Thursday, February 27, 2014

Anza Borrego Desert, CA



During our month in Yuma we were trying to decide where we wanted to go next. It’s funny, but when we first started fulltiming, we had a number of places on our “must go to” list, which were mainly national parks like Big Bend, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Crater Lake, Yosemite, etc. Having been to those places, some more than once during the past five years, we are now less inclined to want to visit the places everyone else wants to go, opting for quieter, lesser known locales.


We had such a great summer and fall last year along California 395 and the eastern Sierra, and having never spent time along the west coast, we decided now was as good a time as ever. Also for several years we’ve wanted to join the Yahoo West Lazy Daze gathering in Morro Bay but were never close enough to make it. So on a spur of the moment decision last week, we decided to head to Morro Bay, and from there who knows? Debbie decided to join us, too, so we finally left Yuma yesterday after a fun and productive month and are parked off Rockhouse Rd near Borrego Springs at the well-know boondocking area we stayed at a few years ago.


From Morro Bay we have no idea where we’ll go, but Jim and I have never been to San Francisco and we definitely want to at least spend a couple days as tourists there. If anyone has ideas on where we should stay, we are looking for suggestions. Also recommendations for forest service campgrounds or free boondocking anywhere in western and northern CA would be nice!

Our last days in Yuma found us busy doing laundry, grocery shopping, taking the cats to the vet for their annual check and shots, and visiting with Boonie, Jimbo, and Chris. Jimbo had a little party a couple days ago for his one year anniversary of adopting Chica. We sure are going to miss that little dog. She is one of the cutest chihuahuas you’d ever want to meet!

One last look at Mittry Lake. I suspect we’ll be back next year.


It was very windy when we arrived yesterday, but we took a little hike across the road from our site through a canyon and up the hill. Had seen this on a couple other blogs and wasn’t looking for it, but there it was.



The trail made a nice little loop back to our starting point. There are probably close to a couple dozen rigs scattered about.



The weather is expected to take a turn for the worse tonight, with rain and wind on the way. We parked just off the road before the pavement ends, in a high flat area that we hope won’t get too muddy. Looks like we have time to get in one more hike before the rain arrives. Could be an interesting weekend…..

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Another Week in Yuma



Since nobody seems to care how long we stay, we’re still hanging out at Mittry Lake. Chuck and Carla left a few days ago, but were replaced by Chris and Laurelee, so we’re up to five Lazy Daze again. It’s been a great time, and since we’ve all had things to do in Yuma and Algodones, someone is always around to keep an eye on everyone’s stuff. We like our Lazy Daze community!


We got our sofa cushions back so our house is put together again. We’re really pleased with the job that Action Awnings and Upholstery Center did, and would recommend them to anyone in Yuma who needs furniture recovered. It looks much better in real life than in these photos.


We are keeping the back of the couch covered since the cats like to hang out there watching birds, but the microfiber fabric we selected is pretty impervious to cat claws. We had a similar fabric on our old sofa and love seat in our house and it was never ruined by cats, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.


We’ve been staying busy visiting the big flea market, Arizona Marketplace, a couple times, frequenting the local produce stands, checking out Yuma River Daze, and even found a great place for pizza and beer, Da Boyz Italian Cuisine on historic downtown Main St. A couple days ago Jimbo, Debbie and I got brave and all went for haircuts at the Yuma School of Beauty. $7.00 for a wash and cut and they did a great job. Sorry, no before and after photos.

One day Jimbo brought out his inflatable kayak. We were all interested to see how difficult it is to get set up and ready to go, since it would be a nice thing to have when staying near a lake. I think we decided it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but fun nonetheless.




And of course we’ve been hiking and biking as usual. Rode to Laguna and Imperial Dams one day, and explored some Jeep roads along the irrigation canals yesterday. There are supposed to be single track trails in the area but we are having a hard enough time on the roads since they are rough, rocky, and have lots of hills. Still a fun way to get some exercise.



One day we hiked up to this reflector. Not sure what it is for, sonar, radar??


Anyway, it was full of bullet holes and graffiti. We weren’t surprised.


Since it’s at one of the highest points near Mittry Lake, it affords some nice views.



