Thursday, December 1, 2016

A TON OF FUN IN YUMA

As of this writing, we are two days away from leaving Yuma for points west.  Our normal routine is to head further east and into Gold Canyon but some changes are necessitated by recent (positive) events, these past couple of weeks.  I'll write more about that in the weeks ahead.
Our temporary RV Park in Yuma - Fortuna de Oro
Since our arrival here - these past 12 days - other than two days of idleness (laundry and shopping), we have not stopped riding, golfing, walking, visiting, being entertained or entertaining. Oh...and we celebrated Jeanette's birthday with vigor.  It has been sheer pleasure.
We love the look of those chocolate mountains in the background, from our RV chairs.  They change colour with every passing minute the sun moves.
Our good friends, Lorraine and Roger have led us on some great motorcycle rides.  We've ridden over 1050 miles (1,790 KM) since our arrival here. They enjoy riding as much as we do.  And they are not shy to take tough, long trips.  That's right up our ally too!  And we've pounded the pavement every which way; north south, east and west.

Yesterday was the longest day on two wheels, but only by a few miles over last Saturday's long ride.  We chose to head east to Gila Bend, south to Ajo (for lunch) and further south into Organ Pipe Cactus, before landing in the tiny US border town of Lukeville.  It is the point of return for travelers wishing to explore the northern Mexican Sea of Cortez town of Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point, as it is known to Americans)
Arriving in Ajo
We left the RV park at 9:00AM sharp, yesterday (Wednesday) for our 606 KM (377 miles) return trip.  It was cool but we all have great riding clothes so cold is never a determining factor.  We left via I-8 east but soon worked our way on a north parallel road from Welton, AZ to a few miles east from Dateland before returning to I-8 and further east into Gila Bend, AZ.  Once fueled up, we rode south Arizona 85 towards Ajo. 
The countryside as we rode into Organ Pipe Cactus.
Riding in from the north side of Ajo leaves one with the impression of a ghost town but once in the town centre, it changes one's perspective.  It is beautiful.  Although still a depressed area after the giant copper mine closed, there are signs of pride that the residents seem to exude.
Beautiful church across the street from the beautiful town centre.
Early sign of cacti
It is only shortly past the town of Ajo that we got to spot some beautiful and varied cacti.  The desert here is full of life.  It includes 28 cactus species, including saguaro and organ pipe.  The organ pipe cactus is large and rarely found in the US other than here. And it's here in 1976 that the United Nations designated the Organ Pipe National Monument as an International Biosphere Reserve.  And what a place.  It's simply gorgeous!
After ordering one of their burgers, I concur.  I have enjoyed many excellent burgers in the past and this burger, at Estrella's, here in Ajo rated very, very high.  Juicy, 100% Angus beef was cooked to perfection by a wonderful and engaging Latvian woman who has called Ajo home these past nine years.
Organ Pipe National Monument tourist centre located 8 miles north from the Mexican border.
We rode further south, making our way to the tourist information centre in Organ Pipe.  Although limited by time constraints, we took in all that we could to learn about this area of the Sonoran Desert.
This is an Organ Pipe Cactus.
There is a rich history of pioneers who came through this area in search of water.  That is a rare commodity here. Spanish explorers, missionaries, and others - sometimes entered this unforgiving environment unprepared.  In the early 1900's ranchers and miners found and developed water sources.  Mining  drew workers and a couple of towns, including Ajo, Why and Lukeville were born.
Me with Roger and Lorraine. Jeanette manned the camera.
Having traveled as far as Ajo, we made the decision to continue south to the Mexican border town of Lukeville; a facility with one gas station, post office and little more.
Stunning beauty
Lorraine and Roger having a quick look at the Lukeville border crossing into Mexico.
It was getting to be late in the day when we pointed our rides north on Arizona 85 and back to Gila Bend.  We had calculated that the last part of our trip would be with the fading afternoon sun and some darkness.  But hey, we're hardy and determined riders.
The very first sign one sees when entering the US from Mexico in Lukeville.
Our take on the Organ Pipe Cactus is that it is a beautiful and attractive desert area.  It is worthy of a visit and to spend more time touring its geographic areas.

Northbound on Arizona 85 back to Gila Bend.
Once in Gila Bend, we were in need of fuel and following a short break, we pulled speeds of 75 + miles per hour (120 + KM/Hours - the speed limit on these Arizona highways) as we headed westbound on our return to Yuma.
Great roads.
Ajo town square
Ajo town square
Ajo town square
A rest break.
More desert views....
Taking a break after taking on fuel in Gila Bend before
We rolled into our Yuma RV park shortly after 6:00 PM local time.  Jeanette and I invited Lorraine and Roger to drop by for a dust settling happy hour.  After some chat they headed back for their home and we settled in to some WEB stuff before calling it a night.  Sleep came quickly.

And again, a special shout out to Lorraine and Roger for a great ride.

Our time here is fast winding down.  We have another motorcycle ride planned for tomorrow - weather permitting - before we load the motorcycle on the swivel wheel, button up our RV and head west to the Palm Springs country.

