Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

To those of you who celebrate, Happy Easter!


I’ve been very busy all week with Easter preparations--helping with food shopping, assisting Mom with baking dessert for our guests this weekend, and THE most important task:  coloring and decorating Easter eggs!


RV Dreamers and fellow line dancing students, Gerry and Linda, along with Claudia and Mike joined us for a Good Friday fish dinner:  Grilled shrimp, sautéed mussels, and grilled crappy which was courtesy of our favorite fisherman, Red.  Glad we had an opportunity to get together with Gerry and Linda before they leave next week.


Today Claudia and Mike joined us for a pork roast dinner.   I joined Mommy for an after-dinner hike to burn off all the calories we ate.  We continue to marvel at how colorful the desert actually is!  Then, keeping our Easter tradition, we watched ‘King of Kings’ and ‘The Ten Commandments.’  We were blessed with God’s magnificent paint strokes all this weekend—three beautiful sunsets.



Quartzsite has slowly become a ghost town.  Most of the vendors are gone, the QIA and Corner Laundromat have shuttered their doors for the season, and caravans of RVs seem to leave every day.  The weather remains warm and dry with excessive heavy winds.  In fact, the gusts are so bad, our wind turbine was knocked down twice this season!  What a difference from last year, when the winds were so minimal, the turbine barely turned.


Earlier this week, Claudia, Mike, and my family went to Squaw Lake in Yuma for a “day at the beach”.  Unfortunately, the winds were horrific!  We only ventured out with the canoe for about an hour for fear we would end up on Gilligan’s Island!  But we had such fun swimming, canoeing, and sharing our picnic lunch with the ducks!  We saw our burro friends on the way home, making it the perfect day!


Mike and his water fowl friend

The palms swayed from the velocity of the wind


Well, that’s the highlights of my week.  Hope you had a good one, too.  Will speak to you again soon!


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Making New Friends - With And Without Clothing!

One thing we love about this lifestyle—we meet the greatest folks!  Never would have bonded with our traveling buddies Mike and Claudia in our “other lives”, nor any of the RV Dreamers group. 

We invited new friends and fellow RV Dreamers, Kelly and Bill (former Jerseyites like us!) and Bert for dinner last week, along with Claudia and Mike.  Turns out all of us are Amazonians as well!  So lots in common and plenty of conversation topics.

Kelly and Bill hosted a delectable Chowder Night, and we were introduced to yet another RV Dreams couple, Eileen and Gene.
We all got together at the Nelly E Saloon, a solar-powered bar in the middle of the Buckskin Mountains.  This is  a “must see” in the Southern Arizona desert (See my blog of January 23, 2015 for more on the Nelly Bar).

So our circle of friends and acquaintances keeps growing!  Good food, fun, and camaraderie—the perfect mix!
The camaraderie is not just among fellow RVers either.  We have met lots of folks who live in Quartzsite and neighboring desert towns year round.  They are all very welcoming to the desert “invasion” by snowbirds, and actually enjoy the transition of their towns during the winter months.
For instance, we recently attended March Madness, an all-day line dancing soiree with folks from as far away as Sun City, AZ.  Organized by our dance instructor, Bernine and her assistant, Maggie, my parents and I put on our boogie shoes and showcased our talents (or should I say our lack thereof).
These ladies are the best!  Excellent dancers and terrific teachers, they exhibit unlimited kindness and patience matching that of Mother Theresa!  It was a fun-filled boot scooting boogie day!

Yours truly in my cowboy gear, kicking it up!


We also attended the Annual Garden Party at Celia’s Rainbow Garden, a loving tribute by Paul and JoAnne Winer, with the support of the entire Quartzsite community (both full timers and seasonal) in memory of their daughter Celia.  (You can see my blog of January 27, 2015 for more about this desert memorial garden).  We chatted with the cashier from the General Store, the waitress from a local eatery, and other folks who make Quartzsite their home 12 months a year.
Paul is quite a character!  Quirky, yet quite spiritual, we were impressed with his talents as musician, songwriter, and storyteller.

Paul Winer (on piano), specializing in boogie woogie blues

He is also well known in Quartzsite as the bare-bottomed Oasis Book Store owner.  Yep, he is a certified nudist.  He does, however, don a floral ding-dong holder while working at the store.   

Rambling RV Rat and Paul Winer with matching banana sacks, and Dad wearing way too many layers of clothing!

