Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 17 & 18 Shopping in Yuma and Algodones

No! We are not shopping our way across the continent but there were a few things that we had to get before heading further south one of which was a reliable generator. This is the third generator we've purchased this year. We can only hope three is the charm. We finally found a Yamaha 2000 which is supposed to be as good & quiet as a Honda but is a few dollars cheaper. We then decided to wander into the Walmart Mega Super Store and were google eyed at the prices and selection of merchandise. Susie had to try a $3/bottle of wine - which is actually quite good. JD pondered the beer prices yet again and decided the Busch and Milwaukee were running neck and neck for being the cheapest. Good judgement overcame valour and he stuck with the Coors although a little more expensive. Oh yes and the food prices were awesome too.

Going to Algodones was a quick reminder of the assault on our senses. The sights, smells, noise, colours and people quickly remind you of what is Mexico. We hunted down the glasses place a both of us were fitted for new glasses. While they were grinding the coke bottles we ventured out for lunch and to arrange our 6 month tourist visas. Susie was pleasantly surprised when the fellow worked over her old reading glasses and sunglasses and got them fitting like they've never fit before. The grand total for 2 pair of progressive glasses was $188.

We should mention that our wardrobe now consists of T-shirts and shorts a far cry from the wool sweaters and lined blue jeans we left Canada in. Surprisingly we haven't missed the rain a bit. Muck! Muck! We will be leaving Yuma Sunday morn to make the grand entrance to Mexico. As the only thing lacking at our economical ($8.50/night) RV park oasis is the internet we are forced to find it where ever we can and preferable free. Thankfully we were told about the public library access and that is where I am right now. It occured to us today that it is taking us longer to get to Mexico than most people's holidays! Yes we certainly are enjoying ourselves!

We know you are wondering how Skeena is fairing on this adventure so some of the pictures for today are of the Golden Retriever bird dog overcoming her phobia of duck decoys. We're so very proud of her! Ha! Ha!

Day 16 - 24 Nov 09 On to Yuma

We did a short little run this am before packing up camp and heading south to Yuma. It was quite funny to note how many times we got the thumbs up from passing motorists. When you realize we are 20 - 30 years younger than most people living here I guess it is cause for a thumbs up. The jaunt from Quartzite to Yuma takes you through 2 separate training grounds for the US army where we are surmising some of the training for the hot middle eastern countries is done. Signs are posted everywhere that there is no admittance to these sites. Some of the equipment looked like it would be a lot of fun for blowing saguaros out of the ground.

With straight lines and highway ahead of us Susie offered to drive for the first time on this trip. JD certainly enjoyed the break and calmly sat there as the rig wiggled on the uneven road surface and blew around in the wind. What is with this stinking wind?! As we approached the city limits of Yuma it was astounding to note the varied green, lush fields and the occasional purple one spread out on either side of the highway as well as the full water canals. They both happened simultaneously. It was such a stark contrast to the arid desert we had just travelled through. The canal system is absolutely amazing and criss crosses everywhere. JD can now understand how tempting it was for his Uncle Wayne to water ski the canals being towed by a pickup.

As we eased to a stop at the first traffic light Susie noticed the brake controller on the trailer wasn't responding. While JD was out checking the connection a fellow in a big flat deck Dodge called him over and asked if we were lost or needed a place to camp. Anyways, JD had quite the conversation with him and the result was that we did an about face and headed back about 5 miles whence we came to Mike's private RV park. He has developed a small park in his recomissioned gravel pit complete with water, sewer and power. It is a little oasis complete with a duck pond where dogs, quads and motor bikes are all welcome. This is unusual in this part of the world to have all of those in combination in a park. As we drove up we couldn't help but notice 3 other BC RV plates in the park. I jokingly asked Mike, "Do you hand select only BC people for your park?" We finished the day off around the campfire with a beer or two getting acquainted with one another. Although BC is a huge province it is amazing the connections we could make between mutual friends and acquaintances in Smithers and Revelstoke. What also amazed us was how all the dogs got along, 2 chocolate Labs, one black Lab, one yellow Lab, an Anatolian Shepard and our little Skeena. There were no tiffs and no leash laws to abide which is why we think the dogs got along so well.

Day 16 - 23 Nov 09 Jeep Envy!

Quartzite was the biggest flea market we've ever been to! you had your bargain basement sell outs of everything imaginable and we didn't even go to the Antique and Collectibles sites. They are slowly getting geared up for when all the big shows start happening in January. What impressed us most were all the rocks, gems and beads. Of those there are plenty and Susie managed to make a few purchases. What was also interesting to note was the number of people dry camping for miles and miles all around Quartzite some way out in the desert. Apparently there is a combined water and sewer truck that visits each of the campers delivering sewer and sucking water or something. it would be a neat place to visit with a quad, dirt bike or Jeep and spend some time poking around in the desert. This brings us to JD's severe Jeep envy. We've included a smattering of pictures to show the variety of such we have seen.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 15 - From Pine trees to Cactus Trees

