The sun was getting ready to peek over mountains when I arose this morning, but even more amazing was the fact that Linda was already peeking out from underneath the covers. Smiling, she whispered Happy New Years, then descended back into the warmth of her den. So much for an early breakfast this morning, unless I wanted to fix it which wasn't going to happen. Looks like this year is going to be the same as all the previous ones. Looking outside I could see the birds trying to get at the last few seeds in a nearly empty feeder. Deciding that if I couldn't have breakfast early today, I could help someone else enjoy theirs, I took the bag of seed we keep by the front door and refilled the feeder, scattering some on the ground for the doves. I shouldn't have worried about scattering seed for the doves, because no sooner had I returned to the coach than the finches were at the feeder, gobbling greedily with seed flying in all directions. Soon the bushes seemed to spring to life with sparrows as the dinner bell was apparently ringing. Sitting and watching got the New Year off to a great start.
Sometime later, though earlier than usual, Linda made her appearance. I think this had to do with some remote temperature sensing device she is imbued with, as I noted the living area had been warming up faster than usual this morning. In short order, the aroma and sizzle of scrambled eggs was filling the coach as I worked on the daily journal. She even added a little something extra to the eggs, Bob Evans Italian sausage. A tasty reminder of all the wonderful meals we had enjoyed over the past years.
Breakfast over, I went outside to work on our New Years greeting. It had been so much fun making the Christmas greeting that I wanted to make another for New Years. A few people have the decorative white rocks around the bushes in their site, and ocassionally we'll see where someone has used them to spell our their name, but I've not seen anyone else use them to make a holiday greeting. Guess it just may be another instance of the beat of a different drum I find myself following.
Back inside the coach Linda had also been busy. The longer we sit in one spot the more the coach begins to look lived in. The counters aquire the look of life as opposed to the sterile climate of a coach on the move. Objects are not all it aquires, unfortunately it also gathers up dust and dirt, which was what she was now busy removing. A subtle reminder that that our life is one where everyday is a holiday, hence no day is a holiday in the traditional sense. She did find time to not only put her tomato plants out in the sun, but to also once again repot them into just two peat pots. You will notice a separate third pot in the photo. That was the original sprouting pot. To my question as to why it was also out in the sun, she told me it was so it could dry out, which I guess made perfect sense to her.
In the early afternoon we decided to go for a bike ride. Linda had been emailing one of the Datastormusers who was also staying in La Posa North, so we got the bikes out and set off for parts far, far away. They were boondocked quite a distance south in the LTVA, but it was actually a very easy ride down there, maybe it was because south being termed down, it was downhill all the way. What made it easy to locate them was that they were on the same road as the "Lindsey" sign, just all the way to the end of it. We had a pleasant visit and then it was time to return to our own house. That was when it got interesting. The first thing we discoverd was why it had been so easy to bike on the way down, it had not been because it was south and hence, downhill. Oh no, not at all, it was because the wind had been at our back. It was just a wee bit different now, as we rode directly into the wind. The road was hard packed gravel, but it seemed like we were pedaling through soft sand. After struggling about the distance of a football field we were both ready for a rest and spying a small mesquite tree, I headed towards it, signaling for Linda to follow me.
Safely tucked into the lee side of the scrubby little tree, we could actually talk to each other. The wind was roaring by on both sides of our little haven, and we could hear it rising and falling in intensity. Realizing that staying behind a tree was not going to get us back to the coach, we struck out once again. This time we knew what to expect and pedaled diligently to the north, eyes watering from the incessant wind. This time when Linda proclaimed she needed a rest we were not near any cover and just stopped in the road, lowering our heads to the wind. Since we were near each other, we could talk, but when I picked up my feet to move beside Linda I found myself being blown backwards. This was too much and I yelled at Linda to get her attention, then lifted my feet and once again started moving backwards, propelled by the force of the wind. It was one of things that have to experienced to be believed. Eventually we did make it back to the coach, having gotten a great deal more exercise that we had planned on. We even got to help some first timers with some of their 'where' questions. The kind that go; where can we camp, anywhere; where can we get out of the wind, nowhere; where is the garbage, the water, the sewer dump, those kinds of questions.
Back at the coach and out of the wind we watched the dust streams blow by following the road out through the front window and realizing that was what we had been riding in all that time. We probably both gained a half pound, what with all the dust we must have breathed in. After all that unintended work it was time to relax and I curled up with a book while Lind got out her beading paraphanalia.
Taking a break, I remembered I had not carried the phone with me, and when it was turned it on, much to our surprise, and a very pleasant one at that, there was a New Years message from our grandson. Needles to say, Linda scorched the keys calling him back and we had a great visit. We even got a number of answers to our questions that were more than one word. What a great way to start of the New Year.
When peanut time came we debated whether to brave the winds or shell and eat them inside. I think the coach cleaning of the morning may have tipped the scales on favor of braving the wind, so out the door into the wind we went, wondering if this was such a good idea. I set the chairs up so our backs would be to the wind and Linda promptly turned her chair around to face the wind, then started saying how it was too windy. I remarked that if she would have left the chair the way I set up, the wind would be at her back. I was told that if she sat that way, she couldn't see the birds at the feeder. Knowing this was one of those times to keep my mouth shut, I shelled peanuts and wondered how on earth a bird could even fly in this wind, let alone land on the feeder. It didn't take long till she turned around, saying she didn't see any birds. Thank goodnes I had enough wits about me not to comment on the mental faculties, or lack therof, of persons with an Appalachian heritage.
One of our longstanding traditions, probably stemming somewhere from the depths of my family's German background, is eating pork on New Years. Memories of meals past with my Grandpa, Aunt Jane and Uncle Nick gathered around a table overflowing with great heaping dishes of food was on my mind. But the best meal of all was the first New Years Day that Linda had celebrated with my family. We had only been married a few weeks and she wanted so badly to put on the best impression she could. We sat down at he table, my father said grace and the bowls and platters started to be passed. As the first bowl came by, one that everyone had taken several large spoonfuls from, Linda leaned over ond whispered, "what is that?" "Oyster dressing", I replied, taking a third spoonful of that divine delicacy, as a look of horror crossed her face. "I don't eat oysters", she replied. "Try them, you'll like them", I whispered back. The rest of the meal went the same way and in time it became a family tradition to sit around and laugh about the first meal Linda ever ate at Aunt Jane's, the one where she ate jello and mashed potaoes. She had become special to everyone in my family just as she had to me. Further more, over the years, she even learned that those foods weren't so bad after all, they were just different.
Our New Yers Day meal was going to feature grilled pork tenderlion and sweet potatoes and before long the tenderloin was marinating and the sweet potatoes were being parboiled. Then it was time to rub some olive oil on the potatoes, pat some fresh course gound pepper into them and lite the grill. It was a meal that made our mouths water just watching it sizzle on the grill. Plus we had received a very pleasant surprise when I put the pork on the grill. There had been two tenderloins, not just one in the package, and since Linda hands never touch raw meat she hadn't noticed. Just another of Life's unexpected pleasures.
When the tenderloin was served with almond green beans and tossed salad with Kalamata olives and feta cheese, we pronounced it as good as it can get. Now that the culinary standard for the year has reached gartantuan heights, I can only dream of the awseome new dishes Linda will be fixing in the coming months. Things happen for a reason.
We leave today with the heartfelt wish that may all your dreams come true in the coming year and that whatever terrain you may encounter in your journey through the next 365 days, it will, in the end, be your best year ever. We know that is what we are excitedly looking forward to in 2007.
When we started on this adventure we read the journals and blogs of the people who were already out on the road, enjoying this life. They always seemed to get such a thrill out of each and everyday. Those that didn't, well, their entries became fewer and fewer, finally stopping all together. It is hard to believe, but it has now been more than a year since I began writing on a daily basis about what the life we live is like. In a moment of introspection today, I looked at the entry for exactly one year ago today, January 2, 2006. How different our emotions had been on that long ago day. It was the first day in either of our lives that not only didn't we have to go to work, but it was with the prospect that we would never again 'have' to work for money, that we were truly free from the economic shackles that we labored under for almost forty years.
Here is that ever so brief entry: "Jan 2 A day spent wondering what things we will take that we don't need. A day spent wondering what things we won't take that we will need. A day spent running around on last minute errands. A day when we began to realize the enormity of what we are undertaking." As I reflected on those words, "enormity of what we are undertaking" and realized that when they were written, we had only the tiniest clue of what we were getting into. That the adventure we were undertaking was going to exceed all our expectations. This month is filled with anniversary after anniversary for us, yet we are just as excited today as we were one year ago. Freedom does that to a person.
