Click to Return to RVeCafe Homepage

Fall - Winter
2 0 1 7 - 2018

Return to Telegraph Cove, 2017
Jump to Spring/Summer, 2018
Camped in Lassen National Forest
Saturday, April 14 to Monday, April 16, 2018: Return to Sutherlin, Oregon from Verdi, Nevada. But first, an afternoon lunch with Joe, Ben, Mindy, Scott, Chloe, Noah, Lucy and Elise. I decided to leave Verdi after the late lunch because a storm is forecast to arrive on Sunday afternoon and I need to get over Siskiyou Summit before the storm hits. I need a head start to arrive at Siskiyou Summit mid-day on Sunday. I drove until the sun was about to set which put me eleven miles from the tiny village of Old Station, a remote northern California community. I pulled onto a gravel road in Lassen National Forest. I ended up only 400 yards from the asphalt. I put our clothes line onto the windshield just to make sure I didn't drive off in the morning without getting the few things I put outside. This is boondocking at it's finest, nice and quiet, alone in the national forest. Click the photo for another view. On Sunday, I began my drive early so I was coming to the top of Siskiyou Summit about noon. I experienced only sprinkles in northern California but serious rain began at the summit, essentially at the Oregon border. I did arrive in Sutherlin on Sunday afternoon, but I needed Monday to begin unloading.

Learning to shoot a rubberband



Friday, April 13, 2018: Today I played games and "house" with Lucy. One of the games used a rubber band to contain playing cards. We decided to learn to shoot the rubber band I showed her how to point her finger then stretch the rubber band on her finger and let go. She didn't quite get it but figured out how to stretch and throw the rubber band I doubt Lucy's Mom would approve of teaching Lucy to shoot a rubber band Click the photo to see her stretching and throwing the rubber band at the same time.

Later Lucy showed me how she can ride her balance bike. She told me she doesn't know how to use pedals and doesn't want to until she is as big as Daddy. Here is a short video with Lucy showing me her riding skills.


View of Gold Ranch RV from above

Thursday, April 12, 2018: I took a morning hike to the top of the mountain overlooking the GOld Ranch RV Park in Verdi, Nevada. The spaces are generous, especially those against the mountain where I like to park. I'm parked second from the left in the row closest to the bottom of the photo. It's a "drive-forward" spot so the view in the windshield is toward the mountain. Last night we got three inches of snow but it was gone by the time I took this photo.

Then I made craft projects with granddaughter Lucy in the afternoon. Today she was most interested with making characters in clay. She began with a snowman, then frog, then bee, then beatle. After that, we played "house". I need MORE energy to keep up with her.

Ben is digging a hole in the backyard


Wednesday, April 11, 2018: Why is Ben, my son, digging a hole in his backyard? The state of Nevada has a program to help the endangered desert tortoise. A team approves volunteer habitat locations prepared by Nevada residents. Ben wants to be one of those volunteer locations. An inspector will arrive on Saturday to inspect Ben's habitat. If it meets state tortoise. standards, a Desert Tortoise. will be put onto the governor's plane from Las Vegas and delivered to Ben's habitat. The hole will be covered with plywood to make an underground burrow. The whole area will be contained so the tortoise can wander but not out of the habitat. Click the photo to enlarge.

Showing off a handmade necklace



Tuesday, April 10, 2018: After having lunch with my son, Joe, I stopped by to visit Lucy. She immediately convinced me we should get her craft supplies and make something. We made felt characters first then turned them into "sandwiches" by gluing the bottom half of the character onto the top half.

Then Lucy switched to making necklaces from her box of beads and pipe cleaners. On her first attempt, her necklace was too short. But she's had experience with pipe cleaners and knew how to fix a "too-short" necklace. Soon, she was showing off her invention. Click the photo for a larger view.

Lucy and friend Molly

Monday, April 9, 2018: This is Monday, so swimming lessons for Lucy. But after the swim lessons, a trip to the park to meet her friend, Molly. They played on everything in the park but particularly like the Teeter Totter. Molly told me "this is our first time on the Teeter Totter". They rocked on it for twenty minutes then asked, "how do we get off". "That is a challenge", I told them. I helped them dismount. Click the photo for another view. Watch the short video above for the Teeter Totter experience.

Lucy at JurasicQuest

Lucy riding a dinosaur



Sunday, April 8, 2018: A traveling dinosaur exhibit comes to Reno and Uncle Joe was able to get tickets for Lucy and her Dad. At first she was very concerned about the size of some of the dinosaurs but her Dad and Uncle Joe made her feel more comfortable. The exhibit hall was very noisy with children talking and screaming plus the imagined sounds of the dinosaurs. Not much was left to the imagination. The dinosaur replicas were true to size and details of each dinosaur were printed on a sign next to each replica. Lucy liked the inflated dinosaur slides the best. Click the above photo for another view. Watch this video of Lucy in the dino ride.

Elise is standing



Saturday, April 7, 2018: This is an eventful day for me. My granddaughter Elise is standing. If she was doing it before I arrived, it was a secret. This was my first time to see her standing and nearly walking while holding onto the cart. Click the photo for another view.

Lucy builds a vegetable garden


Friday, April 6, 2018: This is a day to do my laundry at Lucy's house. While I'm waiting on the laundry I help Lucy with her most recent Koala Crate delivery from Kiwico. Lucy receives a craft project appropriate to her age, in this case called Koala Crate, once each month. I have subscribed to the service for her. The crate had three projects which took us about one and a half hours to complete. Lucy did ALL the work herself. The first project were the finger puppets of four different animals. A chicken, cow, horse and pig were created from felt material. Lucy then chose to complete the vegetable garden. The vegetable where created from beads and pipe cleaners then planted into a cushion base. Last, we built a cardboard barn using velcro dots to close the barn. The barn actually has two sides with the inner side printed for a farm countryside. Kiwico suggests these activities might lead to story telling and that is exactly what happened. Lucy sets up her vegetable garden and barn near her Dad and begins telling the story of the animals who love vegetables. This was amazing to me from a four year old. Click the photo for another view.

Boarding the fun trainPlayground equipment
Thursday, April 5, 2018: Back to Reno but before we return, off to the best park in Santa Rosa, California. Yes, this is the California town which lost more than 1,000 homes in a fall firestorm. We saw evidence everywhere of the fire also evidence of recovery. Fortunately, the park we found was not burned. We tried everything we could find in the park. Click these photos for more views. For a better idea of our day, watch this short video.

Visiting Bodega BayChloe accepts an invitation to fly a kite


Wednesday, April 4, 2018: Off to Bodega Bay for the day to walk on the beach.


The kids played chase the waves for an hour. Then we noticed a couple flying large kites and decided to go talk to them.

First, Chloe was invited to fly the yellow kite, a large, seven feet wide, kite.

Noah decided to join us and he got to fly the kite too. The kite owners are kite collectors and plan to spend much of their time with kites once they retire.

The kids also ran the beach looking for silver dollars and collected many.

Of course there are plenty of Pokémon characters.

Click each photo for more views.

Lots of playgrounds in WindsorThe view of our deck with the pool in the background
Tuesday, April 3, 2018: Our first day in Windsor. Of course we went swimming when we arrived last night and swimming today too. But first we found several parks while we drove the streets looking for Pokémon characters. Click these photos for more views. We did find an interesting place for lunch in Bodega Bay.

Great Grandma playing Uno with the kids


Monday, April 2, 2018: Our plan was to continue our spring break vacation this afternoon. Before we left, the kids played Uno with Great Grandmother. This can be a very long game if the right cards don't appear quickly. Click the photo for another view.

Here is the photo we took just before leaving for the day.

Great Grandma going for a walk

Sunday, April 1, 2018: I have joined my son Ben and his children Chloe and Noah for a short vacation during spring break. But before we arrive at our spring break location, we stop in Lodi, California to visit my Mother. She is Great Grandmother to Ben's children.

Great Grandma wanted to join us for a walk around the block. She rode in her wheel chair while her caretaker, Michelle, pushed her. Chloe and Noah pushed their scooters and waited at every corner.

I took a video of our adventure.

Ready to cross the Truckee River

Lunch breakLucy the rock climber


Friday, March 30, 2018: Let's go for a hike along the Truckee River. We get to cross a suspension bridge over the Truckee. This is also the Tahoe Pyramid Mountain Bicycle Trail. Our destination is a lunch stop at the base of a nice cliff to climb. Check out the video of the suspension bridge crossing. Lucy carried her own pack with water bottle and snack food. After lunch, Dad and Lucy went climbing to the shelf near the top of the cliff. Click each photo for more views.

Yes! We DID get to see Amtrak heading up-river toward the town of Truckee, California and we saw a long freight train heading down-river toward Verdi, Nevada.

Enjoying the backyard
Elise Elise Elise
Thursday, March 29, 2018: Elise, Lucy and Dad are enjoying their sunny backyard. Click all photos for more views and here is a video of happy Elise.

Chase Me!



Wednesday, March 28, 2018: Another play day with Lucy and Elise. This time our play started in a nearby park where Lucy was playing with Molly, one of her friends. The two little girls wanted to be chased so I accommodated them and made a video of their reaction.

After the park, Lucy wanted to show me how she could twirl so I made a video of her twirling. She likes to spin.

Here is the video.

Click this photo for another view.

The pizza girlLucy the engineer




Tuesday, March 27, 2018: A day with Lucy, first we played engineer with her blocks. She designed a "tall tower" more than once. She chose the block by shape and size then used every block in the box. Click the photo for another view.

Lucy has a favorite pizza place. It's Mod Pizza where the customer makes the topping choices. It's one of my favorite places too. Lucy ate 3/4 of her pizza and took the last piece home for lunch.

Mod provided stickers for customers to customize and stick to the wall. Lucy wrote her name and then her sister's name on a sticker. Click her photo to see it.

Lucy adds to her rock collection Lucy adds to her rock collection Lucy adds to her rock collection
Lucy adds to her rock collection Lucy adds to her rock collection Lucy adds to her rock collection

Lucy adds to her rock collectionLucy adds to her rock collection


Monday, March 26, 2018: Lucy likes to collect rocks so Gwen and I brought her a bag of rocks collected at the Quartzsite Rock Show. We also collect desert rocks with Lucy in mind to add to her collection. She was very excited about the new rocks and immediately began reorganizing the rocks. I thought she might organize by color but she organized by size then added all these rocks to her substantial rock collection.

Today was swimming day for Lucy, another swim lesson. After the swim lesson we returned home and played boat with a large box then the box converted to a shipping container. Lucy wanted to be shipped to her best friend, Molly. Then shipped to Uncle Ben's house, then Uncle Joe's house. All this lasted nearly 2 hours. Since I was the engine for the boat and then the box delivery driver, I was pretty exhausted.


Saturday, March 24, 2018: My daughter, Mindy and her husband Scott (the parents of Lucy and Elise) are very special cooks. They turn "real food" into very delicious meals. I've enjoyed all.

Today Scott was giving a lesson in how to roll the perfect no-meatballs made from black beans and mushrooms. Mindy made the mistake of commenting how perfectly spherical his no-meatballs where. Scott then gave us detailed lessons of the way to do it. Click the photo to see what I mean.

These are two fun people to be with!

Chloe and Noah waiting for school to begin


Friday, March 23, 2018: Chloe and Noah are waiting for school on a very cold day. A sheet of thin ice covered a portion of the playground and they decided to help out the teacher on duty by smashing the ice into pieces (to melt faster).

This morning follows an evening with their cousins Lucy and Elise who were visiting. A wild time of play happened for about an hour just after dinner together. Here is a short video of the cousins playing together. Click the photo to see the "train" they made of all the cousins.

Gym class for Lucy
Thursday, March 22, 2018: Today I continue with Lucy's week of activities. She goes to gym class where she learns balance and strength activities for her whole body. Click the photo for another view.

Elise climbs into my laundry basket Lucy gives some help Sure, climb in! This won't hurt a bit I'll take you for a ride Just a little deeper
Wednesday, March 21, 2018: Elise finds my laundry bag and decides to crawl inside. It wasn't long before Lucy begins to help. Now Lucy decides this would be a good time to give Elise a ride in the laundry bag.
Swim lesson time Swim Lesson Time Swim Lesson time
Tuesday, March 20, 2018: It is swim lesson time for Lucy. While she waits for her turn she like to pose for the camera!
Lucy with her iglo
Lucy with her iglo
Lucy with her iglo

Monday, March 19, 2018: Isn't this a great igloo? Lucy is very proud!


Spring parking at Gold Ranch in Verdi

March 18, 2018: This is a travel day from Lodi, California to Verdi, Nevada. Interstate 80 over Donner Summit (7224 feet) is my pathway to Nevada. The last few days the Sierra Nevada Mountains have been in a major spring storm but Interstate 80 opened with no controls this morning so I'm on my way. Our favorite parking location is Gold Ranch RV Park. Our space was plowed just before I arrived so I'm parking on dry asphalt but surrounded by 18" of fresh powder. I added water to my freshwater holding tank then drained my hose knowing the night time temperatures will be well below freezing. I'm not sure where the sewer connection is but won't need that for several days. I've got 50 amp shore power to help keep Miss Dory warm. Miss Dory got sprayed with sandy roads most of the drive so she is dirty again. I've made a video of crossing Donner Pass if you haven't been this route after a snow storm. Click this photo for another view.

Watching Donner Summit road conditionsElise

Saturday, March 17, 2018: My newest granddaughter is playing with her sister's craft box. I purchased these in Lodi, so while here I ordered one for Elise. It was delivered today because we are careless since Gwen has the car while visiting her daughter. Click the photo to see the personalized box for Elise. The lady doing this is an artist and hand paints the boxes. She doesn't have a Webpage but does have a Facebook page where you can contact her if you have grandkids too. Quick story: since we are careless, we decided to try Safeway home delivery of groceries. We ordered corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, desert, horseradish to be delivered today. However, when our "shopper" was getting our order he sent me a text message saying the desert was out of stock. A short time later he sent a message saying the corned beef was out of stock and he was substituting ravioli! At this point I returned a text to cancel the order. I do like the grocery delivery idea for my Mother but there IS a fee involved for the service. Next, my plan is to drive to Reno, Nevada tomorrow to visit my children and grandchildren before returning to Oregon. I must drive over California's famous Donner Summit (7,200 feet) to reach Reno. California Sierras have been getting slammed this week with a week long snow storm so I've been watching the road cameras and monitoring the chain requirements. Click the road condition photo for another view near the summit. There is a "window" tomorrow of clearing weather so the condition should be better. The road is clear of snow (barely) but looks sloppy wet so Miss Dory is going to get dirty. I called the Reno RV park and asked if my space had been plowed. I was told it still had 18" of snow but the snow would be "pushed" before I arrive. So from a winter in Arizona where we saw two short rain storms to Reno with nearly two feet of snow on the ground. We left Arizona early because we want to leave for British Columbia in mid-May and have much to do before then. This will be fun.

Rosie taking charge of Mom in Costco
Thursday, March 15, 2018: We did two adventures today with Mom. First she had an appointment with her financial advisor. After lunch we drove to Costco to visit the hearing aid department for an adjustment of her hearing aids. Rosie is her exceptional caregiver. In my opinion, one of the toughest jobs but Rosie says she "loves her work". When Rosie spotted me taking photos she immediately stopped and wheeled Mom in front of the plants saying "these will make a good back drop". So I agreed and took Mom's photo in front of the Costco plants. You can view that photo by clicking on the photo above. One of Mom's hearing aids is broken so another appointment had to be made to retake an ear mold and hearing test to be sure the replacement and adjustment is done correctly. Fortunately, my sister Sandy, will be able to bring Mom back for that appointment in two weeks.

