Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What a difference a week makes!
At the time of my last post we had beautiful weather, around 82F after which it got real hot for about a week, somewhere around 92F(31C)! I actually had the air conditioning running in the afternoons, something we very seldom do. 
And now we're having a cold spell at only 60F(15C)!
Last night it was very cold, 33F(1C), we had the heather on standby and I put some extra blankets on. Brrr! This morning I put my flannel sheets back on :-)
What makes it really chilly is a hard wind blowing from the north and everything is flying that's not anchored down.
Oh well, I guess it's better than the snow they had in the higher elevations. Yep, even in Arizona it snows. I'm happy we made sure we choose a lower elevation for this winter.
Last week, when it was still nice and warm, we visited the little town of Oatman, just 13 miles from here.
It's on the old Highway Route 66, something they're fiercely proud of here in Arizona.
It's an old (gold)mining town that has managed to stay on the map as a tourist attraction for people coming to the gambling towns of Laughlin and Bullhead city.
After a few other names, Oatman was named in the posthumous honor of Olive Oatman, a young Illinois girl who was kidnapped by (presumably) Yavapai Indians and forced to work as a slave. She was later traded to Mohave Indians who adopted her as a daughter and had her face tattooed in the custom of the tribe. She was released in 1855 near the current site of the town.
 Wild burros freely roam the town and can be hand-fed carrots and "burro chow," both readily available in practically every store in town. Though normally gentle, the burros are in fact wild and signs posted throughout Oatman advise visitors to exercise caution. 
They can be very 'pushy'!
In place of the horses of the old days the town now tends to draw a wide variety of Motorcycle Clubs and Old timer car clubs because of it's location on Route 66.
It certainly is very picturesque.
The babies wear stickers on their foreheads with the warning not to feed them. The only thing they need is their mommas milk and they can choke in the carrots!

Several times a day in front of the Old Oatman Hotel the Ghost Riders Gunfighters perform western shootouts.
Like most of them we've seen in these little western towns it's rather corny but it's something to do and see....
The actors are not paid and just do it for the love of the show. They take donations for a local children's charity at the end of each show. 
The Oatman Hotel, by the way, had it's one night of fame for the fact that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent a honeymoon night here, after marrying in Kingman, in 1939.
It apparently is also hunted regularly by a poltergeist named Oatie, an old Irish miner who drank himself to death.
The Sidewalks of the town are wooden and most of the buildings are as they were built.  Some of the town residence and store owners dress in western clothes and do their best to help create the early days.   

The town has to make a living, so there are a lot of businesses in the one main street selling pretty cheesy souvenirs and such.
All in all I guess you can call it a tourist trap....but it's a charming one, the old buildings give it that old-time western feeling and the locals are very friendly. 

The bar in the Oatman hotel is decorated with thousands of dollar bills pasted on the walls and ceiling.
Apparently this started in the old days when miners came to the bar after work and left some signed dollar bills stapled on the wall for future drinks. The paper bills would deteriorate very fast in the humid and hot working conditions underground if they kept them in their pockets.
Nowadays tourists add to them every day and sign the dollar bills with their name and date. It's estimated there's about $60.000 on these walls right now! 
                                                               This local country and western singer was actually very good!
We came up through the mountains on the south side of the village but have heard since that the stretch of road coming from Kingman on the north side is particular spectacular as it winds it's way through the hills.
I guess we have to go back to drive 'the other side' next time!
Back on the ranch James worked a little on his suntan. Off course he fell asleep but luckily ended up in the shade and didn't burn too badly... 
The water of the pool turns out not to be heated by the way, which is fine in the summer but I stuck one toe in there and it about froze off!  Darn!
We just assumed it was heated......oh well, one more question we have to add to the list if we shop around for future workamping jobs. You have to cover all your bases...
We found a very cheap golf course within 5 minutes down the road from us. It's just a nine hole par 3 course, pretty rough around the edges but just perfect for the way we play :)
A great way to end the day!

Oh, that's right, I was going to talk about the work we're doing here. I guess it has to wait for next time. It seems we're not doing too much of it anyway....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oh happy days! At least, I'm happy, I don't know about you but I am, happy and relieved, that President Obama got a second term!
Having inherited such a mess 4 years ago there was off course no way he could have cleaned any of it up in just 4 years! I was afraid that because the economy didn't recover soon enough he wouldn't get enough support but thank God he did!
Being from Holland and reading the dutch newspaper each morning I'd heard that if it was up to the rest of the world in general there was no doubt at all about who should win and they're just truly amazed it came so close. Obama would have won hands down, several times over, anywhere else in the world. Yep, that's America for you.....
Well, enough of that. Let me show you a little about our new stomping grounds. The picture above shows you our site at the entrance of the park on the far right. You can just see the truck and the RV behind those little palms. The building on the right is the office.


And here's 2 front views of said office.
 This is our spot, #2, next to a big eucalyptus tree.

Since the weather has been gorgeous since we got here(85F/27C) we've been mainly living outside. We brought out the awning like we always do. It does get windy here but we're anchored it down real good so hopefully it'll hold. It really gives me the feel of having an outside room when it's down.
Here we're having coffee in the morning.
Talking about having coffee. Who do you think shows up for coffee on our second  day here? Joe and Deanna!
They're on their way down to Yuma, stayed overnight at the casino close by and decided to come over before driving down today.
So great to see them again and being able to show them our new site!

To my surprise, and delight, I discovered these fields on one site of the campground:

Yes, that is cotton! I'm so happy, again..., is this a happy day or what? I've tried to get my hands on some cotton for a while to try to spin some up either on my wheel or my drop spindle and here was a whole field of it! Yahoo!


