Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

The motorhome is ready for Christmas
Christmas is upon us and it hardly seems like a year since out last Christmas but sure enough - it has been.  This past week has been very quiet for us.

We came onto a lot in the Foothills area of Yuma - next door to friends.  It has been great as it gives us a chance to catch up on some long overdue visiting.  Also, the weather hasn't always been sunny and warm so it's nice to have the amenities of electric and water - especially when preparing for Christmas.

This past week has seen sun, wind and rain - in fact  a total of just over 3/4 of an inch in two separate rains.  Hopefully this will make for a bountiful crop of wildflowers as the desert flowers are like no other.  It is so hard to believe the beauty that comes out of the arid landscape.

We went to a movie - Collateral Beauty - this past week.  I thought it was a great movie although I don't think everyone agreed with me.  If  any of you decide to go to see this movie, make sure you bring a supply of tissue.  The theater we went to had just undergone some renovations.  First, when you purchase your ticket, you choose your seats.  And the seats are true movie seats (but may be hard to keep your eyes open) as they are comfy, leather recliners.

As we go for our daily walk, we often come across some unusual things - this week it was a yard decoration.  Some folks are very creative, much to my enjoyment.

I hope each one of you have a wonderful Christmas that is filled with peace and health and happiness which will continue through the coming years.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Still Near Yuma

Starting of citrus trees
Another quiet week just north of Yuma in an area we call "the gravel pit".   This is a small area near a rock quarry that is reached by driving through an old gravel pit - hence the name.  It isn't very busy this time of year although people come and go on a regular basis.

A young cotton plant
As we go for our daily walk, we often see the farmers out working in their fields.  Nearby are both lettuce and broccoli fields.  When we see the amount of labour that goes into the production of these vegetables, we certainly have a new appreciation of how inexpensive some of our food really is.  With the exception of preparing the fields and planting of the crops, most of the work is manual labour - the weeding, the thinning of plants, and the harvesting of the produce.  The fields are quite small and the seeding is done so harvest is staggered. 

A couple of miles from us is a building that advertises "Field to Farm".  Of course we thought it meant a market so we walked over to see what kind of produce they had.  Surprise - there was no produce.  It was a little café and antique emporium that had a tremendous amount of items for sale.  Many items were quite reasonably priced if one was interested is such things.  They did have a little Chihuahua that had the same markings as one we had many years ago - but this one was much friendlier.  Instead of buying vegetables, I held the dog and then we had fish tacos.

Friday was a terribly windy day and the dust filled the air most of the day.  Fortunately, we were tucked into a sheltered corner and barely noticed the wind - at least until we went outside.  That's what happens when a cold front goes through as well as a drop in temperature.  On the most part, this past week has had unbelievably wonderful weather - warm, sunny and minimum winds - can't beat that.

I hope everyone has a great week in this final week before Christmas - hope to see you next week!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunny Days

We arrived in Yuma early in the week and it was a great chance to settle down a bit and relax.  We met up with friends and cousins (same folks) and finally are having a great visit with them.
A typical Arizona sunset

We thoroughly enjoyed Empire Ranch - an area of grassland steppe with a backdrop of the mountains.  The quiet was wonderful although one night I did hear the coyotes off in the distance.  The days were mild and sunny but the nights were a tad chilly.  We had decided to leave Monday morning and when we got up, the outside temps were 27F (or -3C) - way too cold for us so it was time go to a lower altitude - so here we are.

A baby tarantula
Our annual trip to Algondones was made this past week.  They serve delicious shrimp and fish tacos so we had lunch, checked out some of the vendors, bought our bottle of Kahlua (on $7.50 for 950 ml) and called it a day.  It was a fun day as we chatted with some of the vendors.

It is time for Christmas joy - I set up the tree and most of the decorations.  Certainly don't want to do it all in one day so have saved some for tomorrow.

A quiet week with not much to say.  All of you at home, stay warm, and hope you come back next week. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

On to Arizona

Things are a little slow today so this blog is a bit behind schedule.  Of course, I was set to get it out but I had an incredibly slow signal last night so thought I would try this morning - so far so good.

We started the week off in Bandera, TX at a neat little campground near Lake Medina.  You could often look out to see deer grazing nearby which is always a treat.  This is Hill Country in Texas- an absolutely beautiful area of the state.  We toured through a Natural Wildlife Area where we saw a mother wild pig with her babies following behind.

We stopped in at a hardware store in town - a big hardware store - which is always fun to look around in to see what one might find.  Also, the cowboy store again in search of a cowboy but nope, they were still out.

Then it is time to head west.  Now Texas is a huge state - 850+ miles across on the interstate.  It took us two days and we started partway through.  Of course, when it's time to head out, something seems to crop up.  This time it was a problem with the tail lights on the Jeep.  After much fiddling around (as well as a blessing or two😏), they seemed to be working so off we go.  Oops, not so quick - the step won't retract.  Underneath Gerry goes, makes it inoperable and we are heading out - but now it wants to work so put things back together as it seems to be working fine.  And we are off!!

