Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

Merry Christmas to all our readers.  Katie and I are happily visiting family in San Diego and hope you are with people you love over the holidays, too.

Here is my Christmas Card - from me to you:

  Here's the beautiful Christmas tree in the new house - it was partially up when I got here, and the grand kids and I finished it while presents were being wrapped in another room.  Shhhhh.

Gavin wrote the letter to Santa, and he replied.

And here is Katie's Christmas Card - from Katie to your pets:

We hope Santa was good to you, and that you have a joyous Christmas Day. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hot Springs LTVA for a one-night stopover

Last night we had a little lighted VW parade through our campground.  This was the second parade, there was also one a couple of nights ago.  Both times I was already buttoned up for the night.  The first time, I heard all this honking outside and when it didn't stop, I thought there might be an emergency, so finally raised my shades and took off the window coverings I put up when it's really cold overnight.  And here they came - it was super fun to watch them drive through. I got my camera out, but not in time.

Then last night when I heard honking again, I grabbed my camera and raised the shades fast, and got a "kind of good" photo.  They looked great!  I should have run outside and asked them to stop for pictures.  :)

Katie and I left Imperial Dam LTVA this morning, took care of water and tanks and then drove to Yuma to the Walmart.  We drove the back way; I hadn't been on these roads before, and it was really scenic.  Next time I'll take the freeway, much better roads, but this wasn't too bad.  Lots of farming and beautiful fields being watered in the warm sunshine, with large stands of palms along the way.

I've seen nurseries in San Diego County with huge palms for sale.  I wondered if these were for sale:

And then I saw this business:

So I guess all the mini-forests of palms are here for the dates.  If it was later in the day or warmer outside I would have stopped for a date milkshake - they are delicious and were sold at some of the businesses I passed. 

As we neared the freeway, I saw all these birds just hanging out on this structure over a canal and all the wires:

And the Cormorants (thanks heyduke50 and Karen, I originally wrote "vultures") - I was a good distance away, so this is as close as I could get, but there were probably 30 total hanging out on these wires:

I love birds-on-a-wire shots.  :)

And so on to Walmart.  I was out of so many things and doubled up on some items that I have trouble finding when I'm not near a Walmart.  $250 later, OUCH!, we were on our way to Hot Springs, which is right off Highway 8 West on the way to San Diego.  We are only here for one night, and will drive on tomorrow to my son and DIL's new house.  I can't wait to see everyone and the house, too!

Along the way we passed Imperial Dunes, which must be a wonderland for people with dune buggies and ATVs.  Here's the best shot I took along the way, look at all the tracks.  Some of the large dunes had tracks going straight up to the top of very tall, steep dunes, and, I assume, over the other side and down.

Some of the dunes off in the distance with the canal along the freeway:

And an hour later we were on the bridge - which has been repaired - going into the Hot Springs LTVA.

Last time I was here was after leaving Santee Lakes RV Park where I stayed for a month. I was recovering from major surgery, and was just getting back on the road.  I drove here to find the bridge out and a difficult washboard road along the canal to get in and out of the campground. There is only trash pick-up here, no dump or water, so you have to drive into Holtville, a town close by, to dump grey and black tanks and get fresh water.  I wasn't very excited about driving those canal roads in and out, so when it was time to get more water, I just drove out and continued on to Quartzsite.

This time the bridge has been repaired and that makes such a big difference, plus the fact that I'm healthy again.

Katie and I walked down to the Hot Springs after we got a campsite, and walked all over the place.  I wasn't able to to that last time. I did walk to the springs once, but it was too far in my condition. Today it was a breeze, and we continued on walking.

Katie made some new friends, or enemies, I don't know which.  Three tiny Chihuahuas, one was 2, one 6 like Katie, and one was 16.

The older dog got too close to Katie and Katie went after her.

Poor old dog, she wasn't doing anything wrong, but there was too much going on and she was just a little too close.  Katie would never bite, but she snaps, growls, barks and jumps at the dog, all at once it seems, and then it's over.  The few times she's done this, the other dog has always backed off.   You can see the poor little dog running away and Katie  kicking up some dust.

Nice way to make friends.  Here I am talking about how nice it is that the dogs all get along, snapping away at them taking lots of pictures, and suddenly there's an "issue."  

We continued on our walk - and I saw something weird on the side of the road between the RVs.  I walked up to it and a woman came by and told me it is a large bee's nest that was under a tree near her rig where they had put a box that they use as a step from last season. People put things under the tree when they leave because it's large and overhangs to the ground, with a nice hiding place inside where it's pretty sheltered from the weather. When she took out the box after they arrived this season, she was attacked by bees and dropped the box.  It flipped over and that's when she saw the hive inside. She was stung about 25 times, as was her husband.  Both were stung on the face and head.

The camp hosts roped off the area and put up a sign attached to the rope to keep people away.

An exterminator came out and killed the bees and dumped the hive on the side of the road where they can keep an eye on it. There were still bees flying around it, but most of the thousands of bees were dead, and the poison on the hive will kill the ones that were still around.  It must have been really awful for the woman and her husband.   And, of course, the bees.

