Monday, January 31, 2011

Gonna Get Cold

Had what was probably our last outdoor happy hour for a few days here at our rig tonight—the wind that blew all day is blowing cold weather our way—down in the twenties at night!!!  Sure am glad we have our little Pro-Com propane blue flame heater! 

I love snack type food and tonight the offerings were great!  Jim and Ellie brought cheese and crackers, Deb and Rod brought this amazing salmon dip made from salmon they caught while in Alaska last summer, Mike and Pat brought deviled eggs (one of my Mike’s favorite things), John and Brenda brought a Mexican type dip as did Rollie and Gina.  Dave came over from his side of the mountain and brought these jalapenos stuffed with cheese and chicken wrapped in bacon.  Sylvia and Glen arrived late after their sightseeing trip to Lake Havasu and brought chips and cheese dip.  Michael and I provided the buttermilk margaritas, little smoky sausages sautéed in barbeque sauce, beer and brown sugar, and cream cheese covered with jalapeno jelly made by my sister Ann and her husband Danny.  We certainly won’t need any dinner!!! 

Our walk this morning was windy but good—we did about 5-6 miles all the way around the mountains.  IMG_5701 Little Emmi hitching a ride with Dad and Emmi and me sitting on one of the dry waterfalls. 

IMG_5702 It was another great day in the desert, John and Brenda are leaving tomorrow for about a week—heading over to the Phoenix area to visit friends.  I think Glen and Sylvia are heading out soon and the rest of us are going to batten down the hatches and stay warm!

So far, so good—my new Straight Talk phone from Wal Mart is working very well!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday In The Desert

That wind which Al from the Bayfield Bunch talks about hit us today and took away our warm temps!  There is something to be said for no slides—no slide awnings to flap in the wind!

Michael and Rollie spent a couple hours talking solar today, we are ready to get started building our system we think—I’m excited for sure! I made Gina’s taco soup for lunch and while Rollie wouldn’t have any soup, he did eat some homemade bread and cornbread.

I managed to get in some sewing while Rollie and Michael made a water run—didn’t want Miss Gina to run out of water!!  Gina, Jim and Ellie, Deb and Rod made a trip to Quartzsite today—last day of the RV show. 

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Sunrise over our little piece of paradise this morning.

Some photos from last night’s happy hour:

IMG_5689 Brenda loving on Zoey

IMG_5690 Dave, Emmi’s baby sitter, Mike and Emmi

IMG_5692 Brenda and John

IMG_5695 Jim and Ellie, the birthday girl.

The wind has died down finally—we are supposed to have some cooler temps but at least it won’t be 5 degrees as it is in Montana tonight!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Swansea Townsite

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A Jeeping trip was in order this morning, stopping first at Gina and Rollie’s to drop off my new cell phone so Rollie could charge it using some of that wonderful solar power he has!!  Last night I took them my new rechargeable toothbrush for the same reason!  Some people, right!!!

Michael picked the spot today, we headed to the old mining ghost town of Swansea.  Once a flourishing copper mining development—prospectors began working the mine site in 1862 and the last milling was reported in 1944.  One of the developers of the mine, George Mitchell, did not have a sterling reputation and the mine went into bankruptcy in 1911 before being rescued by another manager in 1915. 

Company housing dwellings where the miners lived are being restored by volunteers and several other ruins are visible on the site.  The surrounding scenery is breathtaking!  The road to Swansea is a little on the rough side but not too bad, you could do it in a passenger car if you took it slowly.

IMG_5671 IMG_5679 IMG_5681

This natural arch was visible right by the road before we dropped  down into Swansea. 

IMG_5683 Ruins of the early company housing.

IMG_5685 Michael coming out of a mining shaft that I declined to enter!

IMG_5687 We crossed this canal—look at all that water heading from the Colorado River to Tucson!

We had a great Jeep trip today—so much fun, we took a picnic and Emmi along.

