Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sandy is on the Mend

I've mentioned it a few times in the last 2 weeks that Sandy was suffering from a sinus problem. Well yesterday, we bit the bullet and took her to the ER at the hospital in Parker. At the nurses check her in, I was pleased to see that she had no fever and that her blood pressure was normal. The end result was that they prescribed an antibiotic plus a cough syrup to cut down the coughing. Both seem to be working and last night, Sandy enjoyed a long nights rest. It was so nice for her that she bounded out of bed at 5 AM saying that she just couldn't sleep any more. So guess who else also was up?

Anyway, it is nice to have her on the mend. I'm still the chief dishwasher, which I'd be happy to pass back to her at any time.

The rally that we attended this week ended Thursday night and most of the rigs left yesterday. However, there are enough rigs left so that we're by no means lonely here. Several have told us that they are here until the middle of next week. Why not? The price is right, and we're away from the road noise and best of all, our parking area is like a dead end road. So there is very little dust. Of course, since the rain, the dust level is much lower. One thing we've noticed on our walks is that there is green stuff beginning to grow. It won't be long before the ground will have a greenish tint to it. However, I doubt that we'll be here long enough to see any desert flowers blooming. Some day I'd like to see a Saguaro in full bloom.

Some time next week, we'll pull out of this site. The timing partly depends upon our tank capacities. We still have fresh water and there has been space in the gray and black tanks. When one of the three hits the limit, it will be time to move

This afternoon, I went to the antique car show at the tent and checked out the flea market area again. The cars were nicely polished, mostly old cars that were souped up with bigger engines, etc. My own opinion was that it didn't rate a visit. Yes, they are proud of their work but no, I'm not interested. In the flea market area, I visited with a couple vendors briefly. There has been a moderate amount of traffic, but getting people to part with their money is very difficult. It won't go down as one of their better years!

With that, it is bedtime for me also. (Thank goodness it isn't snowing like it is in the east.)


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Rally ends

Here it is Thursday evening and we're all but wrapped up another very successful rally. This rally was about/for those involved in the new hobby called Geocaching. I know folks did it, I just didn't know how rabid ordinary retirees could be about being a geocacher. They are almost worse than kids.

For those that don't know what geocaching is all about, it has two parts, the cache owner who hides the cache and posts the location on a web site called and the hunters who read the web page and go looking for the cache. Doesn't that sound exciting? But it gets even better. The cache may not even contain anything but a marker of some historical geological event. Or it may contain a box which contains what may appear to be useless trinkets And the list goes on and on.

I was not out prowling the highways and byways for the many caches here in the Quartzsite area although I did go looking for (and found) the caches near the rally parking that served as a test case for all of us. I should also say that the hidden cache may not be something the size of a breadbasket. They showed us demonstration containers the size of a fountain pen cover. These small caches are referred to as micro caches. And the list goes on and on.

I did think of two places in my old home town that could use a cache. One is in the city library. Caches have been hidden in libraries in a book with a false set of hollowed out pages. Obviously, this needs the permission of the librarian. The end result of locating a cache is that it brings people into the area. Many caches are located off road on trails that people wouldn't other wise go on. My second candidate cache location is the cemetery where Eugene Ely is buried. Mr. Ely was the first flier to land and successfully take off from navy ship. (It was dead in the water and Ely's plane barely made it, with his wheels hitting the sea water for a few moments.)

Sandy continues to cough and she has finally agreed to visit the emergency room in Parker Friday morning (if she isn't better). It has now been 15 days of coughing and some folks will probably feel that it is “about time”! (In the mornings, she always tells me she feels better. But by nightfall, you wonder about her.)

We're doing well on the desert. We have now gone almost a month using solar to generate our electricity and have never run the generator to bring the battery up to par. Our biggest improvement has been the amount of LED lights we are now using to light up our living room. It is a bit dark to read by, but it is great for working on the computer. LED lighting does not use near the power of an incandescent lamp. There are some newer more powerful LED assemblies now available and when the price becomes a little bit more into our price range, I shall have me some of them.. In the meantime, I have several first generation lamp assemblies that will serve us well. I should say that we also have not used the TV.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Geocaching 101 in the Desert

Geocaching 101 in the Desert

The weather has improved considerably here on the desert since the last blog on Thursday. (Others would say that it was an outstanding solar day for charging our batteries.) The Amateur Radio rally is over and we have also moved to a new location, about a half mile west of where we were. This group is into Geocaching. I thought I knew a little bit about geocaching until I listen to these people start talking. Suddenly, I'm back to square one. I guess that is why we're here.

