Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thursday and More Surprises

I didn't plan on publishing a blog until Sunday, but we will be trying to sell magnetic jewelry at the Silent Valley Arts & Crafts sale this Saturday, and I'm hoping I'll be too tired to blog after many, many sales!!!  Well I can hope.  There is much to report, and many pictures to include here.  

Tony wrote on Monday that he and Woody would like to come up to visit us on Tuesday, so Monday we did a little house cleaning.  Then late Monday afternoon it started raining.  After dinner I looked out the window and it looked like it had been snowing.  We went outside and discovered it was hailing like crazy!


 The picture above is the hail on our outside rug, and on the picnic table.  Below, you can see it on our car. 
The next morning we had to run down into town on an errand.  When I turned on the windshield wipers, there were chunks of ice on the wipers!  I would have expected that in January, but we didn't expect it late in April.  Tony said one year he saw snow in Perris, CA in July though, so I guess anything is possible with the weather.......but this sure doesn't seem much like "global warming".  I texted Tony about the hail, and he decided he'd better bring some long pants with him if it was going to be cold here!  Despite the cold weather, we had a nice time, and it warmed up enough for us to do some walking while he was here.

Today we drove down to Banning again.  A dear friend of mine had written back to me last week saying that in the 1940's his mom had worked at the air force base in Banning.  We have been camping here for quite a few years, and we didn't know there ever had been such a base here, so now it is going to be my project to do some research and find out anything I can about that base, and the history of this area.  My first search online has not produced anything yet, but I plan to try to dig deeper and find out whatever I can.  Today we took pictures of the murals we always see in town.

Here are two shots of one mural on a building on the main street of town, Ramsey St.

 This is the old clock on the top of the San Gorgornio Inn in town, but as you can see, it doesn't keep time anymore.
This is the window of the same place.
 Out behind this building I took some more pictures that are below.
These are near the railroad tracks that run through town.
This is an old building known as The Historic Coplin House.  It is currently being used as a lawyer's office.  Banning is also called Stagecoach City, and hosts an annual rodeo and wild west event.  We are looking forward to being here for that event this year.  In June there will be a Lavender festival, and I'm looking forward to that too.  

When we were Workampers up in Washington state, they had a Lavender festival in July in the town of Sequim, but we had to work that whole weekend, so we missed it.  There was a shop in Sequim that sold all kinds of lavender products, so I sent some nice items to my sister Donna for her birthday.   

I have to laugh that every time we visit a doctor, I guess they are required to do what they call depression screening and ask us a bunch of stupid questions to try to find out if we are depressed.  I keep telling them that since we live in a motor home and go wherever we want to go, we have NO REASON to ever be depressed.  I can't imagine a better life for us at this time of life, and it amuses me when they ask if we are depressed.  But life is short, so I hope all of you are enjoying every day of your lives.  As my friend Allyn said, we only pass this way once, so make the most of each day.  

Take care and stay well.  Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up and enjoy America.  There is no better place to be!!!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week Two at Silent Valley

Here is a better picture of the fire truck Silent Valley has to protect us in the event it would be needed.

It's been a beautiful week here, and we are enjoying it to the fullest, as you can see.  Millie tolerates her sun glasses, but I don't think Willie would stand for them!  She totally loves being outdoors.  Poor Willie thinks he must be on guard duty, and never really relaxes outside.
I mentioned birds here, but I forgot to tell you that we also see many gray squirrels and bunnies here too. The squirrels are everywhere, and Millie thinks she can catch one.  Yesterday she even tried to catch a robin.........who just looked at her and then flew up into a tree.  We have seen some woodpeckers, but never when I had my camera ready, alas.  I will keep trying to get a picture of one or more.   

In my last post, I wrote about the drive up this mountain to get here.  You drive from the level on I-10, eight miles up on Highway 243.  It would be another 16 miles up to get to the lovely little town of Idyllwild, and I believe the elevation up there is probably over 7000 feet above sea level.  We've gone up there by car a few times, and it is nice, but much cooler than here.  There is a Thousand Trails RV Park up there, BUT there aren't a lot of sites that look level enough for an RV as big as ours.  We've never camped there, but Sylvia & Steve used to go there occasionally, with their 27 foot travel trailer.  Getting back to the drive to get here, you ONLY go up to an elevation of about 4100 feet, then drive down into Silent Valley, on Poppet Flats Rd one mile, to an elevation of about 3500 feet.  If you don't have an over-powering fear of heights, it is a beautiful, and scenic trip, so we took some pictures the other day to include here.

