Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pictures don't come close to explain how bad the winds have been lately! 30 to 40 Miles per hour with gusts over 60! Looking at the weather map on TV at night this Colorado River Valley area definitely gets the worst of it each day and off course we're right there!
Everything is covered with fine dessert sand inside and out, I've pretty much given up dusting things off, not that I did much of that anyways lately.
We're rocking and rolling so much in the RV that it feels we're at sea sometimes, something that freaks out Sadie but lulls Merlin to sleep. It must be the same when we're traveling because that's all he does when we're on the road.......sleep.

...Oh Grand(ma)pa,..what big teeth you have...   !

Well, we're approaching the end of our stay here and so before we go James, as always, is doing a mad dash to accomplish everything he was supposed to do here at the campground.
One of those things, that really wasn't in his original scope of work but added on later, was improving the WiFi system.
As at a lot of other campgrounds it really mattered in which space you were to get some sort of a decent signal here and there were areas that basically didn't get any. You had to go to the rec room or the office.
James felt he could improve this significantly, got the go-ahead of the owners, and set out to costume-make a better system by adding 3 new routers.

                        Lots of measuring, drilling, cutting, gluing, clasping and muttering...........

...and spray painting...because you're either a perfectionist or not...

After putting everything together it (they) had to go up!

The ladder needed some 'dead-weight' at the bottom so he got several people to volunteer, amongst which was me, on whose head he than proceeded to drop his mobile phone .... ouch ...!
I came away with a cut inside my bottom lip (nice fat lip that was for a while), thank you very much ....!

Everybody has a fantastic reception now, 4 bars or more, so we have very happy costumers at the moment.
It is a pet peeve for a lot of people to be promised free WiFi and than not getting any reception and I can't blame them!

Other than windy it has also gotten much, much warmer lately. The temperatures have been hovering around 90 this last week and they're predicting triple digits by next week!
Time to get out of dodge!

The flowers love the heat.

Which we're going to do by Sunday if everything goes according to plan.
We both worked our last days for the campground last weekend so we're off (Yahoo!) and James has one more day at the golf course to finish tomorrow.
I've put together a tentative, very slow, route North, mostly depending on the weather.
We've been in contact with Steven from the West Yellowstone KOA who has informed us that although they've had a lot of late snow and they still have some snow flurries now and than it's also rapidly thawing everywhere. They expect us around the 7th of May so we'll take our time to get there.

We're working on our bucket list of things to do before we go. One of them involved going to the Spirit Mountain Casino and have their Fish & Chips and Fried Shrimp specials for $5!

I'm not doing so well with deep fried stuff but keep forgetting when I'm hungry so this was another "I can't believe I ate the whole thing" -thing!
When do I ever learn.... sigh..? 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finally, we made it to Kingman last Wednesday!
Although the weather forecast talked about high winds and cooler temperatures we decided to go for it and we were glad we did because it turned out to be a beautiful day.
Blue skies, not a cloud to be seen, comfortable temperatures and only a little breezy now and than.
The first part of our ride took us via Oatman through the Black mountains and the Sitgreaves Pass on an old part of Route 66 with steep grades, very narrow, roughly surfaced  road, and sharp (hairpin) curves, all 122 of them!
Understandably, this part of the highway does not allow vehicles over 40 feet!


While the steep winding hills can be a bit scary, we were rewarded with some fantastic views.

The Sitgreaves Pass at 3550'

One mountain that stands out on the east site of the pass is Thimble Mountain. It is a butte that rises from the flat desert floor.
We pulled of the road at a very tiny parking area and enjoyed the beautiful view of the (Sacramento) valley while having a nice cup of coffee.
Ahhhh, the good life!


The rebuilt Cool Springs station on this site of the pass used to be a gas station but is now a gift shop offering Route 66 souvenirs and one of a kind Cool Springs memorabilia. It’s about the only sign of life along the drive.
'Since this part of Route 66 was all but abandoned when bypassed by a new straighter alignment of Route 66 through Yucca, Arizona, that did away with the need to traverse the steep mountain grades of Sitgreaves Pass (Interstate-40 follows this newer alignment of Route 66 across the desert today), it also meant the end for the Station.
The final blow to Cool Springs came a few years later. In the mid-sixties, a fire burned it to the ground.'

