Another gorgeous day in the desert....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We got up early and headed out on the trike for breakfast in the little town of Borrego Springs. We stopped and ate a leisurely breakfast at Kendall’s Cafe. The food was good and plentiful, the service decent.

From there we headed out to a stretch of land on the south side of town. Galleta Meadows Estates (see sign here) is privately owned land with basic privileges accorded to the public (including 3 days of primitive camping). What an amazing display!





In addition we saw wildflowers and cactus blooming everywhere. We wandered on both sides of the road, enjoying the amazing metal art sculptures....the detail was unbelievable. My favorite cactus is the Ocotillo, closely followed by the Teddy Bear Cholla.





Afterward we visited the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor's Center where we learned more about the area (including the fact that we don't want to summer here....124 degrees, GULP!). We then headed into town where we stopped at the Borrego Desert Nature Center. They had some really nice items but I was good and kept my hand out of my wallet. LOL!

A quick stop at the market in town for milk & yogurt and we headed back to the rig. The afternoon was getting too warm for my comfort, especially when dressed properly for motorcycle riding. I did manage to bring back one souvenir...carefully removed with needlenose pliers. Cholla is known for "jumping" out and touching anything close. I had already knocked one segment off my jeans earlier. These spines were deeply embedded in the side and bottom of my leather boots! (In other words, be careful out there....)





While visiting the sculptures we encountered someone worthy of Bad Nick's Blog. Most people were courteous and paused to let others pass, stood aside for photo taking....you know, the common courtesy things. While at the saber tooth sculptures we ran into two cars full of 30-40-somethings with several kids.

Okay, not a problem. They got the kids out to stretch their legs and walk between several of the sculptures. We stopped the bike and did the same...walking and taking photos. They ambled back to their cars as we did to the bike. We started up and they still weren't moving, they were chatting. So we backed up (they had the road ahead blocked) and took an alternate route.

We no sooner started up the other route than the lead vehicle started up and took off at high speed, swerving in the desert dirt, stirring up more than a little dust. I mentioned that I was glad we weren't behind him. Next thing we know, he's headed straight at us, still driving much faster than necessary and still swerving and spewing dirt & dust everywhere. You would have thought he was dirt track racing!

We quickly moved, once again, to another route to avoid him. We watched him continue on the dirt paths, spitting & spewing dirt everywhere. He was obviously on testosterone overload....and showing off for the kids. Keep in mind....this is not public land, but privately owned property where the owner is gracious enough to allow public access. It only takes one or two discourteous, disrespectful visitors like this man to loose access for the rest of us. What a wonderful example he was setting for his kids....NOT!

Ok, rant over.....LOL! Here is a shot of the moon over our campsite last night. This is the life....and tomorrow we venture north of town for the rest of these amazing sculptures.





Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

PS. See all the photos in our SmugMug album.

Reporting in from Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yes, we made it here...not a bad ride, in fact some of it was really pretty even if that was the last 20 minutes of the drive. LOL! It took us about 4 hours from Yuma and the weather was good. The wild flowers and cactus are definitely blooming. There was no place to pull over during that last 20 minutes so I tried to snag a few shots as we drove along. I also snapped a couple of the Imperial Dunes, just outside Yuma.





We scoped out the boondocking areas on Peg Leg Rd, just east of Borrego Springs. The first area looked good but we continued on towards town a bit. The second area looked to be more 4-wheelers & ATVers so we turned around at the airport and headed back over the hill to the first area. It didn't take us long to find a good spot for parking...with the solar aimed in the right direction.





Here is a picture of the type of bush that ambushed us back in Yuma, giving us our lovely desert pinstriping. Looks pretty harmless, doesn't it. Believe me, anything that can grown in the desert is FAR from harmless. LOL! Also a beautiful little lily growing all by itself, just beside our camping area.





We spent the rest of the day relaxing outside and reading. It was about 6:30 when we finally went inside and turned on the inverter. Love the solar...nice to have the quiet, especially out here where it IS very quiet.

Sunday we had planned to head over to The Spring RV Resort in Borrego Springs to meet up with our friends Bill & Dottie (the same folks we met for dinner in San Diego). They were here for the weekend along with a dozen or so other RVing friends from their church. They invited us to the progressive dinner and when we finally left at dark-thirty, we were STUFFED!!! What a great time we had...love seeing old friends and making new ones. We also got to meet their beautiful pup, Gabby, who insisted on showing us her "tender" side. LOL!





