Sunday, January 3, 2010

There were fantastic views all around us as we came out on the topmost hills. The bottom picture was of the green lettuce fields behind us where we started, the middle picture is looking at Yuma with the sand dunes in the distance and the top one is looking at the greenery at the Yuma Proving Grounds Army base & Senator's Wash in the distance, which is a long term camping area. It was an awesome day to be outside enjoying the wonderful weather.

Tomorrow, Monday, we are packing up and leaving Lake Mittry to go back to our friend's, the Thadens, who live in the Foothills. We'll stay with them for a week before going up to Quartzsite for the annual bus rally and Boomer rally. I'll try to take some pictures while there. Since this is a yearly thing for us, we usually don't take pictures of the same old things all the time. But, some of you have never seen this phenomenon that happens at this particular time of the year, so I'll try and capture in pictures what it is all about.

Very narrow and steep! But, we made it over the worst and it wasn't bad the rest of the ride...

The first mile of this trail is quite nerve wracking. You are up on a very narrow shelf of a road with the side dropping away steeply. The problem comes when you get to the top of some of these hills because you are at such an angle that you can't see which way the road goes, so you go very sloooowly...

From the gravel pit, we see the trail we are going to follow

This is a neat suspension bridge, but, it has been closed

The next day, John & Julie Black & us decided to do another four wheel drive trail. This was one we have been wanting to go on for some time, it's in the hills in back of where we are at the lake. To get to the trail, we went by this little chapel off the highway. A man built this little chapel in honor of his wife for others to enjoy a wayside rest to worship or whatever. It's really very cute and has benches to sit inside. They even have Easter sunrise services there.

New Years Day we had a potluck brunch and we had a nice selection of goodies to eat

On New Year's Eve, we had the famous Z circle. For those of you who don't know what that is, 2 or 3 couples get together with the host couple in their rig and each bring a snack to share. In past years it's been a dessert snack of some kind. They all have about 45 minutes to get to know each other better, if they don't know each other already, then, when the time is up, each couple goes their separate way into another hosts' rig. At around 11:3o, everyone comes out to join up around the fire and whatever left over snacks is brought out, too. We all ring in the new year together while keeping our bodies warm. This year was better than in years past, because there was no wind. One of our past members, Chuck Zyetz, thought up this unique way of getting to know our fellow RV'ers whenever we get together and we have kept it up all these years. Of course, I didn't think of taking any pictures of this either...

We continued on the trail and found this memorial marker a few miles upriver. This memorial is for someones' dog who died, it was erected in 1983, doubt if anyone could get away with doing something like that now...state park rules and all that...there's a book that people can sign their name in, looks like lots of people have passed by over the years...we had lunch down below next to the river, to get out of the wind..

Colorado River, inlet for boats to tie up, camping for boaters only

There is a river boat tour that leaves out of Lake Martinez, which is just north of Yuma. It tells the very colorful history of the whole Colorado River area, one of these days, I'd like to take a ride and see what the tour is all about. When I do, you'll be the first to hear about it.

Read from the bottom to the top, very interesting info.

These next three pictures tell all about paddlewheel boats on the Colorado in the late 1800's...

After we all got the pictures we wanted, the two trucks and one of the Jeeps turned back and went to get date shakes, buy tamales and pick oranges. The other Jeeps, including us, continued on the four wheel drive trail, headed towards the Colorado River.

This one was very nice, these "fields" go on forever it seems...

Some of the older ones were quite elaborate, the newer ones were not. This top picture says Boomers, but, was kind of far away when I took it.

These next few pictures are of one of our four wheeling trips, when we went out to what are called the Graffiti Fields. We started out with four Jeeps and two trucks and though we had to turn back a few times, because of the roughness of the trail, we finally made it over there and took pictures.
We had a pretty good turnout up at the lake, there were 12 rigs altogether, a nice sized crowd. The weather, after being up north, was GREAT!! Clear and warm, although a few of the days had a biting cold wind. We went on a couple of four wheeling trips while there and it was nice to be out on a trail again, since putting the lift kit on the Jeep during the summer of 2007. Not once did we scrape on anything.

One of many happy hours held at Lake Mittry

Our site at the military famcamp

We finally got done selling Christmas trees and were able to leave the lot on Christmas Eve morning. We headed south and got as far as Buellton, following Hwy 101 south. We got there just as it was getting dark and had dinner at Anderson's Split Pea Soup restaurant. We also stayed overnight in their lot and no one bothered us.

The next morning, we were bound for Seal Beach to stay in the military campground on the base. We had plans to visit a good bus friend of ours, Marge Valles, whose husband had just died of cancer. We were looking forward to spending quality time with her. We ended up being invited to eat Christmas dinner with the whole family, which was really nice of them. We had all sorts of goodies and even got presents! Saturday & Sunday, none of the family members saw much of Marge because she was with us and we had a great time together, sightseeing around the area. Believe it or not, we only took one picture while we were visiting, and that was our site at the famcamp, but, we didn't take any others mostly because we didn't even think about it.

We finally started heading south again on Monday morning. We were headed to Yuma, AZ by way of El Cajon, where I was going to get my hair cut. So, at about 2:30 in the afternoon, we finally were headed to east. We were meeting other Boomer friends of ours at Lake Mittry to spend New Years Eve together.

Scenes we saw through the windshield

One morning our boss called us up to ask us how we liked waking up to snow all around. Ron said, what snow? It seems it snowed at our boss' house, but, if it snowed at our lot, it must have done so in the night. The only snow we saw was on the local hills. It sure was cold enough to have snowed right outside!
This next picture shows what we do with the trees once a customer picks it out. We make a fresh cut, put it on the shaker to shake any loose needles off the tree and then shove it through the netter before loading it onto their car.

Our newly flocked trees, getting the tree ready to put up in the lot, and decorating the shed

For those of you who remember what our tree lot looked like last year, this was hardly anything compared to the trees we got last year. I looked at that pile and thought, it won't take any time at all before we go through all those...little did I know how few we would really sell...

Our first load of trees

Looking at our lot from the driveway going into the church parking lot

On Tuesday, we left for Pleasanton, CA, which is in the San Francisco Bay area. We kind of slipped in at the last moment and when we got to our lot, there was a crew offloading all our trees. We went about getting set up in our new spot where we'll be for the next 5 weeks. After we did that, we lost no time getting the lot in shape. My job was getting the cash register, fax machine and credit card machine set up. I also got the decorations all out and started decorating in and around the shed. The big tent was already up, that was where we were going to put our flocked trees, as well as the wreaths and garland to protect it from the weather. The 2nd day we were there, Ron helped get all the trees up on the lot for our opening day which was the day after Thanksgiving. I think we sold 3 or 4 trees before that day ever arrived. One of our sister lots, down south in Saratoga and being managed by friends, John & Cathy Robnik, sold a lot more than that!

We met with friends, Ken & Sue Pace, who were also close by attending a chapter outing at a nearby RV park

Helping get the balloon ready, then it's up, up and away...

While I was posting pictures, something got stuck and I had to get off the internet, thinking I was going to lose the pictures I wanted to post, but, when I just got back on, there they were on the blog, so that was good.

Some fellow Boomer friends, Steve & Pam Ritchie, found a balloon to crew, so they were helping get it ready, then, Steve got to take a ride in it.

The bottom picture they are using the fan, you can click on the picture to make it bigger so you to see it better

What's interesting for me was the way they got the balloon inflated in the first place. They have giant fans to blow into the balloon to start and then after it's inflated to a certain point, they point the propane igniters, I guess you'd say, into the balloon to finish the job. I don't know what the proper terminology is for what they use to propel the balloon upward, but, you will see what I'm talking about in the pictures. When I saw what they were using to inflate the balloon in the latter stages, I was thinking they had to be pretty careful where they were aiming it at, otherwise, the balloons would catch fire...hmm..wonder if that has ever happened?

Laying out the balloons

I also forgot to mention that we were able to attend the Yuma Balloon Festival that was held the weekend before Thanksgiving. We haven't been to the one in Albuquerque yet, so we have nothing to compare it to. We thought it was great seeing all the balloons inflate together and go up one by one, we'll probably be overwhelmed when we finally get around to going to the big one in Albuquerque.

We always eat well at our get togethers!