Sunday, January 22, 2012

Big Eye Mine

While at our gathering in Wellton, AZ earlier this month (I'm really far behind in my blogging), Kurt took us on a jeep trip to Big Eye Mine. It's located in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, north of Yuma. The scenery on the drive there was gorgeous.

We first made a stop at the Colorado mine. There is a tunnel there to go through that seems to have no purpose, as you can easily go around it. Perhaps they were just looking for gold veins and didn't find any.

There was more beautiful scenery here -

Along with a big hole in the ground. Don't get too close, guys!

There were also 3 old graves.

And lots of rusty stuff!

Big Eye Mine is located at the end of the road, from which there is a 15-minute uphill climb to the old cabin buildings.

Where there is more rusty stuff! (I'm in heaven here!)

A little further uphill is the old mine, which operated in the first half of the last century.

Because of the rain we had in early December, the ocotillo were bright green all over the desert.

On the way home, we passed under the "Eye in the Sky," a remote-controlled tethered balloon that soars up to 15,000 feet above the desert floor. It is the first of 11 Aerostat Radar Systems spaced evenly along the southern border all the way to Puerto Rico.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This Has Been the Warmest Winter Ever!

I have been coming to Yuma every Christmas/New Years for a long time now, and I think this is the warmest weather we've ever had! The temperatures have been in the upper 70s - WOW! The BLM land behind the VFW is a popular spot.

The only downside is that big yellow thing on the left, but what the heck - I love trains!

New Year's morning we all came out in our PJs.

I was the Belle of the Ball in my Winnie-the-Pooh PJs and my Tigger friend. Who would have thought that I would get so much use out of these PJs?

After our Yuma gathering, we moved over to Wellton to Kurt's gathering.

It's a really nice spot, where you can walk along the canal -

Until this guy comes by and sprays water all over you...

After the heavy rain that we had one day last month, the desert looks like it has been spray-painted green.

Once again, Kurt took us on a trip into the Barry Goldwater Range. You have to get a free permit in Yuma, and sign your life away, to enter the range.

You have to agree to:
Detonations from falling objects
Live bombs, rockets, etc.
Mine shafts
Poor roads
High temperatures
Venemous reptiles
Lack of water, food
Etc, etc, etc....

And believe it or not, we found a rocket!

And a whole lot of beautiful scenery - more on this later!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What I Spent in 2011

Here goes!

Gas $ 2,131
Not very high because I mostly stayed in Arizona this year.

Groceries $ 1,923

Repairs and Tags for car and trailer $ 1,883
Includes 2 new tires each for the car and the trailer, plus a new axle for the trailer.

Camping Fees $ 1,849
I spent 2 1/2 months in RV parks in Mesa and Prescott when it got too hot, the rest is dry camping.

Photography and Computers $ 1,455
No new computer this year, but my 4 new cameras cost $1,053. (It's an addiction...)

Entertainment $ 854
Eating out, dancing, and a few tours

TV, Internet, and Telephone $ 995
Would be higher, but I share them with Phil

Vehicle Insurance $ 801

Clothes $ 538

Propane $ 298

Miscellaneous "Stuff" $ 1,153
This includes non-consumable supples and unaccounted-for items. The biggest item was my new TV and mounting bracket for $ 154.

So far, the total is $ 13,880, and it looks pretty good. But here are the killer items:

Health Insurance $ 4,644
Fortunately, I recently got other insurance, so next year should be under $ 3,000.

Medical and Dental $ 7,522
I had quite a bit of dental work done this year, and I refuse to have it done in Mexico.

So now we're up to $ 26,046.

I have not included non-RVing expenses, such as the trip to Tahiti, the trip to my son's wedding, or the trip to my father's 90th birthday party.

I have also not included income tax or the cost of new vehicles (none this year) or the loss in value of my current vehicles.

Another note - I am not trying to be particularly frugal. If I see something I want, I buy it. (Hence all the cameras...) But I always try to get the best deal possible.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas With the Grandkids

I drove the car over to San Diego to celebrate Christmas with the Grandkids (and their parents, of course...)

Cookie decorating was first on the list.

Do you think Mara might take after her Grandma a little?

Finally, Christmas Eve arrived.

The kids left cookies and milk for Santa, plus 9 carrots, one for each of the reindeer. Gee, we never used to leave carrots for the reindeer, but now it seems like everyone does. I just hope they don't get too fat to fly...

The present opening on Christmas morning went so fast I barely had time to get any pictures. Mara got her long-awaited Wii.

And Jonathan was pretty happy with his Battleship game.

Santa seems to have made a slight boo-boo, but Jonathan fixed it right up.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Next up - what I spent this year - down to the penny!