It's "Pi" day!Mom having a perfect breakfast



Wednesday, March 14, 2018: This is "Pi" day (3.14159...) so I wore my ultimate Pi Day T-Shirt I got back in 2015. I set out the t-shirt last night to be sure I got in on this morning. I wore into the house and found Mom ready for her lovely breakfast which was fixed to perfection by her caretaker, Rosie.

This was a day with a variety of weather. Rain in the morning then overcast then more rain then slowly clearing. Rain expected again tomorrow.

Gwen has our car in Klamath Falls so I've rented a car for tomorrow when we have multiple appointments with Mom.

Lodi Community Concert Band
Sunday, March 11, 2018: I took Mom to a special concert by the Lodi Community Concert Band to honor Bob Gross, a long time Lodi resident, music educator and music director. The theme of the concert was "circus music" at the request of Mr. Gross. The concert was 1 hour 45 minutes long and very well done. There are a lot of talented musicians in Lodi. We enjoyed the concert and a special thrill for Mom who has been in Lodi for 55 years. Here is a very short video of the band at play.
Travel day to Tehachapi, California
Wednesday, March 7, 2018: This was a travel day from Lake Havasu City, Arizona to Tehachapi, California a mid-way point between Arizona and Lodi, California where we visit my Mother. Tehachapi is a surprising location in California, on the edge of the great California central valley and the Mohave Desert. It has a unique climate since it is at 4,000 feet, chance of snow/cold weather during the winter. It can be 15 degrees cooler than the blistering central valley during the summer. We like to stay at the Mountain Valley RV Park on the edge of the Mountain Valley Glider Airport where we can watch the sailplanes towed to altitude then released for a leisure flight back to the airport. Click the link for a view of the park. (X) marks the spot we are camped tonight. Click the photo for a view of the Mohave Desert.
Walking downtown Lake Havasu City
Tuesday, March 6, 2018: This is our last day in Lake Havasu City before heading west tomorrow so I took myself for a walk in downtown Lake Havasu City. I started from Smith's grocery store on one end of main street and walked to Albertson's grocery store on the other end, about a mile, two miles round trip. I stopped in an antique store with a "25% off the entire store" sign. While walking around the store I saw this chicken cage wall unit. It reminded me of the wall units where I use to collect eggs for my Dad when we lived on a chicken ranch. I was nine at the time and occasionally would collect eggs under the hens sitting on those eggs. It wasn't my favorite job since the hens would often grab the skin on my hand in the beaks then shake their heads. I think my Dad may have lost several of his good laying hens when I threw them across the room after getting pecked. Click the photo for another view of downtown.

Red Sparrow


Monday, March 5, 2018: This was "senior day" at the Star theaters in Lake Havasu. Only $4.50 and free popcorn to see a movie. We chose, "Red Sparrow", a very suspenseful spy movie with Jennifer Lawrence. This was a dark movie (physically dark), I assume it was intentional and not the theater equipment. The darkness set the mood and there were certainly enough "dark" scenes. As Gwen said, it was entertainment. I thought it was very realistic, and did not show the Russians in a good light.

Breakfast snack at From the Farm

Saturday, March 3, 2018: This is a travel day from Yuma to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. On the way out of town I took Gwen to "From the Farm" restaurant and antique shop. This is a unique little cafe and farm about eight miles north of Yuma on Highway 95. It is set up like a huge antique store where everything is for sale including the table, chairs and decorations on your table. They have a specialty menu which probably changes from day to day. I had biscuits and honey plus coffee while Gwen had a breakfast burrito. We look forward to finding this cafe again the next time we are in Yuma. Our drive to Lake Havasu was a bit under 200 miles with a strong crosswind the whole distance due to a major storm in northern California and Oregon. I did make a 7 minute video of the desert between Yuma and Quartzsite. Click this photo for a view of our dry-camp location in the Elks parking lot, Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

The Big Hoss

Friday, March 2, 2018: This is packing day but we still had time for our last float in the hot tub and pool. Then we took ourselves for a drive to the "sister" RV park next door which is more expensive. It is much larger, wider streets, more than one pool, more tennis courts and more designated space for traveling RVs. After walking through their clubhouse we saw the "Big Hoss" in the parking lot. I talked with the owner who didn't want his photo with the bike because "he is wanted". It has a Corvette V8 engine. Looks like fun.

Gwen enjoying her ice creamVisiting the Peanut Patch



Thursday, March 1, 2018: We visited the Peanut Patch, one of Gwen's favorite places because of the unusual food inventory. For example local processed vegetables, beans, peppers and peanuts of all kinds and flavors. But, of course, the main draw for us is the ice cream, hand scooped. Your choice is one or two scoops, both cost $2. Tough choice!

Enjoying the pool while waiting for the laundry
Wednesday, February 28, 2018: This was laundry day so Gwen and I sit next to the pool while waiting for the clothes to finish. Of course after the laundry is done, we both enjoy a dip in the hot tub and the pool.

Lunch in an Algodones Cafe


Tuesday, February 27, 2018: Our friend Ray is leaving tomorrow but before he leaves he would like to visit Mexico. He has never been to Mexico so we make a trip to Algodones just across the border from Yuma, Arizona. Algodones is a border town with lots of retail street shops mostly with the same inventory in every shop. It also has many dentists, eye glass retailers, pharmacy's and liquor stores. After exploring and buying only gifts, we eat in a popular cafe with shrimp tacos. Toward the end of our meal, we have a surprise visit from indian dancers. Here is a short video. Ray learned you have to say "No, thank you" ("no, gracias") many times to the requests from each vendor to buy jewelry, belts, purses, hats, pots, stained glass, leather holsters, blankets, shirts, jackets, ponchos, eye glasses, dental appointments and yard ornaments.

Ray goofing off before the work Hole ready for the display Finished installation
Monday, February 26, 2018: Ray bought a Sealevel II Tank Monitor. This is a system which reads the levels of the holding tanks in percentage. Most RVs show tank levels with idiot lights at set levels. We have never owned an RV where those worked because they get contaminated by debris inside the tank causing them to show a level even when the tank is known to be empty. The Sealevel II is a different monitoring system showing exact percentage of level as well as battery condition. Ray is a gadget guy and this is one gadget he wanted. I helped to install the monitor in the wall with the rest of his gauges. Right now, his "Grey" water is showing 40% full. Click all photos for additional views. Ray's Allegro Open Road RED is less than a year old so he is still installing all the gadgets.
Winter Olympics Closing Winter Olympics Closing Winter Olympics Closing
Sunday, February 25, 2018: During the day we took Ray to the Arizona Market Place then to Gwen's favorite, Asian Star. But in the evening we all shared the winter Olympics closing ceremony. Click each slide for a larger view.
Ray exploring "The Names"
Saturday, February 24, 2018: Our friend, Ray, is visiting with us before he continues his trip west. I wanted to show him Senator Wash, the best of the LTVAs (Long Term Visitor Areas). But before taking him, I brought him to "The Names". A desert location with names in rocks spread two miles in the desert. Look at the photos, names for as far as you can see into the distance. This is something which must be seen to be appreciated. Click the photo for a panorama view.
Quilt show RV park quilt show Lots of examples
Friday, February 23, 2018: What an event, mostly for the ladies, a fantastic quilt show at the RV park. This included a display of the many quilts made by the RV residents as well as vendor displays and sales. Much to look at and buy the best materials. Click the photos for larger views.
Morning activitiesThursday, February 22, 2018: I heard music coming from the clubhouse so walked over to check it out. There was a painting class inside with ladies focused on a flower composition. But the music was coming from the outside near the pool. It was a water Zumba class with a very loud and active leader and four participants in the water. Click the photo for the Zumba class.
Arriving at our new RV parking location to a live band at the clubhouse
Gwen enjoying the band on the edge of the poolWednesday, February 21, 2018: Today was moving day from Casa Grande to Yuma, Arizona. When we were camped in Bouse, we attended the giant RV show in Quartzsite. Cal-Am Resorts was handing out coupons for 3 FREE days at Sundance Resort in Yuma. We are taking advantage of the offer (no sales pitch). Other than the premier Escapee Park, JoJoba Hills, we have not been to a "real" RV resort. When we arrived, a live band was playing in the patio area next to the pool. Gwen says, "let's get our swim suits!" Well, we decided to wait until tomorrow. Walking through the clubhouse found a sewing room, exercise equipment room, puzzle room, coffee/wine bar, game room, billiards, must be a library and movie room somewhere. Outside is the pool, hot tub, bocceball, curling, golf driving range, horse shoes, pickle ball, pitch and putt. Add to this daily, weekly and monthly activities and we could be exhausted within three days. With all that, they are missing a woodshop for me. So we will work at enjoying our three days at the resort. So compare to our days in the desert. Our desert activity was mostly hiking. Much more to do here. Desert cost was the price of propane for heating, etc. Cost here for a month is $535 plus electricity (about $600 total). The price goes down slightly if you stay three months. The main disadvantage ... we are ten feet from our neighbor on both sides and our view is of a sea of RVs. Perhaps a little of both. I can tell you, if you don't want all the activities, you can get full hookups at a "clean" park for about $260/month (plus electric) in more remote locations of Arizona. Another comparison, the Escapee park in Yuma has about the same size lots, small pool and hot tub plus clubhouse activities. It costs $350/month plus electric. It is located in a rural area so much quieter but a longer drive to the nearest stores. Get closer to Phoenix and the price goes to $1,000 per month plus tax and electricity. Taxes can be significant, for example 12% county transient occupancy tax, $4/day bed tax and 50¢/day stadium tax (in Tucson). Click all the photos for more views.

Meeting our friends Vicki and Guy

Tuesday, February 20, 2018: Nearly two years ago we were tailgunners on an Alaskan RV tour. Guy and Vicki were the trekmasters for the tour. We met up with them today and talked about old times. We remembered many of the RV guests which we led on the tour and the events we attended. Then we caught up on what each of us have done over the last two years since the tour. Guy and Vicki are leaseholders at Rover's Roost, the Escapee park in Casa Grande where we are parked. They are doing well and already planning some long trips this summer.

Click the photo to see a panorama of Rover's Roost.

Heavy wind today, trees leaning to the north
Monday, February 19, 2018: The big story today was the heavy wind and weather. Today's top wind speed was only 33, we've seen as much at 39 when camped in the open desert. But today, the wind whipped up lots of dust which we did not see in our desert stay. You can see the palm trees reaching to the north as the wind tortures them from the south. We could not walk in this wind without being blinded or getting a mouth full of sand. Gwen made a video of our driving in the storm.
Casa Grande Escapees Park
Sunday, February 18, 2018: Moving day from Apache Junction to Casa Grande, Arizona. This is the first time to plug into the grid since December 5 and the first day since December 1 to have over-the-air television reception. Yes, we get to see some of the winter Olympics, finally. This is an Escapee Park and not our first time to be here. I don't think we have much planned for the few days we plan to stay in Casa Grande mostly cleaning and enjoying full hookups for a change. Tonight was cake and ice cream for park birthdays and anniversaries so I joined the group (for the desert) but got to go first with the rest of the February birthdays. Click the photo to see the clubhouse and birthday group.

Laundry DayAce systems are "down", no sales of any kind.

Saturday, February 17, 2018: We are leaving Apache Junction tomorrow and wanted to get the laundry done today. The Superstition Express was probably the most expensive ($20.50 for two weeks of laundry) we used but nice large front load washers and very busy with customers. You had to buy a card to use the machines and if you were a local, a $100 card could be purchased for $80 so that would have made our $20.50 wash today only $16.40.

We walked by the Ace Hardware store during laundry time. Two employees were out front explaining to customers that their "system was down" and no transactions (including cash) could be conducted. This was a reminder of how dependent we are on electronic infrastructure. If electronic control systems are interrupted for any reason we would not be able to get gas, diesel, heat or air condition houses, food from grocery stores would soon be gone, can't pump water for drinking water or sewer systems, etc. Living in an RV can be considered a "bug out" location as long as you don't need to move (no gas) and no long term need for propane (refrigerator needs propane, one tank is good for about four weeks). Our solar will recharge batteries indefinitely as long as we have sunlight. Fresh water could come from a creek, lake or river if needed (that's what I usually do when I backpack). We generally have a two week supply of food stored too. So an RV can work for survival up to a month but after that, fuel would be needed to move somewhere closer to survival supply sources. Of course people experiencing the recent hurricanes have first hand knowledge of what it takes to survive when the infrastructure is "down".

Matching rings with southwest themeAstin Martin
Friday, February 16, 2018: We take a forty minute drive into Old Towne Scottsdale, Arizona. Gary and Jeanne had given us the idea of getting matching southwestern style rings for a combination Valentine and anniversary gift. They had found rings in Globe but we had to drive to Scottsdale to find ours. There was MUCH to choose from in Old Towne so it didn't take us long. While walking the streets I spotted what I first thought was a Tesla but looking closer discovered it was an Astin Martin, so James Bond must be in town. Click the photos for more views of Old Towne.

Moving to Apache Junction


Thursday, February, 15, 2018: This is moving day from Cholla Campground on Roosevelt Lake to Apache Junction, Arizona. We chose Apache Junction because it has great views of the east side of the Superstition Mountains and a nice Elks Club for RV parking. The Elks Club provides a level space without any hookups so we are still dry camped. The fee is only $10 per day with discounts for remaining for a week or month ($50/week, $150/month). This also gives us easy access to the major parts of the Phoenix area. Click this photo to see our location at the Elks RV parking. The highway 60 leading from Roosevelt then Globe then Apache Junction is very scenic but today we had unusual weather with rain much of the way and low clouds obscuring the view. Still, we made good time arriving just after noon selecting a nice site at the Elks Club. Once we arrived we found the restaurant we were looking for, the Handlebar Pub. It has an exceptional menu with great prices. I had a choice of "sides" which was difficult to choose between a smoked sweet potato and a whole acorn squash. Then, fill the propane tank and look for a car wash.

Back to Payson
Tuesday, February 13, 2018: Another road trip back to Payson to pick up some items we missed on the last trip. Leaving the area on Thursday so this is our last chance. Nothing would stop us except some slow moving geese. Click the photo to see what I mean.
Gary and Jeanne use their Jeep to get us to a remote trailhead Gary and Gwen begin the hike I site the Devil's Chasm
Monday, February 12, 2018: Gary, Jeanne, Gwen and I begin a day planning to hike to a remote cliff dwelling not often visited because of the difficult access. We learned of it from a volunteer dwelling guide yesterday. As it turned out, Gary and Jeanne discovered a different dwelling in the same area but much further into the mountains and with much more difficult access. I'm saying all that because we were no where near prepared for such a hike but decided to learn how far we could get. The dwelling is located in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness Area, in Devil's Chasm. If the name doesn't scare you off, it should. Our archiologists can't tell us why the Salado would choose such a remote and difficult location. There is no place near here to do any farming. The stream was running with good water today, whether it would still be running in the summer months is unknown to me. We DID make the trailhead and hiked about a mile to the first serious obstacle where my hiking partners stopped. I hiked on another quarter mile and then up the left wall of the valley to get above the trees for photos. It would take another mile of hiking to get to the base of the Devil's Chasm. We did meet another hiker who said he hiked five miles round trip and still did not reach the dwelling. So this is a tempting challenge for next year. I need to bring Steve with me!
Hiking to the cliff dwellings

Jeanne looking into room 2Gary looking at the roof support


Sunday, February 11, 2018: In the mountains only 9 miles from our campsite are cliff dwellings in use for several hundred years, abandoned in 1450. It is a relatively easy hike to the dwellings with pavement on the trail and gentle switchbacks up the steep mountain side. These people were farmers growing corn in the valley below. Roosevelt Lake was not in the valley, instead, the Salt River was in the valley and used to irrigate the many crops cultivated by this group. They also made good use of the seeds, stalks, branches and poles from the native desert plants. Click all the photos for more views. On the return hike we found evidence of Javelina in the area. The Hedgehog Cactus has been stripped of the juicy meat inside the pulp.

