The drinking water is bad, now they tell me!

1/6/2021

We have a filter on the on the potable water hose from the facet, we have a 3 part water filtration system under the kitchen sink that Paul put in for drinking water and we’ve been drinking water from this facet for almost 3 years. I noticed the second day here that the water had a very slight salty taste to it. I drink alot of water, it’s actually my beverage of choice, (besides coffee, of course, oh and wine), the salty taste got worse and worse.

We went to the office to ask some questions and during that time just asked, has anyone else complained about the water tasting salty? There were several people in the office, they all looked at us like we were nuts, and at the same time said “oh, don’t drink the water!” They preceeded to show us this flyer that explained that the water was not good to drink, too many nitrates probably caused by pesticides leaking into the ground from all the farming. What?!!! No one had told us, note to self, if you come into a campground over a holiday weekend and the office is closed make this the first question you ask the person you talk to on the phone, in this case it was Sherrie, who had been wonderful about giving us a site and letting us wait to really check in until Monday, but we got here on Friday. At this point we are both still alive and feeling well, no obvious problems.

So, another first for us, buying our drinking water. There are numerous sites around the city where machines dispense drinking water for 25-35 cents a gallon. But you have to buy containers to put the water in from the machines. Sigh… so off the Walmart we went, we found a 7 gallon container. But I thought I should maybe disinfect the inside of the container before filling it with water, we took it home, but we bought 2 gallons of water in the store. The shelves were almost empty of all bottled water and we paid $1.18 a gallon. Wow, just wow.

We were really tired after walking and searching for things and then going to Walmart, we were rewarded with this sunset on the way back to the campground.

We accidentally went to California

1/5/2021

We decided to take a ride into Yuma, to check it out, we were looking for a paved bike trail called the Yuma Crossing Bike Path (Colorado River Levee Multi-use trail). We went up over the river on a overpass and the sign said Welcome to California, just like that! Well, we are easily amazed and I didn’t get a picture of that sign but these are the California mountains. We were in the city of Winterhaven, seems like I’ve heard of that city as the retirees city of choice here. (or is that in Florida?) But honestly we only saw a couple of campgrounds on the river and that was it, we must need to go further than we did, we turned around because we were on a mission. Now we can officially say we have travelled coast to coast!

We found one of the places we were looking for, this is called Pivot Point Interpretative Plaza. It’s the exact site where the first railroad train entered Arizona in 1877. It’s a very real 1907 Baldwin steam locomotive sitting on a section of the orginal track alignment. There was supposed to be an audio system playing the recreated sounds of a passing steamboat, the swing-span rail bridge cranking open and the arrival of a train at the old Southern Pacific Hotel. It wasn’t working but it was cool to walk up the steps and through the engine area, it was enormous!

The plaza preserves one of the few remaining artifacts of the original rail line, the concrete pivot on which the rail birdge turned to allow boats to pass.

Arizona 2021

YUMA 1/1/2021

It’s a new year and we are in a new place, physically sure but also mentally. It’s just not easy to feel relaxed and slow down. Paul always feels like we have to “get to where we are going” we can’t seem to stop and see things along the way. It feels like such a luxury to sit and read a book for a few hours, there are so many other things I should be doing…but should I? What are these things? We must slow down.

Something I’ve realized about myself is that I am somewhat governed by daylight. As we’ve traveled across the country (literally from one side to the other almost, Virgina to Arizona and we may go into California) I’ve realized whenever the sun comes up, I’m up and whenever the sun goes down, I’m ready for bed. (not good when the sun sets at 5pm) Depending on where we’ve been there have been different hours of sunlight, hence, my days have been quite short. Less time to do things, I am looking forward to the late evenings of summer.

Last night we enjoyed our first campfire in Yuma, we are at the Southern Mesa campground which has no street lights so it was dark when we turned off our propane firepit. We sat and looked at the stars, it was glorious to see them in the darkening sky.

At 2am I woke up and realized it was time to go outside for the Quadrantid meteor shower, should see at least one a minute, I’m never awake for these. We stood outside in our pajamas and looked up at the sky, there were so many stars, I’ve never seen so many stars. And yes, we saw meteors, again something we had never seen, and we saw them in the northern sky of Arizona.

1/2/21

We are staying for at least the month of Jan and possibly Feb in Yuma, at the Southern Mesa CG. It’s interesting how the few campgrounds we’ve checked out here are set up. It looks like they are just plunked down out in the desert, fencing of either trees, hay, or actual fencing encloses the square of the campground, sorta out in the middle of no where. Fields, acres and acres all around. I’m sure the closer you get to town that there will be more and nicer and of course more expensive campgrounds.