We didn't plan on doing a great deal today, but what we were going to do was quite important. Before we could start, we needed energy and that meant breakfast. It was a little colder than usual, so Linda made a pot of oatmeal. It has been a long time since I last had oatmeal at a restaurant, but if memory serves me correct it was little better than tasteless gray goop with cold milk, plus a handful of overly dried raisins and brown sugar offered as toppings. It is no wonder so many people don't like oatmeal. Real oatmeal has to be crafted, watched and stirred to nearly the point of being loved, but the result is exquisite. That was what we had and did we ever enjoy it once again.
This morning, the dishes were washed for a change, as we would soon be driving down the road. Not that we were leaving, but just the opposite, we are staying for many more weeks and that was why we we were leaving. Sounds confusing except that we are only leaving to drive the three or so miles to La Posa South in order to dump the tanks and fill with fresh water. It had been some time since we last moved so we reviewed each step of the process to make sure we didn't forget anything. The list we put on the steering wheel really helps, but there is always something. This time it was the MotoSat, which Linda remembered just as I was about to start the engine, so no harm done. We had angled the solar panels with the braces and decided that because of the shortness of the drive, the lower speeds we would be traveling and the lack of wind today, we would leave them up. Just before we pulled out I marked the places where the tires sat so Linda could direct me into the same exact spot upon our return. Editor's comment: Right!!
It was an uneventful drive and as we came up to the dump area we could see several RV's pulled off the road. There were two RV's in each line, but the wait was short and the entertainment we were treated to made it pass even faster. The people in front of us had an older Class C and as with old RV's, things wear out. It didn't take us long to really feel for the people, having been there and done that, so to speak, with our old RV. The husband was obviously unable to bend over, so his wife had to get under the RV and hook up the hose. When she opened the valve, a garden hose sized stream of water and other materials started splashing onto the cement under the RV. After several attempts at tightening the connection and getting the filthy water all over her hands and arms, she, with the help of her husband, turned on the rinse water hose and just washed it all over the concrete pad as it came out. Believe me, we felt for her. Eventually they moved on and we dumped, using the San-Con pump and taking the same time that two people did in the other line. I said it was because the pump was slow, Linda said it was because our tanks were much bigger. I decided we were both partly right, Linda knew I was wrong.
After dumping it was time to fill with fresh water, a process which was pregnant with the possibility of far exceeding, time wise, the dump process. When we pulled up there was a fellow in a smaller gas Class A who was already hooked up to the water line and filling his tank. We pulled up, filled and left before he was finished filling even though we had a much larger tank. The secret? Two fill hoses. Each fill station had two faucets so I hooked the normal hose up to one of them, then got out the short auxiliary hose and used it to fill through the external fill port. It cut the time to fill in half or more. Not too shabby if I do say so and of course the fact they weren't busy and I could use both faucets also helped. All in all, I think that little idea rated a 'good Bob'. I also think that if there had only been one faucet available, we would have filled faster using the external port rather than the normal hose as the tubing from the hose to the tank is a smaller diameter than the hose itself.
It was only after we arrived back at the site that the fun began. I stopped the coach, we checked the radios, reviewed the plan to back the coach into the exact spot it came out of and when I got back into the coach, Linda promptly forgot all the things we had talked about. That was my story at least. Her's was if I'd just have done what she was telling me to do there would not have been a problem. I will say that we never did drive over the New Years sign, nor did we hit the flag pole, but just how in the world we managed to park the coach without doing either is beyond explanation. We never were able to position it in the same exact spot it had been, but it was close enough. I commented that maybe we'd get better at is as time goes on. Linda replied something to the effect that if I moved the little white rocks that made up the sign, or better yet, stuffed them into a certain hole, there would be no problem backing the coach into the 'exact' right spot.
To salve my wounded pride, I worked once again on the battery maintenance, telling Linda it was better to do it too often than not often enough. I don't think she bought that one. At least the batteries look to be in great shape from the outside, it's the inside I'm not sure of.
The rest of the day passed in reading, sitting out on our grassy patio, with a break for peanuts. It was when I was getting the peanuts out of the coach that I noticed how the mountains were being reflected in the mirrors of the coach. If you look closely you can see the hand of that beautiful model we so often use in our photos. I guess when you're good, you're good.
Later we spent some more time researching camera's, a task which is moving further along as we are now into checking prices and availability. Linda also found time to bake chocolate brownies, which when eaten warm, made a perfect complement to the chocolate tapioca and sip of port we served with it.
One of the pleasures we certainly enjoy is something other than cold cereal for breakfast. Not that we haven't discovered some ways to make cold cereal more than we ever thought it could be, there is just something about a cooked breakfast that gets the day off to a great start. When Linda came out this morning, she arrived, not only with her usual huge smile, but also with the comment, I've got an idea for breakfast.
I was so buried in writing the daily journal that soon all thoughts of what she might be cooking had vanished from my mind. I was aware she was fixing scrambled eggs because there is something about the delightful aroma generated by sun dried tomatoes being heated that breaks down any barriers to the outside world which my mind may erect. Then a short while later, the aroma of peanut butter, of all things, also made itself aware to my muddled mind, then it was back to journal.
When Linda finally announced breakfast was ready, the idea of foods delicious and tasty which those prior intrusions had hinted at, was now ready to burst forth and overpower any writing about yesterdays life on my part. Looking up at the plate she had set on the table, I saw something new and looked up to she her beaming. "It's breakfast apples", she replied, seeing the quizzical look on my face, then adding, "they're not quite as good as they will get, but not bad at all." As I was soon to learn, they were sliced apples, cooked in a little water until tender, then after being drained, putting some peanut butter and cinnamon in the hot pan and mixing to coat. They were good, but already she had formulated several changes to the recipe, next time there would be a little oil added, maybe some canola, or even better, at least to us, some extra virgin olive oil. Also the incorporation of a dash of Splenda or Stevia would have added a hint of sweetness. I was also up for the addition of a hint of nutmeg and cloves, but she wasn't sure about that.
Afterwards, it was time to rise to even greater heights, at least in a literal sense. One of the things on the "to do" list, was to do something about the shaded solar panel. With the coach facing west the MotoSat shades the front solar panel. The easy fix would be to just turn the coach around, but while it is physically possible to use that method, it is not the solution we plan to employ. First off, we like the view to the west, second, the 'windowed' side of the coach is the drivers side and by having it face south, we get the full benefit of the warm sun pouring through the windows. The easiest solution is to just move the solar panel from the passengers side to the drivers side, which is what we plan to do. That was where the 'greater heights' came into play, as I wanted to go up on the roof and see what all would be involved in moving the panel.
It did not appear that it was not going to be difficult, all we would need were a new set of mounting brackets, some Dicor sealant and a few cable hold downs. The last thing we did was to check what the best location for the panel would be. Moving it to the location I had planned still left the possibility of a shadow being cast by the MotoSat, but moving it more towards the front of the coach about 18 inches solved that problem. The cable was long enough to easily reach, so no new wiring would be involved. Simply unfastening it and laying it down in the full sun with no shadow on it made for a huge increase in the amps being generated, just we had read about. We just hadn't realized how much even a little shadow being cast on the panel would drastically reduces its output. Satisfied that for once I really did know what I needed to do a job around the coach, we drove into Quartzsite.
When we were here at Quartzsite in January 06 we bought our original solar system from Discount Solar, a brick and mortar store, owned and operated by a local couple who treated us right. We had gone there in the first place because of a good recommendation by several people. Once again, we weren't disappointed in the service which was just like the last time. We had looked at mounting brackets and Dicor at other places as we had shopped and the price here was less than at the other "lowest price in town", tent dealers. Then as the bill was being written up, I spied a solar panel behind the counter. Lets just say that the $20 original bill morphed into a lightly over $700 bill, but we had everything we needed to install a third new Kyocera solar panel. We had talked last year when we bought the system of maybe adding another panel this year. Guess we could say it wasn't talk anymore.
Last year we had a brand, spanking new coach that I knew diddly squat about, this year I had no problem with trying to install the additional panel. In fact the next coach that we buy, I'll just take this system out and reinstall it in the new one. It is actually not difficult other than the crawling around on the roof and fishing wires through the coach. We did have one more stop to make, at Herb's hardware to pick up a caulking gun and some assorted screws and clamps. (The clamps were not for the solar panel, but for the propane hose so we could also finish that project.) Soon we were back at the coach and the project was underway.
