Another year coming to a close and a Merry Christmas to You

So we arrived here at Pilot Knob on the 8th of December and its been some time time since I posted, so I let you know what we’ve been up to.  The first couple days were spent doing a little grocery shopping and some relaxing and some more shopping….

Pilot Knob is a nice little resort.  The park is clean and has the usual amenities.  It has a clubhouse with a nice size hall for various functions.  There’s also a Big Screen TV, a billiards room and a card room.  There’s a heated pool next to the clubhouse and a shuffleboard court.  There’s another small building that houses the laundromat and a puzzle room/library.  There’s a small park-like area that has a Bocce ball court and horseshoe pits.  The park is surrounded by desert on 3 sides.  There are some regular activities every week that you can take part in if you’re so inclined.  Monday and Friday evenings is Poker night in the clubhouse.  Monday mornings is Bocce Ball.  Friday is burger night at suppertime and $5 gets you your choice of one of a hamburger/ hotdog/ chicken burger, and brown beans, a bag of snacks (potato chips etc.) and pudding.  Not a bad deal for $5.  Sunday afternoon there is an Ice Cream Social.  $1 per scoop of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.  There’s usually Karaoke on Saturday nights in the clubhouse.  I usually play poker and bocce ball.  We’ve been to a couple of the ice cream socials and one of the burger nights

On Thursday the 12th we went to the Arizona Market in the morning.  This an open air market with quite a few vendors.  The Market runs from Thursday to Sunday each week.  The vendors are quite diverse.  You can buy clothing, food, RV supplies and accessories, artwork, crafts, flags…quite a wide variety of things.  There is one store that I particularly like that has a little of everything.  We like to come here a few times during the season.  While at the market we met up with Bill and Patsy who were there with Bob and Jo-Anne.  Bill gave us directions to Yuma Lakes RV Resort where they were staying, so after we finished up at the market with drove out to their park.  This is a nice park also, a little larger than Pilot Knob.  It is also a Membership park, but we would have access to it through our Adventure Outdoors membership.  We may try this park at some point but we do like Pilot Knob. We stayed only a short time at Bill and Patsy’s before the six of us (Bob and Jo-Anne included) headed back into Yuma to go to Lin’s Buffet for a birthday lunch for Bob. I like Lin’s, quite a good variety of foods and of course all you can eat.  This price is right also… $8.95 for seniors for lunch.  Nice….  After lunch, back out to Yuma Lakes for happy hour and birthday cake.  After lunch at Lin’s, not a lot of room for cake I’m afraid.  

On sunday the 15th Bill and Patsy and Bob and Jo-Anne arrived after their stay at Yuma Lakes.  

On Thursday the 19th the 6 of us (Bill and Patsy and Bob and Jo-Anne) travelled to Los Algodones in Mexico to have a look around and have a late breakfast at one of the restaurants there.  Bob and Jo-Anne were looking for presciption glasses so we stopped at one of the optical places to have a look around.  If you read my blog posts from last year I talked about Los Algodones.  They are known for their inexpensive Dental and Vision care and Prescriptions. There is a small shopping area in Los Algodones called Snowbirds Alley and there are 3 different artist painters who paint signs with spray paint.  Many people buys signs for their RV’s with some kind of landscape scene on it (usually desert) and with their names on it.  Bob and Jo-Anne were having a sign made and they would pick it up later.  We went and had some breakfast.  Omelets for Kim and I.  I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but I do remember where it is.  We were there a couple of times last year too. 

Tom and Deb Duchaine arrived at Pilot Knob on Thursday as well.  When we got back from Mexico they were parked across from us.  We got back in time to join them for Happy Hour. 

I brought some of my LED Christmas lights with us in the motorhome.  I packed up my light controller and lights and wires and various other equipment in a small case so that I could have a nice Christmas light display at our site.  I got it all set up and got the bugs ironed out fairly quickly.  Looks pretty good but I should have brought more lights.  I have had quite a few people stop by to say how much they enjoy the lights.  Kim decorated inside the Motorhome with a couple small Christmas trees with lights and ornaments.  Tom and Deb have a nice display at their site and Bill and Patsy do too.  There are quite a few people in the park who decorate outside for the Christmas season.