First stop in Globe, Pickle BarrelLooking for the right items

Saturday, February 10, 2018: Gary, Jeanne, Gwen and I visit Globe mostly to shop at the Pickle Barrel, a unique combination antique, western, Indian, garden and home crafts and decorations. This shop also includes personal items such as T-shirts, clothes, hats, blankets and jewelry. This is a story with so much inventory it takes hours to really see it all. While driving to our picnic location we passed a store where Gwen yelled, "STOP". This was a fun day and we did find a couple of items to decorate our motorhome.

I took a short hike to a remote view point of the Roosevelt Bridge
Friday, February 9, 2018: Near the Roosevelt Bridge is a rough trail leading to a remote view of the bridge. Click the photo for better cropping of this photo. The lake is only about 50% full due to the continued drought in the southwest.
The trail to Natural Bridge Gary and I into the Natural Bridge Gwen and Jeanne hiking to the base of Natural Bridge

Oldest Arizona log school house


Thursday, February 8, 2018: Gwen, Gary, Jeanne and I take a drive through Payson then higher to the Natural Bridge State Park. There is some good hiking and excellent views of the natural bridge. Gary and I attempted a hike through the underground tunnel but came to an area which was beyond the ability of our shoes (too slippery) and age. We had just talked to some twenty-something hikers who came through the tunnel but after looking at the path decided we'd hike around to the other side. This side was the best for photos however. At top, while Gary kept his dog busy, Gwen, Jeanne and I hiked to the observation decks on the other side of the bridge. Click all the photos for additional views. On the return drive, we stopped at the historic Strawberry (name of the town) School House. The oldest log school house in Arizona. Click the photo for a description.

A view of Roosevelt Lake
Tuesday, February 6, 2018: We drove to the tiny town of Roosevelt, Arizona where I had two packages delivered to "General Delivery" at the Roosevelt Post Office. The photo above is the view on our trip to Roosevelt. While parked at the Post Office I was treated with seeing a car not often seen, a Ferrari, here is another view. Another warm day. Click the photo for an panorama.

Road to Roosevelt LakeParked at Cholla Campground on Roosevelt Lake


Monday, February 5, 2018: Today was a moving day from Bouse to Roosevelt Lake, Arizona. This is not our first time at this location, it has become one of our favorites. We are here to enjoy slightly cooler weather from Bouse and enjoy the water. Today we have the kayaks which we did not have two years ago. So we will spend some of our time on the water, not just looking at it. Like two years ago, our friends Gary and Jeanne will be joining us here and we both have similar goals of things to see in the area. Click both photos for enlarged views.

Prepared to leave
Sunday, February 4, 2018: We are leaving our Bouse location tomorrow. Solar panels are down, awning shade is packed, awning mat is packed, weather station is packed. Just need to store the lawn chairs and put the kayaks onto the car and we are on the road tomorrow morning. It took most of the day to get everything ready.
Gwen and I take Steve and Tina to the top of 3 Hump Mountain Steve takes my photo at the top, click this photo for the phote I took of Steve Steve and Tina exploring a cave
Saturday, February 3, 2018: Our friends, Steve and Tina have arrived to go for a hike to the top of 3 Hump Mountain. Steve and I learned quickly, this was going to be a meandering walk with the girls finding stick, rocks, cactus, and tree trunk to stop and explore. It was non-stop talking with the girls catching up with each other. Steve and I stayed focused on the goal. So we all made it half way up 3 Hump when the girls announced they would stay at the lower view point and wait for Steve and I to summit and return. I big disappointment for me, I was wanting to have the girls see the summit view. Steve and I kept to the goal and twenty minutes later we were at the summit. Steve took my summit photo, then I took his. Click all the photos to see additional views. The center photo shows Steve at the summit signing the summit registration book. On the way back, Steve and Tina are exploring a cave on the south side of a wash. Yes, we DID find branches and rocks to collect on the way back to the home base. This was a warm day.

The Etched trailer

Friday, February 2, 2018: We drove to Quartzsite for more than one reason today. Mainly to see the "Art and Craft Show" at Tyson Wells which turned out to be a disappointment because it was little more than what we had already seen. While walking the show, we DID get to meet Darci, the editor and founder of Etched Magazine published in St. George, Utah. I was attracted to the "Retro-Trailer" which Darci and her assistant take with them to promote their new magazine. They have done a nice job of decorating (click the photo to see the kitchen area). Here is another view of the dining area. It takes a lot of work even with a trailer this small. Etched is part travel magazine, part artistic and part history. The theme is to promote the southwest USA. The magazine is published in St. George, Utah. The advertising makes St. George look attractive and a place an RV traveler should visit.

Relaxing in the shade after a desert hike



Thursday, February 1, 2018: It's warm in the desert today so I'm relaxing in the shade after desert hike. I put Gatorade and ice in my insulated cup and enjoyed the view. You can see the view, just click the photo.

Looking for the easy route to the top of 3 Hump.At the top, collecting a rock from the top

Wednesday, January 31, 2018: I'm looking for an easy route to the top of "3 Hump". You see, Steve and Tina will be visiting this next weekend specifically to hike to the top of 3 Hump. I want to make sure we have the best route with the most scenic views and a mine shaft along the way. Anyway, I'm searching for the easy route to the top and believe I've found it. Of course this was the perfect hiking day, very little wind and 78 degrees. It felt pretty warm to me and I was taking in a lot of water. The forecast for Saturday is even warmer, 83 but with a nice breeze. I saw lots of rocks I wanted to collect be didn't want to carry the whole hike. Once to the top, I had to collect a rock, in this case, some desert lava. Click the photos for larger views.

Alamo Dam on the Bell Williams River

Alamo Lake State Park with 30/50 amp plus water hookupsBoondocked on the Lake edgeTuesday, January 30, 2018:East of Bouse is a reservoir called Alamo Lake formed by a dam on the Bill Williams River. It is almost 2 hours driving time from Bouse but I wanted to explore hearing about the potential of boondocking on the edge of a large lake since we have kayaks. This was my first view from a distance as I approached the lake (a panorama, be sure to click the photo to enlarge). I learned that a spillway is to the right of the dam and 50 feet below the top but the water has never reached the spillway. When you look at the photo, if the spillway is 50 feet below the top then the water appears to be more than 100 feet below the spillway. Since the southwest has been in a drought for several years, it's understandable for the water to be so low. The dam was built to control flood water flowing into Lake Havasu. The Bill Williams River was where we kayaked when visiting Lake Havasu. Next I visited the Alamo Lake State Park where for $25 per night you get a campsite with 30/50 amp power and water. But the park is at least 150 feet above the level of the lake and I was more interested in the boondocking at the edge of the water. After following about ten miles of gravel road I found the boondocked RVs. Most were camped in the desert a considerable distance from the water. I did find about half a dozen RVs next to the water but all water camp locations were taken so nothing for anyone new except the desert. It was my observation there was no reason to drive an hour to a remote lake just to be next to the water with our kayaks. The scenery was better in Bouse and the lake offered no coves to explore or cliffs to paddle next to. It would be OK for paddle exercise and boat handling practice but too remote to make it comfortable. Apparently most of the RVs are here for the ATV trails and for the fishing. We don't do either. I did see burros for the first time on our trip which is always fun. Click all photos for more views.

Sign as we leave Hope, Arizona First railroad into Wickenburg Where's the water? No water, no fish! Wickenburg cowboy and dance hall girl

An idea for Quartzsite rocksLots of murals in Wickenburg


Monday, January 29, 2018: Gwen and I take a 1.5 hour drive to Wickenburg, Arizona, a historic Arizona town. To get to Wickenburg we drove through Hope, Arizona. We laughed at the sign when leaving Hope. Gwen was hoping to visit the quilt shop again but learned it is open only on the weekend plus Friday. So we drove to the Chamber of Commerce where we got maps for a walking tour of the historic district. We found lots of shops with Southwest Arizona theme or western coyboy theme. Many of the historic buildings are now antique shops or western shops with items for the tourists. Click all the photos for larger photos. We were lucky, when standing next to the historic steam engine, the Arizona and California train came through. This is the same train which passes through Bouse, on the average, twice each day.

The photo to the left I took to remember the idea of how to use the rocks we find in the desert and in the rock shops/vendors in Quartzsite. The base is solid rock and the body features a rock slice. The rest of the art is wood. I believe this is something I could design and make, just have to remember the idea.

A rock for Tina


Sunday, January 28, 2018: After refinishing the kitchen cabinet fronts and drawer fronts in Miss Dory, we take a walk into the desert looking for rocks for our friend Tina. We were imagining lots of small rocks and got her a gunny sack to collect them. However, we came across this rock and decided this one had her name on it. It is much bigger than we were planning but decided to take a photo to learn if she wanted it. Tina and her husband, Steve will be visiting this weekend. Our plan is to collect rocks and hike to the top of the three hump mountain. Click the photo to see an enlarged photo of the rock.

Michael Cullipher Michael Cullipher Michael Cullipher Michael Cullipher Michael Cullipher Michael Cullipher
Saturday, January 27, 2018: Gwen and I visit the Bouse Elementary School Gym and Cafeteria for a two hour performance by Michael Cullipher in a tribute to Elvis. The gym was nearly full of all us old people who remember seeing Elvis perform as children. Click each one of these photos for larger views. I've also created a video to give you a feeling of the night. Toward the end of the performance Michael gave a "sweaty scarf" to every lady who wanted one and of course, they all did.
East Cactus Plain Wilderness Area
Friday, January 26, 2018: I learned Bouse is not far from the East Cactus Plain Wilderness Area only about 15 miles into the desert. It's a unique area in the desert with plants growing only in this area plus unique geography. Finding the wilderness sign along with a sign saying only horseback riding and backpacking were allowed in the area. There are NO trails, bring water and a compass. I'm thinking a GPS would be a good idea too. Trying to cross this wilderness area is a temptation with my backpack but I believe I'll wait until next year. Click the photo for a brand new wilderness sign.
Picnic in Swansea Rough road to Swansea Gwen standing at a shaft opening
Miner housingCopper Smelter buildingThursday, January 25, 2018: Gwen and I drive into the desert to the ghost town of Swansea, Arizona. Swansea is an old copper and gold mining town about 20 miles into the desert from Bouse. The Arizona and Swansea railroad was built in 1909 to transport people and supplies to Swansea from Bouse. The railroad operated until 1927. The mining operation shipped copper and gold on the railroad too but not enough to create a profit for the investors. Swansea went through several mining companies but none were able to make the operation profitable. In the last days, the miners had to cut up the steel and other parts of the buildings, then sell them for back wages. Swansea was abandoned. The route was mostly gravel, some rough. Our Forester had no problem but high ground clearance is needed. Click all photos for larger views. There are five designated campsites around the town. Gwen and I had lunch at the site behind the railroad depot. Be sure to view the photos of the weathered adobe brick construction. Most of the adobe buildings have dissolved but the railroad depot still had walls partially standing.

"Coya" is doing wellWednesday, January 24, 2018: Remember the "desert dog"? I was in Parker so stopped by the La Paz County Animal Shelter to check on her. When I drove up to the shelter I was greeted by Becky. Becky is a seasonal animal rehabilitation and caretaker. I described the desert dog and Becky took me right to her new home. Becky has named her "Coya" pronounced (kī yŭ) as in Coyote, rhymes with "hi ya". Becky said she has been able to sit in the cage with Coya and has touched her ear. That's much more than I was able to do. Becky is working to get Coya on a leash. Coya has a nice sleeping area where she can stay warm on a cold night. She had plenty of food (which you can see) and water. Becky puts peanut butter inside the rubber Kong (the black toy on the blanket) which keeps Coya busy for hours. I also brought Coya a rawhide chew toy knowing that she likes to chew on things. Becky said she would continue to work with Coya and felt like she would improve over time. I told Becky of Coya's history with us which I thought would be helpful. I'm not sure Coya recognized me but you can see her tail is not between her legs which she always did with strangers.

The BIG Tent!
Tuesday, January 23, 2018: This is the week that many RVers look forward to, the week of the "BIG Tent". The big tent is off in the distance surrounded by many little tents. The BIG Tent is full of vendors sells all sorts of items for the RVer. All the little tents are also full of items for RVers but of more general interest (tools, jewelry, yard ornaments, etc.). The crowds of RVers are amazing, almost shoulder to shoulder inside the BIG tent. We didn't buy much, some water filter cartridges, a small awning mat, a throw rug, and gunnysacks to collect rocks. We DID enter lots of RV Resort raffles for "free nights" and inquired about camp host and workamper positions nationwide. We are considering a major purchase of a tire pressure monitor system. We have a good experience with them in the past but our current system does not monitor all tires and additional transmitters will cost nearly the same as a new system. The show special price is a 20% discount so very tempting. I did make a video inside the BIG Tent to give you the tent experience. Click the photo above for a view inside the tent.
Trying out the Arizona Peace Trail Desert driving can be dusty and steep
Monday, January 22, 2018: A couple week ago, Gwen and I tried driving the Arizona Peace Trail from Quartzsite but we drove only 1/4 mile before the brush got so close to the trail, I refused to drive through. I'm trying to keep the "Arizona pin stripping" off the Forester. Today, however, I found the Peace Trail leaving Bouse to the east. This unpaved gravel road was in much better condition than the road leaving Quartzsite. So I followed the trail until a branch headed toward Parker. The route north on the trail became more of an ATV trail, not for me. Click each of these photos for larger views. The Arizona Peace Trail is a 750 mile off-road trail looping around southwest Arizona. I crossed the Arizona Aqua duct (taking water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson) twice. I also found the East Cactus Plain Wilderness. The sign said the wilderness was available for horseback riding and backpacking, no motorized vehicles or bicycles. This is my first knowledge of the wilderness area and tempting for a backpack trip.

Friends, Steve and Tina


Friday, Saturday, Sunday, January 19 - 21, 2018: We make a short trip to Phoenix to shop at Costco, WinCo and Wal-Mart. It is two hours one-way to Phoenix from our location in Bouse. The traffic is crazy as you get closer to Phoenix and the Costco shopping was so busy it was nearly shoulder to shoulder inside. Still, we had no problem finding all the items on our list. The highlight of the trip however, was getting to visit with our friend Bo on Friday and Steve and Tina on Saturday. Bo is a friend we made when we were tour tailgunners in our Alaska trip two years ago. We hadn't seen her since the Alaska trip. Much has happened for her in the last two years and she is now permanently in the Phoenix area. Steve and Tina have been friends from Oregon for quite a few years. They have also moved to the Phoenix area permanently. A very different weather pattern from Oregon. They love their new weather pattern and have created a resort setting at their new home. Click their photo to see the resort setting I'm talking about. What great fun it was to visit with both Bo and Steve/Tina.

