Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

Saying Goodbye to Quartzsite

Sunday-Thursday – February 19 thru 23, 2017

Well the bad weather of Saturday forced Harry an I to stay and clean the RV. The dust in the desert is out of control!! I made the list of tasks for each of us and we completed hours later. Harry woke up this morning making the comment “This RV looks like NEW meaning just like we bought in 2014.

Sunday we needed to get out of the RV! Luckily our friends Dianne/Steve and Ruth/Dale suggested and provided us with a pamphlet to visit the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge. Really was a great day to walk the trails and see many birds and even a burrowing owl.

The visitor’s center introduced us to the wildlife we might see in our travels. Harry was even offered a passport book for stamping that they were told to just hand out. All refuges in the country by state are listed. Hit them on the right day!!


Our first trail was the Desert Trail. Very short but definitely identified many of trees/cactus/bushes. We kept hearing birds but could not focus in where they were located. We found out later on another trail just where the birds were located.

We hopped into the truck and started the “Auto Loop”. We stopped to explore the “Cornfield Nature Trail”. This is where we saw birds we heard from a distance. Hard to catch great photos of birds flying but, I tried very hard. We visited the observation lookout seeing many water fowl.

The volunteer at the visitor’s center told us to make sure we looked for the burrowing owls along the loop. She told us to look for piles of rocks along the loop?? Hmmm…. BTW she is from New Hampshire and her New England accent was evident. Well as we finished the Cornfield Trail a couple informed us that they saw a burrowing owl and approximately where to look along the drive. Well, it did look like a small pile of rocks with flexible drain hose sticking out. The map told us along the loop where to look for these rocks hoping we would see what this is all about. Lucky us – after seeing many piles of rocks there was an owl. This owl was amazing to watch – looking all around as if his head rotated 180°. Not a very big owl with a light brown color.


On our way out we happened to see Sandhill Cranes. They were all throughout the fields.

The end to a great day was stopping in Blythe CA for a visit to “Rebel BBQ” suggested also by our friends. What would we do without friends??????

Our last stop was to “Smart and Final”. I have never been to this store and was amazed at the bulk items and produce.

President’s Day and we are off to Mexico by way of Yuma. Last year we visited on a Sunday and many vendors were not opened so we are trying a weekday. I found a Sunflower themed stained glass window to insert into our RV door – Thank you Rick and Gloria for directing us to a great vendor. Harry was able to get an eye exam and new glasses. We enjoyed lunch at an open garden type restaurant.


We will be saying goodbye to several friends this week. It was good to see so many friends while here in Quartzsite. Tuesday night we enjoyed a Happy Hour at Les and Sue’s (more like a dinner). Thank you Les and Sue for the great food!! Last night we had Dianne and Steve over for a goodbye dinner. Great to have them over for the evening.


On our way to Phoenix for a month to enjoy some Spring Training. Geoff is flying in to join us as well as playing in a 4 day Disc Golf Tournament. Hopefully we will be meeting up with some friends from Merced as well.

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

Mark Twain

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Back to Merced California

Back to Merced California

End of December 2016 thru Mid-January 2017

I got some great pictures on are ride from Texas to Merced.  Great skylines and wind power going over the Tehachapi Pass.  We stopped at one of largest Rest Stops in Texas – everything is bigger in Texas.

We checked into the Elks Campground  in Merced and headed up to spend some time with Geoff who lives in Modesto.  We got through all the doctors/dentist appointments – complete for another year.

Getting together with our friends is always special.  Thank you Dawn/Kendall/Lisa/Elena for a great night at “Final Round” in Chowchilla.  New Year’s Eve was a great get together with Harry’s Golf buddies and wifes.

New Year’s Day Harry made a great Lancaster PA tradition – Pork/Sauerkraut/Mashed Potatoes.  Geoff and Ziggy joined us watching football.  Great game Penn State  even though the win didn’t come about!!


Harry turned 62 in November 2016 and hadn’t bought his lifetime National Park Pass.  We heard that the price will increase to $80 from $10.  That put Harry to work finding the closest park to buy a pass.  We ended up at the San Luis Wildlife Refuge outside of Los Banos.  We decided to hike a trail to get a closer look at the wildlife.  There were also Tule Elks in a large area that we decided to take a ride to get a better look.


We left Merced January 14th heading for Quartzsite AZ.

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and blind can see.

Mark Twain

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Our Fun in the Desert January-February 2017

We are Back to Blogging – it has been awhile!! Vicki writing this blog, maybe I can jump start Harry into writing some future blogs.

We are currently in Quartzsite, AZ for a bit of the winter enjoying a number of friends and the RV Show. Our biggest $ item was the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) for the RV and truck. Harry gathered some information in the Big Tent and talked to some RV’ers and we sat down to make a decision. I feel much safer in knowing what our tires are doing!!
TPMS System
Our set-up for almost 2 months
We have meant many friends we have acquired in our new lifestyle for Happy Hours – Dinner – Excursions etc. We have three groups to visit which keeps us busy: RV Dreamers Group – Amazon Texas Work Group – Lake Tahoe Camp Host Group and a mix of all groups. Unfortunately I missed one when I had to go to Phoenix for work.


