Day 1141 – Laundry and Freebies

Yummy in my tummy

The rain started about 11 pm, and it kept up what seemed like the entire night.  We woke up to a sloshy, muddy mess all around us, and were thankful that we chose to relocate yesterday, rather than today.

The usual breakfast fare was produced, and David and I sat at the table, each lost in our computers.  I decided that I should tackle the laundry and get drinking water and groceries in Yuma.  David had another window blind to fix (the strings fray and break), and he did not want to go.  I went to Kathie’s trailer and asked if she was game, and she was.  After a bite of oatmeal and a gathering of her laundry, we set off to Yuma.

We first stopped at the fresh water kiosk on our way into town.  I get 5 gallons for $0.50, but realized that I only had 4 containers with me.  So, I got 4 gallons for $0.50 today.

The 8E Laundry in Yuma is a coinless laundry, and it is the cleanest laundromat in the country (that I have encountered, anyway).  It was very busy today, but we were in and out of there in a flash!

8E Laundry
8E Laundry

Next stop was Chipotle for lunch.  Kathie had never been to a Chipotle, and after she chose her bowl, our server told her that since it was her first visit, it was free for her. I think it made it even more tasty!  My Sofritas was yummy, too, and the fact that I can bring my receipt back anytime between tomorrow and Feb 28 for a free entree made for quite a deal.

Fry’s grocery was our next stop.  We were surprised to see that their gas was $1.79/gallon, so we topped off the tank before heading inside to grocery shop.  They have a really nice selection of produce, and the store is clean – reminds me of a Raley’s in Sacramento.  We got what we needed, and navigated our way out of the store.  It was packed, as I think the rain must have let up a little, and people headed out while the getting was good.

One last stop, the drive-thru of Dunkin Donuts to get a coffee for the road, and we were back to our house by 5:45 pm.  I made Kathie a lavash bread pizza, and David and I had our Chipotle.

Desert was watching the Australian Open, although it was not nearly as entertaining as it was last night. We checked the weather in the East to see how bad it must be for family in Maine and Massachusetts. Hopefully, they are staying inside and are warm and toasty.

We may head to Los Algodones tomorrow, but will see how Kathie is feeling.  She was feeling cold while we were warm in the RV tonight, so we are hoping she isn’t coming down with something.

Hope you are dry, warm, safe, and happy!

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1140 – Moving On

Leaving Q & Q

The weather forecast stated that rain was on it’s way to the area on Monday, so we figured we had better get out of Quartzsite on Sunday to try to beat the storm.  Pulling the RV in wind and rain is no fun, and we are a little challenged right now, since we need to pull both our RV and Kathie’s rental.  The rental is too large to tow with the Honda, so that means we have two vehicles, two trailers, but only one winning combination!

The first order of business for the day for me was to complete job applications for the sugar beet harvest this Fall.  A company called Express Employment Professionals hires workcampers to help with the sugar beet harvest in Minnesota and North Dakota each year.  The work can be completed in 2 – 4 weeks, and the money is supposedly very good.  It is another example of utilizing a transient workforce to supplement the locals during peak season.  See http://sugarbeetharvest.com/ for more information.  We figured that it would be better to get our applications in now, since they had a booth right next to Amazon’s at the Big Tent.  So, it was off to the tent for me.

Meanwhile, David and Kathie took the trash, sofa bed frame, and mattress to the transfer station just outside of Quartzsite.  Then, they filled up the truck with $2.69/gallon diesel and returned to get the rigs ready to travel.

After I dropped off the applications, I said goodbye to Pamela (the leader of the Amazon Camperforce program) and stopped for a quick chat with Barb, another Camperforce worker from our last two years in Fernley.  She is a fellow vegan, and she had been working in the parking area for the Show.  That task was ridiculously boring, so she switched to working for a vendor in a booth selling Bloody Mary mix spices and a fishing tool that tied knots.  I am not sure how these two are related, but I wasn’t paying attention, either.  I should have grabbed a bag of the mix while I was there – I thought I would get back before we left town, but I didn’t, so I missed out.  But at least I got a sample of the non-alcoholic Bloody Mary, and it was exceptionally tasty.