Sunday morning Tom and Deb and Kim and I drove into Los Algodones to do a little browsing and to have lunch.  Not too many people on a Sunday Morning.  Many of the vendors were open and a few of the vision and dental places were open.  Our restaurant of choice was closed so we went to the Paraiso restaurant.  This time it was Mexican food.  Kim and I had a combination plate with a Tostada, an Enchilada and Burrito.  I liked the burrito and enchilada but not big on the tostada.  Kim liked all of hers.  Margaritas and Cervezos were also enjoyed.  

On Monday the 23rd we did a group facetime with George and Sue back in Tavistock.  Bill had set it up with Sue a couple days before and George only knew that Bill and Patsy and Kim and I were going to be in it.  George was very surprised and pleased to see so many more people there.  There were actually 12 of us gathered around the computer to say hi and chat a bit.  You could tell that George was very happy and touched by this time that we all had with him, even though from a distance.  We’re all missing George and Sue this year.

Christmas Eve in the afternoon, Kim and I hosted a small happy hour buffet.  A scaled down version of our traditional Christmas eve celebration.  Each couple brought a little something for us all to enjoy.  Patsy’s sister Gayle and her husband John were boondocking in the BLM area behind Pilot Knob and came and joined us for Happy Hour.  They’re moving into the park tomorrow morning to stay for a couple days and to join us for Christmas dinner.

Christmas day I woke at about 6:45 and got up and had some coffee and turned on the heat to warm up the coach.  Kim wasn’t far behind me and we turned on some Christmas music and opened our gifts.  Not too many under the tree this year with it just being the 2 of us.  We did a facetime chat with Josh and Tammy and the Boys at about 9:00 am our time, 11:00 am back in Ontario.  The boys showed us some of their Christmas presents but it was really nice just to see them as they bobbed in and out of the screen a few minutes at a time.  I’m not sure how long we chatted together but it was very nice.  Later in the morning we had some traditional Christmas Mimosas and some snacks to tie us over until our Christmas dinner at the clubhouse at 3:00.  We did facetime with Sarah and Jacob just before noon to catch up with them.  They were getting ready to head to Jacob’s parents place for Christmas dinner.  Christmas dinner was very good.  Mashed potatoes, Turkey, Ham, Dressing, Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Buns and Pumpkin Pie for desert.  And even seconds.  So much food…. I know ate way too much.  I think there were well over a hundred people there for dinner together. There were 12 of us in our group.

Bob and I have played pool a couple of evenings while we’ve been here and Tom and I played some pool a few days ago.  I’ve played bocce ball a couple Monday mornings and Bob and Tom and I are regulars for the poker nights.  I’ve had some good nights at poker and some bad ones ones but I’m fairly close to even, averaged out.

On Friday we drove west on I-8 to Holtville.  We wanted to check out the BLM there to see what it was like.  Our plan is to leave Pilot Knob on Jan 5th and travel to Holtville and stay for a week or so.  That will give us a jumping off point to travel to Borrego Springs and the Salton Sea area in California.  We haven’t been to that area before so this will give us that opportunity.  Across from the BLM campground is a hotsprings.  There’s a nice pond area surrounded but thick tall palms.  Really looks like an Oasis.  The actual hotsprings looks a little rundown but I may try it out when we back there in January.  We drove on from Holtville to another small city called El Centro.  We just made a quick pass through the downtown area.  Lots of Art Deco influence in the architecture of the downtown area.

On Saturday we had a Happy Hour Fish Fry at Bob and Jo-Anne’s.  Bob brought some Walleye from back home on Lake Erie.  Bob fried up the fish and I made some home made French Fries in the deep fryers.  It was a feast and happy hour continued on into the evening.  Lots of good eating and storytelling.  We all stayed until about 8:30 in the evening.  As Patsy said…. The longest happy hour ever.  

