Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hello's - Goodbyes - and Donkeys

Today started with another fine sunrise.

After the sun had risen it was once again time for our morning walk.
Like we do each day - we take the Doodles for a nice stroll.

Today the wild Burros of Imperial Dam were along our path
and served as the backdrop for todays self portrait.

While there, the lighter colored Burro made a lunge at Lucy.
I think Lucy's presence was upsetting to the Burro.
Oddly - Lucy stood her ground.
Ron & Stan stood up to him, chased him back, and saved the day.
Gracie hid behind me as usual.

Ron (L) is coming to Alaska with us.
Stan (middle) is a new friend from NJ - my old stomping grounds.
Last night Stan hosted a hot dog roast.
Lots of Hebrew National Dogs make for a good night!
We called them Grilled Doodles.

Today Ron & Maxine packed up the party bus and headed up to Lake Havasu.
We will see them again in May in W. Glacier, Montana
at the start of our Alaska trip.

At 430 we had our usual desert happy hour.

Our happy hour group.

During our happy hour the Burro's decided to make another visit.

Just another day in the desert.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Food Fires & Friendships

I've been a bit negligent in getting posts out.
Our last post was a week ago and we were still at the Montana
Circle in Quartzsite.

Since then we moved 80 miles south to Yuma where we spent 3 days in
an RV Park washing the dust off of our Doodles.

Then leaving the RV Park we headed 20 miles back north to the BLM area
by the Imperial Dam and are back boon docking in the desert.

We are here with 5 other rigs enjoying the warm days and cool  star-filled nights.

The last sunset at Quartzsite

Our new home in the California Desert
Our rig is the second from the right.

Another shot of our encampment.
In the foreground is our fire pit where we have our evening campfires.

During the day the ladies have been doing crafts of various sorts.
Me and the Doodles lock ourselves up in the RV and get to work.
The Doodles help me with my accounting.

As the shadows get longer and the day starts to get cooler I emerge from
the RV to partake in the nightly activities.
Each night we have had a group dinner/happy hour.
Here the gang is outside of our rig for dinner last night.

This morning we had a group breakfast.
Everyone brought a dish and it was a great feast to start the day.
Everyone struck up a Katie Pose for the group photo.

Tonight we had Hot Dogs at Stan & Marilyn's Rig, then
like most nights - we capped off the day with a campfire.
A neighbor of our plays the Dulcimer and we enjoyed listening to
him play while the stars put on their evening display.

Tomorrow some friends will start to drift off as our little circle once again
begins to dwindle.  Each headed to new adventures down the road.

We will remain here thru Saturday at which point we'll head back to Casa Grande
to do the Dog House Monty Shuffle and get ready for our journey eastward.
But first we'll have the watch the Broncos whip some Seahawk butt.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Return to Earth

Today started out with a magnificent sunrise.
My problem however, was that I had the wrong lens
on my Nikon and could not find my camera bag
as the White Tornado had swept thru the RV and hidden it away somewhere.

Being the good husband that I am,
I let her sleep and missed capturing the amazing light show.
Eventually I found the camera bag hidden behind the couch
just in the nick of time to grab this last dying albiet subdued glimpse.

All I can say is you shudda seen it 10 minutes earlier!

Then later this morning we were sitting inside with a cup of coffee and heard
this whoosh…whoosh sound.
It took me a minute to realize it was the Big Greena Balloona again.
I ran outside and it was right over the trailer - about 5 feet over it.
So I run in to get the camera and pop back out and by then
they had drifted off a bit.

10 minutes later they were soaring up up over our heads.
They were taking advantage of slight variations in the wind directions
at different altitudes to drift north south east and west.

20 minutes or so later they were back..  this time crossing over the Montana Circle
so I went to investigate.
I soon realized they were preparing to land.

Working the burner - you can see the flame in the picture below - the just barely hovered
while the ground crew gently and calmly helped guide the big green fellow
towards the back of the pick up truck.

The calmness of their demeanor reminded me so much of both docking the
sailboat and backing the RV into tight spots.
For some folks those are stressful situations that are accompanied by
lots of yelling and screaming.
Kate and I get a kick out of watching them in action.
For others…   nice and easy does it.
These guys were the nice and easy crowd.

A couple of puffs on the burner and the gondola lifted gently into the back
of the truck where they tied it down with straps that were at the ready.

The crew then laid out the big blue tarp that the envelope would be laid down upon

Next they started to release the remaining hot air from the top vent,
and in a couple of minutes it was on the ground.

Then - like squeezing icing from a chefs pastry bag - the pilot
worked from left to right squeezing the remaining hot air from the balloon
so that it laid neatly on the tarp ready to be rolled up.

And just like that…  The big Greena Balloona was done for another day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

La Luna Balloona

Seems like there is always something going on in
Quartzsite when the RV's invade.

It must be all those satellite signals, the moon and stuff…

Everyday there are ultralights and aircraft making low passes.
Dirt bikes, dune buggies, and Off Road Vehicles.

Yesterday and this morning however a new visitor arrived upon the scene.
A Hot Air Balloon made an appearance over the
circle and slowly drifted - often just about the ground - slowly across the
desert, slowly towards the Northwest.

I was inside and received a text from Ron alerting me to the visitor.