 We took this one on Wednesday, before coming back up, because you can see that there is still snow on some of the mountain tops around this area.
 This was taken on the way down the hill on Friday, looking out over the area.
 We thought this gives a good view , with the town of Banning waaaaaaay down below.
 This shows how green it is up here in the spring time.  Sadly, many years brush fires will destroy much of the hillsides around the area, but it grows back, thanks be to God.  This also shows how the road winds back on itself as you go down the hill.

Here is a pass through some of the rocks along the roadway.  They must have used many tons of dynamite to clear away the rocks to make this road!

Speaking of rocks, this road does have areas noted as rock slide areas!  Sure hope that never happens, but some large rocks really look like they are just barely balancing there.  We would not want to be on that road if an earthquake happens!

Then finally you make it down to the town, and level roads again.  The first time we went up there, I swore "never, ever again".  But I'm so glad we didn't listen to me.  This area is soooo very worth the drive, and the drive has become more of a pleasure than a danger.  Highway 243 is also called the Idyllwild-Banning Scenic Byway, and it truly is a beautiful drive.  Wild flowers bloom in many areas too.  One should have good tires and brakes, and if there is snow, I believe chains are required on the road, but we just don't come up here when that is the case.

Since it is Sunday, I guess I feel like I want to give some praise today.  Many of you have heard me say I wouldn't have the courage to get out of bed in the morning if I didn't know that God, our heavenly Father is watching over and protecting me.  We can never forget for one minute the many blessings he has given us.  The greatest gift, of course was his Son Jesus Christ who died to save us from our sins.  He promised us this in John 3:16.  After promising us everlasting life, He also gave us a wonderful world to enjoy each day that we are here.  Jesus taught us to love and to forgive others, in the Lord's prayer.  Sometimes we may feel like we can't forgive someone, even maybe ourselves for something that we, or they have done.  BUT if God can, and does forgive us for our sins, who are we to think we should judge ourselves, or others more harshly than God does?  That's all I have to say for now, but I hope it will provoke some thoughtful consideration if there is anyone you need to forgive today. 

Life is short, so make the very most of it.  Be happy, be healthy and know that you are wealthy because you have so much to be grateful for.   Keep the rubber side down and enjoy America!!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Silent Valley in all its Beauty

We arrived in Silent Valley last Tuesday, and as usual, we love being here.  Some people ask us why we would drive all the way up here to camp so far from "civilization," but I think one has only to see this place to understand the appeal.  The very first time we came up here with our former camping club, I couldn't believe ANYONE would want to drive this far, but then we began to explore the many acres of this wonderful campground.  I believe you just cannot view such beauties of nature as we see here without seeing God's hand at work.  
Yes, the drive up the mountain (eight miles up on Highway 243 and one mile down on Poppet Flats Rd to the entrance) can be a little daunting, but it really is worth the drive.  This picture is a view from outside our RV.  The second   

picture is an area we walk with the dogs each morning.  There are many very old trees in this park, and the sky is an incredible blue up here.  I think that is because we don't have all that urban smog here.  By the way, the altitude here is about 3500 feet above sea level.
Every morning we do a walk of about a mile and that's just on one side of the park.  We know how far we have walked because our Fitbit records the distance, and the number of steps, as well as how many calories we have burned with the walk.  The walk takes us past the Miniature Golf course, then the family pool and family activity center.

There isn't much going on here YET, but this place will be full of people and activity later next month.  As we continue our walk, we come around by the trout pond, where they have a fishing derby a few times a year.  I remember reading that the pond is stocked about twice a year, so those who fish have a good chance of catching a few!  Not our "thing" but many people do come here to fish.
However, it was nice to see the mallards that come here and hang out at the pond.  There is also a baby, but I didn't get a picture of him today. We have also seen a red-tailed hawk, some woodpeckers, robins, mourning doves, nuthatches and other beautiful birds here.  I forgot to mention that this park has areas where the wild flowers bloom.