Jim, Chris and I took another hike in the direction of our bungled hike a couple weeks ago. This time we had the sense to turn back when we realized we weren’t sure how to make a loop of it. Besides, it was late afternoon and the last thing we wanted was to be out there with the sun going down.




And finally, Sophie, our great escape artist. As if she wasn’t already a big enough pain in the butt!




Most of our days here have ended like this, watching the sunset while sitting out with friends. Can’t complain! We’ll definitely return to Yuma.



Sunday, February 16, 2014

So Far So Good


We picked up our reupholstered chairs from Action Awning and Upholstery on Friday. They turned out even better than we expected, with new, extremely comfortable foam. And they look so nice it’s hard to believe they are the same chairs.



We dropped off the sofa cushions, too, which should be ready sometime next week. While we had the old chairs out, we decided it was time to dispose of the throw rugs covering the carpet and try to clean it up. When we bought the rig, the previous owners had nice carpet runners in the living room and bedroom. Unfortunately they put double sided carpet tape on to help keep them in place. We left them there and in the Florida heat the tape stuck to the carpet. We’ve tried to get it off in the past, but just decided it was easier to keep rugs over the black, sticky areas. Jim bought some Goof Off spray the other day, and lo and behold, it took off the residue. So we are now just going to walk on the original carpet, with no more rugs to slide around. When it gets worn and dirty we’d like to replace it with something other than carpet, but that will be down the road somewhere.

The carpet actually looked pretty good once we got the sticky goop off it.


Yesterday I had my last appointment in Algodones to get my two permanent crowns. Dr. Eva Urena did an excellent job matching the color of my real teeth, and the new crowns fit and feel great. So glad that is over!


Otherwise we’ve just been enjoying hanging out with Chuck and CarlaJimbo and Chica, and Debbie and the crazy dogs, taking some easy hikes and bike rides before the heat of the day sets in. Hard to believe we’ve had temps up to 90 the past couple days. It cools off nicely once the sun starts going down and stays cool until late morning, so it isn’t too bad. Besides, we prefer to be too warm rather than too cold.

We’ve had lots of hummingbirds at our feeders, and Sophie has decided she likes sitting on the running board so she can keep an eye out on them. A couple times she’s leaped up to try and catch one, but I keep her on a short leash so she hasn’t been successful.


Chica really wants to play, but Sophie just looks at her like she’s crazy.


Sophie figured out how to open the screen door yesterday. We were all sitting around outside, and there walks Sophie. Jim thought he didn’t latch the door all the way shut, but after I put her back inside, she was out again a few minutes later. Wish she was a bit less intelligent, like her simpleton brother Elvis.

Scenes from Mittry Lake.

Yuma, AZ Mittry Lake2

We had some excitement last night when several trucks pulled up behind us along the canal, with a man and woman jumping out screaming obscenities at each other. Debbie could see the woman hitting the guy, but he didn’t strike back, other than verbally. Jim decided to call the police just in case, who arrived after everyone quieted down. They assured him all was well, and were fairly quiet around a big campfire after he left. We heard them leave some time in the night, and this morning the fire is still smoldering with all kinds of trash remaining.

You never know what might happen on public lands, but we have been fortunate that this isn’t a real common occurrence. For being such a popular place, it’s actually been relatively quiet around here. But with tomorrow being a holiday, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for tonight.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don’t Do What We Did: Lessons From a Group Hike



Hiking is a passion of mine. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s just a couple mile stroll or a multi mile hike to a scenic destination. There is always something interesting to look at or photograph, and it’s a great way to get some exercise. Hiking with a group can be especially fun, and the miles just seem to melt away while talking with someone we’ve just met or don’t see very often.

Sunday morning the group gathered at our campsite for what we thought would be a couple hours wandering the hills around Mittry Lake. We were joined by Glenn (To Simplify), Ted (Life With Kurumi), Boonie (Occupation of Independence) and Coffee Girl, Jimbo (Jimbo’s Journeys), Chris, and Debbie with Rupert and Elliot..


There are no formal hiking trails here, but you can see trails everywhere, maybe from past miners or animals. We followed a trail we’ve hiked a few times, about a mile to a group of rock cairns, and wanted to see what was beyond.



