Day 1146 – International Fun

The day started of with a run with David.  We have this thing where we start off walking, and then after probably 10 minutes, we run intervals.  Now, these are not the intervals of David’s racing years, so I can keep up.  That is one thing about Parkinson’s – it is the great equalizer when it comes to me being able to run with David.  We run for one minute, then walk for two minutes, run for one minute, walk for two minutes…you get the idea.  We do this until we get up to 20 minutes of running.  But we are building up again after being off the pace for a bit, so today we did 10 runs.

We returned to the RV for breakfast, cleaned up, and headed out.  Our goal was to take Kathie to Los Algodones, and to share the little town with her.  My personal goal was to go to Meyer Optical and get a proper eye exam and prescription.  The readers are just not cutting for me, and I know that I need glasses that will address each eye individually.

Along the drive from Imperial Dam to Highway 8, we pass farm fields and groves of date palms.  There is a very popular store that sells date shakes, so we stopped and took a look.

Imperial Date Gardens
Imperial Date Gardens

The date shake is made from dates, vanilla ice cream, and milk.  They had no alternatives, so we passed and Kathie partook.  She “mmmmm’d” all the way through that shake, so it must have been good.

They also had a great deal on lovely medjool dates – 11 lbs for $18.95.  We will return for a box of those shortly.

It was then on to Los Algodones.  We stopped short of the paid parking, and walked in.  The weather was lovely, but windy.

Short Walk to Mexico
Short Walk to Mexico

Kathie has been looking for silver bangles, a hat, and a leather backpack, so those were the items that she was hoping to find.  We stopped and talked with many vendors on the streets, and found some bangles that she really liked.  We didn’t have much luck on the hat or backpack front, and thus made our way to  Meyer Optical.  (Just a quick aside – I have never seen so many mexican blanket backpacks with Seattle Seahawk logos in my life.  The Pats were truly under-represented on the streets of Los Algodones.  Sorry, didn’t take a picture.)

I paid $20 for an exam and to take my prescription with me.  Because Kathie bought her glasses there, her exam was free.  If I choose to return to Meyer in the next month, the exam fee will be applied to whatever I buy.  I am going to compare prices to see if they are the best deal for me, but the frames I liked were only $45, and if I choose to get bifocals, then the lenses start at $70. Kathie’s frames and progressive lens were under $200, and will be shipped to her in Maine.

With the business end of our trip completed, it was time to get a little snack.  As you can see in today’s featured photo, that snack consisted of margaritas and chips.  David got a bottle of water.  I thought the chips and guacamole were a tad pricey ($7.50) but that might be because I am used to Chipotle prices. The $5 margaritas reminded me of the cheap margaritas we used to get in college in Sacramento at that place on Arden Way near Togo’s.  You remember that place, don’t you? (Kico’s Mexican is still there, according to Urban Spoon.  Who knew?)

Siblings
Siblings

We felt like our Mexico experience was properly wrapped up, and we headed out to get in the line at customs to return to our native country.  One more stop at one of the liquor stores to see what all of the fuss was about – and they have tequila tasting in the store! I tried a coffee flavored tequila, and  an almond tequila.  That one could be deadly because it tasted just like a La Bou almond croissant.  I am heavy on the Sactown references today, aren’t I? Settled on a bottle that was probably just as cheap in the US, but I was happy, and THEN to the customs line we went.

Except that there was no line.  3:30 pm, and not a soul (or sole) in line! The town was pretty empty, and we had no explanation.  Generally at this time of the day, you would have at least a 30 minute wait to have your passport looked at.

The fine men of US Customs allowed us back into the US, and we then set off to grocery shop in Yuma. (David drove, in case you were wondering.)  The Fry’s on Frontage Road was packed to the gills! It was like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The fine people of Yuma must take this Super Bowl party stuff seriously.

We headed back to the RV’s with yummy goodies, and I made fajitas burritos for dinner, which we ate while watching the Women’s finals of the Australian Open on TV. All of that fun wore me out, and I was in bed by 9 pm.  I know, I am such a lightweight!

Just a couple more days of having Kathie with us, so we are looking to make the most of it.  Can’t wait to see what we do tomorrow!

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

 

Day 1144 – Ghost Mountain

The day started with an early morning goodbye to Linda and Hope, as they were traveling to Tucson, which is about 250 miles from here.

We had our own little travel adventure planned, as we drove Kathie to Anza-Borrego State Park.  This is where we have spent many days hiking and exploring, and we really wanted to share this with her.  The weather was a tad overcast and cool, so we thought it probably wasn’t the best idea to hike into Palm Canyon, as we originally had planned.

