Tuesday, February 28, 2006

One thousand two hundred and thirty-eight gray hairs

For four hours last night and for most of this gray,lightly raining day I have been sitting in front of this Machiavellian piece of equipment attempting to create a web page of advertising. I was sent a CD of graphics, button and logos to create the page with absolutely no instruction on how to put them all together and create a cohesive web site. Well! That was a challenge I couldn't refuse! Having absolutely no training in HTML, web design, etc. (after all, they didn't HAVE computers in the dark ages when I went to school) I was bound and determined to figure it out. The company (notice I'm not going to name them, but the link is on the right hand column, heh) mentioned that a web hosting service was available if you needed one, but that was the full amount of their assistance.

I am now seriously in need of Ms.Clairol, but I am proud to say that I DID it! And I only cussed a blue streak 4 or 5 times managed to keep my calm throughout the entire frustrating process.

So I can now officially create a web site from a few HTML files and some graphics. Just don't ask me how I did it because I don't have a clue.

I think tomorrow will be a geocaching day; I have got to get away from this computer.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Since Denny is talking about washing the rig today (it's supposed to sprinkle tomorrow so we're trying to insure that) we won't be going out and about. Therefore today's post will be a road trip from the past.

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum was created in the 1920s by William Boyce Thompson, a mining engineer and very successful Wall Street investor. He originally built a home, Picket Post, near Superior because he enjoyed the area, but soon decided to create the arboretum to study desert plant life and educate the public.

Located on Highway 60 at mile marker 223 near Superior, Arizona, the Arboretum sits on over 100 acres of land that's available to the public, although the total land area including Federal property is over 1,000 acres. There are more than 3000 different types of plants here, both on the grounds and in special greenhouses. As you enter the Visitor Center you will find cacti and varieties of desert plants available for purchase as well as other items available at the gift shop.

There are two miles of walking trails within the complex with plaques explaining the various areas of the park along the route. At various times they offer guided tours, but just wandering the grounds and greenhouses on our own was an education. I imagine springtime would be the best time to visit when the cactus is blooming, although we were there in December and enjoyed exploring the area in the cooler temperatures. There are picnic tables and grills available near the Visitor Center for you to enjoy a quiet lunch.

The cost to enter the Arboretum is $7.50 for an adult. We enjoyed our morning there and hope to return in the spring sometime to see the cacti in bloom.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A view of the red rocks surrounding the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ Posted by Picasa

It's Lazy Sunday Again

Lazy Sunday means posting photos here today as I spent the morning adding some photos of our 2000 travel to the RV Vagabonds website. For Denny, Sunday means the Sunday paper, golf, NASCAR and whatever other sport ESPN can offer. I'm hoping our notebook computer will be returned from its factory repair trip in time for March Madness so I can work on all the website/blog stuff outside!

Montezuma's Castle, a cliff dweller abode from the 1100s which was abandoned for unknown reasons in the 1400s. Posted by Picasa

A distant view of the Superstition Mountains as seen from the Queen Valley RV Park, Queen Valley, Arizona Posted by Picasa

The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona Posted by Picasa

I thought these hills looked like Christmas ribbon candy. They are located in Red Rock State Park near Gallup, New Mexico. Posted by Picasa

Thomas the Train was visiting Boone, Iowa on the day we were in town to take the dinner train tour. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 24, 2006

Rubbing elbows with an Olympian

Yesterday our water aerobics group had a pleasant surprise; Juno rejoined our group.

Two years ago while here in Earp, CA I brought my boombox and water aerobics tape to the pool as I had just started doing the exercises a month before and I wanted to get into a routine of doing them. That first day a couple of ladies walked by the pool and asked if they could join me the next day, which was great. By the end of the week, Bobbie, Naida, Pat and Juno were my regular partners while other ladies dropped in and out. After two weeks we all went our separate ways, but since we all belong to the same private member camping organization it's only a matter of time until we meet again.

Juno doesn't talk about her Olympic experiences; I actually learned her history from Pat who had a site next to Juno at the campground and had talked with her. But it's kind of neat knowing a real Olympian and it's always good to meet up with friends.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Of All the Reasons Ohio is Famous, We Have This

Ohio is known as the birthplace of seven presidents. I grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area, famous for having prolific inventors such as Orville and Wilbur Wright, John Patterson (the cash register), and Charles Kettering (the electric self-starter for autobiles). We're also proud of Neil Armstrong and Judith Resnik (astronauts), Annie Oakley and Roy Rogers and so many more famous folks.

But today while perusing the Dayton Daily News online I discovered this. Now this is not a new phenomenon for the area and we are not content to leave our geese in their natural form. Oh no; we must not only dress them but change their costumes with the changing seasons and holidays.

