Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm About Ready to Burst!

I have seriously eaten WAY too much over the last 2 days! First was Vicki's Thanksgiving day dinner that she puts on every year for her mostly-WIN friends in the Yuma foothills. She is really the Hostess-with-the-Mostest!

There were 32 guests, and, of course, way too much food.

Including 7 huge pies! We all took home leftovers.

Then today was Bill's 70th birthday. Linda managed to invite us all over and have a surprise party. There were supposed to be 70 cupcakes (but I counted 84...) -

And 70 suckers, along with 70 fortune cookies.

Bill really was surprised, and probably more surprised that Linda invited everyone to kiss her honey.

The men declined, but June and the other women lined up!

I'm in Yuma for at least a month, and actually staying in a kind-of RV park - a large lot in the Foothills made into a mini-RV park with 12 spaces. I plan to do lots of dancing to hopefully burn off some of the calories I've consumed over the past two days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ribs and a Revolution

When I got to Mesa, AZ, I finally got to see my sister, Barbara, after a long absence. She and Ron invited Phil and I over for dinner. We brought some ribs that we found super-cheap at Basha's.

Only no one had a basting brush - oh well, a paint brush worked fine.

Tuesday, I moved on to Yuma, where the WINs were gathering behind the VFW. Yuma has a nice flea market where I went yesterday. I thought these strollers were a riot - only in Snowbird country would they sell these fancy strollers for DOGS!

Also yesterday, Barbara, Ron and I went just across the border to Mexico to get some drugs. Whoops, I mean medicine. But what a day we picked!

Turns out it was the 100th anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution. This year also marks the 200th anniversary of their independence from Spain. There was a huge parade in the tiny town of Algodones. There was a queen and her court -

And a lot of kids dressed as Mexican Revolutionists with their toy guns and bandoliers.

The girls had equal opportunity to participate.

Some cute little boys even had facial hair!

Now some totally unrelated things - my friend Joey has some shelves and drawers on her dinette that I thought were really clever. Large dinettes are usually a waste of space, but she has made maximum use of hers.

And lastly, I've been working very hard on this Barbie dress for my granddaughter. (Don't look, Mara!) It was more work than I thought it would be, so I hope she likes it. If you'd like the pattern, it's here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Strange and Unusual Things I Have Seen

I'm currently in Mesa, AZ, taking care of yearly medical appointments. Since I don't think anyone wants to hear about that, I thought I'd do a post on things I've seen since I started RVing that are strange, unusual, or difficult (but not impossible) to see.

I eliminated things from 2010, and things on my Top Five list here. They are in no particular order, but the first 3 are in California.

Back in 2006, my daughter, Corrie, and I went on the Photo Caravan Tour at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly called the Wild Animal Park). The giraffe feeding will certainly never be forgotten.

The world's largest free standing boulder is located at Landers, CA. Just ask any local where it is. This rock has an amazing history involving spies and aliens from outer space! Read the whole story here.

My third unusual adventure in California was a boat trip to Anacapa Island, near Oxnard, CA. Not hard to get to, but very beautiful and not a popular tourist destination.

At the end of April, the whole island is covered with flowers, with seagulls nesting among them.

In 2008, before the trip around Lake Superior, the WINs had a gathering at a member's home near Chicago. He got us invited to a tour of Place de la Musique, a private estate nearby. To see more pictures and read about our tour of this amazing place, click here.

After the trip around Lake Superior, we met at Ely, MN, an amazing town at the edge of the thousands of lakes in the Boundary Waters. I went on a float plane to see the area. Wow! My pictures are here.

Later that summer I got to go to Crystal Mill, near Marble, CO, on a difficult 4-wheel drive road. I'd wanted to see this for quite a while. My post on the adventure is here.

One of my favorite places is Glacier National Park in Montana. In 2006, I went on a helicopter ride to really see the park. The glacier-carved walls and mountains, along with the many lakes, are truly spectacular. See more pictures from the ride here.

The rest of my unusual things are from Utah. Last year when I went on a houseboat trip on Lake Powell with some fellow WINs, I finally got to see Rainbow Bridge. I even got to walk under it, which is usually discouraged. More pictures here.