Tonight we are celebrating Ellie’s birthday with Gina and Rollie’s homemade gumbo!  YUM!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Arizona Paradise

Perfect weather, good friends, lots of walking space—what more could you ask for? 

We woke to a cool 38 degrees and the internet Weather Underground said the temp in Bouse was 29 degrees—it was just a little chilly!  But the day quickly warmed and turned perfect, just above 70 degrees and no wind.  We even got a little hot on our walk this morning as we were later than usual getting started.

It’s hard to get home when you get back from a walk, our rig is parked down past all the others, everyone is sitting outside enjoying the sun and of course we have to stop and visit.  

Fixed lunch when we got home, showered and gathered up the ladies that were here, Ellie, Gina, and Pat.  John, Brenda, Deb and Rod had braved the Quartzsite crowd today.  Glen and Sylvia were gone, too.  The rest of us headed to Parker for a Wal Mart run and to hopefully pick up the stuff I ordered from the feed and tack store—nope, Michael’s horse liniment didn’t come via UPS today, maybe Monday. 

I think the entire state of Arizona was in the Parker Wal Mart.  Every check out counter was staffed and the place was a zoo! 

We are taking a big step—dumping Verizon!  We’ve been Verizon customers for years and years—it’s the only reliable phone service in Montana.  While Rollie and Gina were visiting this summer we talked about his Straight Talk phone program and his Millenicom internet service both of which worked well while he was in Montana.  Straight Talk offers unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited web for $45/month with no contract using a phone you purchase at Wal Mart.  I currently pay Verizon $90/month for 700 minutes!!!  No text and no web browsing.  I do have Michael’s Dad’s phone included on that $90/month, too. 

Our Verizon air card is $60 a month with the infamous 5GB limit.  Millenicom offers 20GB for $60/month with no contract.  Unlimited internet usage is $70 per month with Millenicom.

So, what do we have to lose, if it doesn’t work, there are no contracts to break and we can go back to Verizon.  I called Verizon today to offer them a chance to keep me as a customer and they offered me a whopping $10 off per month!  I’m excited—while I would love to have an IPhone, I just can’t justify that expense, but I have a new phone with a keypad and perhaps I can learn to text a little faster, you think???  Never have understood this texting thing—why not just pick up the phone and call???

Michael, Emmi and I are just relaxing here in our rig, watching the sun go down on another great day.IMG_5670

That spire in the mountain range is over by the dam on the Colorado River north of Parker about 35 miles from here—it was such a clear day today.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Moving Day

When I got up this morning I was full of energy and decided we were going to hike up the big hill again—after coffee, blog reading and breakfast, off we went.  Emmi always has to stop and say hello to Brenda before we can really get started and this morning was no exception.

As we were hiking up we noticed this fella high on the mountain ahead of us--IMG_5637

We finally got ourselves up the hill, huffing and puffing!  The views from up there are incredible—you can see forever and right down on all our rigs--numbered rigs

1.  Glen and Sylvia  2.  Deb and Rod  3.  John and Brenda  4. Jim and Ellie  5. Us until later in the day  6.  Mike and Pat  7.  Rollie and Gina

About lunch time we got a wild hair and decided to move—just getting too crowded around here :))).  We just moved a little ways down the desert from the rest of the gang right back into our spot we were in last year.  Feels as if we just came home—we love being out here in the desert and the peace it gives us.  

When we cranked up the motorhome, I thought to look at our propane gauge and we were empty, so off to Bouse for propane then we moved.

Happy hour was hosted by Jim and Ellie and we all brought light snacks of some sort—we spent a little over a hour visiting and laughing.  Gina took lots and lots of photos especially of our two good looking cowboys today, John and Michael. 

All in all, another great day in the sunshine spent with good friends.IMG_5639 John had spotted this guy while up on the mountain and pointed him out to us.

IMG_5646 He’s trying to mimic the desert bighorn sheep by climbing higher and higher, Emmi and I stayed below and took photos.

IMG_5651 Most of the lizards in the desert are really, really fast little critters, skittering across your path, startling you before disappearing down a hole.  This little guy must have wanted his photo taken.

Jim and Ellie’s Jasmine loves to play with Emmi, I got some great shots today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Group Is Growing

Jeez, I go off to Parker for a few hours and come back to find our neighborhood has enlarged!  Gina & Rollie, Mike & Pat and Glenn & Sylvia arrived today about mid afternoon.  We are all spread out in the desert almost to the point that if you want to go visiting, you need to drive!

John and Brenda hosted dinner for the travelers today—all the folks with prior arrivals contributed something and we had another delicious meal of hotdogs and sausages, delicious potato salad, chili and salad.  For dessert we had good old s’mores over the campfire. 

It was so good to see Gina and Rollie again and we finally got to meet Mike and Pat.  I’ll take some photos of the special gifts Gina and Rollie brought all of us tomorrow.

Got my hair cut today, bought groceries, filled up the Jeep with high dollar gas and did the laundry—I was just busy over in Parker.  I think the whole town of Parker was in Wal Mart today!

Some of the gang John, Rod, Glenn, Sylvia and Deb

Telling stories That must have been some kind of tale Mike was telling!  My photos aren’t the greatest tonight, I was too busy visiting but Rollie will have some special ones for you on his blog, I am sure!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

They Are Finally Here

John says tonight at dinner, “the pioneers came across Texas faster than you guys did!”  We all thought Jim & Ellie and Rob & Deb would never get here but finally a little after 3pm here they came--Here comes Jim and Ellie Jim, blazing the way for RodMeg welcoming them with Meg as the welcoming party.

They Are Finally Here They are finally here and we don’t know who that strange cowboy is in the shorts and sandals! 

Deb and Ellie drove around and picked the perfect spot for each rig then Jim got to work washing those new solar panels.  Jasmine and Mr. BoJangles were not real sure about this business of being off leash but Emmi quickly educated the other two.

Meachum's Once everyone was settled we all gathered at Brenda and John’s for dinner.  Brenda provided these cheesy potatoes that tasted like heaven and when she told me the ingredients there was a reason the potatoes were so good—a whole carton of heavy cream, parmesan cheese, etc—oh, my!  I tried out a new recipe on everyone and we all decided it was a keeper—Caribbean Chicken Kebabs with Lime-Cayenne Butter.  It was one of the recipes in my friend Shirley’s copy of Costal Living that I guess Shirley didn’t want, cause she didn’t rip it out before she gave me the magazine, :)!!  And Brenda made peanut butter pie, too.

It was a wonderful evening with friends, the best!

Sunrise in January

January morning sunrise.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Miscellaneous Day

After our usual walk I got out the sewing machine for the first time on this trip.  I wanted to make a good start on a project I am making for a gift and I did just that.  Just after lunch Michael took his painting supplies and headed out in the Jeep to find a spot out of the wind to paint.

Yesterday I made a beef stew and cornbread, today I made the caesar salad dressing—John and Brenda came for dinner after their trip to Parker today. 

Emmi has these little spots on her back that won’t heal—I’ve been cleansing the area with peroxide and today Michael said, “you are turning our black dog into a blond.”  Well, the thought never occurred to me that the peroxide coupled with the sun would bleach her hair—it isn’t blond by any stretch of the imagination but it sure is lighter than the rest of her!  She is just in style I guess!

Hole in the wall   On our walk through one of the dry washes we have found these openings in the rock cliffs—someone has gone to a lot of trouble to pile rock walls along these openings--Rocks piled These rocks at the base of this photograph are stacked very precisely—a lot of work for what??? 