We hiked the Palm Canyon trail in the KOFA (King of Arizona) National Wildlife Refuge. This is a great short trail with loose rocks and some steepness to view Palm Trees growing in a slot canyon. These are the only native palm trees in Arizona.
We had a great experience visiting Joshua Tree National Park. We enjoyed meeting a long lost cousin – Denise Thomas Davidson. What a trip as we talked and talked and hiked several trails, one of was a beautiful trail named Hidden Valley. Joshua Trees seemed to be everywhere with some wildflowers almost ready to bloom and Cholla Cactus. We enjoyed a picnic lunch among the park’s many rock formations. Harry enjoyed the day listening to our stories of getting to know one another as well as stories of family!! Much
and many surprises!! Pictures show this park with full justice. This trip really reminds me of all that’s great in Fulltime RVing where you reconnect with old friends and meet new friends and family members. This is what it’s all about as we hear from so many RV’ers!!   AND all the great places we get to visit.
I am trying to keep each blog entry short so I don’t bore everyone and gives us time to remember what we have done since May 2016. Our last weekend in Quartzsite we plan on visiting Yuma and going to Mexico on Saturday – Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (suggested by friends) on Sunday – need to plan my holiday on Monday!!!
We head to Phoenix for a month February 25th to take in some spring training games. Then we start heading east to Mexico, PA for Harry’s summer job.
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like and to do what you rather not”.  
Mark Twain


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Live from City of Rocks.

March 20 to April 7, 2016

We left Gilbert Ray County Park and drove a total of 27 minutes to our next spot on Saturday 19th. We had to leave GRCP because they have a 7 day stay limit. It is a park we will stay at again when in Tucson. Our next stay was at Justin Diamond J RV Park. Diamond J caters to snowbirds. This is a nice park but not what we prefer to stay at but it was close to Tucson and we had things we wanted to do in the Area.

On Sunday we went to Desert Museum. If you are in Tucson you should spend at least half a day to explore this outdoor museum. Being an “Easterner” there are a bunch of things to learn. Our first stop was watching the Raptor Free Flight. Here we saw three different birds that call this area their home and learned about them. See pictures below.


Chihuahuan Raven


Great Horned Owl


Prairie Falcon

The museum has several different walking trails taking you through different habitats of AZ with its plant and animal life. See below for pictures.




Coyote.  Haven’t seen this guy many times but hear them often.


Some kind of lizard.  He was not in a pen and was just sitting out enjoying the sun.

We also went to a demonstration on reptiles – note the distance I sat from the reptiles.  One was on the Gila monster and the other was a rattlesnake.  Pictures did not turn out that well so only have one below.



Gila Monster, again note how far away I am.


One of the Hummingbirds in the Hummingbird Pen


Southside of a Desert Tortoise


Mountain Sheep or Goat?


Mexican Wolf = Lobo


Mountain Lion with stage fright

Then while Vicki was at work during the week I took on some trails close to the park.


We also went out to eat with Cori and Greg at a small Mexican restaurant. Good food shared with good friends. We had a great time.  Unfortunately no pictures.

Then on March 26th we packed up and moved 60 minutes north on I10 to Picacho Peak State Park. The park was busy this weekend due to Easter and folks were out camping for a long weekend. During the week it was very quiet. This is a nice park with nice hiking trails but you could hear I10 and trains most of the time. Only electric at the site with a water and dump station in the park so for a weeks’ time we can live off our tanks. We just needed to be disciplined on our water use. Sunday we took some hikes around the park and on Easter Monday we visited Casa Grande. See pictures below.



Again during the week Vicki worked and I did my camp chores and took some hikes.

On Tuesday we met up with two other full time couples at a Tucson Brewery. Again a great time. Typical good bar food with many great beers to choose from.

On Saturday we moved to City of Rocks State Campground north of Deming, NM. This was a 6 hour / 250 mile trip. I have read other blogs and understood NM State Parks are great. We have friends that have stayed at City of Rocks and they recommended it to us.   I agree City of Rocks is a great campground. No hook ups but water available and with our solar set up we run our generator for about an hour at night and all is good. There is a private camp ground less than 2 miles away so we can dump our waste on the way out of the area.   New Mexico has a great deal with their parks. For $225 per year one can stay at any of their primitive sites. Meaning no water or electric at site. If there is water or electric available it is $4 per night. $8 for both electric and water. We need to look into this for the future. But there was a problem………….

We had to onboard water at the water station and the pressure is not that great. Took about 30 minute to take on 50 gallons of water. Then we drove about a mile to our site. BUT there was a young couple starting to set up their tent on the site we reserved. I parked and spoke to them telling them we reserved this site. The problem was the ranger did not mark the site as reserved and they thought it was opened. We pulled up our reservation and I went over to show it to him but he was not interested. Hmmmm…. Well I called the City of Rocks phone number but had to leave a message.   I kept calling and after 45 minutes, with the couple continuing to setup, I decided to walk down to the office and see if I could find someone. I found a camp host. We drove back and showed him our reservation and he the approached the couple but they wanted a ranger. After waiting another 30+ minutes the ranger finally showed up. I am sure he was busy but by this time it was getting old. He admitted he marked the wrong camp site and the coupled had to move. Well there went 2+ hours of our lives we can’t afford. Well we setup and got a little to eat and went to bed. But it was worth it, see the pictures below.

On Sunday we went to Deming and did two wine tastings. Very nice wineries and one is part of Harvest Host so in the future we might stay a night in our travels. For those that are wondering what Harvest Host is it is an association of winery, farms etc. that have on site camping for a night that is free and all they ask is you patronize their business. We also did our food shopping at Wal-Mart.

Monday Vicki started back to work and I did some camp chores one of which was to do a truck cleaning. After 3 months in the desert and our two furry freeloaders it was dirty inside and out. Well I discovered we had a stone chip on our windshield. So Tuesday I went to Silver City to get the windshield repaired.

On the way back I took a different route back to the City of Rocks. I went through a small Bataan Death March Memorial. New Mexico had an Army unit that was captured in the Philippines and where on the Death March.

I also drove by an open pit copper mine. Man is it big. Here are a few pictures.

Wednesday night we went to Deming for supper.  On the way out onto the main road I took a picture of all the different brands in the area.


We went to Adobe Deli which is about 5 miles east of Deming.  I was not sure if we should go in by the looks of the place.  It looked pretty rough.  But this was an example of don’t judge the book by its cover.  Very unusual place but great service and food.  Go hungry and you will still have food to take home.  I was again not doing my job of taking pictures.  Had all sorts of animal mounts from all over the world along with many antique tools on the walls.  Only took one picture but it will give you a sense of this place.


