Saturday, June 24, 2017

Life at Silent Valley

This has been a rather busy week.  As I mentioned before, Donna & George were here on Monday.  Tuesday was fairly quiet.  
 Wednesday I did three loads of laundry.  Thursday the park began to really fill up with folks who wanted to get in before July 4th.
Jim took this picture because I usually take the pictures (thus I avoid being IN the pictures) but he wanted one of me on the blog occasionally.  The second is, of course, one of my favorite subjects, resting up after a tough morning of barking at the new arrivals.   We now have a big 5th wheeler in front of us and a huge motorhome in the site behind us!   On Thursday we had Bennett up here to clean out the water heater and replace the anode rod.  Jim was going to do it himself, but he couldn't get the "nut" off it.  Bennett had a hard time with it, and he had a much larger wrench than anything Jim has.  He's not too expensive, and he always comes when we need him, and does a good job.  Sadly, he told Jim he will be moving to Arizona, but Jim didn't ask just when or where in AZ he is going.  We will surely miss him when he leaves here.
Yesterday we went down to Wilderness Lakes, by car, to visit Almita and Rueben.  
 If you look closely, you can see some of the beautiful new flooring they had Greg install this year.  We may have to have him do that for us too.  The rug is threadbare in places!

 She made a lovely lunch of chicken salad sandwiches on croissant rolls with grapes, olives and potato chips on the side.  Knowing what a choco-holic Jim is, she had chocolate cake AND chocolate ice cream for dessert!   Almita & Rueben are devoted bird watchers, so if possible, they try to get a site on or near one of the canals at Wilderness Lakes so they can watch the water birds.  Soon after we arrived, I got a chance to take these pictures.
 

Isn't he absolutely magnificent?  I loved the picture, on the right, of him fluffing his feathers!  We couldn't stay there as long as we would have liked to because we had left the furry kids up here in the motorhome.  They have an older dog who is deaf and cannot do much, and it would be unkind to bring our dogs there since they are so active and playful.  

We left BOTH air conditioners turned on, and left each of them TWO bowls of water, and left the window curtains closed so the sun would not be shining inside.  But I still worried because this place has had power outages more often than most.  When we got back here, I opened the door and was relieved to hear the air conditioners running!  The kids both came rushing up to greet us, and we took them outside for a comfort break.  Happily for us, neither one had an "accident" in the house while we were gone!

If you remember a few blogs ago, I had gotten Jim what I though was a nice lounge chair just before we left Arrey......the one Millie enjoyed sitting in.  It turned out not to be a good purchase.  A few days ago the whole front edge came apart!  Jim tried to repair it with white Duct tape, but it tore as soon as he sat in it.  This morning we drove down the hill and went to Camping World in San Bernardino.  Since it gets really hot around here really early, we left here a little after 7 am and got there by 8 am when they opened.  
We got another chair for Jim and matching fold up ottoman.  It swivels like many office chairs do.  He is pleased with it.....for now, but only time will tell if it was a good choice.  He got to sit in this one before Millie did, but she promptly laid claim to the gray ottoman!  
I had Jim take some pictures of the area to include in this posting.

This is a couple views as we drive down the hill to Banning.

 This is a shot of a local prison at the bottom of the hill.  We've been coming up here for many years and only found out about there being a prison there a year or two ago!  The KOA campground at the bottom of the hill is less than 1/2 mile from the prison.  I wonder if the campers who stay there know about it.

This sign along the road amuses me.  It means the road ahead has a lot of curves, but to me it looks like one is expected to drive up over the rocks.  LOL
 
When we got back to the park we were amazed at just how full it has become. 
And here is our home in our site.
This is a very large site, and has room for a guest to park his car behind ours.  If someone wanted to, they could tent camp on our site too.  We actually have two lovely shade trees on the street side of our site and many mature trees beyond our screen room.  Despite the trees, we were able to get a good satellite signal as soon as we got set up.  On the one hand, I wish we were closer to the store and the adult swimming pool, but those sites were all taken before we got here, and they aren't as large as this site is.  
If we were down in one of  those sites on the main road, we would be closer to "Puppy Paradise".