 A couple of days later we stopped at Empire Ranch which is about an hour out of Tucson.  This gives us a chance to do some touring of the area, especially Tombstone and Bisbee.  Both these towns have retained the old look.  Tombstone cemetery is an interesting place to wander through and to see the various descriptions on the "headstones".  Anyone working in this town is dressed in the western dress as well as a show we attended of a shootout.  This was a comedy show that was really quite humorous and a fun thing to attend.

Off to Bisbee which is still a mining town.  Many of the old buildings have been preserved as we drove down several streets which were plenty wide for the mules and horses of the day but were barely wide enough for a vehicle to pass through.  And so many of the houses have been built on the side of the mountain - sorry but not for me.  There is a sign that it is a town of 1,000 stairs.  Gerry asked if I wanted to go up them but with it being late in the day, we decided that would have to wait for another time!!

Gotta love some signs
At Empire Ranch, the area where we are staying is a working ranch.  They have preserved all the old buildings of the original ranch which are open to the public.  There were many interesting artifacts including information regarding wages, etc. paid to the cowboys of the time.

The weather at the end of this past week has been cool - in fact downright cold at times.  But that isn't a surprise as we are quite high (in altitude) but wanted to tour Tombstone and Bisbee since it has been twenty years since we were in this area.  However, tomorrow will be moving day.  And it was cloudy a couple of days so with no sun to stay warm, we are grateful for our propane heater.  Now I must not complain as there are no snow boots or heavy jackets.

I hope everyone has a great week!!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tis Texas Time

Our stay in Robert, LA was at a Yogi Bear Campground.  The past weekend was full of activities for young and old alike.  In the morning they had the raising of the flag which was  
performed by Yogi Bear and friends.  These characters not only performed the flag raising but provided some entertainment with their antics - well done.

This past week has been spent in  the state of Texas. First stop was at Willis, TX which is about an hour north of Houston.  Our plan was to take a drive into Houston and see some of the sights.  That was a great plan until, when talking to others we found that the drive would likely take us over two hours each way because of the holiday traffic so we quickly nixed that plan.  Instead we drove into the town of Willis to pick up some groceries.  When crossing the interstate, the traffic was bumper to bumper for as far as we could see in either direction.  Good choice to stay home and relax.  We had a thunderstorm one night - hard to believe that we got about half inch of rain when the rain consisted of three or four short cloudbursts.  But when those clouds burst, did it ever come down.  A couple of days later when we went to leave, I pulled in the slide, and Gerry found out that yes, water does stay on top of the awnings over the slide for quite some time - he got a bath!!

It's time to move on so we went to Bandera, TX - about an hour from San Antonio (or as some locals say - San Antone).  We took smaller arterial highways in order to avoid freeway traffic and what a great drive.  Unfortunately, it was cloudy with showers, because it was very scenic.  We are now in Hill Country, and it is a very pretty area.  Today we took a drive into the city - good choice as very little traffic and we even found parking downtown for $10.00 for the day as opposed to the typical $20.00+.  We went down to the site of the Alamo which is well preserved and quite a large area.  The live demonstrations were well done and very enjoyable.  It is too bad that we are not history buffs as there is so much history in that area.  And the River Walk was terrific.  A brief description, as per Wikipedia, is  "The San Antonio River Walk is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San Antonio".  There is great landscaping along the riverfront which is mostly lined with cafes and shops, but what fun to stroll along.  We even took a boat tour along the river where we learned some of the history of the River Walk.

We are currently camped near Medina Lake which is near the town of Bandera which is claimed to be the cowboy capital of the world.  In the next day or so we will tour the town and surrounding area as it looks very interesting.

I went in to buy a cowboy but they
were out.  Hoped to have some more
in on Monday - stay tuned!
Now this week hasn't just been one of fun and relaxation - we did do some chores.  The windows got washed, the carpet got shampooed as did the upholstery.   Then it was time to relax.

Have a great week and we'll back next weekend.  In the meantime, I am going to try to add some more pictures in some different formats.  If it works, you may see a change in this post during the week,  and if it doesn't, it will just be the same old one.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Down to Louisiana

We have just visited the three B's - Broadway Avenue in Nashville, Beale Street in Memphis, and Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  What a variety of music and people.

We left Paris Landing State Park and headed down to Memphis.  Memphis has Beale Street which is "Home of the Blues".  There weren't a lot of crowds and we didn't hear a lot of live music; however, the live music mostly didn't start until 8 or later as opposed to Nashville, where the music seemed to go all afternoon and into the night.  It is also known as the birthplace of Rock and Roll.  This explains the bars owned by Jerry Lee Lewis and B.B. King.

