Monday, February 29, 2016

The Joy of Comfort

In trying to come up with a name for this Post we wanted it to say something about us and what we like.  It really makes you think about what your interpretation of what joy and comfort are in your lives.  For us it is definitely many things, some the smallest and others that can be a WOW experience.  We think that many of you will know just what we’re talking about.

For the month of January camping off the grid at BLM land at Ogilby Road in SE California, we put on a little over 1,300 miles on the jeep which included trips into Yuma (15 miles away from where we are) for needed supplies, services, going to a movie or  meeting up with friends for a meal out and some lively conversation.  And of course, we can’t exclude our road trips that we take for the sake of adventure, rock hounding opportunities and seeking out new sights.  This being our third winter here in the desert definitely draws us here because of the lower elevations which mean warmer temperatures.  We love it and so does our health.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

Since we are only a few miles from the Imperial Sand Dunes here in California, we had to check out the story about the Plank Road which was constructed in 1915.  This road made of wooden planks effectively connected the extreme lower section of Southern California to Arizona at the start of the automobile age.  It provided the last link in a commercial route between San Diego and Yuma and definitely a challenge to those that travelled this road - now known as Interstate 8. 


Few people have heard of the town Felicity, California.  Known as the Official Center of the World it is indeed a place that shouts loudly with historical facts – also known as Museum of History in Granite.  For a small fee of $5/person, there was so much information to absorb in one visit that it was pretty mind boggling to take in just one visit. 

Click on this site Felicity California if you’re interested to read more about the museum and the man who has put all of his energy into this place.

We even received certified copies that this is the place.  Is it?

You know where Jeff's standing

The start of one of many granite panels to read

Church on the Hill

Hello down there!

Section 13 from the Eiffel Tower in France

This place might be small, but the Yuma Conversation Gardens which started in 1950 on BLM donated land includes a duck pond and 27 acres of trails winding you through unique botanical specimens native to the Lower Sonoran Life Zone.  Some of the garden features include the turtle enclosure that houses Baloo, a 75-pound desert tortoise who refused to show his face when we were there at feeding time.   One cactus that we did see that was fairly new to us was the Cow’s Tongue Prickly Pear.  The place needs more care but was a nice visit for us on a Sunday afternoon.

A serene place in busy Yuma

Jeff standing under a Mesquite Bosque


Beautiful flowering shrub called, Fairy Duster (thanks, Lynne & Fred)

Cow's Tongue (l) & Prickly Pear Cactus (r)

Desert tortoise named Baloo

A sundial that really works!

Another new area for us was Laguna Diversion Dam located 13 miles NE of Winterhaven, CA-Yuma, AZ.  Constructed between 1903-1905 the dam was the first dam built on the Colorado River.  Engineers studied dams in other countries where the foundations were built on sand and silt.  Over the millenniums the Colorado had deposited so much silt that it seemed financially impossible to dig to bedrock.  Adding to Laguna Dam's unusual design were 9" swastikas embedded in its masonry piers.  These originated from the trip engineers took to India where they "came across a symbol that represented a Hindu goddess with power over water.  They thought it would be appropriate to place the symbol on the Laguna Dam."  It wasn't until years later that the swastika became controversial as a symbol of Nazi Germany.  No trace of these piers exists any longer.


Wooden bridge over the dam

You can't escape the fact that you need water when you're in the desert.  Jeff has pretty much got this down to a science in our years of boon docking.  Our new coach has a 115 gallon fresh water tank that Jeff replenishes with water that we get from Grey's Well which is about 8 miles from where we're parked.  He has multiple containers that fit neatly into the back of the Jeep that hold a total of 22 gallons of water.  Upon returning to the coach, we have a pumping system that syphons the water into the rig and walla, it's done.

Pumping fresh water collected into the motorhome 

At the RA called Grey's Well is where we fill up for fresh water

Drop in the quarters and fill your containers.

Drinking water is another story and we have two 5-gallon jugs just for that which we can fill up at any location throughout Yuma.  Our best deal yet is 5 for $.50.  We can go through a 5-gallon jug in 4-5 days.  Conserving water and electricity is important when you're living off the grid and we have the stories to go with it.
The Dolphin pump that we use is pretty efficient for our drinking water

Our annual trip to Berryman Farms in Bard, CA for Medjool dates is another highlight of our stay in this area.  The dates are FANTASTIC!  We made sure to ship some back to Minnesota for Jeff’s mom to enjoy and that’s all she can talk about now.  We will make sure to pick more before we leave the area and keep them in the freezer for her when we get back to see her this Spring.  We'll pass on the Date Shake though. . .way too sweet!

Date trees that have been harvested

Be prepared to ROCK! 

Having a passion for digging into rocks you’ll most often see us looking down at the ground as we are hiking – also to keep on the lookout for unwanted snakes - or other crawling creatures!  We were able to find some pretty unique rocks of color and shape but because of our weight restrictions on what we can and cannot take in the coach, we are definitely limited.  We will leave rock treasures for others.

We were lucky to find some petrified wood, unique quartz pieces (smaller in size) and what we believe may be a mineral by the name of Sodalite.  Pure Sodalite is blue is color, light and fragile and relatively rare.  We were told by a camper here in the desert that it sells for $8/lb in Quartzsite at the rock store.   We are just excited to share with others in its beauty.

A pure white quartz that stands out against the volcanic rock

Beautiful quartz to admire

So much rock to look at!

Jeff taking a union break!

Wood petrified in rock

Chocolate Mountains in the background 

Beautiful blues called Sodalite
This tarantua was our buddy near the motorhome. . .NOT!
Does moving rock go into this category also?  Just thought I would share how we landscape around our home when we’re in the desert.  You have to make it like home, don’t you?  We do have fun and take pride in our accomplishments!

What a find ~  

Never under-estimate what type of treasure you’ll find at a local thrift store.    They are always fun to browse around. Maybe pick up a couple of good books.  Or better yet spot a fly fish rod case or a unique piece of pottery.  Yep, that's what kinds of treasures we found. 

This particular pottery piece is called Nemadji Pottery and shares a Minnesota connection with us also.  We were excited to say the least on this small treasure!


“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!”  - C. JoyBell

There isn’t a sunrise or sunset that doesn’t give us an Ah-ha moment each and every time. These events are also appreciated by some of our special friends this year as they shared their Ah-ha moments with us.  Yes, this is definitely one of our joys of comfort for there are never any that are the same and they are uniquely different. 


Just one of many beautiful sunrises here at Ogilby Road

Sunsets of many colors here in the desert


Another breathtaking  sunset at Ogilby Road

Out friend from Canada, Rollande, shared this sunset from Puerto Penasco, Mexico

Sunset near Sacramento CA from our friend, Karen, while on vacation this winter

A friend snapped this sunset over San Carlos, Mexico


Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun!

Just having the time to enjoy food preparation from start to finish on the retirement road is so much fun.  What more can we say on this except to share some pictures.  And on leftovers, think about when you were a kid and we’re pretty sure that this little quote will definitely bring a smile to your face.

 The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for years she served the family nothing but leftovers.  The original meal has never been found.” 

Biscuits & Gravy

Hot Cocoa from scratch, compliments of Rollande!

Apple Slices

Fresh vegetables, citrus and Medjool dates...yum!

Chef Salad Supreme

Steak with Spicy BalsamicGlaze

Happy cooking to all!

A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.

Never truer words ever spoken as memories are made while we’re Down the Open Road.   We are grateful for friendships made.

Roger & Susie from Ohio

Bob and Rosemary from California

Rollande, Melissa and Denise holding Salvia

Kay with Betty who is from Prince George, BC

Jeff with Heidi and Rollande who are from Ontario

Super Bowl Party at our place

And on the family front ~ Congratulations go out to our niece, Lindsey and her husband, Kyle on the birth of their first child.  Quinn Marie was born on 01.20.16 at 7:43p. 6#-12 oz. 20" long.  She is definitely a cutie! 

Our 3 year old grand-daughter, Julia (aka Princess Julia) with her first attempt at writing her name.  Way to go, Julia!  We are anxious to see her when we get home!!!

Travel Notes:  We are just finishing up our second month here in the desert.  Current plans are to leave within the next couple of weeks heading toward Tucson to spend time in and around this area.  We have always been just passing through so it will be a good change.

Hugs to all!