Friday, January 31, 2014

Boondocking near Yuma, Arizona

After a week in Benson, Arizona we decided to move on to Yuma. Well, actually where we camp is in Winterhaven, California. Please don't tell Al, as he hates changing time zones. (kidding) We are just over the border from Yuma, and Winterhaven is the first little town, so most folks who are here are on Mountain time.  We watch TV Channels set on Arizona time, and do most everything in Yuma anyway, so we find it much easier.  All our clocks are set for Arizona time. Only our cell phones change when we are here.  Last year Al and I went out for a steak dinner at one of the Casinos here in Winterhaven, and they were even using Mountain Time

We are boondocking on BLM land (Bureau of Land Management). This land is government land, and we are allowed to camp on it for free or for a small fee.  The area we chose to be in charges a small fee of $40 for two weeks.  Boondocking means we have no utilities and we rely on our solar panels for electricity and sometimes our generator.  We have holding tanks for fresh water and holding tanks that hold our waste water. There is a place very close where we can dump our tanks and take on fresh water when needed.  We have been here for almost 4 weeks and are actually enjoying it very much.  We are basically in the desert, but not far at all from civilization. Many people who boondock like to go far away from people and go where no one is around. We like our space around us, but feel much safer if there are people around.  There are actually a lot of other campers here, but all are at a distance away.  We did have someone who was about 200 feet away the other day, and that was actually close. They only stayed for an overnight. 

                                                                   Our Campsite
It has been very warm here for the most part. The first week or two it was always in the 70's during the day and dropped down into the high 40's and 50's at night. Lately it has been in the 80's during the day and even as high as 60 at night.  Can't really complain (and wouldn't dare complain to folks back home anyway) as there is always a nice breeze. Starting tomorrow, it is supposed to be in the 70's.

While boondocking, we can do pretty much everything we would normally do.  We do try to conserve though. I can't do laundry with my Splendide washer/dryer combo though, and I do miss that. We went to the Laundry Mat a week or so ago and boy did I have a lot of laundry to do.

             Al strung a clothesline for me for clothes I didn't want to put in dryer at laundry mat.
                              This line was full, but I had already brought a lot of clothes inside.

                      He used his ladder on the other end of clothesline. No trees or poles here! 
                                 It worked great and the clothes were dry in no time at all!

We go to town a lot as I'm not the best shopper. I always have something I need at the grocery store, plus we like to go out to lunch and sometimes dinner.  Yes I do cook quite a bit also, and we do combine trips to town with other errands as it is about 10+miles.  Since Yuma is the lettuce capital of the world or the U.S.A. anyway, there are lots of veggies growing here right now.  I mean everywhere you go there are fields of lettuce, broccoli cabbage and every vegetable you can imagine.

                              Fresh veggies I brought home one day from the roadside stand

                                 Brocco-flower: A cross between a broccoli and a cauliflower.
                                                       It tasted mostly like cauliflower

As you can see here, the fields really are everywhere. This stand is surrounded by fields of produce.

Since here we have seen some beautiful sunsets and at least one sunrise (We don't usually tend to get up that early)  Life is pretty good here. Boondocking is certainly not for everyone, but it suits us just fine. Now, mind you I am starting to think about a full service RV park where I can take longer showers and use my Spendide washer. ( I really hate laundry mats!)  Very soon I hope!

                                           One evening it seemed like the sky was on fire.
                                     We do get some beautiful sunsets out here in the desert.

                                   I thought this was the most unusual sunrise I had ever seen.
                                    I quickly put on my robe and went outside to get this shot.

We had some major truck problems, so we had to rent a car for over a week. We needed new fuel injectors.  The truck was smoking quite a bit. It is a big job and we had to find a reputable diesel mechanic here in Yuma which is not always an easy task.  Luckily, we did find someone and got it taken care of.  Now we are happy. 

                                                                      Al's Dually

For the most part we really are living the simple life here and loving it just fine.  So for now, I'll say good by and hope you'll check back real soon. I'm saving some really good posts for early next week. Yeah, lots of catching up to do!  Life really is soooo good!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Heading West from Texas to Arizona

This is my third post in as many days, so if you are just now seeing this, please look at my two previous posts. I finally decided to start blogging again and I am playing catch-up!

Well, a couple days after Christmas, we left San Angelo and headed south and west for warmth. Our first stop was in Fort Stockton, TX, which really isn't too far away, but we never leave too early in the day, and it's a good stopping point for the first night.  We decided since it was still really cold, to keep moving until we got to Arizona. So, the next morning we drove to Vado, New Mexico for one night. Both of these parks were Passport America parks and were right off the highway. Passport America parks are half price if you are a member.  The next day we arrived in Benson Arizona, and there were several Passport America parks there to choose from.  One in particular was recommended and though a little more expensive, it looked to be much nicer than the rest. So, we chose to stay at Valley Vista RV Resort at a very reasonable rate of only $15 per night. It was a very lovely place, and the people were very nice. Below is a picture of our site. I honestly think we had the nicest site in the place.  We stayed for a week. I loved the Cactus garden in front. I'm not sure how it happened, but I did manage to get some thin needles from the cactus in my pants and right through to my leg. Just a small area. Duct tape works great in removing them from both the pants and my leg. Very fine needles and they can't be removed with tweezers (too tiny).  They weren't painful, but I knew they were there. ( We really like the little town of Benson, AZ.  It has a lot to offer, just enough for us and is less than an hour away from Tucson.  We spent the week getting caught up on housework and laundry and of course, Al had some busy stuff he wanted to get done.  You know, man stuff!!

