Sunday, January 15, 2017

Transition to BRRRR

This is a week that we fly home to visit the family, and to remind us why we enjoy going south for the winter.

We started the week still at Borrego Springs.  Almost daily we climb up the mountain behind us to look over the valley below.  The climb is not difficult, particularly if you take your time.  This area is very popular as trails lead in many directions so we follow a different one each day. 

This was also laundry week and as we walk around as the machines are doing their work, you often see some interesting things.  This week  we saw this motorcycle and side car with it's custom paint job.  This would definitely be more comfortable than riding behind someone. 

Mid-week we flew home which turned out to be quite the excursion.  Since the internet had been quite slow, I didn't check-in early so we got to stand in line.  One family in front of us - this should be quick and easy.  What a surprise!  After about a half hour wait, they finally opened up another counter.  We were checked in and on our way before the poor family before us - with two little ones.  Not sure what the problem was?  Then on to Vancouver.  They must have changed their system as it seemed to be the first time they put folks through customs and on to a connecting flight.  The signs apparently were in the wrong places because if you went to where they said, you were directed somewhere else.  Oh well, we had lots of time!  Next stop - Calgary, and then home.  It is getting late, we are on the plane and take-off, only about a half-hour late after we had to wait for some connecting passengers, and then to de-ice.  Oops, there is a fast moving blizzard when we get to Regina.  After attempting to land three times, and circling for forty minutes waiting for a break in the weather, back to Calgary we went.  We were treated very well - we had a new flight once we landed, and we each received vouchers for breakfast.  Finally we arrived home just before noon (only nine hours late) to a wind chill of -43C.  For those not familiar with centigrade temperatures, just remember -40 is equal to -40, regardless of whether it is centigrade or Fahrenheit.  The good news, our daughter Kyla was able to pick us up so we only had to experience those temps for approximately three seconds - easy to handle.

Here it is, three days later and the temperatures have warmed to a low of -15C.  The days are sunny and bright, with no wind, and a prediction of a January thaw this week.  That will be so nice for the folks that have been cooped up for the past couple of weeks because of the terribly frigid weather. 

We head back mid-week to enjoy the rest of the winter.  I hope you have a good week!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Borrego Springs

This past week has been spent at Borrego Springs - a neat little California town just south-west of Palm Springs.  We met up with a group of folks from our 4-wheeling club and spent some time out on the trails.  Of course, anything we go on is relatively easy - especially in comparison to what some of them can and like to do.

While the area is all desert, it is amazing the different kinds of terrain that entails.  We go near sand dunes (or on them if we wish) and I love the design the wind makes as it blows the sand around.  On occasion, we find a source of water and one or more palm trees take root and grow.  We went on one trail where we found Una Palm (one palm although that is no more), Five Palms, and then Seventeen Palms.  At Seventeen Palms there is a mailbox which contains a number of notebooks that people have signed over the years.  There are also areas of canyons - some you can drive down, and some you can only walk down.  I tend to avoid the walking ones as they are very narrow with high, straight walls - a little too close I must say.

We are currently parked along some hills/mountains.  I'm not sure exactly what they are other than they are quite rocky and have dozens of walking trails.  On the top of one there is 
a nice flat spot where someone became quite creative and built a huge rattle snake.  Over the past few years, other things have been added such as a flower, truck and camper (which recently has been dismantled for some reason) and a ram's head.  Some folks can be very creative when making a photo out of rocks!

Normally we have a potluck brunch on New Years Day - well unfortunately, this year it got cancelled.  The wind would have carried the food away.  In fact, we have had a couple of pretty windy days.  It's surprising how many things tend to bang and rattle in the night.  Sometimes that loud bang(s) is nothing more than the fireworks from New Year's Eve.

Dick Avery (from Avery labels) lived in this area and a number of years ago he commissioned an artist to make some sculptures.  They are all around the town and are terrific.  I have included a couple of them as they are certainly something to see.

We stopped at a service station to put some air in our tires.  While there, this unusual vehicle pulled up so I went to have a look.  It was a car/motorcycle sort of thing - two wheels in front and one in back and made by Polaris.  I asked if I could take a picture and the driver was more than happy to oblige.

While the weather has not been real warm, it has been pleasant (the days the wind doesn't blow), and sunny.  And if we think it is cool, we just check the weather at home and decide that we will enjoy this great weather.

I  hope everyone has a great week!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!!

It’s time to say good-bye to 2016 and to look forward to 2017.  As we look back, we are thankful for many things – our family who are always a source of pride and joy;  our friends with whom we  enjoy visiting; our own good health which has allowed us to have new adventures and to enjoy life as we prefer.

Afternoon coffee Christmas day

We just celebrated Christmas with friends in Yuma.  The day was pleasant – sunny and mild, the meal was delicious, and the friendship was fantastic.  It is almost the perfect combination.  Throw in some family and the grandkids and one couldn’t wish for anything more.
Fresh roasted coffee beans

One of the gifts we got was some hand roasted coffee.  While the entire process takes a while and probably takes more care and time than I would like, it makes a  marvelous cup of coffee and  the smell of the ground coffee is unbelievable.

 Our plans were to head out to Borrego Springs mid-week but that ended up being delayed.  A bit of a glitch held us back a few days as we had to wait for some parts.  Once they arrived and were installed we were on our way.  An early morning windstorm was a bit threatening  but it quickly lessened, the wind changed direction so we now had a tail wind which is the ultimate conditions when driving an RV.  There was some rain for about two-thirds of the way – more like a drizzle but enough to make an awful mess of everything so both Jeep and motorhome received another wash.

We passed a field of lettuce being harvested and I can’t imagine having to make a living as a vegetable field worker.  Every single head of lettuce is hand picked and wrapped in plastic before placing it on a conveyor belt only to be taken by hand and put in a box to go to the distribution centre.

 Then we pass the Algodones sand dunes.  With it being New Year’s weekend, they are full of all sorts of vehicles as enthusiasts race up and down the dunes.  They are also quite spectacular to see with miles of huge mounds of pure sand.

 At Borrego Springs we meet up with some folks and we will do a bit of off-roading.  Today we went up Grapevine Canyon – an easy trail up to the top of the mountains.  The view is every-changing, and beautiful – definitely one of my favourites in this area.  Tonight we celebrate New Years Eve –likely watch TV and see the ball drop in Times Square in New York – that is only 9 pm here so the timing is perfect.

I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2017.  Happy New Year to all!!!