Ocotillo Lodge


Thursday, January 18, 2018: Click the photo to see a panorama of the inside of the most popular eating establishment in Bouse. This is where the locals get a $1 draft beer and a hamburger with fries. We decided to check it out tonight. You can't be in a hurry when they are busy, it took more than an hour to get our hamburgers. They were good.

What is needed to power a residential refrigerator
Wednesday, January 17, 2018: Escapees national is having a "Happy Hour" this afternoon so I drove to the desert area where the activity was happening. I've never been to a "national Happy Hour" so wanted to learn what was happening. It was a giant visiting time with music and of course, food. Click the photo above to see what I saw. While walking around the parking area I took a photo of the above motorhome because of the number of solar panels. The only reason to have so many panels is because of the number of batteries which need charging. We have four six volt batteries and my three panels easily fully charge them by noon. It is likely this motorhome has a residential refrigerator, the need for power storage (lots of batteries). I spent some time talking to John in another motorhome with lots of panels. He has no problem providing power to his residential refrigerator with only four batteries but his batteries are lithium batteries. I learned he paid $700 per battery. The six volt golf cart batteries I use are less than $100 each. I don't believe I could justify $2800 for batteries. We are considering a residential refrigerator so I enjoy talking to those who are powering their refrigerator off the grid.
Escapee Chapter 37 Rally in Quartzsite
Tuesday, January 16, 2018: We are lifetime members of the Escapees RV Club. We are also leaseholders in the Escapees Co-op park in Oregon, one of the clubs marvelous benefits. I often promote the Escapees RV Club to friends and to Facebook groups such at the 50 and Over RVers. We became members of the club more than ten years ago and subsequently joined our local chapter, Chapter 37 located in southern Oregon and northern California. Chapter 37 is having a short rally about five miles south of Quartzsite, 30 miles from our location in Bouse. We visited the rally in the desert. At the moment we arrived, they were in the middle of helping each other solve repair problems. One of the great benefits of being a member of a group is the ability to share information (like a great place to visit or camp) and talent like the ability to know how to fix a refrigerator. I had just had some problems with our refrigerator and gotten help from my RV repair friend, Steve Jones. One of my friends at the rally had a similar problem with his refrigerator and I was able to help him solve the problem. That sort of help happened a dozen times with others at the rally. Two events always happen at any Escapee rally, a circle of lawn chairs with RV stories told to the circle and potlucks. Of course, those are planned for this rally too. All the RVs in this rally are parked in a large circle. I've done a panorama of the rally. It doesn't look like a circle because I stood in the center and just rotated my camera almost 360 degrees. Click the photo above to see the panorama.

Puppies model the hats


Monday, January 15, 2018: Gwen took me to Quartzsite today to look for painted metal flowers. I had seen them a couple days ago and she decided she wanted one. We walked the whole show looking for the booth I found. But we found the dogs modeling hats and "cool mats", photo to the right. Click the photo to see all the dogs. We found hundreds of cast iron wall hangings and garden decorations. We found hundreds of cow bones too. But we didn't find the booth I was looking for. Fortunately, we DID find some painted metal flowers which made Gwen happy.

Drying the laundry


Saturday, January 13, 2018: While I'm searching for quartz rocks in the desert, Gwen did the laundry then strung a line from the motorhome to the car to dry. The humidity is only 30% so the clothes dry quickly. Gwen and I are waiting for the NFL playoff schedule to start at 2:35 pm mountain time. We listen to the start of the game but then take a desert hike during the third and fourth quarter get back in time to hear the Eagles win.

Now we are listening to the Titan, Patriot game hoping the Titans win but realize they have little chance.

Click the photo for a nice sunset tonight.

Exploring rocks and gems in Quartzsite Crystals Lots of cut slabs
Friday, January 12, 2018: I took a trip to Quartzsite today to see some of the rock and gem show happening now. Quartzsite always has many rock, gem and mineral shops but this time of year, the number of vendors increases ten fold or more. Click each of these photos for more views. Here are a few more photos (1), (2), (3), (4)

Arizona climate is rough on treesGwen finds a placer mining claim

Thursday, January 11, 2018: Another hike into the desert around us. We are amazed at the hardy plants and trees which grow in this tough environment. It seems we see something new every time we walk into the desert. Today, Gwen spotted what appeared to be a property marker so she investigated more. On two sides of the marker were pieces of paper into glass tubes. She opened one of the tubes and found a Placer Mining Claim to the area around the marker. We looked around and saw no evidence of any mining but also saw nothing worth mining. The claim was dated 2012 so no telling what the claim owner has in mind. Click these photos for more views.

Parker Public Library

Wednesday, January 10, 2018: Sometimes using a Verizon Hotspot works fine for my Internet connection and sometimes not. The hotspot works only sporadically out in the desert. To be fair, I believe the Verizon tower is about 20 miles from our location. So today I brought my laptop to the Parker Public Library to upload the pages and videos I've made. Even then, the library WiFi took forty minutes to upload one video and when I tried to upload a second it was reporting a sixty minute upload. At that point I turned on my Verizon hotspot in the library and the upload to less than half that time. Go figure! It is a nice library. Click the photo to see one of the outside of the library published on their Webpage.

Shea, La Paz County Animal Control brings a trap to catch the dog Didn't take long Loading the dog into the truck
Tuesday, January 9, 2018: The story of our "desert dog" ended today. I stopped in Parker, the La Paz County Seat and talked with Shea, the animal control officer, about coming to Bouse to catch the dog. The dog has been with us about three weeks and still has the attitude: "I want to live with you and be with you, just don't TOUCH me and don't get closer than four feet." This morning, Gwen and I went on a hike into the desert and for the first time, the dog came with us and returned with us. The dog has learned from past experience, "Bad things happen to me when I'm around humans." Over the three weeks she was with us she started to question that thinking. We can't keep her so the best avenue for her is the county animal shelter where volunteers can work with her and perhaps she will eventually trust humans. Unfortunately, since she won't allow a human close the only way to move her to the shelter is to trap her. Whatever we do, it is going to be traumatic for her and will reinforce her feeling that "bad things happen to me when I trust humans". We had no choice, leaving her here in the desert would have been a long painful death one way or another. Shea brought out the trap which worked quickly because I hadn't provided as much food for her normal day. We have had good weather for the 35 days we have been here until today. Shea arrived during a terrible wind and rainstorm and she was convinced the trap wouldn't work today because of the awful weather but the dog was hungry and immediately entered the trap. We felt badly because the dog was traumatized but good that she would not be soaking wet sleeping outside in the cold weather. It has been a month and a day since we lost Morgan and this brings back sad memories. Good luck little fellow. Click each photo for enlarged views.
The community park dump station
Monday, January 8, 2018: We have been in the desert 34 days and made our black water holding tank last that long by careful management. Today was the day we chose to dump the black water holding tank followed by the gray water holding tank. The dump station is at the community park where we have been getting our fresh water. The dump fee is $10. So, only a ten minute drive to the community park, thanks for the service. Readers had asked what I mean by "careful management". Without going into details, we do everything we can to keep liquids from entering the black water tank. BTW, the black water tank wasn't full, Gwen just wanted it dumped. (smiley face) Here are some ideas for eliminating gray water ecologically.
Waiting for the Hi Jolly Daze Parade
Saturday, January 6, 2018: We drive to Quartzsite to watch the Hi Jolly Daze Parade. It is an annual tradition in Quartzsite in honor of an 18th century camel driver hired to transport military gear. He lived most of his life in the Quartzsite area and is buried in Quartzsite. The parade is open registration so anyone can ride, walk, or display in the parade. I made a video of this parade so you can compare with the Orcafest Parade in Port McNeill, British Columbia last summer.

Gwen is negotiating for a Mexican blanketMexico for Vanilla

Friday, January 5, 2018: We chose today to make a quick trip into Algodones, Mexico near Yuma. Most USA tourists walk into Algodones for four reasons. They are shopping for liquor, prescription drugs (no prescription needed), dental work and eye glasses. We are going for something different. Gwen is anxious for a blanket to cover our motorhome couch, she also wants a metal plant for display with out fifth wheel back home, and Vanilla since the USA price for Vanilla is very high. We found everything we were looking for quickly so we were back into the USA about noon time. I made a video of this trip so you get the idea of this Mexico visit.

Arizona MarketPlace
Thursday, January 4, 2018: A visit to Arizona MarketPlace in Yuma, Arizona was once a day-long adventure in flea market style shopping. Unfortunately, something has caused the vendors to go elsewhere or quit the business. Arizona MarketPlace is less than half what it use to be when we first began coming here. There is still a good selection of product but no longer bargain prices. I believe I can do better now at the Dollar Store or Harbor Freight. There are still lots of RV related products but the prices are no better than the local RV supply store. Click this photo for another view. I also made a video of the trip today.

Finally enough wind

Tuesday, January 2, 2018: You wouldn't want to see a photo of the propane station, garbage transfer station or the county park water faucet where I get the water to refill our freshwater holding tank. After taking care of those utility items, the wind had picked up to better than 10 mph so here's a photo of my single line kite with 16 foot tail. Here's a short video if you've forgotten how a kite flies.

Desert hike to the top of three hump mountain View to the northwest from the top Sealed mine halfway to the top
Monday, January 1, 2018: On the first day of 2018 I take a hike into the desert with a goal to the top of the three hump mountain about two miles from our parking location. As it turns out there was a very rough ATV trail two-thirds of the way to the top. Halfway to the top is an abandoned and some-what sealed mine under a make-shift hut. Be sure to click these three photos for larger views. A panorama taken toward Bouse is behind the mine hut. Be sure to click the panorama a second time, it's about three screens wide so scroll from one side to another.

Ultralite aircraft overhead

Sunday, December 31, 2017: There is a group of ultra-lite fliers about two miles from our parking location. They like to fly in the desert when there is no or very little wind. I hope to watch them take-off some day. I'd like to know how the parafoil fliers get into the air. This flier was directly overhead on his way to the mountains just behind our location. Looks like fun. Click this photo to enlarge.

La Paz County Park Swap MeetLots of socks and stocking caps

Saturday, December 30, 2017: Every Saturday during the winter months a large "Swap Meet" happens along the Colorado River north of Parker at the La Paz County Park. Today was our first time to see the swap meet. There were many RV vendors. What I mean by that, these are RVers who pull a large utility trailer loaded with product, usually on wheeled display units. Storing the product this way makes it easy to setup and take-down. These vendors often travel from one craft fair - swap meet to another. The vendor displaying the wind mobiles has very high quality items but also priced more than I'd like to pay. That vendor also has some high performance parafoil kites that I'm interested in. I did buy a stocking cap from the vendor at right. It was lined and only $4. I like them as a sleeping cap when my head gets cold. Click on both photos for larger views.

Exploring the Arizona Peace TrailArizona Peace Trail Scenery

Friday, December 29, 2017: We are parked very close to the Arizona Peace Trail, a 750 mile loop in southwest Arizona for offroad vehicles. This is a newly mapped route by Arizona State Parks with support by the many offroad vehicle clubs and the towns along the route. At least one new Arizona State Park will be created to support this offroad trail through some of the most scenic areas of Arizona. A new state park and AZPT staging area is planned for Bouse. Much of the trail is good enough for us to use our Forrester on the trail. We will be exploring whatever we can of the trail. This is the best map I've found. You can enlarge to show better detail.

Stray dog in the desert

Thursday, December 28, 2017: For the last ten days we have been visited each day by what appears to be a dog abandoned in the desert. It's about 18" tall and probably weighs 15 lbs. When it first appeared, Gwen gave her some water, very thirsty. When it appeared the next day, we gave it water and some dry dog food. She will not let us approach any closer than four feet and won't take food from an outstretched hand. It has been hanging around during the day but leaves every evening. Last night I followed her at a distance hoping to learn if she actually has a home elsewhere. She walked about 3/4 mile into the desert and laid down next to a bush. I waited and watched for 20 minutes then returned home. Two hours later, at dusk, I hiked back to where I had left her and she was still there. I tried coaxing her to follow me but she would not. Unlike Morgan, this dog does not trust humans but wants the food they make available. I had errands in Parker today, the La Paz County seat. I visited the animal shelter and talked with the county animal patrol officer. She took my information and promised she would come soon to Bouse to help capture the dog. We have no experience with "shelter or rescue" dogs but I can see that this dog will need a lot of rehabilitation and socialization with humans. Currently it has no desire to be near a human or touched by a human. Having said that, the last few days it has laid somewhat relaxed on our outdoor carpet seeming to want to be in our "group", just not closer than four feet to any human. To me, she looks full grown with paw size matching the rest of the body but she has the temperament of a puppy wanting to chew on everything and barks playfully when frustrated by not getting a treat since she won't take it out of my hand. Her personality is opposite of the Golden Retriever we experienced for the last 17 years. Our Golden only wanted to be with humans, interacting in every way possible.

Large Dolphin Kite

Wednesday, December 27, 2017: Running errands today. Getting propane, water, checking for mail and delivering garbage to the transfer station. I still had enough time to check the wind speed for my new, single line parafoil kite. This kite really needs a steady 10 mph or more to fly well. I realize you can't tell the size. This is a large kite, about 12 feet from tip to tip, hence the need for strong wind to keep it aloft. Today, I barely showed a 10 mph wind but I was able to keep it aloft for an hour. This is a parafoil so it's made only of fabric, no stiffening ribs needed. Click this photo for another view.

Hanneke, Sjoerd and Ramses from the Neatherlands, touring north America by bicycle

Tuesday, December 26, 2017: I'm off to do the laundry today in downtown Bouse. While there, I met a family from the Netherlands touring north America by bicycle. They started in Canada and have ridden as far south as Tucson and are now headed toward San Francisco where they will board a plane for home in March. Sjoerd is dad, Hanneke is mom and Ramses is their little boy. Hanneke is writing a Facebook page of their travels. Her page is in Dutch so unless you can read Dutch, here is the trick. Right click and choose "Translate to English". I got a message which said, "This page could not be translated. Options". I clicked on options then chose "Dutch" as the language to translate from. I also checked the box, "Always Translate" then clicked the box, "Translate". Like magic, everything is now in English. Click this photo for another view. Enjoy Hanneke's report.

Quartzsite Arizona Senior Center
Monday, December 25, 2017: Several weeks back Gwen and I decided to purchase Christmas dinner tickets a the Quartzsite Senior Center (about a 25 mile drive from our location). We did this mostly because we didn't want to cook on Christmas day. Bouse Community Center is very close and has a Christmas dinner but it is a potluck. As it turns out, I have given my "desert flu" to Gwen and she is not feeling well enough for the drive. I'm feeling better so I grab a couple dishes with lids and head to Quartzsite with the idea of asking for our meals to-go. They were very accommodating filling my two dishes before anyone else and sent me on my way back to Gwen. So we enjoyed a Christmas meal at home. We were sad to miss the Christmas dinner at the center with live music and lots of folks to visit.
Stocking contents
Sunday, December 24, 2017: Santa has done a good job this year of filling our stockings. Somehow he seems to know exactly what to stuff into the stocking. This is the contents of my stocking. Click this photo to see the contents of Gwen's stocking.

