Categories
Arizona

Sunny Days in Buckeye

We’ve been having amazing weather, and according to the forecast, it’ll be about the same for the next 10 days!  Mid-70’s during the day and cool nights. It’s been so warm, I’ve had to rig up my shade cloth over the big side window.

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It’s just clipped to the edges of the roof at the top, and then bungied in three places to an adjustable painter’s pole at the bottom. The pole is stuck through the legs of my stepstool and zip-tied in place. The stepstool keeps the cloth from laying right against the glass, and lets some breeze through. It also comes down far enough to shade the fridge vents, not that the fridge is working right now, but someday.

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Yesterday I finally did the laundry! I’ve been putting it off for a couple weeks! HATE doing laundry in a laundromat. The dryers there were awful; I kept putting more and more quarters in and they never really got very hot. I finally gave up and brought home my warm, wet clothes. I couldn’t find my little rope so I had to use an electrical extension cord. I zip-tied it to the supports for the picnic table shelters. (What would this world be like without zip-ties???)  Not all of it would fit so I also draped things over the sides of Roxie’s exercise pen, all over the inside of the car and all over the inside of the camper. Thank goodness for the Arizona-quick-dry sunshine!  I guess we looked like a yard sale was going on.

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As I was getting out of the car at the laundromat, a man in the truck next to me said “Do you have a dog?” I said yes, and he said he’d bought some rawhide treats that his dog didn’t like, and if mine didn’t like them either, to just throw them away. Well I took them just to be polite, but rawhide certainly doesn’t pass Princess Roxie’s lips!  I don’t know why; I asked him what kind of dog he had and he said “English Cocker”. What??!!  I said “I used to breed and show them!”  So he got her out; sweet little blue roan with an undocked tail wagging madly. She was a field-bred from breeders in Vancouver, BC.  How crazy is that; there are not that many English Cockers out there!  Behind me in the car, Roxie was barking like crazy and he asked me what kind I had. I said “Havanese” and he shook his head. “Little barky kind”, I said, and he nodded and smiled.

I made really good beef vegetable soup for dinner but now I’m worrying about finding something big enough to put the leftovers in, and then finding space in the fridge. It’s really hard to make a small batch of soup.

OH! I almost forgot….I’ve been WALKING!  Roxie and I go out 3 or 4 times a day and walk 1/8 mile up the road and back. So most of the time we do a mile a day! Wow, not so very long ago that would have been impossible. My knee doesn’t even hurt! Sometimes my hips complain about the time we get back to camp though. (It’s always something, right?!)

The sunsets haven’t been that great lately; I think because there are so few clouds in the cky, there’s nothing there to reflect the colors.  I was actually awake at sunrise this morning and was all set to take a photo but it wasn’t very colorful either. Here’s tonight’s sunset anyway. I’ve been enjoying the coyote concerts almost every night.

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Categories
Arizona

Musings on a Sunny Day

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Buckeye, Arizona! And the weather forecast says there are 9 more sunny days to come!! That’s reason to celebrate right there….Life Is Good. It’s been a very different winter so far; much more rain and overcast skies than last year. When they say “rain” though, it usually means about 20 drops at a time but the other day it was a real gully-washer all day off and on, and the washes were running strong. Boy the desert plants are getting green quickly!

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I’ve still been getting plenty of light on the solar panel to serve my meager needs, in fact I’ve got it bungied to the spare tire on the back of the camper and I don’t move it, so it’s only getting sun about 4 hours a day. It’s still enough. It’s gotten a bit cold at night (33 degrees last night) but the Wave 3 heater has been doing a great job of keeping us warm and cozy.

Neighbors have been coming and going, most staying only a night or two. If you are old enough to remember the sitcom “Bewitched”, remember the cranky neighbor lady who was constantly spying through her curtains at Samantha?  That’s who I’ve become, to my shame. Yep, I’m a nosy old witch. I find myself watching everyone that goes by. I’ve resisted getting out the binoculars but…..I want to!  I really prefer being all by myself back here, and then I don’t have to worry about Roxie barking too much, or getting fully dressed to take her for a little walk.  On the other hand, if I happen to have a heart attack or something, it’d be nice to have a neighbor within screeching distance.

I love hearing the coyotes yipping and howling at night! And it reminds me to be vigilant with Roxie so she doesn’t end up being a coyote snack.  My little packrat that lives under the picnic slab has been feathering his/her nest with bits of a throw rug that blew into Roxie’s exercise pen. In hindsight, I should have picked it up right away and not left it there for 3 days. Oh and I don’t have any critters in the car; false alarm. I kept a mousetrap in the car for 3 nights and didn’t catch anything, and then when i cleaned off the floor with a whisk broom, I noticed that what I thought were critter poops were actually some kind of empty husk or hull. I have no idea how they got under the floor mat, but I’m glad! I’ve gotten out my solar string lights and put them on the ground under the car’s engine to discourage pack rats, which love to chew wiring. They don’t stay lit all night but I’m hoping the critters don’t “work” all night either.