Several things have happened with Covid, the Canadians who come down for the winter, are not here, so some campgrounds are hurting for business, this campground is about half full. It is quiet and there is space, just the way we like it. We walked around yesterday, scoped the place out. Found the laundry, pool, clubhouse. They have a pickle ball court and we talked to a man named Terry who was helping with the pool, he plays pickle ball, no one else here does. We may learn to play pickle ball.

He and his wife, Janet, are camp hosts but for about 5 months they stay here and have for the last 6 years. He said of all the places they have hosted they like Dinosaur Valley State Park, in Glen Rose, TX. where they’ve hosted for the last 10 years. We also met a lady named Terri, she has two dogs and a smart car. We were particularly happy to meet her because we’ve been talking about getting something really small to tow behind a driveable rv if we get one, a smart car seems like an option.

1/4/21

The time change has me really goofed up, the sun rises at about 7:45 here, I rise much earlier, usually. I thought I’d sleep in here because the sun rises so late but its 6 am and here I am. So that totally blows my “I’m awake when the skies awake theory”. But sitting here in the dark I can see the sky starting to lighten, I’m very excited because I might have missed this whole sunrise thing, it might be “before” the sun rises that the sky is at it’s most beautiful. At any rate I’m here, we shall see.

This is a picture of our campsite, our chairs around our firepit. We are standing inside this little archway of bushes, they go all around our campground, on the other side is just wide open fields. And beyond that is Mexico.

Look at this picture of Paul standing by the park entrance, look at the palm trees and cactus, it’s huge! This is the pool that we will no doubt sit around and maybe get into, it’s heated but still… that requires a bathing suit. OK, I’ll come clean, I took a picture of a photo of the Saguaro cactus and desert flowers. But I would love to be here when the desert is in bloom, but i probably couldn’t handle the 100 degree plus temps.

Somewhere in Texas…

The trip from Dauphin Island, Al to Yuma, Az

December 27/2020-Jan 1/2021

12/27 So, we left John Snieder in Holden, LA and traveled to Baytown, Texas. It was a haul of about 275 miles. We will not be fast travelers, also, we like to read and relax. So we did, we arrived at a Cracker Barrel in Baytown, we relaxed for the afternoon and had a nice dinner at CB. Got into bed all nice and cozy, went to sleep (ok, it was before 10 pm) and I wondered why we had not been invited to the party in the parking lot?!

I kid you not, the “kids” who I assume were working in the kitchen, of course had to take the trash out and do the closing chores they would normally have to do. BUT they were yelling and crashing stuff around, laughing and more yelling… okay, you get the picture.

And then, because I’m sure this is normal for a Cracker Barrel, their trash dumpsters were dumped (REALLY LOUD) at 4 am. Need I say more… I don’t think so.

Up until last night we had had pretty good luck with CB’s and so I was not so eager for another one tonight. So, we traveled almost 300 miles to a rest area just outside of Comfort, Tx (Texas is a big state). We were really surprised to hear someone from John Sneiders place tell us that they were from the “hills of Texas”? Anybody else think that Texas is flatter than a pancake? Whelp, here’s a couple pictures to prove us wrong.

Just so you know, today was not without tons of fun. We went to our first ever “highly acclaimed” Buc-ees’s! Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about here are a couple pictures…

Buc-ee’s is huge incase you can’t tell. They have almost everything the “traveler” could want including sugar coated pecans, fudge and healthier things like breakfast sandwiches. WE don’t know anyone who bought these things.

12/28 So we’ve experienced our first overnight at a rest area, whoa! (Kerr County West Bound I-10)Come on people, it’s called a rest stop, rest for goodness sake! REST! To say I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck is almost accurate, add that the wind (which kept us cool) blew our blinds all night making a rattleing noise and just the activity, well, let’s just say, these rest stops may be far and few between for overnights for us. However, we decided to move from one end to the other thinking it would be better, it was a really good thing we did because one of our stablizer bars was loose and had moved! It wasn’t dark yet, we had street lights all around us, it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t raining, it was asphalt not gravel and Paul (although not easy) was able to fix it. So grateful, I have to say it, God is good, I prayed the whole way through it. So, although it might not have been a great place to stay overnight, it was a great place to fix an rv.