I only got a couple pictures of these pretty flowers, but I will keep looking for more shots of the beauty we get to see every day.
Besides the natural beauty, we also have a couple nice play ground areas for kids.  Here's a picture of one of them.

And since we are nine miles away from the nearest town, we have our own fire truck to protect us, in the event of a fire in the park.
  I also believe that God watches over Silent Valley, and keeps us safe from fires.  We have camped here a few times when there were fires raging higher up the mountain in the area of Idyllwild and also when there were fires below us on Highway 243.  However, there has only been one time I know of that fires actually came within Silent Valley, and even then, no campsites were burned.  

This park has not only a family center and pool, but also an adult center, and an adults only pool.  During the summer, the adult pool is open until 12 midnight, and we really enjoy that!  There is also what is called the Village Center.  Within that area is the camp store, the Chuck Wagon restaurant, and a bar called the Watering Hole.  During the summer time, there is family entertainment on Saturday nights in the open area between the buildings of the village center, and live music for dancing in the bar.  There are many great activities during the summer, especially on holiday weekends.  Another thing we like is that because of all the wooded areas, they do NOT allow any fireworks on July 4th.  Since our dogs are very afraid of fireworks, we are glad they don't have them here.  

They provide kids crafts every Saturday (during the season) at the Family center, and some adult crafts at the village center.  I forgot to mention that there are also snack bars at both the family center and the adult center too.  Is it any wonder we look forward to our month long stays up here three or four times a year?  They also have a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas dinner and a New Year's eve dinner and party, with a live band for dancing..............but I just can't take the cold of being here during the winter anymore.  

Several years ago we came up for Thanksgiving, and we even had SNOW on the ground.  It wasn't much, but we made a little snowman of it.  Then I laid down on the ground a took a picture, shooting upward at the snowman so he looked to be much bigger than he was!  Back then we had a Yorkie named Gypsy who had never seen snow so it was really funny watching her try to figure out how to walk in the fluffy white stuff.  

This evening we walked up to the adult lodge and pool.  It's all UPHILL to get there, but that means the walk back is much easier....down hill all the way, except that Jim decided to cross over the pedestrian bridge and come back on the other side of the area. 
    I could hardly believe my eyes when we saw these ducks happily swimming in the adult pool this evening.  It was such a hoot!  They were just making themselves at home.
Many years ago, a dear friend named Herve Collette and his wife Pat introduced us to Silent Valley.  He has since passed away, but his memory lives on in the hearts of ALL who knew him.  I just spent time trying to find a picture of them to include here, but I couldn't find one.  Back in 2012 I bought an external drive to store pictures in.  Our dear friend Robert White helped me to install it, and to transfer pictures to it.  One day I hooked it up and tried to show someone some pictures that were on it...................but it would not open and asked for a password.  I have no recollection of establishing a password, and Robert doesn't remember it either.  I tried several of the passwords I have used for other things, without success.  So for now, all of those pictures are safely stored where I CAN'T GET TO THEM.  

That's all for today.  Happy travels and many blessings to you all.  Stay well and keep the rubber side down!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

More Adventures, and Misadventures

This has been an interesting and busy week.  On Monday I had invited Almita & Rueben here for dinner, and Tony wrote saying he could come here on Monday too.  We figured the more the merrier, so that was the plan.  I made a yummy split pea and ham soup with the ham bone from our delicious Easter dinner.  Almita brought over some Hawaiian dinner rolls to have with it, and I made sugar-free peach jello with diced peaches for dessert.  It was a nice evening, and everybody got enough to eat.  Later, after Almita & Rueben left, I was helping Jim move back some boxes we store under the table (that we had moved into the bedroom to allow us more space for dinner).  I apparently pulled a muscle in my shoulder resulting in a painful spasm in my left trapezius muscle.  I tried to deal with it by myself for two days, but on Thursday I had to go to the local Urgent Care center, where we sat and waited 3 hours before being seen by a nice PA.  He ended up having the nurse give me an injection of decadron and an injection of toredol, and sent me away with prescriptions for a 5 day course of Prednisone, and another for 30 tablets of Flexeril.  I slept like a baby that night!  What a relief.  
On Wednesday Almita & Rueben took us birding.  It was a grand outing and we had a marvelous time, but some of the roads were rough, and I had to take a pain pill and a nap when we got home.  I will include a few pictures of birds we saw that day.

