Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day

Where Are We Today

 (click on pic to enlarge)

Pilot Knob RV Resort at Felicity California is where you find us today, Christmas Day. We were up early, 6:30 a.m. MST, so we could call all our family back home before they out and about. Two families out of six were up, the rest were in bed yet.

Sun Rise

We wait and watched the sun come up on this beautiful morning, clear blue skies with a little chill in the air at 49* F. Within two hours we had managed to reach everyone back home and wish them all a Merry Christmas.
Making sure that we had an early breakfast, because of the early afternoon Christmas dinner, finished the dishes and then outside to enjoy the day. As our neighbors came out we would wish each other a Merry Christmas and chat about our connections back home and our enjoyment of the grand weather we were experiencing today.

Crop dusting helicopter flying over

Camp ground entrance

Club House

Humming birds at our feeder

Merry Christmas from Pat, Clemson and myself

Friends George, Rob, Pat and Suzie

Pat relaxing in the sun

As time approached for dinner, it was time to get spiffed up for our Christmas gathering at the club house. There would be 10 of us including Pat's sister Gayle and her husband John.
The park put on the dinner of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean salad, roll, sweet potatoes,  cranberry sauce, and apple or pumpkin pie for dessert, all for $10.00 per plate. It was delicious!

All of us at dinner

Happy hour

14 Ontarian s enjoying our time together

Dinner over and it was time for Happy Hour, so back to our place where there ended up with 14 of us, all from Ontario and B.C. As 5:00 p.m. approached it was time for us break up this party and everyone headed home.
We had one more connection to make back home. That was to my sister Liz's place, where she and B.I.L. Bruce , hold Christmas dinner for my parents and my other sister Carol and B.I.L. Brian. If we were at home, we would have been there also.
We were trying to do a "Hangouts" video call, but had some technical difficulties, so between using the computer and the phone, we did manage to wish each other a Merry Christmas.
Another beautiful California sunset

 The rest of the evening was casually watching TV and of course, writing this post and no more eating today, were stuffed.
Hope you had as great a day as we did, spending time with family and friends. Thanks for following along, until the next time, take care and be safe.


Thursday, December 22, 2016


Where Are We Today
Pilot Knob RV Resort
Felicity California
My loving wife Pat, has recently been jokingly teasing me about the Christmas movies that I watch, over and over again. Even some of my children have joined in. They are not the old classics like Miracle on 34th Street or White Christmas but the newer ones, what most will call sappy, mushy chic flicks.  They have also been indicating that I am some kind of "Scrooge",  which is somewhat true.
Like some people, I believe that  the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. Maybe it's that mass media we are subjected to day after day, of every retailer from A - Z, whether it's cars, clothes, kitchen sinks to...., you get the picture, vying for your dollars. Media that is directed to the youngest child that can understand to the oldest adult.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not against gift giving, I am against giving gifts that are geared to designer and most expensive got to have gifts. I guess that's today's world, that is what I see anyways.
As a kid, growing up in the 50's and 60's, there wasn't the mass media of today. The Sears Christmas catalog would arrive and I remember my two younger sisters and I going thru it and marking the items that we would like, but that didn't mean we were going to get it. This was a time when you got a toy or two and then new clothes that you needed.
My parents were middle class, my dad a maintenance worker in a factory, my mom, a homemaker and a seamstress who made clothes and did alterations for us and others,  in her basement sewing room that our dad made for her. We lived in a house and we were a one car family. When I think about it in today's terms, I don't know how they did it, mortgage, food, clothes, utilities and all the rest that goes along with raising a family.
Christmas would come, the tree would be decorated, first by my dad putting it up and then putting on the lights, then mom and us kids would put on the rest of the decorations. Presents would appear as time grew near and apprehension would build. Gifts under the tree at this point wouldn't be for us, but for friends and family. Gifts that meant something, not extravagant, but practicable. Christmas eve would come and no matter the weather, mom and dad would bundle us up and in the car we would go delivering those gifts to those they were intended for. Back home and to bed or Santa wouldn't come was the way of the night.
 Now Christmas morning had its own tradition, us kids were allowed to get up and go find our stockings, but we could not look at the presents. When mom and dad got up, breakfast was had and dishes done, beds made, we were washed and dressed and not until our dad was ready, did we go to the tree. Dad would sit and hand out our gifts one by one as we watched each other open our gifts, then they were placed back in the package with the gift tag so we could remember who gave them to us and show them to those that came to visit that day.
As an adult, when you marry, you try and hang on to those traditions and incorporate your spouse's traditions into your family.  Gift giving then expanded to your extended family, where there got to be so many that it was impracticable to buy for everyone so, names were drawn and you bought for that person, usually someone that you saw once a year and didn't know. A small dollar value was set to make it even for all, to me that was not the meaning of Christmas. After a few years, I declined to take part and would disappear when the time came to exchange gifts. Call me a scrooge.
Giving should be from the heart and to who you want to give, not who you have to give to.
This year, being so far away from family, we have said that we are not exchanging gifts. What we want is to be able to connect with them via a video call or phone on Christmas Day, we will do everything we can to make this happen. Next year we may do something different.
So, back to the movies, yes they are all of what I said about them, but to me they all talk about the spirit of Christmas not he gift giving, so I guess that's why I watch them over and over.
Remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. Gifts were given to a baby with no expectation of receiving one in return. Santa Clause and all that followed came as civilization tried to carry on the idea of gift giving.
Somewhere in all of this, I became some kind of scrooge, who by the way does like Christmas, I just don't show it that much. Sometimes I think that I should go lock myself in a room around the first of December and stay there until Christmas is over. That won't happen though. It is difficult, when Pat who really knows what it is all about, gets excited and can't wait to decorated our home. 

