Monday, April 6, 2015

Awakening from Winter Hibernation

Our winter hibernating is over and we're on the road again.

We spent five months in Quartzsite, Arizona, with the exception of four days at the Good Sam Rally held at the Phoenix International Raceway. Now that we've been there done that, we'll never feel the need to go to another. The vendors, on the most part, were the same as seen at any event where people might gather and spend money; and, since we weren't in the market to buy a new RV, there wasn't much to see or do. We toured as many new models as Rob's legs and my feet would allow–more about that later. They had a veterans parade, which would've been nice but for Rob having to stand and/or walk for lengthy periods; and a mass renewal of vows ceremony with the hopes of beating the Guinness world record for the number of couples taking vows, but we aren't into that stuff because its corny. They arranged a golf tournament, too, but we're not golfers. However, they did provide fun evening entertainment in the way of tribute bands. Usually they have one or two big name entertainers come (I know Reba McEntyre performed one year), but because of a relatively last minute date change for the rally (NASCAR usurped Good Sam's reserved, and already announced, dates), rescheduling became impossible for those folks in high demand, so we missed out.

When we arrived at the rally, there were volunteers directing traffic. Each participant (RV) received a packet that, in part, contained two sheets of paper—one stated the date you chose to arrive and the arrival time assigned by the organizers as either AM or PM—the second sheet had a QR code and indicated E if you purchased an electric site or D if a dry site. Also included on this important sheet was the wheelchair icon to indicate that one should be directed to the ADA (handicapped) section. Rob required the ADA section, but the volunteers failed to notice the icon. We, in our first-timer ignorance, obediently followed direction. Later, when we set out to enter into the rally, we were dismayed to find that it was a long walk to and from our shuttle stop. We knew this couldn't be right so once inside the rally we headed for customer service. A woman working there told us to leave our name and number and someone would call us in the afternoon to get us moved to the correct location. No call came. No call came by noon the next day either. There was no way Rob could make the walk to and from the shuttle stop, again, and expect to see any other part of the rally without a scooter or wheelchair, so he made a call to the Good Sam office in Oxnard, CA, that organized the event, to inform them of the problem. It sure didn't take very long after that to get a call and get moved. They had special golf-cart like shuttles that frequently drove through the ADA areas and all you had to do was wait for the next one to come by. Unfortunately, that initial extra walk the first day limited Rob's ability to enjoy the rally more fully.

The up side to it all were two things: We were in the vicinity of a Costco so we got new tires for the car and filled the freezer with quality meats. We also found a Sears parts store that had the part we needed to repair our Dremel tool. The other was that a couple from Ottowa, Ontario, Canada, Barry and Caren, who stayed in our park in Quartzsite for about 6 weeks right across the street from us, and with whom we became friendly, were also at the rally. We got together to see the Beatles Tribute Band one evening and had a good time. Caren and I agreed that the best part was we knew all the lyrics. After the rally, Barry and Caren went on to Casa Grande, Arizona, and we went back to Quartzsite. Rob really missed Barry after that. They'd become buddies and Rob missed his daily conversations with Barry.

While in Quartzsite, it seemed like we did little but accomplished much. We had The Beast's windshield and awning replaced. The windshield because of rust in the frame causing it to leak whenever it rained and the awning because the other one simply wore out. Besides, the best deals are in Quartzsite during 'the season.'

Rob occupied himself by going out with the guys to shoot at targets with air rifles and fly radio controlled airplanes. We even took a day to drive to Thermal, California, to join our Quartzsite-visiting friends at a radio-controlled airplane event. Our friends, Phil, Brad and Jim, had a few of their planes entered in this event. So we, Phil and Linda, Brad and Patti (who we met the very first time we stayed in Quartzsite and through whom we met our friends Phil and Linda), as well as friends of their's, Jim and Anita, were there to watch these airplanes zip around the sky.

On another occasion, we drove down to Yuma, Arizona, for another RC fly-in. It was a huge competition. By then, Brad and Patti and Jim and Anita had left to go home, so only Rob and I were there to be Phil's personal audience. We were surprised by the number of spectators. Could have been two or three hundred, if not more judging by the number of vehicles parked. Some of the airplanes were amazing and their handler's ability to control them was quite impressive. Although, there was one rather spectacular crash—one that not only demolished the airplane but, probably, the owner's wallet as well.

I have to interject a comment about our new friend, Anita, and I've told her this myself already: She is the nicest, kindest, most generous and compassionate person I've met in decades. Yes, decades. We've met some great folks over the years who we call friends, but Anita is a special breed. She makes me think of what the late, great Maya Angelou said: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Anita made me feel heard, she made me feel valued and she made me feel validated. I can't remember the last time I felt that way—neither by family, nor friends, nor husband—and because of it, I think I may have succumbed to a brand of cynicism and bitterness that's caused me to become numb as method to self-preservation. As a result, I've cared less, listened less and felt less for others. Anita makes me want to find my old self, to again be that person who cares more, who truly listens, and who feels the compassion necessary to make others feel good after they've left my presence regardless of how I feel after leaving their's. Thank you, my dear Anita, for being you.

Over the last month, Rob ordered the parts necessary to build a hexacopter big enough to carry a small camera, so his need to have a project and build something is being fulfilled. Those who know Rob know he flew Cobra helicopters in Vietnam, so I guess it means that you can take the man out of a helicopter but you can't take the helicopter out of the man. As for me, I took up playing Bingo every Tuesday evening—won several times yet remained in the red. I missed my bingo buddy, Caren, when she left town. I spent most of my daytime hours indoors working on my pyrography—until the last week, that is, when the remainder of the hexacopter parts arrived and Rob commandeered my workspace—aka dinette table. In March, however, I took the opportunity to drive to Ventura to spend a few days with my daughter that included my birthday, which landed on a Sunday. We spent my birthday sitting on the beach soaking up the sounds of the ocean, people watching and watching my grandson, Cayman, play happily in the sand. I was also treated to a delicious dinner out. It was the best birthday I've had in ages.

The weather was unusually cool most of the time with the exception of the last four or five days when it reached the mid to high 90s. I heard it was the record high since 1918. Like me, our refrigerator doesn't like the heat and, while the freezer continues to freeze, the fridge struggles. Now we have to figure out the fix for that. It's always something.

We traveled from Quartzsite to Laughlin, Nevada, for a quick one-night stay in a casino parking lot and then onto Zion National Park. We were lucky to get reservations at a KOA because I hadn't realized it was Easter weekend. Until then, we'd originally planned to stay at one of the National Park campgrounds. Those campgrounds are first come and if there's no room you're out of luck, and all the RV parks surrounding the area nearest Zion were booked.

One of the things I like about staying at a KOA is that they are family oriented campgrounds. Good Friday saw the arrival of lots of travel trailers and Class Cs disgorging excited kids ready to get playing. We heard moms and dads reminding them of their duties before playing could commence and then, finally, the sound of kid shouts and kid laughter from the play structures and swimming pool. The weather was a bit cool, but the pool was heated. What more could a kid want?

Zion was beautiful. On the first day, we took the park's shuttle ride through the canyon where cars are prohibited. It was nice that you could get on and off at the eight stops along the canyon but disappointing that your view was so obstructed by the vehicle itself as you went. The second day we took a drive into the park as far as we could go and headed out on highway 9 to the east gate. It was more spectacular than the canyon in certain respects, but had we been able to traverse the many trails from the canyon, we know we would have seen some dazzling sights. We continued on to take the long drive around eastern and northern sides of Zion and back to the KOA. Along the way we stopped for lunch and then drove through a portion of Dixie National Forest. We climbed to over 9000 feet where there was still plenty of snow yet to melt, aspens yet to bud and a still-frozen Navajo Lake.

On Easter Sunday, we traveled from Zion to Draper, Utah, which is in part of the greater Salt Lake City area. Rob is hoping to paraglide at Point of the Mountain. It's hard to say if the wind will cooperate let alone that we're seeing rain forecast for Wednesday and possible snow, maybe rain, on Thursday. It is what it is.

Next Sunday we leave for the southeast corner of Idaho, then into Montana for a week's visit with our friends in the Kalispell and Big Fork area. After that, we'll be in Sandpoint, Idaho, until we leave to head north to Alaska—my dream come true.

Until next time… enjoy the photos—and please share on your favorite social media. Thanks for reading everyone!

Our Christmas Carolers at the Holiday Palms.

Rob making friends with Gordon.

A reflected sunset.

A lone spring flower at our campsite.

Flying RCs in Quartzsite.

The guys talking about flying.

Getting ready to taxi for take off.

Some of the toys.

Arlene and Tom at the rifle range shooting pellet rifles.


Linda sighting the target.

Just a few spent targets.

Rob taking a turn.

At the Thermal Fly-in. I have a soft spot for biplanes.

Looks like a real plane, doesn't it?

Phil's Corsair doing a fly by.

Oh boy! Another biplane.

Brad and Jim posing for a picture.

Everyone votes for their favorite.

Now there's a dashing looking pilot.

Phil's Corsair at the Yuma Fly-In.

The Red Baron bit the dust. Ouch.

Putting on a show.

A very pretty biplane.

Phil and Linda at their table at the Yuma Fly-In.

One of my favorite photos at Ventura Beach.

And this one, too.

And I had to include one of the happy dogs at the beach. And there were many.

Cayman spent more than an hour occupying himself at the water's edge.

Our first (wrong) spot at the Good Sam Rally.

Outside the Phoenix International Raceway.

A twilight view of the stage and the rally.

Beatles Tribute Band — The Early Years

Beatles Tribute Band — Sergeant Pepper and after.

Barry, Caren and Rob.

Just the tip of the iceburg mountain at Zion National Park.

Oh, the colors and textures. Mother Nature is magnificent.

A view overlooking the town of Virgin, Utah. 

Looking to the left.

Looking to the right.

Looking in the middle. It's all gorgeous.

Looks like a tunnel to nowhere, but its not. It is one of many openings that allows light and air into the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which is 1.1 miles long.

Red on red.

Looks like natural Bonsai.

Checkerboard Mesa.


Taken from Highway 89, outside Mt. Carmel, UT.

Snow and Birches, Dixie National Forest.

A very frozen Navajo Lake.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful journey that your sharing. Thank you.