Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Funday Monday and Belgian Chocolate Tea

I figured out how to get a good workout in Water Aerobics, and that's to jog in place double-time rather than following the music. Such a simple thing, and it does the trick. The water felt so good, the sky was blue, and there were about 30 people in the pool for the class. Good times.

Several times a day we walk over to the dog park, which is a very social time. Rarely does it happen that there is no one there. Auggie gets to play with a buddy or two and the humans sit, talk, and watch for bowel activity from their charges. People are very responsible at this campground and I have not seen any unclaimed "presents" left by a dog. This is not always the case at other parks.

On Monday afternoons the park offers root beer floats for a buck, followed by a meeting. Our friends from Kofa and Congress, Judy and Bob, had arrived and sat with us, along with John and Zoe.  We enjoyed the company and the meeting.

I haven't had a root beer float since I was a child, and the memory takes me back to the days of visiting my grandfather. Poppy Jim was a pharmacist in Winsted, CT who owned a pharmacy with a soda fountain. Remember when drug stores sold ice cream and sodas? Whenever we visited Poppy Jim at work we got to sit on a stool at the counter and could order anything we wanted. Happy memories! We felt pretty special.

I love tea, and one of my all time favorites is Belgian Chocolate Tea from MySpiceSage.com. This tea is a rooibos blend with Cacao beans and has no caffeine. Caffeine makes me dizzy so I avoid it.  Years ago I picked up a couple of packages of tea filters from Whole Foods (I can't remember why I needed two packages!) and use them when I make a pot or very large mug of tea. Much neater than a tea ball and super-easy to use. I fold and staple the top to secure it. Have you seen these?

I think today we will go into San Diego and be tourists.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Fun

And the fun never stops! On Saturday morning Bob and I took part in a Pool Aerobics class that got us moving and feeling relaxed. We both agreed that we will do this again. I also took the opportunity for a nice, long shower in the locker room, to take advantage of all that hot water that we weren't using our propane to heat. Lovely! Our shower in the rig is fairly spacious as RV showers go, but we do try to conserve when using it.

After pool and shower time we made a quick lunch before heading out to visit the city of Temecula. We started out in Old Town which is full of Old West buildings and worn wooden planked sidewalks. It's funny, because I associate Texas with the Old West and we saw few preserved old buildings. In Temecula we felt like we were in an old Western movie.
We stopped in to the Visitors Center to chat with the helpful woman there and pick up some ideas of places to visit, coming away with a list of local wineries with wine tastings.

After Old Town we decided to pick up groceries and discovered Sprouts, a local natural food store, where we bought some nice produce. It was next door to a Walmart so our shopping was now complete!
Sunday was lovely and relaxed.  Bob and I took Auggie to sit next to Pond 6 and enjoy the sound of the waterfall.  We had a lovely view of the mountains there, too.
We decided to treat ourselves to lunch out and a wine tasting--when in Rome, right? There are a couple dozen wineries to choose from, so we went with Faulkner Winery, one of the oldest in the region. The setting was just lovely and our table had a nice view of the countryside.

In California they charge for wine tastings, which consist of a pre-determined number of one ounce servings of wine. We each paid $10 for four different tastes. On the east coast we never had to pay for tastings so that was a little odd to us. But we came home with a bottle to enjoy later.

When we returned to the resort Bob and I took a cool dip in the pool, as we were feeling a bit warm. Everyone is a friend here and it is easy to start up a conversation with a total stranger and end up exchanging names. We finished in the hot tub and walked back to our site.

Later we brought out our Little Red Campfire and sat outside as the sun went down, reading, chatting, and enjoying the evening. The stars were out and there were very few insects. Just lovely!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

We Tour Jojoba Hills

There has been so much going on here that I can't wait until tomorrow to write about it! On Friday we took an official tour of Jojoba Hills. Our tour guide, John, was very thorough and answered all of our many questions.