This cute dog park area is new since the last time we were up here last year.

Tony was planning to come up to visit on Monday, but he texted me today that he would like to come up tomorrow.  YAY!  It's been way too long since we've seen him, and we have a really nice surprise for him when he comes up.  Since he also reads this......I can't share the surprise until next time.  Sorry folks.  He wrote that he and his wonderful dog, Woody are going kayaking this afternoon.  Sounds like loads of fun!

To those that we told about using Tank Tech in our holding tanks, we will use up what we have of it, but then we are going to go back to using Happy Camper.  We just don't think Tank Tech is as good as Happy Camper was.  It seems like there is more odor with the new product.  Nope, don't need that, especially in the summer heat.

This year has been full of unexpected turns and changes of plans, but we feel each has presented more blessings than problems.  May I suggest that you keep your mind open to new ideas, and view changes as new opportunities?  As we continue along life's path, we are amazed with all that we can see and learn from our adventures.  More than one person has commented that when life is over, nobody ever says "I wish I had spent more time working", but many have said "I wish I had spent more time with loved ones" or that they wish they had taken advantage of more new opportunities.  However, if we wake up each morning, looking forward to all God has to offer us, maybe we won't have as many regrets when we get older.  This life is short, and without a doubt the next life WILL be glorious and wonderful, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy all there is to enjoy in this life first.  Call someone you have been meaning to talk to.  If there is someone you need to make amends with, why not do it today?  None of us know how many tomorrows we have, so don't waste any of your todays.  Life is a blessing from God, and He wants us to be blessed every day.  
Bye for now.  I've spent enough time today sitting here in front of my little computer.  We're going swimming this afternoon!  :o) 






Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Boy It's Hot Out There

It's much hotter down in the valley below, but according to our outdoor thermometer that we keep inside a storage compartment, it got up to 99 today.  I think the hottest locally was the reported 122 in Palm Springs!  I sure am glad we have TWO air conditioners in the RV to keep us cool.  At least it does cool down to 65-70 at night so we can sleep.
The window shade in the bedroom has recently gotten pretty shabby looking, and would not close all the way down anymore.  I was looking online and found a comforter that was a perfect match for the curtains we had bought for the kitchen back in February, so I ordered the comforter, with pillow shams and another pair of the curtains for the bedroom window.  I didn't put curtains on the window over the head of the bed because I used a tension rod for the curtains, and that wouldn't have a chance against us and our pillows!!!  We also replaced the window shade behind the living room couch with a pair of curtains that match the ones over the dinette table.  We think it looks really homey and nice.
As you can see, we really love lighthouses and water themed decor.  We chose to replace the shades in these windows because they had gotten too dirty to tolerate, and nothing we tried worked to clean them.   Millie still likes to sleep in the living room window, but so far that hasn't been a problem.

This week it has been too hot to do any baking or much cooking at all.  When we shopped last week I purchased a nice turkey breast and put it in the refrigerator to defrost.  On Saturday we air fried it in the Power XL.  It only took about 40 minutes, and it turned out great!  We had it for dinner Saturday, lunch and dinner Sunday and have been having sandwiches from it yesterday and today.  Sadly, it will be all gone tomorrow, but I have really enjoyed it while it lasted.  

Yesterday my sister Donna and her husband George came up for a visit.  It was great seeing them again.  We hadn't seen them since early in January, before we began our trip.  
As always, Millie was glad to see them.  Willie is a little more cautious about company.  Before company arrives, we always shut the furry kids in the bedroom until our guests get safely inside the house and the door is closed.
Millie is anxious to see who is coming.  here she is peeking under the door.  I had to get a picture of this because she is just too cute!!!


My dear brother Tony is coming out next Monday with his German Shepherd Woody.  I don't remember if I have told you that they live on his sailboat in the harbor in Oceanside, CA.  Some time ago he sent me this picture, and today seems like a good time to include it.  
 I think this is a grand picture, and it looks like so much fun.  Jim and I would LOVE to try kayaking some day.  We were going to do it the summer we were WorKampers up in Port Angeles, WA....but it just never got warm enough to take off jackets and sweaters and get into the water!  Maybe we'll get a chance this year, since this seems like it will be a very hot summer. 


