Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Death Valley Adventures Part 1

From Park Sierra, we drove two days to Death Valley National Park. The largest national park in the lower 48 states, Death Valley offers serene views in every direction. From 200 feet below sea level, the mountains on either side of the valley rise as high as 11,000 feet. The park offers many hikes, natural wonders, and historic places. This was our second visit in three years.

We stayed at a new quiet campground, 200 feet [sea level] above the valley floor.
Just a handful of RV and campers here, mostly due to the prohibition on generators. Our trailer is the longest in the campground, even bigger than the hosts'. All the more apparent with 15 foot travel trailers parked on either side of us. I didn't say that we were the quietest tho, due to the presence of you-know-who's-big-mouth.

We also greeted friends Steve and Sandy one day after our arrival. This is just our latest rendezvous on the road. We have met them at different times in Washington state, California, and Arizona.

The first day, we met two new wannabe fulltimers, Bill and Terri. They were enjoying their maiden voyage in a truck camper. At breakfast, they were talking about learning about liquidating and living on the road, for, as we agreed, "It's a rat race and the rats are winning." Suddenly we were telling them about fulltime RVing and the Escapees Rv club. We may hear from them again.

Then the fun began. The morning of day two, the aforementioned quiet is shattered by a construction crew breaking ground on a new bathroom building. One hundred feet from our RV, we hear the beep-beep of heavy equipment, see the haze of desert dust, and smell diesel fumes. We decide to see how things go on day three.

That afternoon, we learn of a wind storm approaching the park. Two days of blowing dust with wind gusts to 70mph.

Day three we move our RV down away from the construction. Would move to a different campground, but the other ones will likely see worse winds than we will. We pull the slide in, then go out with Steve and Sandy for a nice day at Scotty's Castle and the Furnace Creek [fancy] motel. We return to our RV, which is shaking so badly in the wind that we hitch it up to the truck for added stability. Also want to avoid damage to the newly repaired hydraulic jacks.

"What, you don't have any RV repair dealers in the middle of Death Valley? Or a bus size tow truck?"


Saturday, November 26, 2011

On the Move and In the Groove

Today we departed Park Sierra after a glorious Thanksgiving feast. We shared a meal with 210 of our closest friends.
Well maybe we didn't know a few....

The Park started this community dinner just last year and 160 people showed up. Apparently they liked it, cause they brought their friends and family.

The Park provided turkey, dressing, gravy, and mashed taters for $4 each. Then each person brought a side dish. Picture a 50' table of green beans, sweet potatoes and yams, olives, salads, you name it. Plus a large table of pies, cakes, and pies. Ooof!

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. No fights, no spitballs. And we all cleaned up. Jenna and I helped serve the meal.

Today we drove 250 miles to Inyokern, CA, just outside of Death Valley. Alert readers may recall we tried this same trip last year and were blown off course by a raging storm.

Weather forecast for the next few days - sunny and 80 degrees. Yeah, in December.

Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Report from The Front

Recently I engaged in a fact-finding mission, reconnoitering behind enemy lines. In other words, I was talking with a small group of women. These representatives of their world got around to their usual subject - men. I assumed a Contrarian position.

"Why do men save old copies of Playboy magazine?" one wondered. They all agreed that they knew men with this habit, some intimately, others as acquaintances.

One participant suggested that they [the men] like the pictures. "But really, all those naked women look the same after a while," she said. Others agreed.

No one could posit a better theory tho. And so they turned to me.

I admitted that I had saved the magazines as a teenager, at the bottom of our closet, until my mother apparently found them and silently tossed them in the incinerator. We lived in a one bedroom apartment, so I found no better alternatives. [This harkens back to the days before the Internet, as do many of the readers of this blog.]

I also admitted that I had not saved them as an adult, but still felt qualified to furnish the correct answer.

"No reasons come to mind?"

"Not really."

"All right then," I offered. "I'll reduce this to a multiple choice question."

A. Pictures of naked women.
B. The articles.
C. The cartoons, featuring pictures of naked women.
D. The silverfish that gather among molding magazines.

"The answer," I said, "is A, with C a close second." They all snickered and nodded among themselves, obviously enjoying some secret joke common among their species.

I immediately sent a telegram back to my fellows, telling them not to expect to emigrate from Mars anytime soon.
Find no progress.
The Venusians remain primitive and uncivilized.
Keep the magazines.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Spring Behind, Fall Ahead

Last weekend we set our clocks back one hour to satisfy the 1% elites who want to control every part of our puny lives.  Not content to force the working classes to rise early each day to labor in sweat shops and Walmarts [redundant],  they make the rest of us dance to their tune by changing the time of day every six months.    Have they no decency?

Which is why I'm voting for Herman Cain, a plain spoken tea drinking multi-millionaire.  His 9-9-9 plan guarantees that I can stay in bed until 9am. And go back to bed at 9pm.  And still earn $9 every working day, minus 90% for taxes.  [The 90 didn't sound as good with the three 9s, but you see it in the fine print.]

Has anyone else looked at the 9-9-9 plan while standing on your head?

But I digress.

Conventional Wisdom holds that you gain an hour of sleep on Sunday after adjusting your clock back one hour.

Conventional Wisdom does not live with a dog.  Conventional Wisdom surely does not live with a terrier, or Conventional Wisdom would be called Conventional Idiot.

Only a 1% watch dog can afford a battery-driven atomic-clock-adjusting Internet-checking watch.  A 99% dog must rely on his own internal clock to know when to sleep and when to awake.

Which is why Clancy now gets up at 6AM instead of 7am. 

Which is why I am writing this at 6am.

Which is why I'm going back to bed now.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

News from Park Sierra, our Autumn Roost

Not much to report lately.  Still at Park Sierra. 

Attending weekly community dinners.  Last weekend we all celebrated 20 years since "lot draw" after the senior members of the Escapee chapter in San Francisco built this park out of the forest. 

We saw a slideshow of pictures taken during construction.  Amazing.  About 40 members are still here.  They told of the hard work and fun times on the project.  For which we are all grateful.  Bruce participated in a skit dramatizing the four days when the new members selected their sites.

Jenna has worked with the new Advisory Council to formulate a long term plan for the park.  Also worked on the Election Committee and the Marketing and Promotion Committees.

Bruce contined his efforts on phone and internet systems.  He also proposed the formation of a new Computer Services Committee to maintain the computer hardware and software owned by the park.  And to consider creating a new park wide network.  Which means he will serve as the Chair of that [currently] two person committee.  [In fact the second guy isn't even an official member yet. He's on the waiting list, but has pitched right in.]

We plan to depart after Thanksgiving.  If the weather permits, we stop in Death Valley National Park for five days before returning to Tucson for the winter.