First of all I must start with this shot of the surrounding area.  This is a typical view here. There is a tiny white building at the base of the Paloma Mountains--can you see it? Probably not, because the mountains are so huge and the building is so small.  Maybe you will get some idea of the size of these mountains. Click to embiggen.
John used a golf cart to transport us to the many areas of the park because it is quite large and there are a lot of hills. We see a lot of fit people around here! There is a clubhouse that houses a large dining hall and kitchen, a library with thousands of books videos to borrow, locker rooms with saunas, exercise room, billiard room, card room, mail room, craft room, sewing room, a pool and two hot tubs (one in the sun, one in the shade.)

The heated pool has a fabulous view of the mountains, and I am told that it is a bit surreal to be swimming in it in January when there is snow on the mountains.

We visited the site of Mama and TJ, Jr, two desert tortoises who live at the park. Their owner found a tortoise as a child and painted his initials on the shell. As a young adult he set the tortoise free because he could no longer care for it. Years later, while visiting his old home which had been sold to another couple, the man found his old tortoise and reclaimed him, along with the creature's mate and offspring. While old TJ the tortoise has passed on, his wife and son now live here in a yard enclosed by a stone wall.  They come out for bites of rose blossoms which grow nearby, and will gently take them from your hand.
The park features many waterfalls and ponds, all built and maintained by volunteers. Here is "Viagra Falls"...
...and Pond 6, not too far from the dog park.
This time of year the Aftrican Daisies are in bloom around the park, and they are really lovely.
I cannot get over how friendly the people are at this resort.  We were invited to a dinner on Friday night (no charge to members or guests) of lasagna, sausage, French bread, and dessert.  After our meal we had entertainment consisting of a small band and singer, while we all danced the evening away.  There is quite a large dance floor in the clubhouse.

I didn't take photos of the drawing and ceramic studios, the woodshop and metal shop, the air gun range (set off where the rest of the park can't hear the shooting,) the four pickle ball courts and tennis courts, the boondocking area and free RV storage area for members, or the ranch house complex that houses a kitchen and lounge for the use of all. The amazing part is that there are only a small handful of employees here--the park is maintained by volunteers who do a little bit each week to keep it beautiful. People do what they want to do...some garden, some build structures as needed, some give tours, some teach...

Fascinating place! I am sure we will enjoy our stay here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

We Move to Jojoba Hills

We realize that every traveling day can't be easy and fun. So we took yesterday in stride, even though it was long and difficult.

It started out well. We had everything packed away and were pulling out of our site at 9:30. We filled up our propane tank, refueled with diesel at a nearby gas station, and headed to  California. Unfortunately, my lack of preparation in the planning department rose to bite us in the butt.

Bob and I both have jobs when preparing to get on the road. He handles the outside chores while I handle the inside ones. I'm also the navigator as he usually drives. I've gotten spoiled with easy trips lately; there aren't a lot of road choices, and the GPS just takes us where we want to go. But yesterday there were a lot of choices and most would have been very bad for a 40' motorhome towing a car. Samantha, our Rand McNally GPS (which was already programmed with our rig size) kept trying to take us the fastest way which would have put us on roads with tight corners, switchbacks, and steep hills. The problem was, I was not sure what was the alternative. So we stayed on Rte 8 the whole way, except for when we listened to Samantha and got sidetracked a couple of times before turning around to return to the highway. We ended up adding an extra hundred miles to our trip before all was said and done. We didn't pull into the campground until nearly 4:30.

At one point, faced with signs that warned us of winding roads for the next 79 miles, we u-turned in a farm stand parking lot. The woman at the stand suggested we take Rte 15 north after returning to Rte 8, which ended up being good advice. She looked at our Magic Bus and said, "I could live in that! It's bigger than my house." I smiled and bought some strawberries as a thank-you for the directions.

We felt like we were back in NJ with the highway traffic as we approached 15, and it got worse as we turned north. In Temecula we exited and headed southeast towards the campground on a narrow, winding road with no shoulders and drop-offs at every turn. It was a long fourteen miles to our destination, and as we finally turned off the road a fellow in a pickup truck flipped us the bird while leaning on his horn.

KC the cat had a tough day as well, and had an accident in his carrying case. So he was treated to a "bucket bath" as I dipped his hind end into a bucket of warm water to rinse him off.