I guess that's all the pictures I have to include today.  On my next blog post I will have some pictures of our campsite and all there is to see and enjoy here at Silent Valley.  We always enjoy being here amid the trees and nature.  We are looking forward to enjoying the adult pool on these warm evenings too.  Jim can't take the sunshine for very long, and I guess nobody really should, so we wait until it cools down a bit to go out and enjoy the pool and see other folks that are here.

I received my friend Gail's blog on RV Space Savers yesterday.  The good news is that she has written a book on making the most of small spaces called "Keeping Your Small Space from Bursting It's Seams".  She is selling it from her website, RV Space Savers, and later it will be available on Amazon.  Today I ordered my copy.  I'm looking forward to reading her latest tips.  I have learned SO much from her and her husband Mike over the years.  The sad news is that she is selling her business because it has become too hard for them to pack all their merchandise into a location to sell for a day or two and then pack up and move on.  I can understand her reasons, but it will seem strange to go to RV rallies and NOT see her and Mike in their booth, with their cute little dog, selling their wares and telling about ways to save space and lighten the load in an RV.  She said she will still be doing seminars at rallies and selling her books, so hopefully we will see them at the rallies we attend, and maybe at the Thousand Trails preserves we visit during the winter months.  I hope all of you find ways to explore your world and experience all that this awesome life offers us each day.  There is much to see and do if you just look for it.  As Walt Wille used to say when he was the big kahuna of the Southern California Good Sam Club, "keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down".  Be careful when you travel.  Too many people try to drive too far, and for too many hours in a day.  Give yourself time to get wherever you are going.  Please don't put yourself or others at risk because you get too tired and fall asleep at the wheel.  Besides, if you rush your trip, you will miss too much of the adventure, and beauty.  It's not just about the destination...........it's about the journey too.  Make the most of each day, live it fully.  God bless all of you and God bless America.



































Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It's Good to be Back at Silent Valley

Well dear friends, here we are back in southern California at one of our favorite campgrounds, Silent Valley.  If you are not local and that doesn't tell you where we are, I'll explain.  When one travels on I-10 to Banning (that would be going west from Arizona), one would exit and go up Highway 243 about 9 miles.  Then you turn right onto Poppet Flats RD and continue about 1 mile to the park entrance.  We weren't able to get any of our most favorite RV sites, so we had to go up into the more silent area to find a nice, large, site with 50 amp service!  The drive here yesterday, from Quartzsite, AZ was beautiful and scenic most of the way.  The desert area is quite dry and bare, as you can see.
However, the trip was not without stress.  About 50 miles into CA. we had to stop for an accident on the road.  

Sadly, it didn't look like there could have been any survivors in either vehicle.  The vehicle in the picture on the left was all the way across the road, and the one on the right was on our side of the road.  I said a prayer for the people and for their loved ones.
Yesterday after we got settled, we drove down to the WalMart in Beaumont to pick up our new curtains and comforter for the bedroom, and a few groceries.  Now we are set for a while!  I haven't taken pictures of the comforter and curtains yet, so I'll include them in the next post.

Today our friends Carol & Ray came over to visit us.  They are here in the park with their FMCA group until Thursday.  We have kept in touch while we traveled, but have not seen them since we were all in Quartzsite back in January.  It was great to see them again, and we had a great visit.   They stayed for lunch and we got all caught up on everything.  It was so much fun seeing them today.

Now I would like to talk a little about living tiny.  We enjoy watching TV shows about Tiny House living.  We do NOT intend to buy, or build a tiny house, but we like to watch for ideas that would apply to making the most of RV living.  It always amuses us when we see people who want to transition to tiny house living.  Often, they have tons of clothes and stuff that they need to pare down to fit into a smaller size home.  Their problem is that they THINK they need all that stuff!  We have found that getting rid of stuff we don't use makes life much less stressful.  