And more exciting news:  We saw a diamond back rattle snake!   We were taking a different trail than usual and were apprised by a fellow hiker that he saw a snake up ahead!  So we ventured further than our typical 4 mile trek just to catch a glimpse!  I felt like Sherlock Holmes—I was on a mission to locate this snake.  Eureka!  There is was!  It was a juvenile, only about a 1/2 foot long at most, which we are told are more venomous than adults!  But alas, it was not among the living—apparent death by a hit and run all-terrain vehicle.  Everywhere this snake could be where there are no humans, and he decides to slink along the trail when an ATV passes!
That reminds me:  time for me to slink to the refrigerator and get my favorite bedtime snack:  cheese and crackers!
Talk to you soon!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Visit to Wickenburg, AZ

We awakened early to a pretty sunrise and the anticipation of another day trip. 

First, we headed to Congress, Arizona, to explore Escapees North Ranch RV Park.  What a lovely facility!  Like Escapees KOFA co-op, the park has pretty little desert gardens, an activity center, a clubhouse, and tons of friendly folks.


We also met up with our friends from Crazy Horse, Tammy and Marty, for a day of sightseeing in Wickenburg with Claudia and Mike.  We did a walking tour, taking pics of the lifelike John Seward Johnson statues.

Our Group Pic With "The Teacher"


"The Miner" Statue


"The Jail Tree"


We visited the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, with beautiful paintings and sculptures depicting life, culture, and heritage of the Southwest.  (see my blog of Wednesday, February 4, 2015, for more about Wickenburg).


We strolled along the trails at the Nature Conservancy’s Hassayampa River Preserve, filled with cottonwood trees, natural grasses, and other desert flora.  Caught a glimpse of some mallards wading in a pond, along with a colorful vermillion flycatcher (I’m getting to be quite an ornithologist!)


No get together would be complete without some great food, so we headed to Nichols West upon the recommendation of the receptionist at the Preserve.  This is a small hole in the wall type of place that you could drive by without ever seeing.  But it is a gem.  Quite a varied menu, from ramen noodle bowl dishes, to burgers, steaks, and chops.  And a ton of seafood options, which I thought weird for being in the middle of the desert.  We all ordered something different, and for the most part (Tammy’s chicken saltimbocca came with a ton of onions, which she can’t eat), all thoroughly enjoyed our entrees.


We were blessed with seeing a fantastic sunset—the perfect end to another wonderful day.






Thursday, March 3, 2016

Joshua Tree National Park

Another road trip with Claudia and Mike.  Destination:  Joshua Tree National Park.   The park lies within two distinct desert lands, the Colorado Desert (which is part of the larger Sonoran Desert) and the Mojave Desert, whose ecological systems are entirely different.


We started our visit by hiking at Cottonwood Spring, originally inhabited by Cahuilla Indians, who lived off the vegetation of these lands.  You can still see remnants of their pottery and holes in rocks where they ground/pulverized mesquite beans (part of the pea family) into flour.  The fan palm trees are enormous here, with trunks more than three feet in diameter!  And the yuccas are all in various stages of bloom.

Fan Palm Trees

A yucca in bloom

This yucca hasn't opened up yet


Look, up on that rock—it’s a chuckwalla sunbathing!  That’s one huge lizard!  His patches of copper and sand coloring make him blend in so well with the rock formations.

This is "Actual Size"!  No Zoom Lens Here!


The desert floor is carpeted with wildflowers!  Yellow brittlebush, white dune primrose, and a pretty purple flower whose name I do not know all dot the landscape.



On to the Cholla Cactus Garden.  Why do they call a species of cholla Jumping Teddy Bears?  Trust me, there is nothing cuddly about them with their prickly needles!

As we traverse further down the road, the rock formations, terrain, and plant life change—evidence we entered the portion of the park that lies within the Mojave Desert.  Here’s where the actual Joshua trees live! 



And check out this funky “skull” rock!

While the four “geezers” take a lunch break, I hike and play among the boulders whose visual characteristics lend to the name "Split Rock."

Rambling RV Rat at Split Rock


Lots of "splits" in these rocks

We hike some more after lunch, taking in Barker Dam, built circa 1900 to hold water for cattle and mining use, and Hidden Valley, a legendary cattle rustlers’ hideout.  Here folks are rock climbing.  I want to join them, but my Mom put the kibosh on my adventurous plan.  Instead I watch a couple of romantic lizards giving me a lesson on “the birds and bees”.


Barker Dam


Barker Dam


Hidden View


Hidden View


Romance Among Lizards

From Keys View, at an elevation of 5,185 feet, we could see Desert Palms, Palm Springs, even the San Andreas Fault.

Keys View


There is so much more to see here at Joshua Tree National Park.  Although we saw signs of wildlife, including poop, footprints, and holes, we didn’t get any photo ops.  And I still haven’t seen a desert tortoise!   But alas, dusk is upon us and the park will be closing.  Time to return to Quartzsite. It sure was a fun day! 

I’ll sign off now—I find myself nodding off in the back seat of Mike’s car.  Talk to you soon!