I filled the Honda up with $1.99/gallon gas, and reunited with David and Kathie at the campsite.  We hooked up our trailer to the truck, and the Keane siblings travelled in the Ford while I followed in the CRV, as shown in today’s, you guessed it, featured photo.

Imperial Dam LTVA was the intended destination.  Once we arrived there, David went to the dump station to empty our tanks, and then moved to the water station to fill up with fresh water.  Kathie and I took the CRV to locate our parking spot, which turned out to be the same one that we parked in last year, across the “street” from the lovely Anna and Louis Hausleitner.  We are in the Florida Flats neighborhood once again.  After a quick bite to eat, David and I left Kathie, Hobbie, the CRV and the Hitchhiker, and headed back to Quartzsite for the rental trailer.  Before we picked up the trailer, we stopped at Barry and Carole’s rig to get a hug goodbye (and to check out the new, beautiful, Pergo floor they put in their Class A).  I also was promised a beer and an extended visit in Imperial Dam in February.  I will hold them to it!

David and I hooked up the trailer (my first time backing up to a trailer to connect).  Boy, did that backup camera come in handy!  I never could have done it blind.  It was just about dark, and we still needed to drive back to the LTVA.  So, our goodbyes with Roy and Linda were quick, and then it was down the rode we rolled.  It looked a bit like this: https://goo.gl/maps/1uXNl

We were treated to a beautiful mix of colors, but I didn’t get a picture.  When we arrived home, Kathie surprised us with a lovely dinner of brown rice and a kale/onion/garlic saute.  I was so appreciative to have a hot dinner ready at 8:30 pm after a day of running around.  I am one lucky girl!

The storm rolled in pretty quickly, and it got cold, so I headed to bed without much thought.  What a day!

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1139 – Winding Down in Q

Desert Bar

Saturday, Jan 24 was our last assigned day to work for Amazon at the Quartzsite booth.  David and I leisurely  ate our breakfast oatmeal, visited with his sister Kathie, and then stepped outside to say goodbye to one of the remaining Hitchhiker couples that were leaving shortly.

The tent had a completely different vibe than it did on our first three work days.  I don’t know if it was because the show was winding down or what, but people were just WEIRD,  hard to read, disinterested, challenging…I could go on, but you get it.

The hours dragged a bit, and we were very happy to scoot out when our shift was over.  Upon arrival back at our home, David hopped on the internet to research his latest idea: swapping our RV fridge for a Residential fridge.  I look forward to his blog post on this one!

While we busied ourselves at the Big Tent, Kathie had her own adventure with Joel from the Escapees SOLOs (the Singles Club).  He is a nice guy who lost his wife 6 years ago, and has already taken Kathie to a dinner with the group.  Today, he wanted to take her to the Desert Bar, which is shown in today’s featured photo.  A trip to the Desert Bar has been on my list, so I am glad that Kathie got to go.  (To read about the bar, go to TheDesertBar.com)  She was not only treated to dancing and socializing, but she also got a tour of Parker and points along the Colorado River.  She seemed to really enjoy her day, and was home before dark, like a good girl.

We topped the day off with a campfire with the last remaining couple from the gathering, Roy and Linda from Alberta, Canada.  They are a kick, and we really enjoy our time with them.

Tomorrow looks to be a travel day, so I best be getting to bed.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1138 – Pow Wow

Passing Time Line

Today, Kathie and I went to the Quartzsite Improvement Associations’s annual Rock and Gem Show with Minerals (http://www.qiaarizona.org/POWWOW-Show.html).  It was basically a flea market of stand after stand, table after table, of rocks.  You can get an idea for the level of excitement this venue produced by studying today’s featured photo.  As you can see, these gentlemen are fighting hard to keep their composure.

Now, I really don’t know rocks, but some of them were quite beautiful.  Others were not so pretty.  Some booths had jewelry that was very well made, and were interesting in how they used rocks and stones.  But it really was some place that I only need to visit once.  It was nice to walk around outside, although it was a tad cold at times.  After a couple of hours of browsing, we moved on to Tyson Wells to find some lunch.

