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The "Next Adventure"
Fall/Winter: 2 0 1 9 - 2 0 2 0

Return to "Next Adventure" Summer: 2019
 

Jeanne meets Elvis

 

 

Monday, February 17, 2020: Our Monday started with the four of us going to the community center for pancakes and eggs. Laundry came next then a relaxing afternoon.

The photo is from a time we visited a little cafe just north of Parker. I asked Jeanne to pose next to Elvis. I hope we get to visit again, it was good food.

You may not know my history with Jeanne. I worked for Rogue Community College for ten years just before retirement. Jeanne was my immediate supervisor. I retired about three years before she retired. Since our retirement we have spent many winters traveling together in the Arizona desert.

Nothing like an Arizona sunset
Sunday, February 16, 2020: It is not just the great views and wide open spaces which keep us in the desert but Arizona has some great sunsets. Click this sunset to see another view from a different angle. Click the new photo a second time to enlarge then scroll to see the whole photo.
Hiking with Gary, Jeanne and Gwen
Saturday, February 15, 2020: Wayne and Char left today to visit friends in Quartzsite then on to Prescott for more friends. After they left, Gary, Jeanne, Gwen and I went on a desert hike. Here is a short video of a portion of our hike.
The best Art/Craft show in the area Searching for treasures I'm most impressed
Friday, February 14, 2020: Wayne, Char, Gary, Jeanne, Gwen and I go to the best Art and Craft show in the area we have seen. It is in Wickenburg, Arizona, 1.5 hour drive from our parking location. We learned that the booth space is very expensive so there are no "flea market" items but very high quality arts and crafts. I found many booths which impressed me and we DID purchase a few items. Click the photos for more views.
Visiting Brenda with Wayne and Char
Thursday, February 13, 2020: Gwen and I took Wayne and Char to the garbage transfer station (this is the first day of the week it is open), then to the vegetable man (click the photo), to get fresh water and then to Brenda,
Arizona. In Brenda we visited an RV park we plan to stay for the month of March, Desert Gold RV Park. They are having a craft show and park wide garage sale. We were anxious to take a look around the park and see what items they might be selling. I found a park resident who has many drones, some for sale. I plan to get better aquainted in March. We are moving to a park because we expect the weather to become warmer so we might want air conditioning. Also, the warm weather will bring out the snakes in the desert.

Wayne and Char

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020: Our friends, Wayne and Char arrived today to stay with us for a few days. We met Wayne and Char back in 2010 when we chose to become employees or California Land Management (CLM). CLM managed National Forest Service campgrounds in California and we were assigned to maintain six of those campgrounds near Downieville, California. Wayne was our immediate supervisor and trained us to take care of the facilities. Since then we have heard horror stories from campground hosts who worked for supervisors other than Wayne. We were lucky to get one of the good supervisors. We became friends and have stayed in touch since then. They are now retired and are traveling in their new Class C, 24 foot motorhome. We enjoyed catching up this evening around the campfire.

Short take-off and landing plane

A Rutan Long-EZMonday, February 10, 2020: I went exploring today having learned that Bouse has and airport. The red plane is set up to be STOL (short take-off and landing). With the huge, soft tires (called "Bush tires") it can land on very rough surfaces. We have watched it circling around us parked in the desert and picking spots to try a touch & go landing. Click the STOL photo to see the airport. I became a private pilot in 1977 and owned two airplanes between 1977 and 1984 when I could no longer afford the expense of flying. It was the most difficult activity I have ever learned to do. It is also the activity I miss the most. There is nothing like owning and flying your own plane. I enjoyed every second of flying. When I look at the Bouse Airport I would be concerned about getting rock chips in the propeller blade.

Across the street, I discovered a Rutan Long-EZ. This is an experimental two seat plane with a rear engine and pusher prop. In 1997, John Denver was doing touch and go practice at the Monterey Bay Airport in Monterey, California in his Rutan Long-EZ. He became distracted trying to switch fuel tanks and took a dive into the bay and drowned. This plane is known for its quick handling and long range. This one is not in flying condition. It was assembled over twenty years by a farmer in Montana. He died before flying it so those who inherited it have been moving it from one location to another since getting it. Click this photo for a larger view.

On display at the Camp Bouse ParkPreparing for the Camp Bouse Memorial Day

Sunday, February 9, 2020: During World War II, the area east of Bouse, Arizona was turned into a top secret tank training area for George Patton. More than ten thousand soldiers were brought to Camp Bouse for training. It is hard to believe since this area is sparsely populated today. Bouse still has daily freight trains passing through but no passenger trains as there were during WWII. Every February Camp Bouse is remembered in a memorial day of activities and tours. I attended to get a video of the "fly over" by the local private pilots. A half dozen single engine, prop planes flew by but I messed up and didn't get the video. I did, however, get a video of the preparation for a speech by the commander of the Yuma Proving Grounds. The YPG is located about 90 miles south of Bouse. Here is that Short video of the preparation. Click both photos for more views.

Free fishing day for kidsLa Paz Flea Market

Saturday, February 8, 2020: Gary, Jeanne and I travel to the La Paz County Park about eight miles north of Parker, Arizona to explore the flea market which happens there every Saturday during the winter months. It is a popular flea market with lots of flea market junk but a few vendors with new or creative items. One of the fascinating vendors was selling wind mobiles such as the balloons in the photo. Here is a short video showing the action of the balloons in the wind.

This was also free fishing day for kids so kids and their instructors where lining the banks of the Colorado River. All fishing equipment was provided for the kids.

Click both photos for more views.

A desert memorialBarrel cactus

Friday, February 7, 2020: Another hike today with Gary, Jeanne and Gwen. This time looking for a desert memorial which Gary and Jeanne found.

Something different about this hike, I followed with the drone to get a higher view of the scenery. Click here for the video.

Click both photos for more views.

We know nothing about this memorial. Gary and Jeanne found it in the desert and shared with us.

Who lived here?Searching for desert caves

Thursday, February 6, 2020: Gary, Jeanne, Gwen and I drove into the desert looking for caves and overhanging rocks. Gary and Jeanne had found a few and wanted to show Gwen and me. We went to two areas, the first looked like a human excavation looking for minerals. It was a mine about 30 feet deep. It was dug into solid rock. Apparently no valuable minerals were found. The second looked like a volcanic bubble large enough to house a family looking for shelter from storms or from the summer sun. I saw evidence of animals using the bubble but no evidence that humans were here. The weather was perfect, little wind and mid-60s, hot in the sun. Click both photos for more views.

Camped a Cummins, Avondale, Arizona

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: February 3, 4 & 5, 2020: On Monday, we drive Mz Ruby to Avondale, Arizona, the closest Cummins service center. We need the service department to check out our generator which has been giving us a problem. Before owning a residential refrigerator we were happy with solar charging during the day, watching TV at night leaving the batteries at 75% charge level. Everything was turned off at night so the morning charge level was just slightly less than 75% and the sun would have our batteries fully charged by noon. Now, with a residential refrigerator we can keep the same routine as long as we don't watch evening TV. When we do watch evening TV the batteries drop to 75% but that isn't enough to keep the refrigerator going all night. The generator must be run about 3/4 hour before bedtime to bring the battery level higher. Now, the solar charging can have the batteries fully charged by 2:00 pm. Before the residential refrigerator we needed a generator only on a cloudy day. Now we need one nearly every day.