And one can not help but notice the influence of Elvis Presley and his music.  I don't think there is an entertainer anywhere that still has the following as he does.  And the remembrance, archives, museums, and the souvenirs is like no other.  Of course we did all the tours - his mansion and the grounds, car museum, his two airplanes, and anything else that was part of the complex.  As part of the mansion tour, it is self-guided with the use of mini ipads.  Each person is given an ipad and a set of earphones, and it guides you through the various areas, gives you some history of it as well as video clips, music, and photographs.  The only part we could not access is the second floor where the bedrooms are located as family still stays there whenever they are in town.  It was all very well done.

On to New Orleans which took us a couple of days as we travelled down the backroads.  We are about an hour out of New Orleans so when we went down to the city, we made a full day of it.  We started out by taking a drive south of New Orleans  about halfway down the Mississippi Delta where we crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry.  It was a terrific drive and very interesting.  We were surprised at the number of people that lived along there, the number of farms that had cattle, and the fact that there were quite a number of citrus groves.  We bought some locally grown satsuma oranges that were delicious.  There also were a lot of ports and ships that seemed to be loading various cargo.

We had seen many houses that were built above ground but it seemed that anything new is built even higher.  There was a real variety - houses built on the ground,  some built on short posts, some on medium ones, and some on high posts.

The sights and sounds in the French Quarter are unique.  Many of the bars/restaurants had live music which was very loud.  The drinking laws are fairly liberal so many folks are walking around with a drink in hand.  Pedestrians filled the streets and the cars would dodge them as the streets were not closed.  Everyone was very loud, and there were many young females who chose to dress rather scantily.  The day was rather cool so I'm not sure what the attire would bring if it had been a warm evening.  Even young children were performing - mainly using plastic pails as drums and they were very good.

Another great week has come to an end.  I hope everyone had a good week and hope you stop by next week.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nashville and More

Some of you may find the photos a bit small to see. Just click  (single click) on the picture and it should open up much bigger.

This week was mostly spent in and around Nashville and if you want to have non-stop entertainment, this is the place to go.

Our first plan was to take the shuttle downtown to do some touring and to visit the infamous Broadway Avenue.  Well, it is absolutely amazing - it's right downtown and it's lined with small bars that all have live entertainment.  As you walk by you can listen to the music and when you come by one that is to your liking, just go on in and listen.  There is no pressure to buy a drink, you can just listen.   Since the entertainers are not paid for their performances,  you are encouraged to tip them - either by throwing something into the bucket that is onstage, or when they bring it around.  It is, without a doubt, a terrific place to go.

And of course you can't go to Nashville without going to the Grand Ole Opry.  During the
winter months, the Grand Ole Opry is held at the Ryman Theatre three times a week.  But as luck would have it, they were filming the CMA Christmas special at the Grand Ole Opry and we were able to get tickets.  The show lasted about three hours as they had to do some re-takes for the TV show which will be aired on ABC on November 28th.  Some of the line-up included Amy Grant, Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, Rascal Flatts, Loretta Lynn, Kelly Clarkson,  and others.  What an amazing venue and show.  They had asked not to post pictures until after the show is on TV so I won't be able to post anything until after that time.

The Opry Hotel is a hotel like none other.  It is huge (about 2400 rooms) and many of these overlook one of three garden conservatories.  One of them has a river run through it with a boat that you can take.  They each have several levels of walkways, through lush tropical plants.  This time of year it is decorated for Christmas which adds an additional touch of wonder.  Throughout the gardens are restaurants, waterfalls, and orchids as well as poinsettias right now.
We then went to a dinner show which was very close to our campground.  The show was terrific with some great singing and story-telling.  Unfortunately, the meal was nothing to write home about, but the show did make up for it.  There was a young, good-looking fellow who was studying music - had a terrific voice and certainly knew how to work the audience.

Finally we went on a tour of the city and various sites around.  We toured past several star's homes but the only ones that you could see are their former homes.  Any of the homes of current stars are in gated communities hidden by trees.  The driver did provide some great entertainment.

One thing learned - you best come with your pockets full of cash.  First you pay for your purchases (sometimes dearly), and then everyone gets a tip - the waiter, the cook, the busboy, entertainer, the dishwasher, and so on.  A bottle of water was a mere 4.25 (and we thought that it was expensive at the airport).  We bought a bottle (725 mil) of rum for the same price as two drinks.  And at the Grand Ole Opry - beer was 9.00/e and wine was 11.00/glass.  Down here that could buy three bottles of wine!!!

We then went to a Recreation Area called The Land between the Lakes.  It is a strip of land between two lakes (created by dammed rivers).  We went on a drive through some very pretty scenery. 

In all of this, there also was the American election.  Some seem to be astonished with the result, and some expected it.  At the end of the day, there is a new American President and I wish him well.

We also got some work done on the motorhome putting on our final personal touch.  You know the ones like:  add a shelf, move the garbage container (only took us two tries to get it right), hang a picture, replace a drawer slide, etc.  I think we are almost done so now it's time to just hang out and enjoy the winter.

Many of you are still having great weather - may it continue.  Until next week, enjoy!