Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I arrived in Yuma this afternoon none the worse for wear. The drive on I-5 and through LA traffic was scary but uneventful. There are new freeways shown on the map as "future" and not listed on the GPS which would have made a slightly smoother drive hid I know they were finished. I hit Pasadena smack in the mist of 4:00 commuter traffic but much to my surprise the traffic didn't come to a complete stop but crawled along at about 20 mph. It could have been much worse. The down side was that once I got through all the traffic I wasn't sure where to stay. I drove on until I hit Calimesa and a very nice rest stop, only to find that if I had gone just a little further I would have arrived at some nice casinos. Oh well, I was pretty tired and the rest stop was very nice.

I did have one exciting moment on the trip. This afternoon I stopped in Brawley around lunch time to pick up a few groceries and let Sadie walk. I returned to my rig to let Sadie out and at that exact moment the rig started to bounce up and down. Then my grocery cart took off. By the time I realized what was happening my rig started to bounce up and down again and I was sure it was going to take off or explode. I had to hang on to Sadie. I looked up and the lamp post was swaying. EARTHQUAKE!! The radio said there was a 5.9 earthquake originating around the US and Mexico border. Good thing I'm a California gal and used to such things. . although they do seem to follow me. Its been awhile since I experienced such a large earthquake and it caught me off guard.

The WINS are camped on BLM land behind the VFW building. I ambled in and found a great spot in the shade, which I'm having second thoughts about. Its probably not the most efficient place for my solar panels. I'll wait and see how tomorrow goes. Its a nice balmy 70 degrees but feels warmer. The shade will be nice for Sadie, but sun is needed for the solar panels.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Holidays

Since I posted last I've spent a few days at Gold Ranch Good Sam RV Park near Reno. I really don't like staying in parks but it had been sooo cold that I needed some "real" hooks ups. Jeremy's house only has a 15 amp which limits me to the amount of heat I can use. When I arrived I had to wait for some folks to leave because only a few of the sites has been plowed. Reno received several feet of snow and the cold temperatures keep the snow on the ground.

My son Conlan Craig had vacation time to use or lose so he and his 100 lb lab decided to keep me company at the family cabin in Arnold. We arrived on the 20th and had a few days to ourselves before my brother, mother, nieces, and grand nieces and nephews, and son Justin and daughter-in-law arrived. There is minimal cell coverage and internet connection requires a trip into town a few miles away. We do have TV..but just the basics. The cabin has been in our family for over 40 years and the first time I ever visited I was pregnant with Conlan, so spending Christmas there was very special, especially since Conlan was there with me.

Conlan and cousin Matthew are sharing a moment

Grand niece baby Zoe

Justin is enjoying his little cousin Zoe

My brother Dale. Next year we'll give him a Santa suit!

My brother and I, along with help from everyone served Christmas dinner for 23. There were 13 adults and 10 kids. We cooked two small turkeys on the Bar-B-Q (only in the mountains in California..the weather co-operated and the out door heaters helped) and warmed up the prepared trimmings that everyone had brought in the oven. Everything was quite festive although little crazy. My poor 89 year old mother was ready have some quiet time after everyone left.

Grandma Bea
I drove mom home to Pacific Grove yesterday. I was really tempted to spend a few days in PG but the desert and my WIN friends are beckoning so I started off early this morning to brave the Southern California traffic and should join up with everyone in Yuma sometime tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's a snow day!

This is what I woke up to this morning

The weather report said it was going to snow, but they are usually wrong this time of year. Well, they were wrong in that the prediction was for snow in Calpine was maybe 12" but not 2-3 feet.. Jeremy was up at 5:30 this morning to clear out the lower driveway so he could go to work. By the time he did part of the driveway it filled up again. Well, he only got as far as part of the driveway on the second pass before a shear pin broke on the snow thrower and then left for work. This brought back memories of the years I lived in Truckee and even though I had a plow service I still had to clear out berm and driveway as the plow came through. Anyway, I don't have to go anywhere am so glad I don't have to deal with clearing out the driveway.

I had my follow up appointment last Tuesday and all is going is planned. The doc said I could be mobile without crutches as tolerated and drive if necessary. The staple removal was not fun. I didn't know there could be so many staples in one incision. So, all is going well and I'm able to walk 30-45 minutes before I start to get sore. I'm really itching to strap out my cross country skis or snow shoes and go play, but they are in storage 60 miles away and probably should wait just a little longer. Darn, its hard to let a good powder day go.