The weather here over the past weeks has been mixed.  We’ve had some really nice warm, almost hot days, and some rather cool days.  We had some rain a few days ago.  The wind most days has been brisk so we tend to try to find a place out of the wind when we’re sitting outside.  Today is prabably the coldest yet, 11ºC or 52ºF and a cold wind.  Bocce ball was cancelled this morning cause it was too cold.

Bill has had his RC plane out a few times over the last few days.  Yesterday and Saturday, there were times when the wind was fairly light.  He flew it for a bit at sunset last night.  He has LED light strips on the wings, so it looks rather cool flying, all lit up, when the sun is setting.

Dave and Cheryl from Alberta are friends with Bill and Patsy and Tom and Deb.  They’ve been coming to Arizona in the winter for a few winters.  They pulled into Pilot Knob a few days after Bill and Patsy.  We’ve gotten to know them over the past couple of weeks.  A very nice couple.  Spent many happy hours with them.  It’s a great way way to get to know people.  They pulled out yesterday on their way to San Diego to spend some time with family.  We hope to meet up with them when we’re in Quartzsite in a few weeks.  

Yesterday Kim and I went into Yuma for some groceries and shooped at Fry’s.  Kim has a Fry’s card that gave us some really good deals.  We’ve shopped at Walmart, Albertson’s and Fry’s now for groceries and it would seem that Fry’s has the best prices and selection.

Well that brings you up to date with us here on Dec 30th. I just gave you a brief rundown on what we’ve been up to. We certainly enjoying our time in the southwest. Its really nice catching up with all our Rv friends and meeting new ones on the way. We hope you have all had a wonderful Christmastime, and we wish you a great new year in 2020.

I’ll leave you with a few sunsets to end your year and a sunrise to begin a new one.

Onward to Arizona

We left Mabank on Monday morning and drove to Big Spring, Texas that day.  We stopped overnight in the Walmart there.  There were signs posted saying no overnight parking without permission so I went inside the store and talked to the staff in customer service.  They said it was alright to stay overnight and directed me to park at the side of the store.  It was actually a nice spot.  By morning there were 4 other RV’s around us. 

Tuesday we drove to Horizon City, which is a suburb of El Paso on the east end.  During our stop for lunch I called Quail Ridge RV Resort in Huachuca City, Arizona to see if they had a spot open for us on Wednesday.  Stayed at the Walmart in Horizon City overnight.  This store was very busy so it was a little tough finding a big enough open area for us to pull into.  We managed though and throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening a few other RV’s joined us.  We’ve stayed at this Walmart twice before and we knew it would be a little noisy with busy roads all around us.  Not too bad though overnight.  While in the Walmart we bought a small electric heater that we could use to warm up the MH in the morning instead of using the furnace and propane.  This will come in handy when were in parks with electrical hookups.  For such a small unit it works quite well for our small space.

Wednesday we drove from El Paso Texas through New Mexico and on through Arizona to Quail Ridge.   We arrived about 2:30 and got all setup by 3:00.  We stopped at this park in particular because we knew our friends Bill and Patsy would be here and it would be nice to spend a couple of days with them.  Bill and Patsy were on their way back from Tuscon when we arrived so when they got back they came over to say Hi and stayed for Happy Hour.  It sure was nice to see them and catch up a little.  They are travelling with some friends of theirs, Bob and Jo-Anne. They also came to Happy Hour.  It was nice to meet them.  We made some plans to do some sightseeing with them over the next few days.

Thursday morning we all left the park at about 9:00 to go to Tombstone.  When we arrived we were about the only tourists there.  The streets were practically empty.  This made it nice for picture taking.  Last year when we were here it was quite busy. 

We strolled around for a while chatting and shopping and then we decided to go see the gunfight at the OK Corral.  This is a little drama reenactment of the famous shootout between the Earp Brothers and the McClaury gang.  The acting was a little cheesy but it was fun. 

At lunch time we went to Big Nose Kate’s Saloon for some grub.  The food was quite good and they had some live music as well.  After lunch we did a little more wandering and shopping and Bill and I decided to buy Cowboy hats.  Mine is a brown Stetson.  We began our drive back to the park around 2:00 and agreed to meet up for Happy Hour a little after 3:00.   