The first thing was to open up the solar unit access panel and review the connections on the back of the panel.
Next was to lift the panel up to the roof. This was accomplished by covering the panel with a blanket, then holding it in place with a rope which was also used to pull the panel up and onto the roof of the coach.
It was easy hoisting it up to the roof, as we used the ladder to hold the panel out from the coach while it was being hoisted, the back of the panel facing the ladder. I then carried the panel to the front of the coach to the spot where we had planned for it to go.
Once it was in laid in place it became apparent that I was going to have to adjust the position of the both this panel and the panel we were going to move. Here you can see the old position of the panel we were going to be moving and remounting. It is covered with the blue blanket, with the MotoSat in front of it.
Once everything was laid out the installation went fairly easily. I will admit to having second thoughts the first time I used the Dicor, but once I learned that a little mess goes with the job, it didn't take too long. I had originally planned on installing just one panel up today and the other tomorrow, but with the mess and the fact the tools were all up there, I installed both panels.
Here are the panels in place, where they will remain for several days while the Dicor sets. We still need to fasten down the cables, but will do that later in the week. The only problem was, the sun was now so low in the sky they were barely able to generate any current. The true test will have to wait till tomorrow, though the really true test will have to wait a few days until we can raise the panels up to see what the full impact of the moved panel and the addition of the new one will be.
Dinner was Tri-tip which we both are of the opinion gets better the longer it sets in the refrigerator. Then it was off to see some entertainment. They were having a fund raiser at the QIA building for the traveling Vietnam Wall display which will be coming to town in a few weeks and we wanted to attend. We have talked about attending some of the music jam sessions around town, but hadn't gone to any, so this would be our first taste of the Quartzsite music scene. We were not disappointed. As always, one band appealed to our tastes more than the other two, but there was something for everyone.
Later after the concert, we volunteered to help with the Wall, my brother's name is on it, then drove back to the coach where the day ended with a big chocolate brownie and pleasant memories of a day where we accomplished more than we had hoped to.
Just yesterday morning we were eating something new and different, the peanut butter cinnamon apples and I was commenting on the little things which could be done to improve the taste. Well, we had peanut butter apples again today but I think that perhaps my comments were not taken in the light that they were offered. As usual, I was buried in the task of composing the daily journal, so was lost in my own little world while Linda fixed breakfast. When the plate of scrambled eggs and apples was first put on the table I was in the middle of a thought, so I paid no attention to the plate. When I did look at it, I couldn't just eat, I had to make a comment, for on the plate was half of a sliced apple and a dab of peanut butter.
Acting the part of the typical, insensitive, clod of a male, I said, "I thought you'd fix the peanut better apples again." Not only had I made the comment, I also made the mistake of glancing up at her when I said it. Why is it that we men have no sensitivity to the feelings of women, a trait that includes the ability to say and do the exact wrong things at the worst possible times? Her withering reply summed up all that was wrong, "I didn't think you'd notice." When you live in the small, confined space that an RV affords, people can occasionally get on each others nerves. It looked like today was going to be one of those days. Would I realize the problem was me? Or would I act like nothing happened? Or would a play the part of the jerk? Only time would tell.
There was one thing I could easily tell and that was whether or not the moving of the one solar panel and the addition of a third panel had made a difference in the amount of current being generated. Typically the meter has been reading 7 to 10 amps, this morning it was doing a little better. It will also be interesting to see the difference when we angle the panels more towards the sun in a few days.
We had planned to finish that job today, but since the wind was already kicking up and not needing to get blown off the roof, we put that job off until another time. Another task which was getting put off was the writing of the daily journal. The incident with the apples had managed to bother me to the point where I was not interested in writing for the time being. There was always the dumpster run and walk to take my mind off things and, off course, doing some net surfing, which was what our morning consisted of.
We also needed to go to the Post Office and stop at the produce market to get a loaf of rye bread. They were supposed to get their shipment of bread between 12:30 and 1:00, so we wanted to time the trip to coincide with that. Lastly there was the prospect of attending a talk by the author of a book on cowboys at the library, which was going to be at 2:30. So after a lunch of turkey wraps and bean salad, which hearkened back to our summertime lunches, we headed into town, with our first stop at the produce stand. While Linda went in for the bread, I took the mail over to the Post Office which was right across the street. Upon returning, Linda said they were out of bread. I looked at the display case, which had only one loaf of bread on it and said they just hadn't received their delivery yet. Wrong thing to say. Between tone and phraseology it indicated I not only didn't agree with her, I thought she couldn't see the obvious.
Linda's immediate response was, "How do you know that, maybe they got the delivery and sold it all." The defining moment had arrived. Would I be mellow and say, "You're probably right, let's check and see if it has arrived yet", or would be the the typical male jerk and say, "just look at the rack, there's only one loaf of any kind kind of bread, anybody can tell they haven't got their delivery yet." Unfortunately I was suffering from a case of foot in mouth disease in it's most virulent form, so you know what I said. She retorted, and justifiable so in a somewhat angry tone, "well, I'm going to ask." Time for me to pull the male menopause thing and walk out without telling her where I was going.
About five minutes later she stalked up to me, eyes, glowing and mouth pursed, to hiss, "there was no delivery today it will be tomorrow." Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I don't recall my reply, but whatever it was, it wasn't the thing to say and all I saw was her back disappearing. With all the righteous indignation of the ignorant fool, I told myself it was she who was acting stupid and I didn't care what she did. If there ever was a time "to see us as other see us", this was it. Of course my eyes we tightly shut to any thought of rational, mature behavior. It was only later when I tried to find her, and couldn't, that the stupidity of the way I acted began to be realized.
Trying to find her, I walked in the direction I had seen her head, but didn't see her in any of the vendor tents. Thinking maybe she walked over to the bead shop behind the the Shell station, I checked it out, again with no luck. Now I wasn't at all sure where she might have gone, and I sure wasn't nearly as upset as I had been only minutes ago, but there was the other bead store up North Central. So I set out to walk up there, but once again, no Linda. Now I was beginning to get concerned, where could she be. One part of me said to go the the Explorer and drive to the Library to attend the book talk. That, however was only about 1% of my being , the other 99% quickly over ruled it and I set out in search once more. Finally I found her, sitting on a concrete wall near the produce market. I was very glad to find her, but she didn't seem very happy to see me. I had dug my grave, now it was time for the burial ceremony.
Let's just say that I will be on my best behavior for quite some time and will try to be more understanding and less prone to fits of emotion for no seemingly good reason. This goes beyond being simply Bad Bob, nor does it relate to pulling a dumb stunt. The way it was explained to me was that it simply wasn't going to happen again. The tone and manner of the edict was such that complying with this new way of doing things, as it was put, will be deeply etched in my mind for some weeks to come. Like as not, life on the road in a small space is no different that life at home and if you think different, I can only wish you luck.
After a dinner of leftover pork tenderloin which was literally melt in your mouth delicious, we went for a walk. One of the things we have thought about is moving from where we are to a location that would be a little more isolated. Not because we are unhappy with this spot, far from it, we love this spot, but simply because there are so many places to boondock here. We were looking specifically for possible sites that would allow us to still face westward, but would have trees out the front which would afford us a view of our bird feeders and maybe allow us to attract some hummingbirds. A distance south of the dumpsters we found a number of locations that held promise. We'll look some more, but we are now planning on moving sometime in early February to another location in La Posa North.
We were heading back to the coach when the phone rang and it was our grandson calling. He had just earned his first yellow stripe in Jujitsu and couldn't wait to tell us. He was so excited and the call was just the thing we needed after what had transpired earlier in the day. He also told us his mom was going to take his picture and email it to us as soon as they got home. It that a proud young man or what.
As we were talking, the sky was turning from dusk to night. The play of mountains, sky and light was such that it demanded a photo and I even managed to get Venus in the picture.
Back at the coach we spent the remainder of the evening on the Internet. Recently Linda had made a telling observation. She says she likes the quiet, which relates to the fact we have watched virtually no TV since we arrived in Quartzsite. I think she is right. We have on occasion played Cd's or listened to the radio, but it is not an every night thing. Maybe a little solitude is good for the soul. As we sat and lost ourselves each into our own world, the actions of the day receded and the joy of this life once again came to the forefront. It will take a while for all to be forgotten and no matter how sorry I might be for what I said and did, they can never be erased. Still, Life is the most precious thing and deserves to be loved each and every day, even if there are are few wrinkles and creases in its fabric at times.