But we made it! A couple of friendly Escapees made sure we got into our site and it is beautiful. Our difficult day suddenly took an an about turn as Bob and I sipped a glass of wine by a lime tree next to our seating area.
After a bowl of homemade veggie barley soup with jalapeƱo cheese stirred in (yum!) we walked to the dog park where Auggie got to play and make new friends. The fellow who parked us offered to give us a formal tour of the facilities on Friday afternoon and after that there's an ice cream social, followed by Happy Hour, followed by a dinner, followed by dancing. Wow! This place sure has a lot of activities! I think we are going to enjoy our stay here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Collar for Lily

My sister, Gail, has a Schnoodle named “Lily” for whom I enjoy weaving collars.  I noticed when we were in Texas that Lily’s collar was looking a little worse for wear, so I have been meaning to weave her a new one.

I have been weaving a bit with my Gilmore Inkle Lap Loom lately, having a lot of fun with it, and it was time to design Lily something new and pretty. Lily likes pink, I have  been told, so it had to feature that color. I wanted to accent the pink with black to play off the black in Lily's coat, with a little green for spring.

I came across this, an inkle loom pattern generator, and started playing around with colors and patterns. This is what I came up with:
When designing, enter the number of threads you want your band to be. Then you click on a palette of colors, and click on blocks to fill those colors into your band. The Generator creates a draft for warping. Planning a warp is now easy. I'll be using this again.

And this is how it looks, ready to take off the loom after a few hours of warping and weaving:
It takes just a few minutes to sew the hardware on--I buy inexpensive collars and cut them apart to re-use the hardware. This is much less expensive than purchasing specialty collar hardware by itself. I also recycle the hardware from an old collar at times. I will sew it all together in the next couple of weeks and get it off to Lily to show off to her canine friends.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Going to the Dentist in Mexico

On Tuesday Bob and I went to the dentist.  Since we retired, we have been on a new dental plan.  The kind that pays nothing for anything. So when we heard about inexpensive dental visits to Mexico we thought we would check it out and get our annual cleaning visit done there.
The process is easy if you have a recommendation from someone on where to go.  Our campground friends Judy and Bob recommended a place and gave us a card for them. You simply call the US telephone number, make an appointment, go to Los Algodones, and visit the Tourist Information Center that you have to walk past after you cross the border. The person at the desk makes a call to your dentist and they send a marked car to pick you up and bring you to your appointment so you don't get lost.  Our dental office was about a 5 minutes walk back to the border after the appointment.  We didn't ask for a ride back but I assume they would provide it if you had difficulty walking. Payment is in cash ($45 each cleaning) and everyone speaks English.

Our teeth are clean and shiny now, and the whole process took less time than it would have if we had gone to our old dentist, figuring in travel times.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yuma Territorial Prison

On Monday Bob and I visited the Yuma Territorial Prison, a place that has been immortalised in the film 3:10 to Yuma, and mentioned in many novels about the West.
The prison was in use from 1876-1909, and features a reonstructed guard tower that hovers over the entrance. The tower offers a sweeping view of the Colorado River and the surrounding area.

From here we moved through the Sally Port, an original adobe structure through which prisoners entered and exited the prison.
We met up with our guide, Dave, who was very knowledgeable about the prison and told us stories of ghosts and details of many of the inmates. 

Men and women were incarcerated here, during the 33 years the prison was active. And for many reasons.
Twenty nine women were also imprisoned here across the years. The list of women, their crimes, and time served was very interesting. (Click on the picture to enlarge.)
Two of the most famous female inmates were Elena Estrada and Pearl Hart.

The cells were small and unpleasant, each holding 6 inmates, 6 metal bunks, and a chamber pot on the floor.
The prisoners worked outside all day building and farming, but were encouraged to pursue their own crafts in the evenings. Some wove beautiful hat bands and fobs out of horsehair.

And some knitted.

One place you didn't want to spend any time in was called the Dark Cell. This chamber was dug out of the hill next to the prison and it was almost totally dark inside. During the time that the prison was active it held a large metal cage in which were put inmates who had broken the rules. No toilet was provided. The individuals were stripped down to their underwear, given bread and water once a day, and left in the dark.  The only light came from a small hole in the ceiling through which rattlesnakes occasionally fell. <shiver>
After the prison closed it became the Yuma Union High School for a time; the school's nickname was The Criminals, shortened to the "Crims."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jury Duty

How does one handle a summons for jury duty when on the road? I can tell you how it works if your mailing address is in Livingston, Texas!