Instead, we visited the Visitors Center:

Visitors Center
Visitors Center
Top of Center
Top of Center

We read the exhibits, watched a movie, and then walked around looking at the lovely desert plant life.

Bird's Nest in Cholla
Bird’s Nest in Cholla
Expansive View
Expansive View

We then went into the town of Borrego Springs, where we had a lovely lunch at the Red Ocotillo. The lunch was yummy, and I would go back there again.

Our next stop was Ghost Mountain, the home of Marshal South.  “For 17 years, from 1930 to 1947, poet, artist, and author Marshal South and his family lived on Ghost Mountain—a remote, waterless mountaintop that is today within California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Over a period of nine of those years, South chronicled his family’s controversial primitive lifestyle through popular monthly articles written for Desert Magazine.”  (http://www.desertusa.com/desert-people/marshal-south.html)  This was our third visit to the remains of the homestead, and while it is a short one mile climb to the homestead from the parking area, the 3.5 mile dirt road drive is one that I only make when I have the Honda.  The Beast (our F350 dually) is just too big and a really hard ride to go down that road.

Trail Head
Trail Head

The photo at the top of this post (the “Featured Photo”) shows Kathie and I checking out the remains of the homestead.

Home for the South Family
Home for the South Family

Can you imagine raising a family on the top of this mountain, with no running water, sewer, electricity, RV, solar, Amazon Prime….?

It was close to 4 pm when we were on the top of the mountain, so we headed back down.  As we walked, Kathie noticed that the agave leaves showed unique striations that we did not notice on the way up:

Close Up Agave
Close Up Agave

See if you notice them in the wide open view:

Large Plant
Large Plant

The drive home along the Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849, through the town (if you can call it that) of Ocotillo, CA, and back home to the RV was quiet and uneventful.  We talked about the diverse plant life and hard life in the desert, and were happy to settle into our beds after a dinner of a bowl of cereal (Trader Joe O’s for Kathie, a mix of Shredded Wheat and Heritage Flakes for David, and Gingersnap Granola for me).

Here is what our drive looked like: (you can be in awe of my map embedding skills.  It’s OK)

I just might have to sleep in tomorrow, as the rains are coming again.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

Day 1143 – A Little Hope

Today I was bitten by the cleaning bug.  I woke up and started dusting and scrubbing, just getting my little world tidy.  This usually hits when I really should be doing something else – like my mom’s taxes, my bookkeeping, exercise, etc.

David tilted the solar panels to get a little more juice, as we have been a tad cloudy and not getting past 86% charged. He also trimmed some pieces of wood to finish the sofa project.  Kathie enjoyed a leisurely morning of vacation time, and we were all pretty much in our own routine until lunch.

After our lunch salads, David and Kathie went on a hike through the gorge that is right here by our campsite.  I was going to do some sorting, and then hit the internet for the latest version of Turbo Tax and start gathering tax forms from various places.  I feel guilty being online or working on my “stuff” when we have guests!

As David and Kathie were walking away, in pulled our friend Linda and her dog, Hope, in their class C.  We visited with Linda briefly in Quartzsite, and she is on her way to Tucson to stay with some Silverton, CO friends of hers.  We were so happy to see her, and Hope came right inside our trailer, and Hobbie was totally chill about it.   Which is a good thing, since Hope jumped right into Hob’s empty bed, as you can see in today’s photo!

I can’t tell you much about David and Kathie’s hike – I will have to steal some of the photos from their adventure, and may get David to write about the hike in his own post.

But I had a lovely visit with Linda, and once the adventurers returned, we headed down to the showers at Squaw Lake.  With three of us, this is the best way to get clean and still conserve water and limit the dump station runs!

Linda joined us for dinner, and we had a truly lovely time.  Of course, dinner consisted of the leftovers from last night, and we pretty much polished off the lemon pie, too!

We will get up early in the morning and head out on a field trip to Borrego Springs tomorrow.  We are looking forward to sharing one of our favorite places with Kathie.

 

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

Day 1142 – Hiking and Good Food

What a day!

I woke up with a great need to get moving, and we all wanted to explore the trails around us. After breakfast, David led Kathie and I on his favorite “loop” near the base of the Chocolate mountains.  It took us a little over two hours, but it was lovely.

The leaves are popping on the ocotillo
The leaves are popping on the ocotillo

The rains, of which we have now seen more of than in our previous years combined, are helping the desert floor start to bloom.  The spring flowers are going to be amazing!

Following the Trail
Following the Trail

After I saw this picture that Kathie took, I felt compelled to buy some hiking shorts.

Burros
Burros

We were treated to a couple of burro sightings.  This little guy was being guarded by Mom pretty tightly.