Well that brings us up to date. Saturday we plan to drive back to AZ and stay in the Cottonwood area. On our way we hope to stay Saturday at a winery in Willcox, AZ that is part of Harvest Host.


Given this weekend’s big sports event I thought this might be interesting:

In 1923, Who Was?

  1. President of the largest steel company? 2. President of the largest gas company? 3. President of the New York stock Exchange? 4. Greatest wheat speculator? 5. President of the Bank of International Settlement? 6. Great Bear of Wall Street?

These men were considered some of the world’s most successful of their days.. Now, 80+ years later do you know what ultimately became of them?

The Answers:

  1. The president of the largest steel company. Charles Schwab,

died a pauper.

  1. The president of the largest gas company, Edward Hopson,

went insane.

  1. The president of the NYSE, Richard Whitney,

was released from prison to die at home.

  1. The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cooger,

died abroad, penniless.

  1. The president of the Bank of International Settlement,

shot himself.

6 The Great Bear of Wall Street, Cosabee Livermore,

also committed suicide


However, in that same year, 1923, the PGA Champion and the winner of the most important golf tournament, the US Open, was

Gene Sarazen.

What became of him?

He played golf until he was 92, died in 1999 at the age of 95. He was financially secure at the time of his death.


The Moral:

Screw work. Play golf.

I have to Concur!

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Somewhere in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, March 5th to March 19th



We were pulling out of Quartzsite on Saturday the 5th so we HAD to go to Silly Al’s one last time for pizza Friday night. As usual we parked across the street and walked over to SA. On the walk back this historical marker caught my eye and I thought I would share. Always like these.


We hooked up and pulled out of Quartzsite and drove the 100+ miles to Scottsdale, AZ for a week of spring training. Nothing all that exciting on the trip. We pulled into the RV park in Scottsdale and where immediately under impressed. I was emailed the site number and map of the park and we were left alone to find our site. No one in the office during the weekend. Hmmm. Well we found it but the number on the spot could be read as a 50, site number we were assigned, or 60. All I could say was we had full hook ups for the first time in two months and could use all the water and electric we wanted to. Yahoo!!   We needed the air-conditioning while we were there. The park was in Scottsdale and close to the Giants ball park. The park and the neighborhood were not bad but not good. Decided not to put out our satellite dish. But other than that it served its purpose.

We planned to see three games while there but decided to pick up another game. Enjoyed the venue and seeing the games. I always wanted to be at the park two hours before game time to see batting practice. Always found this fun. Vicki not so much but she was a good sport about it. The Giants only won one game of the four and I know win-loss in spring training is not that important but I was concerned their starting pitchers where roughed up. Here as some pictures..


Next year will we change 2014 to 2016?


Watching batting practice from center field


When we arrived in Scottsdale on Saturday Vicki decided we needed sushi so we went to this restaurant and enjoyed our sushi dinner.


Our first game we attended was with the Dodgers on Sunday and we went to US Eggs for breakfast and I liked these two wall decorations.

We also drove around the greater Phoenix area to look for camping areas in future years. We are thinking of purchasing spring training season tickets and staying a month in the area next year.   Two season ticket would not be that much more expensive than what we paid for four games. Also a month in an RV park is usually fairly reasonable vs 4 weekly stays at different parks. We will see.

Our last game was on Friday the 11th and after the game we went to eat dinner at Oregano’s. This is an upscale local chain pizza joint. Good pizza. As we were finishing up a couple in their early 20s came in.  They were the first arrival of a larger group seated next to us. Then another young lady game in and as they were introducing themselves she said she was from West Chester. Hmmm, what West Chester, there are many. Then the other young gal said she was from Lancaster and pronounced it correctly for being from PA. I looked over and said I am sorry for easeo dropping but we are from Lancaster also. Well… not that sorry, I had some beer in me so I was not my usually reserved self. Then I asked what school she went to. Her answer was Manheim Township, my high school. Small world thing. As it turns out her boyfriend, Christian Binford, pitches for the Kansas City Royals and is currently assigned to their Triple A team and is down for spring training. He was drafted out of Mercersburg Academy in 2011. He is a great “kid” to talk too. Unfortunately the rest of their group was showing up so I told him good luck with his career and we took off. I hope to follow him in the next few years. Competition is very tough at this level and I hope he makes it to the show.

Saturday we got hooked up very early for our trip to Tucson. The RV Park, Gilbert Ray County Park, does not take reservation and I wanted to show up by 10 am. We have friends that recommended this county park and it is in a very nice setting and in good location.

Old Town Tucson is right next door to our campground and we toured this on Sunday.   Now if you are a Westerner Movie Enthusiasts like we are this is a must see. This town has been used for over 100 different westerns from 1940 to present.   John Wayne made pictures here along with Michael Landon. We got a real kick seeing this place. Now they had their sappy gun fights but the streets and building are really neat to see. Unfortunately about 20+ years ago an arson fire hit the town an over 50% of the town was burned down. A good bit has been rebuilt but much was lost including most of the wardrobes used in movies. Here are some pictures.

Some of the movies filmed here:


Then we went to the Horse Soldiers Museum. Not that big a museum but was interesting to me. Here are a few pictures.

On Monday we took a trip down to Tombstone, AZ to see the OK Corral. We had fun but not something I need to do again. Here are some pictures of our day.


The “good guys” at the OK Corral


One of my favorite actors.  He was a WWI vet who was gassed and gave him his high pitched voice.


Big noise Kate was a Madame

On Tuesday Vicki went back to work and I settled in to do my normal camp chores. But wait! On Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings the campground offers hikes through the desert explaining about the desert plants and animals. Since I don’t know beans about the desert I took both of these hikes. Both hikes were led by very knowledgeable volunteers and I really enjoyed. Unfortunately I suffer from CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff). Here are some pictures I found interesting.



Barrel Cactus

On Wednesday I went over to the Pima Air Museum. It was an interesting day. I am guessing they had 50 planes inside and over 100 planes outside. Here are some pictures of planes I have connection to or are fond of.

A California Golf buddy flew this in Vietnam.  He was shot down by a surface to air missile.  Luckily he was rescued but spent a year in the hospital due to an back injury he received upon ejection.

I think this is one of the coolest looking prop plane.  I just wish I could remember it’s name.

So then we have St. Patrick’s Day. Man there must be many many Irishmen in Tucson! We got together with 5 other full timers to go out. There were supposed to be 2 more other couples but they could not make it. We got to the restaurant at 5:20 we had over an hour wait to be seated. No problem. With full timers we always have things to talk about, where we have been, where we are going, what problems we have ran into. We had a great time. I even got a free beer due to a mistake. Yahoo!! Life is good with corn beef and cabbage and a free beer!


We will be leaving Gilbert Ray on Saturday. They have a strict seven day limit here. I fully understand this rule. It is a great campground and should be visited by as many people as possible. Moving to a private campground about half hour down the road. We like the area with great weather. What’s not to like.

A parting comment:

“I am so busy doing nothing…that the idea of doing anything – which as you know, always leads to something – cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.” Jerry Seinfeld

Yep, that’s me.










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Still hanging out in AZ desert, La Posa LTVA West


Well let’s see what we have been up to these past two weeks.

On Wednesday, February 17th we had a happy hour over at Barb and Jim’s rig. Dave and Maxine showed up. They were our neighbors at the RV Dreams boondocking rally in February, 2013. We have followed their travels since then. They have camp hosted in the Sierras for two years, like I will be doing this summer, and now they are mapping roads on BLM land for the government. Not an easy job. The roads are not always in very good shape. They use their jeep and travel around the Rockies. They have some great stories but it is hard work for their jeep and them.


It was warm during happy hour so we hung out in the shade


On Saturday we went to the big town of Wenden, AZ to visit some friends we made last summer, Phil and Nancy, in Likely, CA. They are at a community RV park that has an executive nine hole golf course. Nice little course. We had a great time catching up with them. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of our day. Except this one. This sign was past a little town of Hope, AZ.


So true.


Later on Saturday we attended another happy hour. With the low humidity one get really thirsty….

Then on Sunday we took a trip into Mexico.

Vicki walking down the sidewalk into Mexico and the water tower in Algodones.

We purchased a few things, hat for me, T-shirt for Geoff, a San Francisco Giant tote bag and a sunflower stain glass to hang up in the rig. Also had a bite to eat at the Paraiso Restaurant and Bar with live music. A Mexican band playing Elvis Presley. Did a good job with the songs with an accent. Very interesting.

Here are some interesting rigs in the desert. Yes that box in the lower left serves as a place for the guy to sleep in.  I always wave to him.


Then we had Greg from RV Solar Solutions install solar on our rig so we do not have to listen to the generator running all the time.  Greg and Cori are originally from West Chester, PA and travel the US and install solar on rigs.  West Chester is just down the road where Vicki grew up and about one hour from where I grew up.  Small world.  Their website: .  We are in the process of learning how to use solar and how to budget our energy usage.  So far so good.


Solar panels tilted to capture the winter’s low sun.  We are up and running!


Picture taken by Lee and his magical flying machine.  You can see the four solar panels on top before Greg added angle bars.

Guess what? Another happy hour on Tuesday the 23rd. We celebrated four RV Dreamer rigs coming back to the desert for a visit. This time Red and Pam hosted the HH. Afterward we had a campfire outside Lee and Tracy’s rig.  Sorry no pictures of the event but then again do you need to see another group of seniors drinking?

On Wednesday we went to Silly Al’s for pizza and karaoke. Great pizza with good friends.


Our group at Silly Al’s



Tracy doing karaoke at Silly Al’s


On Thursday was the 200th episode of The Big Bang Theory. So what do you do? Have a happy hour to watch the show. Sorry no pictures. Again it was a great time.

This past Saturday after a group of RV Dreamers went to Mexico and brought back tequila we had to have a Mexican happy hour with tacos.  Margaritas for all of us. My glass was never empty.


Bill our very busy bartender.



Kelly and Bill




Tracy and Lee



Greg and Cori and their dog Hobie



Jo and Ben and their dog



Jim and Barb with their dog Daisy



Red and Pam with their dog Dominic



Steve and Diane, our desert mentors.



Dino and Lisa, Dino won the Margarita consumption contest



Me holding two Margaritas.  One is Vicki’s.  That is my story and I am sticking to it!

Monday was our last happy hour for this group. Everyone is pulling out Tuesday except for us. Again a great time with a campfire afterwards.

Steve and Diane pulling out.  The last of our group.


Steve and Dianne’s rig.  A unique truck.  In the back they have two ATVs.


Last night we had happy hour and campfire withdrawal.  So we had this.


Sadie, Vicki and Buster

We don’t really drink that much, usually one or two at each HH. Well except that margarita thing…..  So with my intake of beer increasing the past two months I thought this Cheers dialog would be appropriate:

Cliff expounds his “Buffalo Theory” to Norm: “Well, you see, Norm, it’s like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it’s the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Now, as we know, excessive intake of alcohol kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. And that, Norm, is why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

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Speed Run to Merced, Holidays in CA, AZ Doings


To allow me to have a timely update to our blog I need to do a catch up post on our trip from Texas to California, Holidays and Arizona doings. So here goes.


My last day of work at Amazon started like any other work day. On Saturday December 19th, I got out of bed at 4 am, left for work at 5 am after having breakfast and taking the furry freeloaders out for a walk. Got to work about 5:45 and began my day by walking about ½ mile from the parking lot to my department.