When we started our RV life, Jim had three suits, two tuxedos, and four or five sports coats, and I had at least ten long dressy dresses!  Jim ended up with one suit and one sport coat..........and he rarely wears either one!  I have only one dressy dress now, and I can't remember when I have needed it yet.  We have a rule that whenever something new comes in....something else has to go.  This works for us.

Our weakness is kitchen gadgets.  In addition to the basics (stove, microwave and refrigerator), we have:  
a 4-slice toaster & a coffee pot
electric griddle and Power XL air fryer
NewWave Oven and Ninja 3:1 cooker/crockpot
also we have a Cuisinart Griddle, bread machine and an ice cream maker.  

Besides that, we hate going to the laundromat, so we have a portable washer that we can use inside the shower and a spin dryer.  That means we have to hang clothes either outside or in the shower. That's still better than hauling everything out to the laundromat! 

I realize this may not sound like we have pared down very much, but we really have.  We used to have three sets of dishes, but now only one.  We had many pots and pans, but now we have one small and one medium sauce pan.  We have two copper frying pans, one round and one square.  We got rid of many small appliances and serving dishes.  The bowls we have now are collapsible plastic bowls that weigh less and take up less space.  

We got rid of extra sheets and pillow cases, place mats and dish towels, and other linens.  Last week we even went through the dogs clothes and got rid of items that don't fit or have not been worn in a very long time.
  
I don't feel sad to get rid of things we have not used.  It feels liberating to clean out closets and free up space.  It means the RV is not carrying excessive weight, and that makes it safer for travel.

I have had people ask me about things with sentimental value.  There are a number of ways to deal with that.  One is to give beloved treasures to family members.  They may be thrilled to own a piece of family history.  Another is to take pictures of the item, and keep it on a flash drive so you can see it whenever you want to.  Then the actual item can be donated to someone else who might need it.  Please remember that THINGS are only that, and as such, are not what life is all about.  Yes, we all like to have nice things, but it's important not to let your possessions possess you.

When you travel light, and that applies to all people, not just RVers and other travelers, you are free to enjoy all that is around you.  As I have said before, life is an adventure, so live it.  Life is to be savored and experienced.  Life is not about polishing the silverware, and cleaning the crystal.  My wine glasses are plastic, and the wine still tastes great!  Enjoy the moment.  

Thank God each morning that you wake up to begin another day.  Praise Him for this beautiful world and all He has given you.  And ask Him to take over the tasks of the day, since He knows better than we ever could, what really needs to be done.  Just put your life in His hands and enjoy it.   Pare down your belongings AND your problems, and enjoy life.  None of us knows how many more days we have, so let's not waste any of them on worrying about trivial stuff.

That's it for today.  Have a great one.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Just One More Day on the Road to California


It has been an amazing trip, and we have met many wonderful people, and had many exciting experiences.  However, it will be great to get back to California for the summer, and autumn. I'd like to say again a big thank you to  Big Al, Manny, Larry and Sal for the work they did on our car and our RV.  Also huge thank you's to Ric and to Janice for all they did for us.  Hugs to all the wonderful people we met in New Mexico, and along the way.  I was sorry we didn't get to say good bye to our neighbor Verne who left the same day we did, and to Guy Lewis, the near-sighted photographer.  I don't know if I remembered to say that Guy donated a new American flag to the campground since the one that was up was  in really poor shape.  He IS a good Guy!

In Lordsburg, we visited Kranberry's Family Restaurant.  It was really nice.  
 I was amazed to find that this little local restaurant served the very best Sweet & Sour stir fried chicken I have ever had!  Jim had a French Dip that he enjoyed very much.  He also had a dessert called Gold Miner's delight that was terrific.  It was a brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, and hot fudge topping.  He said it would have been better with chocolate ice cream, but it was still pretty good.  The price was very reasonable, and we had plenty to eat.  If you are traveling through the southwest part of New Mexico, we suggest having a lunch or dinner at Kranberry's. 
The next day we drove to Benson, AZ where we stayed two nights at Valley Vista RV Park.  It is an Encore Resort but we used our RPI membership to get a discounted rate for our site.  The next day Jim spotted a family of birds with over a dozen babies.  I grabbed my camera but wasn't fast enough to capture a picture of the babies scurrying along the stone wall to where the water was.  However, I did get a picture of the daddy bird.
Isn't he gorgeous?  We looked him up in our Birds of North America book and we thought he was a Gambel's Quail.  I sent the picture to our friend Almita to see if we were right, and much to my surprise, she said we were.   





