They should actually call it a rock road, not a dirt road. Several cars passed us coming down the road, actually there was a bit of a traffic jam. In some places there was only room for one car at a time. Talk about white-knuckling the steering wheel. And do you know how long it takes to go five miles at 10 mph? A freakin’ long time! But, I wasn’t giving up. We finally arrived at the bar and were pleasantly surprised. It was a hopping place with a really good rock and roll band, food, and of course drinks. The bar is completely off the grid; it uses solar for power and the solar panels provide shade for the outdoor areas. We had a good time and I am glad we made the trip up the mountain. Ralph drove on the way down. We were very happy to finally reach the highway!

 

The rock road up to the Desert Bar

The rock road up to the Desert Bar

We made it...smallest car in the parking lot.

We made it…smallest car in the parking lot.

Some of the art at the Desert Bar

Some of the art at the Desert Bar

Miller Lite and a shot of Fireball...not for Ralph...for me!

Miller Lite and a shot of Fireball…not for Ralph…for me!

Colorful crowd!

Colorful crowd!

We also visited the Parker Dam.  The poor Colorado River is all dammed up!  There are lots of wild burros in the area and frequently cause cars accidents.  These burros seemed to be very happy located on the local golf course. There are several RV Parks in the area, but they are much too crowded for our tastes.

Parker Dam

Parker Dam

Parker Dam

Parker Dam

Wild Burros at the golf course

Wild Burros at the golf course

I like Lake Havasu City very much. I can see why so many people flock here in the winter. It’s beautiful mountains surround the fairly large lake and there are plenty of things to do. And the weather was perfect! Don’t know when I’ll get back here, if ever. We did enjoy our time here.

Next stop Lake Mead and Las Vegas.

Until next time.

Ralph's new co-pilot

Ralph’s new co-pilot

The Happy Campers

The Happy Campers

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I Can See Mexico from My Yard (almost), Ogliby Road, Yuma, Az, Feb 1 – 7, 2015

We are wild camping  on BLM land near Ogliby and Sidewinder Roads, about three miles north of Interstate 8 and about four miles from the border with  Mexico. We are actually back in California, just inside the border with Arizona.  We arrived as a foursome and that lasted a couple days and then there were two. We sure do miss our foursome! Diane kept us in baked goods ( a blessing and a curse) and she also got our propane oven lit. We haven’t been able to get the darn thing lit for over a year! It was user error on our part! We had a lot of laughs, some great discussions about current events and she was very tolerant of my left wing, liberal bias! It was sad for us to see them drive off. We vowed to do some more camping together in the future.

Ronnie, Diane, Rochelle and Ralph

Ronnie, Diane, Rochelle and Ralph

Goodbye friends!

Goodbye friends!

Both Ralph and I have been sick with a cold that made the rounds from Ronnie, to Diane to me and then Ralph. I  was glad it was only a head cold and didn’t go into my chest. Nothing a trip into Yuma for $60 of cold meds didn’t cure! Ralph’s been such a gentleman and sleeping on the jack knife sofa  in the living room so we could both get some rest. With the coughing, sneezing, blowing and moaning from each of us at different times, it was impossible to sleep.

Ralph dug a fire pit and I gathered the rock for around the edge and we’ve had wonderful fires starting at sunset. It’s enough to chase the desert night chill away. We’ve been under a nearly full and full moon since we’ve been here. I’ve seen the moon rise in the evening in the east and set in the morning in the west. Jupiter is visible and we can see four of Jupiter’s moons with our binoculars. Venus is also visible in the southern sky. We are miles from a city so the night sky is spectacular. We can see the glow of the lights of El Centro, Ca (40 miles west) in the western sky.

Moonrise over the Cargo Muchachos Mountains

Moonrise over the Cargo Muchacho Mountains

We hosted our first RV Super Bowl party with chicken wings and beer, guac, etc. We had excellent TV reception, with one slight drawback, most channels are in Spanish. However, we did get NBC and the game.  Ralph brought a satellite dish and our Directv receiver from home and worked to set it up for hours with Ronnie’s help.  He did a practice session at home and everything went fairly smooth, however, out here we could not find the right satellite.  Even with Billy Bob’s technical support on the phone.  Oh well…we really don’t miss TV at all!  We actually have conversations now!

Super Bowl 2015

Super Bowl 2015

I have an app, Roadside America, that lists all the sights in the area, wherever we are camped. This is how I found the Old Plank Road, the ghost mining town of Tumco  and the small town of Felicity.