Pending weather, my plan is to stick around Calpine just a little longer and then head over to the family cabin in Arnold, CA for Christmas. Brother Dale and all of my nieces and grandnieces and grandnephews along with some of my sons and mother will be there, so can't pass up the opportunity to see everyone. From there I'll transport my mother back to the coast and spend a few days then meander south.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's not your mother's Thanksgiving anymore

Introducing part of my family. Number 2 son, Jason, and his wife Rhonda had to leave early. Lacie, Conlan's fiancee is at the university in Tuscon in Arizona and couldn't make it home for Thanksgiving.

Conlan Craig (#1 son)

Justin (#3 son)
Jeremy (#4 the baby) Jeremy, sporting the Elvis look

Liz, #1 daughter-in-law married to Justin

Justin, Conlan, Jeremy, & Liz.
I won't get into why Liz is taking a picture of the backs of two bald heads.

We all have traditions, and the Thanksgiving tradition at our house seems to be to have no set Tradition at all. The one thing that seems to stick is everyone in my family agrees that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. When the boys were small and I was still married, Thanksgiving was pretty simple, we all went to my mother-in-laws. She did all of the cooking while I chased my four boys. My folks always went north to my grandmothers house for Thanksgiving in those days. After my divorce the boys and I would go to our family cabin in the mountains. My parents were still trekking to Grandma's up north. Our good friends Wayne and Jennifer would join us with their two children. They loved to come to the cabin for Thanksgiving because they had four sets of parents to makes the rounds to (due to divorce etc) and it was much simpler to go to the cabin. As the boys grew into adults and my job had me traveling around the country there were times when Thanksgiving didn't even seem to happen. I might be in Florida working Hurricane Andrew, or one of the boys had a new girlfriend and decided to spend Thanksgiving away. A few times the family went five different directions: ex husband, grandma's, great grandma's, new girlfriend, or me at some far off location.

This year I hadn't really planned Thanksgiving as last year it seems to be a last minute thing and after cooking the turkey and trimmings I think only Justin and Liz showed up. No one could make up their minds what they wanted to do that year. Anyway, I had decided to go south this year and join the WINS...that is until I had surgery and the doctor said no driving for a while.

A few weeks before my surgery, Liz sent out an email to all of the family inviting us over for Thanksgiving. I was shocked, because Liz and Justin rarely entertain. Their house is small and the kitchen even smaller. They are minimalists and I think they have a dinner service for 4. There isn't much room in their tiny kitchen for much more. Oh, they have had a few backyard summer get togethers but nothing as complicated as Thanksgiving dinner. I was really impressed and surprised they were going to attempt Thanksgiving at their house, much less cooking it all by themselves. But there was a slight catch.

So I'll back up here a little. A few weeks before my surgery and Thanksgiving, I had to move all my furnishing out of my house. The house has been rented furnished for the past 6 months but the tenants wanted to rent it unfurnished. Jeremy had moved in to his house in Calpine without one stick of furniture. He was literally sitting and sleeping on the floor. So, the guys moved all of the furniture and kitchen stuff to Jeremy's house for Jeremy to use. Seemed like a win win situation because I wouldn't need to rent a storage unit. Jeremy's girlfriend, Irene, moved in with her stuff and her daughter and it turned out that Jeremy didn't need/want most of my kitchen stuff and little of my furniture. So it sat in the garage, waiting for me to move it again. Until....

Last week Justin and Liz came to Calpine with their truck and picked through all of the "left over" kitchen and furniture stuff " that Jeremy and Irene didn't want. They hauled off the behemoth Kitchen Aide mixer, the varies buffet style platters including the large turkey serving platter used only for Thanksgiving, the turkey carving board, the dinner ware and flatware and much more which I accumulated over the past 40 years or so.....everything they would need to cook and serve Thanksgiving dinner. Liz was pretty adamant about not serving on paper plates and using plastic utensils. I felt a little sad as they drove off in their truck realizing they were taking a lot of memories with them. I'm hoping they will keep what they took and store it for a while and preserve some of those memories.

Turkey day arrived and Jeremy taxied us to Justin and Liz's house which is an hour's drive. I'm feeling a little worried on the way because it's rare that all of the boys get together at the same time and when they do and as in most families, someone brings up a sensitive issue...and then the "fun" begins. Well, I've got to say, my guys surprised me. They all had such a good time. Liz and Justin did a wonderful job of cooking the turkey and the trimmings all by themselves. They managed to squeeze 12 people and two dogs to a wonderful sit down dinner in their small home! And afterwords the real fun began. See the pictures below. Unfortunately, number 2 son Jason, and his wife Rhonda, left early and missed out, but the rest of the guys let it fly while I sat on the sidelines with my crutch and enjoyed the whole scenic wonder! I do hope this becomes a real tradition.

Irene and Jeremy

Liz & Justin

Conlan is showing off to Irene. His financee Lacie is in college and couldn't make for Thanksgiving due to studying for finals.

Liz is teaching Conlan to dance

Conlan, the dog whisperer with his dog Boone (the lab) and Justin's dog Jezabell (the springer spanial). I left Sadie at home this time. Two dogs and 12 people is a lot in this tiny home and adding one more would have been too much!

Justin is trying to convince Jeremy it's OK to dance with your brother.

Veronica, the star of the show (Irene's daughter) and Justin

Liz and Veronica

Are we having fun!!

Liz is showing Irene the "Jones way" of dancing

Justin, it's not what it looks like!

Jeremy and Irene. Jeremy rarely smiles, but he sure is happy now that Irene is here

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I posted a new blog. I've been really busy preparing my coach for cold weather (i.e. heat tape, heater functioning properly, and mysterious water leaks) and making sure I have my affairs in order for my hip revision surgery. The doctor told me I'd be "down" for about a month. Interpretation: no total weight baring; dusting up my skills on crutches; and no driving. Ouch.

The surgery went very well on Monday. In addition to replacing the socket liner(some kind of high tech plastic) the ball on the tip of the metal shaft which is part of my femur was replaced with a newer high tech material which is not supposed to wear on the socket liner as badly. With any luck, this will be the last revision I will need. The three hour scheduled surgery only took two hours and the anaesthesiologist opted for a spinal block vs drugs (I was very nervous about this), which allowed me to wake up without the drug hangovers. The biggest issue I had was a bad head ache which I figured out was related to the lack of caffeine prior to the surgery...easily fixed thanks to Peets coffee.

I was let out of jail yesterday afternoon without much fan fare; a prescription for pain killers; a set of crutches; and firm instructions from the doc to actually use to crutches and to let Jeremy and Irene help me. Wahoo! So nice to be back in my own bed.

My son Jeremy, and his girlfriend Irene have been really helpful. Irene is an awesome cook and I feel another ten pounds piling on without much effort. Irene's eight year old little girl, Veronica, has been having a ball entertaining Sadie. In fact, Sadie didn't even care that I was back and preferred to sleep in Veronica's room last night!

I'll return to Truckee in two weeks to get the staples removed and hope to hear that some of the restrictions I need to adhere to for recovery will be removed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Calpine, Ca

Ok, I left the balmy almost too hot climate of Southern California to travel to Calpine where mother nature is in the mist of trying to make up her mind whether it's Fall or Winter. There have been snow flurries, high winds, and clear cold skies. Temperatures have been in the teens at night and low 60s during the day and my forced air heater has quit. Burrr. My little catalytic heater works OK but the forced air heater heats much faster in the cold mornings.

Where in the heck is Calpine you say? It's a very small community about 30 miles north of Truckee and about 40 miles south of Quincy, California on highway 89 and about a 90 minutes drive to Reno. It was originally an old logging town and now it is sort of a suburb of Sierraville which is about 5 miles down the road. It's located in the middle of the Tahoe Forest. My youngest son, Jeremy, who is a Forest Service employee lives here and has invited me to park in his driveway as long as I need to, which may be for 4-6 weeks. It's a very family oriented small community of maybe 200 residence.

My orthopedic doc has told me I need a "tune up" on my artificial hip. He needs to replace a part which was suppose to last 10 years or so and has only lasted 8 years. It's wearing out prematurely due to my active abuse...hiking, backpacking, cycling etc, which is why I had the hip replaced in the first place. So, I'll have the surgery at the hospital in Truckee and recover in beautiful Calpine at Jeremy's house.

I'm off to Reno to get the heater fixed and see about having an "extended stay" fitting installed on the propane tank to use during my extended stay in Calpine since the nearest propane station is about 30 miles away.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chief advocate

I'm still in S. California being John's chief patient advocate/surrogate "wife". The surgery went very well on Monday, and the doctor doesn't anticipate any unusual problems. This was a major surgery and there is a long road to recovery. The doctor's were able to make a neo bladder out of part of his small intestines. The biggest challenge will be learning how to use his new bladder and this will take time. The best news is that the pathology reports showed no cancer in the lymph nodes.

The majority of the nurses and doctors at USC Norris have been great. If you have to deal with cancer, this is the place to be. This is a teaching hospital so there have been a few minor bumps due to learning processes. However, John is very good at pointing out their mistakes so they can correct them. LOL

John is up walking and his system is starting to wake up and he is taking clear liquids including juice and broth. The doctor told John that he would be in the hospital 8-10 days so its anticipated that he might go home on Tuesday or Wednesday. His birthday is on Friday so maybe he will get some Birthday Cake (most likely pudding).

I've been staying at the Burbank Elks club in my motor home which is about 20-30 minutes or so from the hospital which has made for a tolerable commute. The Elks club has power so I have been able to use the air conditioner when needed and it has been warmer than usual. Sadie is doing well and has adjusted well to walks in the asphalt jungle. In all fairness, Burbank is a pretty nice place to be if you have to be in the LA area. I guess I'm a country gal at heart.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Home town fun

I'm still in PG and winding up my stay. Mom has been doing very well with her cataract surgeries. She is seeing out of one eye well enough that she really doesn't need glasses for distance. She had surgery on the second eye yesterday and she is already seeing out of it much better. The lens implants are miracles for seniors. I asked the doctor what happens if someone like me who has had lasik surgery later on needs cataracts removed. He basically told me that changes to the eyes normally don 't take place until our 40's and I didn't need to really worry about that just yet. I just let him talk, but should have given him a big hug. LOL.

The weather has turned nice...typical of October. I attended the Butterfly Parade which has been going on for years (more than 60) to welcome the monarch butterfly home to Pacific Grove. It takes place every year the 1st Saturday in October. All of the school children march downtown in their butterfly costumes. They get pretty creative and some even reuse their costumes of Halloween.( I had a little difficulty with my camera so missed a lot of the good shots. )The finale is the high school band marching at the end of the parade. I marched in the parade all through elementary, junior high, and high school, so it was fun watching them. My children also marched in the parade when we lived here. The parade route ends up at the oldest elementary school, Robert Down, and culminates with the Butterfly Bazaar which includes food and games and family fun. All the proceeds go to the schools and everything is donated by local businesses. It was eerie seeing my children's friends who are now parents and have kids who are now marching in the parade.

The famous Pacific Grove Marching Band

One of the high school floats

Even the police get into the spirit!

Tomorrow I head back to Frazier Park and will shuttle John to USC Norris Hospital on Sunday where he will under go radical surgery for his cancer. I'll be staying in my motor home at a nearby Elks club for a few days so I can be close to the hospital and keep John in line.... so he doesn't harass the nurses too badly. LOL. Actually, my other job will be to keep everyone informed of his progress and ....... be at is beck and call....just this once LOL.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wow. I always think of S. California as being all beaches.

I arrived and John's place for a few days of R&R on Tuesday, before heading up to Pacific Grove to assist my mother who is having eye surgery. John, as always, was the perfect host. Despite his illness and lack of energy, he managed to show me a few secret camping spots in the area. I can't wait to return in cooler weather someday and do some hiking. The Mt. Pinos area in the Los Padres Forest near Frazier Park has lots and lots of Jeep and hiking trails and an abundance of dry camping spots some of which are accessable by RVs (shhh don't tell anyone).

I left the nice warm weather of Southern California on Saturday and arrive in PG to foggy, misty, very cool temperatures. This is unusual for this time of year. Usually, with the temperatures cooling off in the valley, the coastal marine layer does not get sucked in and the coast is sunny and warm. As a child I always complained that summer didn't arrive until the first day of school in September. It seems that summer never really appeared on the Peninsula this year. However, with the pending cooling trend some beautiful weather should appear soon.

Asilomar Beach. I missed the beach party. It looks like the
party goers just left! This is on the Monterey Peninsula (Pacific
Grove) where I spent many a night at beach parties during my childhood.

And, introducing the newest member to my family,
Zoe Bea Campologno my great niece and her mom,

I sometime feel cheated because my brother had ALL girls(3) and has ALL the grandchildren (8). I have all boys (4), none of which are producing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Moving on

I left Lake San Cristabol very early this morning...6:30. Dawn was just beginning and I could see the mountain tops all around the lake were white with snow. It got down to 32 degrees last night and with all of the rain, its no doubt there was snow. It brought back memories of my days in Truckee, California, where I would wake up to the same scenes.

I am now going through temperature shock. The last few days have brought cold mornings and and cool days in the uppper 50's. Tonight I have stopped in Mesquite, NV and the temperatures at 1o:00 P.M. are in the 80's!! Gotta love mother nature!! I wonder what it will be like in Frazier Park?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rainy Days

Today is an “down day” for me. I’m going to leave early tomorrow morning for Frazier Park in Southern California, to visit John, thus I’m trying to get myself organized after two weeks of continuous playing. I’ve really enjoyed this part of Colorado and will definately be back some day. There is still much to see and do.