Friday morning the 6 of us headed off to Bisbee to go to the Queen Mine tour.  Bisbee is a mining town south of Tombstone, and the road to the town winds through a long canyon and then through a tunnel before ending in another canyon which is Bisbee.  The town at one time had a population of 20,000.  Half of these people worked in mines around Bisbee.  The Queen Mine was the biggest.  The Queen Mine tour is a guided tour and our tour guide was once a miner in Queen Mine until it closed in 1985.  He was very knowledgeable.  We assembled for our tour and had to don safety vests and hard hats and we each had a light.  The lighting in the mine is minimal so the lights would help us see things better.  We all sat on a mine trolley that the miners would have used to enter and exit the mine each day.  We travelled back into the mine about 1500 feet with a few stops on the way.  There was much to see and our guide explain the entire mining process.  There were examples of the various tools used.  What a great tour. 

After the tour we drove into the downtown area of Bisbee and found a place for lunch.  We ate at a place called Bisbee’s Table.  Great food.  After lunch we strolled around and the girls did some shopping along the way.  It was late in the day when we got home so we decided to skip Happy Hour.  After supper Bob and I headed over to the clubhouse to shoot some pool.  Bob is quite a good player and I was very rusty.  I think we played for a couple hours and chatted all the way through.

Saturday morning Bill and Bob and I drove into Tuscon to go to the Pima Air and Space Museum.  This is a huge museum with 100’s of aircraft on display.  Most of the aircraft are military  and they had pretty much everything you could imagine.  Some the aircraft were inside hangars but most were outside.  We toured the main building for a bit and got tickets for a guided tram tour of the outside aircraft.  The outside is very large so this was an easy way to see many aircraft in a short period of time. Some of the more notable aircraft to me were the B-17 and B-29 bombers and SR-71 Blackbird.  There were lots of fighter aircraft and transports as well.  I think the neatest thing about this display is that there were no rope barricades to keep you away from the aircraft.  You could walk up to them and touch them and many of them you could look inside.  You could look up into the bomb bays and look into cockpits.  That was a very enjoyable day. We had our last Happy Hour at Quail Ridge in the afternoon at Bill and Patsy’s site.  

Bill and Patsy and Bob and Jo-Anne headed out Sunday morning around 9:00 am headed for Yuma Lakes RV Resort in Yuma.  Kim and I also left and headed for Yuma.  We had a slight delay though.  When checking the RV tires pressure (a routine I do everyday we travel) I noticed our right side inside rear tire only had a few lbs. of pressure.  That’s not good, so once we were set to leave and after I started up the motorhome I used the air system on the motorhome to add air to my tire.  We’ve had to do this a couple times before.  It seems to be caused by something preventing the valve stem cores from completely sealing and air just slowing leaks out.  Anyway I filled the tire then got the car on the dolly.  I checked the tire one last time before heading off and it was fine.  Sure is nice to have our own air system for these situations.  We made a fuel stop on the way and when we stopped for lunch I called Pilot Knob RV Resort to see if they had a spot for us.  We had a reservation at the park starting the 14th of December but we decided we would just head there early.  They had a spot available.  We arrived at Pilot Knob at about 3:30 and got checked in quickly.  We were able to get the same site we had last year.  We like this spot because it’s on the outside of the park and we have an open view to west.  Now we’re all setup here for a few weeks.

The weather for the next week or so looks great. Lots of sun… temps in the low 70’s F (21or 22 C). Got some lights to put up on the motorhome and probably a little shopping to do. I’ll keep you posted.

