"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Monday, March 25, 2013

It’s Springtime, right?



The picture above, from Glacier National Park, is pretty much what I would expect to see for this time of year.  What I would not expect is that the temperature and wind chill factor just outside our front door is only 10 degrees higher than the temperature in Glacier.

Yep, it feels like 24 degrees here in the deep South, just a little over a hundred miles from the sunny Gulf coast.  Bright sunshine with the wind gusting to 20 mph.

A quick look around the country, with the help of webcams, shows that it isn’t any better in lots of places.

Shenandoah NP.


Smoky Mountains.




Even the coast itself, looks cold, despite the sunshine.


My grandfather liked to have most of the garden planting done by Good Friday.  I’m not sure if that plan would be the correct one for this year.  A friend planted tomato’s last week, but I’m pretty sure he will be pulling them up today, and placing them back in a warm place for a while longer.

On a brighter note, plans are beginning to gel for the Summer Tour, as we have begun to call it.   Not exactly sure of departure date yet, but it seems the West wins again.  A couple of things are still up in the air, but I’m sure we’ll be happy however they fall out.

Hope it’s warm where you are.  I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m griping about how hot it is.Smile

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Green Eggs and Ham

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The picture above was taken from our campsite at Millers Ferry campground near Camden, Alabama.  This annual gathering for molded fiberglass trailers of all brands, along with a few of other manufacturing techniques, was in its third year.  We arrived last Sunday, the tenth, and spent seven fantastic days with friends, new and old.

Though we had rain Monday, and cool temps through Wednesday, it was a great week.  We had a group meal every evening beginning on Wednesday with a chili dump.  Everyone brings a pot of homemade, or a can; dumps it in the communal pot; and after a short time of simmering and stirring it becomes a quite tasty meal.

Thursday was gumbo.  Prepared each year by some dear friends from the Gulf coast, it is one of the highlights of the week. Here’s Bob getting a little instruction in proper paddle procedure.

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The serving line.

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Another night was BBQ. 

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And of course there was the annual pot luck on Saturday.  Didn’t get any pictures of the food as there were many strange folk floating around dressed in green.

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We also had some fine dulcimer music being played someplace each day.

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Along with plenty of laughs to keep thing from getting too serious.

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Sally found it to be a totally relaxing week.

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So did we……….jc

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Final thoughts on latest journey.



After being home now for over a week, mostly indoors waiting for our Spring to arrive, I’ve had plenty of time to think back on our latest little road trip.  I’ve been wanting to experience the Southwestern desert for quite a few years, but the better half wasn’t sure she wanted any part of it.  With much coaxing, along with threatening to leave her behind, she got on board.  You know that last part is correct, right?

Our first desert experience was at Kartchner Caverns state park, and it was a real treat.  We used it as a base for exploring all the local area and had a wonderful time there. 

A couple of nights in Tucson for supplies and the Super Bowl, then on to Quartzite.  You can’t imagine the excitement I felt as we topped a rise and there they were.  Little white trailers scattered around. Dome Rock in the background. GrandJan waving us in to park nearby.  I immediately knew I was off the hook as Wanda went around meeting old friends from our previous travels.

With the Casita set up in what I believe was the premiere site of the entire area, looking East down the entire length and breath of our little gathering, I was a happy camper.  Enjoying the sights and smells of the real desert for the first time, listening to the chatter of friends as they sat outside enjoying the mild temperatures and beautiful sunset.  Sure, there was the distant hum of traffic on I-10 a mile or so away, but it couldn’t take away from the experience.   We had a fantastic five days and nights there, reliving old stories of journey’s together, hiking the desert, sharing the campfire with new friends, and just enjoying life with like minded individuals.

Borrego Springs seemed to be an out of the way detour, but it was another place I wanted to see with my own eyes.  I’m so glad we took the detour.  A great little town, just large enough to meet all your needs.  It has whatever type of camping you may want within just a few miles of each other.  Full hookup, state park boondock with water and dump available, or BLM. Lots of hiking trails, and of course the sculptures.

Our destination from Borrego Springs was Death Valley, with a stop along the way at Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree NP for a couple of days.  Joshua Tree felt bitterly cold after being in Borrego Springs.  There was a stiff North wind blowing and we felt we would not enjoy our stay there.  We kept driving and were about to enter the Mohave National Preserve.  As we crossed I-15 we pulled over to the side of the road and checked for a cell phone signal.  I knew I wanted to see the town of Kelso, but didn’t know what camping options were available.  I was able to get a phone number off the internet and called.  A nice lady commenced telling all about the great campgrounds that I had my choice of.  It was only after I told her we were going to Kelso that she became quiet for a few seconds.  She then informed me that there were no campgrounds in that area of the preserve. BUT, if we didn’t mind boon docking, she could put me onto a couple or three backcountry sites with a fire ring.  That was the key to boon docking in the preserve.  Established sites only.  It took a little looking, but we found what was to be my favorite site of the entire trip.  Down a little gravel road, near Kelso Dunes, not a soul in sight.  Only the sound of distant airplanes and a few birds singing.  Apparently we had a neighbor somewhere down the road as a vehicle passed by shortly before dark.

It became quite cold as the sun set, but we built a warm fire and watched the stars come out, one by one.  Coyotes howled and Sally hunkered down deeper in her chair.  We sat out until we couldn’t stand the cold any more.  Fired up the furnace and climbed into bed.  Never a thought as to being miles from nowhere and all alone.  The coldest night of the trip, and the furnace ran quite often through the night.

Death Valley was somewhat of a disappointment.  I’m not sure what I wanted it to be, but it didn’t fit my imagination.  Maybe it was the hazy air conditions the three days we were there.  I don’t know if it was dust, air pollution, or a combination of the two.  Either way, the views were greatly diminished.  The area of Furnace Creek was much more crowded than I expected.  With that said, it was well worth visiting the area just to visit Scottie’s Castle.  To see such a place in the rugged desert mountains, along with learning the history behind it; and Scotty, was a real treat.

The Lake Mead Recreational Area was a place I could visit again.  Really nice campgrounds for dry camping, with views of Lake Mead.  Five bucks a night, thirty day limit, before you have to move to the campground up or down the lake from where you are.  Convenient to Boulder City or Henderson for supplies.  Lots of hiking, biking, or water sports if that’s your choice.

From there it turned into a mad dash toward home.  It wasn’t planned that way, but a storm was brewing.  We weren’t sure if we should run or not, but we did.  Looking back, and after reading posts of friends from the area, I think we made the correct choice.  High winds, snow, sleet, hail; all in Southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.  We hadn’t prepared for that. 

It is supposed to be 70 degrees again tomorrow.  That from a low of 24 last night.  We will begin preparing the Casita for a short trip to Baton Rouge.  Wanda has a dulcimer workshop there beginning Thursday.  Sally and I are going to tour some of the Cajun Country.  Then back home Saturday afternoon, unpack, repack, and head for the Green Eggs and Ham rally near Camden, Alabama on Sunday.  Ain’t life FUN???Smile