Pat's decorating

This one too

My contribution outside

I don't believe in this political correctness nonsense, so I will not say Happy Holidays, but I will say
Please remember the true meaning of Christmas and thanks for following along. Until the next time, take care and be safe.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tilting Panels

Where Are We Today
LTVA Hot Springs
Holtville California
Since my last post our social activities have best been related thru Pat's Blog, so I won't dwell on them here.
As mentioned before, our solar panels are not tilt able, they lay flat on our roof, a decision I made when having them installed. For anyone having solar panels installed, may I suggest that you have the tilt kits put on at the same time, even if you think that you don't need them.  I have learned/realized that even down here in the south west, that the sun is low in the sky, as it is the winter season. The sun comes up over the horizon about 7:00 a.m. and sunsets by 5:30 p.m. Your panels only get 3 to 4 hours of good sun on them a day by leaving them flat, tilting them gives you close to 6 hours of good sun on them a day. We don't have enough battery and panels to last us from one day to the next. Our biggest user of power is the full size residential refrigerator in our trailer, nice to have, but for boon docking down here, you need to have enough battery and solar to operate it.  We have to use our generator to supplement our power needs. The newer electric/propane refrigerators would be better if you plan on doing a lot of boon docking/dry camping.

Original location flat mounted

New location tilted

That being said, we have had the panels moved on the roof and tilt kits installed so we can now tilt our panels and get more sun for longer periods of the day. We still need to use our generator but not for as long each day. Our plan is to get through the rest of our time down here this winter and when we come back next fall, I will put a couple of more panels on and probably another battery.
On Friday we packed up and headed on down the road ( Hwy 95 to Hwy 8) to Holtville California. Between Quartzsite and Yuma Az., we passed by a GM test area, the Yuma Army Proving Ground and the Customs Border Patrol Tethered Aerostats sight. These blimps are tethered up to 10,000 ft. where the radar in them can detect low flying aircraft used by smugglers flying in from Mexico.

Yuma Army Proving Grounds

CBP's tethered aerostats sight

Approaching hot spring

hot spring tubs

We set up in the  Hot Springs Long Term Visitors Area for a couple of days and will leave here on Sunday (today) to go into  a campground until after New Year. This is a nice area with a hot spring that you can go and relax in. There are no water or dump stations here, you have to go in to Holtville, about 6 miles away to get to those facilities.
That should bring you up to date with my side of the adventure, keep reading Pat's blog as noted above for the more social side, she does such a better job of writing about it then I do.
Until the next time, take care and be safe, thanks for following along.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Catching Up In Quartzsite AZ.

Where Are We Today
Quartzsite Arizona
(click on pic to enlarge)

Since my last post, we have been sitting here in the desert enjoying life. Writing this post trying to remember what we did on what day since we got here is taxing my brain, so, let's just say life is good and who cares what day it is.
 During the last few days, we have managed to meet old & new friends, make a couple of trips into Quartzsite, make some purchases and enjoy the beautiful weather and sunsets.
After setting up on our first day, we met with George and Suzie from Our Awesome Travels and new friends Gerry and Melinda from Tucker's Adventure for happy hour, getting got caught up on each others travels.

Me, Melinda, Gerry, Suzie, George & Barb

Rick & Kathy & me

As I said, the days are a blur, but on those trips to Quartzsite we have wandered around a few of the vendors already here for the big show in January. We have purchased some led lights for the awning, which I will need to install, and collapsible extension ladder that we have talked about getting for some time now and our latest purchase was a blue flame heater. More on that in a bit.
We also have met up with Kathy and Rick Rousseau from It's About Time, who are fellow Canadians and bloggers from back home in Ontario. We have been following each other's blogs for some time but have never met until now. They are staying in a nearby park and will meet up with them again before we leave here.  
Today, I do remember, this morning we were up before first light to head into Quartzsite to have the Blue Flame heater installed, by the great folks at RV Lifestyles . Mike and his crew did a fantastic job with the install. Explained what they did and demonstrated how the heater lit and worked.

teed at the furnace 

through the wall into trailer

Blue Flame heater

The other thing I have done over the last two days is to inquire on tilting our solar panels. When I had them installed back home, I had them mounted to the roof without being able to tilt them, my decision. Not thinking how low the sun is in the sky, I don't get enough charge time to sustain us through the night, therefore, I am having to start our generator to top up the batteries. Tomorrow we are getting an estimate from a local guy to do the install of the kits and to relocate the panels on the roof. More on that in another post.
One of the fun things today was finding the local RC flying field Quartzsite Desert Flyers and meeting some of the guys. One who happened to be from British Columbia, he has more airplanes in his cargo trailer then I have ever seen at one time.
I have also got my quad copter out here in the desert and flown taking some pics.

Entrance to flying field

Dave from B.C.

Inside his trailer

map made out of stone

Taken from 400 ft up

That's us, showing George how to fly the quad copter 

That should catch you on what we have been up to, it is hard to believe we have been away from home for almost 7 weeks, enjoying life, having fun and not missing the weather back home. Thanks for following along, until the next time, take care and be safe.

another beautiful sunset

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On The Move

Where Are We Today
South LaPosa LTVA
Quartzsite Az.
(click on pics to enlarge)
Today we pulled up stakes and moved on down the road. Just after 10:00 a.m. we pulled out of our spot at Ridgeview RV Resort in Bullhead City with a destination of Quartzite Az. This will be our first true test of boon docking/dry camping in the desert. We are located a couple of miles south of Quartzsite in the La Posa South LTVA. (long term visitor area)

Entrance into LaPosa South

We had an uneventful trip here with mostly clear blue skies and temps in the high 60's. The scenery is still amazing us as we climbed, turned and descended through the 145 mile adventure to get here. Our friend George, from Our Awesome Travels, met us at the gate and escorted us back to where they are set up along with Melinda and Gerry who are also new to coming south for the winter.

The drive

Entering Lake Havasu

Boon Dockers along the way

Up Close

George waiting to meet us as we arrived
After setting up, we all gathered at George and Suzie's for happy hour and caught up with what each of us has been doing since last we met. Before you knew, time had flown and it was cooling down and starting to get dark. We bid our goodbyes for the night and headed back to our site to get supper on the go. After supper and dishes, Pat, Clemson and I settled in for the night with a little TV, some reading and writing this post.
Entering Quartzsite

Beautiful Sunset
If you have been following along with Pat's post, she has been keeping you up to date on our days at Bullhead City. There is one thing that she hasn't written about. It's my job to write about this one, because it is something that I did and is a touchy subject to some, especially to some of my family. NO, I didn't break any laws. I went and got a tattoo, not my first but my second. Since getting my first one about six years ago, I have wanted to get another, and lets be clear, I have no plans to cover my body in tattoos. As it should be, they need to have a special meaning to you. There have been several ideas but none that really stayed with me. Down here in the south west, in came to me, so after doing some research, I found the shop and artist that I wanted to go to and wasn't disappointed in the results. See the picture below.

New Tattoo
Now you are up to date, stay tune as we explore the area and discover more of this beautiful desert here in Arizona. Thanks for following along, until the next time, take care and be safe.
Love you Dad.