External propane tank

Saturday, December 23, 2017: Our motorhome has a built-in large propane tank but if we aren't moving around, either parked in the desert or an RV park, it's a pain to have to move the motorhome just to refill the propane tank. So I installed a fitting to allow the connection of a external propane. This tank can be taken to the nearest propane refill station eliminating the need to move the motorhome. Today I believe I learned something new (by accident) which I will confirm next week. I left the valve open to the large tank when connecting the external tank. When I opened the external tank valve, the propane seemed to be flowing from the external tank into the larger tank. That is good news for more than one reason. If I can refuel the large tank from the external tank, it will reduce the number of times I must take the motorhome to the propane refuel station. Also, when at our home base in Sutherlin, Oregon, our park has a propane refill station with prices at least a dollar less than the in-town price. However, they can't connect to a motorhome. If I can refill the motorhome tank from the external tank, I can save a dollar a gallon. My large tank is at the half full mark, next week I'll learn if I can add propane from the external tank. Click this photo to enlarge.

Palo Verde Tree


Friday, December 22, 2017: Our location in the Arizona desert is surrounded my the Palo Verde Tree, the Arizona State Tree. Palo Verde is Spanish for "green stick". Virtually every part of the tree is green. I always joke that every bush and tree in the desert has thorns and the Palo Verde is not an exception. The end of every branch is a very sharp thorn. They are found mostly in the washes around here. When there is any rain, the water ends up in the wash. I assume the majority of the rain is during the summer monsoons. We certainly have had no evidence of rain during the last month. It would be nice to have just ONE day with something other than clear, sunny weather, it's getting boring. Click the photo to see a green branch.

Satellite view of our desert location
Wednesday and Thursday, December 20, 21, 2017: It seems that every year I return to the Arizona desert I catch what I call the Arizona crud (although, last year I got it in Oregon). So I've been holding up resting with a sore throat and runny nose. This satellite view will give you a better idea of our location outside the town of Bouse. You can't see most but the desert is crisscrossed with roads giving us access. Click this photo to enlarge.
Bouse Post Office
Tuesday, December 19, 2017: When traveling, we often get our mail at the local post office by having the mail addressed to "General Delivery". Knowing that, we have ordered several items from Amazon and had them delivered to "General Delivery". Everything was working well until today, I checked on the delivery of a package and learned it had been shipped by UPS. Everybody knows UPS doesn't deliver to the post office. I stopped at the post office today to learn what UPS might do if they have a package addressed to "General Delivery". The postmaster told me they would accept the package for me and I can pick it up from them. I don't think this is the first time for this to happen since there are so many snowbirds parked in the desert around here.

Rocks by the poundQuartzsite, the rock capital of the world


Monday, December 18, 2017: Quartzsite is known at the "rock capital of the world". This is one of the outdoor vendors selling all sorts of rocks and minerals by the pound. Most are rough, straight from the mine. Some have been cut into slabs, see the photo at the left. Click both photos to see a wider view. This is only one vendor and their are more than a hundred around town.

Parker Dam
Sunday, December 17, 2017: Parker Dam holds back the Colorado River to create the huge Lake Havasu. The dam is located just north of Parker, Arizona. The state of California is on the west side of the river and Arizona on the east side of the river but the main city and shopping area is Parker. Vehicles are allowed to drive over the dam with a guard posted at both ends of the dam. No trucks or RVs are allowed to cross the dam. Click the photo to see another view while on top of the dam. Here is another photo of the dam from the California side.
Bouse in the distance, our spot in the desert
Saturday, December 16, 2017: Listening to the Las Vegas Bowl with Oregon Ducks being run over by the Boise State Broncos. The Ducks have played very poorly with a new coach this year. The coach actually quit toward the end of the season to take a job in Florida. The above photo shows our desert parking location with Bouse in the distance. We are 8 minutes driving time to downtown Bouse and to the community park where we get our fresh water and where we will dump our black water when the time comes. You can see the green line of bushes and trees behind Miss Dory. That is a wash which will fill with water if we ever get a good rain storm. Click the photo to see a closer view of Miss Dory from behind and to the left. I did take the time to take the garbage to the transfer station and get six gallons of water. I talked to Alicia, the camp host at the Bouse Community Park. She is from Oregon, new at full time RVing and a single woman who has mapped her entire year as a host here in Arizona then back to Oregon in the summer. I've introduced her to the Escapees RV Club and the "Solos" subgroup. She has made a poor choice of a full time RV and hopefully the Solos will help her make better choices. Just before the game started I flew my 1.5 meter, two line parafoil kite in a 10 - 15 mph wind, nice flying conditions.
Enjoying Silly Als PizzaNew windsock pole
Friday, December 15, 2017: This day began as a "yard sale" day for us. The yard sales were mostly duds! We drove on to Quartzsite to visit the Senior Center Craft Day. Gwen found a nice kitchen towel she liked, I found nothing. We did pay for Christmas Day dinner tickets, only $9. Bouse is also having a Christmas day dinner but it's a pot luck and we preferred having someone else do all the cooking. We had more than one reason to be in Quartzsite, Gwen had a hair cut appointment in the afternoon. Just before the haircut, we ate at a favorite pizza place, Silly Al's Pizza. You can see the "Mediterranean" pizza if you click Gwen's photo. While she got her hair cut, I went shopping and found a windsock pole. I already owned the windsocks but no pole to hang them. This one telescopes to 22' and is easy to store for travel. That will give me something to do on a windy day, watch my windsocks. Click the windsocks for another view.
Bouse Bingo
Thursday, December 14, 2017: The Bouse Booster Club has bingo every Thursday night so Gwen took me to the clubhouse. It was a little more expensive than bingo in Sutherlin, $18 for the two of us but the winners get a bigger pot, $50. Gwen and I got within ONE number a couple of times but never close enough. We were treated to free treats, however, click this photo to see.

A hike in the desertEnjoying Taco Tuesday at the Ocotillo Lodge

Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Gwen took me on a desert hike today to the top of some nearby mountains where we got views of the surrounding area. We saw RVs scattered around the desert as well as a distant view of the tiny Bouse community. Click the photo to the left to see Gwen on the mountain top with the view behind her. Below you see Miss Dory as we return from the hike. At dusk, we got another fabulous sunset, just click the photo below to see what it looked like.

After the hike we drove to "Family Dollar" a new store in Bouse. I had just read the NPR article about how "General Dollar is Transforming Rural America" so I wanted to see how Family Dollar (a store with the same business plan) compares. I also needed "C" batteries for my weather station. These "rural" stores are suppose to have good prices. I got 50% off the second package of batteries but still not as good a price as Costco but I only bought 4 batteries rather than 14 (the Costco package). The inventory reminded me of the old style "General Store" found in small towns 80 years ago. Inventory jammed together, narrow isles, trying to have something of everything, even a toilet seat.

Next, we went to the historic Ocotillo Lodge for their Taco Tuesday special. It is a restaurant bar with a "rough" interior, a "tavern" atmosphere. Click my photo above to learn how Gwen enjoyed her Taco Special.

Returning from our desert hike
Bouse Boost Club on a Monday
The Monday menuMonday, December 11, 2017: Every Monday in the winter, the Bouse Boost Club serves breakfast as a fund raising event. It is always well attended but tough for us to get to because they serve from 7-9am, a bit early for us to get from the desert parking to downtown Bouse. The breakfast menu has not changed since we were here six years ago. I remember from six years ago you could ask for extra pancakes without a charge but it looks like it might cost another 50 cents now. I didn't make any changes except no sausage today so I asked for another egg. Click the above photo to see the interior of the clubhouse. You can see blocks are painted with messages from the donor. The block costs $25 plus $25 to the artist to paint it. This room fills for breakfast and I'll bet it fills on Thursday for bingo. I believe Gwen will be taking me to Bingo so I'll find out. Click the menu to enlarge. After breakfast, I purchased propane for only $2.10/gallon then to the post office to pickup our mail which arrived on Saturday. I was told by the clerk, "general delivery mail would not be up until 11:30". When I said it arrived on Saturday she peaked at a shelf and said, "nothing here". So I drove to the library to use their Internet service. It wasn't working so I drove back home. At 11:45, I returned to the post office and arrived at 11:59 noticing the sign on the door, "Closed Noon - 1:00 for Lunch". I said a curse word but found the door still open and the clerk found my package on the top of the pile. Experienced some cloud overcast today so couldn't switch the refrigerator to electric today. Forecast is clear for tomorrow.
Getting our Quartzite fix Lots of inventory specialize in desert needs Service as well as product out of an RV

Lots of booths scattered around QuartziteMaybe need this if we drive into the desert






Sunday, December 10, 2017: We decided to visit Quartzite, Arizona for the first time this winter. Quartzite is a unique town with many snowbirds visiting and camping in the nearby desert or the many RV parks. The parking fees are probably the cheapest in Arizona. It is located 25 miles from our desert parking location. Quartzite is also unique because it has more winter temporary vendors than any other location I know of. Many vendors return every year and the RVers know where they are located so they return to that location each year. For example, Gwen like the kitchen vendor and often waits to purchase from that vendor. There are many specialty tool and RV parts vendors which I like to visit. The tools are often unusual, inexpensive and can't be found easily anywhere else. There are also unusual parts found in Quartzite vendors. For example, there are many RV parts sold as a complete unit when all you need is a single lever which is part of the unit. You can find the lever here for 1/10th the price of the unit price. Unfortunately, it's usually a "treasure hunt" where you must do lots of searching to find exactly what you are looking for. Also, the dilemma is not having a need for the part NOW, but MAYBE in the future, so should I stock up NOW or wait until I really need it? Many vendors specialize in items needed in the desert. For example, the giant nails. The desert is often windy so awnings, mats, table, chairs need to be "nailed down". We use the giant nails on our awning and we found a nice RV mat so will use the nails and washers to nail down the mat. You can also find services in the RVs, such as the barber or pet groomer. I took a photo of the "Hand Puller" because I use to own one and it saved me several times. If we driving into the desert off-roads, we might need it to pull us out of at problem. No, I didn't buy it. Behind that photo are Tesla's connected to charging stands. My assumption, these folks are driving between Phoenix and LA and know Quartzite is a good spot to recharge. I asked one of the owners and was told it would take 30 minutes for a full charge. I did buy a mat, nails/washers, small tool bag, T-shirt, rocks for the grandkids, specialty tools for projects I'm planning and a kitchen knife sharpener. Click all photos for more photos.

Sun setting
Saturday, December 9, 2017: When the sun goes down, the desert darkness swallows us until the stars begin to appear one at a time. We can see a few distant lights from the Bouse community but nothing disturbs the dark. The sound is also in the distance. Yes, an occasional train or semi-truck can be heard but as a low hum. It's the way we like it.

Morgan showing off

Friday, December 8, 2017: This has been one of our toughest days. Our Golden, Morgan, has been with us for our entire RV lifestyle. Today she was 17 years and 25 days old and we had to have her euthanized. This Website has hundreds of pages and she is found on nearly every one. I've been trying to figure why it bothers us so much to loose her and have decided it is because she has been the perfect "human". Or perhaps the perfect human companion. She was never demanding or complaining, always happy to see us. We weren't perfect parents but she was always forgiving and didn't hold a grudge. She was never unhappy with the music I played and didn't demand money so she could buy an X-box and video games. She was never mean in any situation and had no understanding of violence. In fact, once when attacked by another dog, she only cried, didn't fight back, not understanding why this animal would hurt her. She enjoyed every part of life but was always happiest when with her family. The Webster definition of "friend" is: "one who you like and enjoy being with, a favored companion". Morgan was my friend. So she was the perfect "human". I believe humans could learn how better to BE human from this K9. Here are some links to a few of the other pages in this Website so you will understand how much she enjoyed her 17+ years. Just click each link, then the "back" button to return here to go to the next link. Beginning her life as an RV dog. Then she gets her first bath as an RV dog. When she was young and strong she even wrote a story of her adventures mountain biking. She learned along with us how to enjoy a new lifestyle at Howard Prairie Resort for five years. She went to the top of Table Mountain with me. Morgan just misses seeing a bear. Here's another story she wrote about fresh water. Morgan has a cousin, Jackson, who wrote a story about his visit to meet us when he was just a puppy. She has visited many states, here is her experience in Blue Water Creek Canyon, New Mexico, click the creek photo to see her, Alberta, Yukon, Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Carolina, Illinois, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. Morgan had a litter mate, Amica, which she would often visit in Lodi, California. More fun times at Howard Prairie Resort. She has hiked to indian petroglyphs. Hiking was one of her favorite things to do. As she got older we tried to get her to use a ramp, but she didn't like them. She couldn't be embarrassed. She has another cousin, Gunnar, who taught her a new area to explore. Here she is in Hat Creek, California, a remote area of northern California. Of course she always loved the beach. Nearly two years ago, she had to have an eye removed. Still enjoying the beach with friends, with Brook and Gwen's son Dave. If you explore these pages, you will find many more photos of her adventures. This morning she struggled to get up and wait at the door for permission to leave Miss Dory. This was her final trip. Finally, here is Gwen's story of our Morgan.

Fresh vegitables and fruit in Bouse

Thursday, December 7, 2017: This was our first "utility" day in Bouse where we took our garbage to the transfer station which is open only Thursday thru Saturday. Then we went across the street to the Bouse Community Park to fill our six gallon fresh water jug for a nickel per gallon. Next, to the Bouse Library to get local news to learn about the happenings in the community. Next to Renee's New and Used store. She seems to have a little of everything but you'd have to search thru everything to find it. Next to Renee's is Salgado Produce where we shopped for apples, lemon, banana, cantaloupe, asparagus, yams, squash, green onion and avocado. All pleased Gwen who thought these vegetables better than any she could buy in Parker. Selgado is in Bouse only Thursday and Friday. Click the photo to enlarge.

Charging amps coming from the solar panels, more than rating.Already above 14 volts at 10:45 am

Wednesday, December 6, 2017: Our first day in the desert is a nice clear day, great for solar charging the batteries. I watched the charge controller carefully today. At 10:45 a.m. I noticed the battery voltage at 14.2 volts nearing full charge. I saw 100%, fully charged by 11:30 a.m. When fully charged, the charge controller reduces the charging amps from the solar panels to a trickle charge (about 3-8 amps). That was when I switched the refrigerator to electric using the inverter to send electric current. I watched the solar amps jump to 23 amps. The charge controller sensed the refrigerator draw on the batteries and immediately increased solar amps to a maximum of the panels. In fact, 23 amps is beyond the rated output of the panels. What I learned from this exercise was 1) all three panels are working at 100%, 2) I left the refrigerator on electric for 2.5 hours and the batteries never dropped below 100% and not lower than 13.3 volts so I will switch to electricity to conserve propane every day, 3) the refrigerator must draw around 15 DC amps. All of this is of interest to me because we are considering a residential refrigerator. The propane/electric refrigerator is an "absorption" model with no moving parts. It is very inefficient and will not hold a normal refrigerator temperature reliably. Additionally, they do not work consistently on propane at higher altitudes. We have had our share of problems with our refrigerator so believe the next problem will cause us to switch to a residential refrigerator. Most of the new RVs are coming standard with residential refrigerators now. That's a good thing unless you want to boondock camp as we do. A residential refrigerator will likely mean the need for more solar panels and more storage batteries. I don't intend to do either. Our friend, Ray, camped with us with his new Allegro Red. It has a residential refrigerator and six 6 volt batteries (I have four six volt batteries). His batteries seemed to power the refrigerator all night. Ray's new motorhome has an automatic start generator which will start if the battery voltage drops too low. I suspect a residential refrigerator will cause us to use our generator first thing in the morning to speed battery recovery and perhaps last thing at night to top off the batteries before going to bed. Winter nights are 13 hours long while summer nights are only 8 hours long which may make a difference in our routine. Another thought, several new RVs have NO propane. Room heat and water heat is by diesel and the kitchen is all electric (stove and refrigerator). That might require new challenges to boondockers. I've always said, we are in the five percent club of RVers. Ninety-five percent travel from one RV park to another so an all electric kitchen is not a problem. The five percent group would have to figure innovative methods to dry camp in the wilderness. Click both photos for different views.

Arizona desert boondocking
Tuesday, December 5, 2017: This was a travel day from Cattail Cove State Park to Bouse, Arizona. There is a BLM area near Bouse where we like to boondock camp. We haven't been here since January, 2011 for various reasons. It feels like "home" to return since we spent many months at various times camped here. There are many miles of ATV roads also good for mountain bicycling. This is our first visit with Miss Dory but we have boondocked with her a month after we purchased her. We expect to be here at least a month. We believe our black water tank will last a month if we manage it well. We will fill our freshwater tank from a six gallon container which will get refilled every visit to town. There are positives and negatives to boondock camping. In the photo above you can see the biggest positive, no neighbors for at least 300 yards. Of course, we love to have friends camp near us and have taught several how to boondock effectively. The night sky is another advantage to desert camping. I'm watching the moon rise as I type this. I have made a video of our camping location.
Satellite view of Cattail Cove
Monday, December 4, 2017: Today is our last day at Cattail Cove before we move on south to Bouse, Arizona. Today was a cold (65 degrees) and windy day, the only windy day in the five days we have been at Cattail Cove. Click this photo for a wider satellite view.

Hiking the trail along Lake HavasuSunset over Lake Havasu


Sunday, December 3, 2017: Gwen takes me on a hike along the west shore (Arizona side) of Lake Havasu. The trail is a combination of dirt, rocks, sand following the serpentine edge of the lake. If you continue to follow this trail, you'll arrive at the BLM lake side campground found here. Knowing that, it would be possible to backpack into this lakeside camp site rather than paddle to the site.

Yes, we came back after sundown but got to see some fine clouds and scenes to the west.

Paddling the Bill Williams National Wildlife Area
Saturday, December 2, 2017: Today we paddled into the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge. The launch point was only five miles from Cattail Cove. Our paddle was 5.5 miles round trip into cattail-filled marsh and riparian forest. The refuge is habitat for resident and migratory wildlife including many butterflies, migratory birds, mammals and reptiles. Over 365 species of birds have been documented, I believe we saw four. The river passes under Highway 95, the road we will take further south. Click the photo for another view.
Kayak from Cattail Cove onto Lake Havasu
Paddling to California and backBoat accessible only camp site with restroom
Friday, December 1, 2017: Our first full day at Cattail Cove State Park so my first day on Lake Havasu in my kayak. We are on the east side of the lake, the Arizona side. Across the lake on the west side is California. I paddled across the lake to Black Meadow Landing, an RV park and area of recreation for those in California. It seems pretty remote to me on the California side since there are no towns nearby and the access roads are often not paved, narrow and dusty. Behind one of these photos is the Black Meadow Marina and Store. Click all these photos for more views. Paddling from Cattail Cove there are boat accessible only campsites to the north and south of the cove. To the north are state park campsites, most with restroom, tables, garbage and fire pits. To the south are BLM campsites, also most with restroom, tables, garbage and fire pits. Both the state and BLM campsites have fees but we can use our Senior Access Pass on the BLM sites to discount the fee by half making overnight camping $10. I paddled by at least a dozen of these boat accessible sites and none were occupied. It was a high of 79 today which I'm sure the locals think is cold. That temperature is warmer than the warmest summer day in Telegraph Cove so we are already planning a boat camping trip next year when we return. The wind was calm today so the paddling was easy. I paddled for a bit more than two hours on flat water, no wind, a total of 6.4 miles. I made a 30 second video of a BLM campsite which would be a nice place to camp next year.
Parked in Cattail Cove State Park

Gwen and Morgan hiking to the Dog Beach, Lake HavasuThursday, November 30, 2017: Today was a travel day from Laughlin, Nevada to Cattail Cove State Park, Arizona near Lake Havasu City. We were here eleven years ago with Morgan and our first fifth wheel, a quality King of the Road. It all seems new to us now so we will have to explore again. Back in 2006 we were not full time RV and could only spend a month traveling before we both had to be back to work. This time, we will spend five days before we move on to boondocking further south.

We have a friend, Steve, in Havasu City. Steve is a certified RV repairman. When we purchased Miss Dory two years ago we knew the refrigerator was on a "recall" from Norcold because of overheating problems. Within a month we had the service done which is only a small black box attached to detect overheating then cutting power to the refrigerator. Six months after the service, the black box cut power but I was able to reset it. I did not have another problem until a couple months ago when it would not reset. I still used the refrigerator (not a good idea) until I could get to Steve in Havasu City. That happened today. He found that both the black box and the sensor leading to the black box were defective and replaced both. So we are back to operating the refrigerator safely. If we continue to have problems, we will replace this refrigerator with a residential model. That may pose problems with boondocking but we will deal with that when the time comes.

We are at Cattail Cove to use our kayaks on Lake Havasu. The Ranger told us of the wild life refuge on the Bill Williams River only a few miles from here. We will make that our destination while we are here.

Laughlin Casino Row
Wednesday, November 29, 2017: Laughlin has special area next to the Colorado River where all the casinos are located in a mile long row. This is the tourist area and a place were locals avoid due to the traffic. Of course they offer a lot of employment for folks who live on both sides of the river. In fact, the Riverside runs a water taxi free of charge to bring both employees and customers across the river so people can park on both sides of the river. I've been wanting to get out at night to take a photo of the "streaming" car lights on Casino Blvd between the lighted casinos. There is another photo behind this one, just click this photo to see it.
Our night view across the street
Tuesday, November 28, 2017: Our friends, Bud and Anita like the RV park just across from the Riverside Casino. This park provides a lot of business for the casinos and if you gamble (collecting points) you can gain enough points to pay for your stay in the RV park. We've enjoyed our stay and visit with Anita and Bud but the park has some of the usual RV park problems. When busy, RVs are parked slide to slide. The campers on our left have five dogs, the campers on our right have been self installing a new floor meaning lots of banging and cursing. This is just a comparison to boondock camping. Of course, there are unique problems with boondocking too and since we will be doing some, I'll tell you about those as they happen.

Enjoying a late lunch of Mexican
Confirming this method of adding fresh water worksMonday, November 27, 2017: This was a special day Gwen and I took to buy presents for ourselves. After my overnight kayak, I had made a short list of items for the next kayak trip. I used all my backpack gear on the overnight but realized I could be more comfortable since weight does not limit what can be taken onto a kayak. The most uncomfortable part of backpack camping is not having a comfortable chair and cooking on the ground. I found very inexpensive camp chairs and a camp table at another store which would easily fit into a kayak hatch. These would be nice on a lunch stop too. It has also been some time since our last boondock parking with Miss Dory. Our plan is to visit a favorite site near Bouse, Arizona or near Yuma, Arizona. These sites are far enough from a fresh water source to need to move to get fresh water or bring the water to Miss Dory. Miss Dory has an "inlet of fresh water via the water pump" but it has never been tested. I bought a 6 gallon fresh water container but saved the receipt with the idea of testing this method to add fresh water, if it didn't work, return the container. So I filled the container and tried the "Inlet to Pump". It worked. So, when boondocked, we will keep the container in the car and fill it everytime we are driving around. In theory, we won't have to watch our water usage as much and might even be able to take long showers. Another item purchased today were exercise bands. I really feel the need to build the muscle groups needed for paddling and since we aren't on the water, the bands will give a opportunity to use the same muscle groups without actually paddling. I need the strength and endurance if I'm going to paddle any distance. We will be moving again on Thursday so we are finishing up everything we wanted to do in the Laughlin and Bullhead City areas.
Overnight kayaking
The camping gearSaturday and Sunday, November 25-26, 2017: These two days were an overnight kayak trip on Lake Mohave, Arizona side. I launched at Princess Cove, about 5 miles north of Katherine Landing. I paddled north from there. Saturday was a day forecast to have little wind but that wasn't the case, I faced a strong headwind with waves to match. That was a good test of me and the boat. The water is warm and I was ready for a capsize with paddle float and bilge pump for a self rescue but glad I didn't need either. The photo above is of my lunch stop, a nice pebble beach and good camping location if I wanted to use a tent but I'm anxious to sleep off the ground in my hammock. I back tracked a bit from lunch looking for the two trees I needed for the hammock. I ended up sacrificing a nice pebble campsite for a muddy landing to use the hammock. I brought a different menu since weight is not a concern for kayak camping compared to backpacking. I brought a soup mix with bowl (just add hot water) for lunch then saved that soup bowl for packaged oatmeal at breakfast. For dinner I purchased a dinner in a plastic container designed to be microwave. Instead, I put the whole container into my stove pot and heated it in water. It worked perfectly. It was a good night with the sound of owls, large fish jumping out of the water, coyotes singing, and the Coots floating nearby but fluttering every time something disturbs them. Sunday was a flat water day. Calm wind. With such good weather, I paddled back to Katherine Landing, passing my launch point at Princess Cove. This was a great first time kayak camping adventure. Click both photos for more views. I made a short video of the trip too.

Celebrating Gwen's birthday with a special dinnerCasey is fixing Cherries Jubalee for Gwen

Friday, November 24, 2017: Gwen got me out of bed early today because she had found a yard sale where the first line of the ad stated, "Quilting Stuff". She wanted to be there when it opened. So we were up at 6 am because across the river where the yard sale was happen was Arizona time, one hour later. We were on the road by 6:40 our time which was 7:40 Arizona time. The yard sale opened at 8 am. She found a selection of fabric for only a dollar. After the garage sale, we went shopping for groceries. After returning home, I had enough time to put together everything I needed for an overnight kayak trip tomorrow.

We had arranged to have a special dinner to celebrate Gwen's birthday. We chose a Riverside restaurant which was nice enough to have table cloths and Christmas decorations like the tree behind Gwen in the photo. Gwen chose crab stuffed prawns which came with free crab legs. Our friends, Bud and Anita, came with us and they order the same thing. I ordered an Italian dish with chicken, spinach, artichokes, kalamata olives, capers in a wine sauce. You can see my dish by clicking Gwen's photo. Gwen got a special Cherries Jubilee which Casey fixed at our table. Click Casey's photo for another view.

In line at the Harrahs Casino Thanksgiving Buffet


Thursday, November 23, 2017: For Thanksgiving, we joined friends, Bud and Anita at the Harrah's Casino Thanksgiving Buffet. It's always a popular location on Thanksgiving. The line was long, exactly a one hour wait as the line slowly moved to the cashier. The surprise for me was how patient and friendly the Harrah's staff was. You'd think after greeting hundreds of hungry guests, their smile and enthusiasm would be worn out. But we were treated as if we were the first in line. The food was worth the wait. I believe we dined for nearly two hours which included visiting and the dessert competition with each other. Click the photo to see the view from the line into the dining room.

Finding a movie at the AVI
Wednesday, November 22, 2017: This is Gwen's birthday and she wanted to see a movie so we drove to the matinee at the Avi Casino to see Thor, Ragnarok. Today is senior day at the Brenden Theaters (inside the casino). Seniors get a free drink and pop corn with every ticket. The movie had a surprising number of Hollywood stars and was as much a comedy as it was an action movie. After the movie we decided to try our Avi player cards thinking we had some free play. It cost us $5 to learn we had no free play. Since we were hungry, we decided to try the Feather Cafe inside the Avi. While eating, we decided to play Keno. We limited our play to $5 each which meant we could play seven games each. My eight spot card earned nothing but Gwen's seven spot card earned $240.30. That paid for our whole day of movies, the $15 gambling, dinner with enough left over for Gwen to buy something nice for her birthday. We've not had that kind of luck before.
Laundry day
Tuesday, November 21, 2017: It's not all fun, games and paddling. It took us six washers to do all our laundry. We did this after cleaning Miss Dory and going for a bicycle ride. Not having a washer/dryer in the rig might be a "deal-breaker" (upgrade Miss Dory) some day but for now, we must spend our time in a laundromat. This one has a high speed spinner for only 50 cents which cuts the drying time to less than half. Back to fun times tomorrow.

Kayaking on Lake Mohave

Monday, November 20, 2017: On the water again, finally. The wind was forecast to be on 7 mph, well..., it was a bit more than that but still a good day to get onto the water at Lake Mohave. The Seda Tango 21 is a heavy boat (because it's a double) but a boat which gives the paddler confidence with it's stability. So we enjoyed a 3 hour paddle on Lake Mohave plus a lunch break in the middle of the paddle. This was our first time to have the Seda in chop and waves and what a solid feeling and confidence building boat. I'm looking forward to spending more time in this boat. Click this photo to see one Gwen took from the front cockpit. Also, watch our short video of today's trip.

Walking on the Colorado River path, looking north toward the Riverside, furthest north casino Mostly a paved walkway along the Colorado Harrahs can't be reached by the walkway, furthest south casino
Sunday, November 19, 2017: Click all the photos for more views. Gwen and I take the walkway along the Colorado River next to all the casinos. It's probably 3 miles roundtrip. Windy but clear and warm weather today. Forecast is for record setting heat this coming week with temperatures heading toward 90 degrees, another good reason to walk today. It didn't seem busy today, my assumption, it's much busier during the summer months. It's my understanding as many as 1000 jet skis are rented each day to play on the Colorado River which remains at 52 degrees all summer.
Our walk to the Riverside Movie Theaters

North toward the Lake Mead Recreation Area, behind: south to all casinos


Saturday, November 18, 2017: This was a clear but very wind day so we chose to go to a movie at the Riverside Casino Theaters. I wanted to see the new Agatha Christie, "Murder on the Orient Express" and we were not disappointed. As expected, we were drawn into the movie from the very beginning by the characters and the graphics. Neither of us guessed the outcome. We walked to the theater across the pedestrian bridge into the Riverside Casino where the theaters are located. The view from the bridge to the north is toward the Lake Mead Recreation Area and Lake Mohave. The view to the south (click the photo) is toward all the rest of the casinos in Laughlin. The Colorado River is to the east with a pathway along the river, perhaps a good plan for tomorrow.