Before we called it quits for the day, Linda had several conversations with our other daughter regarding their summer vacation plans which will include a trip to Oregon where we will get to tag along during their stay at Silver Falls State Park, a park we had tried several times in years past to stay at, but couldn't get in. The day was not quite over when Mother Nature let us know a change in weather was going to be in order, by way of the sound and feel of strong winds against the coach. A quick check of Weatherunderground and we learned that wind gusts may reach as much as 50 mph tomorrow. It sounds like tomorrow is going to be as interesting in a different way, as today was in its own way. Two consecutive days where we are buffeted by strong winds, each of a different nature, each of which will come and go.
What a difference a day can make. I seemed to have spent most of yesterday leaping back and forth between the frying pan and the fire. It was a different scene that greeted me this morning, as the temperatures had moderated a great deal overnight. The feeling I had was quickly confirmed by a brief glance at the thermometer.
Whenever there is such a dramatic change in the weather pattern, it usually means something is going to happen. Today's forecast called for very high winds, blowing sand and dirt accompanied with a drop in temperature. It didn't sound like it was going to be a very nice day at Quartzsite, or anywhere in the desert southwest for that matter. Even the sky did not have the usual orange yellow glow in the east, which you can see, was anything but colorful.
I had decided to fix oatmeal for breakfast and soon had a pot cooking on the stove. Soon the coach was being filled with its distinctive smell and once it really started to cook, it didn't take Linda long to show up in the living area. At almost the same time the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and filled the coach. I wasn't ready to take that as an omen, but Linda saw it as an opportunity to put her tomato seedlings in the sun. They have really grown this past couple of weeks since she transplanted them.
She has the routine down to a tee. All day long they set on the shelf next to my window basking and growing in the sun and the warmth of the coach. Then, after sundown they are carefully wrapped in a towel and placed in the cabinet above the sofa. There are recessed lights below the cabinet that generate enough heat to warm the inside floor of the cabinet. Here they rest all night long, warm and cozy as Linda says, to be brought out once again into the mornings sunlight. That is also the time she waters them whenever they seem a little on the dry side, which is about every other day. It is not just water, but a well watered down solution of Miracle-Gro. It only takes a brief glance the photo above to confirm that this regimen is working.
With the appearance of the sun, the north winds of last night also made their appearance and it wasn't long before the coach was occasionally rocked by a gust. The slide topper on the passenger side was starting to sound like a drum when we decided it was probably best to bring it in. With it retracted, the coach became much quieter and the rocking lessened. One other thing that had also happened was the outside temperature had actually fallen from what it was earlier this morning. As usual I worked on the daily journal, but Linda took up her beading for a change. It had become time to design the bracelet she was going to make for me, so she worked on designing the pattern, something she had never done before. When I asked her how it was going, she would only say, "You'll see soon enough."
Lunch was something different, a ham rather than a turkey rollup. This was not a step that we took lightly, as there is nothing we enjoy more on a day in and day out basis than our turkey rollups. The conversation we held at the General Market earlier in the week as we were considering the change had been lively. We have learned Quartzsite is a more of a cow and pig town than a fowl town, making for a greater variety and abundance of ham than turkey. Remembering our pledge to try to eat more local foods, we ended up buying two pounds of sliced ham for rollups. We must confess that those first ham rollups did not taste like turkey rollups, but with some serious tinkering we think we can come up with something more enjoyable. It is amazing to think that several years ago we would have always have taken a ham sandwich over turkey. Talk about changing in both the taste and a health aspect, wow.
Finally it was time to drive over to the produce stand and get our rye bread. The shelves were loaded with bread, except the one for the rye bread. There were only two loaves left, which soon became a single loaf, then while we checked out, Linda pointed out the last one had also been taken. Linda also had a package to mail and when we had stopped at the market, the Post Office lot had been almost completely empty. Now it was full, but since it was an Ebay package, she wanted to get it mailed. For some reason the line moved very fast and she was done in just a few minutes. At least I hadn't said, "there's no one at the Post Office let's mail the package before getting the bread." I couldn't even imagine what the consequences might have been when we arrived at the produce stand to find that they were out of bread. Just maybe there is a glimmer of light at the end of that many miles long tunnel.
Because of the wind we decided not to do any other shopping and headed back to the coach. As we drove into the LTVA, the wind was really kicking up the dust and objects were blowing around. We watched a gentleman frantically running after a tire cover, that seemed to pick up a burst of speed every time he almost caught up with it. Scattered about out in the open areas lay lawn chairs, while the bushes where adorned with all manner of lighter weight objects found around a campsite. What was even more interesting was the haze that had enveloped the mountains to the south. All that dust from these here parts was going somewhere, and it looked like that somewhere was up against the south mountains.
There is a stark contrast between the clear foreground and the haze covered mountains, but don't be misled, because the sand and dust was blowing everywhere. We found out when the 4 o'clock hour rolled around and we pulled the chairs out from under the coach. They were filled with sand and dirt that had blown in on the wind. That clear view was just an optical illusion. Because of the cold wind, we put on a pot of white bean chicken chili which we enjoyed with slices of fresh rye bread slathered in crunchy peanut butter and Betty's apple butter, homemade by Linda's sister-in-law, which made for just the right meal on a wind blown evening. Later, after chocolate brownies and a glass of warm milk, livened up with a splash of Torani sugar free caramel syrup, we headed to bed with the wind still howling outside and thinking about what other changes the morrow might be bring.
After the warm morning of yesterday which was followed by a drop in temperature and later being buffeted by winds most of the day, we got up to colder temperature, clear skies with a warm sun and very little breeze this morning. Maybe things were going to return to normal in Quartzsite. I bet the vendors really liked the way the weather was shaping up for today, especially those who were in the process of setting up their tents, which couldn't have been any fun at all in those high winds.
For some reason or other yesterday's daily journal just wouldn't come together this morning, and I worked on it far longer than usual. I also made a change to the bottom of the page, which you will appreciate on those days when excessive verbosity is my stock in trade. You will now be able to return to the top of the daily journal page just by clicking on the words, "Go To Top of Page", instead of having to scroll back to the top, so maybe there was a reason for my struggles after all. I know Linda would say there was, but she would probably equate it to something other than creativity, more like the lack of creativity rather than an abundance of it.
I finally got the jounal finished as Linda stood impatiently at the front door, trying to get me to hurry. You see, she didn't want to be late to the parade. Did I say parade, yes, I did, the annual Hi Jolly Days parade, named after a camel driver and held to kick off the show season in Quartzsite. It is also billed as one of those don't miss events. Not that I'm a skeptic or anything, but isn't it usually true that things which are labeled "don't miss', turn out to be anything but that. I guess the only way to know for sure was to go watch it, though the fact the route is what might be termed, out in the middle of nowhere, is fair warning. But then again, this is Quartzsite after all, where the unexpected soon becomes the expected.
Part of our interest in arriving a little early for the parade was to prevent having an experience like Ron & Terry of Hitchitch had when they attended the annual Christmas parade back in December. To read what happened to them click on the following link and read their post for Dec. 3rd fulltime.hitchitch. We enjoy having our own adventures, but didn't want something like that to happen to us, however, we didn't have any trouble driving to where the parade was going to held. We found the right street easily enough, got in the line of traffic heading in the right direction and parked like everyone else was, perpendicular to the road and then got ready to wait for the parade to come by.
This had all been real easy and we sure were feeling proud of ourselves. Of course it wasn't long until we found out we had made one small miscalculation. We had picked the right street, it was just that the parade turned off the street we were facing quite some distance before where we were parked. What ensued, while not exactly out of the Keystone Cops, certainly bore shades of some movie scence we have watched. The short cut to where we neded to go was through the city park and we followed several other vehicles off in that direction. Across the gravel we rolled, all in a row, until the line came upon an impassible obstacle. What followed was something reminescent of the chase scenes in the movies. The kind where all the cops are in a row chasing the hero when they come upon an obstacle. It looks like disaster for a while as they all stop, backing in every direction, dust and dirt flying, then reassemble in the line heading in another direction. We now know exactly what it must feel like being in one of those cars as a scene like that is being filmed. The camera shots they take out the windshields are pretty accurate. Controlled mayhem I think it is called.
Eventually we eventually made it through the park and back onto the road we were originally on, Plymouth Avenue, but this time along the actual parade route. Seeing a good spot, and they were all good spots, we backed in and began to wait on the start of the parade. We joked about how long the parade would last, it turned out my guess of 20 minutes was right on, and waited some more, and some more, and some more. While everyone else seemed mostly content to sit in their vehicles and wait, the fidgets were starting to get to me.
