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Arizona and New Mexico, 2010
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Anemometer for my new weather station I built the staff from PVC Rain gage
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Sunday, January 24, 2010: Gwen got me an early birthday present. Something I've wanted since going full time RV. This gives me something to compare from one location to another and a way to know what's happening with the weather outside. I actually installed this a couple of days ago just before the predicted extreme weather. If you haven't seen my video on that weather day, click here. I temporarily hurriedly installed the anemometer on a broom handle just in time before the storm arrived. I completed the installation on PVC today. I'm not sure PVC will be the right material but I'll give it a try. The anemometer is wired to the outside temperature, humidity transmitter. This connects wirelessly to the inside receiver on the right. Click Control Station
the right photo to enlarge so you can read the report. Note the "2" in the center of the wind direction indicator is "Beaufort Scale", the measured wind speed is 4.6 mph from due west (note that I measured a gust of 68.8 mph during the storm). The outside temperature is 60.7°F, inside temperature is 76.8°F, humidity is 44% with barometric pressure declining at 30.11. It was 2:42 PM this afternoon. I'll admit, this just gives me ONE MORE THING to put up and take down each time we move but I'm retired, and have all the time in the world. Yea right! With the new weather station, I've started a new daily "Weather Data" feature. You'll find the Weather Data link on the right side of the home page.

Dale and Morgan at Imperial Dam Reservoir
Monday, January 25, 2010: Gwen, Morgan and I took a hike today from our camping location to Imperial Dam Reservoir. It was only 4 miles round trip but we still felt the distance. Morgan loved the swim, it's her first time into water in a long time. The water in this reservoir is used to irrigate all the crops in eastern Imperial County California and Yuma, Arizona. This water comes from the Colorado River.
We join a DQ run Tuesday, January 26, 2010: When camping at the Imperial LTVA, there is a well organized neighborhood coordinated events like auctions, garage sales, aerobics, hikes and more. Tonight was the "DQ run". That's a caravan to the nearest Dairy Queen. The events are coordinated and announced each night using CB radios. After the 7pm roll call of campers where those campers with CB radios report to a central station to test each radio, nightly announcements are made.
That's how we learn what's happening at the LTVA. Five cars caravanned to the Foothills Dairy Queen located to the east of Yuma but closest to the LTVA. Besides the good DQ treats, we get a lot of socializing and RV stories. Enjoying the DQ treats and RV stories
The Sallyport (entrance to the prison) Wednesday, January 27, 2010: We toured the Yuma Territorial Prison. Do you remember the movie, 3:10 to Yuma? This is the prison Russell Crowe was headed to. It was built in 1876 and stayed in operation until 1907. This was considered one of the most advanced prisons of it's day with electricity, phones and a rehabilitation program. Each cell would hold six prisoners in bunk beds along two walls (three prisoners per side).
Guard Tower over the water tower Gwen walking through the Sallyport Walking down the main cell block
Entrance to the Dark Cell Inside the Dark Cell Gwen is checking the tool storage room
A mis-behaving prisoner might be sent to the "Dark Cell" in a cave like setting. The center photo above was taken in the Dark Cell using a flash, otherwise it was pitch black inside the cell. Originally there was an iron strap cage in the room (you can see what's left of the bottom of the cage on the floor). The cage was 5 feet tall with as many as 14 prisoners inside the cage. Inmates worked 6 days each week. The prison was moved in 1907 due to overcrowding. Click on the last photo (the prison model) to enlarge.
Inside a standard cell with six per cell. Two cells are shown here. West side of the main cell block Model of the Territorial Prison
Thursday, January 28, 2010: Picacho State Recreation Area is a California State Park in the lower Colorado River Basin. It's only a few miles from our camp site but the roads are rough so it takes over an hour of travel time. The road is 24 miles long to the park but only 6 miles is paved. The road suffered damage from the recent storm so it took our four wheel drive to get to the park. The road to Picacho State Park
The road narrows Morgan takes a swim in the Colorado River
Picacho State Park looking toward the Colorado River
The top view is looking toward the Colorado River and the day use area where we had lunch. The photo below is toward the campground. The fee for camping is $15/night with only water and a dump station provided. The state calls it "primative camping". I would not want to try bringing our trailer to this camp with the roads in the present condition. The area is the site of a 19th century gold rush.
Picacho State Park camping area
Imperial National Wildlife
We hike the Painted Desert Trail in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge Friday, January 29, 2010: Today, Gwen took Morgan and I on a hike in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. She picked a trail called the Painted Desert Trail. It was about 1.5 miles long with some great views. The surprise was all the water and vegitation. The refuge is also a popular summer resort called Fishers Landing where folks visit because there is 83 miles of waterway including the Colorado River. Many of the photos here can be enlarged by clicking on them.
The trail continues through the wildlife area
Hiking the Painted Desert Trail Painted desert view
Imperial Wildlife Refuge view
Dale is holding up this rock Morgan is first up the hill

The road to the Painted Desert trailhead was single lane gravel. Another typical desert access road.

We arrived home to see the moon rising in the east. This pinkish color is exactly how we saw the moon. That's NOT our trailer to the left, it's another camper.

The full moon rising in the east greeted us as we arrived home
About twenty cars caravan to "The Names"
Many visitors to "The Names" Arrived at "The Names"
Saturday, January 30, 2010: Last Thursday we meet our Imperial LTVA group in a caravan to "The Names". It is near Picacho State Recreation Area so we met the group after our visit to the area. There were more than twenty cars in the caravan led by "McGuiver". "The Names" is several thousand names created from rocks on the floor of the desert. The huge number of names makes this a very special and somber area. Some of the names are here as a memorial and some are to just mark that the creator visited the area. Most of these names are of long term winter visitors. Some are still alive and continue to visit while others have passed on. This event was to honor those who have passed on. After the announcing of those who had passed, the group met at a "dog-burn" for a social evening. The photos above can be enlarged by clicking on them. You can view a short video of the event: click here.
The memorial service ends in a "dog burn" near The Names
Sunday, January 31, 2010: While visiting the Yuma Territorial Prison on Wednesday we came across a hot balloon launch. Pass your pointer through the photo to the right to see the balloon inflate. I also created a video of the launch you can see by clicking here. Surprise balloon launch while visit the Yuma Territorial Prison
Gwen is helping our friend Dick with a computer problem. Monday, February 1, 2010: This is special. Gwen loves to help others with computer problems so she helped our friend Dick with a problem he was having. Dick is writing a book about his family's history so Gwen is helping to figure out a file type which everyone can open and read. Pass your pointer through the photo to see the two working.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010: Today was moving day since our permit ran out at the Imperial LTVA. We've moved to the KOFA RV Park in Yuma, an Escapees park. We were able to get one of the last two boondock sites for $5.33 per night. We do benefit from the pool, hot tub and laundry at the park but otherwise we get no water, sewer or power. Of course we are packed like sardines and those around us have generators. We plan to stay at the park to complete things like a truck wash and oil change. We'll also stock up on groceries then head to Ajo, Arizona on Thursday.
Oil Change
Truck wash
Wednesday, February 3, 2010: Today was errand day: propane, groceries, federal tax instruction book, UPS package pickup, luncheon buffet, Bard-California mail pickup and finally, repair the trim on a slide. The highlight of the day, however, was this closeup of a Roadrunner. It was anxious to pose. Click the photo for a larger view. Great photo of a roadrunner
We've arrive in Ajo Thursday, February 4, 2010: Today was a travel day, about 140 miles to Ajo, Arizona. This weekend is special, it's time for the Ajo Old Time Fiddler's Show and Contest. We followed friends to the parking lot where we met several more friends. Dick is standing on his RV step with our unit at the far end. Dick saved about 8 - 10 spaces for all in our party who might arrive late. This is going to be a party weekend for sure. We are parked in a large dirt parking lot with about a 100 other RVs. We hear fiddler practice in every other unit. This event is sponsored by Arizona Old Time Fiddlers.
Friday, February 5, 2010: This was a day to visit the small city of Ajo and relax in our parking lot camping site. There was no official fiddler activity but lots of spontaneous practice in our parking lot camping location. It was a stereo of sounds with fiddlers practicing in surround sound. Unfortunately, they were all playing a different tune. Spontaneous music happening in the dirt parking lot where all the RVs are camped
A small room for the fiddlers contest
Saturday, February 6, 2010: Today was set aside for visiting the 32nd Annual Ajo Old Time Fiddlers Show and Contest the whole day. The fiddlers are broken into categories, junior-junior, junior, young adult, adult, senior and senior-senior. Each fiddle must play a "hoe-down", waltz then rag, all in five minutes or less. The fiddlers competing in today's contest ranged in age from 11 to 94. The contest auditorium was a relatively small room at the Ajo Country Club. I have created a video to give you a taste of the contest. You will see short glimpses of many contestants then most of the three tune performance from my favorite, a 14 year old girl with obviously a great deal of talent. She won the Junior competition and will compete for the grand championship tomorrow. Click here to see the video.
A Super Bowl party inside a motor home Sunday, February 7, 2010: After attending the gospel sing-a-long at the fiddlers competition we spent the rest of the day at a Super Bowl party both outside and inside Dick and Doris motor home. As it turned out only two, Gwen and Dick C. were hoping for a Saints win. I've created a short video so you can see how we can all fit into a motor home to party while watching a football game and enjoying the Super Bowl commercials. Click here to see the video.
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