We are right on the edge of the Imperial Sand Dunes  in the southeast corner of California on the border with Arizona. They are the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune spans for than 40 miles and is five miles wide. It’s very popular with the ATV crowd. And the fence between Mexico and California is clearly visible.

Imperial Sand Dunes

Imperial Sand Dunes

That dark black line on the horizon is The Fence.

That dark black line on the horizon is The Fence.

Plank Road is a wooden road that once spanned the Imperial Sand Dunes providing a means of transportation and commerce to the southern Imperial Valley. It is a testament to American ingenuity that produced it.  It was the innovative, if not unusual, solution to the needs of early automobiles crossing the sand dunes. Construction began in 1915.  The single land road was built like railroad tracks. Bolted wooden boards ran parallel to each other approximately the width of a car. The tracks were dragged out by teams of mules, then laid out end to end and secured with spiked crossbars.  It was purposely designed so it could be moved when the desert sand shifted.  A stationary road would be covered in sand in very little time.  Here’s what’s left of the road.

Old Plank Road

Old Plank Road

One panel of Old Plank Road

One panel of Old Plank Road

Tumco, originally called Hedges, is an abandoned gold mining town and is also one of the earliest gold mining areas in California. It has a history spanning some 200 years, with several periods of boom and bust. Gold was first discovered by Spanish colonists as they moved north from Sonora, Mexico. According to the legend, two young boys came into their camp one evening with their shirts filled with gold ore. These muchachos cargados (loaded boys) were the namesake for the Cargo Muchacho Mountains, where the Tumco deposits occur. Numerous mines were operated by Mexican settlers for many years. In 1877, the Southern Pacific Railroad completed the Yuma to Los Angeles line of its transcontinental route and a gold rush ensued. A twelve mile wooden pipeline pumped over 100,000 gallons of water from the Colorado River per day, and the railroad carried mine timbers from northern Arizona for use in the expansive underground workings. Ultimately, over 200,000 ounces of gold was taken from the mines in the area. Today little can be seen of the old mining town, but during the boom time of the 1890s, it supported a population of at least 500 people and produced $1,000 a day in gold. The latest episode in history began in 1995 when the American Girl Mining Joint Venture began mining in the area again.

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Ralph contemplating the ghosts

Ralph contemplating the ghosts

What remains of the Tumco

What remains of the Tumco

Felicity

Jacques-Andre Istel has officially established the Center of the World in the town that he named after his wife, Felicia.  And he has built a town around it to bolster his claim and he’s the 87 year old  mayor.  There is a post office and a few apartments and of course Jacques home.  He also built a beautiful small church and had 150,000 tons of dirt trucked in and piled up into a hill on which to build the church.  The church is modeled after one that he likes in Brittany.  The Center of the World has also become the central point for memories.  He has a series of two-inch think granite walls being inscribed with everything that he thinks is worth telling future generations. The long granite walls tell the stories of the history of French aviation, WWII, US Marine Corps Korean war Memorial, the History of Humanity, etc.  It is all funded by Jacques and donors. You can have your name engraved and become part of the wall for a $300 donation.  The center is only open from December to March, when the outside temperature won’t kill you!

The Center of the World

The Center of the World

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Ralph went visiting our nearest neighbor, Bill, who is living in his pickup truck and carving beautiful canes out of local wood  and inlaying stone he finds here in the desert. Bill had been living in the area and had a shop at the Gold Rock RV park until very recently.  He was  a wealth of local information.

This is not a quiet place. We are near a railroad track and it seems the trains run every hour and evidently, must blow their horns. I’ve noticed that the horns blow in different sequences and wonder what’s the significance of each pattern. We also have the very large helicopters that fly over periodically all day and half the night, which we assume are border patrol.

The weather has been very warm; 10 degrees above normal for this time of year. It will be in the high 80s for the next few days. We are going to leave our boondocking area and go to an RV park  just up the road; the Gold Rock RV Resort. It’s quite a little, middle of nowhere, desert “Resort” . They have hookups and laundry. So we can dump, pump, run the A/C and do laundry all for $20 per night. The proprietor’s name is Candy Hooker. Great name, eh? There is also a museum there with photos of Tumco in it’s heyday. We will spend one night there and then head up a little north. See if we can find a little cooler climate. Getting close to 90 degrees here and this is not what we want. That’s why our vacation home is on wheels.

Here’s a little look at the “Resort”.

