Sunday, March 29, 2009

3/29/09 Finally, a fairly lazy day with a bit of time and a decent WiFi signal in which to do a blog post. Currently we are camped at Mittrey Lake with Mike & Marilyn Harrison and this was our view out the front windshield this morning:

We all moved over here yesterday, after spending 2 nights out at Sidewinder Road. It was more convenient to stay out there while I was having dental work in Algodones, Mexico, right across the border. But when Darran & Marielle decided to join us for Friday and Saturday, we wanted to bring them here so they could go out in the kayaks.

Of course, there were also Happy Hours with Mike & Marilyn while the kids were here with us:

While we were out at Sidewinder, we had one night of really fierce winds. There was one day of that while we were at Anza Borrego too, and both situations were probably some of the worst winds we have ever experienced. Thank goodness they only lasted one day. With the slideouts pulled in and everything stowed in the underneath bays, we just hunker down and wait it out, usually with TV or a good book.
My dental experience went well in Algodones. I went to a dentist at the Sani Group, named Jose Manuel Jiminez, who had been recommended by an RV friend, Kaaren Payne. I walked in about 3 on Thursday and asked for an assessment. After an x-ray and exam, he decided I needed 2 porcelain crowns and a cleaning, and he said he could start right away. On our way into Algodones, we had noticed Lee & Susie Blattner's car so we looked all over town for them and found them at their favorite shrimp taco place, which was right near the dentist. So Elaine sat with them and ate tacos and drank beer while I was having Novocain shots and drilling with the dentist. Finally he put in the temporaries and we left. By now it was nearly 5 PM and we thought getting back through the border would be easy. Wrong! We spent an hour and twenty minutes in line to cross. The border agents are always surly and rude too. We think they keep the lines long as a deterrent because they don't want Americans spending money in Mexico. When one of them asked Lee what he had done there and he said he had a haircut, the guy said, "There are American barbers trying to make a living in Yuma too, you know." Lee should have told him that he might consider using them more if he was making what the border agent was making as salary instead of what he actually gets for social security. Most of the commerce done in Algodones is by Senior citizens trying to get reasonable prices on glasses, dentists, medicines, booze and shrimp tacos too, of course. So the next day Darran and Marielle were with us when I returned for the final fitting of my permanent crowns. That meant that Elaine had to sit there AGAIN at the taco place with Darran & Marielle while waiting for me, drinking beer and eating more tacos. Luckily, the dentist was meticulous about getting the crowns right and making sure my bite was perfect. The cleaning job afterwards was nothing to write home about, however. For those of you who are interested, the porcelain crowns cost $140 each and the cleaning was $25 plus $10 for x-rays. There are lots of good dentists there and we have a whole list of them we have collected from Boomer friends. Just e-mail us if you want the list.
Also while we were at Sidewinder, a neighbor came and knocked on our door and asked us if we wanted to see the local desert tortoise which had been crossing the desert regularly right near their rig. So we walked over there and took the following picture (the shoe is in there for a reference point):

I was kind of surprised at the fairly rapid rate that this turtle could move, once he got tired of us looking at him and he left.
While we were at Anza Borrego, we didn't have any internet so I never posted much about our stay there. Jojoba Hills SKP Park was having a gathering there at an RV park so we went with Dick & Carole Schneider and camped out in the desert instead of the park. Then we were joined by friends, Joe & Carla Calwell, Mike & Marilyn, friends of theirs named Sam & Bob Flechtner, and Canadian friends Pat & Linda Jenkins. Joyce & Larry Space, friends from our Panama trip, had been camping at another place in Anza Borrego but managed to track us down for a Happy Hour visit. So we all had pleasant visits, some desert walks, and lots of good Happy Hours and joint dinners. Here are a few pictures:
Elaine, Joe and Carla, and Pat and Linda at a joint dinner

Linda, Elaine, Carla and Carole on a desert walk:

Dick Schneider plays his keyboard for us at Happy Hour

One thing we really like about the desert at Anza Borrego is that there is lots of vegetation. There were also lots of flowers because of all the winter rain, but we didn't get any good pictures of those areas. Here are some of the plants in the area where we camped:

One of the days when we drove over to Borrego Springs to pick up our mail, we saw lots of really neat metal sculptures of a variety of desert animals. Here is the one of an eagle with a snake:

Our plan is to be here in Yuma for about another week while we visit with friends and enjoy the sunshine. If you are in this area, please contact us so we can see you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

3/20/09 Currently we are camping in Anza Borrego State Park with several other rigs of friends. There is no signal here for either the phone or air card so we are at a WiFi hotspot which is extremely slow. Just wanted to let you know that all is well with us, and we will be heading for Yuma next. That will probably be next Tuesday or so. The weather has been sunny and warm and we are loving it. Everyday we try to walk at least 2-4 miles, just to counteract the Happy Hour goodies and joint meals. Dick Schneider played his electric keyboard for us at Happy Hour one day too - and that was REALLY a treat. I have some pictures, but can't download them here so that will happen in Yuma.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3/10/09 Just a quick update to let you know that we are still in Sacramento but are hoping to get away from here and head south very soon. We have been dealing with a few medical appointments, some rental house inspections, and having enjoyable visits with family and friends.
Had a very nice visit with long time friends Jack & Robin Ross, who used to be SKP's and who now live full time in Alaska. It has been quite a change for them because they used to live in Southern California! We will be looking forward to staying on their property when we next drive our RV up to Alaska. We spent the summer there in 1995 and have been trying to get back there ever since! Here is a picture of them with Elaine on their recent visit.

Last weekend my granddaughter, Michaela, was swimming in a meet in Woodland, which is where one of our rental houses is located. So I drove over there to see her swim, and inspect the rental house on the same trip. Michaela did not swim that well, since she was not feeling well that day, but I had a nice visit with her and my daughter, Laura. The rental house looks great and our tenants are handling things well. So it was a successful trip. Here is a picture of Laura and Michaela:

On Sunday we drove up to Auburn to have brunch with my step mother, Maxine, my brother, Jerry, and his wife, Diann. We haven't seen Maxine for a while so we were happy to see her looking so well. Jerry and Diann attended our wedding last October, so it hadn't been that long since we had seen them. But they too were looking fabulous! We went to a place called Cafe Latitudes, where the ambiance was great and I had a delicious apricot scone with my meal, but the spinach/chicken crepes needed something to give them more flavor. Elaine wasn't that happy with her huevos rancheros either. Good thing the company was so great! Here we are enjoying our mini-family reunion:

Yesterday, we had a wonderful dinner with our old friends, Roberta & Odette. Unfortunately, I was enjoying them so much, I neglected to remember to take their picture. This is a real shame because they were both looking great. Next year will be their 40th anniversary so they make even us look like newbies at this togetherness thing. They are thinking of going to Morocco and Turkey and we happily encouraged them to go and showed them some of our pictures from those places.
Tomorrow we are having lunch with Bill and Jan Vecchio. Jan did a wonderful job singing and coordinating the music at our wedding. They are meeting us at a Japanese place called Mizu, recommended to us by our friend, Lois, who joined us for dinner on Friday. She has been my friend since elementary school and we are always happy to see her when we are in this area. After all this socializing, it should come as no surprise that we have not managed to take off the 5 pounds we gained on our recent cruise. I guess we will have to up our exercise!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

3/1/09 Today I added more pictures to the post below this one which I started yesterday. So if you looked at it between Saturday night at 10PM and Sunday at noon, you missed half the pictures that are there now. In this post I am going to put a few pictures of the people that were on the ship with us, and who either started out as good friends, such as the Park Sierra friends, or who became good friends through the 46 days we were together. Hopefully, we will someday be on another cruise with some of these friends. On an unhappy note, the first picture is of Ken & Pene DeMore, people who became very dear to us but Ken got sick about a week before the end of the cruise and he died 2 nights before we docked in Los Angeles. It just brought home to us even more the thought that we all are at a vulnerable age and we had better do what makes us happy now because we just never know when our time will be up.

Ken & Pene DeMore

Ken & Carolyn Kimpton from Park Sierra

Mary & Dave Fountain from Park Sierra

Pierre Favre & Barb Morris from Park Sierra

Tom & Rocki Blair from Park Sierra

Duane & Dorothy McCarthy from Houston, on leg 1 with us.

Charlie & Marla, from Galveston, on leg 1 with us.

Diane & David Wilson

Patrick & Daryl McGrath from Illinois

Martin & Roger, our "adopted sons"

Elaine & Dwight Crelia

Eelko & Bernd from Germany, on Formal night

Ed & Janet Lubick from Canada

George, Madelyn, Joe, Carla, Mary & Elaine on Formal Night

Dale & Gail on Formal Night

Mary & Elaine with Dale and Dwight on Formal Night

Valentine’s Day dinner at Portofino’s

Besides the great people on the ship, there were also special events. Here are a few pictures of two of those.
Decorations at the Poolside Buffet on Valentine’s Day

Poolside Buffet on Valentine’s Day

Bon Voyage Parade on the Mariner of the Seas