On Tuesday, Cummins worked all day to identify the problem. By the end of the day, they felt the problem was solved. Fortunately, they provided a place in their parking lot to park with a 50 amp plug-in for power. Of course, we visited Costco, WalMart, Hobby Lobby and Culvers while the guys were working on our generator.

On Wednesday, we got a late start back to our desert location in Bouse, Arizona. We arrived in mid-afternoon so left much of the setup to tomorrow. Click the photo for an interior view of Cummins.

Great place to watch the Superbowl

Sunday, February 2. 2020: What a great place to watch Super Bowl LIV. We were routing for both teams so our team won. We are happy for Kansas City but San Francisco should be proud of their team also. Gary and Jeanne joined us for our outdoor view of the game with a sunset in the background. It never got below 63 degrees outside but the campfire made sure we stayed warm.

QIA Craft Show
Outdoor exhibitsStrange hatsSaturday, February 1, 2020: This is the first Saturday of the month so we drove to the QIA in Quartzsite for their monthly crafts and art show. We really didn't have anything specific we were looking for but it is fun to see the different handcrafted items. Gwen and Jeanne found earrings to buy and Gary bought an aluminum can whirligig. I bought nothing. Click each of these photos for more views.

Rocks for the campfireCollecting desert rocks

Friday, January 31, 2020: We have a propane campfire thing. It came with pumice to catch and store the heat from the propane flame. But not enough pumice to really be effective. During my desert hike today I gathered desert quartz to place in the bottom of the fire pit to raise the pumice to a height where the pumice will be hit by the flame and heat up. My friend, Gary, also gave me some extra pumice to help out my campfire. I carefully stacked the quartz around the edge of the fire ring then placed the pumice on top of the fire ring and quartz. It's a little heavier now but works great. The pumice glows red hot once heated. Click both photos to enlarge.

Hiking in the desert
Thursday, January 30, 2020: I took a hike in the desert with my camera. If we had some rain there would likely be more color but we have had only a small amount of rain in the month we have been here. This is a photo across the wash to Mz Ruby. Click the photo for another view. Be sure to click a second time to enlarge. These dark clouds looked hopeful for rain but none arrived.

T-Mobile HotspotWe caught the UPS man.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020: We have been coming to this area of the Arizona desert for ten years. We've always noticed a 400 foot cell tower toward the south end of Bouse. It wasn't a Verizon tower so we just shrugged our shoulders and ignored it. But the Verizon signal strength out here is very weak and sometimes none at all. That makes it very difficult for use to get any kind of Internet access other than driving to the library. I finally asked the librarian which company owned that huge tower to the south of town. She told me T-Mobile so I called T-Mobile and they offered me a free hotspot plus a 30 day free trial to test the signal strength. I told Gary about the offer so he ordered a free trial also. We have been getting text messages telling us when to expect the UPS man to deliver our hotspots. Both of us gave the post office address as our delivery address hoping to catch the UPS man before he delivered. The notice I got today gave a link to a "Follow My Delivery" for our UPS man. So we watched our phones as he came closer to Bouse. We drove in the direction of the UPS truck on the phone map and saw him driving toward us. We made a U-turn and followed him to his next stop then jumped out of Gary's Jeep waving our driver's licenses to prove our identity and asked if we could have our packages. Here he comes with our boxes. Gary and I were like two little boys getting Christmas presents. If this works, it will solve the last problem of camping off grid in the desert. We quickly set up the hotspots and they immediately logged into the nearby tower. You can see the signal strength is five bars and WiFi is already broadcasting. Since this is free for 30 days we thought T-Mobile would limit us to 1 gig but NO! To our surprise, the free trial was for 30 days or 30 gigs, whichever comes first. So far, the service is great. I've also learned, if we had a device to receive 5G, this tower has 5G out here in the middle of nowhere.

1917 Movie
Monday, January 27, 2020: Gary, Jeanne, Gwen and I drove to Parker today for groceries and other items. Gary got his oil changed in the Jeep and I washed the desert dirt off our Forester. We also planned to see a movie but we didn't know what was playing. We had several choices but we all chose "1917". This movie has been nominated for ten Academy Awards. It is a bit different for a "war movie". You don't walk out feeling like you just watched "Little Women" but the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Parker 425 Desert Race
Friday, January 24, 2020: I drove to the "Bouse Y" spectator area to view the Parker 425 Desert Race. This is a popular race held each year in January and attracts racers from all over the USA. Helicopters fly over some of the "rich" racers I was told by one of the officials. I stayed long enough to get a few photos and and overhead view with my drone. Click this photo for another view. Here is the best way to watch the race.

Friends Jeanne and Gary with me at the Big Tent

Thursday, January 23, 2020: Gary, Jeanne and I visited the "Big Tent" in Quartzsite. They, like many other pet owners, also walked their dog, Hershey, through the crowded tent to help socialize Hershey. They did a much better job of buying things than I did. Jeanne found the squeegee she has been looking for to help clean the windows. And they signed up for a DirecTV deal to improve their TV watching.

Gary is putting up his solar panels
Wednesday, January 22, 2020: This was a fun day with friends Gary and Jeanne. But before we had our fun, Gary climbed onto his roof to face his solar panels toward the winter southern sky. The sun is low in the sky this time of year so Gary is soaking up all the solar power he can get with his three panels. While Gary is working, I flew the drone over Gary to record his work. Click the photo to see another photo.

Colorado River where it separates Arizona from California

Monday, January 20, 2020: This is Monday so my day began with breakfast at the community center then the library next door for Internet access. We also needed propane and water so I stopped for both before returning to Mz Ruby.

Gwen is not feeling well so I drove into Parker for some cough syrup and groceries. While there, I drive about five miles north and parked along side the Colorado River on the Arizona side. This location is where the Colorado River separates the states of Arizona and California. I got out the drone and flew for a short way up and down the river. I'm still pretty nervous when flying over water, the drone would sink like a rock if I made a pilot error. Take a look at the Colorado between Arizona and California.

49ers vs PackersKansas City Vs Titans

Sunday, January 19, 2020: Today was the NFL final playoff games to decide who would be in Super Bowl LIV. I had decided during the last playoff games it would be the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Neither game today was close but it was fun watching both games. I don't have a prediction of who might win on February 2. I just hope it is a good, fair and close game.

The Big TentInside the Big Tent

Saturday, January 18, 2020: I made a quick trip today to the first day of the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show, otherwise known as "The Big Tent". Over 250 vendors in the tent and immediate surrounding. Tyson Wells, across the street, has an additional 200 vendors. You could spend a week here and still not see everything.

Parking is the first challenge. I accidentally found a desert road into the wash near the big tent. So did many others but they came along the wash. Many got stuck in the deep gravel but fortunately, I had no problem.

Two years ago I purchased a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) while visiting the Big Tent. I have one tire transmitter continuing to lose the signal. The vendor exchanged my transmitter for a new one. I spent the rest of my time walking much of the show with my video camera, not the whole show, but enough to give you and example of what the show is like. Click both photos for more views. The video is mine, the photos came from show advertising.