Growing bored with what was turning into an interminable wait, we got out of the Explorer and decided to do just that, become explorers after noticing an airport across the road. Turned out that it was an RC airport, which we may have to check it out some more, could be fun watching them fly their planes someday. It even had a paved runway and a pot-a-potty. The runway didn't get any use, but we noticed a number of people using the pot-a potty before the parade arrived. Just look at what you can find if you keep your eyes open.
From this angle it almost looks like a real runway. Well, I guess in a way it is and maybe it would have been better to have said, looks like a full sized runway.
Finally the distant sounds of sirens hearlded to eminent arrival of the Hi Jolly Days parade which was led by a police officer having a good time with his siren. The young girl that accompanied me to the parade got the fire engine behind him to finally let go with a blast from his air horns. What is there about a parade that brings out the kid in us?
Because it's a Quartzsite parade, we weren't sure what to expect. A two wheeled cart pulled by a dog and driven by a lady on rollerblades was not something we expected, but making a twist on pronounciation, spelling and meaning, it did give new meaning to the term, "gitty up little dogie.
Then came the floats, not Rose Bowl quality, but they still threw candy from them and was it ever fun watching the young kids scampering around trying to pick up as much as they could.
There were bands. They didn't sing it, but Juice Newton's "Queen of Hearts" would have been the the perfect song because the line, "Midnight and waitin' on the 12:05" would have been most appropriate, given the time the parade finally passed us.
There were ATV's which carried a sign announcing an attempt at the world's record for an ATV parade on Feb. 3rd. Sounds like another parade we'll have to attend. Man-o-man it's almost like everyday is a day for a parde in Quartzsite.
There were old cars.
And then there were really old cars. I had seen some steam come out of this one, but just as I got ready to take the photo, the camera battery died. It was almost as if the old girl was so proud, that she didn't want her photo taken. Of course, by the time I'd changed the batteries, the steam was gone.
Then there were things we weren't quite sure as to exactly what they were. Gotta love those stirrups though. I believe the reason he had stopped was that by now word had passed all the way back to the end of the parade that there was a crazy lady who was hell on wheels when it came to scarffing up goodies. He said something about having more than they could ever pass out, and proceeded to load Linda up. Now I'm frightened should word go out that she also plans to at the ATV parade. We may have to buy an ATV ourselves to haul everthing she collects home.
The best part of the entire parade came at the end. The driver looked out the window and shouting, "He's not pulling me, I'm pushing him." I laughed so hard, it took me a while to recover enough to take his pictire. Only in Quartzsite.
After the parade we headed over to the Kuehn street area to do some shopping. Linda found just the kind of rock she was looking for, but somehow or other I don't think it will be possible to take it along. This may even be the same one she wanted last January, nice try you little rascal.
As were walking down the aisle after this episode, a man stopped and looked at us, then said, "I know you." That was how we met Ed, a reader of our Daily Journal and his friend Jack. We had a nice conversation, with Ed pointing out he recognized Linda first then, me. After we had gone our separate ways I realized I hadn't thought to take a photo. I wasn't sure why and Linda didn't help any with her comment about my lack of brainpower, but then again, maybe she was on to something. Sorry we didn't, I mean I didn't get a photo Ed, but if there is ever a next time Linda will make sure I do. Ed had mentioned he had been coming to this area for eight years and after being here just twice ourselves, we can see why. To know the link with life. To experience the connection of being human. The joy of living. The spirit of individuality. The adventure goes on and on.
Later back at the coach, I climbed up on the roof and tilted the other two solar panels while Linda played photographer. Why is it I always have to do these kind of jobs and she gets to be the photographer. Whenever the photo calls for someone to stand there and look pretty she is always the model, but when it's a photo of someone working, I'm the model. Women, smarter than they will ever admit, and even worse, why did I have to marry one of the few smart blonds. The burdens men bear.
Once I pointed all this out to her, she yelled back up to just stand there and she would take one of me just like I do of her. I stood, and stood, and stood some more waiting for her to take the photo, just as I was starting to froth at the corners of my mouth, she yelled up, "Isn't a lot of fun just being a model either, is it." She had a good point. I guess I should also be glad she didn't ask me step back about three feet, then it would have been really ugly, the mess I would have made on the ground that is.
We did take a dumpster run later and I got back at her, catching her in one of her dumpster diving moments.
Dinner was beef patties with southwestern beans and sweet potato salad, then we listened to some Cd's we had gotten as presents which was followed by a bowl of fresh pumpkin fluff for dessert. Some days are routine and some are special, this had been one of those special days. (And from the length of the days journal it is easy to see I really enjoyed it.) Also don't forget you can use the new top of the page button below as a short cut back to the top of the page, if you've managed to get this far.
One of the great things about the change of living life one way to living another way, is realizing that not everyone lives the way you or I or he or she does. It's one of those things that we all know about, talk about and say we know, but do we really? I can remember reading the posts on the forums about Quartzsite in past years when we lived a different life - that badly misnamed 9 to 5 life. When I read about the great place Quartzsite was, the enjoyment that people had in the desert and that everyone should come to Quartzite because there was enough room for everyone, I believed. When the poster said they had spent a few hours there once, the dust and crowds were terrible and not only would they never go back, they were telling everyone else also, to never go, because it was the most miserable place on earth, I dismissed it out of hand as the rants of an unhappy person who saw the bad side of everything.
The soothsayer and the naysayer, polar opposites. We live on a planet that has poles and they are both opposites and yet quite similar. The poles are somewhat inhospitable yet beautiful each in its own way, but thinking of what lies between those poles, we realize it is only nothing more that all the fabulous variety the earth offers. If you're used to nice orderly campgrounds with grassy spaces and full hookups, then the chaotic nature of desert boondocking will be culture shock to say the least. But always keep in mind that life is what each each of us makes it. Some come here and see dust, dirt and crowds, others see old friends, beautiful mountains and glorious sunsets. For still others it is a way to spend a winter far away from the cold of the north, and then there are those who see it as a way to cut living expenses. But beyond even these outlooks on life, there are others who see things out in the middle of the desert that no one else sees.
Since it was Sunday morning, we drove down to the church service at La Posa South. It was a day of cold winds and warm fellowship. Strange thing too, because no one could seen to keep warm. Some people were huddled under blankets, others had there arms and legs crossed and pulled into the bodies in an attempt to stay warm. Given that it was so cold, you would think that the service might be cut a little short. Not so, in fact the preacher stopped once and commented, I'm not sure why I'm talking so long on such a cold morning, but the words just keep coming to me. It was at this point that I noticed something unusual. People were not as tightly balled up as they were before, I even noticed it in myself and in fact, I wasn't really cold any more. Why, I don't know, but it was one of those times that there was no way of knowing, it was only experiencing.
Back at the coach I plunged into the daily journal once again while Linda got her beads out and worked on my bracelet. There were enough times that she said, "come look", that I knew she was really proud of her progress. I too, was really having fun writing the daily journal and if you managed to wade through the Tolstoy like tome I produced, you know what I mean. Some days we have to just follow the flow. Yesterday the current was swift and the river was long when it came to writing. Linda, for her part, is also creating something, whatever it turns out to say, that I will be proud to call mine.
Lunch was dictated by the weather. Since it had been such a cold, blustery morning, soup was the dish of the day, and the leftover white bean chicken chili made the preparation easy. How different Linda's kitchen is now compared to what she had always been used to. Then there was a pot, pan or skillet of every size needed, and many cases, not needed and never used, to make whatever we cooked. Today our array of pots, pans and skillets is a little different. The emphasis would really be on the word little. Our one quart and two quart pans are in constant use, with the 4 and 8 quart pans being used less frequently, but definitely being used. For skillets it is the same thing, with the 8 and 10 inch skillets being the daily workers and the 11 inch skillet with glass lid and the griddle being used more infrequently. There were others originally, but with the, use it or lose it policy we employ, those other's are long gone, the electric skillet among them. What we have kept fit the way we cook and eat very well, but it took a number of months of living and cooking in the coach to get to this point. Sometimes we cook only enough for one meal, other times we go for lots of leftovers so we have have the equipment to live that way.
