12/31/06: Middle of the Desert, CA: Believe it, or not, but Larry still has that darn cold! Before leaving San Carlos, MX, Bob and Ann took us out to an area in the desert they referred to as the "Enchanted Forest". It's a remote area full of HUGE Cardon cactus. These guys were easily 100' high! We enjoyed the day touring, touring a pearl farm, lunch, and a wonderful shrimp dinner. We enjoyed our visit with them and will be back someday. There were no problems leaving Mexico and we stopped for the night near Tucson at the Desert Diamond Casino. It's a safe and free place to park for the night. Then back to Apache Junction to have Christmas with our daughters and their families.
Christmas was fun, especially with our baby grand-daughter. It was also Cindy and Nick's first Christmas as husband and wife. Our daughters are all grown up, with their own families now. We hung around Leslie's all day and enjoyed visiting and eating. A holiday tradition for us. We hung around town for a few days, then headed out to the 'sun and fun' with our Boomer friends. We've been looking forward to this winter all year. We met up with our Escapee club, Boomer BOF friends about 15 miles west of Yuma on BLM land. Free boondocking camping in the desert, this time on the California side. The weather has warmed up and we now have about 30 Boomer RV's staying here. For an unorganized group, we sure get a lot done together. Being New Year's Eve, today's "unofficial" activities include a 4-mile walk at 9:00am, ladies 'bead and stitch' at 10:00am, the group getting together at 1:00pm to play various table games, a friendship 'Z-circle' at 7:00pm, and finally celebrate the New year at 11:00pm. Wow! These people know how to have fun! Tomorrow is a potluck dinner and a Blues concert by one of the members.
Yesterday, one of the Boomers, missed the turn in the desert and attempted to drive down a sandy wash. OOPS! Especially since he was driving a HUGE HDT (Heavy Duty Truck) and towing a HUGE 5th wheel. To say the least, he got stuck in the sand. But everyone rallied together and got him out, then pulled his 5th wheel out for him. We all appreciated the entertainment!
12/20/06: San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico: A few days ago, we headed out of Phoenix to spend the night in Tucson. A bunch of Boomer friends were getting together for dinner, and our goal was to get into Tucson, setup, and have dinner. Well... we got a late departure out of Phoenix. The motorhome was way overdue for an oil change, and we didn't want to head into Mexico without our spare tire replaced. We went ahead and bought 2 new tires for the front, for a whopping $850!!! OUCH! We were slowly making our way down the freeway, fighting a couple accidents and were crawling along when Bob and Ann Peay called and asked if we were going to the dinner. We failed to realize dinner was at 4:00pm. So plans changed. We went directly to dinner, arriving at 3:40pm. It was GREAT seeing a bunch of Boomer friends again. There must have been over 20 couples attending. Since we hadn't setup camp anywhere, we decided to head down the road a little further and stay at the Desert Diamond Casino. They allow overnight parking, which we are grateful for.
Bob and Ann Peay met us early the next morning and we were off to San Carlos! No problems at the border, getting our tourist visa's went smooth, and the entire drive down was uneventful. Other than Connie freaking out because there is no shoulder, so I had to really concentrate on safe driving. The trip down Sonora isn't real scenic. Lots of brown grass, and not much else. After traveling for about 7 hours (a real long driving day for us) we arrived in this small town. We had reservations at Totonaka RV Park on the main strip. We sure didn't enjoy our first impressions on San Carlos! We had our choice of sites, and ended up moving 3 times. We knew it, but electric power in Mexico is real bad. The first site didn't have electric, the second site didn't have cable, and the third site had electric, but wouldn't work in the motorhome. I measured the electric here at over 140 volts! Luckily, our Autoformer was protecting the motorhome from this high voltage. By now, we were pretty frustrated. We ended up going back to site #2, since the electric worked there. It was still high voltage (~130 volts), but our Autoformer cleaned it up enough to let it in the rig. We borrowed a long cable from Bob to get cable TV from a site down the row. Whew. We were finally settled in. But we're not impressed with this RV park. We're not the only ones, either. Some of our neighbors are also complaining. Mainly, they raised the rates to $22 (USD) a night. This is pretty high for Mexico, especially when the park and sites isn't anything fancy.
The past couple days have had Bob giving us the cheap tour of San Carlos, having dinner with them, and playing cards. They recently finished having a Casita built here, and live in it about 6 - 7 months out of the year. It's pretty nice, but cost more than I would have expected. I guess I still have expectations that everything in Mexico is affordable. Not so, anymore. It's interesting to hear Bob and Ann tell stories of about the construction. The different construction techniques, different motives, different attitudes, different supply channels, and different work ethics made for an interesting (and challenging) construction project.
Unfortunately, our visit here has also been less than exciting due to Larry having a bad cold. What a time to get sick! But there's some good points also. We had the motorhome washed and waxed for $40, and bought a kilo of large, fresh shrimp for $13. Last night, Bob and Ann taught us how to play "Pegs and Jokers", which is a fun game. We're looking forward to a shrimp dinner with them tonight. Only a couple days left here, then we make our way back to the states for Christmas with our family.
12/15/06: Apache Junction, AZ: The Party's over! Photos of Cynthia and Nicholas Rodgers have been posted. It's was a great wedding, even if I say so myself. It was also great to see all of our relatives and friends together. We'll be leaving here tomorrow and are heading to San Carlos, Mexico for a week. We're both a bit eager to get going again. For the longer term, we plan to head to the Pacific Northwest this summer. We've got a line on workamper positions in Washington, so let's hope they pan out. But we've got 4 or 5 months to slowly make our way up there, so we plan to do allot of exploring in the meantime.
12/07/06: Apache Junction, AZ: Time recently snuck up on us. Connie's going crazy worrying about last minute wedding plans, and Larry began a large project redesigning the military campgrounds website. These two projects seem to occupy all of our time lately. However, we did find time to watch the new movie "Cars". I mention this, only because I think this fun cartoon/movie relates well with our lifestyle. Part of the premise of the movie is about slowing down and enjoying life. They discuss how the major freeway eliminated the old Hwy 66. There's a short saying in the movie, something like: "people used to go for a drive, to enjoy the drive. Today, people only drive to get somewhere." Our feelings exactly. Slow down, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the drive!
We also had some excitement with a motorhome tire. Even though we've been sitting parked here for a month, all of a sudden, a tire blew! Yes - a loud bang followed by the escaping air. The sidewall blew and has a 4" slit in it. We've had the tire changed and will get a new one when we leave here. I doubt it, but Goodyear should comp part of the tire. Even though the tire is 5 years old, why would the sidewall blow just sitting parked? Oh well, glad we weren't driving at the time.
Cynthia's wedding is only a few days away. Relatives are starting to to show up. Larry and his Dad went for a Jeep ride in the desert today and found a few geocaches. It's so peaceful to get into the Arizona outback.eaceful to get into the Arizona outback.