Scooter racing

Scooter racing
After parking for the night, we'll still have time for a little racing

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Freezing Our Balloons Off

It is a well-known fact that whenever Nui arrives at a new destination, the weather immediately turns cold and rainy.  This is such a common phenomenon that she has seriously thought of renting out her services to places that need water - such as Egypt or the Australian Outback.  Things have not changed in Yuma.  The weather gods took a while to catch on to the fact that she had arrived but, as expected, the weather turned nasty just in time for the annual Colorado River Balloon Festival.  Yuma got almost as much rain in a couple of days than it gets in a year. 

The rains abated (finally) but the weather remained very cold and windy on the night of the Balloon Glow.   This is an awe inspiring event, which has 20 or so hot air balloons tethered in a stadium.  At nightfall, they are all inflated and the sight of so many lit up balloons is really something to see (so they tell us).  On top of that, they offer tethered balloon rides, which RRR really wanted to do.  Being hardy Canadians, we ignored the cold and damp and trooped out to the stadium, paid our admission and sat in the bleachers for about 30 seconds before they announced the event was cancelled.  The fireworks show was still on though, so we sat and watched a whole lot of nothing for about an hour, ignoring the fact that we could no longer feel our extremities.  The fireworks lasted about 10 minutes, which was fine since by then we were pretty much the only audience.  All in all, it was a rather disappointing evening.  On the other hand, it got us acclimatized to cold weather again, which is going to be useful since we're heading home in a few days.  RRR's family has been telling us about the several inches of snow that awaits her.  Sigh......

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

We Have To Come Up With A New Hobby

Up to now, we have been "rock hounding" the easy way - we buy bags of dirt which have been seeded with semi-precious stones, bring them back to the campground and then spend leisurely afternoons picking through small piles of gravel, looking for gems.   Today, Syd and Lynda took us out for real, honest to goodness, gold mining.  We had visions of hauling out huge nuggets, which would allow us to purchase a new RV complete with a chauffeur.

Out we went to the hills outside Yuma, where even the cactus is drying out from thirst.  We were informed that the diamond back rattlesnakes would probably not be a problem, since they are hibernating.  We sincerely hoped that the snakes knew that!  After bumping up and down gravel roads (which, btw, are still in better shape than the roads in Sudbury), we arrived at a hill and set up our chairs in the shade of a mesquite bush.  Syd, who was sick as a dog, jumped down into a hole and began heaving up large buckets full of sand and rocks.  We deposited these on a shaker platform, which skims off the big rocks and, with luck, lets  the gold get trapped in the bottom.  The remaining
sand then had to be washed several times before we could start looking for the gold.  It is backbreaking work - and the end result is that we won't be buying a new RV anytime soon.  Or, for that matter, a dollar-store xmas ornament.

We then took a sightseeing trip in the area, looking at old claims, a pioneer cemetery and the remains of the mining town of Dome (one wall).  We ended up at what is probably the world's smallest church, where RRR fulfilled her dream of giving the congregation a blessing.

 It was a fun day but we decided that it might be a good idea to come up with Plan B for getting rich.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Hola From Mexico!

What a great day we had!   Syd and Lynda invited us to join them on a day trip to the town of Los Algodones, Mexico.   We took off in 95 degree heat and walked (or in our case, scootered) across the border into one of the most confusing, loud, frenetic marketplaces we have ever seen.  From the moment you set foot in Mexico, the vendors are after you to buy something.  The "real gold" necklaces start at $100 but within seconds you can walk away with them for just $20.00.  If you start to walk away fast enough, you can usually get these priceless treasures for $5.00.  The merchandise is piled everywhere so you basically have to move in a single file and run a gauntlet of people trying to sell you everything and anything.  Oddly enough, the biggest commodity is dental work and many people cross the border for dental work at an incredible discount.  You can't turn a corner without finding a dentist - one of them even moonlights (daylights?) as a singer in a band playing in a courtyard restaurant.  She has a great voice - nice to know she has something to fall back on if her dental practice doesn't pick up.

Nui and RRR indulged in having their scooters hand-painted with desert scenes.  The artist (Marlon) can do amazing things with spray paint, plastic bags and cardboard!

On our return to the USA, we took a side trip to see sand dunes in California.  What a sight!  It looks like the Sahara Desert.  We were told that, later this winter, this area will have thousands of people camped out on the grounds for dune buggy rallies.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Welcome to Stepford..... I mean Yuma

Holy cow this place is scary!  We suspect that the entire population of Yuma has been taken over by alien beings disguised as innocent cactus.  Everything is neat as a pin, all the units are adorned with metal lawn ornaments or ornamental shrubbery, there are wind chimes everywhere, but it's the people who are the scariest….. all the men wear polo shirts, bermuda shorts and baseball caps; all the women have short, spiky white hair, wear capris and cap-sleeved t-shirts.   And they all walk or bicycle endlessly in circles, although there seems to be a timetable:  the first walk is around 8 a.m., the last walk is just before nightfall, around  5:30.  People congregate for happy hour at 4 p.m., which ends immediately at 5 p.m. since the pods….er, people, have to eat at 5 p.m.  By 8 p.m.,  everyone is behind closed doors, by 9 p.m. there are very few lights left on.  Everyone is up at the crack of dawn since most of the activities start between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.   Evening events  start at 7 p.m. and end at 9 p.m.,  but the place is usually deserted long before that time.

Nui and RRR have successfully resisted becoming pods for now.  In fact, they have already gained a reputation as "characters", which, unfortunately, is not considered an asset here.  They have introduced a propane fireplace to the community, which has led several residents to stay outside well past 9 p.m.  Radicals!!! 

Cracks are beginning to show, however.  RRR had her hair cut, although thankfully she has resisted spiking it up.  Nui was seen artfully arranging her chairs in a circle around the fireplace.  That's how the pods get you, you know….. first it's a few lawn chairs, then they'll be buying purple and orange metal peacock lawn statues.  A scary, scary future is at hand.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

We Made It!!!

We spent the night in Gila Bend, at a truck stop.  Nothing much to report - certainly not much scenery to talk about unless you really like gravel. 

We arrived in Yuma, safe and sound, on Sunday at 2 p.m.  The only glitch was the (&*)(*#& GPS which sent us left instead of right, thereby giving us a tour of Yuma.  We set up in no time at all and we were off to the pool for a nice refreshing dip before dinner.  It is extremely hot, although the nights are cool.  The park is small but so far the natives seem friendly.  Our friends, Lynda and Syd, are parked just behind us and we are already making plans to go see the broccoli fields, a trip to Mexico and a gold-panning expedition.  We'd write more but we have to play cards now and then go to bed because aquacize starts at 9 a.m.  The life of a retiree is a busy one!

Friday, 1 November 2013

We came, we saw, we shopped in Tombstone

The day after the Hallowe'en party, we took the locals' advice and headed off to Tombstone.  What a great afternoon!  The whole area is one big wild west town..... although, we're pretty sure that Wyatt Earp and Big Nose Kate (Doc Holliday's girlfriend) didn't have quite the variety of shopping that we enjoyed.  Nui took advantage of the atmosphere and paid to fire a six-shooter at a target.  She got 5 out of 6 lung and heart shots!  Hmmm....could be a whole new career ahead of her.  We enjoyed looking at all the people dressed in period costumes, and had a great afternoon just wandering the wooden sidewalks around the town.  RRR tried her very first frozen yogurt and loved it!  She's getting used to trying new and unusual things.  In fact, h
er next adventure may be a hot air balloon ride.