Okay, the longer we are on the road, the further behind this blog becomes. That must mean one of two things: we are so extremely busy, I have no time to write OR we are so extremely laid back, I have no time (or motivation) to write. Nope, it means both. So, this writing session will hopefully get the blog up-to-date.
YUMA: FEBRUARY. 21 – MARCH 21, 2012
SOUTH OF THE BORDER
We did wander among the vendor booths, street artists, and stood in the long line to sample the highly recommended shrimp and fish tacos. With passports in hand, we had about a 40-minute wait to walk back through US Customs. Besides lunch, we had nothing to claim.
Boomers are known to enjoy getting together and, when food is mentioned, you better believe there will be a full house. Jenny and Dan Sheppard hosted the potluck that attracted more than 40 Boomers to their Yuma Foothill casita and backyard.
Below Left: Gloria King captures a Kodak moment. Right: Hostess Jenny Sheppard does an attendance head count and gives instruction for the now-traditional group photo with the “Boomer Banner”.
GYPSY JOURNAL GATHERING
With Luke’s comfort in mind, we decided to keep the motorhome on our site in the Foothills instead of moving to the Yuma Fairgrounds for the annual rally. I was on the rally schedule to moderate a Women’s Only RVing Discussion Group, co-teach a session on Smartphones and assist with other sessions on Geocaching. I commuted about 10 miles each day for those specific activities and attended a couple of other sessions. Otherwise, it was back to the motorhome. Luke was either sleeping or doped up during those early days so Star was his caretaker. He wasn’t going anywhere.
I did have a special project I wanted to accomplish during the rally. As most of our RVing friends know, Nick and Terry Russell are the publishers of the Gypsy Journal RVing newspaper and host two GJ RVer rallies each year – The Western Gathering in Yuma and an Eastern Gathering in Celina, Ohio. Nick, a former newspaper guy, also publishes a daily blog I follow and is now a “best seller” fiction author. His books, “Big Lake” and “Big Lake Lynching” have been hot items since being released for e-readers.
My brainstorm was to create t-shirts bearing the cover artwork for each book to present to the Russells. With the help of Nick’s buddy and computer guru, Greg White, I obtained digital copies of the covers, purchased t-shirt transfers, found shirts for Terry and Nick (plus four other “test” versions we donated as door prizes), and found Luke’s 45-year-old travel iron we have carried in our RV for “special occasions”. For me to wield an iron, it has to be special and this project met that criteria. Once the shirts were done, I made another trip into the rally and barged onto the stage during the evening announcements to present the shirts.
APACHE JUNCTION: MARCH 21-28
Four weeks into Luke’s recovery, we were suffering from “hitch itch” and I was anxious to see a couple of San Francisco Spring Training games so we decided to head for the Phoenix area. We had friends at the Meridian RV Resort in Apache Junction and drove about 210 miles north with Luke behind the wheel.
Unlike the huge resorts in nearby Mesa, AZ that are full of park models with a few “RV spaces” tucked in tightly with grapefruit trees on every site, Meridian has only RVs with well-designed sites. We stayed here a couple of years ago and our friends Ed and Hazel Mazurowski contacted the staff and got us into a space right behind them. Other friends, Joela and Paul Marenda, were also on hand to greet us and the guys jumped right in to help park Luke and level the rig.
Besides short visits between everyone’s busy schedules, we also got in a dinner with our ABQ Balloon Pilot Mike and T Liberti and Boomers/Crew Steve and Pam Ritchie. We also met Boomers Connie Carno and Art Sauerstrom for lunch at the highly recommended #1 Eastern Super Buffet. We also used Meridian as our home base while attending SF Giants games and running shopping errands at Wally World, Camping World, and PetSmart and getting haircuts.
Every March we try to get to a couple of San Francisco Giants spring training games. This year we first traveled across Phoenix to Camelback Ranch Stadium, the shared training facility for the LA Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately, most of regular starters were on the bench that day and Chicago beat the Giants.
The next day, however, we were at the Giants’ home field in Scottsdale with all the familiar names on the starting line-up card. It was an exciting game that ended with Pablo (“The Panda”) Sandoval hitting a walk-off, two run homer to win the game over the Kansas City Royals..
We had excellent seats near home plate. Left: Pablo Sandoval at bat with Buster Posey on deck early in the game. Right: Giants and fans celebrate the Panda’s walk-off homer.
Former greats and Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers, Bert Campaneris, Willie Wilson, and Gaylord Perry were available before the game to sign autographs (for a donation).
SKP NORTH RANCH STOPOVER: MARCH 28, 2012
We typically spend Easter Week in the Palm Desert/Indio area with our daughter and her family, but their plans changed this year. On this trip we were here to see friends MerrieAnn and Jeff Martin who have hung-up their RV keys and now have a winter place up the road a few miles in Desert Hot Springs in the Mission Lakes Country Club development. After many rain checks, golf with MerrieAnn was definitely on the agenda. She arranged a couple of tee times at her club and we got one round in before the infamous DHS winds kicked up over the weekend. (I did get a second round in with the group from Two Springs at the nearby Sands RV and Golf park before we left.)
Views from the Mission Lakes golf course.
The Martins also had us over for a crockpot chicken chili dinner following golf and our dog Star was invited.
While Star enjoyed their cool patio, one of their kitty cats was fascinated just keeping an eye on that big ol’ canine through the glass doors. Star barely noticed.
BAKERSFIELD, CA: APRIL 5, 2012
Wind through the mountain passes of Southern California are not uncommon. With an eye on the weather forecast, we got an early start heading north and chose a route through Yucca Valley and Apple Valley towards Hwy. 58. Luke said the winds were drivable so we set our destination over Tehachapi Pass to Bakersfield. BTW, we had temperatures in the low 90’s during the week and nearly froze when we stopped in Tehachapi for fuel and the outside temp dropped into the low 40's. Bakersfield was in the low 70’s by the time we reached there in mid-afternoon.
We pass this way often in our travels and since we had a $10 off coupon for Bakersfield RV Resort it was a chance to try a new park close to one of our routing routes. (Our last stop in Bakersfield last October was at Bakersfield Palms RV Resort where we had our car ransacked. We won’t be going back there again!)
This new park, Bakersfield RV Resort, is definitely trying to set themselves above all the competition. With wide, level spaces and 50 amp service, we will keep this one on our “stay again” list. They give you chocolate cookies at check-in, a morning newspaper, and have a decent onsite bar and grill we tried with our “first timers” discount coupon. Check out the size of the beer-battered onion rings in the photo below. While we didn’t use it, the park also features “coach service” for delivering meals to your coach. A Facebook friend says the delivery service is a hoot – a guy in a tuxedo arrives by golf cart with your breakfast, lunch or dinner. May have to try that next time.
On Friday afternoon we pulled into the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA. We are just a few blocks to our daughter’s home and this park is normally our first and last stops on each of our trips. We are spending Easter week with family and getting grandkid-fixes on and off all week around their busy schedules. From here we will head to the Western Area Escapees Rally (WARE) in nearby Lodi and then our Winter Trip will draw to a close.
NEXT: WARE BEFORE HOME