I can't remember the names of all the wonderful birds we saw, but the ones to the left are called stilts!  As you could see, Jim was having a good time too.  The last ;picture is just to show you what a beautiful area we were in, and it was a warm and perfect day too.  Later that day we went over to Almita & Rueben's RV for dinner of delicious cheese burgers with all the "fixins" and potato salad.  I brought a dessert of Oreo Ice Cream pie.  While we were there Almita showed me the first of four books she has produced of her photographs.  She CALLS herself an amateur, but her pictures are INCREDIBLE and the books are really AWESOME.  She let me bring home three of them, that we have been pouring over.  They are a marvelous expression of her passion for nature, and all the wonders of this great world God has given to us.  I could never produce anything as beautiful as these books, but we are very grateful she shared them with us.

Thursday night Jim sat down to watch TV in his easy chair, and it broke again, dumping him on the floor.  So on Friday we went looking for another, better chair.  

 We brought this one home, and set it out.  Before Jim could sit down, Millie was in it!  She decided it was a good choice, and Jim has had to move her out of it whenever he wants to sit there.
Right now, Jim is on the couch, and Millie is in the chair!

Today we went to play Candy Bar Bingo, and Diane and Steve showed up to join us.  The last two weeks we have had no luck winning candy bars.  Today we made up for it winning six bars.  It was a good day!!!  

I have a tip to offer to some of you RVers out there.  I read a recent tip about cleaning kitchen and bathroom faucets using water and vinegar.  I don't deny that the solution works, but I have another one that I use.  If you have dentures, and soak them clean with tablets like Polident or even the generic tablets from Wal-Mart, here's an idea to re-use the solution. In the morning after you brush and rinse the dentures, you can dump the solution into a sink half filled with water.  Using a soft cloth, you can clean the hard water stains off the faucet and knobs, and also clean the sink bowl.  
It's so good not having pain today.  Truly a good day, even though it has been overcast and it's going to probably rain all night.  Hopefully there will not be any rain on Tuesday when we travel up to Silent Valley, where we hope to stay for a month.  Since our screen room has seen better days, and is in pretty decrepit shape, we have decided not to keep it after we take it down Monday.  We have found a free-standing screen room we are going to buy next week, so that will be part of our next blog.

Take care and stay well..................and enjoy this wonderful world.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

April Fool's Day Came & Went

All day long I fully expected someone to call me or play some kind of prank on me Friday.  Happily it did not happen.  I'm not crazy about pranks, so I never try to play one on anyone else.  

While we were still at Palm Desert, I was sitting outside with my camera one evening, waiting to take a picture, when Millie jumped into my lap, and then turned to look at me.  I'm sorry if any of you folks are tired of my pictures of her, but she's just so darned cute at times.  

Later, we went for a walk, and she romped and played the whole time.  I don't know where she gets all that energy!  LOL

There was a beautiful RV that I meant to take a picture of while we were there, but I kept forgetting to do it before we left.  Much to my joy, they showed up here at Wilderness Lakes this week, and I not only got a picture, but I also got to talk to the man who owns it.  He and his wife lived in New York City in 2001 and had close friends who did not survive that terrible day.  He drew this on paper, and found someone who could recreate it as a permanent remembrance on the back of his motorhome.  We had an interesting chat, and he seemed like a very nice man. 

