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Fall - 2010

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010: Gwen has a new gift which she has been enjoying since her daughter brought it to her. It's an eReader, an electronic reader to read eBooks available from many sources online. There are three major brands of eReaders. The Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader, which is the brand Gwen is using. The Sony Digital Reader Touch Edition and the Kindle Wireless Reading Device manufactured for Amazon. Each brand has different features but all are designed to read eBooks. EBooks are available from many different services including Amazon eBooks which has many out of copyright books free and most of the top ten most popular Gwen with her eReader
normally less than $10. I've known of another source of out of copyright books for many years. All titles are free and can be read on any reader or on your PC. Here are some of the authors whose books are available for free: Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson and thousands more. The site I'm talking about is Project Gutenberg where 33,000 books are available with links to partners for 100,000 books. Many are available in multiple languages. To compare the features of each of the eReaders just click the three links above for specific details. Gwen blog for this evening is about her NOOK so be sure to check to learn how she likes it by reading her blog.
Friday, October 22, 2010: We met my daughter Mindy and her friend Scott in Downieville for lunch today. They parked at the top of the mountain and rode their downhill bikes into Downieville. Downhill mountain biking is a very popular sport in this part of Sierra County. The large shock absorbers on the front wheels absorb the uneven trail bumps as the rider is speeding downhill. Mindy and Scott have been friends for nearly a year but this Mindy and Scott on downhill mountain bikes
is our first chance to meet Scott. After lunch we drove them back to the top to meet with Scott's car. It was at the top where I took this photo (opens in a new window) of the view looking east toward Sardine Lake. The day would have gone well except Mindy made fun of road bikes and those who wear "Spandex". She recalled how I use to force her to road ride when she was younger but look how strong she is now because of those rides. I will take her off my Christmas list until her attitude changes towards road biking.

Overnight parking in Barstow
Tuesday, November 16, 2010: We are back to traveling and after leaving Central California our first stop will be Arizona. On our way to our favorite parking site in Arizona we spent the night in the Idle Spurs Steak House parking lot. We learned of their RV parking policy from the Days End list, one of the benefits of membership in the Escapees RV Club. Our meal at the restaurant had some problems, you can read about those problems on Yelp. The RV parking lot was great, level and quiet. This was a great meeting spot to pick up Gwen from her visit with her daughter and grandkids. We are off to the Arizona desert.

Our favorite Arizona campsite

Wednesday, November 17, 2010: Our favorite Arizona campsite is located between Quartzsite and Parker. It's our favorite because it is quiet, level, protected from the wind, and only two miles to water, garbage and dump station. It's also FREE on BLM land. We shop in Parker because they have a new Walmart Super Center with a beautiful Safeway across the street. Parker also has a huge Indian casino with a movie theater. This camping area is also surrounded by miles of great mountain bike or hiking trails with some nice mountains within hiking or riding distance. The road riding is more difficult because we are 2 miles off pavement so I must drive the 2 miles before beginning a road ride. Also there is only one road good for road riding so little road variety with only an "out and back" route. Our friends Solar Bob and Noreen are nearby and we have invited friends Ralph and Janet to join us. Click on the photo to see a wider view showing Ralph and Janet's rig next to ours. Click here to see a short video of Ralph and Janet arriving for warm winter camping.

A family birthday gathering during my Mother's birthday
Friday, November 19, 2010: Last week I was visiting my parents in central California. We all celebrated my Mother's birthday. This was a fun day which began for my two sisters and the rest of the family with a visit to a model airplane "fly-in" where the models used jet engines rather than prop engines. We did this because one of Mom's grandchildren is involved in the sport. Next came the wonderful food provided by my sisters plus presents. The day ended with this departing photo as everyone returned home.

Forrest gets his RC Model jet ready to fly
Sunday, November 21, 2010: My niece Shannon is married to Forrest who builds and flies RC models of all types. On November 6 we visited a RC jet demonstration day at the Lodi, California airport. I had never seen RC jets before which are very impressive. This is obviously a sport you work up to from RC prop planes both to be able to make quick control decisions and for the price of the planes. These are REAL jet engines fueled with kerosene. Click here to see the video of the day. The video shows plane preparation, flight controls but few flying models because these are so fast, all you see is a tiny streak in the sky.
Monday, November 22, 2010: Today is Gwen's birthday. It began this morning with pancake breakfast at the Bouse Community Center. The celebration continued at our 4pm "Happy Hour" on the mat at Ralph and Janet's trailer. Ralph suggested the photo at the right by getting me on the roof of his trailer for the shot. Janet is below center, Terry is below left with Kathy next to him. Gwen is next seated beside Ralph then Bob and Noreen. My chair is empty on the right. Click the photo to enlarge. Our birthday party at Happy Hour in the Arizona desert
The birthday dinner after Happy Hour The party continued inside for the birthday dinner cooked by Janet. We were able to fit six at the extended table then topped the night off with the board game, "Sequence". We played partners with men vs. women. I believe the men were smart in letting the women win the game. Janet also fixed a wonderful peanut butter ice cream pie which you can see by clicking the photo.
Monday morning breakfast at the Bouse Community Center
Tuesday, November 23, 2010: Every Monday morning during the winter months the Bouse, Arizona Community Center serves breakfast as a fund raising event. The breakfast choices are very few but inexpensive. The #1 choice is 2 pancakes, 1 egg and 1 sausage for $4. Coffee and orange juice is included at no extra charge. I always ask to exchange the sausage for an extra egg. I also ask for two extra pancakes (at no extra charge). So I get 4 pancakes and two eggs plus orange juice and coffee for $4. In addition, you get to see everyone in the community because they all like to come here for breakfast on Monday. The colored rectangles on the wall are painted signs advertising your support of the community or a business message (another fund raiser for the Community Center).
Wednesday, November 24, 2010: This was the "girls day out" so I took the opportunity to try Ralph and Janet's little portable Bissell Little Green Multi-Purpose Compact Earth-Friendly Deep Cleaner. Janet had told me how good a job it does on the RV carpet and ours definitely needed to be cleaned. This little inexpensive Bissell cleaner really does a good job and very economical too. It is actually made to clean high traffic areas and uphostery but it works great on the little This is the way to clean an RV carpet
amount of carpet in an RV. We will be getting one for ourselves then we can keep up with carpet cleaning. Gwen noticed how clean the carpets were when she returned and the best part is the clean smell with the pet smell gone. Yes, you must be on your hands and knees to use this machine but it took me only about an hour to clean the entire RV. The machine is light weight, very easy to use and easy to clean afterward.
Thanksgiving 2010 in the Arizona desert Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010: My sister sent me an email asking what "fun" thing we can find to do in the desert. Well, one of those fun things is that I am trapped with three of the most marvelous cooks, Gwen, Kathy and Janet. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. We had planned on an
outdoor feast. The weather was clear but cold, 56° was the high with a 25 mph wind so that kept us inside Ralph and Janet's trailer. All six of us fit well around the table and this trailer is the smallest of the three at only 28 feet and one slide. What wonderful friends to share Thanksgiving.
Night view of the Blue Water Casino in Parker, AZ from the marina
Saturday, November 27, 2010: This was a girls morning out so Gwen, Kathy and Janet drove to Quartzsite to take a bracelet beading lesson at a local craft shop. They didn't return until 1 pm. While they were out, I exercised on the Wii, washed the windows, got propane for the trailer and gasoline for the generator, washed my T-shirts and riding clothes using my bucket method. After they arrived, Ralph, Janet, Gwen and I drove into Parker to do some shopping and get the special ordered awning repair parts for me to repair awning damage (more about that later). We also wanted to see the floating Christmas light parade from the Blue Water Casino in Parker. Boat owners decorate their boats with Christmas lights and cruise up the Colorado River to Lake Havasu from Parker. The photo above is of the casino hotel rooms facing the marina and the Colorado River at night. You can click the photo to enlarge. You can click HERE to see the light parade. Understand that is a bit fuzzy because I steadied my camera on a dock railing but people were walking on the dock which made the camera move with the dock ... causing blurred Christmas boat lights. This is the best of the many photos I took for that reason. We had a good evening meal at the casino buffet where we each received a $2 discount with our "VIP" cards. Just before leaving, we donated $10 each to the casino slot machines in appreciation of their good hospitality.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010: Ralph and I worked all day to get his solar panels installed on the roof of his fifth wheel. He got "such-a-deal" on the panels paying less than 1/3 what I did for my panels. Soon he will have enough power to support the whole desert neighborhood. I plan to run an extension cord to his trailer so Gwen can watch TV all day. Click the photo to see a front view. The solar panels installed on Ralph's fifth wheel
The Ocotillo Lodge in Bouse
Friday, December 5, 2010: The Ocotillo Lodge and Bar is the happening place in Bouse. Each night is a special dinner menu with Tacos on Wednesday night and Chili Relleno on Thursday night. We have visited the bar/restaurant on Wednesday night several times and the tacos are always good. Gwen orders the Taco salad which is always too much for her and only $4.50. The tacos are $1.70. This is where the locals come so we always learn a lot about the area. You can not be in a hurry when at the Ocotillo. It will take an hour to be served with food and you may have to search out your own drinks from the bartender. That's what being in Bouse in the winter is all about, just relax and slow down the pace. Click the photo to enlarge.