I immediately went on a foot chase to position myself.

After bashing cross country a mile or two thru numerous washes, 
I finally got to where I had a nice unobstructed view.

Here the waning moon shares the sky with my big green visitor.
To the left of the cactus you can see the chase crew making contact.

Now here I was about 2 miles from the RV and had to turn around and walk back
into the sun with no sunglasses…  I left them in the camper.
Such is the level of roughing it these days!

Later after everyone was up and about we went on our morning walk minus
Kristi who was feeling a bit under the weather.

Today Kate and I had to drive up to Lake Havasu City to pick up a package
that had been sent from the office.
Its about an hour and a half each way but a pretty drive and we've never
been to Havasu so it was a good opportunity.

Along the way we paralleled the Colorado River for much of the ride.

LHC is famous as the home of London Bridge.  Having been purchased
and moved, piece by piece to Arizona where it was reconstructed.
It was this bridge that put Lake Havasu City on the Map changing it from
a tiny dusty desert town into a resort destination.

The bridge was actually built on dry land and then the  channel was dredged
beneath it creating the island to which it now connects.

At the eastern end of the span are shops and walkways under the span.

From up on the bridge.

Today was the last day of the Montana Rally and some of the folks
have already left.  Many will be staying longer and we will be here till Friday.

Even as our circle shrinks in size however - the desert around us continues to
fill with thousands of RVs from all corners of the country.

It is snowbird season once again in the Great American Southwest
and the flock is here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Quartzsite Rally - Mid Point

Its hard to believe that tomorrow we'll have already been here for a week.
Our quiet little piece of desert is now filled with RV's of all shapes & sizes.
Old and new friends have gathered from far and wide.

The circle was filled..
The ultralight flew by…
The aerial photos have been taken.

When we arrived we had a nice quiet spot with a good view of the desert.
As more rigs arrived our little corner became congested with
the noise of generators running late into the night so we decided to
pick up and move further into the suburbs.

The circles are ours and Rons rigs…
We moved across to the other side of the circle.
We now have a nice view again and no noise.

While the ultralight was circling overhead taking photos,
another Rally participant had this very cool remote controlled drone with
photographic capabilities.
It took this picture below.
You can see Kate in the middle - I'm right of her with the Doodles,
and our buds Jim & Kristi are immediately to the left of Kate.

The ultralights make low passes by our rigs

Last night at sunset a group of us meet for dinner next door at Ron & Maxines.
We roasted some veggies, cooked some steaks…
Polished off some wine..
and watched a glorious moon fill the sky.
The moon is so bright here at night…  it's delightful.
Each day the weather is a gift…
Each night a delight.
Such a beautiful place to gather.

Some nights the sunsets are a beautiful shade of yellow/orange

Other nights a reddish orange.

This morning as I walked Gracie I got to enjoy last nights moon
as it slowly descended into the Western Sky.

For some reason the Satellite Dish searching the sky for a signal and the
moon below it caught my eye.

I wished I'd caught it a few minutes earlier when it would have been up in the dish.

Today was the group potluck dinner.
This meant a huge assortment of great food.

After we ate we posed for a group photo.
I set the tripod up in the back of my truck, set the timer and then jumped off
and ran into the photo.

Later after the sun set a group of Luminaries 
(little hot air balloons with candles to light as well as provide lift)
took off and rose into the evening sky.

It was a beautiful sight.

Some folks light them in memory of dear ones lost.

A peaceful flight to all.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quartzsite Rally - The Circling of the Montanas.. Day 2

Its Weds and the "official" start of the Rally was yesterday
but other than the increase in the number of Rigs here it would
be pretty hard to say it didn't really start last weekend.

Today started out like most days…
After a couple of Expressos we saddled up the Doodles
and went for a nice walk with the gang.

One of the nice things about our walks is getting to enjoy the desert plant life.
In order to survive in these harsh conditions plants (and animals) must learn to
adapt or die.

A great example of that adaptation is the Palo Verde Tree.   
The Palo Verde Tree often is without leaves or has very small ones in order to conserve moisture.   
Normally however it is the leaves that produce the food for most trees thru photosynthesis.
The Palo Verde Tree has chlorophyll in its bark so that much of the food for
the tree is produced by the bark helping to conserve moisture within the plant.

Along the way Kate and Stan found an example of one of the desert inhabitants
that did not learn to adapt and paid the price.

After our walk it was into the office and work for me while Kate and the girls
went into town to see the growing amount of vendors gearing up for the
big RV (and junk) Show/Flea Market that starts in a couple of days.

As in previous years an RV Dealer brings a number of new Montanas
to the circle for all to see.  Throughout the day as I worked in the office I
could see more new 5th wheels showing up in the circle.

Then at 4:30 it was time for Pizza & Beer and some live music.

Hobo Bob of Duck Dynasty is here and Kate got to dance up a dust storm with him.

A couple of big guys watched the Katie and Hobo Bob Show

The days activities are posted on Johns Trailer…
Another packed day!

After Pizza hour I went to help complete an install of an electrical monitor
that I've been installing in one of the Rigs.
Its always nice when you put the fuse in and it turns on.
Was there ever any doubt?

Then the light of another day begins to dim

The campfire in the circle is lit once again

And another day in the circle…
Comes full circle.