Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Hobby

There's a class taught here at the park in wire wrapping jewelry. I thought it sounded interesting and Doug agreed. The only catch costs $25. So, since Doug is the meticulous perfectionist, we decided that he would learn and then teach me.

Here is his very first project. The lady provided everything needed......the cabachon, wire, tools and knowhow. I think it turned out gorgeous. It took a couple of hours for the beginning project but Doug feels confident that it could be done much quicker with a little practice.

Here's another shot of it. I hope you are as impressed as I was.

Now, we just have to get a few tools and some wire and we'll be in business. These sell really well here and I already have ideas for bracelets and rings too.

After spending the morning learning wire wrapping, Doug helped another neighbor repair the latch on her screen door. As a thank you, she gave him a couple of bottles of wine. Guess what! Doug doesn't drink wine........but I do.

Then, he spent the rest of the day working his gold dirt. A few more flakes in our gold vial!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weavers Mining District

Another beautiful day!

Doug got his gold washing setup finished with the help of our neighbor Bill. He and his wife Wanda have been spending time in Arizona collecting gold for a number of years. They are fun people to be around and eager to share their knowledge.

With the sluice running perfectly, it was time to find some gold. First, we joined the Weaver Mining District and got a membership card. Then, the four of us drove out near the Weaver Mountains and climbed down into the wash.

While the guys dug the dirt from the sides of the wash, Wanda & I sifted the bigger rocks out of the soil and filled the buckets with dirt full of gold. (We hope) After a couple of hours, we headed back home to begin running the dirt through the sluice.

It was after dark by the time Doug finished one bucket. He brought the final black sand inside and panned it. Woohoo! We found several small flakes! There must be at least .01 worth.

The sky was beautiful as the Wolf Moon came up over the Weaver Mountains. The native Americans called the first full moon in January the Wolf Moon after the hungry wolves howling outside their village. It is sometimes known as the Old Moon or Moon After Yule. There, you've had your science lesson for the day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Yarnell, AZ

This is a busy park with lots of activities. I went to the clubhouse to check out the library and discovered that it was time for a park jam session. The music was so good that I stayed for the entire two hours.

While I was doing that, Doug was busy with the neighbor figuring out how to make a high banker from his sluice. I think he has the gold fever!

He needed a submersible pump for the setup and we were told about a cool hardware store with excellent prices in the little town of Yarnell. So, off we went to take a ride up into the mountains to the little town of Yarnell.

There wasn't much to see in the town but the road winding straight up the mountain was a fun trip.

From the top, we could look out over the valley where our park in located. Just spectacular, the pictures don't begin to do it justice.

Doug found what he was looking for and we started back down the hill when we found a pull-out that overlooked the area. Lots more photos!

Tomorrow, we search for gold.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

North Ranch

Yup, we've moved. We arrived at North Ranch Escapee Park near Congress, Arizona. It was all blue skies when we arrived on Tuesday late afternoon and by nightfall we had rain. Yesterday it was very overcast and nasty looking all day. I meant to get pictures but it reminded me of Seattle weather which is depressing.

So, this morning I'll fill you in on the last couple days.

We left Quartzsite around noon and took I-10 to Hwy 60 east, passing numerous little towns that are still cleaning up from the storm last week. Mud everywhere!

After leaving the town of Hope we saw this sign that tickled us.

And this company that had Doug howling.

We arrived at North Ranch in the late afternoon and had our choice of sites. Usually this park is plumb full but this year there's tons of room. We chose this site because there is no one parked on either side of us. Lots of room.

This is the view out of our side window......

And this is the view out of the other side. Yuck. Basically this is a full hookup parking lot. But the majority of the people here are looking for gold. Everywhere you look are dry washers and high bankers. Of course, Doug is itching to go and find some. We'll make a good team. He'll find it and I'll spend it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shirt Sleeve Weather Again

The last couple of days have been gorgeous. Shirt sleeve and shorts weather! Eighteen of the one hundred coaches stayed here so we spent the entire day visiting. It's so much easier to get to know someone in a small group.

That was followed by one last campfire and a glorious sunset behind the tent. One couple brought their guitar and autoharp and entertained us all evening.

This morning, the tent came down for the last time and most of us started packing up.

Doug practiced the ancient, lost art of rock stacking during his break-down duties. He's having so much fun with it, we now have several monuments around our site.

Here's one last shot of our site in the desert before we crank up that diesel engine and head east.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Zip...Two More Days Gone

Wowser! Where have the last two days gone? We've been busy visiting, eating, touring the big tent in Quartzsite, eating, enjoying the campfire, eating and some more eating. The weather has gone back to warm and sunny which really makes visiting easy. We now have so many new friends to go see in the area that we may never get out of Arizona. (just kidding) It's nice when the invitations are sincere and heartfelt.

This morning people are pulling out of here like crazy. It's only 10 am and there are only a couple dozen coaches left. We are going to stay here again tonight with a few others, then head to Congress tomorrow. I'm not sure why everyone is in such a rush to leave. They are all retired with nowhere special to be, but they are hurrying.

Back tomorrow with more exciting stuff!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Just Visiting

Another cloudy, drizzly day but with little wind. The guys spent the morning reassembling the tent for the potluck dinner this evening and reinforced it against any weather. Then they gathered for a gearhead meeting. That's where they discuss mechanical and technical problems with their solutions as well as improvements that have been accomplished.

The rest of the day was spent visiting and relaxing with no exciting happenings. The potluck was a success with three tables full of food. No matter what the weather is, we manage to eat well!

And, best of all, the weather is supposed to start improving. We are ready for some blue sky!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tornado Warnings

We woke to ugly skies but no rain and we were hoping that maybe the worst was behind us. No such luck.

After a quick meeting in the tent, Doug & I ran to Parker for groceries just as the rain started again. There was a little water on the road, but nothing too bad. It took us a couple of hours to finish our shopping since we were out of everything and we started home about 3pm. What a difference a couple of hours makes!

The rain was pouring across the highway in small streams and large rivers. We watched carefully to see if others were making it through the water ok, then continued ourselves. In a couple of spots, it was so deep, we were blinded by the water spraying up and over the windshield. Scary!

But, we made it back home in time for the hamburger and hot dog bbq in the big tent. Doug jumped right in to help with the cooking and the rain continued. Instead of a nice gathering of people, everyone filled their plates then headed back to their own coach. The wind kicked up, blowing rain under the sides of the tent making giant puddles inside.

The storm got worse and soon someone told us that there was a tornado warning for the Quartzsite area! About that time, the tent started to give way. Straps were snapping and the whole thing was swaying. Per Doug's instructions, I hightailed it out of there and back to the coach while a few of the guys stayed to put out the bbq and take the tent down.

We never saw a tornado, but I've never been out in sustained winds like that. It was difficult to even walk (or run) back to the coach. And within 10 seconds our clothes were totally soaked.

Hopefully, tomorrow will dawn a little brighter.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Late Birthday Bob!

Sorry it got away from us, but we're sending you hugs and wishes for many, many more. Who knows? Maybe next year we'll get it on the right day!

On a brighter note, there are no pictures today because I took a nose dive into the gravel and jammed my left arm pretty bad. Nothing's broken but it sure is swollen and sore. I scraped up both palms and my right knee while I was at it. Fortunately I am right handed so I can continue to type the blog! Just a little bit slower.

More and more coaches poured into the rally today. Maybe tomorrow I can get Doug to climb onto the top of the coach and get a picture of all of us. Quite a few people canceled but we still have over 100 Alpines here. It's quite a sight to see.

The weather held pretty well today. It was sunny all morning and afternoon. But the potluck broke up a little early as the clouds rolled in and a few raindrops splattered. The forecast is so bad that the potluck breakfast has been canceled in the morning. And it was announced at the happy hour that the 4 wheel jeep ride in the desert on Saturday is canceled because so many of the washes are running with water. And this is before the big storm hits tomorrow!

, we are having a great time seeing old friends again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Tent Goes Up

The day started a little brighter with a few glimpses of sunshine.

And when the guys arrived to set up the tent, the wind started blowing.

They persevered and managed to get the roof of the tent up as a few more coaches rolled in.

New people arrived all day long and Doug was busy greeting them and helping them park. By early evening, over 50 Alpines had arrived. It's still a day early and almost 1/3 of the group is here.

Then the skies opened up and the wind tried to take the tent into the next county. Fortunately, Doug and a couple of the guys were inside to add dozens of bungee type cords to batten it down. You can't tell from this picture, but by dark, the ground was covered with small lakes and the washes were looking like rivers.

Except for a short happy hour in the tent, everyone stayed in their rigs.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Change in the Weather

Holey Mackerel! The storm that hit southern California arrived last night and our blue skies disappeared. About bedtime, we heard the pitter pat of raindrops on the roof and then a downpour. For a minute I thought we were back in Seattle.

We woke to gray, cloudy skies and wild winds whipping at our outdoor carpet. Doug has it staked down but he made a trip farther into the desert to gather big rocks as anchors.

Several more Alpines arrived today and Doug had fun helping people get parked and making new friends. We are going to have fun in spite of this weather. There's some really hilarious people in this group.

One of Doug's favorite people set up his own power post along with sewer and water. It sure turns people's heads when they see that out here in the middle of nowhere. Doug can hardly wait to make one of his own.

Tonight, we found out several of the southern California people will not be able to make it to this rally. The storm has caused flooding problems all over the area. It's really too bad after all of the beautiful weather we've had for it to change this week.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.......tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow, you're only a day away. (Thanks Annie)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back in the Desert Again

Our week at the Arizona Sunset RV Park was up today, so we filled the water tank and dumped the grey and black tanks and backtracked to Quartzsite.

We are out in the desert just a little ways away from where we were a week ago. Only the views are very different. The desert is absolutely loaded with rvs of every shape and size. We have seen two man pup tents and campers all the way up to a million dollar Prevost.

There are about a zillion rallies going on out here with some large groups. I don't think we would be here if it wasn't for our own rally. Too many people! And dust!

As you can see from the photo, the weather is still perfect. Since we are a couple days early for the gathering, we have no neighbors yet. But, by Wednesday, I'm sure we'll be surrounded by lots of Alpine Coaches.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Missing Weeks backtrack a little in our travels. About the time that the computer refused to start, we were in Desert Hot Springs, CA. The park is a Western Horizons park and the pictures of it are on the dead computer. Hopefully I will be able to rescue them.

After a week at Desert Pools, we headed to Palm Springs Thousand Trails in Palm Desert, CA.

We have stayed at this park several times and while it is a little crowded, the price is right (free) and we always meet friends from the past.

This time, Doug spent an afternoon with our good friends Clyde and Jeri assembling their new bikes.

Following our week and a half there, the next stop was the Colorado River Oasis in Ehrenberg, AZ. It felt good to be back in Arizona!

This is a great park with lots of room in the ample sites. Plus, the park was less than half full.

A short walk took us right to the Colorado River.

We especially enjoyed this funny looking duck. I've never seen a duck with a top knot like this.

After our week in Ehrenberg, we decided to do some boondocking. One of our favorite spots is north of Quartzsite, just off of Plomosa Road.

When we arrived on December 29, we pretty much had the desert to ourselves. The days were sunny and warm.......

and the sunsets were spectacular. We spent our days relaxing with me reading every book in the coach (still no computer) and Doug picking up rocks. (surprise, surprise) The swap meets in Quartzsite caught our attention a couple of times and it was fun to wander through the sales pitches. We did end up buying a new water pump when ours quit working.

We also took a day trip to Bouse, which was a big nothing. And drove to Parker a couple of times for groceries. We even celebrated New Year's Eve in the middle of the desert.

One evening, we had a visit from my son Mick and his fiance Adrianna, along with their three boxers. That filled the coach!

Eleven days off the grid, we desperately needed to get back to civilization and a full hookup park. Unfortunately, this time of year, there are no vacancies on short notice at any park in the area. We finally found a park in Salome that is in our budget and acceptable.

Actually, it's a very small park in Salome with mostly semi-permanent rvs but the Arizona Sunset RV Park is perfect for our immediate needs. Those needs being...lots of water and electricity for laundry. At the two week mark in the desert, we are completely out of clean clothes and our water tank is empty as well as our black and gray tanks being full.

The residents here are friendly without being intrusive and we'll be ready to head back to the desert near Quartzsite for some more boondocking with our Alpine Coach Rally buddies.

We did take some time to get back into geocaching again.

We found the Sandstone Mushroom geocache .......

The founder of Salome, Dick Wick Hall memorial geocache.....

And the NRV (No Real Value) geocache near the Harquahala Gold Mine which is now defunct. We have managed to keep busy since Doug loves to drive in the desert.......where there aren't any roads.......and lots of deep use the four wheel drive.

So, now you are caught up with us. We'll be leaving Salome soon and we'll keep you posted every day (almost) with our adventures. Happy trails!

My Apologies, Dear Friends

We haven't gone into hiding. Or fallen off the face of the earth. Or disappeared into the sunset. We aren't ignoring you. Or forgetting you. Or pretending you don't exist. We haven't quit caring. Or loving. Or being your family and friend.

We've just had a break, I guess you could say. Partly from the lack of a computer (now remedied), partly from not realizing how much you cared (definitely remedies) and partly from laziness. (no cure) Soooooo......

We promise to be more attentive to you! The blog will go on. Even when there isn't much to tell you and even when we are being boring and even when life gets in the way.

Later today I will play catch up with our travels along with pictures (a few) and an updated map. Stay tuned! We're baaaaaaaaaack!