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.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quartzsite, January 18 -27

We left Deserts Edge heading towards Quartzsite via Winco grocery store.  The grocery stores in Quartzsite leave much to be desired, although one could say there are enough eateries around you don't need to cook.  We also need to fill up the fresh water tanks and dump the grey and black water tanks. The plan  was  to use the I-10 rest area out side of Indio but much to our disappointment the dump portion was closed.  I've found most of California's rest area dump sites have been closed mostly to cost cutting but also "abuse".  Apparently a few have dumped oil or other illegal liquids in the dumps thus spoiling it for the rest of us.

Boomerville in the foreground and Quartzsite at the foot of the mountains.  Most of the white things in the back ground are RV's.  In another few weeks the foreground will be almost empty as folks move one. The BLM has now imposed a 14 day limit in a 28 day period for camping in most of the Quartzsite areas.

We arrived at "Boomerville" just in time for happy hour.  Boomerville is an Escapee rally located  back in the hills off the Scadden Wash a few miles outside of Quartzsite.  The rally lasts for about two weeks.  I hadn't been to Boomerville before, but had heard of it.  Joel has been a few times and wanted to connect with old friends.  The Boomers enjoy lots of activities including pot lucks and happy hour.  Most Boomers are not full timers and they enjoy cooking and socializing.  There went my resolve to cut back on all of the goodies.

We stayed at Boomerville for a few nights and then traveled the ten miles or so to the WIN gathering off Plomosa Road.  (The WINS call it a gathering and the Escapees call it a Rally..its all the same)The Quartzsite gathering for the WINs is usually the biggest event of the year for the club.  There were over 170 members attending over the two week period. ...that  is NOT necessarily  170 rigs and all at the same time.  Many come and go, and some stay somewhere else in Quartzsite and drop in for the outings.

Since Joel and I have been on a nearly dead run since mid-December we decided to take the time and decompress a little and chose not to attend every outing planned with the WINS.  We have been selective and chose to attend the Ice Cream Social, Hot Dog Roast, Dinner at the Yacht Club,  (there seems to be a theme here) morning walks and a hike in the hills involving a lot of  jumping cholla. If you are not familiar with cholla it's a cactus with lots of ball like things with big thorns with barbs on the end. The balls seem to jump out and grab you. They hurt!They bite!
                                 Hardy souls who hiked the hills.  Note the small cholla at the very right of the picture next to Chuck, our leader.

The draw to Quartzsite in January is the big RV show and Big Tent". Hundreds of RV vendors set up booths in the Big Tent .  It used to be most of the items were RV related.  Now days it seems there is more jewelry and knick knacks   (AKA as stuff) rather than RV related items. We  went to the "Big Tent" and performed what  I call the tent shuffle.  You know, you walk along taking baby steps as the crowd pushes you forward .  Actually, we went in one entrance and proceeded directly to the opposite entrance vowing to never return on opening day again. We were so traumatized we treated ourselves to ice cream.  We did return a few days later (sans check book) when it wasn't so crowded and plan to return again before the vendors go home with the check book.  There is a lot to see outside the tent and the surrounding areas so a couple of days of browsing is needed.

Most of the WINs left yesterday but we are staying put for a few days, catching up on chores and maintenance.  Full time RVing is not all relaxing and fun and games.  It is a life style which comes with some responsibilities. I stress "some".  It's just the responsibilities are different than when you live in a stick house.  We recently had a wake up call as one of our members lost her rig to fire so we will be taking inventory evaluating where to put important papers etc.

 For more on the fire see Diana's blog: .  Fortunately, no one or pets were hurt.  Insurance will cover the material items but there are personal things that can never be replaced..just like in a stick house.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reagan Memorial Presidential Library and Museum, January 15.

The Reagan Memorial Library is one of thirteen presidential libraries scattered across the United States.  I had heard the facility was undergoing renovations in preparation for Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday so I was a little leery about going.  As it turned out there was plenty to see and well worth the time and money. We drove up the hill very late in the afternoon to check things out and to determine if we wanted to commit our time and money for the day.  The docent explained it would be better to return in the morning to see everything, but that the grounds were very pretty, would be open for a while, and if we stuck around a little longer we would be treated to a beautiful sunset. The photo above is taken from the grounds looking out towards the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands.  The strip of lighter color is the ocean.

 The next morning we returned and spent the better part of a day exploring the grounds and museum.  We were surprised to learn that there are docent led tours if you arrive early enough. We were  really lucky to get in on a docent led tour absolutely free, except for the price of admission which is $9.00 for seniors. What was even nicer was that there were only six of us on the tour.

You are greeted by this beautiful statue of President Reagan as you enter the museum.

The young Ronald Reagan is pictured with a dutch boy haircut, which is how Ronald Reagan got to be nick named Dutch. He is the little guy next to his mom.

A piece of the Berlin Wall.  This is the back side. The holes have no significance other than they were used in shipping the piece to the US at a cost of over $100,000.00 which was donated by a large US corporation.  I found it interesting there were no plaques indicating who the donater was.

