Friday, February 28, 2014

Rain, Rain, Go Away......

OK, I'm not serious about the rain going away.  Rain in this desert is a good thing.  

Although earlier forecast to receive up to 2" of rain, the weather prognosticators have now revised the rain fall total to about 1/2" for our area.  I guess we won't see the wash (photo below) fill up with water and go gushing down into the Palm Springs/Palm Desert valley.
Long concrete wash that borders our RV park - looking west towards Mount San Jacinto.
One does not often see clouds build up in this valley.  The mountains tend to keep them at bay, to the west.  But....that theory was usurped when the clouds rolled in yesterday afternoon (Thursday) and then rain started in earnest this very early morning.  The patter on the roof was pleasant and reminded me of home; on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada.
The clouds, over Mt. San Jacinto, are trying hard to push eastward
With the California drought a huge concern, this rain is most welcome; although it could cause some severe flooding and mud slides in the greater Los Angeles area.  Many families have now been evacuated from their homes.
Nice views with the mountains and clouds.
I had planned to golf yesterday but when the winds reared up, following a night of harsh blows, I put that game on the back burner.  There will be plenty of nice weather for golf; starting early next week.  The high temperatures are set to return.
For the better part of Thursday, the sun did shine on us.
Mid-afternoon Thursday had me escaping the wind by lazying around the pool/spa area.  I found a spot where the sun beat down nicely and the wind couldn't harass me while reading.  Two fellow BC RVers came over to chat.  It was a nice exchange of thoughts.  One fella, in particular, had just retired and was on his first winter journey.  About one hour later, both guys left to find their wives and I returned to my novel.
Yes, this photo - looking north toward the mountains - showed no sign of ominous clouds.  Not the case looking west, however.
On my way back to our RV site, I heard a 'beep, beep' and, looking behind me - and to my surprise - was a Suzuki sport ute. It was good friends, Hector and Diane, driving around to locate a spot to roll into with their Class 'A' motorhome.  A quick drive, and a brief walk, helped them determine the best spot to park. After a couple of hours, they were set up and found their way across the road to our site where I had some steaks readied for the barbecue. A salad and some fries topped of our dinner; held inside our 5th wheel.  The winds were howling pretty good and the air had cooled off.
Hector and Diane's rig backed into a site across the road from our site.
Between rains today (Friday) Hector has been in and out of their coach completing numerous tasks; including setting up their satellite dish.
I, on the other hand, thought it to be a perfect day to manage the laundry situation.  So, while writing this blog, I put one load into our on board washer and followed that with running the dryer.  The other loads will follow in the hours ahead.
New Grand daughter, Brie @ the ripe age of 7 days. Good far!
Jeanette, who is still home in Langley, BC - lending support to Ginette, Trevor and Easton - sends me daily photos.  She will return to the desert in about one week.  So, not only is she busy, she's enjoying the precious time spent with the little family.
Easton (23 months) with his baby sister, Brie (7 days old)
Jeanette has been busy keeping Easton occupied too.  With the recent (and rare) late February snow back home, Easton was keen to be outdoors.  Jeanette - who does not mind snow - was happy to oblige.  Many hours were spent playing in the snow.
This quad toy is a great way for Easton to burn off energy with his foot powered boots.  He's clearly having fun.

Owen....back in Edmonton, Alberta
We have not had any recent news from Owen and his folks but he must be thriving.  I'll post some new photos once I receive some from the frozen north.  It has been cold in Edmonton and that likely keeps most Edmontonians house bound.  I'm sure Courtney, Deni and Owen (whether Owen realizes it or not) will enjoy a good week of sun when they descend to Palm Springs this March 19th. 

That concludes this blog.  We're settled into a couple of days with intermittent sun between clouds and rain.

Laundry chores are calling......!

Thanks for dropping by.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Wind Reared Its Head.....& Newby RV Driver.....