It typically takes about a week for our mail to arrive to us after calling for it. We are members of the RV club called The Escapees, and use their mail forwarding service in Livingston, TX. Therefore our address is Livingston, and whenever we are in a place for at least a week we call the Escapees and ask them to send our mail to wherever we are. We are charged an annual fee plus postage for a package full of mail, typically under $5 each time.

So a little over a week ago I called and gave them the address of the park where we are staying.  Our mail arrived Saturday afternoon, and I was surprised to find an Official Jury Summons in the packet. According to the summons I was ordered to appear at 8:30 am on March 23 for jury duty.  Yikes! A quick phone call to Livingston was to no avail, as offices were already closed.

My mind was on this all yesterday. So this morning I got up early and phoned the Jury Coordinator's office at 7:15 am Livingston time. I reached a very nice person and explained that I was almost 1400 miles away and had just received the summons Saturday afternoon.  She took my summons number and asked, "Are you a member of the Escapees?" I said yes, and she said, "OK, you are excused..  All we ask is that when and if you find yourself in Polk County that you volunteer for jury duty."

Wow! It was never that easy in NJ to get out of it, and I have been called (and gone) several times.  I guess that being in the same town as the Escapees headquarters gives town officials a unique understanding of the lifestyle of full-time RVers.

We had a quiet weekend. I finished weaving my new round inkle band and wore it to the ice cream social last night.
I love the way the pattern swirls around the cord.

At the social I was asked to sell the 50/50 tickets, since I had won the pot last week.  I was happy to do it, and the winner went home with $27.50.  Selling the tickets was easy--I just promised everyone the winning one!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lounging in the Pool

After our busy week last week we are looking forward to a quiet weekend. And temperatures have been from the low 80s to the low 90s, which is so pleasant. Bob and I have been taking an afternoon dip in the park's pool almost every day. We were pleased to discover that the pool is heated but just enough so there is no "arrgh!" when you get in.  Bliss!

It's kind of funny to look around and see a group of seniors wearing hats or visors and sunglasses, sitting on pool noodles. No one actually swims--we all just float in the warm water and chat with each other. Everyone here is easy to talk with, a friend waiting to happen.

This is an over 55 facility so it is rare to see a child anywhere. Which is rather odd when I think about it, because we almost never are around children these days. Unlike campers in NJ, the people who frequent RV parks in Arizona in the winter are typically retired folks like us. It makes sense, because the children are in school this time of year. One thing that has crossed my mind is that school children in this area are in class during the nicest time of the year, and must spend their hot summers off mostly indoors. Families must go out early in the day to play since temperatures can approach 120 degrees. I guess people adjust!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Los Algodones, Mexico

People in this area visit the town of Los Algodones in Mexico for several reasons.

1. For dental work. Cleanings are $45, implants are $700, a porcelain crown is $300, and a zirconium crown is $400. We have talked to many people who have been very pleased with the dental care in Los Algodones. In fact, Los Algodones is Spanish for "dentist."

I totally just made that up. The translation, I mean.

2. For eye care and glasses. One of the guys in this park told me that he just got new trifocals with Progressive lenses for $129, and his second pair was half price. A great deal!

3. For drugs and medication. While you will need a prescription for antibiotics and controlled drugs, many others are freely available.

4. For good Mexican food.

It took about 20 minutes to drive from Yuma to the parking lot next to the border crossing. It costs $6 to park, then you walk through a turnstile and you are in Mexico.
Walking to the border crossing

At that point your senses are assaulted by purple buildings and people trying to entice you to visit their dentist, optician, or pharmacy.

And the stuff! If you are in the market for lawn art, clothing, hats, purses, jewelry, or pottery, this is the place for you.

One thing I was watching for was a sombrero for grandson, Rob. Robby has asked me several times for one and I had not seen one in all of our travels. And in Los Algodones I found one. The bartering went like this.
Woman: Nice hat! It look good on you! You buy cheap! $25!
Me: No, I don't think so.
Woman: How much you spend? $20?
Me: $5
Woman: Is very fine hat! You buy for $15, si?
Me: No, $5.
Woman: OK, $12. Very good price.
Me: (starting to walk away)
Woman: $10!
Woman, with less enthusiasm: $9.
Me: OK, $9.

