Friday, January 31, 2014

Martinez Lake & Company For Dinner...

Although a planned 'stay at home' day, Wednesday's chores; to wash and detail the truck, and to clean all the windows on the 5th wheel, were completed much earlier than anticipated.  We found ourselves on the motorcycle, early in the afternoon and - although not originally planned for - we ended up riding to Martinez Lake.
Sport fishers were catching large mouth bass and catfish.
It was a 60 km (37.28 miles) ride under clear blue skies.  With temperatures hovering near the mid-80s, it was a shirt sleeve ride to the lake and back to Yuma.

Awesome blue skies....over calm waters.
Our ride north on I-95 took us to the north side of the Yuma Proving Grounds before turning west towards Martinez Lake.  On our way west, there was plenty of activity on the armed forces Proving Grounds.  We saw planes on the tarmac and tanks practicing maneuvers in the desert.  Although we did not get a photo, we saw an interesting quad that was painted in desert colours and sporting a serious gun, easily controlled by the rider. 
Under a (motorcycle only) covered parking area at the pub and restaurant - Martinez Lake
When we rode into the motorcycle parking area, several motorcyclists were leaving.  With them departing, and for us readying to park, several other riders rolled in behind us.  We met a good group of like minded guys who's idea to ride to Martinez Lake emulated ours.  We shared several minutes of fun chat and laughs with the promise to call each other for a future ride.

Carl, from Dryden, Ontario, is sharing some laughs and banter about his new ride...
Jeanette and I spent about 30 minutes walking around the beach and boat dock area before we mounted up and rode back towards Yuma.  Back on I-95 south, we turned east on to the Dome Valley Road. That road took us through a favourite 12 mile country jaunt, through some of this area's most scenic mountain and vegetable farming country.  It's always pleasurable to view the vast vegetable fields and to watch farming in progress.
Riding east on the Dome Valley Road - east from I-95
There is no shortage of activity in the Dome Valley.  Farmers are constantly turning harvested fields back to summer-fallow before replanting new crops.  These rich fields produce vegetable crops that keep North Americans fed during the winter months.  I always see many Canadian reefer (refrigerated) trucks down here that haul vegetables back home.
Common view in the Dome Valley.
It is not only the Dome Valley that produces crops.  The entire area surrounding Yuma is used for crop production. Grape and fruit trees abound too.  Many farmers turn to seeding cotton, wheat, alfalfa and other crops in the late spring, summer and early fall. 
Back on I-8, heading west from the Dome Valley towards Yuma.
I-8 is carved out of this small mountain range and, once over, one enters a huge valley floor dotted with the City of Yuma, the Yuma Foothills, and other small cities and town that are surrounded by farms.
By 4:00 pm Wednesday, we were back at our RV site, in the Yuma Foothills, enjoying the balance of the afternoon sun.

Following a quick run to the food store for a few items on Thursday morning, we were back at our site where we began our dinner preparations for the dinner invitees.  My brother, his wife, and our friends were coming, mid-afternoon, for a visit and barbecue. 
Jeanette is showing my sister in law, Rita, the metal road runner she purchased while in Algodones, Mexico.
Bernie and Rita arrived before Hector and Diane. We sat outdoors - under a cloudy sky - away from a breezy and  warm wind.  The temperature rose well above the 80's.  The warm, Santa Anna, southwest winds were not a distraction on the starboard side of our fiver.
The comic that he is, my brother was quickly into joke telling and we were laughing within minutes of his arrival.
Once Hector and Diane arrived, with their dog Chico, the joke telling accelerated.  Well.....we sure enjoyed some good laughs.  By 5:00 pm, the chicken breasts were on the Weber Q and the rest of the food stuff was being placed on our outdoor table.
Chico, Hector and Diane's Portuguese Water dog was keeping an eye on Jeanette and I.  He knows that there are some favoured treats for him whenever he visits.  He was well spoiled too.  We have not ever met a dog with such a great disposition.  And does he listen to his master?  You bet!!!!
Chico so loves to be in the mix of human interaction.  Without bothering Jeanette, he gets closely involved with the group.  He is truly a gentle fella.
Once the chicken breasts were ready, everyone filled their plates and we enjoyed a nice, southern Arizona meal in the great outdoors.
By 7:30 pm, our company was gone and, once our dishes were cleaned and stored, we enjoyed a quiet evening with some internet browsing and a few good television programs.  Fun, fun, fun!
Photo of Owen (16 days old) taken on the 29th of January - only two days ago.  "Cute jeans, little fella."  He is resting on a beautiful blanket that our Aunt Kay knitted for him shortly before her passing this past summer.
Today, we plan to contact Deni/Courtney, in Edmonton, Alberta, to line up a 'FaceTime' with them and Owen and also to contact Ginette/Trevor, in Langley, BC, to line up a 'FaceTime' with them and Easton.  That is clearly to look forward to.
Easton @ 21 months (taken this past Christmas)

So, all is well in Yuma country.  Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fort Yuma, Algodones, Mexico....& more...

Great weather is a magnet to get out and about... and a few days back we went in search of discovering Fort Yuma.  Other than the church below, the rest of the old Fort area is not maintained.  The history of the Fort is interesting though.
Old Methodist church in Fort Yuma
From Wikipedia:
Fort Yuma is a fort in California that is located in Imperial County, across the Colorado River from Yuma, Arizona. It was on the Butterfield Overland Mail route from 1858 until 1861 and was abandoned May 16, 1883, and transferred to the Department of the Interior. The Fort Yuma Indian School and the Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission now occupy the site. It is one of the "associated sites" listed as Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites on the National Register of Historic Places in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.[2] In addition, it is registered as California Historical Landmark

What does dot the area now are vegetable farms, a large casino and an RV site on dirt next to the casino.
The casino
The RV park on dirt (with no services) next to the casino
This area is next to Winterhaven, a tiny little town just west of the old Fort Yuma area.  Just a few miles north from here is the Imperial Date farm.  It is a desirable place to enjoy a rich date shake....and because we were so close, we were drawn there like a magnet.  Those date shakes are well worth the ride.
The Imperial Date Farm
Back in the Yuma area, we rode to the Colorado River's edge, near the Hilton Hotel, where the locomotive below draws tourists to view the placards that reveal the history of river transport of old, railway transportation and more historical data.  It is a worthwhile place to visit.
Checking out the huge locomotive
No need to delve into the history on Yuma in the blog but for those of you who plan to travel through here, a visit to the locomotive (just off the downtown core)  will provide you with detailed historical data that is most interesting.

 We joined Hector and Diane to visit Algodones, Mexico, for the day, Monday.  We did not require any services (dental, optical or medical drugs) but we sure do enjoy  immersing ourselves in the ambiance of good food, Mexican music and just plain good fun.  We did that with gusto.
The locals selling their wares.
Negotiating prices for goods
Really good food along with really good music
Some coolant required to edge off the high heat of the day.
Jeanette did have one mission though.  She was looking for a metal road runner object and be darned if she did not find what she was looking for in Algodones.  And she was happy with the bargain price negotiated.

About 50 minutes in the border line up to re-enter the US and we were back at the car and our short drive back to the Yuma Foothills.
.....and we managed to avoid having to deal with the local policia.
Because of the CFL Grey Cup win, the Saskatchewan Roughriders clothing was a popular item displayed everywhere in Algodones.
Nice evening sunset
 Oh...yes....we also purchased 3 lbs of shrimp while in Algodones.  We seem to do that every year and it never dissapoints. Jeanette cleaned and froze all but 12 of the large shrimp that we held back for our dinner.
Really good shrimp was enjoyed for dinner.
Yesterday was a planned golf game at Las Barrancas Golf Course in the Yuma Foothills.
Las Barrancas is a very nice 18 hole layout for golf but, it seems to lack the maintenance required to stand out as a truly great course.  That said, Yuma is not known as a golf destination and the other courses were all booked up.  We chose to play here.  The most challenging greens are in great shape and they test one's putting prowess.
The beautiful mountains add to the enjoyment of playing this golf course.
Hector and I joined a couple of like minded golfers who call the Province of Saskatchewan home.  It was fun playing with them and we did get to share several laughs during our 4+ hours together.
Great golfing weather.
Diane and Hector invited us and another couple to join them for dinner.  And who could say no to a good feed of wild west coast salmon that Hector and Diane caught this past summer.  It was a great meal and we enjoyed sharing the meal with Elie and Bruce, who call their Kelowna, BC, area home, their summer place.
L-R  Elie, Bruce, Diane (Hector, Jeanette and I are already seated)
Hector and Diane spend a fair bit of their summer - on Vancouver Island, BC - fishing off shore.  When they roll down here, to the US southwest for their winter getaway, they always have a freezer full of frozen salmon stored in one of the slider basement bays of their Class 'A' motor home.  They also can a fair bit of salmon and we get to enjoy that.!
Today is a planned 'stay at home day' - other than a nice walk in the area.....and, perhaps, a motorcycle ride too.  We have some reading to catch up on and I have a few planned chores to complete.  It's also nice to sit out and take in the beautiful weather we've been graced with here in Yuma country.

Thanks for dropping by.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Routine Fun...

The past couple of days have included some walking, some polishing, some laughing and some golfing.  Nothing to complain about while in this Yuma country.

Friday saw the unusual clouds keep the sun away for the entire day.  Highs reached the low 70's.  We chose to take a long morning walk around the Foothills area.  We believe that there are fewer RVs in this area than in years previous.   There are numerous RV rental spots available.
Locking up to go for a long walk.
This the private area where our RV is parked.  Very nice.  When you need shade, it's here.  When you seek sun, it's here too.
This is a typical yard in the Yuma Foothills.  There is a cassita, full hook ups for an RV and each yard is walled by this type of brick.  It is an appealing area; certainly to us.
Our second walk of the day had us walk in a deep wash along one of the two local golf courses in the Foothills area.   Jeanette and I found four golf balls in the wash.