I'll bet there was some good honey in these hives. They were lined up row after row in the box, each row covered with bees, and the inside rows filled with honey.

Quite an exciting day after a very quiet week at Imperial Dam.  Tomorrow we drive the hour or so to San Diego, actually Carlsbad is where Tom and Trish's new house is.  I'm sure looking forward to seeing everyone and having a week's visit with my kids and grand kids.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  From me and Katie, have a great Sunday evening, everyone!  :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Slowly heading to San Diego for Christmas

Not much going on to blog about right now, but here's the latest on where we are.

Katie and I are traveling to San Diego for Christmas.  My son is hosting this year - Tom and Trish moved to a new home this week so we'll get to see them and the grandkids and the new house, too.  My daughter Kristy and SIL Matt and kids will be here after Christmas, so I'll get to see everyone.  I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year!

Quartzsite went from warm to cool very quickly last week, and we had rain Thursday night and all day Friday.

It was windy and cold, too.

I brought in all the chairs, my little table, feeders, wind chimes, outdoor mat and solar lights and stowed them in The Palms before the rain started.

Then on Saturday morning when I woke up it was still cold and rainy and I needed to dump tanks and get fresh water and propane...  so I thought, if I'm completely packed up inside and out, I'm heading south today!  I was going to leave soon, anyway, and the weather forecast for the Imperial Dam LTVA was warmer than Quartzsite.

These are the rigs in La Posa West visible from the highway - as you can see more and more people are coming every day. (You may have to click on the photo to see them all.  Most are a little further back from the highway.)

I got fresh water, dumped the trash and tanks and then I made a quick trip into Quartzsite to get propane, gas and a few things at the grocery store, and we were on our way.

I wanted to visit Imperial Dam LTVA where the wild burros are.  I loved having them nearby when I was here in the spring.

I stayed at Imperial Dam LTVA for six weeks in March and April this year - late in the season when most of the RVers were gone.  It was blazing hot by then and only a few RVs were left.  I wanted to see what it looked like during the season, to see if I want to spend more time here from now on, and less in Quartzsite.

When we got here last time, I was only two months post-surgery and still recovering.  I wasn't feeling great yet,  so between my low stamina and the heat, we didn't explore the area much.

We are up high overlooking the road and the water and fields and mountains across the road.

In the afternoon, there is the softest light across the way as the sun is setting.

This is a small campground on a rise overlooking the road to the main LTVA with the fresh water and dump. This area only has trash collection available, and you have to travel up the road a bit to get water and dump tanks.

Yesterday Katie and I took a walk down to the canal and walked along it a little, then later in the afternoon we walked along a road paralleling the main road to the Christian Center, which is nearby.  It was a beautiful day.

I liked this sign - they should be posted wherever fishing is allowed.  Some of the places I've been that have fishing are full of broken bottles, cans, pop tabs, fishing lines, hooks.  A real mess and dangerous, especially in sand where the stuff might be right under the sand to be stepped on, or in the shallow water.

I used to love to fish, it's really fun, got me outdoors, and most times provided a good dinner.  But if fishermen can't keep the area clean and picked up, they shouldn't have the pleasure of fishing there.

American Coot swimming in the canal.
A small flock of American Coots fishing on the way up to the dam.

I think we'll stay here for a week, and head toward Hot Springs LTVA which is on the way to San Diego.  I e-mailed the ranger for that area about the bridge, which was out last time I was there. It was a royal pain to drive along the dirt washboard road along the canal, and then back to the camp area when a simple 3 seconds over the bridge would have been soooo much easier.  He e-mailed back that the bridge had been repaired and was open for travel, so I want to see for myself what it looks like now.

When we leave San Diego I'm not sure where we'll head, probably stop at Hot Springs and then come back to Imperial Dam until the weather in southern New Mexico is warming up.  I plan to spend the summer in New Mexico again, using my Annual State Park Pass.

That's about it for now.  If, hopefully, I get to see the wild burros before we leave, you can be sure I'll be posting that day.  I heard them, very loud braying, yesterday afternoon.  They were in a small canyon at the other edge of the campground and I couldn't see them.  I was out walking with Katie when I heard them, but I didn't have my camera and it was too far from The Palms to put her inside.

I'm still worried about having the burros near Katie after all the horror stories I heard last time about burrows killing small dogs. The other day my neighbor, who said he's been coming here since the early 60's, said he has never heard of the burrows hurting any dogs, so I don't know, but I'm not taking any chances.  I kept looking over in the direction the braying came from, but never saw the burros.  This morning there were tracks. :)

Can you see the burro tracks?

From me and Katie, have a great Tuesday, everyone!  :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A visit to the Nudist camp

I'll bet that title got your attention!  Okay, keep reading.

This is  my Christmas Tree - it has little red jingle bells for ornaments and is hanging from a little hook Velcrowed on under my bed mattress.  It's perfect!  I really like it and it's right where I can see it all day.  After Christmas it will be stored under my mattress in the corner so it will be completely out of the way.  This is exactly what I was looking for last year.