These are the huge piles of picked cotton that roll out of the machine that picks it. They're sitting by the side of the road ready to be picked up and moved to the cotton gin.
If you look closely at the first picture you can see that this field has been picked allready, in fact all of them were, but there were enough stray plants left along the sides that I could pick me a nice bag full!
It will take me a while before I can try to spin this because it needs to be cleaned, it's very dusty, the seeds need to be removed and than it needs to be carded or something like that. I have to read up on how to do this the easiest way.
Of course a cotton gin makes easy and fast work of that these days but for such a small quantity I'll have to do it the old fashion way.
It will keep me busy for a while for sure!

This is the other site of the campground, taken from the RV, looking towards the 95, Mohave Valley and the Hulapai Mountains in the distance.
At sunset the latter ones color a beautiful red.

Ray and Linda, the managers, are taking us out for dinner at the Avi Resort and Casino, about 4 miles from us. As all casinos this one stands on Indian land. In fact, the Moon River Resort is completely surrounded by the Indian Reservation of Fort Mohave.
And as in all casinos there's not only the gambling but also the food that people come for!
Different days offer different specials, this night is a 2 for 1 ($12)buffet. It's excellent, especially the roast beef and the extensive desert corner!
Ray and Linda help us sign up for an Avi member 'gold advantage' card (free) that'll give us all kinds of discounts in (and outside) the casino among which are reduced tickets for the in-house movie theater (8 screens). 
There's a beautiful golf course too, we'll have to check it out soon!

By the way, that bottom card is an Arizona ID card we got at DMV, which will make us elligable for all 'local' prices and discounts in Mohave County. Cool eh?

So, sofar so good. Next time I'll tell you about the work. Work? Oh, yeah, we have to work a little too, I guess.....

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I was right about that cloud in my last post. It turned into 5 solid days of rain, we almost washed away!
Time to get out of dodge! Arizona here we come!
A morning drizzle turned into some good rain on our first day back on the road until about midday, just about the time we were approaching the Californian border.
The sun came out and we enjoyed a nice drive through rolling farm land and hills around Ashland.
We overnight-ed at the Walmart Superstore in Yreka.
In the distance we could see Mount Shasta, only the bottom half that is, since her head was in the clouds that rolled in late in the afternoon again.
There was a pretty nice sunset and much to our surprise we had a couple of deer walk right by us and the RV while we were sitting outside with a glass of wine watching the moon rise.
Very unexpected visitors for being in a Walmart parking lot!
The next morning Mt. Shasta was so nice to show us her top half this time. I guess that counts for having seen her completely!
After passing the town of Mount Shasta we drove more and more inland towards the south-east through the Cascade Range, averaging an altitude of about 4 to 5000'.
For a while we were surrounded by a forest of beautiful big pines. It reminded us a lot of Lake Arrowhead, although much less populated.
Coming out on the other side of the forest we went down into a valley towards Susanville.
It quickly got much warmer and the scenery much more 'desert-y'.
We passed Reno early in the afternoon after entering Nevada.
Followed by a whole lot of nothing-ness ....
...until we reached Walker Lake, where we spent the night (for free) at a beautiful, but very primitive,  BLM Rec. Area called  '20 mile Beach'.
As you can see, we were the only ones there. It was a gorgeous evening with a beautiful sunset.
So quiet........
The sunset the next morning was arguably even more awesome!
We continued our journey south through Nevada, passing numerous mountain ranges left and right like the Monte Cristo range, the Silver Peak Range, The White Mountains and the Yucca Mountains of the Amargosa Desert and in the afternoon we even drove for a while alongside Death Valley National Park on our right hand side.
The road climbs and descends here constantly, not very good for your gas mileage!
Overall, we stayed pretty high in elevation (4000') being on one of those plateaus they call 'the high desert'.


Around 3pm we arrived at the outskirts of Las Vegas and although we had thought initially to camp for one more night before driving to Mohave Valley, our end destination, we decided to keep on going since it was only about a 2 hour drive from here.
Since we'd been to Vegas all ready 3 times before and we didn't feel like gambling our (little) money away we tried to stay as far away from the busy center and freeways as we could. Unfortunately that meant I couldn't get a decent shot of any of them.
Oh well, probably for the best!
Instead of driving all the way down to Needles and than backtracking a little to Mohave Valley we decided to take what we thought was a 'shortcut' to Laughlin and than cross the Colorado river into Bullhead City and drive the last 25/30 miles down from there.
Ha! Not our smartest move of the day!
First of all we had to climb up and over some mountains and a pass of the Eldorado Mountains  (nice roller coaster again!)  and than we had to make our way through about 300 traffic lights (none in-sinc and all red) through the biggest 'urban sprawl' I've ever seen, all the way to Mohave Valley!

What goes up,.....

Must come down,.....
Laughlin, Nevada
After crossing the river Laughlin seamlessly becomes Bullhead City which brought us finally into Arizona!
Those %#@$&!* traffic lights slowed us down so much that it costed us an extra 45 minutes to reach our destination but finally we arrive at our Campground for the winter, Moon River RV Resort!
We're warmly welcomed by Ray, the manager, who didn't expect us until tomorrow off course, but is happy we made it today. He shows us our site, a very nice one indeed, and after some deliberation of how and where is the best way to park we set up camp.
Since it is about 6pm we decide to only hook up electric and do the rest tomorrow. The sun sets early here and it will be dark by 7pm or so!
So here we are.
As you can see the moon rises behind us to justify this campground's name (I guess :-).
(the black right corner is caused by the shutter of my camera getting stuck every now and than).
Time to bring out the wine and cheese and call it a day!