Tyson Wells is another area that resembles a flea market, and it was packed with people today.  This is across the street from the Big Tent, and since it was lunch time, I really should not have been surprised by the sea of humanity and lack of parking.  We finally lucked into a spot, and I was thankful to have the Honda CRV to drive around down there.  It is so much easier to park than the Ford.

Lunch was a fish taco for Kathie, and a veggie taco for me.  There may have been a County Fair Cinnamon roll for dessert.  Once we finished eating, we thought we might browse the stalls of the market, but decided to return to the RVs instead.

David was very busy while we were out.  He dismantled the sofa bed mattress and mechanism from the sofa, and had the mattress outside, ready to go to the landfill.  The frame was a bit more of a handful, so he was waiting for me to help take it outside.  Both of these pieces will be disposed of on Sunday at the landfill.

We had decided to remove the bed portion of the sofa because it was not comfortable to sleep on, and we have an air mattress for guests to use instead.  By ditching the mechanism, we save weight, and by adding storage containers in its place, we utilize the space.  This is what it used to look like:

Sofa Bed
Sofa Bed

I haven’t taken a picture of the new space, but will post that tomorrow.

We also spent a bit of time chatting with Hannah.  It was her first call from England, and she sounded pretty tired.  It was wonderful to hear how she was getting on, and all of the things she has done in just two short days in the UK.  She now has bedding and a coat appropriate for the weather, and is adjusting.  As expected, her biggest challenge is finding food.  She is going to have a rough time of it, trying to maintain her vegan lifestyle, but she seems determined.

Once we wrapped up the call with Hannah, David and Kathie went for a walk to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.  I walked over to the Monaco group to visit our friends Carole and Barry Read.  They arrived yesterday, and I will have to get a picture with them before they leave.  They are another fun couple that we met at Amazon in 2013.

The sunset was once again amazing.  Don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself:

Another AZ Sunset
Another AZ Sunset

The colors just don’t come through completely in this phone picture.  This was taken from Barry and Carole’s parking spot.

Dinner consisted of leftovers and watching part of the Australian Open action.  David worked on researching the feasibility of using a residential refrigerator with our solar power system, while Kathie and I searched the internet for rental properties that compare to hers. If you know of anyone who is looking for a wonderful place to rent this summer, send them here: http://www.theislandagency.net/rentaldetails.php?rental_id=42&id_item=38

Tomorrow is another Amazon workday for us, and Kathie is going to join back up with Joel of the Escapees Solo group for a trip to the Desert Bar.  I am sure she will have a dandy time!

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1137 – Big Tent Day

Rando Ice Cream Dude

Many of the assembled Hitchhikers departed today, and we are now down to 4 rigs.  It is strangely empty now, with three couples at the campfire tonight.  David is still out there, as we “speak”, likely talking solar water heaters or some new project.

The day started with a lot of goodbyes to the people who were heading on to their next stop.  Some were going to sticks and bricks, some to their home “parks”, and some others, on to wherever the wind takes them.  Speaking of wind, it was cold and breezy this morning, so everyone was bundled and didn’t linger long.

Once we got a good frost on, David, Kathie and I decided to go for a walk. We happened upon the rig of a couple that David and I really enjoyed talking with at the Amazon booth a couple of days ago.  They have a custom built truck which carries their two Harleys, as well as a very large Montana 5th wheel.  We spent 15 minutes or so with them, then hurried back home to have some breakfast, shower, and head to the big Tent.

It was past noon when we finally go into Quartzsite.  We met up with our friend Linda, who we have not seen since the passing of her husband John. (Well, we did see her briefly the other day when we were at work, but that didn’t count.) She is one of our favorite people that we have met on the road, and it was good to see her again.  She brought her 8 month old puppy, Hope, with her to the tent.  The four of us walked around and decided that the tent was just too full of people avoiding the wind, so we headed out.  As we walked the perimeter, we saw this guy who was really enjoying his ice cream cone.  The line for these cones is always long, regardless of how cold it is outside.  And that explains the feature photo of the day!

Kathie and I shared an Indian Taco, David lost us for a bit, we found out that we have one more day (Saturday) of work at the Amazon booth, and we were done with the tent.