The day played out with our remaining inside. No shopping, walking or bike riding today. It was nice and warm in the coach, plus we were out of the wind, so I wrote and Linda beaded. For a break we surfed, doing more homework on the digital cameras we were considering. Everything seems to pointing towards a Canon S3 IS, but we still have more things to consider. Then I got off onto an interesting tangent, battery chargers, and a whole new world opened up to me. Turns out there are rechargeable batteries galore with chargers coming in all types and levels of complexity and quality. I always wondered about the statement, "the more we know, the less we know". I was getting a glimpse at what it meant as it related to battery chargers. We had given up on the rechargeable AA batteries we had for the camera because they wouldn't hold a charge. Maybe it wasn't the batteries, maybe it was us. Sometimes there is almost too much to Life.
In the evening we went to another concert and experienced the opposite of the last concert we attended. It was once again at the QIA Building, but the music and crowd were much different. When we had been in North Carolina last spring we had attended several southern gospel music concerts, and even though the music tonight was in the country gospel vein, we thought, what the heck it's only $2 a person and besides we have always enjoyed live performances, so lets go. Last week it was 500 people, 3 bands, each with 5 to 7 musicians. Tonight it was 50 people, 1 group and only 2 musicians. Last week, one out of the three bands was good, tonight the band was very, very good. Not only did we hear some wonderful music, we also learned what a dobro was. Rick and Bebe was the name of the duo and Bebe was something else. Besides having a great voice she could really play the guitar, banjo, mandolin and dobro (which was the precursor to the steel guitar). Great music, written by the singers, played and sung from the heart made for a wonderful experience. Here's a photo of Bebe on stage flanked by the five instruments she played.
Rick's job was to play base and fix their bus, oh, he also sang, told jokes and carried a perpetual smile on his face whenever he looked over at Bebe. Not bad for someone who had never played an instrument before he met her. As he told it, when asked to first play, it was an old upright bass and he declined. The rejoinder was, look, there are only four strings and less than a dozen and a half notes, if one of them doesn't sound right, just don't play it again. That was the start, and for the past 44 years they've made their living, on stage playing and singing.
It had been a worthwhile evening and returning to the coach, the lights of the RV's along US-95 showed that a population boom was underway in Quartzsite. After enjoying another dish of pumpkin fluff, but with the addition of bittersweet chocolate chips, we retired for the night, knowing that once again, we had lived our lives to the fullest.
After the cold winds of yesterday morning, today was a refreshing change. There was still the light breeze that seems to blow almost all the time, but it carried no chilling winds, just the coolness of a January desert morning. Nor was there a cloud in the sky making for a brilliant sunrise and heralding the coming nice day. The only problem was I didn't get to see the sunrise because I have changed my morning routine. The computer I use is an HP laptop, which, when the sun shines on the screen is difficult at best to see. For the longest time I simply accepted it as something that just was. Then about two weeks ago I started setting a blue plastic bag between it and the window. That worked somewhat, but it was still hard to see. Finally a couple of days ago, I bit the bullet and left the shades down, finding that while the sun shade helps, the room darking shade solves the problem. Now I miss both the sunrise and the warmth of the rays of morning sun coming in the window.
The reason the sun comes in the window the way it does is so we can maximize the amount of light falling on the solar panels. This causes the morning sun to come over my left shoulder and shine directly onto the screen, hence the need for the shade. I had toyed with writing the journal in the evening, but would that really solve the problem, which is that I like to sit at the table, working on the computer in the early morning, enjoying the sunrise. Maybe this is one of those compromises which are sometimes necessary. But, and it is a big but, what about my routine, would it be thrown further into shambles, perhaps even causing a drying up of what I term, my creativity, which I so much enjoy pouring out "onto paper" in the early morning. Looks like I've come face to face with that classic conundrum, the only constant is change.
Speaking of the full sun, it wasn't long until the current was really pouring into the batteries, and for the first time ever, we saw the charge rate rise above 20 amps. At least there are benefits to having the morning sun interfere with my writing.
Besides a change in the weather this weekend, something else had occurred, a change in the neighborhood. With the time of the 'Big Show' drawing ever nearer, the population of the area in close proximity to its location is definitely rising. Though we are across the street and down the road aways as the saying goes, our little neighborhood was also feeling the effects of its looming appearance. Out our front window towards the west, we now have three RV's lined up several hundred feet away. Likewise to the south, a Class A has also setup. These are just the first of what will turn into a flood of RV's over the next 10 days as people come to shop in the Big Tent week. Last year we were part of this migration, this year we get to see the changes on a daily basis.
The operative word here is "see", which is hard to do when there is so much going on, but always at a distance. Over there, an old gentleman who can barely walk is climbing a ladder to his roof and appears to be setting up his satellite antenna. In a different direction, someone is putting out a rug and a weird contraption made out of plastic. What is it, a windbreak or something else? Elsewhere a couple is bent down, seemingly picking up rocks. Is that what they are doing, and if so what are they doing with the rocks once they pick them up? Here we are, squinty eyed old people, trying to make out what was going on. Or maybe I should say, one squinty eyed person, because the other member of our family had obviously solved the problem.
Now you know how the little old lady that lived down the street, always knew everything that went on in the neighborhood. The nice thing about having an automated electronic surveillance system like this, is that it comes complete with full narration capabilities. Look at it this way, not only is the camping cheap around here, so is the entertainment. To my comment about her being a snoop, she replied, "I just wanted to be ready on case the man fell off the ladder." "So why the comments about what other people are doing", I immediately came back with. "My eyes get tired looking at one thing too long", was the reply. Blond logic at its best.
With all the outside activity going on around us, it wasn't long before we joined them. Linda had several Ebay packages which needed to be mailed, so she decided we should get our exercise and walk to the Post Office. Not used to the balmy weather after two days where the temperatures only rose to the mid 50's, we set out dressed like South Floridians visiting Chicago in February. I must admit, she was going to wear a short sleeved shirt when I suggested it might be cooler out than it looked. Unfortunately for me, it was much warmer than it appeared. The good side is that everyone is entitled to make at least one mistake a year and now that I've made mine early, I don't have to work about making any more this year. The only side effect of my mistake was a verbal battle that I had no hope whatsoever of winning.
Besides the stop at the Post Office, there were also purchases made at the produce store. We did find out one interesting thing, which was why the produce all looks pretty much the same in town. It is all distributed by the same produce supplier. We also learned the delivery schedule for the next month or so, Monday, Thursday and Saturday, with the first stop being the produce stand at 10AM. The walk back from the corner of Main and Central saw the layers of excess clothing being peeled off, as I carried all the bags. I don't think she was punishing me for suggesting we wear more clothes, it was more along the lines of positive reinforcement. The kind where she was positive she was right and she was going to force me to admit it. It worked like a charm and it will be a cold day you know where before I suggest she wear anything more than what she thinks is enough.
After returning, she proved her point by changing into something more comfortable, as she put it. Knowing her, I wondered how long the new look would last. That was when she surprised me. She didn't plan on sitting around, she had jobs to do, the first of which was to fill the bird feeder. I decided if she could use the binoculars to check on what was going on around us, I could use the camera to document those things.
Of course there may have been some residual resentment regarding the recent episode with the clothing, because I was soon asked, "You are going to finish the job on the roof aren't you?" Put that way there was only one possible answer which was, "I was just getting ready to climb the ladder and start, dear." It wasn't like I had been putting it off on purpose, what with the low temperatures and the wind, but it only took a few minutes to install the cable hold downs, touch up a few places with some more Dicor and the job was done. At least that wouldn't be stuck in her craw anymore (that's Appalachian hill girl talk for: the dumb idiot really ticked me off this time). Needless to say, with the temperatures in the 70's, sun bathing was the order of the day in these parts. I didn't have to go far to take a photo of one of the residents out soaking up the sun.
Growing restless with her job of being the the resident bathing beauty, Linda suggested we take a bike ride. It was while I was inside the coach that she came back in, blurting out, "I cut my head", then quickly adding, "do something, the blood is running over my glasses." Anyone who knows me well, knows that I don't handle blood well. Furthermore, pain and suffering in someone I know and care about brings on waves of empathetic pain and something akin to shock. Thus, within an instant of her saying those words, I don't know who was doing worse, her or me. While she dripped blood into the sink, I composed myself to to the point of saying, "Head wounds always bleed a lot, so it probably isn't as bad as it seems." Her reply was a terse, "I know that, don't just stand there, do something." For some reason that snapped me out of my trance and I picked up a tissue to wipe away some of the blood. I quickly found out she didn't care whether I wiped off her glasses or not, she wanted something done to her head. Sigh, this wasn't going to be easy, but, it was the woman I had been married to for 39 years standing there, leaning over the sink, bleeding like a stuck pig.
