Saturday, February 9, 2019

Decision Made

I left you while I was lounging about in the sunshine waiting on Brenda's next X-Ray results down near Quartzsite, Arizona. I had pulled back into our spot near where the legendary Wandering Willy was hanging his hat so Bill and I had a few fires, told some lies, and debated politics for at least a few minutes every day. For the most part our political leanings are pretty similar but that would be boring, so I had to take a contrarian view on a few occasions just to spice it up a little, but we never did let it decay into watching FOX & Friends or becoming Justin Trudeau fanboys. Somehow all those things are less important when you are enjoying desert sunrises, campfires, good friends and some hummers buzzing the sunsets.

We took a spin into Quartzsite for a look around, the day after the big show, so the crowds were pretty manageable. I really just wanted to see what was up and if K&B had any new stuff, but lo and behold the last time I was actually in the "Q" for the big show was about 10 years back and it looked like time had stood still, everything was right where I left it, the only thing different was a couple of tents selling Trump T-shirts and Hats but the rest of it was just like I left it. Other than the run into Quartzsite, I think I made one quick trip to Parker for a propane hose that needed replacing on the BBQ but for the most part I just chilled in the desert.

View from the top step of the Solitude
A 3 frame Pano with a Hummer crashing the party

Brenda's appointment was on Friday the 1st of February and although the breaks have not displaced there was no way her Doc was letting her fly for the next 6 weeks or so, which had me packing for a little journey back into the land north of summer. I pulled out early in the morning on Saturday and headed north, making about 834 miles and five states that first day, pulling into Idaho Falls just as the sunset. I had slipped by in front of a storm in Southern Utah and the roads were decent so I just kept rolling. Thanks to Brent Ross for his great weather and route watching the entire journey.

There was a major storm expected in Montana so I held up for a day in Idaho Falls, and then when the weather wasn't looking like there was much improvement in the forecast for the next week I headed north. From Idaho Falls to the Montana line it was slick, snow, and fog and right at the freezing point so the climb up the Monida Pass was interesting to say the least.

Once I headed down the other side the temperature started dropping, but cold weather makes the snow covered roads a little nicer to drive so that was an improvement. I left I-15 at Dillon and skipped all the hills and high country north of Butte and rejoined the Interstate at Boulder. There is a long hill down from Boulder to Helena that was an interesting slide, and the piece between Helena and Cascade is always interesting when it is snowy, it is a little windy and the big transports who travel at higher speeds than I do in those conditions leave you driving in a sack of flour with the flying snow everytime they pass. But basically from Cascade on it was good going and not many were passing the big Ford.

From Great Falls to Sweetgrass one lane was bare and dry and we made good time. Once I got to the border I tried to roll down the window but it was frozen shut. I had to jump out to talk to the Canadian Border folks and they asked me two questions, did I have any firearms, and any booze, and then told me to get back in the truck before I froze to death and go home.

The roads from the border to Dogpound North (DPN) were great, bare and dry so with the Ford running like a hound we made good time and were home by 8 after another 750 odd miles.

I spent a couple of days unloading all the freezables out of the rig and now she is waiting for spring. I will use other transportation to head in for supplies while I am here helping Brenda follow her non-weight bearing regimen.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Up to Date

My last entry mentioned that Brenda has headed home to get her ankle looked at. The X-rays back north of the Medicine Line identified a couple more breaks than the ones here in Arizona had, so after consulting with a couple of orthopedic doctors back home she is wearing an air cast and on a no weight bearing regimen. It appears that nothing is dislocated, but they are concerned that things stay in place, and they don't want to cut it open and pin or glue it together so she is grounded in Canada for at least the next couple of weeks until they can do a couple more X-rays to confirm stability.

So that means at least for the next couple of weeks the mutts and I are on our own. As might be expected our culinary selection has been affected negatively, but we have discovered that tortilla's make great hot dog buns, and we have lots of room in our big fridge for ice cream. We ran into town today to do the laundry, re-provision, and gather up some other things like propane. And then our neighbour Wandering Willy and I made a dump run and filled our gasoline jug in downtown Bouse.

It has been an interesting week, at one point Max, Maya, and I were heading north but weather and common sense overcame that so we are still here in SE Arizona, waiting on the next set of X-Rays and the possibility that Brenda will be on her way back below the snow line. We are hopeful for that outcome but then what do I know, I am not a frequenter of Web MD or Dr. Google so I will leave that decision up to the pro's.