The La Posa South LTVA has water, sewer and garbage drop, so we headed there to fill up the containers in the back of the truck.  We don’t drink this water, but we use it for everything else.  The drinking water was refilled at the Salt Free Water kiosk, and then we headed back home.

Kathie had a note on her door reminding her that she had a dinner date at 4:00 pm at the Solo’s.  Of course, we got home around 5:30, so that was a bust.

Dinner tonight was a vegan Cornbread Casserole:

  • 15 ounces diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  • 15 ounces kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) raw sugar (optional)
  • ¾ cup nondairy milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

Note: Any bell pepper will work here, but green bell peppers will provide the most authentic experience since they are a key part of the “holy trinity” in Cajun cuisine.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a square 8 or 9-inch baking pan or casserole dish.
Drain tomato juices into a skillet and chop tomatoes into smaller pieces, and set aside.
Add water as necessary until a thin layer of liquid covers the skillet.
Sauté onion, celery, garlic and bell peppers over high heat until onions are translucent, bell peppers are tender and all of the water has evaporated, about 4 minutes.
Turn off heat and mix in Cajun Seasoning, tomatoes and kidney beans, stirring to combine, and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk cornmeal, baking powder, salt and additional Cajun Seasoning if desired (several dashes so the flour looks speckled when stirred). You can also add 1-2 tablespoon(s) of sugar for a sweet cornbread topping. Then stir in nondairy milk and applesauce. It should be thick, but spreadable like hummus and not dry.
Pour bean mixture into your baking dish and pat down firmly with a spatula. Spread cornbread mixture on top and bake 30-35 minutes, or until the cornbread is a deep golden, cracked and firm to the touch. Let sit out for about 15 minutes before serving (it continues to firm as it cools). Serve with hot sauce, such as Tabasco, on the table.

And that has now brought us full circle for the day.

Oh, and one last item from today: David and I accepted a positions at the Bar Harbor KOA Oceanside/Woodlands for the summer season. (http://koa.com/campgrounds/bar-harbor-oceanside and http://koa.com/campgrounds/bar-harbor-woodlands) We are very excited to get a chance for our first job at a campground, and for it to be in the KOA system. Now you will HAVE to come see us this summer!

I’m glad we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1136 – Recovering in the Q

Sunset Wednesday

Our little gathering of Nuwa Hitchhiker RV’s has blossomed.  First, there was just David/Hannah/Hobbie and I. Then, Bill & Elysa.  A day later, Rick & Virgie and Jim & Ginny. Judy & Howard came in their SOB (some other brand), and rightfully parked behind our group.  And then, with the end of the Blythe Bluegrass Festival, a flood of HH’s (Hitchhikers) came: Jeff, Debbie, Randy & Sharon, Sallie & Mike,…it probably topped out at 12 rigs.  That doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when I look at the count of the rigs at the Escapee’s Boomerville – 113 as of yesterday!

What this does equate to is fun talks, a little wine around the campfire, catching up with where everyone has been since we last gathered in 2014, and the guys getting together to talk solar, LED, propane heaters, etc.

This socializing was interrupted today by 20-25 mph wind gusts.  Even when it is 65-70 degrees, no one wants to be sandblasted around the chat circle.  So, there weren’t too many people out today.

David and I had a busy morning.  We had a job interview with a campground in Bar Harbor, Maine at 7:30 am AZ time.  It was tough to get up and not sound croaky.  All of the talking we did at the booth for 3 days straight left us both a little raspy, and then we were chatting with Kathie from the moment we picked her up, until we went to bed.  So, I had barely enough time to make some chai tea and get the phone plugged in and the interview started! That was a one hour 45 minute interview! I had no idea it would go so long, and it was a positive experience, but wow! We came out of it with the ball in our court, and offered a job for the summer.  We have some thinking to do, that is certain.

After that, it was the usual morning routine – oatmeal, coffee, visit with the neighbors, etc.  We found out that Kathie froze in her little trailer – not enough blankets for the drop to 46 degrees last night. And her smoke detector went off around 1:30 am because it needed a new battery.  Poor thing.  She was already sleep deprived and off her game after having a full day of travel.  An afternoon nap was on her agenda!