My view of the distribution center from parking space

But this was MY LAST DAY OF WORK! Well a half day. I was working from 6 am to 11 am and had four hours of personal time I used to fill out my day. I was assigned to the line on the north side. At break time I started to say goodbye to all my work friends on the north side. At 10:45 I said goodbye to the north side leadership team and said I was going to the south side to say goodbye to my friends and clock out. Said my goodbyes to the south side friends and leadership and clocked out. It was funny to leave work when it was day light  and no traffic in the parking lot. Because I worked around fork lifts on the dock area I had a safety vest. I always wore this in the parking lot with all the traffic, I thought it was more dangerous in the parking lot than on the dock.

I drove to our campground in Alford, TX, got cleaned up, did the final tear down of our rig, hooked truck to trailer and we were on our way to CA at about 2:30 pm. With a trip of 1,700 miles I was unsure how long it would take. We were hoping to get to Merced by December 24th. But I did not know how long I could safely drive in a day. We made it to Midland, TX at about 9 pm. We stopped at a truck stop to get some dinner. About 10 miles west of the truck stop on I20 there was a rest stop and another about 75 miles. I thought I could make it to the second one. After about 5 minutes I got really tired so we pulled into the first rest stop for the night. We made about 350 miles, a great start. It was a noisy night with trucks coming and going but we were beat and had no trouble dropping off to sleep.

I woke up about 4 am, guess I am used to that given I was doing it for 9 weeks, and hit the road while my navigator slept until we stopped to have some breakfast.  We made over 700 mile this day. I really was not tired, guess I just got into a groove. We stopped at another rest stop just east of Tucson for the night.


Some views of our drive


Again I woke up early and hit the road while Vicki slept until west of Phoenix where we got some breakfast. When you are driving in the early morning it can get pretty boring and then on the radio came Love Shack by the B52s, a song I always liked back in the day. Well, I cranked up the volume and sang along. Vicki can sleep through anything!


Singing Love Shack by B52s, at least the dogs did not howl.


We continued west on I10 passing our future 2016 winter home of Quartzsite. The Plan was to get on US 95 north and pick up I40 west then jump on CA 58 through the Tehachapi Pass into the Central Valley of CA and go north on CA 99 into Merced. There was a chance we would make it to Merced today. BUT Mother Nature had other ideas. The navigator, Vicki, was picking up high wind warnings on CA 58. Then we hear three tractor trailers were blown onto their side and CA 58 was closed to high profile vehicles. So we pulled off I10 and got something to eat while planning our next step.

After fueling ourselves up at Mickey Ds we went with plan B. We were going to head west towards LA and then go north. We took a tour thru the High Desert (See pictures below). The clouds are partially covering the San Gabriel Mountains. (Just over those mountains would be LA area – Glendale – Burbank).

We were a little north but close to Simi Valley. We will be continuing northwest very close to Edwards Air Force Base and then over the Grapevine into Central CA. We did not make it to Merced. I was beat. Not much in the way of a rest stop close by as we jumped on I5 so we stopped at a Petro truck stop for the night. Another thing to check off the bucket list……

We got a little later start on December 23rd. I was very tired from the last 2 days of driving and especially the 22nd on non-interstate 2 lane roads with lots of traffic. Hit the road by 8 am and got to Merced about noon and set up camp at the Elks RV Park. This would be our home for 16 days.


We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas with Geoff and any other free time he had. He is very busy with his job and was closing out his two year term as president of the Modesto Area Disc Golf club. In Merced we were busy seeing doctors for physicals, dentist for routine work and visiting with friends. Vicki had good visits with her doctors. Unfortunately my doctor had a personal emergency so no appointment for me. Hopefully in April when we go through Merced I can get an appointment. Dentist was routine for Vicki, for me not so much. During my cleaning an upper wisdom tooth chipped. Without an opposing tooth it really was not doing much good so out it came. Not that big a deal.


Christmas Eve with Geoff at BJ’s Brew House, a favorite of ours.



Christmas Tree at Geoff’s apartment


We also hooked up with friends from work and golf buddies and wives. Had a great time with all. Also snuck in two rounds of golf with my golf buddies.

Also during this time I was busy getting the trailer ready for boondocking for our AZ winter camp.  Made sure I could fill up our fresh water with our pump, use of the waste water tank to dump waste water and make sure we had enough power for making coffee and running hair dryer. All was good except the power part. Needed to buy another Honda generator.


Saturday January 9th we hooked up and started our 500+ mile trip to Quartzsite, AZ. We could make it in one day but I did not want to come in late, find a spot on the desert and set up camp. So we split the trip into two days. We stayed Saturday night at a rest stop just west of Needles, CA. Next day we make it to Quartzsite mid-morning. With help from Steve and Diane (Steve and Dianne Blog), friends we made at a RV Dreamers Rally, we selected a site and set up Forrey Winter Camp.  Thanks Dianne and Steve for all the great assistance for the newbies.


Looking east towards our rig.

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Our porch at twilight.  Very nice to sit outside at end of day but as soon as the sun goes down it gets chilly.

So what is our life like in Quartzsite, AZ in the Sonora Desert?  Pretty Busy. Vicki is still working her 8-5 job and I am busy being camp boy. We are part of a loosely organized group of Dreamers. This group is made of “Dreamers” who met through RV Dreams.   In our immediate area there is anywhere from 6 rigs to as many as 12 rigs of Dreamers. Usually each week there are two happy hours and about every other week there is event where we go in town for dinner or another event. Steve and Dianne also put on a west coast reunion of Dreamers who were in the greater Quartzsite area. There was about 50 people in attendance.

I will let pictures tell the rest of the story.


First Happy Hour we attended. One of MANY!