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We are learning our way around Yuma and have enjoyed our time here. Ralph has been here twice for dental appointments in Los Algodones, Mexico

We’ve been allowing Feddy to hang out off the leash and he’s having a wonderful time exploring under the rig. He doesn’t seem to wander far and comes when Ralph whistles. We make sure he is in before dark. Coyotes, don’t cha know…

Speaking of coyotes…We were sitting under the awning near our campfire when Ralph says, very calmly and in a low voice, “There’s a coyote”. At that point it was about 25 feet from us and I didn’t see it. I ask, “Where is it?” Ralph pointed and said, “Right there!” I still didn’t see it; but right there was too close for me.  Ralph said is was less than 10 feet from me. Now I move into action. That action being jumping up, making a lot of noise and running into the rig, fast! Then,  I looked out the open door and saw it.  In my mild panic, I accidentally let the cat out. Then I went out and started screaming “Fred!, Fred!” scaring the damn cat away. Ralph did get the cat back, but for a minute I wanted to vomit because I thought my cat was going to be coyote dinner! In my mind’s I see a large, male, aggressive coyote. In reality it was a very small (think large cat size) and it was slinking away looking like he hoped we hadn’t seen him either. The end of the story…Ralph sat outside, fearless, by the campfire and I spent the rest of the evening sitting in the dinette, with the window open and watching the campfire from the comfort (and security) of the rig. Yes, I am a coward! And I feel so bad for the poor little thing with absolutely no water and a mouse once in a while for dinner. This is a very harsh environment.

A sampling of desert sunsets.  The photos have not been enhanced.

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Until next time…

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Imperial Recreation Area, Yuma Arizona, January 26 -31, 2015

We are still a foursome; Diane and Ronnie , Rochelle and Ralph. We drove south on Hwy 95 to our next camping site in the Imperial Recreation Area just north of Yuma, Arizona. The area is next to the Yuma Proving Grounds. We’ve had quite a lot of activity in the air above us; several helicopters and one F-18 Navy jet. I swear I’m in an episode of China Beach with all the helicopters and their thumping noise.  BTW for all you Detroiters, the GM Proving Grounds are right next door.

Entrance to US Army Proving Grounds

Entrance to US Army Proving Grounds

Display just outside the gate of the Yuma Proving Ground

Display just outside the gate of the Yuma Proving Ground

More tanks, many used in Viet Nam

More tanks, many used in Viet Nam

It's not often you see a tank crossing sign!

It’s not often you see a tank crossing sign!

We are parked along the shore of the Senator Wash Reservoir and it is really wonderful to have this water system in the desert. There is a Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) here and you can camp the entire season for $180 or $40 for 14 days. Lots of snowbirds here!

Our yard for our time here at Senator Wash

Our yard for our time here at Senator Wash

We circled the wagons

We circled the wagons

The Senator Wash Reservoir provides water for agriculture in and around the Yuma area. And who knew? Certainly not me. However, I just learned that during the winter months Yuma grows 90% of lettuce for the entire country. That’s a lot of lettuce. It was surprising to me that there was so much green around Yuma.

Lettuce growing in the desert

Lettuce growing in the desert

Cabbages too!

Cabbages too!

It’s a 20 mile drive into Yuma, a city of around 95,000 people. They have everything in Yuma including all the major stores and chain restaurants. There is a great mall called the Yuma Palms. Diane and I went into Yuma to do laundry, grocery shop and have lunch.

Yelp guided us to a very good Mexican seafood restaurant. The food and service was excellent. I use Yelp everywhere we go and I’ve never had a bad meal.

We scouted out the LTVA and Mittry Lake for possible campsites in the future. Some folks spend the entire winter season here. They even landscape their campsites by gathering the rocks in the area and making circular driveways, planters, fire rings and boundaries around their sites. There are sun shelters, wind barriers and dog pens.

Mittry Lake

Mittry Lake

There is a reason so many who are able, winter in this area. The sky is clear blue, the temperature is 75 with a gentle 7 mph wind and the humidity is a comfortable 30%. Yuma is reasonably priced and caters to RVers. There are things to do and places to go in town, including Farmer’s Markets, Flee Markets, entertainment, mountain hikes, ATVing and more. I like it here!

Next stop is Ogliby and Sidewinder Rds 14 miles east of Yuma and just over the California border. Another boondocking location I learned about from the Wheelingit.us blog.

There's even six-foot Flamingos in the desert!

There’s even six-foot Flamingos in the desert!

Out for an afternoon stroll

Out for an afternoon stroll

Chillaxing after a walk

Chillaxing after a walk

Until next time…

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