Observant folks will notice that there are no tracks on the road, I-15 was shut down,  transport trucks and cars in the ditch everywhere, folks actually don't know when to take it easy so the rest of us got to stop and think about it for awhile.

Once the doctors make their decision we will make ours, as to how long we hang south of the snow line. In any case I have a wedding to attend early in March over in Palm Springs.

Other than that little bit of excitement things are pretty low key here. Not a lot going on except feeding the honey bees and the hummers, and keeping an eye on Max clearing the coyotes out of our wash.

Our Neighbourhood

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Ten Years

Ten years is a long time but sometimes it seems like just a blink of an eye, I still remember watching Kelly scale that windmill like it was yesterday, his infectious grin and his irreverent outlook on life. Here is the journal entry I wrote way back then.

Kelly Brown 1958-2009

It has been a few days since my last blog post. Many of our regular readers have certainly wondered what happen to us.
Thursday the 22nd early in the morning I got a call from my brother, Brent, to let me know that he was on the way to the hospital in Calgary, but that our little brother had passed away.
Shocking doesn't describe it, at first my mind thought "Kelly, who, I only know one Kelly and he is the most unlikely person to have a heart attack I know." Kelly was a fit healthy guy, 50 years old but not any extra weight and always a pretty active guy with a regular workout schedule that is supposed to waylay these kinds of issues. Brent and I both have histories of heart issues, but not Kelly, he seemed to have escaped that part of our genetic make-up. But sadly it was true; he had passed away in same house he came home from the hospital to as a new baby. Dad always said it didn't look like Kelly was going to move away so he finally sold him the house.

Like I said he was our baby brother so almost every step of his way through life I was watching to see what he would do next (and that was never boring). I remember the day he came home from the hospital and the way Brent and I roared into the house with all our grubby little friends in tow to show off our brand new baby brother. Didn't take Mom long to give us the bums rush as she didn't want her shiny new baby mauled by a lot of grubby kids. I think pretty soon she got used to us as I don't remember not being allowed to paw him for very long.

When Brent and I used to go to school down the road Kelly could always be counted on to accompany us on his tricycle and mom talks about him always asking every kid coming down that street if they had seen "JohnnyBrent".

When we were kids my Mom was quite a seamstress so there are a lot of pictures of the three of us all wearing matching shirts. I was always taller and skinnier (not anymore, the skinny part anyway) and Brent and Kelly were much more alike so they actually look like big and small versions of the same guy. I don't think any of those pictures show Kelly without a big grin on his face.

Kelly Brown was a fearless skier who spent a large part of his time on any mountain going straight down the fall line, long traverses being for lesser mortals. In the tribute at the funeral Brent painted a word picture that will forever stick in my mind of Kelly floating effortlessly down the mountain through chest deep untracked powder and although I was never a good enough skier to accomplish that myself I well remember riding up the chair lift at Sunshine, Goats Eye, for those who know it, one day 25 or so years ago and seeing him doing exactly that directly under the lift. Nobody else had dared to take that run and the guy I was riding with couldn't believe what he was seeing nor when we came close enough that the fearless fellow below us was actually my baby brother.

My father is a pretty good gardener so when Kelly took over the house it already had a great deal of landscaping finished and mature, but I think over the years he owned it the garden got even better. You could always find him working there in his yard any time he had a few spare moments. For the great majority of his life he was a bachelor and I'm not sure whether they are connected or not but he spent a lot of time doing the things that gave him pleasure. He skied most of the great mountains in Western North America in the winter and drove his little Triumph TR-6 all through the west in the summer.

All that said he was always around when you needed someone to help with odd jobs. I don't like heights so when we needed to re-roof the old barn Kelly was pressed into service to do the high work. The same thing when the windmill needed some maintenance, Kelly was the man for the job. I don't know what I am going to do without my high angle go-to guy. Ten years later that windmill is likely to need oiling soon, anyone?

A few years ago though, he was struck by a young lady who caught his fancy, and whom he eventually convinced, that he was the guy for her. He and Christine had a great relationship and were good friends first and lovers second. That certainly made his last two years amongst the happiest of his life. Thanks for that Christine.

His memorial service was a great testament to the number of lives he had impacted in his short time here, there must have been at least 400 hundred, maybe 500 folks in attendance and I am betting almost everyone could have told a story about Kelly Brown and how he had added to their collection of lifetime stories. I know I could go on for days or weeks telling absolutely true tales that most people wouldn't believe had actually happened but that was the kind of guy he was.

All these words describe the Kelly Brown that I knew, Irreverent, Politically Un-correct, Outspoken, Opinionated, Kind, Caring, Loving, Funny, Hard-working, Fun Loving, Courageous, Adventurer, Loyal, and most of all a friend you could depend on.

One of Kelly Brown's lifelong friends, who now lives in Melbourne, Australia, sent us a Tribute to Kelly Brown that characterized him as what the Australians call a Larrikin. I stole the definitions here from Wikipedia and if they don't describe the man I called my baby brother I must have missed the point

Larrikin - "a mischievous or frolicsome youth"

"A person may be classified as a larrikin if he or she meets some of these criteria. A larrikin is not concerned with the opinion of other people and so is not socially intimidated into modifying behaviour and structuring it around social norms. Larrikins are also not at all fazed by authorities of all kinds, including whatever power or authority they may possess themselves, and must not take themselves too seriously." I am assuming that when you meet all the criteria you are a Super Larrikin, well Kelly you make the grade.

That pretty much sums up Kelly Brown and although he is gone, he will never be forgotten, he lives on in the hearts of hundreds of people, those who joined at his wake, his memorial, and those who were unable to. Although I confess at times he infuriated me I can honestly say I was always proud to call him my little brother.

As always in the middle of things with his infectious grin
"Catch you later Bro"

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Life goes On

We pulled out of Ogilby Road and headed north to Blythe, California on Wednesday the 8th, and pointed our rig towards a gathering of Grand Design Coaches south of Quartzsite, Arizona. This was the fourth annual Grand Design Quartzsite Rally, our first, but probably not our last. It was a good time, great food and well organised. There were some great presentations from Bluestar and Battle Born Batteries as well as a Q&A session conducted by a couple of Grand Design roving techs.

Chris and Mike were really informative and Grand Design had sent them along with a couple of other guys, complete with their service trucks and trailers to make sure folks were looked after here. They caught up any recalls that were outstanding and then jumped in and fixed a lot of little things that folks had pointed out. In our case they replaced a couple of problematic wall plugs, and I know they changed furnaces, adjusted slides, etc for the folks around us. Customer service is a core value at Grand Design and this was the proof of the pudding. Thanks a lot guys.

Eventually there were 170 rigs in attendance. The red line is us.
 Those who know our habits know that crowded places are not our natural habitat, but this was a special occasion and well worth the crowd. Still had more space than most campgrounds we have visited.

And off to the East we had this view of the Kofa Mountains


As I said we arrived Wednesday and I left on Monday morning but before I left, Sunday night was a little bonfire. It must have been a hundred feet long and probably 3 feet tall. Almost brought a tear to my eye watching all that carbon being released to the atmosphere and not a carbon tax assessor in sight.

Now that's a bonfire!

Monday morning I went about packing up the rig and headed north to a little spot up near Bouse that we have been to many times in the past.

Attentive readers will notice that "we" arrived in Quartzsite and "I" left on Monday, well I didn't leave Brenda behind to tend that fire, early on Sunday morning I ran her over to Palm Springs and she flew home to get a broken ankle tended to. Although we carry all kinds of insurance to deal with those kind of emergencies here in the USA it seemed as if she would receive better and more timely care back north of the Medicine Line and that is proving to be true. She is hanging out with her sister, Cheryl, and things are progressing swimmingly on that front. Canadian Health Care Rocks.

I found our regular spot here unoccupied and got Dogpound Anywhere set up here to await the results of Brenda's treatment. If she is able to come back we will resume our adventures in the desert, if not the mutts and I might just have to make our way back to the Northern Ranges by ourselves, only time will tell.

Good thing we got here Monday and set up, Tuesday it rained cats and dogs and the washes here were running. We don't have to many neighbours in these parts but one of them is that legendary Wandering Willy and I do believe Tuesday morning I saw him out dipping a line in the crick flowing by our rigs looking for a Sonoran Salmon for dinner.

Today the weather has smartened up and I am enjoying the sound of the local hummingbird population buzzing my feeders and the fresh smell of a desert rainfall.

Sunrise this morning

Monday, January 7, 2019

What's Up

Since my last entry we have just been chilling here along Ogilby Road. The weather has not been the greatest, a little windy, a little cool, but the last couple of days it seems to have turned around and maybe winter along the Mexican border is almost over.