So Rob will get his sombrero.

We walked up a hill and chatted with a man who was trying to draw people into a restaurant called La Parilla. Someone else mentioned La Parilla as a good place to eat, so we decided to give it a try.

We had a really good meal, complete with entertainment and drinks. I may have had two Margueritas.
Our waiter. 
The singer was quite good, belting out Mexican songs. When he switched to English and sang "New York, New York" we had to stifle giggles. It was odd to be sitting in Mexico and hearing that song for some reason.

It did occur to us that we should plan to return for teeth cleaning before we leave Yuma next week, as we no longer have dental insurance. So I think we will ask around for recommendations and return to Los Algodones next week.

We went back through the turnstiles, showed our passports to the agents there, and zipped right through without difficulties. There were lots of people with walkers and huge bags of prescription drugs returning from their shopping trip. A bit surreal.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lowes and Wine

After struggling with a knot in my beading thread that wouldn't go away I decided to ditch the project and spin on my Turkish spindle instead today. I have decided that at this time in my life, beading is not for me.  It is good to know your limitations. I had a great time in the crafting group anyway today. What a great group of women. I offered to teach some classes next year when we come back to Kofa Ko-op, and look forward to it. And I learn so much from these folks.  Today I learned that if you take wine and whir it in the blender for 20-30 seconds it aerates it and makes it taste like it has aged another 5 years.  Something I will have to try.

Bob and I went to Lowes this morning before going to Walmart for some groceries. I find Lowes stores very disconcerting.  The layout of these stores is so similar to each other that I can imagine I am in the Lowes that was near our old home, and I become very homesick. It is as though I could walk through the front door and be instantly in Lumberton, NJ, close to my children and grandchildren. Very strange.

In less than a month we will be turning the motorhome around and starting to head East. Back our friends and family, to green forests and lush lawns instead of desert scenery. Bob and I have annual doctors' appointments scheduled for that first week in June so now we have a deadline to meet. We will only have 6 weeks to travel back across the country and that seems like a very short time. There is so much to see and a lot will have to wait until another year.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Downtown Yuma and Beading

Bob and I took a ride into historic downtown Yuma today to see what we could see.  I was hoping to find a used bookstore. Unfortunately the main one in town had "closed for renovations" months ago and had never re-opened. So we strolled along and visited some antique stores.
I have to say, we found an antique store that beats out every antique store I have ever been to.  And I have been to a lot of them. There were things in that shop that I have never seen anywhere. Amazing stuff. Too bad we have no room for any of it.

We returned home to the rig for lunch before I headed off for my beading class. I brought the loom-knitted hat I finished, to donate to the hats for cancer drive.
The hat was knitted in  doubled Cottontots yarn and will fit an older baby.

The class featured a pretty design of beads sewn in the Peyote Stitch.  It was tricky to start but I did get the hang of it.  I only finished about 1/2" of it so I didn't take a picture, but maybe I will if I keep working on it!

Bob and I decided to put our names on the waiting list for a lot here. It will take 3-5 years for our name to reach the top, and if we change our minds we can get our deposit back.  I could see us coming back here every winter, when we are tired of traveling (if that ever happens!)

The lots here are surrounded by low brick walls that range from about 12" high to close to 3'. And the people whose lots back up to the dog park have put portable steps on either side of the wall so that they can climb over the wall rather than walk around to the gate.  Well, Auggie discovered these steps into peoples' yards today, and kept hopping over them out of the park.  Bob and I each had to climb over into other peoples' back yards to get him back, each time we passed the steps. I guess he will have to be on leash in the park, which rather defeats the purpose I think! This particular dog park is not Auggie's favorite.  For some reason he is always the only dog there, which he doesn't like.  And it is so big I think it makes him nervous. Plus he sometimes picks up little prickers in his feet. Maybe we will walk elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Hope your St. Patrick's Day was as fun as ours was! Walking Auggie we saw cacti in bloom in the park, with lovely pink flowers.
Next thing we did this morning was to head over to the Peanut Patch in Yuma for a tour of their facility.
Originally this was the site of the first of many peanut farms in the area, but unfortunately the arrival of the whitefly (which peanut plants host) resulted in a widespread loss of green leafy crops such as lettuce and broccoli. Because this area is one of the nation's top producing regions for green leafy crops, it was decided that eliminating peanuts as a local crop would help control the whitefly. 

So out went local peanut production, and in came a store that has become famous in the area. Our guide Donna showed us antique equipment that was once used in peanut production, such as this combine.
The Peanut Patch makes its own peanut brittle and we were able to see it being made.  First the sugars and peanuts are cooked in a large copper bowl that holds 17 pounds of the confection.  It can take about 45 minutes to cook it to the right consistency, with someone stirring it constantly.
Next the peanut brittle is quickly spread onto a large oiled marble table, smoothed out, and allowed to cool.
After about 10 minutes it is cool enough to taste.  Yum! The Peanut Patch also makes homemade fudge and ice cream, and sells all kinds of nuts, seeds, honey, teas, peanut butter, and more.

When we got back Bob and I had a bite of lunch and then it was time for me to head over for craft time in the Clubhouse.  I brought my spinning wheel and had a fun time spinning yarn and talking about spinning and sheep.  Such a nice group of women here at the park!

Next up was our St. Patrick's Day dinner back at the Clubhouse. And boy was it good! About 130 people showed up to enjoy a meal of corned beef and cabbage, carrots, roasted potatoes, and Irish Soda Bread, all for $5 a person. We had a great time meeting people at our table and sharing our most favorite places we had been to.

After dinner we took Auggie for a walk as the sun went down and ended up on the Patio to listen to music by a couple of Escapees. Wherever we go there is music at these parks, and if you play an instrument or sing there are opportunities to get together with other musicians and jam. Or just listen in. Auggie sat on my lap and fell asleep as we enjoyed the tunes for about an hour before calling it a night.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekend in Yuma

On Saturday I returned to the Verizon store and used their WiFi until all my new-phone-updating was finished, as well as obtaining the advice of any tech I could snag when I had a question. They were much more attentive the day before when I had my charge card out to make a purchase, but I persisted and got the help I needed. I love my new phone, and the Verizon hotspot is working beautifully.

On Sunday the wind began to blow, which I understand is typical of Arizona in the late winter. It didn't bother us except I had to wear my hat with strings to keep it on my head! The temperatures rose to about 93 degrees. Since the front of our coach is facing the sun Bob took a ride over to the flea market to purchase a roll of insulated foil blanket to put in our windows that don't have awnings. I stayed home to scan our tax documents into the computer so we can email them to our NJ tax preparer.  Next year's tax preparations should be much simpler!

It was a very easy job to cut the foil blanket for the windows and set it in place, to be held in place behind the shades that we have. We have already noticed a difference in the amount of heat coming through the glass, and this should help our electric bill.  This park charges for electricity, which is common down south where you need a lot of AC as well as occasional heat at night.

Bob and I took our usual afternoon dip in the pool and hot tub. Every time we go we start chatting with a person we had not yet met, and we are struck with the way that everyone is so friendly here. Haven't met a grumpy or standoff-ish person yet! On Sunday evenings here the park offers a social featuring a huge scoop of ice cream for $.75 (bring your own bowl and spoon) and features announcements of upcoming events. They also do a 50/50 which we happened to win ($23) so I will be running the 50/50 next week, per park custom. A nice way to meet people, so I look forward to that.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New Phone Part II

Yesterday's post was short--I was pretty tired after my day and hadn't the energy to add more.  So I am writing a bonus post this week.  Aren't you lucky!!!

Turns out the person trying to log into my Face Time was......my phone, communicating with itself. I'm telling you, phones are getting too smart for their own good. The Apple Help representative, Ken, was very helpful in helping me figure out what was going on over the phone.

We had been loyal AT&T customers for many years and had a great plan. So you may be interested in why we switched. If you look at this article and scroll down, you can see the US coverage maps for the four major carriers. Verizon is used by most full time RVers because it has better coverage in more areas (especially out west.) If your cell phone carrier does not have coverage in an area you will be roaming, and then all that nice data (for checking Facebook, finding the nearest Walmart, or looking for reviews on a campground) that you pay for in your plan will not be accessed.  Instead you will be allowed a small amount of roaming data that can be used up in hours sometimes. And you will still be paying for your data you can't touch.

Our daughter Kristen and her DH Jason were most kind and hanve allowed us to add our phones to their Verizon account.  We will pay our portion of the bill each month. And since our phones were many years old, it was time to upgrade to the new iPhone 6. We got the smaller of the new phones which are still longer and wider than our old iPhones, but they feel so much lighter that I remarked to Bob it was like holding a fake phone.

Most of our data for internet when we are not on a campground's WiFi system (when available) will now come from our new mobile hotspot, which gives us 20 gigabytes of data a month. Hopefully that will work for us.  We did have 30 gigabytes with AT&T but we will have to conserve a bit. And we will be watching for promotions that give more for free. We missed the last "double your data" promotion at the end of last year.

And the cases to choose from! You can get a case that is fireproof, or will protect the phone when taking pictures under water, or one that can recharge the iPhone without cords just by flipping a switch. I kid you not!! Here is the one that charges your iPhone here.

Of course, all of those options are in the $90 and up price range.  We were not ready to spend another $200 on cases.  So we got basic ones and we are fine with those.

We also got free wireless speakers so we can listen to my iPod music or podcasts with great sound.  Those will be fun to play with, and were a special promotion. At some point we may get a WiFi booster but that will wait until we save up a bit.

So far, we love our new phones. Hopefully we will have the coverage we need now.

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Phones

Today was spent on technical issues, with two hours spent on the phone with Apple Tech support, then four hours at a Verizon store where we ended up getting new phones.  It is 7:30 pm and I am on hold while Apple gives me "helpful tips" every few seconds. Apparently someone got some information from my phone at Verizon and are using Face Time with my account. Gah!

In between all that, Bob and I went to a local flea market and picked up some sandals for him and a pool visor for me.

So not much new other than that.  I will probably have to go back tomorrow to Verizon to get some issues smoothed out.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

We Arrive in Yuma

We have been waiting word that our parts for repairing the RV have arrived, but after waiting two weeks and getting nothing but promises we decided not to wait any longer. We left Mesa, AZ at about 11:30 am and by 3:25 pm we were in Yuma, AZ.
Some fun facts about Yuma (in case you know as little as we did before coming here):

  • Yuma is located in Arizona's southwest corner, bordering Mexico and California.
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records Yuma is the sunniest place on earth with 91% sunshine during daylight hours. 
  • Yuma is also the driest and least humid city in the US but is not the hottest. That would be Phoenix with the most days that the temperatures rise above 99 degrees.  
  • Yuma's largest industry is agriculture. There are lush green farms which contrast sharply with the desert areas (90% of the nation's winter lettuce is grown here.) 
  • Second largest industry is the military with is a Marine Corps Air Station and an Army Air Base in the city. 
  • Third largest industry is tourism.  Yuma's population doubles each fall when the snowbirds arrive.
We are staying in an Escapees park, and already like this place. Temperatures were in the high 80's so we headed right for the pool and hot tub after we got hooked up our water and electric service. I could get used to this! We had a lovely time chatting with the locals and found that we could get our name on a waiting list for a site here. Currently the list for a plain RV site is about 3-5 years long, which suits us just fine. To buy into a plain site is about $6500; thereafter you pay about $900 a year maintenance fee plus your electricity. The park is closed from May through September (but who would want to be here in the heat anyway?) As is typical for Escapees parks, $1000 down gets your name on the waiting list, which goes towards your site when it is ready.  All money is refundable if you change your mind, and after 5 years it costs $1 to renew for another 5 years. Or they will give your $6500 back if you choose.  Pretty sweet, eh?

There are a lot of activities here, too, with craft time every day at 1:00, swim classes, socials, cards, exercise classes, and more. The only thing missing is a woodshop. There is even a 7 acre fenced dog park. And people are very friendly.

We plan on being here two weeks, but we will see. Originally we wanted to also visit an Escapees park in San Diego but nothing is set in stone. There seems like a lot to do around here.