Sandy continues to nurse her sinus problem that seems to have turned into an upper respiratory something. She does a lot of low volume hacky coughing. Today we went grocery shopping and she bought a different cough syrup, so maybe that will help. I didn't confirm with her, but I also bought some medication that ought to help her coughing (80 proof). Almost as good as white lightening.

For groceries today, we drove over to Blythe, CA, which is just across the river into California. Like so many small towns across America, Blythe is also struggling to hold on. They do have an outstanding Albertson's grocery store. On the way back, we stopped at the local Flying J to top off our fuel tank in the Saturan. We have never been by that place when there was no line and today was no exception. Fuel is about 10 to 15 cents cheaper than in California and most long haul drivers take this last opportunity to top off the tanks.

We have new batteries in our GPS, so perhaps tomorrow we'll learn more about what it is that we came for.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rocking and Rolling in the wind

We arrived at the Amateur Radio Quartzfest site yesterday morning and promptly got ourselves parked. There are over 125 registered hams here, which is a reasonably large number. We attended one seminar in the PM entitled, “Pic-axe.” it is a micro-controller on a PC board especially designed for experimenters. It is programmable via an RS 232 port and supposedly lots of support is available free. Just my idea of a deal.

Last night, we ended up with two seminars, one on the nuclear test site north of Las Vegas and the second on LED lights. I was floored that they actually give public tours of the nuclear testing site. It is somewhat restricted, with a large form to fill out, but very interesting. I wish I could see it.

The LED seminar was by the same lady that visited our WIT group on Tuesday. This time it was outside so we could see her display etc. Yes, I wish I had some of her lights, but the price scares me. Eventually, the wind and cold chased all of us away. (Since it was outside, she could use her display board built into her van.).

Today was the real deal. It rained most of the night, so immediately any thought of going into Quartzsite was debatable because of water over the road. But eventually a good radio operator told us that the road was open. So Gene went to town for some medications for Sandy. She is still fighting the sinus problem that appears to have turned into more of a cold. She was up last night (or this morning) with a severe cough. We finally got her settled down in the easy chair and plenty of blankets around her so that I could get back to bed. Today, she is better. The test will be tonight.

After I returned from Quartzsite, the weather turned nastier and nastier. We had lots of rain and wind. Eventually we pulled the slides in and hunkered down to ride it out. For the most part, the wind came in from our rear so we were pretty safe. We did hear that 5 semi's were tipped over on I-10 just north of here.

But eventually it also subsided and life is getting back to normal. The wind still blows at a moderate rate. This afternoon, a local weather nut measured 62 mph gusts. That is enough. Then the weather channel announces that this corner of Arizona and California may have tornado warnings..So where do we hide if there is a real problem out here? Desert bushes don't offer much protection and the deep washes were full of water! But by 6 PM, it passed us and what a blessing. To all of our friends and relatives east and north of here, be ready, this is a bruiser of a storm. Notice how California has been hammered in the last couple of days.

Okay, this is a bit longer than desired!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Weather has Turned against Us!

The sunny and beautiful southwest just let us know that it can be nasty at times. Yesterday, we canceled an outdoor potluck here at our gathering because of high winds. Well, today we had to cancel it again because of really high winds that included rain. Okay, we can't win them all.

One thing that we didn't cancel was an LED light demo. We moved it into our rig. Okay it was a bit crowded, but a lady came out this noon and asked Sandy if she could demo some LEDs. Sandy agreed that she could since I'm very much interested in LED lights. (I was looking at the LEDs in the tent booths this noon.)

This gal had several LED assemblies and put on an impressive demo. We plugged some of the assemblies into sockets in our rig and al-la, there were some bright lights. She in a nice way said that the assemblies I had recently acquired were of the first generation technology while her items ere second or third generation. The difference is that my assemblies use the typical round LED, whereas her assemblies use little square wafer LEDs. She claimed that the devices actually have three LEDs in each square device.