Flying in the mountains
Friday, January 17, 2020: I took a bike ride into the desert toward the mountains to the southwest. I took the drone along with the intention of flying into the mountains. Click this photo for another view from above. About the time I finished taking these two photos I heard some ATVs coming my way and decided to look for them rather than fly farther into the mountains. It was hard to see my screen but found the ATVs just before they found me. I followed them for a bit before returning to land in front of me. Perfect weather for riding and flying. Look for the desert roads as I fly around.

Bouse Library

Thursday, January 16, 2020: Lots to do today. I started with the laundromat because I waited too long to use our own washer/dryer. Next, I filled the four water jugs for our freshwater tank. Then, I took a drone flight from the Community Park to show you where the library is located. Then back to the laundromat to transfer my clothes to the dryer. While drying I drove to the library hoping to upload a video and other files. Nope, not enough time, back to the laundromat for the cloths then wait in line for 30 minutes to get propane. Now, back to the library to finish the upload. Finally, to the reverse osmosis water building for 5 gallons of drinking water for $1.

We use the library for reliable Internet access. I purchased a cell booster to hopefully solve our Internet connection. It worked well for a week then became very spotty. It shows good cell signal and good 4G but no Internet most of the time except late at night or early in the morning. So we depend upon the library. Here is a video showing the library location from the Bouse Community Park. Click the panorama of the village of Bouse.

Overflying Boondocked RV Campers
Wednesday, January 15, 2020: My son Joe came to visit today. He wanted to see how desert nomads lived. We showed him the sites in Quartzsite then stopped at one of the popular boondock areas for clubs and Escapee Chapters so we could fly our drones to see what is happening. The RV circles and long lines of RVs are clubs and Escapee Chapters parked together. These are all dry camped (boondocked), no hookups of any kind. Also notice very few solar equipped RVs. That's because 95% of these campers are here for less than two weeks, no long term boondockers. There are other areas of Arizona where the majority of the campers have solar. They are here for the season. Take a look at the drone video of these desert campers. Click the photo to enlarge.
An aireal visitor
Tuesday, January 14, 2020: We were visited today by an ultralite. This must be the next step after becoming a recreational drone pilot. (That's a joke.)
Scottsdale WorldMark
Monday, January 13, 2020: We are in Scottsdale, Arizona for the day to visit with my son, Joe, who is on vacation at the WorldMark Resort. It was Joe who made sure we had a relaxing time at the Lake of the Ozarks WorldMark when Ms Ruby was being repaired. Joe and I also enjoy watching football together so we watched LSU and Clemson in the College Championship this evening. During the day, Joe showed me what he could do with his DJI Mavic Mini drone. Here is the video of that flight showing WorldMark as well as the Arizona Canal and Trail.
A flight to the "B"
Sunday, January 12, 2020: For my first outing with the drone, I chose to over fly the Bouse "B". This is on the east side of the little town. Watch the video closely. As the drone approaches the top of the mountain you will see dust in the desert in the distance. This dust is coming from the Parker 250, an off road desert race happening today. Click this photo for a panorama of Bouse. Be sure to click a second time to enlarge the panorama to the maximum then scroll left/right. Here is the video of the flight.
Gwen watches the "Wolf Moon"

Saturday, January 11, 2020: Last night was the "Wolf Moon", the name of the first full moon in the winter season. We spotted it slowly rising over the desert floor and rushed out to take photos. Gwen in making a study of the moon before she starts her photos.

Today, Gwen and I drove to Brenda, Arizona, about 20 miles, for a tiny craft show. We are considering an RV park in Brenda for the month of March so we had three reasons to travel to Brenda. One, the craft show, two, check out the parks, three, hamburgers at the craft show advertised to be the best. Click the moon photo for a craft show panorama. We were able to do all three goals in Brenda. Then back home to view the NFL playoff games.

View toward Bouse from the base of Three Hump Mountain
Friday, January 10, 2020: I took myself to the base of Three Hump Mountain today in anticipation of the visit from my son, Joe. He plans to visit our part of Arizona. He has never been here before so I'm making a list of places he can see. He can choose what he wants to do from the list. He is bringing his drone so I'm at the base of Three Hump thinking it might be a fun fly to the top of the mountain for both of us. The view in the photo is from the base of the mountain toward Bouse. Click the photo for a view toward the top of the mountain.

Shopping for vegitables and fruit

 

Thursday, January 9, 2020: On Thursday and Friday of each week the vegetable and fruit man comes to Bouse. He always has some of the very best produce. Gwen and I went shopping. She got good stuff, I got a watermelon. The prices are always very good too. After choosing produce, we went to the library so I could upload another video.

This morning I had two successful flights with the drone. Yesterday, I finally posted my drone connection problems on a forum of knowledgeable people. I had already contacted the store selling my drone and the manufacturer of the drone. Both replied quickly thinking my problem was a faulty cable. Both are sending replacement cables. I doubted their diagnosis so posted my problem on the forum. Within a minute I got a reply which seems to have fixed the problem. I combined my two flights into a single video which I call "Drone Practice" because I'm still learning how to fly. I did figure 8s and landing practice. Then I flew the furthest distance I've flown so far and the highest I've flown so far. I put all this into a 5 minute video. Take a look if you have an interest. I'm looking forward to having two extra cables too. Click the photo for another view.

My weather station has warned me of a lunar eclipse happening tomorrow. We will have to watch for it.

Gwen is shopping
Wednesday, January 8, 2020: On the first Wednesday of each month (in this case the second Wednesday) the quilt fabric lady arrives at the Bouse Community Center with her traveling store. Among the things we did today, Gwen spent some time shopping the traveling store. I got more water and we did the sheets and towels at the laundromat. With all the time left in the afternoon, we read books. Click the photo for another view.
Our patio view of the desert
Tuesday, January 7, 2020: This was a busy day. I got our propane tank filled and picked up 18 gallons of water. Next I went to the library for good Internet access so I could upload four videos and download some updates. Two of those videos are posted in the last couple of days reports. Finally back to Mz Ruby I pumped the 18 gallons of water into the fresh water holding tank then did a load of laundry. I repaired the electronic door lock which was not working. I went on a bike ride. Here is my first video using the drone. It shows our desert location. You can get a real feel of what it is like parked in the desert. My suggestion is to watch on the largest screen you can. If you know how to connect your laptop to your TV, do it and watch this video.

A waste of time movie

Monday, January 6, 2020: Early this morning we had breakfast with Ralph and Janet. They joined us last night in the desert but had to leave very early this morning to reach Yuma before 11 am. Since the Bouse Community Center does a $5 breakfast every Monday morning between 7 - 9 am, we were nearly the first in line at 7. We spent several months traveling with Ralph and Janet. It was good to catch up with them even for only a day. I made a video of our breakfast in the community center.

After adding fresh water to our holding tank we took ourselves into Parker for another movie. This is our third movie since coming to the desert. This one is not even worth renting (in my humble opinion) but maybe it is just made for a different audience. There are few movie choices in Parker and we had already seen the other choices.

Aerial view of our desert location
Sunday, January 5, 2020: A day of NFL football playoff TV. Also a day to try out my new toy. My son Joe is having great success with a drone so I decided to try one. My drone has been a huge headache compared to Joe's. Mine gives me error messages keeping it on the ground. This morning I finally got it to fly for a few minutes before I got another error message and had to bring it down quickly. Before landing, I was able to take one aerial photo of our desert location. This is a different view point I've ever had before. Click the photo to enlarge.
Visiting the QIA Craftshow in Quartzsite
Saturday, January 4, 2020: Gwen and I took ourselves to Quartzsite this morning. The QIA in Quartzsite has a Flea Market, Swap Meet, Craft show on the first Saturday of each month. Quartzsite, this time of year, is one huge flea market so what is so special about the QIA show? It is very popular with the locals and those who return to Quartzsite every winter. Popular for exhibitors and buyers. There is also a huge variety from junk to quality handmade items. If you search carefully, there are unique items too. I walked the whole show with my GoPro so you can see for yourself.
Blessed with an Arizona Sunset
Thursday, January 2, 2020: We were blessed with one of Arizona's spectacular sunsets. My son Joe, refers to his patio as "Herbie Js Sparks". His best friend, Tom, has "Herbie Js Roseville". I don't know the history behind that name but I have adopted it for my outside patio area especially when watching sports on the outside TV. So click the photo to see "Herbie Js Bouse" of as I call it the "Arizona Campus".
Arizona Desert for the new year

"B" for Bouse in the distanceBeautiful brush in the desert

 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020: This first day of 2020 has started off great with good weather and the forecast for the next ten days shows solar days ahead!

The highlight of the day was watching the Oregon Ducks stumble their way to a one point victory in the Rose Bowl. We are also a fan of Wisconsin and they played the better football today but a penalty and a fumbled punt kept them from winning.

We started this first day right by hiking to the top of a mountain only about a mile from our camp. I took these photos along the way. I also did a short video as we climbed the final hill. Click all the photos for more views.

 

Little Women, 2019 Christmas Movie

 

 

 

Monday, December 30, 2019: We drove to Parker, Arizona today for groceries and supplies. The "supply" I was looking for was a bunch of new tubes for my bicycle so I could continue my desert riding. Parker is the county seat of La Paz county, a very large Arizona county. But they have NO bike shop so I tried Walmart then Ace Hardware, neither had my size tube. So, Amazon is the next best choice.

Gwen took me to the movies. She wanted to see "Little Women", the new Christmas, 2019 version. There was a good line of viewers in line to buy tickets, both men and women. However, I began to notice the men were buying two tickets, one for the wife to see Little Women and one for himself to see Jumanji. I considered that, but decided it would be good for me to see Little Women with Gwen. I'm glad I did, it was a very good, well acted movie with characters you can really like.

The bicycle tubes are on order but won't arrive until Monday, January 6! I did buy patches so plan to try patching the pinched tube for the spare until the new tubes arrive.

Rolling Ball Timer
Saturday, December 28, 2019: While watching LSU roll over Oklahoma I decided to put together a Christmas gift. I like little kits like this. Of course it will likely end up with one of the grandkids because we don't have room for it. This was designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. It works well for about three minutes per cycle. I did a video of the action.

A couple of our favorite stores in QuartzsiteShopping in Quartzsite

 

Thursday, December 26, 2019: This promises to be a stormy day. The weatherman has even issued flash flood warnings for this area. I suppose he must do that to be safe even though the chance of a flash flood this time of year is remote. I measured .1 inches of rain. Anyway, Gwen and I chose to drive to Quartzsite because Gwen remembered a couple of project items she needed. We visited a couple of our favorite stores (vendors) of the thousands of vendors who will eventually show up within the next couple of weeks. While in Quartzsite I always like to check the Tesla charging station at the far end of town. Since Quartzsite is about half way between Phoenix and Southern California cities, the charging station is almost always full. It helps that the charging station is located at the Carl's Jr. restaurant, another popular stop for the Phoenix and Southern California travelers. I was looking for only one item, JB Weld epoxy to make a repair. I ended up buying something similar but not the JB Weld brand. Gwen found what she was looking for in Gem World and also got a haircut. Click the photos for more views.

It is tough trying to survive in the desertSun has returned to the desert

 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019: On this Christmas holiday, Gwen and I take a hike in the desert toward the mountains. It was sunny for the first time since we arrived but cold. It was a good hike. We saw a lot of green grass growing in the desert. We also saw fresh animal tracks, we think they were rabbit but possibly another hikers dog. We didn't hike far but stopped often to look at the rocks and vegitation. Still, our short hike lasted more than an hour. Click the photos for more views. Happy Holidays to all.

Great wavesGoing to a movie today

Tuesday, December 24, 2019: My sons insisted I go see this movie and Gwen preferred it over others so we took ourselves to Parker, Arizona today where the tickets were only $5 each. I loved getting to hear the musical background by John Williams. I also liked the ending and all the special effects. However, I don't believe any of the Star Wars movies match the very first one. I'm sure we will be seeing many more movies at this theater since the price is good.

Jugs are filled at the county parkThe jugs are always loaded into the car

Water is pumped from the jugs into the holding tank

Monday, December 23, 2019: One of our boondocking routines is the filling of the fresh water tank. Ms Ruby has a 100 gallon fresh water holding tank. The water in that tank is used for washing dishes, flushing the toilet, washing hands, showers, making ice and a few small clothes washing loads too. So we must keep replenishing the fresh water without moving Mz Ruby. We have four 4.5 gallon jugs we keep in the car at all times. The county park is only two miles from our desert location and we can fill our jugs at the park for a nickel per gallon. Each time I fill the jugs I put a dollar in the payment box. When I get back to Mz Ruby I use the onboard water pump to bring the water from the jugs into the holding tank. I've learned how to do it using what Winnebago designed to fill the plumbing with antifreeze for winter storing. I just flip one more switch to redirect the water into the holding tank. In a sense the amount of water we can use is unlimited. It just requires more trips to the county park. For that reason we are still very conservative with our water usage. We are especially careful of the amount of water going into the toilet. We can make the black water tank last at least a month which means moving Mz Ruby only once each month. Click on these three photos to enlarge.