The front of the Berlin Wall reminds me of the flower child graffiti of the sixties, which is pretty appropriate for this piece of the wall on exhibit. 

F-14 Tomcat, part of President Reagan's "Peace through Strength" initiative.

Air Force One.  A little piece of trivia:  When the President is on board the plane is known as Air
Force One and then the call numbers 27000.  When the President is  not on board the plane is simply known by its call numbers. This particular Air Force One served seven presidents in twenty eight years and flew over a million miles.

The plane was brought to the sight of the pavilion and then the pavilion was built around the plane.

 The flying White House mural, by Stan Stokes,   depicts planes who have carried US Presidents.
This was President Reagan's office on Air Force One.  No pictures are allowed while touring Air Force One, which I didn't know until the docent pointed out no pictures  were allowed.  I guess I missed the sign and she didn't mention it at the beginning. However, she didn't confiscate my camera or give me any grief.  Whew!!

The Reagan's visited O'Farrell's pub  in Ireland and many parts of the pub were brought to the US and became part of the working pub and snack bar at the Air Force One Pavilion.

 This is the Presidential seal.  Note how everything is in multiples of thirteen..depicting the thirteen colonies.

 This is an exact replica of the oval office during Reagan's presidency.

There is a huge replica of the White House at the museum. It includes the East Wing, West Wing, and Oval office.  All the furniture, and accessories are 1/12 to scale and every minute detail has been duplicated.  The exhibit is fifty feet long and eighteen  feet wide. The White House was decorated for the holidays by its creators, the Zweifel family, and they had not taken down the decorations yet.

 The cut away walls show all of the details of the individual rooms.

 Replica of the White House Colonnade.  It really does look like President Reagan is walking towards you.

One of the nice things about traveling with a companion is there is someone to take pictures of me so I can prove I was actually there!  Thanks Joel.

The Berlin Wall looking out the South Lawn towards the Valley.

View from the gardens. 

You're probably wondering where the library is.  According to the docent, the library is located  under the museum and courtyard and houses important archives.  Some of these archives will be exhibited in the new part of the museum known as the National Treasures Gallery.  The land for the library was donated and the library, museum, and grounds were all privately funded.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meandering towards Quartzsite, January 10-17

When I left Monterey, the skies were pretty dreary.  The weather turned overcast and cold as we headed towards the Santa Barbara area.  We left the Monterey Elks Lodge in the early afternoon and only made it as far as a truck stop near Paso Robles where we spent the night.  The next day we made it to the Goleta Elks Lodge where we stayed for a few days.

One day we walked the streets of Solvang.  I had been to Solvang once before in the mid-sixties but it is totally different now.  Actually, I wasn't too impressed; so much so I didn't even take any pictures.

There is a nice Thousand Trails Park in the hills between Goleta and Solvang which we checked out. It originally was an working ranch.

      This cool carving greets you at the club house.

A wood pecker has neatly placed acorns in this tree stump.

 These are the original farm house buildings.

Joel met up with his sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Santa Ynez not too far from Solvang and we had a nice dinner with them.  They live in  a beautiful, large, stick house, on an acre parcel.. I'm reminded how I am  enjoying  not having all of the stuff and work that goes along with a stick house since my stick house is rented out and managed by a property manager.

We also visited the old down town part of Santa Barbara and the old Presidio.  I forgot my camera so no pictures of our excursion.  We did take in a movie while downtown.  I highly recommend the movie, The Kings Speech.  We had previously seen the remake of Grit while in Monterey, which was good,  but the acting in The King's Speech was superb and the story much more unique and interesting.

From Santa Barbara we headed over to Simi Valley and stayed at the Elks Lodge.  The folks there were very friendly and the camping area was a pleasant surprise.  It's off the beaten path and very quiet.  We walked around Corrigan Park which is where many old western movies were filmed (some John Wayne as well as  Rin Tin Tin), and within walking distance of the Elks Club.    None of the buildings are standing, and the terrain is your typical western rocky motif, but interesting.

We toured the Reagan Memorial Library which was very impressive. I'm going to do a separate posting on that.  

Our final stop before reaching Quartzsite was in Deserts Edge, a small unincorporated area near Desert Hot Springs.  Joel wanted to visit his old friends, Wanda and Stanley who have a small home base in Joshua Springs.  Wanda and Stanley graciously let us use the pool which is fed by a natural hot spring.  What is unique, is that there are three pools. The hot spring flows into a small spa with jets and then flows into another small pool as the water cools down, and then finally flows into a larger swimming pool that is luke warm.  The pool water is then used for irrigation purposes, so no water is wasted and no chemical are needed because the water is constantly flowing.  Also the pool does not have the sulphur smell that some hot springs have.  What a wonderful treat! We also went to lunch with the folks of the FMCA Louis and Clark Chapter, which is based in the North West and which Joel is a member.  Every Monday during , the snowbirds from the chapter get together and have lunch, thus keeping in contact with their Northwestern friends.

We took an early morning walk in the hills of Deserts Edge.  I was amazed at the huge wind farm in the Chochilla Valley

There is still snow on the mountains even though the temperatures were in the 80's.

 The area is dotted with RV resorts and parks.  This is the Catalina Spa Resort which is an upscale resort bustling with activity at 8:00 in the morning.

We left Deserts Edge pretty early in the morning so we could arrive in Quartzsite before the crowds.  After stopping for groceries and checking out several rest stops for water (none of the dump stations were open) we arrived  just in time for happy hour at the Escapee Boomerville location.  We forgot about the time change! More on Quartzsite and Boomerville later.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monterey Peninsula, January 1-10

What what a busy week!We encountered rain all the way from Moraga to Monterey  and arrived at the Elks Club  to find plenty of parking.  January can be a busy time on the Peninsula,  so I was a little concerned about availability but, I didn't need to worry.  Also,   the weather can be unpredictable with rain or beautiful sunny skies this time of year creating RV parking issues.

Usually, my visits to the Peninsula are short visits with my mom and some time spent with friends, and the day or two flies by so fast.  This time Joel wanted to spend at least a week visiting, and parking at the Elks Club was available at $18.00 a night.  (The other decent RV  parks in the area are $65.00 per night.  Ouch. )Anyway, this visit was going to be more like a vacation and there were lots of things on my list I wanted to do that I  usually never have time to do.

Joel has cousins and friends all over  the Peninsula and almost every day was spent visiting  his friends and relatives as well  my mom and brother and dear friends Wayne and Jennifer and Jim and Celia.  We did get some walks and bike rides in as well as supported many of the local restaurants.$$$$

There are so many good restaurants  in the area that it is hard to decide where to go.  A memorable dinner was had at the La Bicylette in Carmel with Joel's cousin, Becky.  The restaurant used to be called La Boheme and was owned by Jennifer's sister when I lived on the Peninsula.  La Bicylette was wonderful.  The food was excellent and the service superb. Warning..the price is not easy on the pocket book!****$$$$$

I love walking on the beach and no visit is complete without a few walks on Asilomar Beach which extends into Pebble Beach.

 Asilomar Beach in the late afternoon.

Near Bird Rock in Pebble Beach.  The weather was spectacular. Joel actually got warm!

 The surf was really high due to the recent storms.

 This crane did not seem to mind me intruding on his territory. That's one of the famous Pebble Beach  golf courses in the background.

 The sea lions and harbor seals compete with the sea gulls on Bird Rock in Pebble Beach
 You can legally ride your bike or walk through one of the  Pebble Beach gates and not pay the $8.00 fee (it might be more now).  The shortest way into Pebble Beach is to walk Asilomar Beach into Spanish Bay.

We road our bikes from  Lovers Point in Pacific Grove to the Wharfs in Monterey.  It's an easy ride on the bike path with lots of beautiful  scenery.
 From Wharf #1 looking towards the Monterey Bay Aquarium
 There were kayakers practicing kayak rolls in the ocean.  It was a little to cold for me to even consider this.

The harbor seals find all sorts of places to sun themselves.

There is even an nice ice skating rink near the old Custom House.

Usually, my trip to Monterey includes a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but even with my extended time I didn't have time for a visit there.  It's a wonderful Aquarium with ever changing exhibits.
 Joel connected with his cousin Becky and we drove down the coast to the Big Sur Inn for breakfast one morning.

While eating breakfast I notice these eyes staring at me.  The Inn is constructed of single wall construction..all wood and the knots looked like a pair of staring eyes.  Spooky.  Wonder what all they have seen.

The Big Sur Inn was established in the early 1930's as a stop over for travelers working their way down the coast.  It's a wonderful place for breakfast but also has rustic accommodations available for overnight a price.

 This is one of the cottages for rent at the Inn.
 It's very tranquil place.

After breakfast, we drove over to Pfeiffer Beach.  Its been a long time since I had been to this beach.  The last time was maybe 20 years ago and the road in was all dirt.  Now it is nicely paved.  Before there was no charge now there is a fee but the Golden Access card got us all in free.

I think what makes this beach so special is its extreme exposure to the ocean.  There isn't much shelter and though the day was sunny it was very cold and windy.

Another day we drove  to the far end of Carmel Valley off Chachagua Road and visited Joel's cousin Adrona and Carl.  Another day we caught up with them and had lunch at a nice authentic Mexican Restaurant in Marina.

Joel was also able to catch up with his old friend Virgil and at a different time David and Barbara.  I even had a chance to catch up with my brother and his wife for dinner.

As previously mentioned, this week went by way too fast! So many things to do and so little time.  Ten days at the Elks Club has been great but I'm anxious to move on to where I can look out the window and not see neighbors.

We are now heading "south" via Santa Barbara.  Our goal is eventually to make it to Quartzsite for the annual RV show.