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Categories
Arizona

Buckeye Hills Regional Park

I got away from Ehrenberg with only one rock! OK two, but one is really small. I had collected five rocks, and at the last minute I narrowed it down to just the two. It wouldn’t be so bad except I have to carry all these rocks around with me everywhere I go! Sometimes I get them all out and see if there are any I can bear to get rid of, but it usually doesn’t work.

We’ve moved to Buckeye Hills Regional Park, about 35 miles west of Phoenix. This is the 3rd time we’ve been here, and we like it a lot. There are not very many campsites here and most of them are spread very far apart (like 1/2 mile!) Nearly all the sites were occupied but I got one at the dead end. Later I got a neighbor; a massive Class A whose occupants can’t live without their generator. It’s fairly quiet though, and they don’t run it late at night.

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I got a site with a covered picnic table, so I can use my bbq grill. I went out and bought some boneless pork ribs and a small steak to grill and was very excited about it. But first I had to put a new propane burner on the grill. All the info on the web said it was easy as pie.  Well….only if you can get the old one off! I struggled with the bolt for a long time and finally gave up.

Then yesterday I had a short visit from Donna Morey, who was en route back home from a Sisters on the Fly gathering at Quartzsite. She had a little socket set, yay! And then that ol’ bolt came right off, and so did the burner, and it WAS easy! It’s all a matter of having the right tools. I carry a small socket driver set but it wasn’t big enough for this particular bolt. I cooked those ribs, mmmmm they were good!

I think it’s funny that someone has made all kinds of paths (that go nowhere) with little rocks. But the fire ring has no rocks!

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We’ve been having very overcast weather; what happened to my nice bright Arizona sun?? This morning there was heavy fog! I didn’t know Arizona had enough moisture in the air to make fog.  The sun finally broke through around 11:00 and it’s beautiful now.

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The only bad thing about these sites are the trash barrels; they always seem to be overflowing! I think I remember that they come around every week and empty them, but they fill up quickly. I think people come and dump their household garbage.  It’s very nice to have any kind of garbage pickup though. There are a couple vault toilets here also and they are very very low…..maybe only a foot high?  It’d be good for little kids but really tough for us old folks with bad knees!

Buckeye seems to have everything anyone would need…Wal-Mart, PetSmart, Lowes, big grocery stores, and even a do-it-yourself dog wash that we’ll be visiting one day soon!  All that stuff is about 13 miles from here, but there’s a small IGA grocery store, Walgreens and a few smaller stores in Buckeye itself which is about 8 miles away.

There’s a little critter that has a hole right next to the concrete slab for the picnic table. I don’t know what it is, but he’s been working on his hole, as he’s thrown up some sand onto Roxie’s exercise pen mat! Maybe I’ll catch a glimpse of him soon.

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I also see evidence of some little critter in my car again…..something bigger than a mouse but smaller than a rat, judging by what he left behind. I set a trap last night but didn’t catch anything, nor was the bait (a pistachio!) disturbed so maybe whatever it is has already moved out. Or maybe it just doesn’t know what a pistachio is.  I wonder if it’s the same little guy who owns the hole? I’m going to look today for my solar string lights and put them on the ground under the engine; I’ve heard that’ll keep rodents away.

 

 

 

Categories
Arizona

After Christmas

Now that Christmas is past, I’m back to regular chores. I mailed some solar gadgets to a friend who’s just setting up her new system and went over toBlythe, California to get some groceries. I didn’t know that in California you have to bring your own grocery bags or else pay for them! I’ll try to remember.

I finally got around to doing laundry today too….I’ve been putting it off and putting it off, washing out a few undies every few days. The laundromat in Ehrenberg is very cheap…it cost only $3.50 to wash & dry two loads of clothes! And I forgot (again) to put any fabric softener in the dryer. I don’t like to use dryer sheets; I don’t want whatever those chemical are, all over my clothes & touching my skin. But here in the desert you almost have to. And since I didn’t, I’ve got enough static electricity in just my clean underpants alone to power this camper for a full day, if only I could harness it! Hate when that happens, don’t you?

While I was out I called Wal-Mart Pharmacy. On the 23rd I called to have 3 prescriptions refilled and sent to me at the Enrenberg Post Office (General Delivery). On the phone we wet over each one and the strength, etc. I looked on line and it looked as though only one of them was ordered. Sure enough, not only was just the one ordered, but the woman said they were waiting for payment before they shipped it. (A whole $.83) I said “You have my credit card, right?” and she read off the last 4 numbers. So what’s the problem here??  She said she would TRY to get it sent out tomorrow.  I guess I’m going to have to get the others ordered for pickup at the nearest Wal-Mart, which is 40 miles away!!!  An 80 miles drive just because people are stupid.