Sunday we took an amazing ride from here to the quaint little town of Julian, CA. We rode over via Yaqui Pass and came back through Montezuma Valley. Wow!!! We both had a blast, lots of twisties, beautiful views and a great lunch (with their famous apple pie) at the Julian Cafe. You can see the rest of the photos in our SmugMug Album, one for Julian and one for Borrego area (including the rides).





Here are some shots of the ride in both directions, including a street view in Borrego Springs.





We planned to head up to Joshua Tree from here and spend a couple of days in that area. Right now Wed-Thur looks to be some possible rain and definitely cooler temps here in the Anza-Borrego area. That means MUCH colder temps in Joshua Tree with lows in the mid-30's. Think we will stay here for a couple extra days and head northerly on Friday. Not sure how long we'll be in Joshua Tree but from there we plan to head to Quartzsite and on down to Ajo.

We are doing well with water...our sensor hasn't moved off full yet (showers tonight - yeehaw!). We are recycling as much gray water as we can into the black tank, keeping the gray water level down. Our solar is doing wonderfully, bringing us back to 100% after a full evening of TV and several hours of computers running as well. We have put power strips on 98% of the transformers and that has cut a lot of the phantom draw we were experiencing. We'll see how well we do with cloudy/rainy weather and staying inside all day. LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Don't know if we'll have Internet access...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Just a quick note before we hit the road today for the Anza-Borrego area. No idea what cell or internet access will be like. Same for when we move up to Joshua Tree National Park on Monday. We will pass through Quartzsite on the way to Ajo, AZ and do know that we will have access there...but don't know what day(s) that will be. Of course the last time I was in Ajo, the access there was terrible. That said, it does seem to be improving in more isolated areas so who knows, LOL!

Stu got a LOT of small maintenance things done, both on Freddie and KaZy. His list is getting short. I managed to deal with 75% of my phone calls and 90% of my paperwork, so I'm feeling good too.

Hoping the weather allows for some nice motorcycle riding...Twister is tired of being garaged. Big Red is ready to rumble for sure!

So, I will get the blogs done on Valley of the Fire State Park and the Midnight at the Oasis car show in the next couple of days...but no idea when I will be able to upload them. Bear with us!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Time in Yuma is winding down....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our time in Yuma is finally winding to an end. The leaks are fixed, the HDTV antenna is replaced, I got new glasses, Big Red got the recall & other service work done, Freddie is refreshed and ready to go....and we got to visit with a lot of friends.

We have really enjoyed our time here in Yuma and know we will one day come back. We really liked renting an RV lot rather than being in a park. Of course next time we may just boondock out in the desert.

From here we head to Anza-Borrego for a long weekend. Our friends Bill & Dottie are spending the weekend at The Springs RV Resort and we will boondock. After that we might run up to Joshua Tree National Park and then over to Quartzsite to dump & get fresh water. From there we hope to head down to Ajo where I have a good friend, Michael, who is an artist. I haven't seen him since the Gypsy Journal Rally in Casa Grande in 2008.

That should take us to early April when we hope the weather will be warming enough for us to start heading north here in Arizona, then on to the national parks in southern Utah.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Upgrading our rig....

Monday, March 22, 2010

While at the Gypsy Journal Rally Stu to get a few things done to enhance our rig. The Freightliner was the big one....thanks to the folks at Redlands Truck & RV service here in Yuma, he added several items to improve the performance.

It all started out so innocently...honest (or so he told everyone). He wasn't sure if the PacBrake was working properly. Since we will be meandering northerly through the Rockies he wanted to be sure we were at optimal braking capacity.

Well, it turns out there was an upgrade available that would not only fix any current issues but improve our braking. Done!

Of course when the guys get together, they have to talk overall performance. Once again, talk of the Rockies brought out concerns about going up those same mountains. So he added a chip to improve performance. And of course that really wouldn't work optimally without adding a high flow air filter and muffler. LOL!

Next came KaZy. At the Escapade in Gillette where we met (2008), Stu purchased some stabilizer struts for the front levelers on KaZy. In the fall of 2008 he started installing them. One went on fine...the second one, not so easy. Seems as though there were parts of KaZy that conflicted. So the project stagnated.

Fast forward to the Gypsy Journal Rally and Winfield RV Products. Seems as though they had a different type of stabilizer. Rather than try to explain it, here is a photo.

The stabilizer sold by Winfield RV Products is a Cross Brace Stabilizer. Here is a pic showing it installed on KaZy.


When Stu first talked about the braces, I asked him why we needed them since we were doing just fine without them (or so I thought). He said it helped stop the jiggling of the rig when someone was walking around. Now if you are solo, you don't realize it because you are the one walking. I knew that when Stu didn't put down our rear levelers we would get some wiggling but until this point I had assumed that the rest of the wiggles were just something to get used to.

Nope! With this Cross Brace Stabilizer I no longer feel Stu walking around the RV. I also noticed that there is much less vibration when the washer is running. Nice! Fortunately once it's installed, it's easy to prepare for leaving and parking. In addition I was told that installation doesn't normally take any out of the ordinary tools.

Considering the first set of braces cost Stu over $300 at the Escapade and the ones from Winfield RV Products go for $199 (plus tax/shipping), I am really pleased. Anyone interested in buying the other style support? We've got two for sale....

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

Viva Las Vegas... Part Three (final)

Garth Brooks...the entertainer. We had tickets to the Garth Brooks concert at the Wynn Hotel. Stu had been to one of his concerts, I had only seen him on television. But nothing either of has had seen before prepared us for this show.

We had 10th row seats and the stage was set with a bottle of water sitting on top of a stool with a guitar propped against it. Hmmmm....where was the band? Trick stage? Would they rise up, come out from the behind the curtains?

Nope...this was Garth unplugged...Garth like you've never seen him before. Chatting and talking to us like we were in his living room. He started talking about growing up with music in the house. His dad was all Haggard/Jones. Garth was listening to the music his older siblings were playing...Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Doobie Brothers. You get the idea....

He spent 2 1/2 hours talking, playing, taking requests, interacting with the audience and even surprising us all with a guest appearance by his wife, Trisha Yearwood. She did a song, they did a duet, then she did another song. WOW!

We laughed, we cried, we sang, we cheered....a totally amazing show. His voice is better than ever! I came away knowing more about him than ever before and becoming and even bigger fan.

Because the weather was so nice and the campground so convenient and NOT crowded, we opted to stay an extra day. We did some sightseeing on the motorcycle this time around. First on the list was the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign...this symbolizes to me the Las Vegas I saw 20 years ago.





We headed back through the strip area towards downtown. Next on the list to see was the pawn shop featured in the reality TV show, Pawn Stars. There was a line outside and we were told it would take 20 minutes to get inside. I think it was closer to 10 minutes and we were in. The store is much smaller than it appears on TV.





We wandered down one side, looking at the displays of merchandise for sale. We recognized several things from the show. When we got to the back of the store they were selling souvenirs. This was where the "stars" of the show would come out for photos and autographs. We meandered a bit, no one showed and we had no inclination to buy anything so we started up the other side of the showcases.

We were about halfway to the front of the store when I heard a voice I knew...I turned around and yup! There was Rick Harrison, owner of the shop, right behind me. He was showing a friend around and I asked if I could take his photo. He smiled and agreed and then Stu jumped in to compare haircuts. LOL! I also got the Old Man at the back of the shop, but we were at the front so the pic is pretty fuzzy.





From there we headed to Fremont St for more sights and sounds of the older Las Vegas. Since it was still daylight, it was pretty quiet. We roamed a bit then stopped at a local pub for a beer before heading over the Las Vegas Harley-Davidson dealer.





It was getting dark as we headed back to the KOA...it gave me a chance for a night shot of the Stratosphere Hotel. As we took the last walk through the stores in Circus-Circus, we saw a t-shirt that said it all for us!





All in all, we had a great time in Las Vegas. Would we stay at the KOA again? Yes. If we were in a hotel, we'd try to book one about in the middle of the strip. The only other thing we'd do differently would be to take advantage of the kiosks selling "day of show" half-price tickets. Might see some interesting shows that way!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu