About Us

Chris and Dennis are traveling around the country seeing the sights and occasionally volunteering at select locations. We avoid the interstate as much as we can and tend to stop for squirrels and shiny objects.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Touristy Stuff and a Departure - Yuma

CastleDomeOur stay in “Canada's Southern Most City” wouldn’t be complete without hitting some of the tourist sights in the area. So much to see and do in a short time so buckle up, this ride makes frequent stops and detours.

As a trading and transit hub, the Yuma area is rich in history and diverse in culture. Any visit here can be quickly filled with the quirky, the oddball, the normal, and endless combinations of all three with little or no effort on the part of the visitor. So we’ve found out for ourselves this winter season along with the fact one visit is simply not enough if we wish to see it all.

 

 

 

MardiGrasStPattyWhat happens when you get a bunch of 'seniors' in one place with temperatures in the 80's? We've found the usual result is just about any excuse for a party. What has me puzzled is “Where did these people come from?” “How did they get here?” and what have they done with all the serious parents and grandparents we knew as we were growing up. Prime example: we are no where near New Orleans but someone in the park heard “Fat”, another heard “Tuesday”. They put the two together and a park-wide Mardi Gras was formed. Last week one of the residents mentioned how much he enjoyed corned beef and cabbage. You guessed it, St. Patty’s Day party followed shortly after.

PDesertbarrel_and_skullIn the “normal” category; a day trip the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Martinez and the Painted Desert Trail. Starting at the visitor center we met a fellow volunteer host who was trying out camping in the desert for the first time. A hard worker for sure, the center was clean and well kept with perhaps the exception of some pretty old and beaten up mounted animal displays. Outside, the rains of January and February had yielded an explosion of blossoms in plants, bushes, cactus and of course weeds.

tortoiseA pleasant surprise was the desert tortoise habitats around the perimeter of the visitor center building. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a tortoise and turtle on the best of days but I can definitely tell the difference from a rounded boulder and something that isn’t a rounded boulder. Especially true when the not boulder blinks. I know it was a desert tortoise because there was a placard proclaiming that very fact.

painted_landscape

flowerbushflowercactusA short distance down the road from the center is the Painted Desert Nature Trail, a 1.3 mile trail from gullies to ridgelines and back again, featuring the variegated colors and terrain of the seared land. After the hike in the overly warm temps I could swear there had been mistake in the length of the trail with someone reversing the numbers!

 

CastleDome2Later in the week brought us a a touch of oddball mixed with historical in a visit to Castle Dome, a recreated mining town featuring abandoned buildings and artifacts dating back to the late 1800's.

CastleDome3Similar to many towns of the west, this ghost town of silver mines showcases items not only of mining endeavors but the simple, everyday things used to make a living and life out in the desert. We all found it amazing people seemingly dropped everything and walked away when it no longer remained profitable.

 

CloudMuseumFor a touch of quirky blended with historical the Cloud Museum, just outside of Bard California, fills the bill. IMG_20170314_143249939Covering over 2 acres the museum , as noted by the Model T Ford Club of America, “probably the largest collection of Model Ts in the world; each and every one lovingly returned to running condition by Johnny Cloud. No idle boast as Johnny will gladly start up any of the vehicles despite the dilapidated, rusty, exterior.

Though mostly known for the vehicles, there is also an eclectic collection of period tools ranging from industrial applications to those commonly found in the home in years gone by. Mr. Cloud is usually less than a shout away and seems to have a sixth sense if you have a question regarding any of the exhibits or artifacts.IMG_20170314_144517567

IMG_20170320_150056790Oatman1For truly oddball we recalled information from our travels down here last year describing another mining town where the tools of the prospectors left to fend for themselves are now in charge. I speak of the donkeys of Oatman and while they are considered wild because no one owns them they are demonstrably quite civilized in their behavior. This calm demeanor could be their personality but I’m thinking a good portion of their considerable patience results from waiting for the next opportunity to part tourists from purchased carrots and feed pellets. The cost to the donkey? Enduring camera flashes and an occasional scratch behind an ear.

Oatman2Located on old route 66 which is also the main street of Oatman, the donkeys can be found wandering outside and in some cases inside the shops filled with local artwork, curiosities and sundry trinkets in this quaint assortment of Americana.

Our own role as tourists has come to the end for we are now slowly wending our way back north. We are hoping to drag a bit of the summer with us as we come. We’ll have to see.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Where are the little people? – Yuma


This week will mark the second month we've been down here and it just dawned on us, probably due to the grandkid's birthday; there are very few little humans about. Okay, I'll grant you school is in session so they've been locked up as they should but even on weekends we've not seen much more than a handful. Short of creepily hanging out at playgrounds and schoolyards, we probably won't see the critters much and to be honest, I sort of miss the miniature terrorists.
Of course, when I do begin to ponder on such critical things invariably along come proofs where it is not a lack of the children but rather my observation skills having fallen woefully short once again. An example was just last night when, while minding my own business hunting down the not so illusive ice cream parlor, a sound rivaling at least a hundred screeching chalk boards arose. Thinking they were filming another episode of Jurassic Park I rushed to see what was going on. Sadly, upon rounding the corner the truth was revealed as we were presented with a 3 foot tall tantrum spewing young male of the species who simply was gong to die if he did not have the bright orange shoestrings instead of the lime green ones.
Now that I write about it, more examples begin to flood back into my mind as I review the memories. Its sort of like playing a movie of a train wreck over and over to capture each and every nuance. For instance when I was observing the cereal aisle theorem of snowbird Walmarts versus local Walmarts I do now recall seeing the crumb snatching, curtain climbing, mucus factories loudly proclaiming what brightly colored box of sugary fluff they preferred and had to have RIGHT NOW!
Don't get me wrong, I like children, especially those who go home with someone else. As a keen observer of the human condition there is quite a bit of entertainment to be had when you have parents and their children out in the “wild” so to speak. The interaction and resulting chaos stemming from adults attempting to create structured environments outside of the home is something to behold and definitely defies description.
If you are just starting as an observer you will quickly find this is not true when it is grandparents out with their grandkids. First off, while they may be considered adults, grandparents are often times living through their second, third, or more childhood (or have simply forgotten they are adults). Yes, there is a possibility I'm speaking from personal experience.
I digress. Back to the subject at hand, one of the primary reasons for the grandparent/grandkid contradiction is simply put, because the children do eventually go back home with someone else. This relieves the grandparent of any obligation of creating a structured environment and/or establishing any rules of conduct. For my son when he reads this, now you know why we buy the loud, obnoxious toys instead of the soft quiet ones. We can easily imagine all the fun you are having.

Enough drivel. I wrote about kids because I find myself missing our grandkids this week as they celebrate their birthdays – yes, we did mail off some loud, obnoxious toys. To Rebecca and Ariel, happy birthday. Talk your parents into taking you to the store. Visit the cereal aisle.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A little of this, a little of that - Yuma

rainy_day_HDRLast week we had high winds and dust storms followed by an odd occurance for Yuma - rain. Being past camp hosts in Oregon and hence considered experts in the quality of rain, I must say we were impressed. For almost a full 24 hours we had a steady albeit light rain fall; some say it seemed like the yearly rainfall for Yuma all wrapped into one day. After the 3 days of strong winds and dust storms it was a welcome relief and an air cleanser for sure. Now to dispose of the sand dunes inside the motorhome.

One of the questions we got this past month is “What neat things have you seen?” and that brings us to a confession of sorts. For the most part, we have tended to stay close to the motorhome and not really do the tourist thing. We work on our hobbies, read, do maintenance and basically just kick back. It boils down to what we are doing and full-timing is a lifestyle, not just a never ending vacation. Shoot, if we stayed in vacation mode every day we would quickly become totally exhausted and definitely pennyless. So, we do what most people do in a home, ours just has wheels and okay, yea, we go vacation mode alot more often.

roadrunner2Case in point, my sister and brother-in-law will be arriving down here in about a week and in anticipation of their vacation, we have put off visiting some of the more popular sights so we have something we can experience together. I figure this coming month will be our vacation too. Of course that doesn't mean we haven't already done some neat stuff on our own.

As you might have gathered in our last entry “Observations” we do spend a good deal of time people watching and in order to do so, we have had to visit those places where people tend to congregate. While Walmart can be an outstanding place to observe the human condition, another more realistic one is a venue called The Arizona Marketplace. This outdoor flea market initially had us envisioning something like the massive market we found in Quartzsite last year. marketplaceSadly, that wasn't the case during our first visit with vendors outnumbering the shoppers probably 2 to 1. At first I was a bit confused, here we were in a relatively warm, sheltered marketplace with all sorts of things to see and yet there weren't very many people. Okay, I'm just a tad slow – the reason there were so few people was they were all at the show in Quartzsite! Since the RV show concluded things have picked up in earnest and our weekly visit to the marketplace is now often met crowds that make it difficult to walk the aisles without bumping into someone.

On the bright side, the large number of people make for excellent people watching conditions and unlike Walmart we get the added bonus of the occasional people with pets. Interesting side note here: things can get really fun if you happen to have a squeaky toy. Not that I would ever carry a squeaky toy – out in the open. We'll leave it at that.

Tonight we'll be cooking outdoors. Nothing special since we usually do so when the weather allows. I only mention it because we will be dining with the sunset.

sunrise_yuma_1