Someone in the office told us we should visit the Gammon's Gulch Movie Set. Not too much is advertised about it, but we did read something about it in a flyer.  No brochures in the rack or anything else, just a small little something I happened to read that was hardly noticeable.  This place was not easy to find either. Forget about the GPS. I guess if I had looked at their website, which I didn't know about til after, it would have told me. Yes, we got lost, but that was fun anyway!  Anyway check it out here:

We found our way there many miles over dirt roads.  It was quite a treat once we got there.  We were the only people there and we got a private tour by the owner and founder Jay Gammons.  Since we had called before coming, he was there to great us.  It is recommended you call ahead because if they are filming, you won't be able to go there that day.  Jay is quite a character, and not only did he give us a private tour, he played the piano and sang and played a banjo. He told us stories of famous people he knew personally and showed us pictures of himself with John Wayne and others.  His father worked for John Wayne for many years when he was a boy.  He told us who he liked (Paul Newman) and who he couldn't stand (Michael Landon). Apparently, he knew these people personally . It was very interesting.  Quite funny too.  The guy was a hoot.  I had asked before we came how much admission was and was told it was $7.00 each.  Now, that is reasonable, I would say.  Only thing was, he didn't want us to pay until we were satisfied with the tour. I finally figured out just maybe he was looking for tips as well.  Only problem was, it didn't dawn on me until after we left.  Usually, we are really good about tipping people. Oh well, sorry Jay. I guess that's why you had us put the money in a jar. Duh!!! We were also surprised when he told us he only charges $500 per day for use of his set for Movies. I think that is pretty cheap when you think about it.  He actually spent over an hour with us, and maybe closer to two.

Jay seemed to love singing and playing the piano and banjo

 This is an icebox from Italy. Pretty Neat!!!

                                       Al and Jay, why are they waving bye to me? Hmmm!

As you can see from the picture above, it had warmed up nicely.  Not as warm as Yuma was to be and still cold at night, but a real nice improvement. We drove into Tombstone one day while we were here and had lunch at one of the restaurants. We had already toured the place a few years ago with our friends Carol and Al, so we didn't stay long.  We also took a ride into Bisbee a really neat mining town. This is a really busy place.  We got out and walked around a little and will definitely go back there next time.  It was hard for Al walking on the street, because the sidewalks were very hilly and uneven. Until he gets his other knee replaced, he found it hard walking there. That new knee is gonna happen this spring/summer when we get home.

Al and I were thanking our dear Lord for watching over us one night as we slept. We woke up in the middle of the night to a popping noise and smoke coming from our little electric heater. We are so thankful we both woke up and unplugged it and immediately set the thing outside to let it cool down. Needless to say, we put it in the dumpster the next day. Letting our place air out a little too. Not too bad, but I could notice it after being outside and then coming back in.

We thought the Passport America rate was only good for one week, but they told us in the office we could stay longer at that rate. We were very tempted, but had a package (medicines) that were arriving in Yuma, and I needed one in particular, so we decided we had to leave. We felt bad, because the day we left, we found out some of our friends from the Montana group were getting together at a Steak place in Tucson the next night. We were invited, but were already en route to Yuma. Seems like we are always a day late.  Hopefully, there will be another opportunity in the future. We loved Benson, so we will be back and definitely to the Valley Vista RV Resort.

Stay tuned! More later!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sooo Cold Even In Texas

If you haven't read my post from yesterday, you might want to scroll down and read that one first. I am playing catch up here. So, this is my second post in 2 days and hopefully, tomorrow or Tuesday I will post another one.

Well, we all sure know about how cold it's been all over the Northeast this year. Well, it was very cold in Texas as well. At least for Texas that is!! Keep in mind that we were living in an RV and that is a lot different than being in a house. I know, I know what you are saying Wah, wah, poor Nita! ha ha ha! Well, I have to tell you my joints were aching, I was freezing. It got down into the 20's and this started in November, mind you! We had some rather nice days, but they were few and far between.  At night I just couldn't seem to keep warm. I had a wicked cold during that time as well which didn't help matters. The roads were icy and mainly the bridges. They don't have the equipment here like they do back home to melt the ice, so it took about a week for things to get back to normal. 