Strange place for a saguaro We noticed this saguaro growing in an opening high on a cliff wall yesterday.Strange place for a saguaro2

Tomorrow Jim & Ellie and Rod & Deb arrive!!  Yippee!  Gina and Rollie are at North Ranch and will be here with Mike and Pat on Wednesday—our group is growing!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jeeping

Up the hill Up the hill we go and down the hill we wentDown the hill We wanted to hike farther into the canyon we discovered yesterday and decided to take the Jeep as far as we could drive.   Getting into the canyon was a little hard on my nerves as the path in was very steep and side hilled.  Once in the bottom of the wash we just Jeeped alongJeeping until we came to a spot that even a four wheeler couldn’t have managed.  We got out and began to hike.  High above us the hillsides were just covered in cholla cactus—these cholla were of the jumping kind and balls of sticker covered cactus had rolled down off the hillside into the wash.  Emmi got sticker after sticker in her paws and fur—then we also began to get the stickers up through the soles of our shoes—time to turn around!!  YIKES, or rather OUCH! 

We started back home and Michael decided to take the scenic route—we ended up about 5 miles northwest of Bouse—those desert washes wind around forever!

When we got home I stopped and borrowed Brenda’s Kitchen Aid mixer—I wanted to make some bread.  Got all the ingredients measured into the mixing bowl, attached the dough hook, started the generator and plugged the mixer into the outlet.  SCREAM!!!  In the moving process I must have inadvertently moved the power switch forward from off to FAST!!  I then had bread dough, flour and water ALL over my motorhome.  Big globs of bread dough stuck to the bottom of the cabinet, big globs of bread dough on the floor.  Should have bought a loaf of bread!

Cooked bacon out on the grill this afternoon while I was cleaning the kitchen and started a beef stew. 

It has been a windy, windy day and not very warm.  We are anxiously awaiting our friends—Jim & Ellie, Rod & Deb and Gina and Rollie

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Busy Day In Paradise

Couldn’t sleep this morning so I was the one up early for a change.  But it still seemed as if we got a late start for our walk—all the photographs I took today had a washed out look—too much sun.

We took the Jeep up into the hills behind us then walked about 2 miles in a dry wash bed up into this canyon.  Which meant of course that we had to walk back down that wash to the Jeep—I was pooped when we got back to the Jeep!Bird We rarely see big birds around here but Michael spotted this one high in a tree on top of a steep cliff.  Judy can you help us out here—what is he?

The dry wash had some really steep walls at times and many of the walls and rocks had large veins of quartzQuartz

The phone was ringing when we walked in the door of the motorhome, Brian and Heidi were in Bouse.  We gave directions for finding our rig and soon we were chatting away even though we have never met, only read each other’s blogs.  Mike and I hadn’t eaten so I threw a few more sausages on the grill and added to the salad.  Heidi brought these awesome brownies, the chocolate had swirls of caramel—delicious! 

And tonight we had a special treat—Brenda made dinner and oh my, it was the best.  We had steaks, shrimp, corn on the cob, salad and pecan sticky buns for dessert.  Brenda can cook—she makes it all look so easy—thanks John and Brenda for another wonderful evening in the desert.

It really sounds like all we do is eat around here doesn’t it???  Sue and Doug asked in a comment this week if this was a secret place we were staying—yes, the Quartzsite area is a very busy boondocking spot, the Quartzsite Chamber of Commerce website states there is in excess of one and a half million visitors here per year—that translates into a whole lot of RV’s boondocking in the desert!!!!  Our spot’s location isn’t considered Quartzsite, just nearby--it is very private and we would like to keep it that way.

Wil asked this week if we could identify the white structure in the foreground of one of the photographs--View from on top hill3

The white structure is an old TV translator structure providing TV signal for Bouse before the days of satellite dishes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Quartzsite And Water In The Desert

John wanted to go find some LED lights today and of course we tagged along.  Found the light store and no, the prices haven’t come down from last year’s outrageous ones!  $20 for a tiny little light bulb to go in our overhead fixtures over the couch!  But, the people in this store are awesome—“take it home, try it and if it works, come back and pay, if it doesn’t work bring it back.”  Amazing!

We wandered a little among all the junk in the vendor tents and the only thing we found we couldn’t live without other than a couple little parts Mike and John needed was frozen yogurt!