Oh got windy here in Desert Hot Springs today.  Then again, that is to be expected given the location we are at.  Perhaps the wind will push the pollution away. It has been pretty thick, here in the valley, these past few days.
Pool side is a good place to be when the wind blows.  It is fairly well protected.
Windy days keep the golf clubs unused.  That being the case, I headed to non-windy Palm Springs to do a tiny bit of shopping and to seek out a place to have my hair clipped.  I topped up with diesel on the way back.  Not much wind in the protected areas of Palm Springs.

Back at the 5th wheel, I put a few chairs away.  Where we are stationed is fairly well protected from the wind but the gusts blow sand and dust around.

The mid to late afternoon called for a 'stay in the park'.  No need to go anywhere.
Reading by the pool is a nice pastime.  Ear buds, with good iPod music, is a bonus too!
On a walk about, late yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, Mike - one of the awesome staff here - was guiding a lady who was trying to back her 5th wheel.  I watched the process for 20 minutes and when it was obvious that the driver could not succeed backing up the rig, I walked over to Mike.  He mentioned that he had never, ever backed a trailer in his life and for him to provide guidance to a newby driver was fruitless.  He was frustrated - and so was the driver.   I offered to help.  

Not the 'newby driver' rig - just a pretty shot.
The lady driver was OK to have me back the fiver in but I instead offered to guide her on how to do it.  Experience is the best teacher, so I am led to believe! It took some doing but, once convinced that she should trust me, she made it in.  I think she lost a few pounds on that task from sweat alone. Appreciative, she offered to pay me to teach her how to drive the truck and 5th wheel.  I instead gave her some tips and suggested she Google a WEB site or two for guidance.  She admitted that it was her very first time driving and backing a 5th wheel into a spot.  WHOA!.....First time driving with no experience? Gutsy.....and crazy too!!!!

Not only that, she asked if I could guide her on unitching, dropping and leveling the fiver. She wasn't sure on the process. I learned that she had just bought it (from an estate sale, I believe) and she had nobody to teach her about hitching, unhitching....and the rest of the drill - let alone driving the thing.  I assumed the fiver was attached to the truck when she made the deal.

The man made lake at Sam's Spa and RV Resort
Back at the office, Mike was most appreciative.  Happy to help!   I think that lady has learned a few more tricks than she knew before unhitching  for the very first time. I did my good deed for the day, yesterday.

Solitary black swan is attracted to anyone around the lake.
Yesterday morning it proved difficult to not assume that some emergency was happening in the park.  A fire truck, with first responders - followed by an ambulance, moments later - arrived to a site about four doors down from our site.  A woman was taken away by ambulance and followed by her husband in a truck. I don't know the details...... but the woman was back at their site last night.
An emergency four sites down from ours.....
Typically, the evenings are not a draw to the great pool here.  So....I follow my regular routine of taking a swim between 8:00 and 9:00 pm.  A quick jaunt into one of the hot pools (for a few minutes) followed by a closing swim, back in the pool, does a body good!  
Great pool area.
The motorcycle visited two repair shops yesterday (one in Indio the other in Palm Springs)  and neither mechanic could figure out the problem.  It was suggested that I take the motorcycle to a dealer.  I question why they were in business.  I deliver a motorcycle with a problem and they can't figure it out!  What's with that?  The closest dealer is some 30-40 miles west of the Palm Springs area, in the little city of Beaumont.  I'll see about that.

I do have another appointment with a long time motorcycle shop in Cathedral City.  The owner, Sam, told me he would figure the problem out simply by doing an electrical fault test and test riding the bike to determine if it is a fuel issue.  Whoa....why could the other shops not figure that out.  I am at a loss for words on this!  I feel as though I wasted several hours with the two shops. The rides to and from the motorcycle shops were pleasant, at least.

The downside to visiting Sam's Cycle Service is that he cannot take me in till next week (Tuesday).  His shop is swamped with rush orders for repairs.  So....we'll see what, if anything, transpires from that visit.  If I cannot get it fixed here, I will ride it, on rare occasions, and take it back home with us to have one of our BC local dealers deal with it.
Beautiful walkway around the man made lake

Yesterday was a beautiful day for riding though....and I did ride for several hours - even with the intermittent sputtering and belching.