Looking for good locations to launch a kayak
Friday, November 17, 2017: Gwen came back from shopping with Anita and said, "I saw an Estate Sale sign. Let's go." I had other ideas but visiting an estate sale could come first. We drove to Bullhead City and found the estate sale, then another large yard sale, then another garage sale. Gwen found a $2 seat cushion she liked. I found a First Nations original Raven painting from the area of Canada where we spent our summer. They wanted $137 for it, which is a fair price but not worth that to us. I bid $50 and made them take my name and phone number in the case they don't sell it. I don't expect to hear from them. After finding the garage sales, we drove into the Lake Mead National Recreation Area where Lake Mohave is located only a couple miles north of Bullhead City. I wanted to look at some of the coves which were accessible by car to learn if they would be good to launch a kayak. I know tomorrow is to be windy so not a good kayak day but a few days into the future should be good. Click the photo above for another view and click here for a nice view of Lake Mohave. Lake Mohave is 67 miles long with a maximum width of 4 miles. It has lots of coves making it nice for house boats which are plentiful in the summer.
Traveling through the Mohave Desert
Parked at the Riverside Casino RV Park
Thursday, November 16, 2017: This was a travel day through the Mohave desert from Tehachapi, California to Laughlin, Nevada. We are meeting our friends, Bud and Anita, who like to stay the winter at the Riverside Casino RV Park just west of the Riverside Casino. Laughlin is separated from Arizona by the Colorado River. Just across the river from Laughlin is Bullhead City, Arizona where most everyone goes to shop. All the upscale entertainment and gambling is on the Laughlin side of the river. It is cloudy but in the low 80s when we arrive and stays warm in the evening making it nice for an evening stroll. Click both photos for more views.
Lots of soaring today
Artificial Christmas tree with many boxes of ornaments Gwen visits two quilt shops Still a railroad theme
Wednesday, November 15, 2017: We started the day watching the sailplanes take off. I walked near the end of the runway but quickly to run off by management. I was instructed to come no closer than the road in the RV park. Next, Gwen and I took a drive into Tehachapi and walked the two blocks of the older city. The city was installing an artificial Christmas tree with many large boxes of ornaments. Gwen found two quilt shops. The cities theme is railroad city, perhaps something to do with their history. All the auto and train traffic coming from the east will drop 4000 feet into Bakersfield beginning at Tehachapi. The decent is steep for auto and truck traffic and requires creative engineering for train traffic. This is the nationally famous location of the Tehachapi Loop on the train tracks. Click all photos for more views.
On the road again, our first stop, Tehachapi

Driving south on US99


Tuesday, November 14, 2017: We are on the road again, heading south on US99 in California. It always seems like a long, tough drive to Bakersfield. The first half of the drive seems like one continuous city stretched to 100 miles. The second half is through a major part of California's agriculture. Then we arrived in commute traffic in Bakersfield. We planned ahead to refuel at Costco in Bakersfield. Costco fuel is a minimum of 23 cents cheaper. We inched our way through Bakersfield after refueling and drive east to Tehachapi. There is a tiny RV park we like to stay next to the mountains. The city of Tehachapi is at 4,000 feet and the home of a sailplane airport. There is great ridge soaring at the nearby mountains. The RV park is on the edge of the Sailplane runway. You can see the sailplanes parked on the right of the photo. If you stay at the RV park, it's easy to watch the sailplanes fly. My college roommate was a sailplane pilot so I've been in one twice. I'm tempted to go for a demo ride. I believe it would be easy to transfer my experience as a power plane pilot to these gliders. Click the photo above for a satellite view of the RV park.

Mom is 92 today and hungry



Monday, November 13, 2017: This has been a tough couple of weeks because Mom has not been feeling well. But she has improved in the last few days and almost back to her energetic self. This is her birthday so when she came to breakfast she ordered a big meal. That's a good thing since she hasn't had an appetite. Happy Birthday, Mom. Click to enlarge.

More grandchildren visiting


Sunday, November 12, 2017: We had more visitors today. Ryan and Kristin are behind Mom. They are my sister Sandy's children which makes them Mom's grandchildren. Lindsey is sitting to Mom's right, she is Ryan's wife. They drove from the bay area today and brought lunch which we all appreciated because we didn't have to cook. We enjoyed talking about Ryan and Lindsey's trip to New Zealand. Then Kristin told us of her experience with the recent devastating fires near her in Fairfield. We also shared our stores of Telegraph Cove.

Noah in the hatch behind me


Saturday, November 11, 2017: Today, my son Ben and his son Noah came to visit their grandmother/great-grandmother. Since her birthday is on Monday, they wanted to visit. I sneaked them away for a couple hours to take a ride in the double kayak. Ben sat in the front and took this photo. Noah sat behind me in a hatch. We all had fun watching for turtles and spying on the ducks.

The family visits Mom
Friday, November 10, 2017: Monday, Mom with turn 92 so the family is beginning to visit. Today my sister Sandy is on the left with her husband, Ed. Next to Ed is Robin, my sister Dorana's partner. Dorana is on the right. Gwen is behind Mom and Dorana. This photo was taken after Mom's second visit to the cardiologist. The medication he is prescribing is slowly working and Mom is feeling better.

Dennis is the carpet cleaner


Thursday, November 9, 2017: Continuing with the clean-up, Dennis is the owner of the carpet cleaning company. Mom had Dennis clean her carpets a year ago and he did an excellent job. Mom's carpets are difficult to clean because they get a great deal of use. A year ago Mom thought Dennis charged too much so she called and told him so. He remembers that conversation and my mother. We wanted Dennis to return because no other cleaner has done such a good job. Click the photo to see his impressive equipment. He did another great job.

Larry is painting the bedroom


Wednesday, November 8, 2017: The clock is ticking. We plan to move in a full time care giver next Monday. For that reason we hired Larry, a "handyman" to paint the care giver bedroom. While Larry is painting, I climbed onto the roof to make repairs. When that project was complete, I spent an hour cleaning the chest of drawers for the special bedroom. It was also my job to paint the valence for that bedroom. About that time, Larry let me know we would need another gallon of paint so a quick trip to Lowes. About that time, my sister, Sandy arrived to help. Click Larry's photo for another view.

Neighbor's car

Sunday, November 5, 2017: Our neighbor parks his car on the street. Last night it was hit by a drunk driver who attempted to flee the area. He was caught, jailed, and charged with hit and run, DUI, obstruction of justice and other charges. Fortunately, he is insured by State Farm, the best insurance company IMHO. Once the neighbor has a replacement vehicle, we'll figure out a method for them to park off the street in our driveway.
Wildlife at the Sandhill Crane FestivalA happy wood carver
Perpetual Sandhill Crane scultureThe morning watch list
Saturday, November 4, 2017: Gwen and I attended the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival. We learned the Sandhill Cranes set up permanent winter residence in the Lodi Nature Area. We last thought they were just passing through but that's not the case. The festival consists of exhibits of art, tours, crafts and other products mostly having to do with bird watching. When we first arrived we walked in on a live bird exhibit and lecture. One exhibitor had Swarovski binoculars and spotting scopes which are priced in the $2,000 - $4,000 range. Since we own a nice Nikon binocular, it was fun to peer through a $2,500 binocular. There was also other cultural events and I made a video of the Taiko drumming.
Time for Subaru service
Monday, October 30, 2017: Yes, a boring photo but probably the most excitement today. Time for the 18,000 mile service on the Subaru Forester. Plus four warranty items which include 1)intermittent problem with the driver's window, 2)intermittent starting problem, 3) loose rear view mirror and 4) strange road noise. I got all recorded but only the rear view mirror was fixed. All morning at Subaru service. The afternoon, hand washed the motorhome. So yes, a boring day along with a boring photo.
The best "garage sale" ever

A thousand buyers6500 square foot house

Saturday, October 28, 2017: Gwen and I spent a couple morning hours finding garage sales. The very first one, Gwen found fabric and brand new quilt books with many new ideas. The rest of the garage sales were a waste of time. Then we went to an "estate sale", a bigger sale than I've ever seen. Probably a thousand buyers in attendance. There was a line about two hours long to get into the house. I would like to have seen the inside of the house but unwilling to wait the two hours. We were able to view the grounds of this 6,500 square foot house, well manicured with lots of statues and yard decorations. The line to pay for items was also long. We didn't buy anything but enjoyed seeing the crowd and a house and grounds we would normally nor be invited to see. Click the photos for more views.

Great Grandma visits with the great grandchildren

Friday, October 27, 2017: My daughter,

, Lucy and Elise (on the left), drove from Reno, Nevada to visit with my Mother, their great grandma. My niece, Shannon and her baby Jacob drove from Woodland, California to see great grandma too. Of course, Mindy and Shannon are good friends and both were anxious to visit with each other and share baby stories. My mother was the biggest benefit of the visit enjoying both her grandchildren and great grandchildren. We enjoyed pizza and children playing and visiting family together.

The Vision on the Mokelumne River
Thursday, October 26, 2017: Yes, the Vision floats. Only one mile to the kayak launch on the Mokelumne River where we previously launched the Seda double. It was a little bit of a "rocky" start because it's been a while since I've been in a single kayak but after a few minutes I was feeling much more comfortable and trusting in the boat. I never had to put the rudder into the water to direct the boat but steering by leaning the boat will take more practice on my part. Still, I was feeling a "secondary stability" and began to trust it more. I see that I really need to paddle at least three times each week if I'm going to improve my skills and stamina. Here is a short video of the day.
We find a beautiful Seaward Vision, single kayak
Wednesday, October 25, 2017: While spending the summer in Telegraph Cove we saw a couple thousand kayaks launch which gave us the desire to return next year with our own kayaks. I began my kayak search in the summer by recording a Craigslist search in all the areas we would travel on our way south. With this search, Craigslist would send me an email when anyone posted with the search terms (Sea Kayak). That's how we found our double when in Verdi. I continued my search for a single kayak because I knew there would be times when Gwen would not want to paddle and I would. I've looked at hundreds of kayaks in the four months I've been searching. I didn't want a plastic boat and I didn't want an aggressive boat like my Seaward Chilco I owned in 2005. An aggressive kayak is narrow and long, the Chilco was 22" wide and 18.5 feet long. When I spotted Rich's Craigslist ad for the Seaward Vision and read the specs, I knew this was the boat I was looking for. It's 24.5" wide and 17 feet long. That means the Vision will sacrifice speed for stability, exactly what I'm looking for. It also has two large hatches for camping gear. Today, I drove all day to get the Vision. Rich, lives 180 distant so it took the whole day to get the Vision and return. Rick and Ann were so nice. I not only got the kayak but several other paddle items I needed plus a handmade lunch by Ann and homemade preserves to bring home. If you click the photo, Gwen caught me adjusting the rudder control cables.

Replace the dryer switch
Tuesday, October 24, 2017: Today was a very busy day. The part for Mom's dryer arrived so I decided to make a video of how to change the switch. The video I found at YouTube was for a different dryer with different access so this video will explain access to THIS dryer. Another item on the To-Do list was to shampoo some particularly bad spot on Mom's carpet. I rented a carpet cleaner and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the carpet. I also looked at a loose receptacle and decided it could not be fixed so needs to be disabled. I'm almost at the end of the To-Do list. Click the photo for another view.
Gwen's new sewing machine
Monday, October 23, 2017: Gwen and I had a financial meeting this morning then Gwen took Mom for shopping and nail trimming. While they were out, I worked most of the day on a new Webpage for Lesa, Gwen's daughter. She has started a new business and is doing very well. I'll publish a link once her page is completed. When Gwen got home I got her permission to use her sewing machine. I wanted to extend the back support of the seat in the kayak. I had saved old seat backs and chose to use the padding for a back extension. I will use "hooks and loops" (Velcro but not the Velcro brand). I ordered from Amazon and got two five foot rolls. One roll should have been hooks and the other, loops. Instead, I received two rolls of hooks. The seller gave me a refund and told me to reorder which I did. Once I get the loops, my sewing project is done. Gwen's new machine is really nice and smooth. I figured out how to use it for my project except for reversing the direction of the sewing. Yes, I used the Tiny Owl fabric, what-do-you-want-for-free?

A paddle day with Gwen, Dorana and Robin


Sunday, October 22, 2017: Dorana and Robin own a canoe and they know of some paddling in a nature area on the Cosumnes River Preserve. First we met at their house for a late brunch and visiting then off to the Preserve.

For Gwen and I, it was a tough launch because we mounted the wheels too far back which made the boat heavy and it was a long walk to the water. We learned our lesson and set the wheels further forward for the return trip, it was much easier.

The paddle was very nice with perfect weather, little wind and great company. The Cosumnes is slow moving so little current to deal with. A two hour paddle was just what we needed.

Sister Dorana, ready to launch
Friday, October 20, 2017: Nearly the same time as yesterday, my sister Dorana has joined me for a kayak trip up the Mokelumne River. Our destination is the Highway 99 overpass about two miles distant. This turned out to be a very scenic trip mostly next to the finer river homes of Lodi. We passed three other kayakers also enjoying the river and the good weather. This was Dorana's first time in a kayak but she owns her own canoe so has a good feeling for paddling. We succeeded in reaching the Highway 99 overpass, made a U turn and paddled back. I believe it was the same distance as a paddle from Telegraph Cove to Hanson Island and back. Here is a link to the paddle video from yesterday and today.
Gwen, ready to launch

Thursday, October 19, 2017: It's time to learn if the SEDA, Tango floats. Gwen and I take the first kayak paddle in the Mokelumne River only one mile from Mom's house. At first we thought we would paddle, gentle Lodi Lake but learned there was no direct access with the boat launch closed. Then we learned of a "Canoe/Kayak launch into the Mokelumne River which leads to Lodi Lake. Look at Gwen's new, pretty water shows she found in Reno. Yes, we both had to step into the Mokelumne to launch the kayak but we stayed upright. We first paddled to Lodi Lake then turned around paddling up the river. I've combined a video of this kayak trip with the trip I take with my sister tomorrow. Check that description for a link to the video.

Cleaning up the kayak
Wednesday, October 18, 2017: This has been a busy day. It started with cleaning Mom's furnace filter then the whole day to clean and polish the kayak. This was tiring work since it involved three steps. First step was a polishing liquid, second step was a polymer marine finish and the third step was polishing. Each step meant using the electric polisher over the entire kayak, top and bottom. Hard work. It polished up pretty well, hope it floats.

Keep the leaves out of the downspout



Tuesday, October 17, 2017: I always look forward to Mom's "To-Do" lists when I visit. The first item on the list was her electric dryer. When she opens the door to the dryer, it doesn't stop turning. Well, that was easy to diagnose, the door switch was not working. I was able to find a replacement switch online within 5 minutes but I wasn't about to order it without knowing how to replace it. So I did a YouTube search and found this video which made it look easy. The new switch will arrive on Thursday.

Another item on the list was to make sure the downspouts were clear and ready for the rain which will eventually begin in central California. This is a perpetual problem so I purchased these downspout screens and inserted into every downspout. Hopefully these screens will delay a downspout problem long enough so they can be cleaned before a problem happens.

Parks in Mom's driveway
Monday, October 16, 2017: This was a travel day from Verdi, Nevada to Lodi, California. The traffic through Sacramento was heavy but moving in our direction. It wasn't moving in the opposite direction. Still, it was only a three hour drive, our first time with a kayak on our toad.

Noah digs for a dinosaurChloe like the wood train


Sunday, October 15, 2017: This is our last day in Reno. Tomorrow we travel to California to visit my mother. We spent some time today with Noah and Chloe. Noah is working on a birth present. It's an interesting "toy". The manufacturer came up with a unique idea for a toy. Encase a plastic dinosaur skeleton in a block of dried clay. Digging tools and a brush are included in the kit. Kids carefully "retrieve" the bones, brushing them out of the block to avoid breaking them. Chloe liked the bubble machine I gave her. She also played with the wood train I built several years ago. Chloe plays a lot of soccer and in the second grade this year. We said good-bye to everyone then returned to begin packing up.