I have often reported on products, or services that we have been very satisfied with, and I realized today, that I have failed to tell most of you folks about a pair of products we have been using for 15 to 20 years, and continue to be very happy with.  Jim used to have to use an anti-dandruff shampoo, and never got completely satisfactory results from it.  I tried using a number of brands, often whatever was on sale.  Many years ago, a girl friend of mine asked me if we had ever tried using "Mane & Tail" brand of shampoo and
conditioner.  I actually laughed and said "No, I don't have a horse at home".  She said she and her husband had been using it for years, and it was wonderful.  Her hair really looked great, so I was thinking about it, but I reminded her that Jim was using a dandruff shampoo.  She asked me if I'd ever seen a horse with dandruff!  You can get it at many grocery stores, many drug stores, and Wal-Mart and Target carry it.  In Wal-Mart, you'll usually find it in the pet department, but it is still great for human hair too.  It comes in a 32 ounce bottle for $5-6, but it lasts a very long time.  Often we find it on a "buy one get one free" sale, so that's great too.  As for the conditioner, you use only a very small amount.  If you have long hair, you would want to use it in the shower, and rinse it out.  But for those of us with very short hair (or guys with thinning hair too) you can use a tiny dab of it on towel dried hair and then just comb it through.  Don't use too much or it will be a problem, but a tiny dab is really all you should need.  We love how well it conditions our hair, and it smells great too.  We also, of course, use it on the dogs too.  I bathe Millie in my over-sized kitchen sink with the pull out hose faucet, and it does a great job, and easily rinses out too.  Jim has to wait for warm weather so he can bathe Willie outside, as our RV has an outside shower with hot water, and he used a fold-up tub to wash him in.  We really love how clean and fresh it smells (kind of like fresh apples).  Anyway, if you aren't afraid you'll start to whinny, I suggest you might try this economical and wonderful product soon.  It's cheaper than any salon product I know of, and since you use small amounts, the bottle lasts a long time.  Today I gave Millie a haircut, bath and manicure/pedicure.   

I'm pretty sure that is NOT how she had planned to spend this day, but once we were done, and she was blow dried, she seemed happy....maybe because it was over, but just maybe she was glad to be cooler and clean again.  I don't know if I mentioned it before, but the last time we took the canine kids to their doctor, he showed me that she has a congenital knee defect.  At present it is not serious, but some day she might need to have it operated on.  When I bathe her, or cut her hair or do her nails, I try very hard not to take any chances that I could hurt her knee, or further displace it.  Just to be on the safe side, I made her a magnetic necklace this week, and let her wear it whenever we are around.  I think the single magnet would release if she got it caught on anything, but we just can't take a chance on it NOT releasing and she might get hung by it.  So when we go out, or at bedtime, I always take it off her.  She looks cute with it on, and it doesn't seem to bother her to wear it.  

 Willie gets nervous when Millie has a "spa day", and he has to supervise the whole process.  He is close by watching while I cut her hair, and he stands on his back legs at the sink consoling her throughout her entire bath!!  Then he supervises my drying her and dressing her.  By the time it's over, he is EXHAUSTED and needs to rest for a while.  But he IS a wonderful big brother to her.  

Please folks, I need to remind some of you to be even kinder than you think you need to be.  Others may be suffering stresses, or fighting issues you have no idea about.  Please try to always give others the benefit of the doubt, and be kind even when they may not be able to be kind to you.  

I had a very long phone call with my son Matt last night.  He is a wonderful, and kind young man. He and his amazing lady Shannon, are devoting much of their lives to saving and finding forever homes for abandoned dogs.  One message I want to share is that if there is any way you can find it in your heart to give a dog a FOREVER home, please do it, AND PLEASE ADOPT A SHELTER DOG if you can.  Many, many dogs and cats desperately need a loving home.  You won't regret it, and they will give you so much more than you can ever hope to give to them.  Please do NOT support puppy mills, and always please get your pets spayed or neutered to prevent more little animals from ending up in over-crowded shelters, too many of which are forced to euthanize animals if they can't find them homes quickly.  

Another thing he reminded me of, and for which I am again grateful that he is such an incredible person is this.  I was venting about a friend who had hurt and disappointed me, and I was having trouble getting over it.  He reminded me that as long as I held onto negative feelings, I could never be at peace myself.  He told me very gently that maybe she and I might not be able to be friends anymore, but that I MUST let go of the negativity I am feeling.  I knew he was right and I thought about how to do what he said.  I am on the right track now, and I slept better last night because I knew where I am going from here, emotionally.  I will not let the events of the past, spoil my happiness in the future.  Thanks again Matt.  

Stay well, and be happy.  Life is as great as you allow it to be.  Keep the rubber side down and enjoy America.