New Years Day we joined our friends from Dease Lake, Bill and Margaret at the Texas Roadhouse to celebrate Bill's birthday, he was a New Years baby way back in the middle of the great depression, so you do the math. That said he looks like he hasn't aged a day since we first met back 10 or 15 years ago.

The next day we had visitors out to rig, Skip and Jean are staying over in the Pilot Knob LTVA and ran over to chew the fat with us and see our new outfit. Hopefully we cross trails with them later in the winter again.

Then it was off to Mexico with Bill and Margaret, while Bill visited his dentist the rest of us wandered the town. Brenda got some puffers for Rebecca, and I got my Sunday go to meeting boots all polished up for Ryan and Lisa's wedding later in March this year. We stopped and grabbed some lunch at a pretty good little restaurant down there and then while the rest of them headed off to grab a spot in the line to cross back over the border I ran back and bought a bushel of shrimp from the Sea of Cortez. Despite Donny's threats the border was still open and we got back on the north side without issue.

Since then we have just hung out here and done the regular stuff like hitting the laundromat and Wally World to restock our larder. We needed to reprovision as we are heading towards Quartzsite tomorrow, we think, to join a group of folks who have rigs similar to ours for a little rally.

I have been hanging out shooting Hummingbirds and the odd sunrise.

A dogfight at the feeder

Tough little guys to catch sitting still

Sunrise over the Cargo Muchacho Mountains

Monday, December 31, 2018

Imperial Dunes

The last day of 2018 started early when I headed over to Glamis to see if I could get a sunrise shot in the dunes. Although the picture I envisioned never materialized I did see some nice colours.

It was interesting that even though I was there before sun-up there were sand machines roaring through the dunes already. Yesterday I mentioned there were hundreds of rigs over by us, well over near the Glamis flats there were literally thousands of rigs spread for miles down the eastern side of the dunes. There is a stretch of these dunes north of Glamis that is a wildland so the dune system is protected from the marauding sand warriors up there I guess, although as I walked around it seemed like the wind pretty near erases most traces just overnight. I guess in a perfect world eventually vegetation would establish itself and these dunes would just become hills but that is probably not in the cards.

Other than the run to the Dunes it was a lazy day, I ran into pick up some smokes for Brenda and then just hung around camp the rest of the day. It clouded up pretty much and even some rain fell here and more over near Yuma, so it was an inside day and not much on the solar generating front either.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Eve of New Years Eve

A week or more has passed since I bored you with our adventures. We are still up on Ogilby Road enjoying the serenity and peace and quiet. Our nearest neighbours are 3 or 400 yards away from us, and pretty quiet folks as well. Across the road pandemonium reigns supreme as that is where the folks who have brought their quads, side by sides, and sand rails to tear around the Imperial Sand Dunes are camped. There must be a few hundred rigs, toy haulers and car trailers parked on the East side of Ogilby Road where they stage to head out into the dunes.

Lots of Rigs

Imperial Sand Dunes

Earlier this week we were over to the gravel pit, north of Yuma, where our friends Ron, Edie, Bill and Margaret are camped for a visit, and then on Christmas Day Bill and Margaret came over here to Dogpound Anywhere for Christmas Dinner. Brenda of course went all out so we had a bird along with all the usual trimmings. The wind has been howling these last few days and we have been hiding out in the rig and catching up with some trips to Yuma to pick up some stuff we needed.

One day we stopped by Rockies Pizzeria to satisfy that craving, what a wonderful pizza those guys concocted for us, if not the best ever, certainly in the top 3.

Of course we had to do all those usual things, like laundry, and we combined that with a trip over to Don and Angela's to pick up Brenda's Christmas present and some other things Amazon had dropped off with them. One of those things was a new phone for me, my old one decided it had had enough and quit charging so it died a slow painful death. I ordered it online and the Apple elves managed to get it delivered in one day so it was waiting with the rest of our packages. 

Today was a mixed bag, this morning I headed over to Gray Well, a rest stop just to the west of Ogilby Road where you can drop off your garbage and fill up with water. I have a bladder I have carried around with us for the last ten years or so and it once again was pressed into duty.
Water hauling
After hauling a load of water we once again headed for Foothills and a lunch date with Don and Angela at a local Chinese place called Sesames.

One morning the wind was down a little so I kicked the Mavic up so I could give you a look around our little slice of desert. It is pretty gray and not many trees but it is quiet and the hummingbirds are buzzing us constantly and that is the kind of spot we like to be in.

The sunsets aren't to bad either.