Arizona Sunset
Sunday, December 5, 2010: No story about Arizona would be complete without an Arizona sunset. This photo was taken just outside our campsite. The hills in the distance are about 3 miles. It's unusual for us to have a sunset like this since we rarely have clouds to reflect the bright colors.
Ralph will do anything to get a good Internet connection Monday, December 6, 2010: Ralph has set up a new office for better Internet reception. Last week, Ralph visited Costco and got a new Verizon wireless Internet receiver. He's been trying to get connected ever since it arrived. Today, he decided the best signal was just over the top of his fifth wheel so he set up his office "upstairs" in the "attic". Today was a great day for his new office because there was no wind and the temperatures were comfortable. Note the access road to our campsite and our favorite Saguaro cactus in the distance. Click the photo to see another view of Ralph in his "office".
RV lot for sale in Quartzsite
December 8, 2010: While riding to Quartzsite and back I came across one of the nicer developed areas for winter snowbirds. These are large lots specifically for winter snowbirds where the owner can build pretty much whatever is desired. No doubt there are rules but they seem to be pretty lenient. Each lot in this development comes with a brick dividing wall, water, electricity and sewer and the access road is paved. The lot is also graded with gravel. Basic price is $39,000 so this lot would be more with the brick front wall, entrance and two gates plus the large double garage improvement. The idea is that the RV traveler/owner would park here for the winter months and have all utility services. There would be lot owner annual maintenance fees which would likel cover security for the six months the owner is not present. Compare that to a nearby RV park where the fee is generally $1,000 - $2,500 for the YEAR. Here again, the RVer would rent a space for a year paying the annual fee but stay only six months. The annual fee is cheaper than a monthly fee for six months. It's standard Quartzsite and Arizona practice and lots of RVers do it. Click the photo to get a better view of this lot. There are many park models, even stick models in this development so the owner can do just about anything they wish here. The entire park looks very clean and each lot is bordered by the low brick wall.
Typical inexpensive RV park
Friday, December 10, 2010: Compare this winter parking choice to the RV lot above. This is an RV park in Quartzsite adjacent to Hiway 95, and about 1/4 mile from Interstate 10. When I asked about "monthly" and "seasonal" rates the manager reported she had only 4 parking spaces left so like all the parks in Quartzsite, this park is popular for the winter months. The fee to rent a site for the year is $1,025. If you want to rent a site for four months (say November thru February) the fee is $775 only $250 less than the annual fee. Electricity is ALWAYS extra for any Arizona rental and the fee is 19.5 cents per KWH in this park (very high compared to Oregon). The benefits of this park: cheap fees, full hook-ups, table on a concrete pad, walking distance to the only (small) grocery store in town, directly across from the hardware store, LONG list of rules for the renters (a benefit depending upon how you look at it), crafts and games in the clubhouse, laundry room, clean looking area. The disadvantages (as I see it): LONG list of rules for renters (again, depends on how you view it), entire park is GRAVEL, packed in like "sardines", street lights (note lamp above the motor home - ruins the Arizona night sky view), adjacent to the busiest street in Quartzsite, 1/4 mile from an Interstate with 24 hour traffic, NO pool or hot tub, small graveled pet walking area, no woodworking shop (we visited a park in Tucson with a full assortment of floor model power woodworking equipment for renter use but 3x the price of this park), renter must provide their own TV and WIFI, very expensive electricity (makes propane cheaper to use for heat and water heater). Compare both these choices to our choice.
Saturday, December 11, 2010: Today was a day to visit a local Christmas Bazaar at the Brenda RV Park in the Arizona town of Brenda, about 10 miles west of Quartzsite on Interstate 10. The local residents prepare the items for the bazaar as well as provide a $4 cheese burger and $1 rootbeer float. You can click the photo for a larger view. The craft items in this bazaar were very creative, especially the jewelry items and fabric items. We were able to sit with local RV park residents during lunch and learned that there are many weekly game, craft and recreational activities sponsored by the park. Christmas Bazaar at the Brenda RV Park
Brenda is ten miles from Quartzsite but has it's own small grocery store which may be as well supplied as any in Quartzsite. There are 4 - 5 RV parks in Brenda which supply the customers for the grocery store. The rental fees for the Brenda RV parks are in the $1,000 - $1,500 annual range so very similar to Quartzsite rental fees. I see the Brenda parks as a quieter location because they are off the Interstate but with all the same social activities. Still now pool or hot tub and on gravel. The bazaar is happening insde the park clubhouse. The hamburgers and eating area was just outside the clubhouse.
Car show at the Ocotillo Monday, December 13, 2010: The Ocotillo Lodge had a car show last Saturday with a Sloppy Joe special for lunch. This first car is the "White Knight" and happens to be from Sprague River, Oregon. It's a 1941 Chevrolet. The owner has had the car for 40 years and his wife says this car was the last of it's kind for comfort. The front seat is "like a lounge chair" she said. They are visiting for the winter months to stay away from the freezing Oregon weather.
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