Other than those exciting things, we are just hanging out here, enjoying the sunny weather and being lazy. One day soon we’re going to go to Cibola Wildlife Reserve which is on the California side of the Colorado River but not too far from here, and I have orders to check out a campground near Blythe that my friends are interested in for next winter. I have to find them the best site……oh dear, the pressure’s on!

There was a really cute sign in the laundromat that said “Free hair washing sink”! Wish I’d known that. Then there was another sign that said “Washing dogs and kids, special today $139.00”!!   I took a picture of it with my phone but it refused to email it to my laptop. It always does that.

Oh it looks like the computer is in a good mood today and is going to let me post a few photos!

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Categories
Arizona

Not A Sunny Day….Again

Gee this is the 3rd overcast or rainy day in a row! What happened to my nice Arizona sunshine? Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain again too. I’m having to be very  careful of my battery usage. I got the DVD’s for Season 1 and 2 of Northern Exposure and I want to watch them but I need a pretty good battery charge to run the TV. It’s supposed to be sunny and nice on Christmas Day, maybe I’ll have a Northern Exposure marathon then.

I wanted to make some chili but could only find one small can of tomatoes, so I thought I’d go over to the big metropolis of Blythe, CA to the Albertsons store.  But when I got to the interstate I noticed it was all backed up and barely creeping along in that direction, so I just went to the little convenience store in Ehrenberg, where a 14 oz. can of tomatoes cost me $1.99! Yikes, more than double what I’d pay in a larger grocery store! Oh well, I probably would have spent that much on gas getting to Blythe & back, plus bought other stuff I really don’t need.  I did finally get through to Wal-Mart on the phone to order my prescription refills and have them sent via mail to the Ehrenberg post office.  Their on-line ordering for pickup and/or mail delivery never works! Then on the way back home, I remembered a hidey-hole where I may have put a big can of tomatoes. Sure enough! Oh well; Princess Roxie got a nice little car ride out of the deal.

Ehrenberg is a pretty depressed-looking place. Lots of junky mobile homes & shacks, and businesses-that-used-to-be. They do have a nice new fire station though!

Love the smell here after the rain, and in the early mornings….some kind of bush that puts out a nice herbal smell when wet; I can’t remember which one it is. Maybe mesquite?

Oh! I heard from a friend that she’s going to be camp hosting at the most beautiful campground ever….Sunny Flat, in Southeast AZ near Portal, for January and February! Oh now I’m going to have to go back there. I haven’t seen them since Linda spent a week or so with me at Yuma last winter. Unfortunately it’s about 400 miles from here, but maybe I can work my way back around there by February. I nearly cried when I went past the exit on the way to Whitewater Draw when I first got to AZ; it is such a gorgeous place but it’s way the heck out of the way….something like 45 miles from I-10, in the middle of nowhere. It’s on the “back side” of Chiricahua National Monument, and there’s a little tiny twisty dirt road that goes over the mountain between the two, but it’s impassable in winter, with snow and ice. I tried it last December and had to turn back after a couple slow, bumpy miles. Here’s a photo I got off the web of Sunny Flat. Is that not a magical place? The high cliffs rise all around the campground meadow. It’s a great for birding and there are some nice hiking trails around there. It costs $5 a night with the Geezer Pass. If you get there in January or February, tell Linda and Rodger I said hello!

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Categories
Arizona

Ehrenberg Camp

I finally got camp pretty well set up. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was “I’m home!” and I was happy. I don’t have to do anything, don’t have to go anywhere. I guess I really needed to stop traveling! Not that I would want to live here, I just want to be able to stay in one place for awhile.

I made a mistake in packing up yesterday morning and had a little incident with some spilled instant mashed potato flakes on my bed.. This has happened before and wasn’t a problem but with the dry air here, those darn flakes are all charged up with static! They’re not going anywhere; they cling like crazy to my fleece sheets and even the quilt that has a smooth surface. I tried using the whisk broom to fling them on the floor but they are resisting. Maybe I can pretend it’s snow…….And if it ever rains, maybe the humidity in here will go up enough that I can sweep them up. .No Biggie.

I’ve been busy today though; I washed out a few Unders so I don’t have to go to the laundromat for a few more days; made vegetable soup and applesauce, charged up the Kindles, laptop and some batteries for my little flashlight and rearranged the back seat of the car a little. I get it all organized but then as soon as I take one thing out, it becomes one big jumble again.

Here’s the “road” in…..and the neighbors. Yes, that’s right, there aren’t any! They are all about 1/2 mile away or so. Sorry abhout that handprint in the upper corner; I was trying to shield the lens from the sun.

