Monday, January 30, 2012

Quartzsize, Mecca for Snowbirders

Well, we had to do it at least once.Quartzsize is your typical small desert town of around 3,000 people However, in the months of January and February, something extraordinary happens. The population swells to hundreds of thousands as RV's converge onto BLM land and fill all the RV campgrounds in the area. It is quite a sight. At the time we arrived, the big RV show was going on. There is a hugh tent where you can purchase just about any time of RV related items you can think of. There are also stands over all the town with rv and jewelry, clothes, etc  for sale This is a rock hound paradise as well and a big gemstone show will be here is a few weeks. We are meeting up with several groups while we are here, which is another part of what goes on this time of the year. We arrived on Monday, the 23rd. We stayed at the Scaddan Wash , which is one of the free 14 day areas. There is also some long term areas where you can stay for a small price, $180.00 for the season What a deal!! On Tuesday we had a potluck dinner with the Mexican Connection people, who we are going to Mexico with in a few weeks. They gave us all some information we needed for the trip. It was fun meeting and talking to some of those who will be on the journey with us.
We had a nice spot with views of the hills and the desert landscape. However, it is a little too close to the noise of Hwy 10 for our taste. There are lots of spots away from the highway. In fact, for our other group meeting, we were in a better spot. Thursday, we moved over to the Road Runner area, which is off Hwy 95, about 6 miles from the main area of town. We drove off the highway, onto a dirt road, following signs to the RV Driving School get together. Dennis and Carol Hill were the owners of the Driving School that we attended when we first started off on our traveling adventures in June of 2010. They have been putting on this gathering for several years. They recently sold the school and this is their last get together with them as owners. The new owners also were there and will continue the Quartzsize tradition. Saturday, we had another pot luck, with more good food and good people. While we were there, we visited the big tent and then went back a second time to purchase a few items we needed. Well, we can say we did the Quartzsize experience. Not sure, we would do it again as big gatherings and crowds are not really our thing. However, we would come back at a different time of the year to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the desert. This is a great spot for boondocking with great views of the desert and where you can park, often with no other vehicles in your immediate area.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Going Retro at the Palms Hotel

I had read about a great restaurant, Red Ocotillo, which is also pet friendly and so we decided to check it out for lunch. It is in the Palms Hotel, a retro hotel right out of the 50's. Built in 1958 in the modern California style, it was reconstructed in 1993. It was originally called the Hoberg Desert Resort and was a getaway for movie stars and included a landing strip for them to fly into the area. It was interesting to walk around the restaurant area and check out the old photos. They also had copies of the menus from the early days. A Thanksgiving menu which included choices of filet mignon or duckling and included all the fixings and deserts had a top price of $3.00!! WOW. The restaurant itself was very nice. We sat outside on the partially covered patio overlooking the pool and the desert views beyond. Food was delicious and Savannah got her own water bowl and a biscuit.

On Sunday, we went to Kristi and Brock's for the Celebration of Life of our Mom. There were lots of family and friends there to remember Mom. She would have loved a party and wanted us all to remember the good times and not be sad. She always said go out and have fun. Don't wait. There was a lot of good food. We brought a bunch of sandwiches with money given to us by the people from Joe's work, which was much appreciated. We brought some other food as did others and no one went hungry. Kori put together a great video with pictures of Mom, from a young child to her later days with family and friends. The music background included Frank Sinatra and Bobby Short, Mom and Dad's favorite singers. It was lovely.

Monday, we head to Quartzite to meet up with some fellow rv'ers, which should be fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Art, Slab City and Salton Sea

Thursday we decided to take a drive to the small town of Niland, on the east side of the Salton Sea. It is known as the home of Slab City and the infamous Salvation Mountain. Slab City was part of the book and movie "Into the Wild" that was out a few years ago. Slab City was formerly a military training facility that was closed and completely dismantled by 1961. The only thing left were the cement foundations of former buildings. Soon after, rv campers started coming to take advantage of the free area to camp, especially during the winter's mild climate. Some of the residents try to make it a nice "town" with social clubs and an area for books for sale or trade among other things. Unfortunately some don't and there are areas with lots of trash. It is an interesting area to check out.