Even so, the cold continued and we were there for 6 weeks, and then our furnace stopped working.  Poor Al, he is a do-it-your selfer and thank God for that! He had everything apart and spread out on the floor in our RV. Luckily he went to an RV place near here and they tested our circuit board and found out we needed a new one, so for about $150 bucks, (which included a veteran's discount) Al got it fixed.  It was quite a process getting to this point.  We had been attending a church here and the pastor and youth director stopped by while Al was in the middle of all this. They have a tradition of welcoming people by bringing them a coffee mug filled with candy kisses that says on it "you've been mugged" really cute, but Al thanked them and apologized for not inviting them in as there was a total mess going on. Our floor was covered with parts and tools all over the place and it was freezing cold in there as well. Plus he couldn't stop to visit anyway.  My daughter-in-law's mom offered us a place to stay for the night as she has a "Bunk House" she rents out. We were so thankful for her generous offer, but luckily, Al got it up and running.  Seems like every year, something like this happens.  Unfortunately, it was just a little too cold to rely on alternative heat sources and since we were mostly relying on solar anyway, we really didn't want to use the electric heater we had with us.

So, that is my tale of woe. We all have them from time to time and we realize they are just part of life. It could be much worse. Now that we are basking in the 75 degree sunshine, what is there to complain about. We still have some problems, who doesn't. Life is good though!!! Really!!

Check back tomorrow or Tuesday for our trip going further west!  I'm done with my wah wah story!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Catching up Big Time!

I know it's been a long time since I posted here. Mostly though, I have posted what's going on in our travels on facebook, and I have had some requests from family and friends to start blogging again. To be honest, I guess I got bit by the lazy bug.  It can sometimes be a lot of work keeping up a blog, and you always wonder if anyone even reads it. On facebook, you get lots of replies almost instantly. Of course, many people aren't on there, so they don't see what's going on. Also, the blog gives me something to look back on later.  I actually enjoy going back and looking at previous posts of where we have been in previous years and places we have visited. It gives me a diary of sorts. So this will be a rather long one, and then every few days I will be posting some things we've been up to lately complete with pictures.

We started out on our journey around the first of November. We were anxious to leave to escape the cold weather and of course, our ultimate destination was to be in Texas by Thanksgiving and preferably a week before that. I had in mind to stop in Crossville, TN to see some dear friends I hadn't seen in many, many years, Joan and Larry Shaw. I hope my cousins in Virginia will forgive me for not stopping there this time, but it just didn't work into our schedule. We stayed in a campground named Bean Pot Campground right near their home.  I had not seen Joan and Larry in at least 30 years and Joan is one of my best friends.  I had been out of touch with her for a very long time. I must say when we finally got together, the years we had been apart just seemed to disappear. They had never met my husband Al, and they instantly hit it off with him. It was a wonderful reunion, and I can't wait until we can see each other again sometime. Of course, we have been planning this for a few years now, but you know how it is. Unfortunately, Larry is in poor health, but he has a very good spirit and that twinkle in his eye and smile is always present.  Both have a deep faith in God and I know it carries them through the difficult times. After a few days, we moved on. I felt sad leaving to be honest and I would have enjoyed staying longer.  I know we will be back.

We stayed at the Gulf Islands National Seashore for about a week in Ocean City, MS. It was nice to have a week to just rest and relax. We were basically just meandering our way toward San Angelo, TX to Doug and Deja's to see the grandkids. Oh, did I say that!  I mean to see everyone! LOL!!! Ha ha! 

                                         Our Campsite at Gulf Island National Seashore

Finally on November 20th we arrived at the kid's in San Angelo and it was so wonderful seeing everyone there.  We parked in their driveway and were just steps from their front door. It was easy access to their house and our little house as well.  Of course, the kids were in and out, and the first few days, especially the youngest 4 were all in there at once. It got a little loud and crowed, but oh what fun it was!!! Al and I are so blessed to have 15 wonderful grandchildren and even though these 6 are in TX, we are so lucky we got to spend 6 weeks with them right here where they live.

Elisha, Everson, and Egan

                             Ellie, Emma, and Erik

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve with the family, and Deja's parents and some of her family members were here also. It was so good seeing everyone. We always have a good time, and as usual, we were well fed, that is for sure. We also had Christmas morning with the kids, and boy did they get a slew of things! I guess it pays to have a lot of grandparents, LOL! All kidding aside, these kids are grateful for even their smallest gifts. We had gotten them a suspend game as one of their gifts, and they put away their computer games and played with it for hours.

Before we leave and move on down the road, I want to tell you a funny little story about the youngest little guy.  His name is Egan.  Egan is only 2, and he thinks he rules the roost sometimes. The cutest little guy, I must say!. He will put on a costume, especially Batman, mask and all and assume the roll. He doesn't even mind wearing that mask, which I find rather hilarious for his age. Well, since he is so young, he of course needs to be watched while outside, and he had been asking to come over to our RV for a visit, and no one would bring him. His brother was watching him (they do have a fenced in yard). However, he took his eyes off of him just long enough.  Well anyway there was a knock on our door.  I went to the door, and who should appear but BATMAN!  What you can't see is his cape. He walked in proud as could be!!!

                                                              Egan aka "Batman"