And that's my Christmas Amaryllis Bulb that Hazel brought me a while ago.  It's really growing. If I remember right, when the flower starts coming up, it will be MUCH taller, and I'll probably have to put it on the floor.  It's going to be interesting to see how tall it grows and what color the flower is. :)

This is where Katie always stays when my duvet is in the laundromat being washed. She loves that down comforter!
Class A being towed on a flatbed out of the camp area.  I've never seen this before.  What  a bummer for the owners!

Hazel and the Greyhounds came over for a visit yesterday afternoon.  We had a nice visit, as always, and Hazel and I decided to visit the Nudist Camp right down the street from my campsite.  It's right across from me and down a little.  Katie and I walked right past it on a couple of our walks, and I didn't realize it.  Of course, the rigs aren't right on the road. :)  There is a little sign with an "N" and some arrows, but I didn't know what they meant.   Last year some of the Dingbats were taking about that area, saying they had driven through but had never seen any people.  Well, let me tell you...

But first, here are some things of interest in that campground area.  They have some beautiful, very tall and multi-armed Saguaros there.  Many more than where I am.  Must be God's way of keeping everyones eyes looking up.

They have tons of beautiful Saguaros in this area.  This one is super tall and has a dozen arms, I think. New green arms are growing from the bottom.

As we were driving along we noticed three men in different places walking around their rigs sans clothing. It was a beautiful warm day with a slight breeze; I guess it was perfect for nude-ness.  I've never been in a nudist camp before, but at this point in my life, not a big deal from a distance. I will say, though, they were all a very dark brown (like the nude bookseller in town, Paul Winer) and I hope they use sunblock!

When I saw these, I was jumping out of the car with my camera.  Someone made some beautiful rock art.  There are four of them, and they are very big.  I had to hold my camera up as high as I could to get a decent shot.  Kind of like crop circles, but smaller, if you are familiar with what those are.

I saw the man below heading toward his rig, completely naked.  He was parked right near the circles above and may have been the rock artist.  Of course I wasn't going to go over and ask him about them.  I would have if he had clothes on.  Hazel said he was walking around outside the rig while I was there, so maybe he was waiting to tell me about them.  "Sorry, Charlie.  No shoes, no shirt, no pants, no conversation."

When I got back in the car, he turned to go into his rig and I was going to snap his photo from the rear.  I would have posted that one as is, but at the last minute he turned around.  I definitely got more than I bargained for, and it wouldn't have been fair to post his picture in my blog so I put some digital scrapbooking graphics over him.  A loin cloth and a facial disguise.  I didn't want him to be recognizable, and I certainly didn't want to be publishing porn.

If you are interested in camping in a clothing optional area, there is a place here where you can do that.  There were little rigs, big rigs, some very expensive looking rigs, some plain sites and some decorated very nicely - all kinds of people just like the rest of us.  I'm not that brave, but it's nice that a lot of people are that free. When you wake up in the morning, you just never know what you're going to see that day. ; )

From Me and Katie, have a great Sunday, everyone!  :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beautiful kitchen window view

How would you like this view out your kitchen window?

Another reason to spend the winter at Quartzsite. : )

And again, the following shows how much time I have on my hands.  ; )

Yesterday I was watching Katie laying on the couch. Usually when I pull out the camera she stops what she's doing, but this time she continued on with her little nap.  She had done this once before, and I wanted to get the photos.

Sleepy Katie - ready for a short nap with her paws in the quilt.

She puts her feet inside the folded quilt - nice and warm.

This time she got the blanket in her mouth and opened up the fold.

Aha!  Now this looks cozy. 

...and so she slept for a little while.  zzzz zzzz

Nice and rested.

A pretty big stretch for a pretty short nap. :)

This is what's been going on with my humming bird feeder:

First the feeder had ants - I washed it out and returned it to it's branch along with some flypaper strips.   They've been working well to keep the ants from walking down the wire hanger, but I still haven't seen a hummingbird in this site.

We had our second visit from the Gila Woodpecker.  It was fun to watch it preening, pecking the Ocotillo branches and getting nectar out of the feeder.

Thinking about flying to the feeder.

In flight, trying to land. See it's yellow underside?

Finally made it.

Then the Gila Woodpecker hung on the Ocotillo branch and stretched and stretched.

That was a few days ago, and I haven't seen another woodpecker in days.  I moved the feeder this morning to the other side of the Ocotillo and now we have bees.  Katie and I took a long walk and when we got back, it was filled with dead bees.  I had to fill the big holes - you can see the rock on the right that the bees are still trying to feed around, but at least they can't get in and get trapped.  I was hoping the bees wouldn't deter the hummingbirds, I haven't seen any feed here at this site yet.  So, we've had ants, bees and woodpeckers so far. 

Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw movement and snapped this quick shot.  He is on the other side where the feeder was, hopefully he'll come back.

From me and Katie, have a great Wednesday, everyone!  :)