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And here’s our camp. Nice tree, huh?dscn6807

 

Categories
Arizona

Moving to Yuma

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Wow, pretty amazing sunrise this morning! Roxie again woke me at 6:45 to go out but once I got up I was kinda glad, as I got to see the magnificent dawn breaking. There was a group of coyotes howling about 1/4 mile away so I hustled Roxie back into the camper pretty quickly. I love to hear them though!

Even though it’s a Moving Day, it’s also going to be a Pancake Day. I got some huge blackberries at Safeway for only $.88 and I love blackberry pancakes. Boy that reminds me of living in Ecuador where blackberries are available year-round and are $1 a pound!! Yum.

Later…..I set my GPS with the coordinates for Cochise Stronghold West but when we got just past Tombstone, it wanted me to turn on a road that was gated and locked! I asked it to fine an alternate route and it said there wasn’t one. So…..I just decided to head for Yuma.

We got as far as Gila Bend and stopped at an area that is part of the AZ State Trust Land. It requires an annual $15 permit to camp there but I  got one & printed it out before I left NC. It was very convenient for a quick overnight stop; just off I-8. It was almost dark when I got there and I really couldn’t see where to camp, so I just pulled off the little dirt road onto the desert and went back about 150′. The road is only about 3/4 mile long and it was very worrisome that I saw this sign on the way in:

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Yikes. It was already too dark to find another spot, so we hunkered down and didn’t use much light; I read by the light of the Kindle. We survived! We were out of there by 8 a.m. and headed to Yuma.

Got to Fortuna Pond (outside of Fortuna Foothills) by 10:00! Wow, it was way more crowded than when I was here last winter. I thought if I got here before Christmas I’d have my choice of sites, but not so at all. I barely squeezed into a tiny lakefront site near the porta-potty and dumpster. (I hope they don’t smell!)  Many of the sites have nice trees for shade but not this one. Hopefully it won’t get too hot while we’re here.

Categories
Arizona

A Do-Nothing Day

It was so nice to Do Nothing all day yesterday! Oh, caught up on little chores like some housekeeping, cooking & stuff, (made some really great sloppy joes to have for lunches!) but I never left the campsite til late afternoon. I needed this! It was very warm today; high of 79. My little canopy does not provide any shade since the sun is so low in the sky right now, but Roxie has shade cloth over her exercise pen, both for shade and for protection from predators in the sky.  33 degrees this morning, 79 by afternoon!

I was so pleased the other day at Safeway when I had a short conversation in Spanish! I had been looking and not finding the little Halo tangerines, and when I went to the checkout line, there was a Mexican lady there who had some in her cart. I heard her speaking Spanish to her grandson, so I asked (IN SPANISH!) “Where are the little oranges?” And I actually understood the answer! OK, I didn’t understand most of the answer, but I caught the word “debajo” which means “under”, so I knew to look for them below the counter. Found them!  It was the most simple little conversation but it really made me happy that I could even remember that much of my Spanish. I wish I had occasion to use it more often, as I really worked hard at learning it at my age, and I’m forgetting more and more all the time.

I walked back to the viewing platform this evening. That makes a mile or more of walking just today, wow!  Here are some pics….most of them taken using the digital zoom on my camera, so they’re not super clear.

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Categories
Arizona Michigan Utah

Mackinaw City

Well here we are again at French Farm Lake, just outside of Mackinaw City. This is where we started out in June! We have a different campsite, though as I went past, all six of them were empty and available. There now is a group of tent campers next door. It’s been very quiet here except for occasional gunfire…..it’s hunting season, (Poor Roxie, she hates that). We have had some really nice weather!    dscn6537

I went to town today to run some errands….needed propane, and had a really hard time finding someplace who’d refill my tanks. All I could find were the exchange tanks which only give you 15# of propane instead of 20, and they cost $22.96 plus tax. I finally remembered the big Mill Creek Campground outside of town on Hwy. 23 and they had it! And only $18 for a 20# fill.  BTW if you don’t want to boondock in Mackinaw City, they have “Economy” water/electric campsites for $11-13! They are, of course, towards the front of the campground & nowhere near the lake. Still, it’s a great bargain.

Here’s my favorite Mackinaw City “landmark”….Weinerlicious, with their gigantic hot dog on top of the building. (No, I haven’t eaten here)dscn6531

And here’s the Mackinaw City lighthouse, with the “Mighty Mac” Mackinac Bridge in the background.

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I plan to stay here until Friday, then head to Pinckney & Novi, Michigan to visit with friends.

I hate to even mention it, but in the 18 months I’ve been free camping, I have never yet not been able to get a free site, even though some places only had one or two sites! I hope I’m not jinxing myself saying that.

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