This is what I saw as I was leaving my rig to take Sadie for her morning walk

Overview of Lake San Cristabol where we camped

We did go back up to the Slumguillion Pass to see if we could get some pictures. The aspen leaves are turning rapidly and becoming more brilliant every day. Some of the mountain sides are a blaze with the different shades of yellow. As we had discovered before, there aren’t any pull outs on the pass itself, but we did stop at Windy overlook.

Red Mountain as seen from Windy overlook.

Slumguillion Pass is named after miners stew. Apparently, the miners living in the camp would put all their left overs and then some into a large pot for stew. There is also an area near the pass which is known as Slumguillion slide. The mountain side is gradually sliding and in one place you can see the trees are leaning.

If you look closely you can see the trees leaning.

It rained off and on all day, so it was a good day to stay in and catch up. When the sun did come out it was really nice. Its been very cold in the mornings (32 degrees) and with the cool temperatures if feels more like November than September.

Early Fall

I look forward to returning to this area someday, maybe in the summer when the wild flowers are in bloom, and explore so more. This is truly a beautiful place and I can see why it is so popular. Two weeks is really not enough time. Two months might be better!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Powderhorn Wildnerness Trail

Blue skies this morning....but a chance of storms later in the day. Jumped in the Jeep and headed towards Gunnison on part of the Silver Thread Scenic Byway to catch a dirt road up to the trailhead for Powderhorn Lakes. The lakes are in the Powderhorn Wilderness area. The docent at the visitor center in Lake City said it would take about 1 1/2 to get to the trail head. He was dead on. The 10 mile dirt road wasn’t the passenger friendly road outlined in the guide book, though. I was glad I had a 4WD high clearance.

This was a much easier hike than the last few we have taken. While there was some elevation gain, there was also elevation loss but over all nothing as strenuous as our Cataract Lake hike. The guide books said the trail would be about 4 1/2 miles to the upper Powderhorn Lake. It was actually five miles to the lake according to the GPS, making this a ten mile day, although fairly easy.

Marshy area on the way to Powder Horn Lake

Lower Powderhorn Lake

On the way from Lower Powderhorn Lake to Upper Powder Horn Lake

The upper lake was a typical large alpine lake nestled in a bowl circled by huge granite walls on three sides and trees on one side. The granite cliffs are the drop offs for the largest alpine mesa in the lower 48 states. There are no trees for miles. We did not get up on mesa but did skirt. We saw several hunting parties, but they they told us they had been unsuccessful at bagging any elk. There was evidence of hail still frozen on the ground and the temperature was cool. We managed to escape rain until about the last 3/4 mile of trail then it rained and hailed. Once we got to the car the hail and rain continued all the way back to our camp. The road became pretty muddy and seemed much rockier going down than when we drove up.

Powerhorn Lake

Friday, September 18, 2009

Alpine Loop Backcountry Scenic Byway

Aspen along the Alpine Loop

Today is the big day....the Alpine Loop. I've been looking forward to this drive ever since I arrived in South West Colorado. This is suppose to be a great Jeep tour though high alpine terrain and meadows. This backcountry scenic byway is infamous crossing over two high passes passable only with 4WD vehicle. We could have caught the loop near Ouray or Silverton, but this gave us an opportunity to do a loop rather than an out and back trip.

Going up the pass

The day started out, crisp, and clear. We started up Cinnamon Pass road, not too far from where we are camping and continued on to Animas Fork (an old mining town) and then on the Engineer Pass. The road over Cinnamon pass was rocky but nothing too technical. There were a few steep, rocky switch backs which required low 4WD gear, but the old Jeep made it up just fine. Do to the tight roads, Nancy couldn't get out and take pictures our our rock crawling endeavors. Engineer Pass was a little more technical, narrow, and rocky but nothing really scary. ...unless you are afraid of heights.

Reminents of one of the old townsites along the way

The aspen are turning color rapidly

We stopped along the way and had lunch overlooking the creek at Animas Forks.

We saw lots of Jeeps here and until then hadn’t seen much traffic. Thank goodness, because the road is narrow and there aren’t many pull offs.We stopped often to take pictures along the way whenever there was a pull out...far and few between. I had picked up a booklet that narrated the route, but the numbers didn’t always match the various signs along the way. The scenery was breath taking and the pictures don’t do it justice. The total mileage for the loop was less than 50 miles, but it too us almost 7 hours to complete the loop with all of our stops and lunch. A great day!

Road to Cinnamon Pass

Below: I thought this was the road over Engineer Pass. I wasn't sure about it. But it turned out this is a foot trail and the road takes off before this. Wheew!


Engineer pass

Looking back over the road to Engineer Pass

Whitmore Falls