Sunset at the rest area

12/29 Thought I would put a picture on of our map so the trip is somewhat trackable, it’s to Arizona and back to Georgia. (we didn’t stop everywhere there was a number, they were overnight options I’d found in case we were too tired to keep going)

12/30 We drove another 300 miles to a little city called Balmorhea, TX, and stayed at the Saddleback RV park. After two nights of trucks flying by us while we were trying to sleep and the fact that it was going to be in the low 30’s overnight, we decided to go somewhere where we could use their electricity. This rv park like alot of the little places in Texas has you just drive in and park in a spot and put your $20 in an envelope, honor system, it’s alive and well. We could have used our propane heater but we are rationing our propane for the frig and for hot water for showers. (these are things I thought I would never think about much less say)

We slept very well last night, and at 5am my eyes popped open, I was awake. I always look at the weather when I wake up just so we know what’s ahead. What was ahead was a WINTER STORM WARNING ! What?! Is this Indiana?! Nope, this is Texas, highway 10, its the Southern Hudspeth Highlands, which runs along the mountains and which we are driving through, 3-10 inches of snow expected! WE DO NOT want to get snowed in, in a little campground in Texas! So we had to figure out did we have enough time to unhook, (we wanted to drain our black and grey tanks and keep our fresh water tank below full just incase we were in an area that could cause our tanks to freeze, like if we got stuck somewhere overnight in way below freezing temps) put everything away and get fuel, oh and get dressed, eat and on our way before the snow hit?! The answer was yes! We reviewed and reviewed the weather between Balmorhea and El Paso to see if and when the blizzard was hitting. If we moved fast we might just miss the worst of it, it was going to start about 100 miles away from us in Sierra Bianca. By the time we went through there it was not snowing and still around 35 degrees. The next 100 miles was a little trickier. At 65-70 miles per hour we were moving faster than we like for good fuel consumption but hey, we were sorta in a hurry. About 60 miles before El Paso it started sleeting and snowing, the pavement was wet. Other RVs, cars, and semi’s were all flying down the road, most at the 80 miles per hour speed limit. There was a pretty strong wind that kept tossing us back and forth abit but Paul, being the professional driver that he is, got us through to El Paso. I’ve been a typing fool so I didn’t have to look out the windows, mostly. I did get a couple pictures. Thank goodness none of them are depecting a foot of snow!

These two pictures are the snow over the mountain, that dumped the 10 inches, thankfully not on us. We were off the mountian and going into Deming, NM, where we had this view in the morning when we looked at the temp on my phone.

12/31 Escapees rv park, called Dreamcatcher in Deming, NM we were plugged into electric all night and could run the heater. Then we had our propane furnace as a backup. We had dumped our black and grey tanks, no one wants those tanks to freeze and burst! We had water in our fresh tank and had run the water heater so we thought that all would be well. Our water tank did freeze and we used our water pump. Note to self if it sounds weird STOP using it! We didn’t want to run the risk of ruining it so Paul opened the cabinet that housed the water pump, we ran the electric heater directed at it. We got ready and hit the road headed for warmer weather, by the time we got to Tucson, Az the temps were in the 60’s. Our water tank had thawed, the pump wasn’t damaged and worked well.

It’s really fun to think that we started our trip from Dauphin, Island a week ago tomorrow. Our first’s night stay was at a Harvest Host and tonight’s stay is also a Harvest Host. El Pais Motel and Campground in Tucson, AZ is really a cool place and I salute the drive and creative desire that is behind the makings of this place. Mother and daughter (possibly with the help of others) have reimagined this deserted motel into something very vintage and unique. It’s taken them 3 years so far to renivate some old RV’s (they have more waiting to be worked on) and the motel rooms. They’ve added a couple tiny homes and there are a couple spots for people like us to stay a night or two if we want. All the decor is vintage, which really cracks us up because so much of the decor we have had over the years!

The nights stay also comes with free eggs and a free wash and dry in their laundry area. I couldn’t stand it I had to add more pictures…

This was where we spent our New Year’s 2020. Traveling like this is our life long dream, but it’s not without a bit of sadness. We’ve spent every New Year’s with our son’s family having our “New Year’s Eve Party”. It made us feel so good to get a text from them last night saying they missed us too and a picture of the buffet like we always had for the evening. So, we will close out 2020, what a year it has been, and as we do I am grateful, to God, beyond words for our family’s health and safety in these “covid times”.

and I am grateful as always for the beauty of God’s paintings…

Here we come 2021!

December 27, Holden, Louisiana

John Schneider’s Studio, Harvest Host. To say this place is eclectic is an understatment. As the pictures will show we had a fun evening walking around the property. We didn’t walk through the entire 100 acres but we did enjoy stretching our legs.

This view of the water was so cool and right when I went to take the picture, I could see a rainbow! I was so excited that I managed to get some of it in this picture.