The folks in Germantown, Ohio redeemed themselves somewhat by placing concrete lions on their porches which were created by one of their own. I've forgotten the story behind them, so I'll have to do some research and get back to you on that.

And by the way. No, I never had a concrete goose at any of my homes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Sunset at Emerald Cove from the camp sites on the Colorado River. There are almost always boats and jet skis on the river and once an airplane (with pontoons) landed while we were enjoying the view. Posted by Picasa

This is our view from our rig. What you are seeing is the flooded out "Jackass Flats" golf course. This picture was actually taken in February of 2005 when there had been a lot of rain. "Jackass Flats" was built by the members of the Emerald Cove Campground and is simply a nine hole course scraped out of the desert with gravel "greens". You play your ball off a small rubber tee to protect your clubs from the hardpan and rake the "greens" when you are finished. We've never played there yet but golfers are out there every morning. They're a hardy bunch! Posted by Picasa

Ruminating while back in the saddle again

I thought I'd be the only person crazy enough to be at the pool this morning for water aerobics in the 40 degree temperatures, but my buddies from Yuma were there before me. It's always fun to run into familiar faces, which occurs more often now that we're into our second year at our private member campgrounds and we have gotten into the cycle of hitting the southern Arizona and California campgrounds during January, February and March. Come April, the Canadians head home as they have to get back before their six months out of the country time limit expires on their national health insurance and the folks from the northern mid-western states return to their farms to prepare for planting and the rest of us scatter across the country once again. Some folks return to their "grounded" homes, some spend months in the driveways or side yards of family, others (like us) simply roam. There's not just one way of fulltiming or one definition of the lifestyle as it's whatever works for you and is comfortable for you. There are those fulltimers who have to work because they need the money to be able to maintain this lifestyle, those who work because they don't know how not to, and those who simply enjoy the pleasures of the day (guess which group we're in?)

We'll be spending two weeks here. We've hit the highlights of sightseeing in the area which are the town museum and Parker Dam, so I'll drag Denny out geocaching one day and see what else we can find to explore. There is a CRIT museum (Colorado River Indian Tribes) a few miles out of town so that might be an option, too. I just can't allow Denny too much lazing around as he'll get used to it and start liking it too much. Heh.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Back to Earp

We're moving today, returning to Earp, CA. That's where we were enjoying our river front site with friends before we had to fly back to Ohio to check on my mom. A group of my water aerobics buddies are already there so I'll have the impetus to get back into my exercise routine. It's so easy to be lazy in this lifestyle when the beach, the reclining lounge chair and a book are so close to hand. Hand me the bitter lemon and vodka and I'm set. Hmm, I think I have my afternoon planned already.

Safe travels.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A lazy Sunday

I've got nothing to say this morning so I decided to upload a few pictures of some critters we've seen in our travels for your viewing entertainment.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to read the Sunday newspaper and then go sit in the sun. To our family back in Ohio where the temperature is currently in the teens-sorry about that.

I fed an entire covey of quail at a campground in Benson, AZ. They are so much prettier than Ohio "bob whites" (quail). Posted by Picasa

The "prospector" and his burro had a little routine they would do for the tourists visiting Gold Mine City ghost town in Jerome, AZ. Posted by Picasa

This little guy is one of several I fed every day along with a group of magpies while at a campground in Gunnison, CO. Posted by Picasa

This brown pelican was waiting for a fisherman to get lucky on the pier at Oceanside, CA. Posted by Picasa

Lots of alligators at the Everglades National Park. We were on a raised viewing platform right above these critters. Posted by Picasa

Grant's Farm in St.Louis is operated by the folks at Anheiser-Busch and is a great place for kids. This little burro was about 3 weeks old. Posted by Picasa

I was able to get to within 30 feet of this pronghorn antelope at Custer State Park in Custer, South Dakota. Posted by Picasa

Michigan has black squirrels, which are the softest, most silky looking creatures I've ever seen. Posted by Picasa

Another darling creature born at Grant's Farm in St. Louis. This baby Clydesdale was sixteen days old. Posted by Picasa

A wild turkey wandering through our site at the Whispering Pines Campground in Rincon, GA Posted by Picasa

A manatee at the Homosassa Wildlife Park getting ready to snatch a carrot from the water. These are really cool beasties. Posted by Picasa

Wading a couple of feet out into the Gulf of Mexico from our camp site in Carrabelle, Florida I saw this guy. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Whether it's the recent deaths, the traveling back and forth to Ohio with the resulting extra expenses or what, but we're just not ourselves this week. No get up and go, no desire to do much of anything including blogging. A very yucky feeling.