All right.  That does it from here for now.

Thanks for dropping in.

Monday, February 24, 2014

1/2 In The Desert & 1/2 At Home....

With a fixed return flight, this Saturday past, I returned to Palm Springs country while Jeanette - with an open return flight - is still back home lending a hand and support with Ginette, Brie, Easton and Trevor.
While I managed to escape the rare - very rare - west coast snow.......
........Jeanette woke up to this yesterday (Sunday) morning.
My timing was good to head back south.  Exchanging email - and watching the local BC Lower Mainland TV news on our satellite at the RV in the desert - the snow is more or less hanging around today.  Typical west coast snow dissipates quickly with rain but, till that happens, a good 8" of the white stuff remains on the ground.
Our back yard.....looking quite festive.
I always enjoy beautiful snow photos while sitting outdoors in the desert, in shorts and T-shirts.  
Jeanette is spending plenty of time with baby Brie, Ginette and Easton while Trevor is at work.
Early morning look outside our 5th wheel this Tuesday morning.
I take a walk around the RV park every morning and it is a quiet time to work off the cob webs of night.  Few people are up and about and the only noise is generated by dogs who want a serious bite of my ankles.  You would think the dog owners/handlers would keep their pets indoors at that early time.  Talk about waking up the neighbors....!
This medium duty Ford F-650 truck and 40 foot toy hauler caught my attention.  Nice rig!
I took a Sunday drive into Desert Hot Springs to purchase some food stuffs, now that I am back.  An early morning run through the food store yielded the items on my list with little interference.  It was too early for most shoppers.  Yea to that!

Back at Sam's Spa and RV Resort, the food stuffs were quickly put away and I moved outdoors to remove the motorcycle cover and place our deck chairs back in their rightful spots.  Before long, the motorcycle was fired up and I left on a ride.  With no destination in mind, I eventually found myself on El Paseo Drive - in the expensive shopping district of Palm Desert.  My cousin winters in a nice condo there.  I stopped the motorcycle and gave her a call.  If she was home and open to a visit, then I was up for that.  If not, I would leave a message to call me back.

Madeleine, my cousin, was home and she was thrilled to invite me over.  Why?  Well, she enjoys our visits and, as it turns out, her two brothers were visiting too. about opportunity!
L-R   Germain, Madeleine, Guy - my first cousins.
Madeleine and I keep in touch and we're up on each others families activities.  I had not seen - nor been in contact with - Germain and Guy for at least 40 years.  Talk about a reunion!  It was so nice to catch up.  Their mom (Sally) and my mom (Anne) were sisters.  

We sat outdoors, enjoying the great chat (and plenty of laughs too) while enjoying the lovely afternoon heat.  

Madeleine is a "primo jokester" and, because I arrived minutes before her two brothers were to return from a short errand, she wanted to pull a fast one on them.  So....I kept my sunglasses on and, when they arrived, I introduced myself as Mitch.  Well, they wondered why their sister knew a guy called Mitch and why she had not mentioned he would be dropping by.  They were puzzled for about five minutes before Germaine said, "hey...wait a minute here!  Can you remove your sun glasses?"  I did just that and within five seconds he knew who I was but could not remember my first name.  Once told, he and Guy were quick to shake my hand once again....and then the fun began.

It was a fun afternoon.  I - and they - enjoyed the visit.  It was a treat to finally catch up.  All three siblings live in the Province of Alberta.  Madeleine and Guy live in the Provincial Capital city (Edmonton) while Germain, and his lovely wife, live in Red Deer, Alberta - a vibrant city between the cities of Edmonton and Calgary.

So, there you have it!  A ride with no purpose developed into a chance - unplanned - reunion with two of my three long lost cousins.  Bonus!