Every time we drive across southern Arizona on I-10 we see this billboard.  We have actually stopped there twice, and we still can't remember just what the "THING" is.....must not have impressed us that much.

 As one would expect, southern Arizona is very hot this time of year, so we didn't go anywhere this time.  Actually, we hope to spend a week there next spring, when we head back to Arrey, NM as there are a number of historic places we want to see............starting with the Cochise Stronghold.  



 Ric suggested we go there, and
 we will, just not this trip.

After that we were going to spend a couple days at the Elks in Casa Grande.  However, because of the heat, we decided to go to the Elks in Tempe, where we would have FULL hook ups.  It was a beautiful lodge with very friendly members.  There was also a lovely, well-shaded park in back of the lodge.  It would have been great to stay there a little longer, again, next time we will, but this time, we wanted to get through Quartzsite before it gets TOO hot.  The prediction on the Weather Channel had said only 88 for today.  They must  have lied because our outdoor thermometer is reading 98!  Still, that is less than the 108 and higher forecast for this weekend and beyond. 
In Arizona they have beautifully painted underpasses along the freeway.
I had to include a few pictures for those of you who live in places where they don't do this.  
 The desert in Arizona is also beautiful, but I do believe New Mexico has more spectacular desert scenery.




The sights are very interesting, including

these peaks near Picacho.
We made a quick comfort stop here, but we didn't go inside the souvenir store this time.
We also saw an army convoy yesterday.  I was surprised that there were so many vehicles.....about twenty I would say.


I always enjoy the view when we are approaching Quartzsite.  We saw this car speeding to town.  It passed us so quickly that I really don't know just what kind of car it was.
Here's another picture taken on the road to Q.  We came into town and saw something we almost never see.......
 I don't remember the last time I saw Main Street without a lot of cars.

The RV parks are almost completely empty.  Here at Desert Gardens there are no more than about 5 RVs in the portion that is for "short stays".  There is a section that is for full time residents here but there aren't too many of them either.
Silly Al's Pizza usually doesn't have ANY parking spaces open, but today there weren't any cars there.  It was almost like visiting a Ghost Town coming here in June!   





Tomorrow I hope we can get on the road by 7:30 am again so we can get up to Silent Valley before 11 am.  As I said in the beginning of this blog, all of the trip has been great, but it will be nice to get back up in the mountains where it is cooler.  We are looking forward to being able to put the awning out and relax outside.  I'm hoping our friends, Donna & Bill, will be up at Silent Valley while we are there.  We haven't seen them since July 4th last year, and it will be nice to see them again! 
I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be able to travel and meet new people and visit new places.  This is a really amazing and beautiful country, filled with terrific people.  One should always be looking for the opportunities of life.  Today is a gift, and tomorrow is not guaranteed, so we need to make the most of each day.  Please recognize the chance for adventures and take advantage of the them.  The car and the RV are both running wonderfully and all is well with us.  The work we had done was well worth the cost.  The EZ connector cord for the towing lights holds so tightly Jim can hardly take it off when we get to where we are going!  It was a great investment!  Life is good and God is GREAT!  Count your blessings everyone, and enjoy all that you have.  Please don't ever waste a single moment thinking about others who may have more than you do.  In the first place, you can't know what problems they may have.  And secondly, you HAVE everything you really need.  God knows what you need and He will provide for you.  Savor what you have and be grateful for each day.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

On the Road Again......after our stay in Arrey, NM

It has been a long time (almost 3 months) since we have been traveling by RV.  It felt a little strange to get all hooked up and start out for our travels back to southern California today.  We left with terribly mixed emotions.  Yes, we do want to get back to see our family and friends in CA, but it was hard to say good bye to the friends we have made in Arrey.  Janice, if you read this, please know you are truly amazing.  In our time there you have been a wonderful helper when we needed advice or assistance.  Also, you have become a treasured friend, and I do not use that word unless I really mean it.  When you sent me the text message this morning it brought tears to my eyes.  We will miss you, and  will look forward to next February when we return.  Please tell Jerry too that we appreciate the help he gave us whenever we needed it.  
I got some neat pictures of a lovely bird that came to visit us last Thursday.  


