Happy New Year! Wishing you all a happy, healthy, cheese-filled 2018! We rang in the New Year in Livingston at home with our friends Ewan/Lisa, whom we met at Amazon in 2016. They are plant-based eaters, so Mom was so happy that they liked the vegan/vegetarian foods she prepared. Lisa shared some great tips for dairy/oil substitutions in baking, which Mom was thrilled to hear. In 2018 she can try to adapt some of her tried and true Christmas cookie recipes!
Dad is doing well with his transition to plant-based foods (although Mom is having a tougher time giving up her carnivore ways). In just 7 weeks, he reduced his cholesterol level from 232 to 99, with LDL at only 39. And he lost 30+ pounds (Mom lost 17 pounds, but 10 of those were ones she gained since 2016!) Me, I faithfully retain my physique as a rotund Rambling RV Rat!
These last two weeks brought chilly, dreary, wintery weather to most folks in the U.S., including those of us in East Texas. We are no longer accustomed to waking up to 19 degree temperatures. So we were glad we were nearing our departure day and warmer temperatures of Arizona. Fortunately, we didn’t catch any precipitation along our route, although the trees and bushes along I-10 near Kent, Texas were dressed in a light coat of snow that fell the evening before! We hit the road early each day, so we witnessed some beautiful sunrises.
The tree limbs and bushes near Kent, Texas, were covered with a light dusting of snow
Our travel plans brought us to Congress, Arizona, which gave us an opportunity to visit briefly with friends and fellow Amazonians Deb/Randy. They have a beautiful property within the North Ranch RV Park, which they adorn lovingly with garden art, cacti and other flora, and unusual fountains and statues, offering a heartwarming welcome to all who visit.
We arrived on Thursday at La Posa South, our retreat for the last four winter seasons, nestled within the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. We will enjoy four glorious months of socialization, relaxation, and recreation. Sadly, our usual “spot”, where I left my self-portrait rock formation as a marker, was not available when we arrived (ironically, the next day the spot was vacated!). So we sought out a new location at the outer limits of the camping area. While Dad and Mom unloaded the off road vehicle, motorcycles, and bicycles, I got busy building a new fire pit and creating some rock art to mark our new territory. What do you think of our latest location for “home sweet home”?
My new "self portrait rock art"--do you see the likeness? "RRR" stands for Rambling RV Rat, of course!
Front yard view at sunset
Back yard side view at sunrise
We have resumed our daily hikes, clocking 6+ miles, and watching the hummingbirds that call the desert home. Best of all, no dogs attacking us here in the desert like they did in Texas!
Quartzsite, a major destination for snowbirds, is synonymous with annual convergences of friends, daily social hours, and musical events. It is the place to enjoy off-roading trail adventures, hiking, and geocaching. Just a few days into our stay, and we have already enjoyed a happy hour catching up with Dale/Ruth and Steve/Dianne, and of course, my feisty, favorite feline friend, Tazzy.
Steve and Dianne are a wealth of knowledge about Quartzsite trails, geocaches, and boondocking areas, and have shared their expertise with us through the years. So it seemed apropos that they led us with their quads on our inaugural trek in our new side by side off-road vehicle, which I have nicknamed “Rat Patrol”.
We visited the stone cabins of several pioneers and prospectors, mortars used by native civilizations, and the gold mine of Lehre Harold Erdman, who mined his Gold Eye site for 63 years. The site is now owned and operated by Steve Hunt, and one of his miners was actually doing some prospecting while we were there! I noticed there were lots of rods and antennas installed at the top of the mountain behind the mine. It is said that Mr. Erdman was fascinated with UFOs and that he installed these items to communicate with the likes of ET and My Favorite Martian! We had a ton of fun, and are grateful to Steve and Dianne for giving us a mini tour, and to Rat Patrol, for handling the terrain fairly well for the first time out and about. We stopped at the local “adult day care center”, AKA Beer Belly Bar, to share a celebratory drink, then parted ways. We went into town to shop for some helmets, then took a “very scenic” route back to camp, arriving home nearly 2 hours later! Fortunately, Mom had purchased a map of all the BLM trails, otherwise we might still be out there trekking across the desert!
Gold Eye Mine
Erdman Cabin at the Mine Site
The Parade of Potty Planters at the Mine
"Rat Patrol" with Steve/Dianne's Quads
Rambling RV Rat in the "Time Out" Chair at Beer Belly Bar
Dianne, Dad, and Steve
We are excited to once again be representing the Escapees RV Club at the Big Tent Show from January 20-28, 2018. We will also be attending the Xscapers Convergence. Stop by to see me at these Quartzsite events-I’ll be there giving out official SKP hugs!
Did I tell you that my parents have lined up a work-camping gig for Summer 2018? We usually decide what state we wish to visit next and then Mom reviews prospective seasonal jobs in that state. There are many free on-line sources for finding work-camping gigs (cooljobs.com, coolworks.com, workersonwheels.com; workampingjobs.com), but my folks have found all their seasonal jobs through our paid subscription to Workamper®News (workamper.com). Mom peruses the daily e-mail alerts as well as reads the on-line magazine, then compiles a list of interesting jobs for possible future employment. For 2018, we want to visit Wyoming. Mom sent out just two sets of resumes, which resulted in job offers from both employers-fortunately. You see, the first employer to provide an offer letter, which we accepted, ended up rescinding the offer when he realized the size of our setup (42+ feet). Unfortunately, he can only fit rigs under 38 feet, which precludes quite a few of us in the full-time RV lifestyle. Mom was perturbed to say the least—that size restriction should have been included in the original ad! Thankfully, Mom had insisted we accept the interview with the second employer, even though it occurred after we were already contracted with the first employer, and that second employer offered positions as well. So long story short, my family will be working in the retail operation of the Grand Teton Association (GTA). Similar to the Grand Canyon Association (GCA) where we worked in Summer 2017, GTA is the nonprofit fundraising partner to its namesake National Park. We are so very excited to join in the efforts to preserve and protect Grand Teton National Park!