   Right near the entrance is Salvation Mountain.      It is a colorful art installation created by a man named Leonard Knight as a tribute to God and to Universal Love. The hugh structure is made of adobe, straw, and thousands of gallons of paint.   He does not accept money donations but has always accepted paint. He also has painted  cars and machinery, that are on site, with biblical quotes Until recently he lived on site in a small cabin on the back of a large Chevy truck.                         
 His project is an unauthorized one on state land, however, Salvation Mountain was placed under protection in 2002 when Senator Boxer entered it into the Congressional Record as a national treasure

On the way back, we stopped at the Salton Sea Recreational Area visitor center. The Salton Sea is one of the largest inland seas and the lowest level at 227 feet below sea level. It was created in 1905  when high spring flooding on the. Colorado River crashed the canal gates leading into the developing Imperial Valley.   It took 18 months to stop the flooding and ended up with 130 miles of shoreline by the time it was finally stopped   Salinity is slightly more than the Pacific Ocean and continues to get saltier every year. Most fish are dying off due to the large salt content and the Talipia is one of the few fish left. It is rather a bizarre place and a land of contrasts as you have many different types of birds and the beauty of the sea yet thousands of dead fish lay on the shoreline causing a rather nasty odor at times. Natural at its most interesting.

      It was a most interesting day in this unique area.                                                                                                          

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Art in the Desert

We spent a little time in Newport until a date for our Mom's memorial was set. As the Celebration of her Life will not be until the 22nd, we decided to go back out to the Desert. Before we left, we took our kids out to dinner to celebrate Karol's BDay. We went to El Ranchito in Newport, which is a great Mexican restaurant. Thursday we headed to J & L Repair to have a couple of things fixed and have one of the slides tweaked a little. They got everything done on Friday and we left to return to Oasis Palm RV. While checking in, we discovered that there is going to be a Chili Cook off on Saturday. Cool, I had a new chili recipe I wanted to try. Saturday night, we took our chili that had cooked all day in the crock pot over to the meeting/game room. There were 14 different chili dishes and all completely different. Lots of fun tasting. There were also some salads and desserts. We had a good time talking to the people there, some of who were here when we were here before. The San Francisco/NewOrleans game was on the big screen and yippee, San Fran won. Hoping for them to be in the Super Bowl.

Tuesday we took a drive to Borrego Springs. In the middle of the desert, are these awesome sculptures.
Dennis Avery, land owner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs envisioned the idea of adding 'free standing art' to his property with original steel welded sculptures created by

artist Richard Breceda. There are 129 metal sculptures all over the town.



350' Serpent starts on one side of the street and ends on the other

The sculptures are on the Estates, which are privately owned but there is no
fencing and you can drive right up to them for close looks. In fact the owner allows camping
on his land for up to 3 days. What a great person.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dorothy M. Wise- Mother

Our New Year didn't start off good at all. Those of us with elderly parents know the day will come and they will receive a phone call with bad news. Unfortunatly, our day came and I got a call from the Hospital in Mission Viejo that my mom was there and had a heart attack. We were a few hours away by car and headed to the Hospital but knew we wouldn't be in time. Kristi and Brock took my Dad and he was able to be with her in her last hours. We got there and we able to see her sweet face one last time. She had that  horrible disease, dementia and so her short term memory was pretty much gone. She knew us and could talk about the past but would all of a sudden ask where she was and who were these people there even when she had been at the care home for months. I will always remember when she would tell a funny joke or would talk to anyone. One time Kristi and I went into a department store for some Christmas shopping and she waited outside at a fountain We came out and she was talking away with some new found friend sharing life stories. That was the way she was, always friendly to all. She didn't work after she married my Dad but was always involved with volunteering at PTA and Church groups. The PTA put on a play, Peter Pan and she was a big hit as Michael. I loved when she in all her 4'11 glory would give my 6'2 Dad a big hug around the waist. There are so many marriages that don't make it. However, my Mom and Dad were so in love for almost 65 years. All couples fight but I don't remember ever hearing them say a mean word to each other. She would tease him but always with love. I am sure that is part of why Kristi and my marriages are also so successful with such a great example.
Mom and me

Another with my Mom and me

Chris and Grandma

Mom and me and Casey and Michael

A Thanksgiving in the 90s

Heather and Grandma

Mom and Dad on 50th Wedding Anniversary

With Joe and Erna, life long friends along with
Heather at annual family picnic in 80s.