These two came running out and if I hadn’t been previously warned in the reviews I might have been afraid, just by their sheer size if nothing else. The two of them and their other friend, who I didn’t capture in this picture but you might see in another picture, were all just vying for love, they actually pushed each other away so they could get the attention. I told Paul, we really need a great dane!

There was tons of free cut firewood, we and our not so little friend in the background attempted a campfire, the temps quickly dropped and the stars came out. The dogs, all three of them are free to just wander the property, the great danes look like tiny horses in the distance and even close up like this guy below.

Looks just a bit errie in the picture but this bridge leads to 3 really cute tiny houses which are for rent.

My photos don’t do these places justice but they have vintage trailers, tiny houses, an air stream and the caboose that they rent out on AirBnb, so cute and fun to come across on our walk. There are a couple of houses that they rent out either the whole house or just bedrooms. We saw about 10 shipping containers on the property, we think they will be renovating them for rent also.

The inside and also the deck area are used for music venues

I have to admit I was dazzeled by all the white lights. They also shoot movies on this property. We met John Schneider, we were never into the tv show, Dukes of Hazard but that’s what made him famous, I think. He has produced several movies filmed on his property, it was cool to see some of the tiny prop settings of little houses and cars that become scenes in a movie. Thought I had a picture of that but didn’t.

John has concerts on the property also, he told us that he’s had 10,000 people attend some of them. It is a huge property, 100 acres but I can’t imagine where that many people would park, and enjoy a concert.

If you look hard you can see Paul standing next to the guitar, it was so big and bright at night.

The zip line went to several different areas, John said they have all kinds of things going on when they have a music venue.

This car is the famous “General Lee” it’s a Dodge Charger, from the Dukes of Hazard. They went through 46 cars because they were constantly doing jumps with them in the show and demolishing them.

This guy is actually a grill and the smoke comes out his nostrils!

Enough said…

This was the walkway that lead to the nature trail, it’s a bamboo forest and so incredibly cool!

This was a fun Harvest Host, different from what we have stayed at before. It was really nice to be able to walk all over and explore as much as we wanted, and of course we loved the dogs.

Pelican Nest Rv resort-Dec. 1-26, 2020

When we were here in August we spent our afternoons lounging around this pool, not so much in December. Our view from the second story deck was the same, we sat in the sun there whenever we could. The view across the street was over the dune to the beach.

This was the sunset view from the deck on 12/21/20, we were looking for the Star of Bethlehem, which hadn’t been seen since the 1200’s. Two planets connecting to cause the star affect. At the end of such a horrible year I think many looked at this event as a sign of hope for things to come. We were on the deck with Judy, John, Lori and Bob.

We did some silly, fun things like… take our Christmas tree to the beach. We had lots of fun with Judy, her creativity and adventurous spirit was such a joy.

We rode our bikes and found art galleries and took pictures in front of a grouping of Christmas trees, they had a contest on the island, these were my favorites.

We decided to leave the island before Jan.1st, Checking weather we just need some warmth, the temps here in December just aren’t as warm as we had hoped, add the fact that temperatures are always lower on the water and the wind never seems to stop here, we are moving on. That being said we’ve met some wonderful people and made some new friends that we hope to stay in touch with and see on down the road sometime soon again….

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

We’ve enjoyed the holiday season here on Dauphin Island… including our 45th anniversary. 45 years ago we were married in front of a Christmas tree, unfortunatly no pictures were taken. But what fun to have a nice dinner at Islanders restaurant and then have our picture taken once more in front of a Christmas tree at almost exactly the same time as we had been married.

I just have to ask, who doesn’t like a white sand Christmas tree? Ok, I have to admit until our new friend Judy suggested we take our little RV Christmas trees to the beach, I had never thought of doing this. But we had a lot of fun and now I’m looking forward to taking a picture of this little tree wherever we are on Christmas from now on.

This is us with Judy in front of my favorite trees on the island.

We will miss the beach…Dauphin Island Dec. 2020

Every walk on the beach has been different. Cloudy, windy, cold.

Sunny, blue skies, breezy and almost warm…it is December after all.

Every walk has been an adventure. Walking out on the pier that is only over the sand now, finding out that it once went way out over the water, but several hurricanes changed that. Riding our bikes from one end to the other of the island is about 13 miles, so somedays we go to the “east” end and some days the “west” end. Beaches, but different, so different.

Several walks at low tide revealed a horseshoe crab and several small stingrays, then we saw this huge jelly fish wash ashore. Wow, just wow!

I have enjoyed and really been amazed by the footprints left in the sand by different birds and the jewel like appearance of tiny round jelly fish (we think) washed ashore in different patterns. So much to see and enjoy, thank you Dauphin Island.

we had a little sunset today…

Sunsets, these aren’t the most beautiful I’ve ever seen but they are the first one’s I’ve ever seen in December. Walking the beach in December, that’s just not something I do everyday. True, the temps haven’t cleared the high 50’s, low 60’s but if the sun is shining and the wind isn’t blowing … it’s awesome in December. (Unfortunantly that’s a rare day this December on Dauphin Island.) When you are from northern Indiana and you see that the temps will be mid to high 50’s you think that’s really going to be great, especially if it’s in the teens and snowing in Indiana. But I’m going on the record to say, “cold is cold” no matter where you are. I thought I had a temperature the other day because when you have chills that’s the first thing you think of, my temp was 95 degrees! What?! Hyperthermia, right?!

Arizona 2021

YUMA 1/1/2021

It’s a new year and we are in a new place, physically sure but also mentally. It’s just not easy to feel relaxed and slow down. Paul always feels like we have to “get to where we are going” we can’t seem to stop and see things along the way. It feels like such a luxury to sit and read a book for a few hours, there are so many other things I should be doing…but should I? What are these things? We must slow down.

Something I’ve realized about myself is that I am somewhat governed by daylight. As we’ve traveled across the country (literally from one side to the other almost, Virgina to Arizona and we may go into California) I’ve realized whenever the sun comes up, I’m up and whenever the sun goes down, I’m ready for bed. (not good when the sun sets at 5pm) Depending on where we’ve been there have been different hours of sunlight, hence, my days have been quite short. Less time to do things, I am looking forward to the late evenings of summer.

Last night we enjoyed our first campfire in Yuma, we are at the Southern Mesa campground which has no street lights so it was dark when we turned off our propane firepit. We sat and looked at the stars, it was glorious to see them in the darkening sky.

At 2am I woke up and realized it was time to go outside for the Quadrantid meteor shower, should see at least one a minute, I’m never awake for these. We stood outside in our pajamas and looked up at the sky, there were so many stars, I’ve never seen so many stars. And yes, we saw meteors, again something we had never seen, and we saw them in the northern sky of Arizona.

1/2/21

We are staying for at least the month of Jan and possibly Feb in Yuma, at the Southern Mesa CG. It’s interesting how the few campgrounds we’ve checked out here are set up. It looks like they are just plunked down out in the desert, fencing of either trees, hay, or actual fencing encloses the square of the campground, sorta out in the middle of no where. Fields, acres and acres all around. I’m sure the closer you get to town that there will be more and nicer and of course more expensive campgrounds.

Several things have happened with Covid, the Canadians who come down for the winter, are not here, so some campgrounds are hurting for business, this campground is about half full. It is quiet and there is space, just the way we like it. We walked around yesterday, scoped the place out. Found the laundry, pool, clubhouse. They have a pickle ball court and we talked to a man named Terry who was helping with the pool, he plays pickle ball, no one else here does. We may learn to play pickle ball.

He and his wife, Janet, are camp hosts but for about 5 months they stay here and have for the last 6 years. He said of all the places they have hosted they like Dinosaur Valley State Park, in Glen Rose, TX. where they’ve hosted for the last 10 years. We also met a lady named Terri, she has two dogs and a smart car. We were particularly happy to meet her because we’ve been talking about getting something really small to tow behind a driveable rv if we get one, a smart car seems like an option.

1/4/21

The time change has me really goofed up, the sun rises at about 7:45 here, I rise much earlier, usually. I thought I’d sleep in here because the sun rises so late but its 6 am and here I am. So that totally blows my “I’m awake when the skies awake theory”. But sitting here in the dark I can see the sky starting to lighten, I’m very excited because I might have missed this whole sunrise thing, it might be “before” the sun rises that the sky is at it’s most beautiful. At any rate I’m here, we shall see.

This is a picture of our campsite, our chairs around our firepit. We are standing inside this little archway of bushes, they go all around our campground, on the other side is just wide open fields. And beyond that is Mexico.

Look at this picture of Paul standing by the park entrance, look at the palm trees and cactus, it’s huge! This is the pool that we will no doubt sit around and maybe get into, it’s heated but still… that requires a bathing suit. OK, I’ll come clean, I took a picture of a photo of the Saguaro cactus and desert flowers. But I would love to be here when the desert is in bloom, but i probably couldn’t handle the 100 degree plus temps.