Yesterday I managed to drag Denny out for some geocaching. Somehow I managed to pull up six different caches that did not involve a lot of walking, which also meant there were no scenic vistas to enjoy but at least we were out and moving around. We located five of the six easily (we'll hit that sixth one again the next time we're in town-can't let it beat us!) and it was much nicer being outside since the howling winds and blowing sands finally quieted down. Denny only complained about one cache which was next to a Walgreen's; he is very self-conscious about searching around looking for tiny little boxes when there are people around to see him and wonder what he's doing.

This morning we're driving to Mesa to buy breakfast for friends Rene and Barb who loaned us the use of their driveway for our truck when we had to fly home last week. I envy them their view of the Superstition Mountains and nice home in Apache Junction, but the pull of the road is still strong for us. And there are still ten states remaining that we haven't visited or played golf in so there's no quitting now.

The sun is starting to rise and it looks like it's going to be another beautiful day in the neighborhood. For all those still employed-enjoy your long weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Casa Grande Ruins

Located about 15 miles from the town of Casa Grande, the Casa Grande Ruins is our country's first archeological preserve. Built by the Hohokum people in the early 1300s, the four story Casa Grande (Big House) is believed to have been used as an astrological observatory due to the placement of small windows which align with the sun during summer solstice and with the sun and moon at other significant times. Of course, the Hohokum had no written language so archeologists are guessing at the purpose of the building since it is very unusual for its size. The building itself was built using caliche, a hardpan found several feet below ground that was mixed with water to create a concrete-like plaster. Another unusual facet of the building is that the original beams were made of trees that were not available locally but came from the mountains over 50 miles away.

The Hohokum (translated loosely as "the Vanished Ones" or "Those who are gone") were farmers and dug an extensive series of irrigation canals in this area, some of which extended for thirty miles. They grew corn, beans, squash, cotton and tobacco and traded with other tribes up and down the Gila River. The Hohokum abadoned the area in the 1400s and appeared to have disappeared totally, perhaps being absorbed into other tribes.

The volunteers at the Casa Grande Ruins are very knowledgeable about this area of the state and the history of the Hohokum people. A tour takes about an hour and included a short talk given by your guide with time to explore the ruins. You cannot go inside the building but can look inside it through the broken walls. It makes for a nice morning trip and you can use your Golden Age, Golden Eagle or Golden Access passport to get in free, otherwise the entrance fee is $5 per person.

The Casa Grande Ruins. This picture is deceptive as the original building was four stories tall. Posted by Picasa

The remains of the four-story Casa Grande building. Purists despise the roof, which helps preserve the remaining ruins. Posted by Picasa

Archeologists believe this to be a ball court for the Hohokum. Historians aren't sure of the rules of the game but the Aztecs and Mayans had stone ball courts in the period of 600 A.D. and wall etchings seem to show the ball being hit with the thighs, forearms and waist only. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blown away

Last night we arrived home at 3 o'clock in the morning, Eastern Time. Exhausted and drained, we were looking forward to our 11:28 tee time this morning. We awakened to strong winds, but figured we'd just accept the fact our scores would be higher and deal with it. But driving to the course was like driving through the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and that should have been our first clue. The pro shop manager mentioned that a lot of the ladies playing had given up but we wanted to play golf so out we went.

The wind won, folks. By the six hole, we had to hold our heads down for a full minute to keep the blowing sand out of our eyes and it was not going to let up so we gave up and returned home. We had to shower again as we were literally covered in dust. So now I know where we won't consider moving in the future!

Other than that, it's good to be home and it's currently 75 degrees in spite of the wind. Nice, huh? We'll walk to the office and get our mail and that will be the extent of our exercise for the day. We feel a nap coming on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Goin' Home

It'll take all day, but by midnight we should be home.

The service and funeral for Denny's uncle were very moving and well attended. Of course afterward there was the usual babble of Brauns gathering (like a pride but larger) with stories and laughter and hugs.

One furnace fix assist at Denny's dad's house before leaving Cincinnati and we were done for this visit. I packed last night with visions of 80 degree temperatures dancing in my head.

Got a couple of pix to post when I get online tomorrow morning--right now I have to turn the computer back over to my mom.

Happy Trails!

Friday, February 10, 2006

To Uncle Leo

In Memoriam

With you a part of me hath passed away;
For in the peopled forest of my mind
A tree made leafless by this wintry wind
Shall never don again its green array.
Chapel and fireside, country road and bay,
Have something of their friendliness resigned;
Another, if I would, I could not find,
And I am grown much older in a day.
But yet I treasure in my memory
Your gift of charity, and young hearts ease,
And the dear honour of your amity;
For these once mine, my life is rich with these.
And I scarce know which part may greater be,--
What I keep of you, or you rob from me.

George Santayana
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