RV Dreamer Reunion – January 2016 Quartzsite AZ – This is the group!!!  Thanks for picture Steve and Dianne




After one of the Bowl games the Good Year Blimp flew over from Phoenix to LA

For ten days the Big Show was in Quartzsite.  This is a large RV show held under a tent.  I estimate the tent was 200 yards long and about 35 yards wide.  Lots of vendors but many were not really RV related.  Can’t believe I did not get some pictures.  Lots of RVs for sale outside.  I would guess about 150 RVs around the tent.


Well I broke down and got this T-shirt at the show.  Believe me it was not a medium



If you are from the Mid Atlantic and know me from back east you will understand why I added this picture.  Discovered in Parker AZ












Discovered a great little pizza joint in Quartzsite.  Terrific Pizza and they have a local beer – Mud Shark from Lake Havasu City – Great Stuff.

HIGH DRAMA IN THE LOW DESERT – We had some police action in the hood.  Right behind our camp there was a fellow who had a noisy generator and ran it during quite time.  Generators are not to be run between the hours of 10 pm to 7 am.  Well the guy who occupied the 5ver in the next picture went over to the guy who ran the noisy generator in the 2nd picture.  Well there was a physical altercation.  The noisy generator guy got beat up and police and medical personnel responded.  The “winner” of the fight spent the night in jail and was thrown out of the LTVA.  The guy that got whopped moved to another area of the LTVA after his wounds healed.  The fight happened when Vicki and I were taking a lunch time walk.  Who said this is a quite area?


Police car on left and “winner” of fight rig on right

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Loser of fight rig with sheriff car and EMT truck


Guess what? Another Happy Hour.  This one at Dianne and Steve’s camp


Back a few years ago I worked for a company that made ammunition.  Many of our products  were tested at Yuma Proving Grounds.


Driving through the desert you work up a thirst.  Had to stop at the Prison Hill Brewery.

Onto the Yuma Territorial Prison.  It is really not that big of a prison.  Most of the prison has been torn down through the years to make room for the railroad that is right next to it.


One of the many beautiful sun sets


Just another Laundry Day in the Desert


Took a hike to the top of “Q Mountain”  Just about every town has a mountain that they have the first letter of the town’s name.  Not that high but steep and very rocky.  Difficult to walk up and down.

Steve and I went over to the Quartzsite Radio Control Plane airport.  Met up with Red (belongs to the club and invited us as guests) and Rick.  Was very interesting.  Amazing the planes they build and how they can control them.  Here are a few pictures of the planes.  There was a mid-air collision between two planes.  Just parts floated to the ground.  Very sad given all the money and work that goes into the planes.


Next big doings was taking a trip to The Desert Bar.  This bar opened up 20 some years ago for four wheelers to stop and get something to drink during their ride.  This is back a “road” that is very rough and rocky.  Well, I moved over to let a car pass us going the other way and got to close to a rock and popped a tire. AND IT POPPED!  Luckily by that time we were very close to the bar an got lots of help changing the tire.  Jim jumped right in and Rick was right behind him helping.  I played step and fetch.  Thanks you guys!!!

What do you do for your significant other when you are in the desert? Have a fish fry of course.  Red loves to fish.  He does a lot of fishing in Texas and brought about 100 pounds of fish to the desert.  We had over 30 people at the FF and then we had a campfire that might have been seen in outer space.  Red (left) the fishermen and also head fry cook was aided by Steve (right).


Well I am now caught up to date.  I hope I can keep up to date.

Now I have to get back to work.


Good judgment comes from experience…and  experience – well, that comes from poor judgment.

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The Amazon Experiment


My Amazon experience in Haslet, Texas was quite an experience. Huh?

Well let me explain.

Some administrative stuff:

  • First day of work Wednesday October 14th, 8 hour orientation
  • 1st week of work started Saturday October 17th, 5 hour days for four days.
  • 2nd week of work started Saturday October 24th, 10 hour days for four days.
  • Remaining 7 weeks started on Saturdays and worked mostly 11 hour days for 5 days.
  • Last day of work was December 19th.
  • Base Rate: $10.75 per hour.
  • Completion Bonus: $1.00 for each hour worked.
  • Working both Saturday and Sunday Bonus: $1.00 for all hours after November 8th.
  • Gross Pay $6,600.
  • Amazon paid for our campground.

Building information:

  • 1.7 million square feet, largest of all Amazon facilities.
  • 250 truck dock doors.
  • 5,000 + employees.  Approximately half of these are hired during the peak or Christmas season.
  • Set records for in bound boxes and out bound packages.
  • 3,000 robots to move stock around facility.

My shift was DL4 – this meant I was on day shift and the first day of my work week started on Saturday and on a 4 day week the last day was Tuesday. A normal week is 4 ten hour days.  Overtime day was Wednesday and I had off Thursday and Friday. I was assigned to the In Bound department but I spent time in other departments as business needs changed. As I later learned the only real choice I had was if I wanted day work or night work. What shift you are put on and what department you are assigned to is based on business needs when you start.

My first day of work was training on Amazon policies, terms, safety training and a quick tour of the facility. I was one of about 50 workampers that were brought on that week. Amazon call us their CamperForce.   Amazon has 3 other facilities that use CamperForce in the mid-west.

Then onto the 1st week of work. Amazon has you work 5 hour days to start off to toughen you up. At first I thought why only 5 hours? After 5 hour days of being on my feet all hours except break time I was quite happy it was only 5 hours.  My feet were tired and hurting.  About the 4th week I toughen up.   At the start of your shift, and after lunch, you attend a stand up meeting. The department management goes over what happened the last work day, how much processed, safety tips along with stretching. I was assigned to shadow a person on the receiving line. You are at a station where boxes come down the line, you open the box, take items out and put the items into totes that are transported to the Stow department. You use a scanner and monitor in each step. Not something I thought I would enjoy doing the next 9 weeks but hey you do what “The Man” tells you to do. The next day at the stand up meeting they asked for volunteers to work on the dock. I volunteered. I guess I spent about 80% of my time there. I don’t know what my title was but I called myself a “box thrower”.

