Friday, March 15, 2019

New Camera, New Tooth and Other Stuff

Nothing much of anything blog-worthy to report, but we are just glad to have our spot here at Jojoba Hills so we can stay put for as long as we like. After ten years some of the luster of moving around all the time has worn off. Now if we could just find a place to plunk ourselves down for the summer where it wasn’t too hot, too buggy or too smoky, life would be wonderful!

Our site, 411, at Jojoba Hills

Neither of us likes lugging around a big camera anymore, and the Cannon we got from our friends has been having focusing issues, so I found the smallest camera out there with a longer zoom, and that’s what we bought. It’s a Sony DSC-HX90V, and it also has an optical viewfinder, not easy to come by these days in a small camera. We haven’t used it a lot yet, but I’ve been studying the on-line manual and trying to figure it all out.

It has a rotating screen to take selfies, which we rarely do. I had to try it out in the car on our way to Garage Brewery in Temecula, with LuAnn and Terry in the back seat. Couldn’t get Jim in the shot since he was driving, but if we ever do want to take a selfie at least it’s easy to see what you’re getting a photo of. And this was before beer!

Inside the brewery I wanted to see if it took good low light shots, but LuAnn was hoisting her beer at the same time so it blurred. Otherwise not bad without the flash.

Laurelee and Libby stopped by for a few nights on their way to the Lazy Daze gathering at Morro Bay. We considered going but Jim wasn’t keen about the traffic we had to go through to get there last year so we decided against it.

We always enjoy their company. Sweet Libby is such a pretty dog. 

Our succulent garden is doing well in spite of the cold temperatures and excessive rain this winter. There’s a little peek at our new CRV, which we are enjoying immensely.

And we have lots of oranges from our tree but they have too many seeds and are pretty tart so I’ve been juicing them. We’re letting them stay on a bit longer hoping that they sweeten up given more time.

This young acacia tree on the common area between our site and Terry and LuAnns' has probably grown 5’ in the year that we've been members here.

Swarms of these silver dollar sized Painted Lady butterflies have been zooming by for about a week now, on their way from Mexico to the northwest to breed. Apparently the vegetation growth from the wet winter has given them plenty to eat along the way. We forgot to take a picture of all of the squished ones on the front of the car when we drove to Yuma recently, but they leave big yellow blobs and the front of the car was covered with them.

Didn’t have much luck focusing through the dirty, streaked glass, but these two hummers were so cute, acting in unison. Normally they fight to keep each other away.

We made two trips to Algondones, a day trip last week so I could get the implant abutment and impressions made, then an overnight in Yuma on Sunday for my last appointment to get the crown Monday morning. After almost a year I finally have all my teeth again, and it feels good!

A couple shots from our drive through Anza Borrego on the way. There weren’t many flowers along our route through the southern part of the park, although we’ve heard there are lots around Borrego Springs.

It’s nice to see things so green.

This was the view from our room at the Shilo Inn in Yuma. We splurged an extra $10 to get a room away from the interstate. We were close to downtown so we went out for a beer and an Impossible Burger at The Pint House, a nice little bar with 50 beers on tap. Yuma has kind of grown on us over time.
It was too cold to make use of the lovely pool

Other than the usual pickleball, ping pong, walking, working out and doing a little volunteering around the park, life has been pretty quiet since we got back from McDowell Mountain. We’re hoping the winter cold and rains end soon so we can get out and do some hiking and experiment with the camera more. I’ll try not to let so much time pass before I post again, but given the time it took trying to do this post using Blogger, now that Open Live Writer won't work anymore, I'm not sure I have the patience. 

Flowers by one of the ponds at Jojoba Hills

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Back In California

Our time at McDowell Mountain ended on Thursday and we are now back at Jojoba Hills. The last couple of weeks were busy and fun, with lots of company, biking, hiking, and happy hours. It just so happened that Mark and Bobbie, Chris, George and Tina, and Laurelee all were at McDowell  Mountain Park around the same time.

The weather was great while everyone was here.

Jim missed out on some rides due to finishing up his physical therapy and installing a hitch on the Honda so we could carry our bikes.

In all the years we've been coming here we have never seen flowers this early in the season.

The sun came out just as we got to the poppy field and we were able to watch them open up.

Mushroom rocks on the Marcus Landslide trail.

Hike on the Bluff trail.

Our legs needed a break from biking.

We decided against getting the base plate installed on the car since the one place that was recommended to us couldn't get us in for a couple more weeks, and we got some negative reviews about them, anyway. Jim found a shop in Yuma called Just For Towing (formerly Southwest Driveline), and we had an appointment for yesterday but they called us a few days before and said they had to be closed on Friday so could we come on Monday instead. We weren't all that excited about going to Yuma for the weekend so just decided to go back to Jojoba Hills and get the work done when I have to return to Algodones to finish up my tooth next month. 

So I got to drive the CR-V and Jim drove the Lazy Daze back to California. It was great driving an automatic again, and it's just a much more comfortable ride than our old Subaru. 

On another note, it's been a sad week hearing the news that Tioga George and David (In the Direction of our Dreams) passed away. Although we've never met either one it's like losing old friends after getting to know them through their blogs for so many years. 

We'll be hanging around Jojoba Hills for a while working on plans the rest of the year. Give us a shout if you're in the neighborhood.

