Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Las Vegas 4.8 - 9

Ok so I've never done Las Vegas....

Karla's birthday was coming up...

Ok now I've done Las Vegas!!

It was completely overwhelming. You really didn't know where to direct your attention, everything was shouting so loudly for it. Enough to just about make you sick. But then I'd find myself completely enraptured by all these tiny details. The flowers at the Bellagio or the insane marble floor in the lobby of the MGM Grand.

Big thanks to our friend Griz from Phoenix for joining us! She definitely made the experience so much more fun.

Just a few pictures, as I lost most of them when my phone crashed. Bugger.

You can park right behind the strip and stay for free. No joke. There was security too, not like any of it was sketchy. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeet.


Total splurge.... Paris buffet. OMG. I'm used to buffets being awful. Ok, maybe tolerable. Certainly not good. Yeah. Mind blown.


Thanks for making the drive Griz!!


I think the Bellagio was my favorite.



No drinking was involved. For hours. Definitely not.


Which made us laugh at taco advertisements...


Slot machines. They make no sense AT ALL. Seriously. But at least now I can say I've gambled, as previously I'd never even done so much as buy a lottery ticket.



Fun times. I remember most of it. ;) Not sure I'll go back, but glad to have experienced the strip!


Monday, May 29, 2017

Phoenix 2.12 - 4.4

We had a fantastic month in Quartzsite, meeting new folks, getting the rig capable of boondocking for extended periods and really enjoying the desert. It was time to get jobs though! We had employment lined up north of Phoenix. The area is a mecca for MLB spring training and the seasonal work required to support it! Thankfully there was also quite a few boondocking opportunities outside the city, as the RV parks in town were very expensive (lots of snowbirds and retirees). If you can believe it, this would be the first time we'd worked since Amazon!! Although we were really just doing minimum wage work, we had a great time. Texas and Kansas City were based at the stadium we worked, but teams from all over the country came to play. 3/4 of the people I worked with were full timers, probably less than half for Karla. I was the cook in one of the little stadium kitchens, making sandwiches, hot dogs, pretzels, etc. Karla manned one of the registers at the store behind home plate. She had a great view!  Go Rockies!


We stayed at an OHV (off highway vehicle) area north of town, called Boulders. An OHV area is a place setup for dirt bikes, ATVs and side by sides. This one was really big and relatively well developed. There was plenty of nice places to camp plus two pit toilets. It was quiet during the week and busy on the weekends, but folks were for the most part very respectful and we enjoyed the company on the weekends. Lots of families. The weather was spectacular, except for one week of super hot weather. Lots of fun riding right outside our door.


Got to practice our skills on loose, rocky hills


And sand. I still hate sand!


The skies were incredible, all of these were taken from our camping spot.


Full moon rising as the sun set


Another evening


After Quartzsite, Phoenix was insanely green. It felt like we were camping on a golf course!


You could hear the donkeys braying almost every day. Derby and I actually came across a herd of them on one of our walks. Calmly sat down and watched them for a good half hour. These guys were NOTHING like the donkeys in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota or the herd up in Oatman, AZ. All of them were almost house pets. They'd come up begging for food and let you pet them. These guys were VERY wild. Skittish, ornery, loud and curious. What a treat to actually see them.


Took the time to get some bigger projects done. Roof repairs and new coating for Lucy.


New tires on both bikes. 10,000 miles on my rear, it definitely surpassed expectations. Happily went with the same tires again.


Guess what we found in town?? OMG. I died.


We had one week when it rained every day! Very glad to have all new rubber on both bikes.


Karla went out and took some amazing photos one wet morning while I was at work. Cell phone cameras are getting pretty good!


These little guys closed at night and opened during the day, like clockwork.





Hard to believe but the desert got even greener.


Had a super bloom of wildflowers as a result. Yeeessss!!!


That's one of the many offroad trails we enjoyed in the background


Lots of rain means lots of puddles. Weeeeeeee! Let's go riding!!





Even with the rain and short winter days there was plenty of sun, we didn't need to use our generator.
Dog AND battery, charging!


Phoenix was the stomping grounds of Amber and Rick, some RV friends we made in Quartzsite. The four of us got along very well, we were happy when they said they'd be joining us for a bit at the OHV area! What do you do with a group of atleast four good friends?? Bust out Cards Against Humanity!! If you've never heard of it, it's like a dirty Apples to Apples. Never heard of that? Well, there is no help for you...


Found some decent beer at State 48 Brewery, just down the street from the baseball stadium.


So pleased to have my parents visit, it was the first time dad had seen our rig all renovated! Also enjoyed a visit from some local motorcycling friends, Mark and Chris. Glad to finally meet them in person, known Mark on one of my forums for years.

Of course any self respecting motorcyclist, when in this area of Arizona, will introduce his wife to the wonders of 89 into Prescott and 89A into Jerome.


I meant to show her Sedona too but we got distracted at THAT Brewery in Cottonwood...


We spent just over 6 weeks in Phoenix. Work was fun, weather was enjoyable, plenty of great riding. What's next? Stay tuned...


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

San Diego, 2.5 - 8

Guess what's only 4 hours from Quartzsite? San Diego!! Our friends Mac and Carole live in Oceanside and agreed to host us. The are long time volunteers at the zoo and gave us a great tour. We really enjoyed our time with them, look forward to seeing them both again soon.

Karla's friend Kristin also lives in SD, so she went out a few days early to visit with her. I enjoyed the ride out solo, definitely different country out here than either of us are used to.


Sand dunes!


The San Diego Zoo is fantastic, if you haven't been get it on your list. I really dislike zoos, but it's hard not to get behind a place like this. I have a bunch of photos, here's a few of them.








These two hung out for a good while. This poor guy really seemed sad.



These two had a bit of a row.



Check out that look...




I might be humanizing, but listening to her/him wail on and on made me want to cry.




The following day we spent the day enjoy some of the sites of San Diego. First stop was the dog beach in Oceanside. Derby LOVED IT.




Well except the ocean part... She's not one for water and this was rather intimidating... She was still a very good girl and posed for the camera.



Balboa Park was up next, wow that was spectacular. 


This ficus tree was planted prior to 1915!






The Botanical Building was beautiful, completed in 1916.








Some great mountain roads for the trip home, so we opted for an early start. I've been wanting to try the pie in Julian for a while now. The riding was super fun, especially on a week day with no traffic.


So much twisty goodness. Great views too.  Glad we got up early.


Julian pie was excellent! I had photos of the pie, but lost them when my phone fried itself... Use your imagination.


Had fun exploring the sculptures in Borrego Springs before heading back to Quartzsite.