Beautiful Skies
Beautiful Skies

See, I told you it was a lovely day for a hike!

We returned just in time for lunch, and really enjoyed our salads.  It felt so good to get out after the rains and see how the desert is doing.  I will certainly take that walk again.

After lunch, we all went to do our own thing.  Kathie set up on a lawn chair and did some sketching.  David started stacking rocks around our campsite, as well as setting up our solar lights.  The area is rocky, as you can see, and he tried to level out the area around our door to eliminate tripping hazards.

Bill and Elyse, a lovely couple that we meet each year at the Hitchhiker gathering in Quartzsite, gifted us with about 10 pounds of fresh lemons from their neighbor in Mesa, AZ.  I decided to use some of these to try my hand at a vegan lemon pie.  And I am glad that I did.

I ended up having one of the most successful cooking days ever!  By the time the dust settled, I had made a lemon pie and a soup for dinner that was just out of this world.  The recipes are at the end of the blog today.

The lemon pie came out so yummy and tart, and the Grape-Nut crust was just what it needed.  I will certainly make it again.  I was caught a little short on the cornstarch, so I had to use 1 tablespoon of chickpea flower in its place.  And I went to almost 1 cup of lemon juice, since I wanted it to be extra lemony.

While that was chilling, I went looking for a soup.  I am so glad that I found this recipe for Curried Potato Soup with Corn and Red Pepper.  It was thick and creamy, and really filling as well as tasty.  The picture below is of Kathie’s bowl, which happened to have some white cheddar shavings on the top.

Yes, I spent about 4 hours in the kitchen, but I had some marvelous results to show for it.

Here are the recipes:

Dessert First!

Lemon Pie
Lemon Pie

Grape-Nuts Piecrust
1 – 1 1/4 Grape-nuts cereal, or enough to thinly cover the bottom of a pie plate
2 – 3 Tablespoons frozen apple-juice concentrate (it spoons out quite easily)

Preheat oven 350°
Pour Grape-nuts into a 9 inch pie plate, add apple-juice concentrate, and mix until the cereal is moist but not wet.
Press Grape-nuts up side of pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, until crust nicely browned, watching constantly.
Cool crust in freezer or refrigerator until ready to fill.

Lemon Pie Filling
Recipe adapted by: Susan Voisin (From Fat Free Vegan)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup fatfree soymilk
3/4 cup lemon juice
grated rind of 2 lemons (about 2 Tbsp.)

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in saucepan. Stir in water and soymilk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and slowly add the lemon juice and grated rind. Pour into a fatfree pie crust. Chill.

8 servings: 195 calories per serving (without crust), 0 fat

*Non-Vegan version
*Non-Vegan version

Curried Potato Soup with Corn and Red Pepper

This is a hearty, healthy soup with the added warmth of curry spices.
SERVES 4
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
3 ears corn, kernels removed (about 2 cups)
4 cups Vegetable Stock , or low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 batch No-Cheese Sauce Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 green onions (white and green parts), sliced
½ cup chopped cilantro
Place the onion and red pepper in a large saucepan and sauté over medium-high heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan . Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the potatoes, corn, vegetable stock, and curry powder and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Add the No-Cheese Sauce and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and serve garnished with the green onions and cilantro.

Sroufe, Del; Sroufe, Del (2012-08-14). Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year (Kindle Locations 2204-2219). The Experiment. Kindle Edition.

No-Cheese Sauce
This low-fat sauce makes great Mac and “Cheese” or Baked Ziti . Best of all, it only takes about 5 minutes to put together. It may seem as though this recipe will not work in a blender, but with a little patience it does. If your onions are strong, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes, or sauté them over medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding them to the blender.
MAKES ABOUT 2 ½ CUPS
1 large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons cashews, toasted , optional
1 tablespoon tahini, optional
1 cup nutritional yeast
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order given and puree until smooth and creamy, adding up to ½ cup of water if necessary to achieve a smooth consistency.
VARIATIONS
Use an equal amount of roasted red bell peppers in place of the raw pepper.
Combine the prepared sauce with a jar of store-bought salsa or a recipe of Fresh Tomato Salsa, and use as a dip for vegetables.
Add ½ teaspoon of nutmeg with the salt.

Sroufe, Del; Sroufe, Del (2012-08-14). Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year (Kindle Locations 1020-1034). The Experiment. Kindle Edition.

We topped the day off with more Australian Open tennis, and then called it a very nice day at Imperial Dam LTVA.

I’m glad that we could have this chat,

Nancy

 

Day 1141 – Laundry and Freebies

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

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

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

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

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

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