 


Not only was he beautiful, he was a HAM!!!!  
 

He also seemed to enjoy posing for us to take the pictures of him.  Before long we got this really cute shot!



 He was only a few feet away from me when I took this one.  WOW!




Yesterday we started packing up to travel.  Jim loaded the small refrigerator into the car...........and that's when he discovered that we had never put the tow bar back onto the car after the repairs done back in March by Big Al!  As usual, nothing goes easily, and Jerry came over to help us figure out what we were doing wrong.   
Before I forget to tell you, on Saturday we visited the Veterans Museum in Truth or Consequences.  They have a plaque (bronze I think) detailing each battle that Americans have fought in.
These plaques are arranged in a star formation, with an eagle in the center as the Guardian of the park.

I took these two before going inside the museum.





There is much to be seen inside this
 
incredible museum that has been designed to honor American men and women who have served their country.  If you want to see more of the pictures I took, let me know and I will try to send you the collection.  We were honored to talk with a Korean Veteran who was a volunteer at the museum that day.  You can probably see more if you go to the web site for this museum.  It can be accessed at: TorCveteransmemorial.com I believe.  There is also a Veterans wall that is a 1/3 size replica of the Viet Nam veterans wall. outside in the park.

Sunday, after church, Ric came over for lunch and I made a ham and cheese quiche.  He said it was pretty good considering that the ham was not Kosher!  LOL.  That afternoon we played Mexican Train, and he really beat us terribly...............maybe he cheats!  Just kidding Ric.
I didn't do much Monday or Tuesday since I had a terrible migraine headache.  Then last night Janice took us (and Ric) to dinner at the Arrey Cafe.  Boy will I miss that place.  Everybody is so very friendly there, and the food is great too.  I took my camera, but forgot to take any pictures.
Today we got everything ready to go, and before we left, Rick O'Neil showed up to do some work for Janice on her RV.  He is the guy who did a ton of work for us when we lived for six months in TorC as WorKampers at a hot springs place.  It was nice to chat with him a bit before we left.  

Here's is something I found amazing this past week or so.  Always when we have been here, we have left in April.  I have told you repeatedly how beautiful the desert is....but since we stayed longer this time, we saw something we have never seen here before.  The cacti are in full, glorious bloom!
 
Everywhere we have driven, especially today, we have seen these amazing white flowers.  We saw many other beautiful flowers along the way, but I was not too successful taking pictures at 60 miles per hour!
I did get some small yellow flowers, and one shot of pink ones, but not the gorgeous purple flowers I saw only once.


Later, on the way to Lordsburg, we found out where old cargo containers go to die.
 
It seemed kinda sad to us.  Later, we passed this marker, shortly before we got to 
 our destination, the KOA in Lordsburg, NM.  

 I also wanted to include a picture of my fearless driver at the wheel!  We got to the KOA about 12:30 today and were all set up before 2 pm.  Tonight we are going to check out a cute local place called Kranberry"s Family Restaurant.  Tomorrow we will go to Benson, AZ for two days.  Since it is up around 100 degrees all over southern AZ, we decided we will only dry camp at the Elks in Casa Grande for one night, and probably only stay one night in Quartzsite...............and then up to Silent Valley on Tuesday, where we HOPE it will be cooler.  I probably won't have anything to write about until we get up there, so I will close with a picture of Jim in his new lounge chair.........that he has to share with Millie.  
The day he set it up, she got in it before he could!


I know everyone knows the adage, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade", but I want to add that when detours block your way, enjoy the scenery.  There are no bad days if you take the time to find the beauty in them.  Live each day knowing God created it for you, and learn to appreciate unexpected blessings.  Keep the shiny side up, and the rubber side down.............as our dear friend Walt Wille always used to say, and have a simply marvelous day.