Though I was wracked with tremors, I didn't faint, so all turned out well. By the way, Linda's bleeding soon stopped and other than having picked up the new nickname, Hole on the Head, she will be fine. It was almost a miracle it wasn't any worse and the only affect on me was some post injury treatment shakiness. Linda was also affected and had to lay down on the bed for a few moments with a cold towel on her head, but like I said the great news was that I will be okay, and of course so will Linda.
Later, when I went out to put Linda's bike back, I too almost hit my head on that same corner of the slide. That brought out the piece of pink foam noodle that Linda had made to use on those corners so we wouldn't accidentally run into them. Guess that is something a blond hole in the head could only come up with, using a pink noodle to keep your noodle from being knocked. It takes all kinds.
Later we engaged in post trauma recuperative care, with a meal featuring salsa chicken with guacamole. Unfortunately the avocado's were bad and ended up being tossed, but what with the stress of the accident to Linda and emotional trauma to me, neither of us had much of an appetite. Much later we found out that we had both recovered, physically, emotionally and appetite wise, so desert was pumpkin fluff accompanied with far too many handfuls of bittersweet chocolate chips. It was tough eating all of it, but it was something we just had to do. Considering what had transpired during the day, it was as much a laugh of relief as it was a laugh of joy that sounded as we turned out the lights.
This was one of those days where the get up and go had got up and went. Of course I had a sneaking suspicion I knew exactly why, too many handfuls of bittersweet chocolate chips last evening. Still, they had tasted so good, maybe it was worth it. Shaking off my lethargy, which didn't begin to describe how I felt, the daily journal began to take shape. I was soon magically transported back 24 hours in time, the way I felt today forgotten and the events of the previous day fresh in my mind, as I sat there, words pouring out. I believe there is a saying that goes something like, writing is good for the soul. Well let me tell you, it is also pretty good for what is physically ailing you at the moment also. The more I wrote the better I felt, though once while pausing to collect my thoughts, I did promise myself to think twice before eating chocolate to excess like that again.
Soon Linda emerged once again into world of the awakened and active, showing no affects from her encounter with the coach slide yesterday. She did report the water was a little brown in the sink when she washed her hair, but otherwise she was as good as new. She hinted I might want to check on the condition of her wound, so I looked at her head, saw nothing but hair and said it looked just fine. She wondered aloud if we should put something on it. Thinking quickly and remembering she had mentioned seeing no fresh blood when she washed her hair, I pointed out that it was completely scabbed over so putting something on it would do no good. She agreed and I silently applauded myself for having such a brilliant mind. Editor's comment: "What is wuss!"
All this talk about heads and hair must have gotten her thinking, because shortly afterward, she asked if I was at a point where I could stop writing for a while. Without thinking, I mumble back that I could take a break anytime. It was then that I looked up and saw the hair clippers in her hand. Time for my once every three months haircut. The world of the punctual and well organized person has little room for the creative genius that might accompany her, so I soon found myself sitting outside, the hum and occasional clatter of our 35 year old clippers shattering the quiet solitude of the desert morning. The good thing about 'suffering from male hair loss', don't you just love the way the world of advertising can rephrase common everyday things into the smoothing, seductive statements, means that my haircuts are no longer a lengthy process.
When you go to the barber shop, there may or may not be a stream of chatter from the barber, and if there is, it is often about things of the world. I don't claim to have any knowledge of the goings on at the beauty parlor, but would suspect the the conversation may be somewhat more personal in nature. Talk about the family and what goes on in the day to day life. What I doubt very strongly is that the conversation goes along the lines of what comes out of my barber's mouth. You know, "When I turn your head, keep it turned", or "If you move once more I'm going to cut your ear on purpose, then maybe you'll finally hold still", little words of conversation and encouragement like that. Some how or other I don't think a barber or hairstylist would point out that you have so few hairs on the top of your head that they could count them, and wouldn't need two hands and both feet to keep track of how many there are. How would you feel if your barber suddenly blurted out, "Why you've got more hair growing from your ears than you do from the top of your head." I'll just take solace in the fact that the older I get, the harder of hearing I get, so I probably miss more than I hear. Editor's comment: Bet you didn't get through that without cracking up!!
Once she was finished, I fled back into the coach to finish the journal and plot ways to get back at her. No sooner was the website uploaded, than I found Linda standing in front of me, hands on her hips, giving me that stare that says, I'm ready, why aren't you. The only problem was, I was clueless as to what she had in mind, but figured out that I'd better think fast if I wanted to remain in her good graces. Fortunately I was able to do some quick thinking, remember that she had said something about getting a light bulb, and deduce that we were going to go shopping, so asked if she wanted to walk or go in the Explorer. Turned out she wanted to go to the Main Event area which is on the far western end of Main Street, so we drove. Things were looking up for once.
The lack of people really surprised us. There was no traffic back up at all on Main Street and only one row of vehicles in the parking lot. The weather couldn't have been an excuse because it was sunny, warm and there was virtually no wind blowing, which meant it was about as nice as a January day in Quartzsite can get. Below is a photo of the area across the street from the Main Event, it was virtually deserted.
The bulbs she was looking for were the ones for the overhead lights she keeps on to warm her tomato plants during the night. There are six fixtures and the bulbs in two of them have burned out. I tried to tell her that they were not the typical bulbs you find most everywhere, after all I did learn something when I worked at a lighting store those many years ago, but she was sure we could find them. Unfortunately for her, I was right, fortunately for me, I said nothing to her about it, mentioning only that when we got to a more populated area, I should be able to find them without a problem. I also wasn't going to ask why if there were still four good bulbs, what was the big rush to replace the two burned out ones. That was one thing that would immediately get me into hot water. I have learned my lessons well, Good Bob.
Everywhere we walked the crowds were sparse and the cash drawers were not clattering. One thing Quartzsite doesn't have is an abundance of cash registers. Me thinks it may have something to do with a record of the days receipts, which can be checked by the various governmental agencies to make sure all the taxes due them are being collected. When all sales are cash, only what which is reported is what is known. Obviously, no vendor in Quartzsite would ever intentionally keep an inaccurate tally, but, doubtless there are times when mistakes may inadvertently happen.
As we shopped we did see a few other shoppers out, strolling down the carpeted walkways, looking for bargains.
But what a difference just a few feet can make. Returning to the Main Event, we walked back toward the parking lot and into a different picture of activity at Quartzsite. Vendors already closing there shops for the day because no one was in them and also lots of vacant spaces where vendors could be, but weren't. We will have to come back in a couple of weeks and see if these will be occupied. We almost get the feeling that there is no excitement in the air, the vibrancy of last year is missing, that people are looking, but not buying.
Instead of driving directly back to the coach we took a little detour. After all, since our shopping trip had generated no excitement, maybe a drive out Dome Rock Road would. There is BLM camping in a number of places around Quartzsite and one of them which we had never visited was the Dome Rock area west of town and south of I-10. While the La Posa and Plomosa areas tend to be flat, the Dome Rock area is much more uneven. The road continually rises in elevation as you travel west following the terrain. We did notice a lot fewer RVs and a lot more ATV's the further west we drove. Eventually, at the top of the grade, we found the Dome Rock Road exit and drove back to Quartzsite on I-10. As we came down into the valley, the town was spread out before and we saw the view which is quite often used to portray Quartzsite.
If you have a road with the words dome rock in its name, it must have been named that for a reason. Looking to the south we think we saw why.
These last two photos were taken by Linda while we were driving. Not to point out that her photographic skills certainly lack behind her lofty abilities as a top model, but rather to give you an example of what I have to work with when she plays at being our photographer, here is a photograph she took looking in the direction of the La Posa South LTVA.
That was an uncropped photo of the only bush growing along the road for about a quarter mile in distance. She said she was unlucky, I said she was just an average blond, then again, maybe we were both right. All this shopping and driving served to throw us completely off our food schedule, lunch having been skipped. Yes Virginia, there are some days when we do not eat rollups for lunch, which caused us to overdo a little on the Asiago cheese when we got back. Okay, I over did a little more than she did, but then I had to replenish all the energy I expended chauffeuring her around. For dinner we had that extra delicious spaghetti sauce with sausage over whole wheat spaghetti. We have eaten the whole wheat style spaghetti for so long now, that neither one of likes the regular kind any more. Even when fixed al dente it is more mush like and totally lacking in flavor compared to the whole wheat. Purists we may not be, but we know what we like, plus we also think we know what is healthier for us.