Our favorite place to spend the winter.
Saturday, December 21, 2019: This was an early start day from Casa Grande to Bouse, Arizona where we plan to spend a couple months. We checked out much of the area but finally chose a spot we parked a couple of years ago. Great views, nearest neighbor in 1/4 mile. After arriving about noon, we set up camp and I lifted all the solar panels to point at the southern sky. Note the dirty spot on the awning slide cover in that photo. This is the awning cover opposite the awning cover Ray and I replaced. Well, this cover is also failing. I'm just hoping it holds until we return to Oregon. The sun is very low this time of year so panels must be lifted to point directly at the sun. It was 68 degrees this afternoon. However, clouds and rain are forecast much of next week. That means running the generator since we won't get much solar. Click the photo for another view.
Arizona desert on Interstate 10
Friday, December 20, 2019: The view above is just after crossing from New Mexico into Arizona. We are traveling Interstate 10 looking to the northwest. The snow capped mountain overlooks Safford, Arizona. We have parked in the Safford area a couple of times. The snow capped mountain is Mt. Graham which has a huge observatory at the top. Brings back memories. Click this photo to see the Escapee park in Casa Grande, Arizona where we stopped for the night. We stayed in boondock, I put a red X where we parked for the night. The fee was $5.
Organ Mountains east of Las Cruces
Thursday, December 19, 2019: Driving around Las Cruces we learned the quilt shop Gwen remembered was no longer in business. We still found other quilt shops and Gwen was able to buy the items she was looking for. While she was shopping, I took a couple of photos of what I was seeing in Las Cruces. These are the Organ Mountains overlooking Las Cruces. Click on the photo for another view. The photo behind is a panorama, be sure to click on it to enlarge then scroll from side to side.
Las Cruces sun set at the Elks Lodge
Wednesday, December 18, 2019: Today's drive was less than 200 miles from Van Horn to Las Cruces, New Mexico. I've already learned that Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico. We remember being here in a previous year and Gwen remembers a special quilt shop she wants to visit here. Last time we parked at the state park just north of Las Cruces because we had purchased an annual New Mexico State Park pass for $225. We ended up spending seven months in New Mexico traveling from one state park to another. This time we have parked at the new RV park built by the Las Cruces Elks Lodge. Click the photo for another view.
Wide open spaces in west TexasParked in Van Horn where we spent the night
Tuesday, December 17, 2019: This was a travel day from Lone Star Alamo Area SKP park to Van Horn, Texas. This was nearly 400 miles of driving, further than we normally drive in a day but the more we drive today, the shorter tomorrow's day. West Texas is a whole lot of nothing but the two lane road we drove most of the way had very little traffic. We used our Escapee membership to get a 50% discount at Oasis RV Park which got us a space for the night at $14.
Bandera history More Bandera history Cowboy Capital of the World
Bandera Gwen finds a great quilt shop Nice retail shop under the water tower
Sunday, December 15, 2019: Gwen and I visit the city of Bandera, Texas, the "Cowboy Capital of the World". The first thing Gwen wanted to find was the quilt shop. It was a nice one so she spent lots of time browsing. I found lots of plaques with Bandera history. I found it interesting that the indians are described as "wild" and "menace", the same description used for Central American immigrants. This was a fun town to walk with many "cowboy" shops to visit. Lots of leather things to buy. Click each photo for more views. Bandera is also the County Seat for Bandera County.
More Texas history This post every 6 miles along the trail route About the trail
Saturday, December 14, 2019: Today was my longest ride in South Texas, to see it, you can click the link on this page. Here is another history lesson from this part of Texas. You can click the plaque on the right for a larger view since the type is small.

Chopping the applesThe Apple Store in Madina, Texas

Friday, December 13, 2019: While visiting the area and having breakfast at Sammy's in Castroville, our waitress, Jennifer, insisted that we visit the tiny town of Madina, Texas. The reason, because they have a bakery which makes the best apple pies in Texas. So, on an impulse, we drove to Madina today and found "The Apple Store". Fortunately they were working at making apple pies so I got a photo of the process. It seems they only make apple pies and cookies. Gwen got her favorite, peanut butter which I got an apple/orange cookie and slice of apple pie. The yard outside the bakery was very comfortable on this warm day. Click both photos for more views.

Must be valuable gravelGravel manufactured on the route
Thursday, December 12, 2019: I pass the Martin Marietta, Medina Rock and Rail on my bike route. These are the signs leading into this facility right next to a new rail line also leading into the facility. I'm thinking this must be some valuable limestone. I did some Internet searching and found Martin Marietta spent 158 million developing the 4000 acre site in 2015. By April, 2016 it was producing 500,000 tons of aggregate each month. So this is a huge site producing gravel from limestone. The important and profitable feature of this plant is the ability to put the aggregate into railcars and ship anywhere in the country. Click the two photos to see a couple of THEIR photos. Here is a satellite view, must be spring, it's not green now.
Christmas has arrived
Tuesday, December 10, 2019: Winter weather has arrived around Mz Ruby so the most fun thing we did today was to set out our few decorations. We also watched a couple of Hallmark Christmas movies. It's nice to watch a movie knowing we are safe with a happy ending. Click the photo for another view.
Ford vs Ferrari
Monday, December 9, 2019: Yes! Gwen and I drove to San Antonio today for the movie, "Ford v Ferrari". I was in high school when all this was happening. It has not changed my opinion about Ford products but it was a fun movie. As a college student I always admired the Shelby Cobra and it still turns my head when I see one. When in college, I ate dinner one year with a friend and his wife who were a graduate students. I paid them a dollar for each meal. He owned a Cobra. Nope, I never got a ride.
Pac12 Championship
Friday, December 6, 2019: Most important thing today was the Pac12 football championship with Oregon and Utah in the playoff. I did nothing all day expect assemble a jigsaw puzzle then watched Oregon dominate Utah for the championship.
We don't have roads like these in Sutherlin, Oregon
Courthouse in New Braunsfel, Texas For Texas Hummingbirds only Lots of history in this town
Thursday, December 5, 2019: One and a half hours from our location is the historic town of New Braunfels, a location we have be told not to miss. We walked old town where this is the first day of the Wassail Festival. Participants walk from one store to another for a swallow of Wassail then vote for the best. Unfortunately the festival does not start until 6 pm and we aren't staying that late. We had enough time to walk old town visiting the oldest Texas hardware store and oldest Texas bakery. We bought from each. Click the photos for larger views. Here is some more history.
Click each of these thumbnails taken on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas to enlarge.
Buggy rides
Monument
Alamo
Older building
Alamo monument
River Walk
River Condos
River scene
River Condo
Follow the river
Our boat
Inside the boat
Lunch over the river
boating under the bridge
Layers of history
Entering the mall
tile art
Inside the mall
More condos
Celebrating longhorn cattle
Tuesday, December 3, 2019: Gwen and I took ourselves to the San Antonio River Walk. It's a fun place for tourists to visit in downtown. Lots of history beginning with the Alamo. Click each one of these thumbnails to enlarge. We particularly like the river tour boat. It is an easy way to see 2.5 miles of the river walk before attempting to walk the area. There are probably 50 locations to dine not including the many hotel restaurants nearby. Also lots of tourist shops with specialty and souvenir items. Gwen and I are good at looking but not buying. Not much of a crowd today so driving and walking was easy.
Football Saturday
Saturday, November 30, 2019: This is a big day for college football. A lot of rivalry games. I watched Auburn defeat Alabama and Wisconsin beat Minnesota. Then it was time for PAC12 football so I watched Oregon Ducks defeat the Oregon State Beavers. Oregon Ducks had already secured the Pac12 North title and will play either Utah or USC as Pac12 South champs. So I watch Utah defeat Colorado to secure the Pac12 South title. Next Friday it will be Oregon Duck playing the Utah Utes in Santa Clara.

Knives Out

 

Friday, November 29, 2019: This is Ray's last day in San Antonio before he drives to Florida. Gwen has wanted to see Knives Out so we invited Ray to join us. The theater has seats for only $6 and they are large, powered, recliner chairs and can be reserved. We chose the 1 pm showing which put us out in time for an early dinner. The movie is a murder mystery with a family full of motives for murder. The mystery is kept secret until near the end with lots of surprises in between. There is lots of dialog and no violence and no time of boredom. Ray enjoyed the movie too.

Midina County CourthouseHondo Hardware store

Monday, November 25, 2019: I needed to visit the only hardware store in Hondo, Texas for parts to repair the topper on the living room slide. It was my first time to visit this hardware store. At least a third is devoted to household items. I was looking for a stainless steel screw with an allen head. They didn't have any so I settled for stainless steel with a phillips head. They worked. The Madina County Courthouse was across the street so I took some photos and got a history lesson about Madina County. Click the photos for more views.

San Antonio - REI
Sunday, November 24, 2019: Ray and I had reasons to visit Recreational Equipment, Inc (REI) in San Antonio, Texas, our nearest REI. Ray had some shoes to return. I am more interested in the sale REI has been advertising which ends tomorrow. I have been a member of REI for 56 years. That's before REI had any stores but the first one in Seattle. I've always felt REI has quality equipment but they are also expensive even though a member gets a dividend of 10% of purchases at the end of the year. However, their sales can make a difference. I'm only interested in bicycle tires for desert riding and maybe bib riding shorts. No tires of interest and the bibs are too expensive considering I have two really nice pair back in Oregon. So Ray was successful in returning his shoes while I bought nothing. That's OK. We had a nice cup of coffee at Panera around the corner then a short visit to the bicycle shop next door. Click the photo to see REI interior.
Dinner with friends
Friday, November 22, 2019: This was a special day celebration for Gwen so we went to a movie with friends then out to Mexican food at a favorite restaurant. Our friend Ray is on the left, his daughter Karen and her boyfriend, Renee. Good food and good friends.

D'Hanis historyA little history only a mile away

 

 

Thursday, November 21, 2019: Our friend Ray came to visit today. After visiting, he and I took a short bicycle ride to a couple of cafes in D'Hanis to check them out for a possible lunch location with Gwen. We picked the steak house over the country grocery store cafe. It was a good lunch.

We all took a drive after lunch and found some Texas history about D'Hanis. Click both photos to see the history.

Is this a Texas Longhorn? Shopping for hot sauce Dog treats
Really!? Burn a candle for Chip and JoPart of the Pacific War patioSaturday, November 16, 2019: Gwen and I walked about two miles in downtown Fredricksburg. We are good lookers and shoppers but not good buyers. We did stop at the coffee shop for a treat. This is another town to do some shopping for country and Texas decorations for the home. There is a huge range of products to buy from fine furniture to dog treats. We enjoyed browsing many of the stores then spent about an hour in the War of the Pacific patio reading all the plaques. Click all the photos for more views.
The first booth in Trade Days Over 400 booths Hanging bird baths
Friday, November 15, 2019: We were lucky, the Fredricksburg Trade Days with more than 400 booths is happening for three days beginning today. This turned out to be a combination of hundreds of booths in Quartzsite, Arizona and the more professional booths at Arizona Marketplace in Yuma, Arizona. I walked the entire show this morning. I'm a good looker but poor buyer since I have very little space to store so I took lots of photos but bought nothing. This would be a great place to shop if you wanted to decorate a garden or patio and maybe a family room.
Moving to Fredricksburg, Texas today
Thursday, November 14, 2019: This was a travel day from Georgetown to Fredricksburg, Texas. Several have told us to visit this town for its downtown shopping and German food. We are staying in a full hookup RV park for the first time in several months. We started doing clothes washing as soon as we arrived. It was a wet day so I drove the car downtown to give it a wash, it was a mess. Here is some of what I saw and a historic building made into a gift shop. I also visited the two bike shops in town. I'm not sure why, I don't need anything and didn't buy anything but I do like to shop.

Something for the grandkidsVisiting Costco

Wednesday, November 13, 2019: Another cold day so Gwen and I take a trip to Costco. I decided to try Tofu and asked my daughter for suggestions of what to do with it. She has already supplied me with recipes. I also spotted this 20 shot Nerf gun. It looks like fun for me and my sons not for the grandchildren. Nope, I didn't buy one, it just looks like fun. After Costco we spent the rest of the afternoon with Mary and Mike. We shared treats and gifts. Gwen and Mary exchanged jigsaw puzzles because they both enjoy puzzles and have puzzle collections. Mike and I figured out how to put new wipers onto their car. Tomorrow we are leaving this area and driving further west into Fredericksburg for a few days.

Making hummusWeather this morning, Hummus making behind

Tuesday, November 12, 2019: At 9:37 this morning I took this photo of my weather station. Outside temperature is 28.1° which is 42.0° colder than it was yesterday at this time. Coldest temperature (not shown) was 25.8° and the temperatures tomorrow are forecast to be colder.

This makes it a good day to try my daughter's recipe for hummus for the first time. I learned it is far more expensive to make your own hummus plus it takes a lot of time to assemble the ingredients then blend. The consistency meant I had to stir the hummus back into the blade by stopping the blending many times. It paid off so now I have homemade hummus.

How we spent our rainy Monday
Monday, November 11, 2019: This is a rainy Veteran's Day but before it started raining, I got in a one hour bicycle workout. Then we drove to the laundromat in Georgetown but learned all machines were busy. So we went to the next text, Harbor Freight where I needed a one time use tool to replace a slide top awning on Mz Ruby. Actually, it may not be a "one-time-use" tool. If one topper has failed, the rest will probably fail soon. So after Harbor Freight we went to BJs restaurant. Click the photo for an interior view of the restaurant. I had a turkey burger. After the turkey burger we drove to the nearest laundromat in Leander, about 4 miles from the restaurant. We don't normally need a laundromat since we have our own washer/dryer combination. However, we need to wash bedding and our little washer isn't large enough. Once the bedding was washed and dried, it was a dark drive home.
A traditional, huge bazaar at the First Baptist Church The Baptists weren't kidding, this bazaar is huge Great craft show in the Georgetown Square
Saturday, November 9, 2019: This was our day to spend together going from one bazaar/craft show to another. We started at a show advertised as a "Huge Traditional Bazaar" at the First Baptist Church in Georgetown. This turned out to be a huge campus and the Baptists were right, it was huge and the arts and crafts were special. The show was on multiple levels and the vendors filled all the levels. Nope, we didn't buy anything. We left the Baptists and drove downtown to the Georgetown Square. Another huge crafts show was happening with even more and better items. Also the shops around the square where special too. Our friends Mary and Mike joined us and introduced us to the "Burger University" where I got a PHd which was delicious. It was more than good to spend all afternoon with Mary and Mike, very special people and a lot of fun to be with. Mike is a veteran and was wearing his Navy cap today. Many men stopped to thank him for his service on this Veteran Day weekend.

Midway the movie

Friday, November 8, 2019: Another bad weather day. Gwen stayed home to sew while I went to the new Midway movie. I cheated by refreshing my memory of the history of the Midway battle. I had remembered how poor the planes were and how ineffective or defective the US torpedoes were. I also remembered every torpedo plane arriving at the Japanese fleet was shot down. This movie does an OK job of showing the decision making on both sides. It also does a great job of showing how the intellegence officers made the difference in the outcome of the battle by breaking the Japanese code. The movie also did a good job explaining the importance of the battle and what might have happened had the US Navy not won the battle. We lost a whole lot of our pilots but Japan lost much more. Japan lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Carrier Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft, and suffered 307 casualties. The battle began with Japan entering the battle with four carriers and lost all of them. The US entered with three carriers and lost one. Finally, the movie made it very clear that one pilot with one 500 pound bomb could sink an aircraft carrier. It also made it clear what bravery it took to be the pilot of one of those plane. "We are lucky the US has such poor planes" stated a Japanese officer after the first wave of torpedo bombers was shot down. They were also lucky American manufacturers sold defective torpedos to the Navy. The attacking scenes were very realistic.