Utah has lots of petroglyphs, but one of the biggest is Procession Panel, near the top of Comb Ridge in southeastern Utah. It contains 179 figures in what is thought to be a funeral procession. Difficult to find, even with directions, I lucked out.

Canyonlands National Park contains the most remote areas in the Lower 48, and the site of my last 3 picks. One of my favorites is the confluence of the Green (on the left) and Colorado Rivers, which divides the 3 sections of the park.

I've actually seen it 5 times, 3 from the ground on jeep tours and twice from the air, but it remains amazing to me. You can also see it by boat. Photos from my latest jeep tour are here.

In a separate section of Canyonlands is the Grand Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon, a pictograph panel containing several dozen figures. This is the most famous of the images on this panel. Named "The Holy Ghost and Companions", the images are taller than a person.

It's a difficult hike, 7.5 miles round trip, where you have to climb out of the canyon at the end of the hike in the hot sun. I barely made it!

My last spot is the saddest. You used to be able to take a jeep ride 10 miles to Angel Arch, the largest arch in the park, in the Needles section of Canyonlands. But the road has now been closed. You can still see this view of 135-ft tall Angel Arch behind Molar Rock, but it's now a backbacking trip.

I hope you've enjoyed my "strange and unusual things." Maybe you would like to share some of your own?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Road to Fulltiming

I've been asked to explain how and why I came to be doing what I am doing.

My first experience with camping (other than Girl Scout camp) was in my parents brand new 1964 Chevy Greenbrier camper van. My sister and I slept in the tent on top. Okay as long as the wind didn't blow too much...

Then in 1970, my parents got a truck and slide-in camper. My ex-husband and I went on our honeymoon in it - this is a picture of our wedding night!

Skip forward to the mid-1990s. My kids were in college and I was a self-employed CPA, primarily doing taxes, so I was able to travel a lot when it wasn't "tax season."

I realized I could travel for months at a time if I had an RV. So I bought a 19-foot Nomad travel trailer and the first of two Jeep Grand Cherokees to pull it.

I met up with other single RVers at campouts with the Virginia LoWs (Loners on Wheels), then later with the WINs.

I hardly ever stayed in campgrounds with electricity, but I managed to find it whenever I had some work to do. (My laser printer would not run off an inverter.)

I was having a wonderful time, but every year I had to come home to this! So I finally figured out that I could either have a house and a job, or have no house and no job. The second option sounded better to me!

So I sold the house and the business in early 1999, and took off for good.

Unfortunately, I had a major setback in July 1999 when I went for a walk in an Oregon forest and came back to find the trailer in flames. Fortunately, my dog was with me, and I had disconnected the car. Notice that the only thing that didn't burn or explode were the propane tanks! I still don't know what caused the fire.

But within days, I had a brand new 21-foot Nash trailer with the same layout as the Nomad. And I had a wonderful time shopping for the perfect things to replace what I had lost.

In 2003, I got a new tow vehicle, a GMC Yukon. Then in 2007, I replaced the Nash with a 23-foot Arctic Fox. And then in 2012, I replaced the Yukon with a GMC Sierra truck.

So that's a little about my fulltiming history.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seniors Gone Wild!

The WINs had our annual Halloween party here at Lake Havasu Sunday night.

I wore the Tigger jammies that I wore at the Bandera, TX dance rally pajama party last April. Notice the "Dirty Old Man" chasing me...

Here you can see the whole outfit while I try to help John turn on the flash of his new Canon camera. Turns out I had my finger over the flash...

Of course there was plenty of food.

We all brought either an appetizer, a dessert, or wine. (We're too old to worry about a healthy diet!)

After "dinner," we all paraded around so the judges could pick winners of the costume contest.

Here are the finalists.

Linda demonstrated what happens when you play golf with Jody. (It's a good thing Jody doesn't read the blog...)

Corey and Kurt were a scarey witch/vampire couple. Corey's outfit was beautiful, and the black makeup was great.

But this is my favorite - Claudia made this outfit for 47 cents and 2 days of hard work. She is the ultimate "bag lady," making the whole outfit, hat, shoes, and jewelry included, out of plastic bags.