Did I ever get grief for wanting to post this photo as she pointed out the sauce was splattered on the plate, the spaghetti was strewn this way and that, plus the broccoli was arranged in an anything but orderly manner, being piled haphazardly on the plate. See, sometimes we do eat like normal people. Later I repeated my experiment in gorging upon bittersweet chocolate along with the pumpkin fluff. Maybe my feeling bad this morning was due to something other than to much chocolate. After all, there is only one way to know for sure, repeat the experiment. I can testify that the experiment lived up to the same tasty delights that I experienced last night, I just hope the results of the experiment which come to light in the morning are different. As we end another day, may your own experiment in this thing we call Life, have been as wonderful as ours was today.
When I awoke this morning the first thing that popped into my head was my experiment in gorging upon bittersweet chocolate along with the pumpkin fluff, which was immediately followed by the thought I had yesterday, that maybe my feeling bad in the morning was due to something other than too much chocolate. Unfortunately, I could tell the results of repeating the experiment were not any different from yesterday. Too much bittersweet chocolate may taste good at the time, but the price is paid the next morning. I sure won't have to run a third experiment to make sure.
The only way to overcome the crappy feeling was to plunge into the daily journal. Once again I hadn't planned on writing so much, but it just wanted to come out. Besides, when I was lost in writing that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach seemed to disappear. When it was finally done, Linda sat down to read it and soon was laughing so hard, she was literally in tears. Maybe there is something to those comments I've read about writers who create because they are tormented by their inner demons. Only in my case it's tormented by the results of over indulging in chocolate. I think I'll leave the torment and creativity to others, I'd prefer to feel like a normal human being when I wake in the morning.
While I had been creating, so had Linda, the bracelet she was making for me was growing longer and longer. The level of concentration she sustains during the creative process of beading amazes me, because sometimes she is actually quiet for 5 minutes or longer. I'm not talking about talk here, I'm referring to the utterance of sounds of any type. No grunts, no groans, no lip smacking, just plain dead silence. Heck, she's far noisier when she sleeps than when she beads. That was why, when a sudden rush of certain monosyllabic words started pouring out I knew it was time to tear myself away from my writing, get up and walk over to see what had happened.
She had made a mistake and the resulting alignment of beads, while hardly noticeable, wasn't the way she had designed it. I looked at it and though she was right, meaning it wasn't perfect, still it didn't look 'that' bad. Wanting to cheer her up I said, "It looks okay, but if you want to fix it go ahead." That was when I heard that while fixing it was doable, it wasn't what she really wanted to do. "That's okay, the next one will look a lot better", I commented, hoping to let her know that this one was just fine as far as I was concerned. "There ain't gonna a be a next one, buster", came flying back at me while my words were still coming out of my mouth. The sharpness, the words and the tone all told me I had made a big mistake. It hadn't been my intention to get her all riled up, but rather to calm her down, unfortunately I had only succeeded in throwing gasoline on the fire. Now what to do?
As any person knows, these are high stress times, and occasionally we say something that is interpreted to be other than what we meant. That was what was happening here. "I didn't mean another one like this one, I just meant the next bracelet you make", I said hoping to make the best of a situation in danger of spiraling out of control. "What makes you so sure I'm going to make another bracelet for you, you'd think I was was your slave or something." Obviously I was in the process of plummeting over Niagara Falls, sans barrel here, so I apologized profusely, letting her know that whatever she chose to do was just fine with me, then quietly slunk back to my computer.
For several seconds she stood, not moving, staring out the window, her jaw set in a grimace. Finally she relaxed, reached down, picked up the bracelet and began the process of removing the offending beads. After a while she sat back down and began to once again assume the form of the woman I know. Eventually all returned to normal, but it had really been close there for a while. We had planned on stopping by the Post Office to mail some more packages and then the market to pick up a gallon of milk, so this seemed like the opportune time to suggest we head off.
I don't know if it is our imagination or not, but we both think there are far fewer people than there were last year. We have not had any trouble driving or parking anywhere, so we weren't surprised by the conversation we had at the Roadrunner market checkout. In response to the comment about them not being as busy as we thought, the clerk said this was the first year there had ever been so many vacancies at the RV Parks around town. Usually they are full by now, but this year they are all complaining about not being full. (Maybe the extremely low temperatures forecast for this weekend will get them filled up). The other thing was the number of vendors was down, and though a few people said they were just arriving later this year, the consensus was the doubling of the vendor fees by the city was driving them away. And if the vendors went away, many of the people would also. See, you just never know what interesting things you can learn while talking to the clerk at the grocery checkout.
We talked about what we had heard after we left, realizing that was exactly what we were seeing and feeling ourselves. In a way I am sorry for the vendors who are along Kuehn at Rice Ranch, but not for the RV dealers. There is hardly any traffic down that way, with the parking in front of the shops having empty spots. The amount of balloons, signs and other gimmicks put up by the RV dealers are increasing daily in an effort to lure customers. Why would anyone ever go down that way and stop unless they wanted to buy an RV? It may be that there is a little of the getting out while the getting is good in the air around town, as I noticed the Desert Laundry & Propane (the laundromat we use), the jerky store and land with three business and the owners home at the corner of Main and US-95 is for sale. I can just see some Californian saying what this town needs is a Taco Bell, buying the land, building one and then wondering why it isn't making any money. The future, who can predict it. One thing we know for sure. This year Quartzsite seems to be more of a town going about the business of going on. The vibrancy and excitement of last year is but a faded memory.
Back at the coach, the 4 o'clock alarm went off signaling it was peanut time for us and that there was still another hour of work for those unfortunate enough to not be living our type of life. Retrieving the peanuts from the cabinet, we ventured outdoors under overcast skies, to be treated with activity down the way. A new coach had driven in and was taking one of the last few spots that back up against the wash. Linda was in 7th heaven, because they were close enough that she didn't need binoculars. The lure was so great that she faced the opposite way she normally does. Rather than shunning the sun and watching the birds, today she shunned the birds and braving the bright overcast, reveled in the activities taking place nearby.
All what went on seemed to whet her appetite for more so off we went, on the dumpster run, followed by checking out more locations we may want to move to after the the Big Show week, when the crowds, if they get here, will be thinning out. I actually found the perfect spot, one that had a sizable tree to the northwest and a small, but wide tree to the south. The only problem was we couldn't get to it in the coach. I suggested that with a little inventive maneuvering we could park there, Linda suggested that I forget it. It has been forgotten. We did see what looked to be a relic of the cold war. Part of the electronic surveillance system that protected us from a sneak attack by the Soviets, or that's what it at least looked like it might have been.
Dinner was an adventure, both in the sense of time and food. It was another of those infrequent Bob meals, meaning it tasted pretty darned good, but it took forever to fix. Even Linda, for all the unbridled enthusiasm and extreme level of patience she displays whenever I cook was nearing the limits of her endurance when I finally had it ready to serve at 8:47. I could tell, because when in answer to my quip, "You can see why I don't cook very often, as we eat at almost midnight", she came right back with, "and if you did it more often you'd get a lot faster at it." There is just no winning with this woman, you'd think she wanted me to be her slave rather than her husband.
I also noted she asked me whether I was going to take a photo of the food tonight before she dished it out. Hearing the affirmative, she carefully arranged the salad and Big Easy Shrimp over brown rice on the plate to show its best side. One thing I wasn't going to do was bring up last nights discussion about the sloppy, splattered spaghetti sauce. I could just hear myself replying to her question about, did I think we wanted people to think our plates look like that most nights, with a factually correct, but politically very incorrect, "but we do have messy plates like that most nights." That would have been the equivalent of an asteroid striking the Titanic at the same moment it struck the iceberg.
Later we enjoyed some fresh baked brownies for dessert and actually had to turn the Wave heater off because it was getting too warm in the coach, even on low. The Wave is very efficient, but it does lack one thing, a thermostat, so it is either on or off. It does have the three temperature settings, low, medium or high, but that is all. When we were researching heaters, we wondered why almost everyone seemed to have bought the mid sized Wave 6 rather than the full sized Wave 8. We finally decided it must of had to do with both the ability to control the temperature within a comfortable range in the small space of the coach and also the amount of propane it used. Though our experience is still very limited, it looks like we are finding out the same thing those who have gone before us have found. Bigger is not necessarily better. So far I am glad we didn't fall into the trap of buying the bigger one because it was only a little more money. Only time will tell if we were right, but for now, it's working great.