Adios, McDowell Mountain. We'll be back!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

An Easy Decision

View of the McDowell Mountains

Last week the air conditioner in the Subaru stopped working as the temperatures were getting back into the 70s. Coincidentally Jim already had an appointment set up to take it into SubiWorx for inspection, since we had it in last year and they found a pinpoint size refrigerant leak that we were told could go a long time before causing a problem. Not only had it lost refrigerant, but there was also a leaky seal on the timing chain cover and a cracked PCV line, and several other things that would need attention over the coming months. Since the AC repair would take 5 hours labor due to having to disassemble the dash, they did not have time to fix it Friday, and there was no opening before we plan to leave on February 7th. Jim did call the Subaru dealer and got an appointment for Wednesday to get it fixed there, although at a higher cost.

Harris hawks looking for a meal.

On Saturday morning we headed out early to do laundry in Mesa, with a stop for breakfast along the way. We got to talking about how we are both sick of driving a car with manual transmission, and how much it would cost for the repairs and normal maintenance items that will soon need replacing on the Subaru, like brakes, tires, and battery. The dilemma is we want a lighter weight SUV type tow vehicle, of which the Honda CR-V, 2014 and older is the only one that can be flat towed in an automatic. I searched for 2014 CR-Vs for sale in the Phoenix area and found a silver one at Autonation Subaru in Scottsdale with 38,000 miles on it. After laundry and grocery shopping we headed there to take a look.

Same hummingbird in both photos. It is amazing how different they look depending on the light.

By 6:30 that evening we were having a much needed beer at OHSO Brewery just down the road from the Subaru dealer, and were the proud owners of a used 2014 Honda CR-V. 

I loved the bathroom sink at OSHO.

So far we love driving an automatic again, and it is loaded with features that were not on the 2011 Subaru, like bluetooth connectivity and a backup camera. The only downside is it doesn't have quite as much ground clearance as the Subaru. Plus we feel like we got a very fair trade-in for the Subaru considering it was not in the best of shape. AutoNation does not haggle on price, and we had done enough research to know we got a good deal, so we are happy. It was the most stress-free car buying experience we've ever had.

Our current site at McDowell Mtn Park

Although we love the car, now we have to put a hitch on it so we can carry our bikes, and get a baseplate installed so we can tow it behind the Lazy Daze. Not sure this will all get done before we leave but Jim has ordered a hitch which he can install with a bit of help from a friend. The towing hardware may have to wait until we get back to Jojoba but we are still working on that.
I’m glad we went ahead and made the decision to trade in the car that day because I’m sure Jim would have changed his mind had we given ourselves some time to think about it.

This mockingbird spends many hours making noise just outside our door.

In other news, George and Tina from Hemet, CA arrived a few days ago, as did Mark and Bobbie (Box Canyon Blog), and Chris got here yesterday afternoon. So far we've done a couple fun bike rides and happy hours with them.

Bobbie, Tina, George, and Mark

Chris, Jim, George, Bobbie, Tina and me

We worked at Fearless Kitty on Sunday and Jim was still really smitten with Troy. I told Paula, the manager, that she needed to get Troy adopted before our next shift on Wednesday because I was afraid Jim would want to bring him home. I got a text from her this afternoon along with a photo of Troy with his new mom, another volunteer. I am happy to know he is going to a good home and that it isn't ours.

Have a good life, Troy!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Birthday Week

Decided to see if Open Live Writer would let me post since I’ve seen some other bloggers having issues again but it won't, so I'm back to Blogger, which I dislike but may just have to get used to. It's not that it's hard to do but it's more time consuming loading photos to Blogger than it is using Open Live Writer and Picassa, and it's harder to get the spacing the way I want it.
Andre and Rose(The Road In Between) arrived on Monday for a few nights on their way to Mexico for their first RV caravan. They helped me celebrate with a bike ride and dinner at La Botana in Fountain Hills.

Besides the four of us there were several other people at the picnic shelter. It was a perfect day for a ride.

Andre and Jim taking a breather.

We coaxed Andre to get some air but he didn’t want to risk injury.

Another break on the Pemberton.

Soon after we started down the Lariat I spotted Andre stopped on the trail in front of me. This could have been a disaster when his left crank came off, staying attached to his shoe by the pedal. We looked back a little way for a broken screw or bolt but didn’t find it. He was able to push the crank back in but had to take it easy on the way back and cut the ride short. We’ve never seen that happen before. Good excuse for a new bike.

The sky on our way to dinner that evening.

Good margaritas, food and company at La Botana. Rose and Andre.

Birthday girl and Jim. Without divulging my age let's just say I’m excited that I have only one more year until Medicare.😉

The next day we took a drive into downtown Phoenix to meet up with Iowa friends Chuck and Carla, and Debbie, for lunch at Mother Bunch Brewery. Although we saw Debbie last week we haven’t seen Chuck and Carla since we were in Canada together last September. They are spending a week at Lake Pleasant Regional Park on the northwest side of Phoenix, so we all had about the same distance to drive. Traffic was crazy as usual but the brewery and laughs were worth it.    

Carla, this is for you!

Carla, Chuck, Debbie, me and Jim, seated on old church pews. The milk stout on nitro was very good, as were the IPAs I tried. Everyone like their meals. too. We would definitely go back there again if we were in the neighborhood. Our waitress was a good sport about having to take our picture with three different cameras.

It’s hard to believe we’re down to our last two and a half weeks here at McDowell Mountain. More visits from friends are coming up, and of course we’ll be back taking care of these guys at Fearless Kitty Rescue several more times.