All right....on to today!  My motorcycle is acting up!  It is missing - sputtering, etc....every so often....and I can't pinpoint whether the problem is electrical or perhaps due to a tired fuel pump.  It does have electronic fuel injection and perhaps the injectors are acting up too.  So.......tomorrow (Tuesday), I will attempt to ride it to a motorcycle shop in Rancho Mirage - about 20/25 minutes from our spot here in Desert Hot Springs.  (Most motorcycle shops are closed on Sundays and Mondays - and my choice of shop is no exception).
2003 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad 1500 cc motorcycle - with over 90,000 miles (about 140,000 kilometers)
This motorcycle is such a treat to ride.  It is a great ride!  It has been very good to us...but, it is a high mileage bike and to have to replace a fuel pump - or some other part - is not uncommon or unexpected.  We have had so few issues these past ten years of riding.  That said, because it is high mileage is the reason we purchased the motorcycle in the photo below, last season, while in Yuma, Arizona.  For long, long rides (that we often do), it is much preferred over the older ride.
2012 - 1700 cc - Harley Davidson, Electra Glide, Ultra Classic - detailed and covered and sitting back home in Langley,
Because our winter travels would have us return home for 30 days around Christmas and for Owen's and then for Brie's births most recently, I chose to bring our older ride along.  It was working fine - when we left home and while on many rides in the desert - these past several months.  Jeanette actually prefers riding on the Nomad over the Harley Davidson.

So.. we'll see what the motorcycle technicians can come up with.  More on that in the days ahead.

Off to enjoy the sun.

Thanks for dropping by.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Collage of Family Activities....

What a whirlwind couple of days we've lived of late.  Who could ask for better!  

We got to visit with our grandson Easton (22 months old),  Owen (1 1/2 months old) and, then yesterday, we got to visit with our brand new grand daughter, Brie. What a thrill!
Easton with his new cousin, Owen
Before Courtney and Owen were to fly back to Edmonton, last evening, they did get a visit in with Ginette, Trevor and new baby Brie @ the Langley Hospital.

Early yesterday morning, Jeanette, her sister Deb, Easton and I drove to the hospital for our very first visit with Brie.
Brie at 12 hours old....  She is a real cutie!
As I was preparing to write this blog, this Saturday morning, I received a text message from our daughter Ginette.  They had just been cleared to leave the hospital.  Once Easton awakes - at our home and we're ready to roll - we will deliver him to his house and get to enjoy another visit with our new grand daughter.  

A walk in the park.  Jeanette and Easton found a few sticks to occupy them on their walk.
We have had Easton stay with us while his new sister, mom and dad were busy with child bearing duties.  He has been a wonderful house guest (as always).  We've enjoyed many laughs and fun activities with him.
His Auntie Deb gets to play on Easton's car mat.
We did meet with Courtney and Owen on White Rock Beach the morning of Brie's birth.  We enjoyed some sunny (and windy) time on the beach.  The Pacific waves were rolling......!
We never tire of the sea...
While Jeanette, Deb, Courtney and Owen went for a seaside walk, Easton preferred to  throw rocks in the sea, find some sticks to play with and generally enjoy traipsing in the soft sand and water.  Just what little kids love to do!
White Rock Beach (our home city for 35 years)
Deb, Courtney on the seaside walk way.
Big bear carved from stone.
At the Langley Hospital, we took hundreds of photos - from every conceivable angle - with new baby Brie.  She did not mind.  She did not fuss when we picked her up.  She looks so comfortable and relaxed.  She did get a lot of cuddles! She seemed so comfortable being held by all of us.  What a pleasure to cuddle a new life!
Enjoying the time together.....!   L-R  Deb, Easton, dad Trevor, Jeanette and mom Ginette.
Trevor with his brand new baby girl.....!
So much to be grateful for.....!
Brie is to treasure....and I got to spend some special time with her.
Although visiting and enjoying the time with Brie and her family, we kept an eye on the television and the live broadcast of the Sochi Olympic Men's semi-final hockey game with Canada playing the US for a chance to move up to the final gold medal game on Sunday morning. Canada won!  As I conclude writing this blog, The US Olympic Men's hockey team is battling the Finnish team for the coveted bronze medal.
Auntie Deb with Brie.....! 
Following a good visit with Brie, and her family at their Langley home today, Jeanette and Deb will drive me to the Bellingham Airport, in Washington State, for my planned, mid-afternoon, return flight to Palm Springs.  Jeanette will follow in the days to come.  With an open return ticket, she can best decide on a return date.  She will lend Ginette a hand - along with Trevor's mom, Sandi, who is also visiting and assisting - before returning to the desert.

We look forward to mid-March when baby Owen and his folks, Courtney and Deni, arrive for a one week visit in Palm Springs.   

Do we feel blessed?  Absolutely!

Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Beautiful Bouncy Baby Girl.....

It is official.  Ginette delivered an 8 lb 9 oz - 20.5 "baby girl - late last night.  We were keeping Easton at our home when the call came that Ginette's contractions had started in earnest.  Once at the Langley Hospital - followed by 90 minutes of intense labour - baby Brie arrived at 11:30 pm.

So....Jeanette and I have been graced with our third grand child.  We feel truly blessed.
Happy parents.......equally happy grand parents.......and all are well.
Baby Brie - weighed in at 8lbs 9 oz - 20.5 ' in length - born @ 11:30 pm - February 20th, 2014

So, as you can well imagine, there is excitement around here.......

More in a future blog.....!

Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pretty Much All About Family....

We've lived a couple of truly exciting and fun days here at home.  I got to meet new grand son Owen, spend a few days visiting with his folks and passing the time on Sunday with the guys (Easton included) while the women 'fèted' (partied at a shower).
Meeting grandson Owen for the very first time....!
What a total pleasure it was to meet and greet Owen, our son and daughter in law's first child.  What a cute and thriving little fella he is. The pleasure was all mine......!
He's a good little baby too.  I'm checking him out while our son Deni looks on.  Proud dad he is....!
We had arrived at Courtney's mom's home (the shower party house) about an hour before the invitees were to shower Courtney and Owen.  We had arranged for a guys day out.
Great pleasure....
Our daughter Ginette arrived for the party and she is one anxious soon to be mom, for the second time.  Her due date is officially today (Tuesday).  She is more than ready to greet her little baby girl.
I offered a gentle belly rub to encourage the baby to join us outside the womb.  Not sure it helped....but it was nice to gently encourage her on.
Earlier in the morning, we arranged a 'FaceTime' with Easton.  He was trilled to bits to see Jeanette and I but when he saw me at the party house, he could not believe his eyes.  He was quite taken to see his grand papa live and in person.  What a treat to see that great smile of his and feel his warm hugs.
Easton sees me for the first time in one month,
He hung on to me.....!  We visited with the women attending the shower party before the guys left for White Rock and a place for brunch.
It was a fun day spent with our son Deni, son in law Trevor, Barb's fella Doug and, of course, Easton.  We had a great day out.  White Rock beach was blustery so our walk on the promenade was kept short.  Brunch was great.
Everyone gathered at our house for dinner on Monday.  Easton is kind of perplexed by his little cousin who has joined the family. He's not sure what to make of all this fuss....!
We hosted dinner at our home on Monday.  Everyone arrived early in the afternoon and we visited and visited and visited till it was time to sit down to dinner. Deni was catching a 9:00 pm flight back to Edmonton.  Courtney and Owen are spending the week with her mom here on the coast.
Grand kid handling.......
Fun family visit...... RVing takes a back seat when we are surrounded by these little folks and their folks.

Deb (left)  - Jeanette's sister from Calgary, Alberta - arrived on a 4:30 pm Sunday afternoon flight.
Jeanette drove to the Abbotsford Airport to collect Deb who is spending the week here with us. The timing was great for her to get a good visit in with everyone - and especially Deni before his return flight to Edmonton.  She got to spend time with Easton and new baby Owen too.  

Speaking of Owen, we'll get to see him a few more times this week.
Ginette stands out between her aunt and her mom.  She is most ready to deliver her baby......!
So...this paints the picture of our time here, these past few days, and in the days ahead.  Exciting times for sure.

Thanks for dropping by.