We were expecting another call from a second potential summer employer, but we didn’t have a set time.  This made us want to stay near the rig, so we started cleaning and organizing.  After having Hannah here for a month, we definitely needed to put things back into their place, and to load her car up with the items she left behind.  A trip to her storage unit in San Diego will occur before we head to Texas/Tulsa sometime in April. But for now, life is tidy and organized once again.

A buddy we made at Amazon, Mike, was camping with the Escapee’s Solos group, who happen to be parked near by.  As you can imagine, the Solos are people who travel as individuals, either by design or choice.  Mike and his friend Joel walked over to meet Kathie and to take her back with them to show her their set up and gathering.  The wind was keeping most of their lot inside as well, but Kathie got to have a nice walk and a visit with RV’ers, who really are very social creatures.  I did feel like I was sending a lamb off to the wolves, though.  I could tell that both men were jockey for Kathie’s attention.  She was the belle of the ball.  She came back, took her nap, and ended up going back over there for their group dinner.

We had our second interview of the day, and were VERY excited about the opportunities presented to us.  I can’t say more until I make some phone calls tomorrow.  Then you will be excited with us!

Dinner was flatbread pizza – yes, I call it pizza regardless if it is or not, you pizza aficionados.  I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat lavash bread as my base. Mixed chopped garlic in tomato sauce, and smeared it all over the bread.  Topped it with spices, mushrooms, kale, freshly made caramelized onions (thanks for the suggestion, Sharon!),  sundried tomatoes, olives, and nutritional yeast.  It was yummy! Sorry, no pictures, as we ate it before I remembered to take a snap.

I also missed the sunset since I was cooking, so I stole this sunset picture from the facebook page of the Escapees Boomers.  Photo credits to Mike Clouse, whoever you are.

And before I wrap this up, let me tell you that Hannah arrived safely, and was greeted by the University of Sunderland welcome wagon. She has six flatmates: two guys from Germany, one guy from Australia, one guy from France, one girl from New York, and one girl from Georgia.  She has her own bedroom, but I don’t know what the restroom setup is.  We are communicating through the “What’s App” application so far.  Tomorrow is her first day of orientation, and since she is 7 hours ahead of us, her day is done when ours is starting, so there should be time for a nice chat each day or two.

For us, tomorrow will be a day of exploring Quartzsite with Kathie.  We hope to meet up with our friend Linda, too.  Should be a lovely day!

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1135 – Brilliant Skies

Never Gets Old

As we drove back from Phoenix tonight,  we were treated to an amazing sunset.  And it was just what I needed.

Today has been long,  emotional,  and comforting.

It started off with breakfast with Hannah,  and all of us loading up into the Beast (our Ford F350 dually) and heading to the airport in Phoenix, roughly 2 hours away.  But first, a “I’m off on a grand adventure” pic of Hannah in the morning light:

image
England Bound

I did check flight schedules, and Hannah’s flight from Dallas to London was delayed to the point that she would miss her connection from London to Newcastle. Rather than leave London at 8:40 am, she will now have to wait until 15:50 (3:50 pm) – which makes for a very long day. Hope she is able to sleep on the plane.

We had about 2 hrs between dropping Hannah off and picking up David’s sister, Kathie, who was flying in to join us from Maine.  So, as I was feeling uberly out of sorts, I found the nearest Einstein Brothers Bagels to feed my sorrows.

Then, we ran to Walmart to do some grocery shopping, and back to the airport to pick up Kathie.

Next, we took Kathie to Trader Joe’s, which was a new experience for her,  one of many “firsts” that she will have over the next two weeks.

We then went to the far reached off Phoenix to pick up her rental trailer.  It is a little dirty and used on the inside,  but we hope she will find it comfortable. Here she is with her rental home on wheels.

image

As we drove back to Q, we witnessed the most amazing sunset.  I tried to capture it in the photo that begins this post,  but it really could not be captured.

Upon our arrival at  the Q and Q, we got Kathie’s bed made,  and then ate a quick meal.  I will have to look up the wine that I bought at TJ’s…it was spectacular.

Hannah is still out there flying,  but I need to sleep. We have a summer job interview over the phone bright and early, so I can’t stay up to watch her flight online.  I am sure she will be fine.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy