Friday, January 24, 2014

Cloud Museum

A Blast from the Past!

One of the things that we enjoy is listening to others of their travels.  If the suggestion of what we hear sounds like something we would enjoy . . . away we go!  A new friend, Glen Larson, of Isanti, Minnesota told us of a museum of old cars in Bard, Arizona which is just above Yuma.  It was called, Cloud Museum and run by a man called Johnny Cloud.  We met him shortly after we entered the museum and he stated he would be available to answer questions – as he rode around on his 4x4 ATV keeping us informed.

The main focus of the display was 1914-1926 Fords.  There were roadsters (convertibles), sedans and truck cabs with boxes.  Did you know Henry Ford made tractors?  Yes, and it was called what?  Naturally, and it was called a Fordson!   Cloud Museum was a stroll down memory lane for those of us who really enjoy these antiques.  Enjoy your trip!

We drove right in.  This is a truck built from 1928 thru 1929.  It was a Model A pickup, closed cab.

This had to be one of the first RVs, a Ford Model M “House Car” made from 1929-31.  It had an ice box for food, gas stove & lights, a toilet and bed . . . very cozy.

Kay doing a preview for upcoming food show!

Model T, 1926-27 roadster pickup (with a drafty top).


We sure could have had one as the day was dusty & hot!

All original and it runs, with the only exception . . . it needs an interior and top.

Notice the light purple tone in the headlight lenses.  Johnny says that the UV from the sun affects the magnesium in the glass causing the color to change.  Other colors of pinkish shades can be seen.

This is a 1925 Dodge Coupe.  See color difference in headlights?
Typical 4-cylinder motor in early Fords.

Model T Runabout, 1914.  New price $500.

Four more cars and one truck which are all restored, and very dusty!
Close up of restored truck - awesome!

This truck belonged to Johnny Cloud’s father, a 1920 Model T (Delivery Van Conversion).  After its arrival, many companies recognized the “T’s” potential for other uses.  It was converted into different trucks such as enclosed or flat beds, fire engines and snowmobiles, by other companies.  This particular one in the picture was converted into a delivery van with rear doors.  Pretty neat, huh?

1936 Ford 2-Door Sedan.  Beautiful but dusty!

1930 Model T Roadster

What an awesome collection, worth some $$$$$
This is the trunk on the 1930 Roadster (above), literally!  The car had a rumble seat so a “trunk” was a necessity.
Honey, just one more pair of shoes!
Interior, very basic.

1914 Model T Roadster.  Johnny says he is taking this one to Yuma’s 100th Anniversary Rodeo Parade in February.  Awesome!

1947 Packard
Any of you muscle cars experts know what motor this is? 
Answer:  1955, 354 Hemi

We could have literally spent hours taking pics of the classic cars. 

They were really beautiful.  All were not restored.  Probably 1/3 out of 130 were and the others will never be brought back.  Johnny also had a collection of antique outboard motors.

On the left a Kiekhaefer (or Mercury as we know it).  Right, a Scott-Atwater 7.5 HP low profile.  Scott was made in Minneapolis, bought out by McCulloch and moved to California.  My father, Ed, worked for Scott from after WWII until the early 60’s.


This is a Neptune.  Growing up and spending time on the North Shore of Lake Superior, one of my Grandfather Ralph’s friends
use this type of motor as a commercial fisherman on the big lake.
There were so many pictures to take!

One of the first "garden variety" tractors

Ready to be restored, all original!
Old gas pumps plus many restored oldies!

This work truck has done a lot.
Want to haul some milk?

Forget about the electric water pump when you have this pump by your sink.
Got some meat to grind or clothes to scrub?
And we think we have it rough . . .

Did you ever get to test drive this baby?
Office equipment has really improved hasn't it?

Our host, Johnny Cloud and his Australian Shepherd, Jack.

What “Time” is it?

We would definitely recommend taking the time for a nostalgic view into the past.  We have come a long way, haven’t we?

Upon leaving the museum we found a farm market and purchased a bag of blood oranges, Medjool dates and a delicate “melt in your mouth” Honey date.  The trip definitely left a sweet taste in our mouths!  Would we go back?  In a heartbeat!

Hugs to all ~
Kay & Jeff

Travel Update:  Based at Ogilby Road Exit, Winterhaven, California while Kay’s dental work is almost wrapping up.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

200 Feet Below Sea Level

Our first sunset at the Salton Sea, California
Brown Pelicans "skimming" the waters
Our first sunrise . . .ahhhhhhhhhhhh

California’s Salton Sea is the largest lake in this state, which was formed when the Colorado River was accidentally allowed to flow into the basin (or “sink”) in 1905.  The sea is about 200 feet below sea level and is known for water sports, excellent fishing (Tilapia) and birding opportunities (white & brown pelicans, varieties of gulls and ducks).  The sea does have its problems though – an ever increasing salt content from evaporation and drainage from agricultural areas – causing algae blooms which in turn cause fish and bird die-offs.  The sea’s salt content is 40% higher than any ocean in the world.  With lack of fresh water coming in, this concentration of salt is only getting higher which is causing the Sea to die off.  Because of this the area has a fairly unpleasant smell if the wind is just right. 

We definitely got past that when we set up home base for 10 days, staying at Covina Beach on the east side of the Salton Sea SRA (State Recreation Area).   Since we were going to spend both Christmas & New Years here we wanted to make it a comfortable site for us.

Our site right along the beach - awesome!

Our Beach Christmas Tree!

We had much exploring to do in this area, so with hiking sticks in hand and lots of time (because we have it), we put on quite a few miles walking to other SRA beaches on the Sea strip as well as Jeep road trips in the area. 

Hiking along the beach each day

Rocks that were like pumice...very light!
Flocks of pelicans daily lining the beach - white ones today

You definitely needed your hiking stuff!
Many, many sea shells on the beach floor
We love sharing our moments – and there were some pretty awesome ones on this trip which included a day trip to Bashford’s Hot Mineral Spas.  Here the water comes out of the ground here at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cooled down it is used for six individual mineral pools.

The mineral waters felt very good.

 Our camp host at the Sea (who is from Oregon) told us that you’re not officially a full time RVer until you’ve seen Slab City (in Niland CA) and Quartzsite (in Arizona).   So let me tell you a little about the Slab. . . 

 It is the former Camp Dunlap marine training grounds.  When it was abandoned after WWII the slabs that formed the floors of many of the buildings were left, hence the name.  It’s a large desert area which is not actively administered by anyone.  Some people have been here boondocking for years; others visit for a day or two or for the season.  On Christmas Day, we talked to one of the locals there – Jack, originally from San Francisco – who says that there are about 40 original “residents” if you want to call them that, and then the seasonal residents from the US & Canada converge on the area.  At the edge of Slab City you’ll pass a giant painted hillside which is named, Salvation Mountain.  They say that both of these sites are a cultural landmark.  The painted mountain is a shrine of an eccentric local resident with a mission.  Can you guess what it might be?

The artists is always looking for paint!
Check out the message.
Of course, being in this area, you must buy some Medjool dates at Oasis Date Gardens.  The agriculture, winery areas and the many date palms in this area are just something that we do not see back home.  The dates are referred to as “Jewels of the Desert” and we can definitely attest that the Medjool dates are the premium ones.  Just a few facts and a recipe to share that so many people are raving about!

·         The average tree can reach seventy to eighty feet high and begins bearing fruit when it is about seven years old. The tree may go on producing fruit for well over 100 years; some say as much as 200 years.
The mighty date palm trees
·     California dates have grown in the desert oasis of the Coachella Valley of southern California for more than a century. A place where date palms flourish in high summer temperatures and low humidity with minimal rainfall during the summer and fall.
Click here to read more about ~ Date Palm Trees

They even serve date shakes!

Medjool Date Nut Loaf
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Soft Shortening
1 Egg
1 1/2 Cups Milk
3 Cups Sifted All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Cups Chopped Nuts
1 Cups Chopped Medjool Dates (or other dates from your grocery store)

Mix sugar, shortening and egg thoroughly. Add milk and stir. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add to milk mixture. Stir in nuts and Medjool Dates. Pour into well-greased 9x5x3" baking pan. Let stand for 20 minutes before baking. Bake in a moderate 350 degree oven for 50-70 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean

Speaking of a different type of palm in this area – the Fan Palm – we drive to the Dos Palmas Preserve which is not far from camp.  We arrive at the parking lot where you begin your walk around the loop trail (about 1.5 miles) through the San Andreas Palms.  Something fun to do on another beautiful day!

A very beautiful fan palm cluster

Little critter footprints in the dried mud

Caught a "sky-writer" as Kay calls them.
A fun fact is that out in this area of the country you have a lot of military activity going on, and we are told that the fighter jets like to fly in this area so that they can say that they flew below sea level. 

In closing this chapter of our adventures at this time, we now will be once again “Down the Open Road” - onward toward Yuma AZ and Los Algodones Mexico.  Destination is BLM (Bureau of Land Management) camping at the Ogilby Road Exit in Winterhaven CA.  Time zones are something you have to deal with since this site is on the California/Arizona border.  

 Our last sunset at the Salton Sea - what a miracle!

Live the Moment! 

Hugs to all ~
Kay & Jeff