Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Finally -- the big day! The servers are ready to fork over the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing.

The pot luck side dishes were plentiful.

There were about 80 WINs at the big event, most clustered in the shade. The temperature was in the 70s, but the sun was warm.

I am so thankful that I not only get to spend Thanksgiving with many of my friends, but also with my sister, Barbara.

We had barely finished dinner when storm clouds gathered. After the shower, were were treated to a beautiful rainbow.

New to Borrego Springs this year is a series of metal sculptures of prehistoric animals that were native to the area.

This mammoth tried to trample me!

The detail is great -- just look at those eyelashes.

Of course the WINs can't get together without going dancing. (Have to work off all that food) We went to the American Legion one night.

We were a little short on men, so June found a cute neighborhood guy!

Another night we went to the Hog Trough Saloon in town, where Tin Star played a mixture of rock, funk, and country.

Every year, we make the trip out to Font's Point at sunset.

The Borrego badlands turn a great shade of orange just as the sun goes behind the mountain.

Another day we went on a hike through "The Slot."

Some places were really a tight squeeze.

I was just hoping there wouldn't be an earthquake.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back with the WINs for Thanksgiving

The WINs' Thanksgiving celebration in the desert is one of their largest gatherings all year. Located just outside Borrego Springs, CA and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we are surrounded by mountains.

On the way here, I stopped off at Holtville Hot Springs. This is a great hot spring, well maintained, and easy to get to. It's just east of the Van Der Linden exit of I-8, and is visible from the interstate.

Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California, and contains 500 miles of dirt roads. The most popular hike is the one up Palm Canyon, to the little oasis of palm trees in the distance.

This year, I finally got to see some Bighorn Sheep. There are five in the picture, although they are hard to see. Just look for the white butts.

Another thing we always do is the trip up to the tiny town of Julian for one of Mom's Apple Pies.

They do a booming business!

Today we got our 12 precooked turkeys, and some of the guys carved them while the women supervised. The smell was heavenly, and I can't wait for the feast tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hanging Out in Yuma

I spend a lot of time in Yuma every winter, it seems, so it's hard to find anything new to write about. I'm parked on this tiny popular piece of BLM land next to the VFW. Next to the highway and the railroad tracks, it doesn't seem too attractive, but it has its advantages. The trains are fun to watch, and there doesn't seem to be as many of them this year. Is this a sign of the economy?

Another fun thing to watch are the hummingbirds..

And every weekend, the local paintball enthusiasts gather to shoot it out amongst the multi-colored trees.

Each year their setup gets more elaborate.

There's dancing almost every afternoon at the VFW. This VFW post is rather odd, in that it is a 3-sided building, open on one end for tables, dancing, and train-watching.

You can run over to Algodones, Mexico for huge margaritas, and inexpensive drugs. Oooops, I mean medicine. I stocked up for the whole year.

The downside of going to Mexico is the long line to get back into the US, but it seems better this year -- only 30-45 minutes. And the Mexicans have built a nice canopy to shade the line.

Back home, we're treated to a gorgeous sunset.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

NASCAR by a Newbie

Last weekend I went to not one, but THREE NASCAR races at the Phoenix International Raceway. I know I look goofy-- I should have a hat with a car number on it-- but at least I'll be able to hear when this is over!

I knew Max was also going to the race, but what are the odds of his seat being right in front of ours?

Friday night was the truck race, which started out badly when there was a crash on the first lap involving Ron Hornaday, who started out in the pole position and was one of the leaders in the standings.

The race was eventually won by his teammate, Kevin Harvick.

Saturday was a 200-mile car race won by Carl Edwards. I didn't like our original seats, so we moved closer to Turn 4, where there were lots of empty seats, and a lot of crashes happen. Unfortunately, I then missed Carl's famous back flip that he does when he wins, but you can see an earlier one here.

I thought Clint Boyer's car looked like it was put together with giant Band Aids!

Sunday was the big race, 312 miles long, with all the famous drivers, like Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The eventual winner was Jimmy Johnson, who started in the pole position.

Once again, I didn't care for the seats because it was very difficult to see. Maybe if I knew more about what was going on....

I did have a great view of the pits, though.

What do you think this guy was selling?

There was an interesting crash where one car ended up on top of another. Fortunately, no one was hurt. I could only see it on the TV screen.

So once again we moved, since there were some empty seats, this time to the exit from Turn 1. I think I've found the perfect seat! That's Jimmy Johnson out in front.

A great view of a restart.

The race had an odd end, I think, with a crash after the checkered flag, right in front of us.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Moving Down the Colorado

I've been following quite a bit of the WIN's CUACK circuit (CO, UT, AZ, CA kayaking), which started out in El Jebel, CO, met up with the Colorado River, and eventually ends up in Yuma. I don't have a kayak, and don't really enjoy racing down rivers with the WINs, but finally at our stop at Five Mile Landing near Topock, AZ I found the kind of kayaking I like -- paddling around a marshy lake.

Judy lent me her kayak and I had a great time dodging dead trees and looking for ducks. I really liked the squiggly reflections of the trees.

From Topock, we moved south to Lake Havasu City. We had a real deal arranged at an RV park for only $6 a night, because they weren't very busy this early in the season. We were boondocking, but had use of the facilities, including the swimming pool and hot tub. Time for the WIN Olympics!

Here's Bob with his entry in the cannonball contest.

Lake Havasu City is best known for being the home of the London Bridge. It was purchased from the city of London in 1968 for $2.5 million. It took another $4.5 million to transport and rebuild the bridge. It opened here in 1971.

Each piece had to be numbered so it could be reassembled correctly. If you look closely between the swallows' nests, you can still see the numbers.

Of course, we wanted to go dancing, and we found it at the Golden Horseshoe, practically across the street. Billy Gambler sings 5 nights a week, and he was terrific! What a great voice.

A good time was had by all, as shown in Joey's photo. I left the group after this stop to head to Phoenix for the Nascar race, a new experience for me. More on that later!