On our walk this morning we rediscovered the waterfalls we found last year.  The fall is about 10 feet and I would love to see it on a day that it rains hard.  There is a small pool of water at the base of the uppermost falls--Water in the desert Falls See the water mark on the rocks where the water has been at some point in time?

Then we discovered water of a different sort—on the way back from Quartzsite John decided to stop at the Community Park and fill his water bladder--Watching the bladder It was really exciting watching that bladder fill :)

Our mail came today and it was really like Christmas—all our Christmas cards were in this batch along with a bunch of other interesting stuff.  Thanks LoraLee!

Tonight John and Brenda are coming down and I am going to make banana splits—it’s all Brenda’s fault—she made the mistake of saying today, “I’ve never had a banana split!” 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How Many Great Days Can We Stand??

The wind picked up this morning giving our day a cool tinge—we spent much of our walk this morning down in the dry washes trying to escape the wind.  Michael noticed this ridge that was entirely quartz—why couldn’t we find some gold in that thar quartz???

Quartz Cactus and quartz3 And the cactus seem to be growing right out of the quartz.  This little cactus had some kind of red blossom or flower—it’s a little early for the cactus to be blooming.Cactus and quartz2 Cactus and quartz Welcome to the desert And this big saguaro seems to be saying, “come on, welcome to the desert.”

Decided to take the rig to the community park today, empty our tanks and take on fresh water.  It only took us about a hour.

Back home I finished up the potato salad for the gathering tonight and about 4pm we went up to John and Brenda’s.  Some friends of theirs, Margaret and Bill from Dease Lake (did I get that right John?) British Columbia joined us for sausages cooked over the open campfire, caesar salad and potato salad.  Brenda made Michael a very happy man again tonight—she baked another apple pie!  The meal was just the greatest, cooked outside—everything tasted so good. 

We visited around the campfire for a while before Bill and Margaret left to head back over to Quartzsite.  Now we are all tucked in with our generator running to replenish our batteries as we haven’t had time to run it all day today.   Such a busy social life!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Major Hike and A Gathering

There are 3 peaks to the west of us, Michael and John have both been to the top, Michael decided today was my turn.  Oh, my—summit elevation 1500 feet but it sure felt like 3000 feet by the time we got to the top.That one Doesn’t look that bad of a climb from this photo does it??  We climbed the peak on the far left.

On the way up Emmi got a cholla cactus spine in her paw, I sat down on a rock, put my camera on the ground and pulled the cactus.  When we got to the top of the first peak, no camera, my sweet husband went back down and retrieved the camera for me!

The views from on top are all reaching—go forever kind of views.

View from on top hill View from on top hill2 Our rigs The two red circles are our rigs, John and Brenda on the left us on the right.

View from on top hill3 There is a cairn on top with a glass jar containing a log book and pencil.  We noted our ascent to the top.

Our entry

Us on top of the hill Right after the camera took this photo my batteries died.

We made it back home just in time to shower and get ready to head to Quartzsite for the Escapees Club happy hour.  John and Brenda were looking forward to meeting up with some folks they knew from the RV Dreams group and we just tagged along.  There were probably 400 people there, YIKES!  We met some really nice people while there.

Quartzsite grocery stores left a lot to be desired today—no bread, no hotdogs or sausage of any kind.  As Brenda has a gathering planned for tomorrow afternoon, she and I make a run over to Wal Mart in Parker when we got home from Quartzsite.  I may have to whack the next person that asks me “what do you doooo in the desert????” 

Homemade pizza for dinner when I got home to one glad to see me husband and dog.  The dog was much more excited to see me than Michael!  And, Michael had a visitor while I was gone—when we would take a walk in one of the dry washes near us we noticed an older motorhome that didn’t look as if anyone ever drove another vehicle in to its site.  Well, the owner of that motorhome, a single gentleman probably in his seventies has been coming to this area for many years.  Michael and he had a great chat!

And that is it for another one of those great days in the desert.