I have not done physical work since the summer of 1976. And I am sure it was not this physical. By the end of 10 hour days I was dog tired. On my 11 hour days and most were 11 hour days, I was double dog tired. But I did enjoy it, it is a nice change of pace. BUT don’t think I want to do this 12 months a year. NO WAY!

What was the work environment like? Very clean but boy was it loud. I have no idea how many miles of conveyer belts there are running through the building but it was miles and miles. Some of these belts were pretty slow, less than walking speed, when taking empty boxes to the trash compactor. The belts that moved the boxes to the Out Bound department were really moving. I guess the speed was in excess of 20 mph. With all these conveyer belts moving it created lots of noise. If a belt slowed down or stopped the sound decrease was very noticeable. The break rooms where in good shape but depending where you were in the building you could have a 5 minute walk to the break room.

What all did I do? Well 90% of the time I was in the In Bound department where mostly I was on the dock processing pallets of boxes to go onto the receiving lines. Not anything exciting but I got to move around and interact with my coworkers.

Now if the dock was slow I would get thrown onto the receiving line. This happened about 1 time per week. The problem with this was there is a definite procedure you must follow and I never really mastered this until the end of my time there. When you made a mistake or have a question you would push a button and an alarm would go off so a problem solver would know to come over to see you. Reminded me of being an ice hockey goalie and the puck got passed you into the net.


View of In Bound Department.  You can see the truck dock doors in the back.  The 3 receiving lines flow from the dock doors to bottom of the picture.  There are two areas like this – north side and south side


This is a side view looking from the North Side Inbound area down to Out Bound and then to South Bound area.   BIG AXX building.  To the left side of the picture you can see the 4 levels of Stow Department where the robots run around.


Now at times In Bound would have an excess of man power and you would be loaned out to other departments. I was in Stow for one afternoon. Totes would come up to my work station and I put items into shelving units that were brought to you by robots.


In the foreground is a robot without a shelf on it. Behind and to the left is a robot carrying a shelf unit.  These are the smaller robots.  Larger robots move pallets around.


I also spent a day in packing. This was a pretty easy job. A cart would be at your work station with about 40 different shipments. I would scan the shipment and on the monitor you were told what size box you need to use to put the shipment in. Put the product(s) in, tape the box up, and send it down a conveyor belt. This got to be pretty boring.

I also spent one week in Out Bound. This was the most physical work I had. What I did most often was load trailers. Most trailers were floor loads and you would build walls starting about 2’ from the nose of the trailer and fill in behind the wall with odd shaped boxes. The walls needed to be tight side to side and floor to ceiling. Then build another wall 2′ in front of the prior wall and repeat. Very fast paced. If the conveyor belt bringing you the packages got backed up a blue light would come on and an alarm would sound. Like the hockey goalie again.

The campgrounds that were available for the CamperForce were not exactly first rate. All of the campgrounds had problems. We picked a campground that had the best rating for Vicki to live and work in while I was away at Amazon BUT it was 50 minutes away from Amazon. Other campgrounds where close but not very good campgrounds. Pick your poison.

So why did I sort of kinda of enjoy my time at Amazon? Simply the Camperforce people are just great to work with. I met and made good work friends with many coworkers. They came from many walks of life and had many different life experiences we spoke about. I worked with people in their early 30s to early 70s. So much to learn from this group from where they are from and what it was like to live in their area to what places they traveled to and of course lots of free advice.

Am I going back next year? Ya Boy, already have applied. Who knows what I will be doing but I know it will be fun getting back in touch with the people I worked with this past year and catch up with them on what they did the last 9 months. The campground situation is supposed to improve. There is a race car track right next to Amazon and they are adding to their campground. We already have our name on the list so hopefully I will have a 5 minute commute vs. a 50 minute commute next year.

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Trip from Likely, CA to Alvord, TX

Well it has been 3 months since I updated our blog. Combination of being very busy traveling to Texas, working at Amazon, traveling to CA for Christmas and then getting our winter camp set up in Quartzsite, AZ I have not been able to devote a block of time to complete a blog post. Maybe a little bit of the blog writer being LAZY. I hope to catch up with our doings in the next week. I plan to split up blog posts into several different time periods. So here is the first one with our travels to Texas.

My last day of work at Likely was October 12th. The plan was to work until 5pm go home and hook the trailer up and drive to Susanville to spend the night at a rest stop. This would have been a 2 hour drive and we would be set up to continue the drive to Reno for Vicki’s flight to Vegas. But Peggy, my counter part, showed up at 3 pm and told me to hit the road. Very nice of her. Allowed us to get on the road early and we decided to drive to Reno and spend the night at an RV park. This was an uneventful drive and night.



RV Spot in Reno

The next morning we got up early to drop Vicki at the next exit for her to meet up with her boss to go to the Reno airport for the flight to Vegas for a 2 day meeting. Much easier to drop Vicki at an exit than take her to the airport and deal with that with a trailer hitched to the truck. All went well and I continued south on US 395. This is a good 2 lane highway without much traffic and again was uneventful. The mutts settled down after they figured Vicki was not coming back and they were very good. They have become good road warriors.

I had lots of pretty views of the Sierras to my west. With the trailer hooked up to me I was driving 55 mph and the speed limit was 65 to 70 mph. I got passed by many many trucks but they did not seem to mind. When I would come to an area where passing was safe I would slow down to allow them to pass and when they passed me I would flick my lights to let them know it was safe to pull back into our south bound lane. Most of the time they flicked their lights thanking me.

Here are some pictures of the trip.


Sierras west of RT 395


Looking south on a empty  RT 395

I spent the night in Beatty at an RV park without unhooking. Beatty bills itself as the Gateway to Death Valley. Again nothing special happened except Sadie and Buster would go to the door every time they hear a noise outside thinking maybe Vicki came back.