Yes, there were a couple of her items that I'd really would like to have until she told us the price--about $40 a piece. I thought it was a bit steep. After she left, I found a couple of items via eBay and they were about $20 per item. Better, but not what I was looking for. I'll keep looking.

The sports show tent here at Quartzsite was again jammed with people. It didn't take me long to make a quick pass and leaving. There were about 4 or 5 vendors showing LED lamps and all were the same, using the square LEDs. And they were not cheap either. So we'll stick with what we have for a while, it works.

Tomorrow is moving day. We're going to do some house keeping (dump and refill the water tank) and then move to the south side and join the amateur radio group for 4 days. They are hosting a seminar on micro processor controllers just for tinkerers plus Wednesday night a seminar on LED lights. Both items very much appeal to me.

Sandy has been nursing a persistent cough and sinus headache for 5 days now. She is on the mend, but not as fast as she'd like. I'm doing fine. She is also getting tired of being in the rig, which will be home for another 3 days until this weather front moves on east. For you easterners, look out, it has really rocked LA and we've seen more wind and rain than most can remember for this area.

But life goes on. Enjoy it.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Noon, Jan 16, 2010

We have finished about 10 days on the desert and all seems to be going well, almost. Two days ago, we attended a SKP function in the afternoon where about 200 people were. The end result is that Sandy developed a sever sinus problem, which we think is a result of being in the wind (light) and the dust. Any way, for the last 2 days, she has been a real couch potato! She hasn't run any races today, but she appears to be better.

We have 5 Winnebago rigs here this morning. Two others left earlier for a park in town, softies. The area here is amply filled with RVs. We could problem double the number that is here without really crowding anyone, if they would all park reasonably.

We normally have been boondocking with other like minded boondockers, most of which have solar or a very small generator. Today, we find ourselves as members of a group, where no one has solar and the generator is fired up at the drop of a hat. I guess I'm showing my age, but I don't like the sound of a generator (unless it is mine!) This morning, it was sever overcast, so we decided it was not even a poor solar day, so we fired up the generator (for Sandy's benefit) this morning for an hour. In so doing, we now have the batteries fully recharged, plus the sun is out, so with all of that extra power available, we fired up a small inverter, just running the two computers and the wireless module. Life is much better now.

For the last 3 days, we have been getting a very short email from daughter Beth who (on short notice) is in Paris on a business trip. It sounds exciting until she laments that they have been meeting from 9 AM to 10 PM, in the hotel at the airport. You don't get to see many sights that way. (I remember those days well and am happy to see someone else doing it.) She is intending to take one day off before she returns to the U.S.A. She has been working Wednesday through Saturday, she is touring Sunday before returning home. What happened to having the weekend off? It is called dedication!

Before the word-smith police get after me, I'd better wrap this one up!

Life has been good to us here in the desert!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

One Week on the Desert

We have survived one week here in the desert and all is going well. We have located some of the other group are at and in the last 2 days, they have added numerous RVs to their group. We have moved slightly so that we're where the Winnebago group decided to hunker down at. Yesterday evening we joined them for a long social hour and then at 7:30, I went out for a chat a round the fire. The fireside chat didn't last long, as a very stiff wind, predicted to be 40 to 45 mph came up. At that wind speed, it is not rational to have a fire either, so it was doused and all retired to the comfort of their motorhome.

Yesterday afternoon, we attended the Escapee's afternoon social hour and we must have had 200 to 300 people there. We met lots of friends and everyone seemed to be in a happy mood. Why not, it was sunny, no wind, and a delightful Arizona day.

The wind has been blowing all day out of the NW. It is supposed to continue through tomorrow and maybe into the weekend. Now they are saying that the first two weeks of January and the next two weeks will be just the opposite. So it goes, I guess.

Life could be worse.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Night on the Desert

Blog Saturday night

It is so peaceful and quiet out here on the desert, one almost feels like the world has stopped functioning. Sandy had some sinus problems a couple of days ago, but that seems to have corrected itself.

We have now been on the desert 4 days and we seem to be managing our power consumption very well. At least there has been no need for the generator yet. But to do this, we have lowered our TV use to zero and limited the computer use to an hour in the AM and about 4 hours in the evening.

Our power use dropped considerably once I installed 4 LED lamps in the small fixtures such that we don't use the primary overhead florescent any more. I have additional LED lamps, but our fixtures are not equipped with MR16 sockets. If we were someplace where I had access to a lath, I could make my own fixtures, as I already have the MR16 pin sockets.

As we read about the weather in Iowa and the east, Sandy and I give thanks that we're in southern Arizona (which isn't that warm at night).


Friday, January 8, 2010

It is so Peaceful and Quiet out here!

We've now been here two nights and loving it. It is so peaceful and quiet, one has to wonder if the world stopped turning. We have plenty of solar power, but not enough that I run our power hog TV. So other than the news online, we are isolated. What I don't miss are the advertisements, which the networks continually increase the number there of.

Sandy had a sinus problem last night and I was up 3 or 4 times to give her a pill or a back rub. It was a bad headache and I need to see if that is an H1N1 symptom. She is fine today, other than tired.

We've met some of our neighbors, the closest is about 200 yards away. We can handle that.

Today I went to Q for some RO water and on the way, we stopped at the Arizona Trust Lands, where I've seen RVs parked. At the fence, the warning signs are pretty blunt “No trespassing”. Well, we talked to one of the guest there and it is legal. Arizona has a program where you can buy a $20 permit that allows unlimited parking on Trust land for a year. No organized groups. Also, no 14 days and you're out. We may look into it for future years. The nice thing about it, it is across the road from the north edge of Quartzsite. Very convenient.

I see that this is approaching one computer screen's worth, so before the editorial cops get riled up, I'd better call it a day. I thought I had another comment or two to make, but I guess they've flown the coop!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

We've moved to the High Desert

Today was moving day again and out to the desert we went. It is so peaceful and quiet, not even any road noise. We're a quarter of a mile from the road. No coyotes either; I suspect that we're too far from the big city. (Coyotes have found better pickings when they live close to the urban people.)

We spent a week next door to the flea market (really a new stuff market). Sandy even agreed that it was much easier to see the market when she could walk it a little bit at a time. Yes, I spent a little bit of money, but it was all on stuff I needed, wanted or just had to have!

It truly amazes me what people carry to sell. Whether it is tools, kitchen ware, trinkets or RV parts, the vendors cart around a big bag of the stuff.

I was recently chastised by my primary editor (she is about 41) that my blog is too long. This one is shorter. I hope it passes muster!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

We rang in the new year in our usual fashion, catching some shut-eye between the covers. Most relaxing.

We did a few walks around in our area, al-la, in the flea market. Lots of stuff to look at, but not really what I need or want. It is obviously not a new material area, but we've only found two vendors that have any type of LED lights. In other words, it is not a hot item. The other problem is how are you going to judge the amount of lighting in the middle of the day. So far I'm very happy with the lights I've acquired. I have decided that I need to measure the current draw over a range of voltages. The one vendor claimed that units that are rated for 12 volts will pre-maturely age and go dim if subjected to a higher voltage. His lamps were rated for a voltage of 11 to 16 volts, where as my lights are rated at 12 volts even.

The other thing I've noticed here in Quartzsite are the number of “rock, stone, mineral or whatever you want to call it” vendors. Plus most aren't dealing in small stuff. You're talking about using forklifts and having it on a pallet. Big stuff. What I'm curious about is what do these guys do with their excess? It looks like they have busted it out of the packing containers and disposed of all of the shipping materials, so how do they handle it for the next show? Are there really that many folks that pay good money for a piece of uniquely colored rock? Perhaps, but certainly not me.

On the southeast quadrant of the intersection here is what is called Rice Ranch. This past summer, they installed 200 to 400 new full hookup sites and Guess what? Hardly any of the new sites are being used! What really amazes me is that they haven't reduced the daily or weekly rates. It certainly appears to me that half of something is a lot better than all of nothing. I'm sure happy that I don't have to face my banker on a deal like that. What is obvious is that all of the Quartzsite owners are in it together. The current price everywhere for dry camping is $7 a night. Is that called inflation, going from $5 a night to $7 a night. The bad boy in me says, “I hope they get burned because of their greediness!”

Yes, I'm enjoying the close proximity to the flea market, but I haven't spent a dollar today either. Sandy finally went for a walk at 4 pm, but only after I leaned on her pretty hard that she needed to get out of the motorhome a little bit today.