Thursday, May 8, 2014

Almost Home

We finished our time in Quartzsite with a drive down to Yuma to visit our friends, John and Charlene. They have a very nice place there—a Park Model—and they have a little casita on their property as well. They spend winters there and summers in northern California. They treated us to lunch, which was really nice of them, and then took us for a drive around the area in which they live just outside Yuma proper. There is a neighborhood adjacent to theirs in which the builder was originally planning to subdivide lots and then sell them for exorbitant amounts without providing the basic infrastructure of water, electric and sewer. They soon found out that people just weren't buying it—no pun intended—and they had to change their game plan. Most people have built small structures that might contain a laundry room, kitchen, bathroom, and maybe a sitting room and bedroom, but are really minimal because most simply drive their RVs down and park them on their land for the season and live in them.

We had a neighbor while in Quartzsite with whom, thanks to Rob, I had an opportunity to chat. Dave Gatley is a photographer who used to be the chief photographer for the LA Times and has extensively traveled the world photographing our military, celebrities, etc. He is recognized as a world renowned photojournalist and was nominated for the pulitzer prize three times. He is the only photographer who's been allowed to photograph our Navy Seals during their intensive training and, as a result, published a book of these photographs through the US Naval Institute in 2011. I loved looking at his photographs on his website at What a treat it was to meet Dave.

Because our Quartzsite friends, Phil and Linda, were so gracious, took us out into the desert in their ATV and were game to join us for the eclipse and Blood Moon by taking us to an ideal place to view it and photograph it, we wanted to do something for them. Instead of dinner, I decided to do something different and make brunch for them. It was a hit and a lot of fun.

The forecast was such that we thought we'd have a comfortable night out in the desert for the Blood Moon, but it wasn't as warm as we'd expected. We left before the entire eclipse was complete because of the culmination of several factors—my poor neck had a serious kink in it from the way I had to sit to see and focus my camera on our telescope, we became uncomfortably cold and my camera battery, which was fully charged when we started out, died but, thank goodness, not before I got a good photograph of the full Blood Moon. I ordered new batteries the next day as the ones I have were in their final throes anyway.

We headed on to Lake Havasu City for two weeks staying, again, at Cattail Cove State Park. We were treated to an Easter brunch by our friends Mark and Jeannine, who picked us up on the beach in their boat. From there, along with a second boat—a pontoon—and many of their friends, we headed south to Havasu Springs Resort. They put on a wonderful brunch. Lots of food from which to choose—bacon and eggs, hash browns, biscuits and sausage gravy, french toast, fruit, savory dishes of meats, potatoes, vegetables, and desserts. I even went back for seconds. We had a nice time and it was wonderful to get out on the lake.

Mark and Jeannine are in the business of repairing dual-paned RV windows that have broken seals, so we asked them to take care of a couple of our windows. They did a wonderful job and we appreciate their quality work.

The last weekend we were in Havasu there was an event called Desert Storm where boat owners brought their crafts down to show them off and participate in a Poker Run on the lake. Most of these boats are huge, colorful and fast. One evening they had many of them displayed along one of the main streets in town for everyone to view. There were vendors of food and marine goods and the local bars and restaurants were doing brisk business that night. We met Mark and Jeannine at a restaurant called The Red Onion and had dinner with them. Then we walked the street to check out all these boats. We lost Mark and Jeannine and it would have been near impossible to find them again so, when Rob's knee started to give him fits, we headed back to The Beast.

We didn't see Mark and Jeannine again before we left Havasu because they were busy with business and getting ready to head to Sacramento for the summer to handle window repair in partnership with an RV dealer there. I think they're going to have a really good year!

Now we are in Santa Paula, California, just east of Ventura. We've enjoyed spending time with daughter, Kristie, son-in-law Matt, and grandson Cayman. Poor Matt is having back problems and could barely move for a few days but is on the mend. Kristie was in northern California when we arrived, so we took Cayman on a Friday evening to spend the night with us. He and Papa took a swim in the park's pool/spa, which was a bit of a treat. On Saturday we took him out for his birthday shopping before taking him home and awaiting his mom's arrival home. Kristie and I walked a botanical garden one morning. It isn't a typical botanical garden of the sort that is landscaped with delineated beds with fresh annuals planted each season but of a natural type with indigenous plants along the trail. Kristie made us dinner one evening, which was delicious, and took us out to dinner another, which we appreciated very much. We've enjoyed just being together.

We leave here tomorrow, May 9th, and will be home on the 10th. I am truly looking forward to seeing our friends and family but for some reason I have mixed emotions and I can't quite identify exactly what it is I'm feeling so I'm unable to describe it. We've been gone for 11 months and that's a long time. When we leave again, it's quite possible we won't be back for well over a year. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm really living this life and that it's not all just a dream.

Charlene and John with Coco.

An Arizona scene—between Yuma and Quartzsite.

Full moon.

One third occluded.

The Blood Moon

A little color at Cattail Cove.

On the way to Easter Brunch.

Rob hamming it up.

Our friend Mark Livers.

Our friend Jeannine with her granddaughter, Breezy.

Breezy enjoying an orange at the Red Onion.

Rob is thinking "I really really want one." Uh. No.

Rob checking out one of those huge, fast boats.

Interiors are lit with LEDs. They look pretty cool.

I photographed this dune buggy for cousin-in-law, Keri Luiz. Have you been reading the blog, Keri?

Keri does pinstriping, etc. This looks like it was done with airbrush.

I photographed this vendor because their display was so handsome.

Imagine taking a ride in that.

This boat was very impressive, but it broke down on the water during the Poker Run.

The interior.

Meep! Meep!


The lake from Cattail Cove during the Poker Run.

Going fast!

There's the green boat I photographed.

The beach and boat ramp at Cattail Cove.

Camp visitors.

Cayman in the pool at our RV park in Santa Paula.

This is the last photo of Cayman before he lost one of his front teeth.

Hamming it up with Papa.

Kristie at the top of the trail overlooking Ventura and the grand Pacific.

Cayman after making a wish and tossing a penny.

Cayman and Kristie at Cayman's school on 'Family Picnic Day.'

Cayman with his best girl, Maggie.

Such a ham!

1 comment:

  1. As usual I enjoy this Blog You are both so fortunate to live so wild and free!.