Spending a Little Time in Texas

Last evening (Tuesday) it was very mild outside. Somewhere around 20ºC (70ºF). About 10:30 or 11:00 pm the winds picked up. Very strong gusts as well. By morning the temperature had cooled off drastically. While I outside getting everything ready to travel our neighbour RVer was doing the same so we chatted for a bit. They are also on their way to Arizona. They are staying at another campground in Yuma just down the road from Pilot Knob. I think they were spending some time in Texas as well before heading further west. We were on the road around 9:00AM and with a little sun to start out. Travelling west on I-30 the traffic was noticeably lighter than the day before. We headed west to Sulphur Springs and then southwest on Hwy 19 towards Canton. Just past Canton we pulled off into a church parking lot and had some lunch. Only about 20 miles left to travel. Wes and his friend Steve met us at an Exxon Gas Station just down the road from his place and they led the way into Mabank to the Municipal campground. Steve made arrangements for us to stay there with the local Police department. This spot is also a municipal park. There is a huge gravelled area with full hookups for Rv’s. I think Steve arranged for all the services to be turned on for our visit. Such a nice thing to do for us. Steve modestly calls it “Texas hospitality”. So we have this huge area all to ourselves. We could have huge gatherings of RV’s here. Mabank is a neat little town. Its about 30 + minutes from Dallas has a nice small town feeling about it and is situated near a fresh water lake. It definitely is a friendly town. We stayed here on our way home in March and when we were getting ready to leave the Police Chief stopped by to wish us safe travels.

We spent the afternoon and early part of the evening at Wes’s place catching up with all the news. Last year when we were here it was quite wet but much dryer this time around. Wes took us on a hike around his place. He has a large beautiful wooded area at the rear of his property that is pretty much undisturbed. Very nice!

In Canton this weekend is a huge Flea Market called “First Monday Trade Days”. It happens over the first weekend of every month of their season. This is the last show of the year and it’s usually the biggest. It looking like the weather may not cooperate this weekend though. Some cooler temperatures and some rain in the forecast. Wes has become a scrap metal artist in the last few years. He’s made some really neat pieces and he is usually a vendor at First Monday. Hopefully the weather will improve a little and we’ll all head up to the sale on the weekend. It’s known as the world’s largest flea market with as many as 5000 vendors. We’re looking forward to seeing it first hand.

Thursday we headed over to Wes’s after lunch to watch some Thanksgiving Day Football. Well Wes and I did but I think Kim was a little bored with that. Wes made us some homemade Chili for supper. It was very good.

Friday morning Wes, Kim and I headed off to the Canton Flea Market. We spent a couple hours wandering around checking things out. Kim found a few things she was interested in and made a couple purchases. We stopped for lunch part way through and had some street tacos and fresh made curly potato chips. The market was a little light on vendors. Could have been that it was Thanksgiving weekend or it could have been the weather. There were a few light sprinkles in the morning. Later in the afternoon Wes and I gave his neighbour Steve a hand to get his well working. There was a broken pipe, so with a quick trip to the local hardware store for a couple parts we had the pump working just as dark was setting in.

Saturday, Wes suggested that we go for a drive into Arlington and Fort Worth. Steve joined us for the drive. We drove by Wes’s old workplace, the General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant. It’s a huge operation, and it makes Cami Assembly in Ingersoll look rather small. Also we passed by AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Our next stop was the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. This museum is the home of many Frederic Remington and Charles Russell paintings and sculptures. A very nice stop. Of course there were other artists featured but those were the ones we went to see especially.

Our next destination was to go to Fort Worth to the Stockyards. I had no idea what the Stockyards were. It’s actually a very neat part of town. Old streets, old buildings, cobblestone roads and bars and restaurants and shops. I had never heard of it before, but if you’re ever in Fort Worth I would say it’s a must see. We stopped for some refreshments in the Stockyards Hotel. Next, on our way back to Wes’s we stopped for some Texas BarBQ at Rudy’s. It was very good but I would rate it second to the one Wes took us to in January when we were through here last winter.

Riding Tall in the Saddle

Sunday was just a relaxing day. In the afternoon we drove to Wes’s and just kind of hung out. Watched a little football and visited with each other. Kim did a load of laundry and we left to go back to the RV late afternoon. We always enjoy spending time with Wes. He’s a great host. Thanks Wes!!

Well Monday we’re back on the road. So I’ll wrap up this post. We’re headed to Arizona now. I’ll catch y’all up on the next post.