It was -4 Celsius when we awoke in Flagstaff this am. We were on the road by 7:30. First we went down a long winding road then up a very long winding road and down again on a long winding road and then up again and now we're down again. Suffice it to say Susie is no longer allowed to choose the route we take. JD's nerves and the truck transmission won't permit it. The roads looked straight on the 1/1,000,000,000 scale we have on our maps but proved otherwise. The elevation gains and losses would also have been helpful to know ahead of time. But we survived and arrived in Quartzite to 22 Celsius weather. The highlight of the day was our stop in Sedona. It proved to be an eclectic, artistic, touristy community that we wouldn't mind exploring further. It was interesting to note the contrast to the way tourists are managed in Sedona versus Moab. There was much more emphasis on encouraging people to explore on their own in Moab. Whereas Sedona seemed to want to channel everyone into some sort of guided Jeep or Hummer tour. They proved quite persistent as well. At one point we thought we were in Mexico talking to the condo salesmen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 14 Leaving Moab

It was hard to break away from Moab with so much left unexplored. Oh well we'll just have to go back there again and maybe again. Well, an early start was desired but it didn't happen that way. We pulled out of Moab around 10 am after flushing the anti-freeze out of the water lines. Just when we thought the scenery couldn't get any more spectacular we reached Monument Valley. It's a shame the light was so poor and pictures just don't do justice to the panorama. You can certainly understand why the Navajo hold these lands sacred. So we continued our drive onward and ended the day in Flagstaff. We were to tired to fix our own dinner so we hit the local culinary hot spot of Mary's Cafe. JD had his first experience with Chicken Fried Steak which isn't chicken at all. Given the amount of gravy Americans eat with all their meals it's no wonder they're worried about health care reform. I think it's a gravy manufacturer's conspiracy to suppress health care in the states. Here's some 60 American kilometres per hour pictures for your perusing pleasure. Oh yeah, and to add insult to injury we now have a water pump that blows instead of sucks like it's supposed to. Us and pumps just don't seem to be agreeing on this journey.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 13 - Flats Again!

This slightly hazy day began with fixing a flat on JD's bike in the campground before the start of the day. No problem we have the tools and JD has the technology to fix it. Then off to the Moab Brand trails was the plan. Susie was just out of sight of the truck when the second flat of the day was discovered. This time her rear wheel was toast. A realization occured to us that cacti have legs and can crawl out on the trail. So not only are you watching the dips and bumps you are proceeding "verrwwy, verrwwy, quietwwy" past all cacti. After both of us tried to get the new 'sucking' pump to blow we gave up and walked back to the truck again. If I ever meet one of the Crank brothers I'm going to whack him in the side of his head with a pump that actually blows! So off to town it was to exchange the sucking pump for a blowing one and more patches. Back to the Moab Brand trails and a very enjoyable ride ensued with no futher disruptions to our day. We're leaving Moab tomorrow to head towards Monument Valley. We'll post again when we have access to Internet.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 12 - More Petroglyphs Whether You Want Them or Not

Today we went for a hike to Hidden Valley above the town of Moab. A relatively easy hike with some rock hopping involved. Skeena enjoyed the day immensely because she got to go along. We spent several hours perusing the cliffs and the petroglyphs once we got to the top. Hopefully the pictures display so you can get an idea of these ancient artists work. They really are unique. It makes you wonder what would cause them to choose the locations for their artwork and what the significance of the chosen locations is. It is a lot of fun to take the time to wander around the desert. The temperature this time of year during the day is perfect for this and add to that there are absolutely no crowds to hinder your hero shots. After returning from the hike in the am we tried to go for a mountain bike ride but the route didn't work out. So, we called it a day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 11 - A Day of Rest

Well we didn't exactly carp the diem today. Susie wasn't feeling 100 %. So we had a relatively slow day complete with an afternoon nap. Yes we did make it to the quilt store which Susie thoroughly enjoyed. JD wandered around looking for things of interest in other stores. Putzed around the trailer and tidied up a bit. Then took a little drive up the Colorado River. Stopped and watched some rock climbers bouldering along the side of the road. This place is a candy store for the rock climbing crowd. JD longed for 30 years and 40 pounds ago when that kind of climbing was on in his life. Sorry but that's it for today. Tomorrow will hopefully be more interesting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 10 - This Hurrahs for U

Started out the day with the intentions of making it to the quilt shop and seeking out some of the petroglyphs in the area. You know, just a short little jaunt. Made it home about 4 hours later after making it to the top of Hurrah Pass. This is a drive not normally recomended for a stock 3/4 ton Chevy long box with a zodiac boat and motor in the back. From the top of the pass you can look over one side to the Colorado River and across the valley to Dead Horse Point State Park. It's really unfortunate that you can't get the depth of field in the pictures to show how far up we travelled or the narrow winding goat path that we were on. This is not a trip for the weak of heart. No mom you definitely would not enjoy this drive. However this worked out better than the second part of the day.

After a lunch stop at the Travelaire Hilton we set off for a quick little bike ride that had the potential to turn into an epic. It was supposed to be a short little ride to burn off the cobwebs of the day. Nothing serious. Of course once we got going, one trail lead to another and when we were about as far away from the truck as we could get. Susie's trusty steed through a shoe. Yes, her front tire went completely flat. Day light hours being of the essence we decided to hoof it back to the main trail before we attempted to fix it. The new fangled, compact pump sucked instead of blew. Did you know that it is much more enjoyable to jog across the desert without towing your mountain bike that has a flat tire? Keep in mind that when darkness falls on the desert it does so with rapidity. Of course those awesome headlamps we posses are in a box in Revelstoke. Obviously we made it out and with enough time to stop by the Poison Spider Bike shop to get patched up in readiness for our adventure tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are riding our mountain bikes to the quilt shop.