Since 'our' part of the valley doesn't have any cacti I was surprised by all the flowering Prickly Pear over here. I totally forgot about it being the flowering season in most other areas!
Off course the one on the right is not a cactus but pretty too (if the pic wasn't so blurry) , it's Apricot Mallow.


After another 20 miles or so we arrived in Kingman, Arizona, often called "The Heart of Historic Route 66."
It lies in the middle of the longest uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 and 'Mother Road'- nostalgia is showcased in its art deco roadside motels and eateries, neon signs, Route 66 Museum and the community's love of classic automobiles.
We didn't feel like going through a museum but were quite hungry so we opted for lunch, and going back in time, in 'Mr. D'z'!

This Route 66 diner is an old fashioned diner, serving traditional diner fare, and is best known for its homemade root beer and pizza.
The diner is loaded with Route 66 memorabilia and gained a lot of additional fame when it was visited by TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey and friend Gayle King during a road trip. She liked the root beer so much that she donated bottles of it to her studio audience.

We had a root beer float (delicious) and opted for the all day breakfast items of biscuits and gravy (excellent) and chicken steak and eggs (yumm).

Driving (steeply) down from Kingman (3,333 feet) to the Colorado river at Laughlin (535')

After a little shopping side trip to Walmart in Bullhead City we made it back just in time for Happy Hour and desert.
( I know, strange combination, but I'd made these great strawberry oatmeal bars and we just had to test them)
The picture looks a little fuzzy but they were sooo good!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Oh jeez mom,... not the garland...... 
Happy Birthday, dear Sadie, .......happy you.....!
(very hard to take a picture of a black dog face, I had to lighten it up in Picasa which makes her look rather brown. She is, in fact, still glossy black))
This Monday was a happy day as we celebrated Sadie's 14th Birthday and were visited by our best friends (and camp-host mentors during our first 'gig' in 2010) Joe and Deanne!
They workamped in Yuma during the winter and are on their way 'up' to Spokane for their summer job.
The day had been a warm one but it cooled off to just the perfect temperature for a great BBQ!

Everybody looking for a shady spot....
Joe and Deanna brought some delicious steaks and I'd made James mom's famous 'overnight salad' and an apple pie for desert. 
Boy, was it all good! 


We had a great time sharing stories about our winter adventures and since they stayed overnight in a site across from us we continued our conversation the next morning over our 'traditional' coffee break together! (See December 2010)

It's impossible not to have a great time with these wonderful people and it's always very hard to say goodbye again.......!


Miss you already guys!

We might see them again this summer though since they are going to workamp for 2 months in  Missoula, Montana after the job in Spokane!
Finally we have some nice flowers going in the front yard. It looks so much better with a little color:
Caesalpinia gilliesii or Desert Bird of Paradise on the left and Oleander on the right.

Pretty, but both very poisonous!

The bougainvillea totally froze, all old canes died, but it's coming back vigorously with new shoots all the way from the roots....

And this is all of a sudden growing in the fields while I wasn't watching for a few seconds ..... I'm pretty sure it's cotton again!

Since insects don't scare me much I took a very close 'up' of this guy, almost picked him up to relocate him to a sunnier spot, only to find out later that he's actually pretty nasty if you make him mad!


It's a Lytta magister (also known as the desert blister beetle or master blister beetle). 

...."The “blister” in the name refers to the beetle’s ability to pop a blood vessel in the joint of a leg, which causes the insect’s yellowish blood to ooze out. The beetles do this only when they are upset. For example, when held firmly by a (dumb) person (Ha!)
The 'blood' is not only bad smelling, it’s downright dangerous, capable of causing skin to blister painfully "....

Right. Not smart. (Me)