Visiting with my brother and sister in law in Country Roads RV Resort,  our good friends here in Fortuna de Oro (Lorraine/ Roger, Elaine/James, Richard/Myra, Donna/Fred and more) and all the other friends and acquaintances we've met over the years, we say thanks for the adventures and the lasting memories.  We will return.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

HELLO AGAIN: Back to Blogland

And, where have we been?
November 14, 2016 - Leaving 7 Feathers RV Resort, Canyonville, southern Oregon.
We received several emails from blog followers who wondered where we had disappeared to. When we last wrote on this format, we were leaving Palm Springs last late March, 2016.  Fearing that our spring, summer and fall blogs would be quite repetitive - and given a very busy schedule of travel - I got complacent and parked the idea of blogging in favour of Facebook.  The other primary reason for holding off on blogging is the time required to edit photos, write the blog, post it and more.
Facebook is quick, easy and instant. 

For those of you who wish to follow us on Facebook, once on the FB page, type in this name: Rene Genereux and you can request to 'FRIEND' us and we'll respond.  
Our first three day stop:  Pirate Cove/Moabi Regional Park, in southeastern California - along the Colorado River
Dropping into Moabi allowed us to clean and detail our toys:  The 5th wheel and truck got a good wash, and the Harley Davidson got a good bath before getting completely detailed.
Jeanette is getting some exercise and having a look around Moabi Regional Park.
Our three days up along the Colorado River, we rolled further south through Lake Havasu, Quartzite and into Yuma, AZ.  We plan on being here for two (perhaps three) weeks.
Our first desert motorcycle ride with good friends, Lorraine & Roger and Myra & Richard
We competed another motorcycle ride a few days back, heading into the extreme southern reaches of southern California - along the Mexican border.

Many readers may recall that my brother and his wife call Yuma their winter home.  When here, we get the time to hang out with them too. Having been hosted at their home a few times, it is now our turn so Bernie and Rita will be joining us at our RV site for today's US Thanksgiving.  We'll enjoy a nice visit and a lovely dinner that Jeanette has been busy preparing.
Our most recent Facebook blurb has us enjoying a lovely Wednesday evening dinner with good friends who call Edmonton home when they aren't snow-birding here in Yuma. Lorraine and Roger put a first class meal together and it was also enjoyed with Donna and Fred.  We met these good folks a few years back when they invited us to join their motorcycle riding group.  We have enjoyed our visits and rides with them ever since.


Our Edmonton family: DIL Courtney, son Deni, grand-kids Kaylie and Owen
In our garage, with our four grand-kids and the motorcycles.
Our past summer and fall had us visit with our Edmonton, Alberta family a few times.  And they got to traipse into coastal British Columbia to visit with us a few times too.  Always a treat.
Easton and Brie (our Langley, BC based grand-kids)
Daughter Ginette, husband Trevor along with Brie and Easton - at our home, with their Halloween costumes.
I could write a book about our spring, summer and fall excursions, events and activities but I'll spare you that.  Let's just say that it was a fun-filled, busy time with friends, family and our numerous activities.   

The one downside was losing our niece, Karen (my sister's oldest daughter) to ovarian cancer.  That was a hardship for everyone but especially so for her wonderful son, Jared who is in his last year of high school.

So....now that we are back in the RVing world, I will take the time - on occasion - to blog but the balance of our messaging will be on Facebook.  We hope you can join us on that platform.

Thanks for dropping by.

 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Setting Our Sights For Home....

It is that time - in the snow bird season - when RVers (and other travelers) set their sights for home.  And that time has come for Jeanette and me.  So, we turn our attention to closing up the 5th wheel, hitching up and pointing the truck northwards.
Prep day today - Storing our stuff away
Today - Wednesday - will see us pack and store in preparation for our Thursday morning departure from Caliente' Springs RV Resort, here in the Coachella Valley/Palm Springs area.
Hanging out at the College of The Desert market
Since returning from our group motorcycle ride, we have not been idle.  Other than enjoying some spa days at our RV resort, we've been out and about to enjoy much of what the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area has to offer.
At 'The River' in Rancho Mirage. 
'The River' - a shopping and restaurant attraction is a lovely place to walk around.  We did just that one afternoon before joining friends for a special evening out.  
With all the waterways that surround this facility, it's easy to understand why it is called, 'The River'.
Nice views
When the temperature rose to the mid-90's, one day last week, Jeanette and I motorcycled about one hour west and south - and up to 6,000 feet - to visit the beautiful mountain resort town of Idyllwild.  The ride up offered great valley views.  And once up to the 5,000 foot elevation, the pine trees offered great cooling and a change in views.
Once parked in Idyllwild, we walked the town before selecting an ideal location to lunch.
Up high in the mountains where temperatures hovered in the mid to high 70's
The view - one of many - we see while walking the desert behind our RV resort in Desert Hot Springs.
Enjoying a beautiful day visiting Sunnylands
Ever the green thumb and plant aficionado, Jeanette wanted to visit Sunnylands - the former Annenberg Estate here in the Palm Desert valley.  We chose to head there last Easter Sunday.  And what a great day to be there!  There was live music, fabulous walking paths through the greenery and some great learning too.

Beautiful Sunnylands.
A picture in the park
An endless variety of cacti
Golf at the Palm Desert Golf Course
And only yesterday (Tuesday), I joined my friend and golf buddy from home, Fred for our final golf round.  We played the golf course that my nephew, Ted is the golf superintendent at.  And what a treat it was to play it.
L-R  Ted (my nephew), is the youngest son of my oldest brother.
It was nice to have a visit with my nephew at his golf course before our final round.  Ted has worked his magic to redevelop and create a beautiful golf course; one of the over 100 courses that dot this southern California desert valley.
A sand storm that seemed to blow through here, these past several days.
Late March often draws the famous Santa Anna winds.  And this year was no different.  The winds did blow through here with gusts that were incredibly harsh.  The blinding sand storms caused some major accidents in the western valley and the high desert. 
The RV park is somewhat more ghostly now.
With better than half of the RV site empty, it is a sign that the winter snow birding journey for many has ended.  And that's the case with us too.

We'll report from the road as we journey north along the major routes of California, Oregon, and Washington States.  

Thanks for dropping in.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What A Road Trip.....Part 2

The previous blog closed with our motorcycle group spending the night in the beautiful ocean town of Carlsbad, California.  Click on the following links for greater detail:  Carlsbad, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Carlsbad shoreline
Wednesday, March 16th saw our group ride out from Carlsbad and heading north on I-5 for Dana Point.   Dana Point, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Another beautiful sea side area, our objective was to take a break here and to enjoy a last view of the Pacific Ocean before riding inland. And the weather could not have been better. 

Dana Point group shot:  L-R  Lorraine, me, Jeanette, Fritz, Bonnie, Lucky, Trena, Roger.
Only a short ride east from Dana Point is the historical town of San Juan Capistrano.  One of the many missions that were built between San Diego and San Fransisco, this one is famous for the swallows that invade it in late March of every year. We arrived a few days before the invasion.
The mission is much larger than one would believe. 
Our group visited the mission.  Founded over 240 years ago, the mission church was mostly destroyed when an earthquake struck this area in 1812.  Click here for detailed information: Mission San Juan Capistrano


The ruins
The bells of Capistrano
From here, we rode inland, over the mountains, towards Lake Elsinore.  The twists and turns, combined with elevation changes is what draws motorcyclists to ride here.  And the scenery is beautiful.
Gorgeous topography - Little traffic
Taking a break to view Lake Elsinore from above.
Click on this link for detailed information on Lake Elsinore:  Lake Elsinore, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From here, our group rode into the great little city of Temecula where an Old Town eatery satisfied our lunch cravings. Temecula, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is from here that we led the ride through more back roads (at elevations of 4,000 feet) over California 371, onto Highway 74 and the tight 'S' curves into Palm Desert.
Group photo taken at the lookout on Highway 74
Arriving in Palm Desert.
It's here that Lucky and Trena took the lead and led the group to their RV park in Cathedral City.  Following a happy hour at their site, we guided our guests to their Palm Springs hotel. (Header photo shows Trena and Lucky's RV site)
Riding into the city of Palm Springs, CA   Palm Springs, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Once registered and freshened up, we walked the half block to Las Casuelas Terraza | Mexican Dining in Palm Springs, California
Dinner was very good but the crowd noise, created in part by the large crowds enjoying spring break, made it nearly impossible for us to carry any conversations.  With dinner completed, we quickly took exit to the near peacefulness of the street.
Thursday morning, March 17th was to be the last day out riding group would be together.  Trena and Lucky had said their bye byes to the other riders after our Wednesday evening dinner.  They were preparing to pack up for their RV journey back home.

Jeanette and I met Bonnie/Fritz and Lorraine/Roger at their Palm Springs hotel early that morning.  By 8:30 am, we left Palm Springs, rode along Highway 111 to Highway 74 in Palm Desert, before heading south through the 'S' curves, up and over the San Jacinto mountain range.  Our destination?  Julian, California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
At lunchtime, we found a lovely Julian restaurant that offered outdoor seating.  From here, Highway 78 east was the last part of our group ride before Jeanette and I broke away from Lorraine/Roger and Bonnie/Fritz. We headed north on Highway 86 for Palm Springs and they continued east on 78 and S-24 to Yuma, AZ.
Our final stop near the approach to Highway 86
We got off our rides and with hugs and bye byes - many photos too - we parted company....but not before everyone suggested it would be nice to get together for another ride, next winter.  Yeah to that!
L-R  Lorraine, Bonnie and Jeanette
L-R  Fritz, me and Roger.
To summarize, this five day ride for Jeanette and me (a four day ride for the others) was everything we had hoped it would be.  The camaraderie of folks - who quickly became fast friends - combined with riding some of southern California's most beautiful mountain and seaside roads, made for a wonderful motorcycle group ride. And it was fun!

Thanks for dropping in.