Visiting the Harvest Festival Face paint The Cobbler station
Saturday, October 14, 2017: This is Harvest Fair day where Lucy gets to try several different stations of pioneer activities. It included a "pull the turnip" skit, peeling apples for applesauce, making a corn husk doll, baking a biscuit, face painting and cobbler marking a leather bracelet. Lucy carried a basket for treasures then collected a treasure (like the corn husk doll and leather bracelet), from each station. Click each photo for more stations.
Lucy at Sushi 1 Lucy at Sushi 2 Lucy at Sushi 3
Lucy at Sushi 4 Lucy at Sushi 5 Lucy at Sushi 6
Lucy at Sushi 7 Lucy at Sushi 8 Lucy at Sushi 9
Lucy at Sushi 10 Lucy at Sushi 11 Lucy at Sushi 12
Thursday, October 12, 2017: This was an important day for our Subaru Forester ... Scott and I installed a trailer hitch so I can move the bicycle to a hitch mounted bike rack. My son Ben, donated the bike rack to me. I need to move the bicycles from the roof top bike rack to a hitch mounted bike rack to accommodate the new kayak on the roof. Additionally, I needed someplace to tie the rear stabilizer cable for the kayak. The video instructions Scott and I watched showed expert installation would take 30 minutes and novice installation would take an hour. Scott and I decided to subtract the time it took us to find the right tools for the job, that way, we are experts! After the installation we took ourselves to Sushi. We all enjoyed Sushi including Lucy.

Lucy has grandpa's hat



Wednesday, October 11, 2017: After grocery shopping, Gwen and I spent the afternoon with Mindy, Lucy and Elise. In this photo Lucy has stolen my hat and wants her photo taken with it. Gwen and I took turns playing with Lucy. Turns because she would wear us out quickly so Gwen and I were "switch hitting". Lucy never got tired. Click the photo for a view of the three of us.

Lucy at the Dinosaur Park Playing with friends Dad with Lucy and Elise
Tuesday, October 10, 2017: Almost the whole day with Lucy and her sister Elise. I arrived at my daughter's house at 9 am. We drove to the dinosaur park to meet two of Lucy's friends. They played nonstop for two hours at a wonderful park with lots of play equipment and real dinosaurs. Here's a short video so you get the idea. After the park, Scott (Lucy's dad) made us broccoli, cheddar soup with onions and carrots from scratch. Meanwhile, Lucy and I played Hide and Seek, Hot wheel race cars, catch and pitch the ball. Just before I left, Scott read a book to Lucy then carried on a conversation with Elise. Click these photos for some great views.
Lucy gets a swim lessonNoah gets a nebulizer
Monday, October 9, 2017: Gwen and I were with two of the grandkids today. Noah stayed home from school with a slight fever and cough. The photo at the right shows Noah using a nebulizer to help control his cough. Noah's dad is a PA (physician assistant) and set up the nebulizer, I just had to administer it. Everything worked well to help Noah, his fever was gone by the afternoon, he ate is lunch, took a nap and was feeling better. Today was also Lucy's swim lesson. She has been taking swim lessons for a couple years and now, at 3-1/2 is safe around water. I made a short video of her lesson.
Lisa sold us her Seda Tango 21 Kayak
Sunday, October 8, 2017: We took a long drive today to Fiddletown, California to investigate a Craigslist ad for a double kayak. Gwen and I have been watching the Craigslist ads for months looking for the right kayak to take back to Telegraph Cove next summer. This is a fine kayak in good shape at a fair price. Lisa is the current owner and a very accomplished kayaker. She told us wild stories of her kayak adventures so I'm afraid this Seda, Tango 2(1) will be bored with our adventures. The Tango is a very stable boat with three large storage hatches for camping gear. I guess Gwen and I might have to do some serious paddling around the Johnstone Strait. It's a big boat on our little Forester but we saw plenty of big boats arrive in Telegraph Cove on cars smaller than ours. Click the photo for another view.

Chloe as goalieNoah on the climbing wall

Saturday, October 7, 2017: Beautiful, sunny day in Reno. I am at Chloe's soccer game today. Chloe plays the goalie during the first half of the game then the middle during the second half of the game. An exciting game with goals scored on both teams. Meanwhile, during the half-time, Noah and I walk over to the playground where Noah likes the climbing wall. Click both photos for second views. Here is a short video of the soccer action.

Friday, October 6, 2017: Chloe and Noah stayed the night with us in the motorhome. They like to get pancakes, eggs and bacon at the little cafe we can walk to. After breakfast we played Pokeno with pennies and they loved that game too. Then it was time for swimming in the pool. They found friends to swim with after grandpa gave up. Lunch was next. Finally, we decided to make a "how-to" movie called "How to Ride a Bike". Click on the movie to see "How to Ride a Bike".
Noah Chloe Noah and Lucy

Noah, Lucy and Chloe


Thursday, October 5, 2017: This was play day for ALL the grandkids, Noah, Lucy and Chloe along with Scott, Lucy's Dad. Scott took us to the "Mogul Park" which was new to everyone except Lucy. New apparatus is always exciting. Everyone did the rock climbing wall at least once plus the regulars: slides, bars, stairs, suspension bridge and more. After the park, we hiked the nature trail along the Truckee River and read all the signs. At the pond, we searched for frogs. Click all photos for more views.

Library story book day

Wednesday, October 4, 2017: This is library story book day. Lucy always like to sit in the front row so she can easily see the pictures in the book. This librarian read four books to the kids and they were all focused on everything the librarian said. The children also listened to music and each held hand bells to ring along with the tunes. I made a short video at the end of the lesson, missed the stories but caught all the action in the room. Lucy gets a hand stamp at the end of the lesson then discusses it with her Mom. Click the photo for the video.

Elise is smiling, talking and watchingA special place for everyone to eat

Tuesday, October 3, 2017: This is Tuesday. Tuesday turns out to be a special day for Lucy, Mindy and Scott. We visit "Mod Pizza" which is a relatively new restaurant idea. It's a place where you build your own pizza. Lucy ordered her own and ate it all. Mindy, Scott and I did the same. Gwen ordered a salad, It was a fun place, affordable and each of us had exactly what we wanted. One of Mod's promotional features is a "MOD" sticker where you write a message then post to the wall inside the restaurant. This sticker was in our booth and Lucy pointed it out to me. Click both photos for additional views.

A day at the park with Lucy




Here is a video of Lucy with her Dad at the playground.

An expert on the slide


Monday, October 2, 2017: Scott and I took Lucy on a hike today to the neighborhood park. Lucy spent much of the time with a friend chasing the friend's dog. The rest of the time she used the swing, the slide, the rock climbing wall and the climbing apparatus. Click the photos for other views.

Lucy at the pumpkin patch Uncle Joe with Lucy Chloe at the pumpkin patch

Noah at the pumpkin patch


Sunday, October 1, 2017: This was pumpkin patch day with the grandkids in east Reno. Lucy, Elise, Chloe and Noah showed up with their parents to choose just the right pumpkins and gourds. While at the pumpkin patch the kids got to jump in a bounce house and pet the animals in the petting zoo. Uncle Joe was there too. We all picked out our favorites and promised to come back to the corn maze when we had more time.

Out flow from McCloud LakeSaturday, September 30, 2017: This is a travel day from the base of Mt. Shasta to Verdi, Nevada so I'm reporting on the adventure Gwen, Ray and I took to McCloud Lake, ten miles south of the city of McCloud. Access ends up on a paved, single lane road along the west side of the lake. About a dozen cars were parked in the boat launch parking lot and several fisherman were on the shore near the boat launch. The area is wild and undeveloped. We reached the dam and noticed no water passing through the overflow channel. However, once we drove to the bottom side of the dam there was a huge plume of water coming from the bottom of the dam. We stood at this outflow and I took a video to show the power of the water.
Native American showing the fish she caught Gwen on the McCloud Falls Trail Gwen and Ray find a point of interest
Gwen and Ray nearing the end of the trailRay photographing the Lower FallsFriday, September 29, 2017: I knew Gwen would like a good hike so Ray and I took her to the McCloud River Falls loop trail. This is a very popular, short, 2 mile hike along the McCloud river with three beautiful falls along the route. They have simple names, Lower, Middle and Upper Falls. We began the hike at the Upper Falls then hiked toward the Lower Falls. Ray parked his truck at the Lower Falls while we parked at the Upper Falls. Click each photo for additional views. We learned this is a "spiritual area" with those meditating at the Middle Falls and cleansing the body by a Shaman at the Lower Falls. Our interest was in the hike and taking photos along the path. The McCloud River is clear and clean. We hope to return in the spring to see what the river looks like when full of spring melt. The weather was perfect and we always enjoy activities with Ray making this a perfect day. I took a video of the Middle Falls to give you an idea of the area.
McCloud California
Thursday, September 28, 2017: Ray and I drove to McCloud, California, a small town with a lumber industry history. We went to the Chamber of Commerce and learned there is no industry left in McCloud other than tourism. The McCloud River Mercantile Cafe, Hotel and gift shops has not changed in the thirty years we been visiting the area. I've posted a photo of Ray's new Allegro, just click the photo above. After McCloud, we drove to Shasta City where we walked the streets and visited all the sporting goods stores. Here is a video you will enjoy of some Ravens we found in McCloud.
On a hike with MorganRay shows me how to set the front wheel perfectly onto blocks
Wednesday, September 27, 2017: After breakfast, we take Morgan for a hike to see the view of Mt. Shasta. This is a very special day for us to be meeting up with our friend Ray. We met Ray last year while on the Alaska tour. Ray has come out of his way to meet up with us again. He has a brand new Allegro 39' motorhome and I've encouraged him to come park with us in the woods at the base of Mt. Shasta. However, after learning how dusty and the possibility of tree branch scratches, I'm really worried. Ray, not so much. His Allegro is a diesel, much more power than what our 8.1 liter gas engine has. The ground is not quite level so Ray shows me how to put the front wheel directly on top of leveling boards without going over. Without the leveling boards, his hydraulic jacks would have the front wheels off the ground and we don't want that. I've made a video of us parking and leveling. Click Ray's photo or here.
Time for a flu shot
The view on the road to our "secret" campsite.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017: This was a travel day from Brookings, Oregon to Mt. Shasta, California. It was nearly 300 miles but seemed further than that. Some tough driving on Highway 199 from the coast. We were down to 3/8 tank of fuel so stopped at the Medford Costco for fuel. We also got our flu shots at Costco. With our insurance, there was no cost. We drove from Medford Costco to our "secret" campsite at the base of Mt. Shasta. This is a great time of year to camp in this location. The weather forecast is clear and warm for the days we will camp here. This location would not be accessible in the winter months. In fact, I believe we camp where they normally have a nordic ski run. Click both photos for another view.

Sign in the RV repair shop
Monday, September 25, 2017: After spending most of yesterday trying to fix Dave and Brooks furnace without succeeding, I took the furnace to the RV repair shop today. We had tried to get at the furnace motor to learn if the motor was bad or something had jammed a "squirrel cage". The repair man immediately diagnosed the need for a new motor. I left the furnace with him to complete the repair. While there, I noticed this sign in the window. I can understand his frustration. We had already looked up the price of a new motor at Amazon and were prepared to order one had we been able to gain access to the motor. Unfortunately, none of the YouTube videos or the service manual we found online gave instruction of how to access the motor.
Another garage sale and a house we want Dave to buy
Saturday, September 23, 2017: We continued with garage sales but also looking at property because Dave and Brook are wanting to buy property in Brookings. This house is having a garage sale and also house for sale. We want Dave and Brook to buy this house. It's right on the Pacific Ocean. It also have a huge area where we could park our motorhome when we visit Brookings. The $800,000 price tag is a bit over their budget so probably won't happen. Click the photo for another view.
Gwen and daughter, Lesa overlooking the Brookings Marina
Friday, September 22, 2017: This was a visit with family day. Gwen is watching the Brookings marina with her daughter Lesa. Lesa and Gwen wanted to visit garage sales so that took up the rest of the afternoon. Click the photo to see one of the best sales.
Another quilt store for Gwen to visit
Thursday, September 21, 2017: The winter adventure has begun. Our first destination is Brookings, Oregon to visit with Gwen's children. Our route takes us along the Oregon coast on US101. When we reached Port Orford, Gwen knew of a quilt store we haven't visited in years so we had to stop. The visit was long enough to take Morgan around the quilt shop several times on her daily walk. From Port Orford, we drove on to Brookings where we parked at the Brookings Elks Lodge. Click the photo to see our parking location.

Time to clean carpets


Wednesday, September 20, 2017: Tomorrow is the day we leave Sutherlin for as much as six months. So today I cleaned up the yard with the string trimmer between rain storms. Actually, I cleaned up the neighbor's yard too keeping the string trimmer running until it runs out of gas. I don't want gas sitting in the carburetor during the six months we are gone. I loaded more camping gear into Miss Dory with the idea I might do some camping in Arizona. Gwen and I had wanted the camping gear when in Canada but we left it in Sutherlin so I decided to bring it along this time. I've also loaded the 30 lb propane tank rather than the 20 lb propane tank. We expect to do a lot of boondocking which means burning a lot of propane and I'd like to reduce the number of times I must refill the tank. Finally, I used this "Little Green Pro" to clean Miss Dory's carpet. It's a spot cleaner but does OK for the RV carpet since it's a small area. It helps to cut down the "Morgan" smell too. Still much to do tomorrow.

Tiffany groomed Morgan

Monday, September 18, 2017: Both Gwen and I are working on preparing for our winter trip south. However, the biggest event today was Morgan getting a grooming. Morgan is at the age she finds it difficult to stand any length of time so I volunteered to help with Morgan while Tiffany did a great job of grooming. Tiffany has been Morgan's groomer since 2012 and we have always felt she was the best. Look at all the fur which won't be in our vacuum.

New mattress for Miss Dory

Sunday, September 17, 2017: This is the empty box of the new mattress we bought for Miss Dory. Gwen has not been sleeping well on a "hard" mattress and I didn't like the old mattress because it was a "short queen" we had moved to Miss Dory from our Lazy Daze. Miss Dory is made to fit a full size queen, 80" rather than the 74" of the short queen. So the empty box is on it's way to recycle. We are trying (after testing) several mattresses the 14" tall Gel mattress which comes in a box. Yes, it came from Costco. We will be leaving "home base" soon, looking forward to the new mattress.

The old radioJohn is reshaping the dash to fit the new radio
Saturday, September 16, 2017: Almost out of fuel in Miss Dory so I combined a trip to Costco for fuel and dog food with a trip to Pro Car Stereo to get a new radio installed. We haven't watched TV since leaving for Canada. Instead, we have been listening to "old time radio" on our XM satellite receiver. After about ten years of use on that XM receiver, it gave up the ghost on the trip home. Rather than replace the receiver, I chose to replace the radio to get more features including XM radio, bluetooth, Pandora, USB, CD, and AM/FM. Of course it has a remote control too. Speaking of "old time radio", after getting home I found an online archive of our two favorite shows. Gwen likes "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar" (I found about 700 episodes), while I like "The Great Gildersleeve" (I found more than 500 episodes). I downloaded them to my computer and those can be played back through this new radio. No more listening to "Dagnet" or "This is Your FBI", although Jack Benny is fun. There are more photos behind these, just click on each photo.
Oregon is on fire
Friday, September 15, 2017: This is Interstate 5 just south of Sutherlin, driving toward Roseburg, Oregon. Much of Oregon wildland is on fire and today the wind has shifted to bring all the smoke into our valley. This is not as bad as it has been according to friends but it is the worst we have seen.

Sutherlin's big event for the summer was the completion of new playground equipment in the city park
Thursday, September 14, 2017: Our first day back to our "home base", Sutherlin, Oregon after our Telegraph Cove, Adventure. We learned on returning, the big event for Sutherlin was the completion of the installation of new playground equipment in the city park. This time, it included a water fountain feature for children to play during hot weather. They had plenty of hot weather but the water feature just finished a few days before our arrival. Most of the really hot days didn't include the water feature. The kids were enjoying it today.


Return to RV Trips Copyright, 2017 by