Up to this point we had mostly stayed together, but it’s natural that we all hike at different paces, and some of us stop to take photos or climb a hill to see a different view.

Jim wandered off and found this old mining claim.


After this point we saw a trail continuing on and figured we could make a loop of it rather than backtrack. I had a nagging feeling this wasn’t a good idea because of the hike we took with John and Susan a couple weeks ago, but didn’t say anything since the majority decided that was the way to go.

Lesson 1: An out and back hike is a good idea with a group, unless you’re familiar with the trail and know how long the loop is. That gives everyone an option on how long they want to hike, since they can turn around whenever they feel like it.

Boonie, Glenn, and Ted went on ahead and came to an impasse. We saw them backtrack and go up a hill on a visible trail so we followed them. Once we got to the top we lost sight of them so we just continued on. It’s hard to get lost around here because you have the lake and canals for landmarks, but the terrain is so unforgiving it isn’t always possible to get where you want to go.


We finally came to a high spot where we could see the road, and spotted them across the canal. Jimbo was getting pretty tired by this point, and although we should have turned around then, none of us really wanted to do that. So on we went, with Chris and Debbie blazing a trail for us. I had a minor panic attack at a particularly steep drop off, and decided I was going back the way we came. Jim turned around with me, and Jimbo waited for us to decide our next move. We really wanted him to get in the canal and swim (or wade) the short distance across to the road, but he wasn’t too keen on that idea. Besides, the brush was so thick we couldn’t even find a way to the water’s edge.

Lesson 2: Don’t split up, or at least be sure the stragglers in the group are on the right path.

Jimbo was fading fast, and we didn’t think he would make it back the way we came since he had to rest frequently. Chris and Debbie were waiting for us but since they couldn’t see us they didn’t realize we turned back. Fortunately we had cell signal, so Boonie was able to call us and then Chris to let them know we weren’t coming that way.

But we did see some more interesting rock art.



Boonie told us Ted would drive his motorcycle around the road to Imperial Dam and see if he could meet up with us on some of the dirt roads we could see on our side of the water. Not long after this, I looked up and saw this.


He hollered down at us that if we could make it up the hill he would give us a ride. Jim and I really wanted to hike back, but we were 4 hours into the hike with only one water bottle each and both were empty, and we had brought nothing to eat.

Lesson 3: Always prepare for being out longer than you think. We should know this by now, but we seem to find ourselves in this situation more than we ought to.

At least our story had a happy ending. Making our way up the last big climb.


Our rescuer Steven gave us a ride back to camp. He even provided oranges, ice tea and cold soft drinks. He was quite a character and we learned more about him in those nine miles than we ever wanted to know. Like how he overheard us talking while he was out taking a dump before he started fishing!


So we will try to be more prepared the next time. Stay tuned to see how that works out!

Chuck and Carla arrived later that afternoon, happy to be wearing shorts after escaping Iowa’s frigid weather. Life is good.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Solar Panels On The Move



This is a project Jim has been thinking about doing for a long time now, and he finally got inspired by seeing the number of rigs in Quartzsite with tilting solar panels. The two adjacent panels above were installed by the Lazy Daze factory when the original owners ordered it. It’s not really the optimal panel placement, and at certain times of the day if we open the vent cover to use the Fantastic Fan in the living room, it casts a shadow over the nearest panel.

Jim looked for tilt kits in Quartzsite but wasn’t happy with the prices or the way they attached, so he kept looking when we got to Yuma. He finally found some that he liked at Starlight Solar and decided to give it a try. It wouldn’t have been such a difficult project if not for the fact that he also intended to move two of the panels so they are all on the same side, which is probably even more important than having the ability to lift them.

Getting the old panels up took some elbow grease, and it took even more to clean the roof underneath them after all these years.


Jimbo supervising.


A clean roof with both panels moved and all lined up in a row. He attached them with screws, 3M VHB tape, and Dicor. Not sure if we will tilt them in the way we’re positioned here, but at least we now have that option.


Yesterday David and Nola, another full time Lazy Daze couple, showed up unexpectedly. And we think our Iowa Lazy Daze friends Chuck and Carla will be here later today. It’s a beautiful morning and we have another group hike in store for today. Our time in Yuma has turned out to be busier and more social than we ever planned.