One of our favorite restaurantsA look from across Lake George
Thursday, November 7, 2019: This is a rainy day so Gwen and I do rainy day things. We started with a visit to a local Quilt store while I visited a bike shop nearby. They Gwen went to the Goodwill store like she does in almost every city. She found a treasure there. We were hungry so were on our way for more chicken then spotted "Mod Pizza". It is one of our favorite restaurants in Reno, Nevada. This one was just as good. We got enough for both lunch and dinner. After lunch we spent more than an hour in Hobby Lobby. We both found items. Gwen found decorations while I found a shelf unit to mount in front of my bathroom mirror. Then back home to watch Thursday night football.

Chuy's recommended by our tour driver

Wednesday, November 6, 2019: While on our bus tour in Austin the tour bus driver mentioned Chuy's as we drove by.

Gwen and I decided to visit Chuy's the learn about "Tex Mex". The atmosphere was very active and colorful. Click the photo to see what I'm writing about.

Our meals were large. Mine ended up being two meals since I took half home in a box. Gwen did the same. Both had lots of flavor. Everything made Chuy's worth visiting again.

Meeting up with friends

Tuesday, November 5, 2019: Almost exactly a year ago we purchased Mz Ruby from Mary and Mike. They drove Mz Ruby from their home in Georgetown, Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico to save us a day of driving. Since we are visiting Georgetown we connected with them again. They live in Sun City, one of the planned communities and residential areas I have been riding my bike. They took us to breakfast this morning at the restaurant connected to the Sun City golf clubhouse. They wanted to show us the life at Sun City. It is a 55+ community with activities and special interest groups happening every day. Click the photo to see the residents woodshop. For $30/year a resident can become a woodshop member and have the use of some fabulous woodworking equipment. I have some of this equipment in our shed back in Oregon but nothing of this size and quality. We were given a tour of the woodshop. I told Gwen if we lived here I'd spend half my time on my bike and the other half in the woodshop. But of course this is too far from my children in Reno. However, this has planted a seed knowing that their are affordable 55+ communities much closer to Reno. It is obvious that Mary and Mike are enjoying their retired life at Sun City.

Austin, TX Austin Skyline One of the prettiest buildings
University of Texas Texas state capital Another skyline building
Monday, November 4, 2019: Gwen and I take a bus tour of Austin, Texas. The bus did not stop during the tour so all photos are on-the-go. We wanted to get an idea of sites to see before we try going on our own. Click all the photos for enlarged views. We did go to a restaurant mentioned by our driver after the tour. Austin is a very active and beautiful city. I plan to return with my bicycle.
Off to a fall craft fair A very popular craft fair Booths inside and out
Sunday, November 3, 2019: Gwen and I visit the Sun City Hill Country Arts and Crafts show. This is a very popular event only a few miles from our camping location. The show was divided into categories. Woodwork, pottery, fabric, stained glass, jewelry and more categories. We ended up buying one pottery item, a hanging tile. This was impressing with many of the items handmade by the residents of Sun City. It is a very well organized, planned communtity with 7,500 homes with a plan to continue building to 10,000 homes. All in a 55+ age group. Click all photos to enlarge.
Gwen is visiting IKEA for the first time Trying our dining room chairs Puzzles for Gwen at Costco
Friday, November 1, 2019: I took Gwen to IKEA for the first time because I have always enjoyed visiting IKEA with my son Ben and his kids. Gwen is focused on finding a new set of dining chairs and IKEA has about 50 to choose from. It took us two hours to get out of IKEA but Gwen found her chairs. Next we drove to Costco in Pfugleville. Gwen found a whole rack of jigsaw puzzles to choose from. Puzzles are one of her favorites.

Lots of construction around the Austin Visitor Center

 

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019: The weather today was cold and wet. Gwen chose to stay home and warm. I chose to visit the Georgetown Visitor Center first. I was able to get several important brochures and much advice from the host lady.

Next I drove to REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) in Austin to check on bicycling shoes and tires. I was disappointed with both.

I plugged the Austin Visitor Center into my GPS which took me seven miles deeper into Austin and into a very busy construction area. I parked three blocks from the visitor center and walked. I was disappointed because all the Austin Center offered was a map and advice of what others like to see. I asked for a bike trail map and none was available. The host circled the areas on the map where bike routes might exist. Also, this was a very difficult center to get to, another source of disappointment. I did see some of the high rise skyline of Austin. Here is an all glass building. Click the photo for a view of the Austin Center entrance.

I did stop at another bike shop on the drive back to Georgetown. This bike shop shared Ride With GPS which seems very useful for someone like me who is always in a new area. He also shared Strava Heat Map, also very useful to me. It highlights the routes most ridden by cyclists who are using the Strava APP.

 

Dr Pepper Museum Vintage bottle Vintage bottle coin machine
Tuesday, October 29, 2019: This is a travel day from Waco to the Jim Hogg COE Park on the Georgetown Lake near Georgetown, Texas. It was a ninety mile drive in the rain. We are 9 miles from the Georgetown visitor center and 36 miles from the Austin visitor center. Before leaving Waco we visited the Dr. Pepper museum because Waco is where it was invented. It is also a favorite for myself and my two sons. The original marketing was to drink it at 10, 2 and 4 pm to increase alertness and energy at those times of the day. Since it (like all sodas) is mostly sugar water, drinking sugar water at 10, 2 and 4 would likely give you a sugar buzz at those times. The museum is a balance of illustrating the business of drink formulas and drink marketing. The final photo is a coin-op bottle machine. My grandfather had one in his feed store located in Monett, Missouri when I was very young. The bottles were suspending by their necks in cold water inside this machine. You would slide the bottle along the track to the release point, insert the coins and the trap door would release the bottle as you pulled it up and out of the water. I don't remember the fee but it was probably a nickel (about 1950 - 51). I DO remember a pineapple milkshake was 25¢ when I was a paperboy in 1959. Click all photos to enlarge.
Waiting outside Coffee available outside Breakfast menu

On the floor at the entrance My breakfast

Monday, October 28, 2019: We treated ourselves this morning to breakfast at Magnolia Table, the restaurant Chip and Joanna renovated in their HGTV show, "Fixer Upper". You can feel Jo's touch in everything from the chairs on the patio, the covered waiting area outside, the font on the signs, menu and floor tiles, and the food choices in the menu. I also felt Jo's presence in the flavors. Click all the photos for enlarged views. Here is the lunch menu. I also liked some of the unique selections on the menu such as a taste of the four juices. The one negative which I documented in a review, I can't give a "five star rating" if the restaurant does not heat their syrup. However, in this case, I would return to Magnolia Table.

Camper top

Sunday, October 27, 2019: I saw this rooftop camper today at the Waco 70.3 Triathlon.

This type of camper is becoming popular. I see them as half a step up from a tent. In this case, it has a hard top and soft sides. Many of this style have a soft top. You aren't sleeping on the ground and the top may popup in seconds. This unit may have a mattress permanently installed in the base. You can't stand up inside. If you decided to drive anywhere away from the campground the unit must be stowed first.

These units, whether soft or hard top, are expensive and with all the negatives, I don't believe they are worth it.

The dam holding back Waco Lake Preparing for tomorrow's big Ironman Triathlon Waco Riverwalk
Saturday, October 26, 2019: I rode my bicycle into downtown Waco today. I first tried to ride the bike trail but was turned back at the Waco dam by construction. Tomorrow is the Waco Ironman 70.3 so there was a lot of preparation today. Lots of athletes in town walking their expensive bikes around, I fit right in. The downtown area around the historic suspension bridge was very busy. I enjoyed watching these fit athletes and admiring their trim bodies. The tri-athletes must swim in the Brazos River. I'm looking at the river and the color reminds me of the color of my "black water" when I dump the tank. It is a good thing these tri-athletes aren't RVers or they might find it difficult to dive into the Brazos. While riding I passed some nice Waco homes. Waco must like brick. Here is one, two and three. Click all the photos above for larger views.
Our first place to visit, Magnolia Market How to develop a brand name! The brand is everywhere
Time for a cupcake from a Joanna recipe. This one is "Nuts and Bolts" A small selection of choices Check out the Silo Bakery Menu
Friday, October 25, 2019: Our first day in Waco found us exploring the Magnolia Market at the Silos created by Chip and Joanna Gaines. We have been fans of "Fixer Upper" on HGTV for several years and had already decided if we were ever in Texas we would have to visit Waco just because of Chip and Joanna. This was a windy cold day but fortunately the rain stopped this morning. The "market portion" was a building full of unique decorator items plus T-shirts and hats. I bought nothing, Gwen bought a mug. Next we visited the Silos Bakery because we had to get one of Joanna's cupcakes. The line was around the corner of the building but because of their ordering system, it went very quickly and there was plenty of space in their outdoor table area. We weren't disappointed in anything we saw. I especially like this great example of "how to build a brand name". Click all the photos for more views. Everyone was taking their photo at this location so we did too.
Two hours in Fort Worth traffic.
Thursday, October 24, 2019: This is a travel day from Sulphur, Oklahoma to Waco, Texas. This was a drive of a bit more than 200 miles but we spent two hours in bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic around Fort Worth. We are headed to the Airport COE Park which was recommended by several on the Winnebago forum. We drove through wind, rain and lighting the whole drive. I figure is hasn't rained here in months but the day we need to drive, it pours rain. Click the photo for our camping location.
Touring the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center Bronze Hunters Catfish and turtles in the cultural pond
Wednesday, October 23, 2019: Gwen and I toured the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center today. We learned much we did not learn in history class. The Chickasaw Nation is self governed. The current governor was elected in 1987 so he must be very good. The cultural center is as much for the Chickasaw native to teach the history of the tribe. We have learned more than we ever knew about the Chickasaw tribe but a member of the tribe would likely visit often and learn much more. We enjoyed traditional Chickasaw food for lunch. The Chickasaw defeated the Spanish then the French. They kept treaties with the British but were forced from their traditional homeland by the United States. They educated themselves and learned to use US laws to create their own nation. Click the photos for enlarged views. I also made a short video of the "Stomp Dance".

Found an Armadillo In Sulphur, OK

 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019: I took myself for another tour of Sulphur, Oklahoma mainly to use the libraries Internet access to post this webpage. Nice library with very quick Internet speeds. After the library I took a walk through downtown Sulphur and discovered some nice walkways and one high class tourist shop. The tourist shop really thinks a lot of their T-shirts, $28.50. The Artisan Hotel is across the street, maybe that's the reason for the high prices. While exploring I found a live Armadillo. I took a short video of what I saw. There are no Armadillos in Oregon so this is our first time to see one in the wild. It was bashful but didn't seem too disturbed at me approaching to take a video.

Click all the photos for more views.

 
Artisan Hotel in downtown Sulphur, OklahomaArbuckle Lake
Monday, October 21, 2019: I took a bicycle ride around The Point and into the town of Sulphur, Oklahoma. Click the Arbuckle Lake photo for a panorama view of the lake on this relatively calm wind day. The town of Sulphur was small but surprised me with this huge, multi-story hotel, the Artisan (click the Artisan for a wider view). There were also several shops which looked interesting so I plan to get Gwen to join me for a walking tour of the town.
Our camping location on Arbuckle Lake
Sunday, October 20, 2019: This was a travel day from Coweta to Chicksaw National Recreation Area Oklahoma. On the way we discovered the Catfish Round-Up Cafe, click to see the giant catfish over the register. Two young women were circulating in the room. One had Apple Fritters to deliver, the other had fresh dinner rolls direct from the oven. The meal I ordered was the pot roast special including two kinds of potatoes, carrots and dessert for $8.49. These folks will suffer "sticker shock" when the visit the west coast. We rolled into our reserved space 41 at The Point Campground but didn't like it. There were plenty of "first come first served" spaces available so we chose space 21 with a filtered view of the lake. The space came with a water connection and 50 amp electric service for $11/night with our "Senior Access" pass.

Coweta and Broken Arrow

Saturday, October 19, 2019: Larry and Carol took us for a tour of the area. Both Coweta and Broken Arrow certain look healthier than Greenfield, Missouri I toured a couple days ago. After the tour of the downtown areas Larry and Carol took us to one of their favorite restaurants. Carol recommended the "mini omlet" which she and I ordered. Very good, I'd order it again.

After returning home, Larry helped me install a heavy duty roller at the base of the hitch. This helps protect the hitch if it gets too close to the ground.

We will be leaving Coweta tomorrow for the Chicksaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma.

Coweta, Oklahoma
Friday, October 18, 2019: A travel day from Ruark Bluff to Coweta, Oklahoma where I have a second cousin with a horse ranch. That means she has enough room for us to park and a 50 amp trailer hookup, a perfect place to spend a couple of nights. We are able to spend some time with them where they have showed us Coweta and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. We have also been able to do the laundry. Larry and Carol have three dogs this weekend (dog sitting two) and two horses so we are getting our animal fix.
The view from our campground
Wednesday, October 16, 2019: This was a day of travel from Columbia Freightliner to Ruark Bluff East Side Campground on Stockton Lake. This is a Corp of Engineers park near Greenfield, Missouri. We arrived to learn the campground was in the "shoulder" season. That's a good thing because the sites are only $5/night with a Senior Access Pass. Also, lake front sites are plentiful and vacant. The bad thing, all the water is turned off and we arrived with only 18 gallons in our freshwater tank. We will be here two days and we know how to conserve water. The temperature tomorrow is forecast to be in the 70s. Click the photo to see a rural Missouri road to the campground.

Parking lot at Columbia Freightliner

Tuesday, October 15, 2019: This was a driving day from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Columbia, Missouri to retrieve our repaired Mz Ruby. The 347 mile drive took us all day. We arrived at 4 pm to pay the bill and get ready to roll tomorrow morning. The leaking freeze plug and a rusted freeze plug have been replaced. That was the major expense. I also had Freightliner replace the water pump, belt, and several filters since they had most removed to fix the freeze plug. The mechanic has test driven Mz Ruby twice and checked everything which he reported "good". Click the photo for a view of Columbia Freightliner.

Airbus

Monday, October 14, 2019: This was a flight day from Reno, Nevada to Tulsa, Oklahoma. We flew via United Airlines Airbus 319 and 320. The flight from Reno to Denver was less than half full. The flight from Denver to Tulsa was nearly full. United had a new-to-us feature where a passenger can choose between many movies or TV shows for personal viewing. However, the viewing must be on your own phone or tablet and you must have earphones to listen. Something like this makes the flight go fast. We had super economy seats we purchased months ago with lots of limitations on luggage but we still got free drinks and snacks with the flight.

 
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