Beatty RV Park

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View outside Beatty looking east

The next morning I wanted to fuel up in Beatty due to their low diesel prices. But I missed the station and decided to keep on driving since I had enough fuel to make it to Vegas. Well I did find a station in the middle of nowhere with good prices and stopped. An interesting place. See pictures below.

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Sign on diesel pump

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Fuel stop on way to Vegas

As I continued south I drove pass Creech Air Force Base just north of Vegas and I saw a drone on the run way. First time I ever saw one of these. Wonder where he was going? I continued driving through Vegas to Boulder City where we would spend the night. Luckily I was driving in Vegas in the middle of the day and not during rush hours. Vicki’s meeting was over at the end of this day so after unhitching, setting up and getting the mutts settled I drove back in to Vegas to pick her up. Her meeting was actually in Henderson just south of Vegas. I was hoping to find and In N Out for dinner but not going to happen. The group Vicki was meeting with decided to go out to eat together. Went to Olive Garden. But all guys of the group decided to do other things their last night in Vegas, go figure. So I had dinner with 5 ladies. Tough duty.

Next morning, the 15th, we left Boulder City and drove down to Kingman, AZ to catch I40 that would take us most of the way to Texas. We crossed the Colorado River next to the Boulder/Hoover Dam. Very pretty area.


We drove east on I40 through central AZ and Flagstaff and onto Meteor Crater RV Park just west of Winslow, AZ. Visited the Meteor Crater, Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park over the next two days. All very impressive and something to see. Of course we went into Winslow and did the required pictures of the girl in the truck. We had dinner at an upscale hotel which was a major stop on the railroad back in the day.IMG_0574 (003)FullSizeRender (005)

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IMG_0654After 2 nights at the Meteor Crater RV Park we pushed on to Albuquerque, NM to check out the balloon festival.

Entering New Mexico we were treated to some great views. This was the first time we visited the state of NM.  We need to come back and visit this state.  Very pretty with some great State Parks.

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Only stayed one night in Albuquerque and caught the last day of the festival. One night in a RV Park during the festival is very expensive.   Sometime in the future we need to do the whole week at the festival. This was something to see. It was sensory overload with all the balloons going up. I heard whistles as we approached the field and wondered what was going on. As we got closer to the launching fields I saw officials in referee uniforms controlling the action. It appeared to me it was very well organized. Each balloon was given a time to begin inflating and then what time lift off was. The refs controlled the actions with their balloons. Here are some pictures.

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Vicki making sure Smokey does not tip over.

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We had to keep moving on and drove onto Amarillo, TX staying there for one night and did not unhitch. Had pizza delivered to the campsite. We were hungry, tired and did not want to cook. Next day got up to big winds and jumped on US route 287 for the rest of the drive to Alvord, TX. We saw 30+ miles of wind mills.


It was a great trip but very tiring as we pushed to accommodate our schedule. Sometime we will need to slow down and enjoy the trip.

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The Crew at Likely Place RV & Golf Resort

I thought I would do a blog on the folks I worked with this past summer at Likely Place.  Not only where they my co-workers they became good friends of ours as the summer progressed.  It was difficult saying good bye at the end.

Here is the outside crew:

This is Dwayne and his squirrel catching dog Peanut.  He mowed the tee boxes and rough.  He is an Army Veteran serving in Korea and drove a Multi Launch Rocket System tracked vehicle.   He is also the Fire Chief of the Likely Fire Department.

Dwayne and his and his pup Peanut

Dwayne and his pup Peanut

Below is George who mowed the greens.  He is a former heavy equipment operator from the Bay Area and now spends his summer in the high desert.  He also holds the course record from the Blue tees with a 69.



Next is Jose.  He is the Superintendent of Likely Place.  He has many duties including mowing the fairways.  He worked for Rich Hamel on his ranch and had a big hand in building the golf course and RV park.  In his spare time he runs a herd of cattle and is also the Assistant Chief of the Likely Fire Department.



These three men took care of the golf course without any other help.  It is amazing the condition of the course with only three men compared to other courses that have 3 to 4 times as many men.

Next is Phil and Nancy who are retired and live in their Class A year round.  They took care of picking up balls on the driving range and keeping the tees in good shape by repairing divots and picking up broken tees.  They live in the high desert at Likely Place in the Summer and AZ in the winter while fishing areas in between as they change locations. We hope to hook up with them this winter.

Phil and Nancy

Phil and Nancy

Below is Gordon.  He keeps the gas golf carts running.  Not an easy task with the age of the carts.  He served in the Army as a helicopter mechanic.  Gordon is a local who works on the family ranch by cutting, bailing and hauling hay when he not working on the carts.  There are thousand of acres of hay in this area and a good bit of it is trailered down to the CA Central Valley for the large dairy herds.



Now for the inside crew:

Below is Cathy and Lynn.  They run the Likely Grill at the course.  Good eats! Cathy is originally from Hungary who can come up with some great soup.  Lynn served in the Marine Corps and has been in the restaurant business for over 50 years including a place in Napa Valley.

Cathy and Lynn

Cathy and Lynn

Next is Dennis and Kelly.  Dennis is the Manager of Likely Place.  A better supervisor will be difficult to find.  He also served in the Marine Corps.  Kelly never stands still when in the office and also has a storage business in Alturas.

Dennis and Kelly

Dennis and Kelly

Below are Bob and Peggy.  Bob works outside cleaning carts mowing grass and any other maintenance job that needs taken care of.  He served in the Army and worked for California Fire by driving bulldozers to cut fire breaks.  Peg had the same job I had of working the golf and RV desk.  I was very lucky to have her train me.  She knew everything there was to know and was very patient with me when I was thrown in the office after another employee quit.  Vicki and I became good friends with these folks.

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And last and certainly least:


Me on my last day of work.

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