With the sun hiding behind clouds, it was a good opportunity to detail and wax the Nomad.  It sure brightened it up.
Yesterday, Hector and I were at the Coyote Wash Golf Course in Welton - 15 minutes east from Yuma.  Although I had our iPad in the truck, it was left there so the golf course photos are from last year....but, the course hasn't changed.  In fact, it is greener than in years past.

Jeanette and Diane were off to do a bit of shopping and they took Chico (the Portuguese Water dog) for a long swim in the Colorado River. 

Nice golf course layout
I am always impressed by the human sculpting to create lakes on desert golf courses.
Hector and I had a most enjoyable golf round.  We were not paired with another twosome.  With a foursome ahead and behind us, we each drove our golf balls off the tee and followed every shot after with two golf balls each - including 2 putting on the greens.  By doubling our golf strokes, we kept pace with the foursomes but more or less played 36 holes over the 18.  We certainly got our exercise from swinging the clubs so often.   The temperature reached into the low 80's during our golf round.
Fun place....!  And more golf will be in our plans in the weeks ahead.
The Japanese/American lady we rent our RV spot from has invited us to a party this late afternoon.  It is a pot luck dinner to include some 20 invitees.  We've accepted to join in.  Jeanette already has a plan for her food contribution.  Before that, a motorcycle ride could well take us to the nice roads around some of the agricultural areas near here.  We'll see!

We 'Face Timed' Deni/Courtney and baby Owen last evening.  What a treat to see our new little man resting and content.  At 13 days old, he is proving to be a very good baby.

Before chatting with our Edmonton kids, we 'Face Timed' Ginette/Trevor and Easton.  Our little fella tried to share some treats with us through the iPad.  Quite funny, really!  

So.....caught up with our kids, we enjoyed a short happy hour with Hector and Diane before returning home to our fiver and settling in for some computer and TV time before calling it a day.

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sorting Out Internet, Visiting and More......

The T-Mobile SIM card - that is installed in our iPad and that has worked well in other geographic areas - is problematic here in Yuma country.  Although it shows 4-5 bars of strength, it is fool's gold.  Simply stated, the service is awful.  So..... plan 'B' for internet service meant activating our back up Virgin Mobile Broadband To Go.  We are grandfathered with the service so it is an unlimited access, pay monthly deal - with no contract. Now activated, we have good internet service once again.  

Although the iPad could be used as the internet Hot Spot, the service was slower than molasses running downhill at -40 below zero weather.  It was dreadfully slow....NO.... it was painfully slow.

To 'Face Time' our grandkids and their folks, we have access to a WiFi service that is but a few minutes from our RV site.  We can walk or drive there and 'Face Time'.  With the wireless world problems solved (to suit us, that is) we are back to the business of and enjoying....and visiting....and more.
Strong shadows means bright sunshine!
The weather is everything one could wish for.  The nighttime temperatures are ideal for sleep.  The daytime temperatures hover near the 80's. There is no need to turn the heat system or the air conditioning on. 
All set up in the Yuma Foothills.
Although our 4th year in the Yuma area, it is our 3rd year of parking here in the Foothills area.  We like it here and the lady we rent our spot from seems to keep this great place open just for us.  It comes with a very private yard - privately surrounded by a brick wall - with 50 amps, water and sewer.  It is a large, gated site.  We feel at home here.
Well set up for the next three weeks.
Other than spending a bit of time re-connecting ourselves to the internet world, we've done some visiting, a bit of motorcycling and enjoying some time in the sun.  
You know you are in Yuma when you see field after field of vegetables.......
......and you see workers harvesting the vegetables for truck transport to places all over North America.
Comparing iPads when visiting my brother (and his wife) who winter in Yuma.
Our first visit (this 2014) was to Bernie and Rita's place in Yuma.  My brother and his wife have wintered here these past 15, or so, years.  They leave Alberta in late October and hang out at their home in Yuma for close to six months.  
I am setting up his iPad to match my set up.
They invited us to stay for dinner....and who could say no to that?  Not us!  So, we enjoyed a lovely outdoor dinner and visited till about 8:30 pm before riding back to our spot in the Yuma Foothills - about 15 minutes east.
Enjoying a lovely dinner outdoors.....on a perfect evening.
We did connect with our good friends (from Nanaimo, BC - on Vancouver Island) who have been in Yuma for a couple of weeks now.  Hector and I have already lined up some golf rounds while Jeanette and Diane plot some of their activities.  We had Hector and Diane (and their wonderful dog, Chico - a Portuguese Water Dog) over for a barbecue at our site last evening but with the excitement of seeing them again- and chatting and preparing dinner - we did not get one photo from our evening get together.  Hard to believe that....but it's what happened.

I did manage to detail the motorcycle...and it is now due for a good wax polish. I will likely tackle that job sometime today.
That covers things from here, for now.

Thanks for dropping by.