Thursday, April 2, 2020

Staying Home

Well we have been back home for a little over two weeks, completed our 14 day self-isolation with no signs of the virus. We probably had enough food in the trailer to feed a doodlebugging party for a month so we have been good from that perspective as well. Matt has made sure we had anything else we need, he goes by most days and if we need something he just dumps it in the driveway. We have even had a few conversations yelled across the yard.

Now I am not seeing a lot of difference between self isolating and #stayinghome, although I have got out and made sure at least some of the moose have survived the winter. They are a little spooky so something tells me they might have been hunted a little over the winter. Hunting season was done well before we left last December and they had not been pressured a lot through that, but we have had some treaty hunting in the area in years past so one never knows.

The two shots above were taken the same evening so it just proves that theory that if you are shooting sunsets or sunrises you should always stay for the whole event, things will change as time goes by.

I am noticing a few things different what with Alberta being shut down in a manner that we have never seen before. Only essential services are open, like groceries, fuel stations, pharmacies and I think hardware stores. Most other places are shut down, unlike our winter sunbelt in Arizona where apparently things like nail and hair salons and I can't believe this one golf courses have been deemed essential businesses. By golly one can't deal with a pandemic if their roots are showing or their nail thingy's are growing out. Seems we did make the right decision for us when we ran north for the border.

Some other things I see here, even though Calgary, 40 miles SE of us, is one of only 4 airports in Canada that is accepting International flights, there are NO planes in the sky over our place, it hasn't been like that in 40 odd years we have been here. Not much traffic on the highways, and as I wandered about checking out the neighbourhood, although my neighbours are out and about feeding livestock and going about their business of farming they are for the most part staying home.

Sunrise April 1, 2020

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Staying at Home

Eventually I will get back to the beginning and explain but for now let me tell you what is happening in Dogpound Anywhere's wanderings about Arizona.

Last time I updated you was back in early February so really I guess this has become a monthly blog, rather than a daily one as it was in its early days. We had just moved down to Ogilby Road and I was curious about who was still in the area, as it turned out Ivan had moved on, Willy was back in Bouse where we left him their spots were empty. We found our usual spot here empty and moved right back into the same tracks we had been in a year or so ago, when Brenda broke her ankle.

Up in the top right corner there is a small black blur, that is a bat that escaped the soup pot in Wuhan!

This spot is nice from a couple of different perpectives, it is pretty isolated, not many neighbours, and yet close to Yuma, Arizona, with all the benefits of a big city except for a Costco and there is one of those 40 odd miles to the West in El Centro, California.

We gathered up all our Amazon packages at the local GNC/Amazon Hub so that was out of the way. We also got a couple of visits in with our friends Bill and Margaret Klepachek from Dease Lake, British Columbia, one at their spot in Foothills and one out at our camp in the desert.

Wandering Willy and Ivan and Hailey wandered back into the neighbourhood area and set up just a few hundred yards north of us. They joined us for a couple of morning tea fires and one evening Ivan sent a message over to alert us to a slow moving critter coming our way.
Desert Tortoise
I took this shot with a big telephoto and cropped it in quite tightly. Don't want to disturb these guys as they live in harsh environment and don't need the additional stress of being in a photoshoot. After a couple of minutes of watching him making his way across the desert we left him to his own devices. Hope he makes it safely wherever he was heading.

We were watching the weather over at our next stop and it was a little cooler than we like so we actually stuck around here on Ogilby Road a week longer than we had planned. That allowed us to connect with some new friends Ernie and Debbie and we shared a couple of happy hours with them as well as a trip south of the border to old Mexico for a little lunch.
These fellows were regular visitors both day and night over our camp so we were always entertained with them and their compadres in the jets and Ospreys zooming by.

Eventually the weather over east smartened up and we lifted the jacks and headed that way. We stopped at Holt's Shell in Gila Bend to dump and fill our water and fuel tanks, then over to Casa Grande and into the Blue Beacon Truck Wash to get our rig all shined up. They did a great job. Just a note: We heard that Holt's Shell in Gila Bend has been bought by Pilot and will be razed sometime this spring and a new Pilot built on the site. As RV'ers we will miss Holt's and their spotlessly clean lot and RV Dump complete with potable water.

Once we got her all shined up we headed for our old haunts at Picket Post. Our usual spot was taken so we moved over to what I will call the horse camp and got set up there in a pretty decent spot. A day or so after we set up over the hill came Kim and Wendy for a visit with us. They spent a couple of days there, we ate some Mexican food, some stir fry, and a trip into town for some more Mexican. After a day or two they picked up their chairs and headed on down the road. By this time that pesky little virus was rearing it's head in the collective consciousness of the globe but we were still able to enjoy some social distancing in a pretty nice spot.
Self Isolation Picket Post Style
We spent a nice couple of weeks here enjoying our beautiful surroundings.
The view from our doorstep

Not to shabby a spot

Playing with focus stacking
I alluded to the looming health crisis a couple of times throughout this blog, but it was always in the back of our mind. We although, out in the boondocks, have pretty good connectivity, so we were following it closely. We love our time down in the sunbelt but we were starting to wonder whether our hosts were actually giving the proper amount of seriousness to this Corona Virus issue. I hate to say it but, at least in our opinion, we were not seeing the kind of changes here that we were hearing about back home in Canada. I contacted our Health Insurance company and eventually they confirmed that from their perspective we were good from an insurance outlook. Even with that assurance we were watching the roads north for a good weather window to appear. Now we had a little complication, our spot here was beautiful and perfect but the trail into it needed a couple of dry days before we would be able to move out to hard surfaced roads.

When those dry days came we jumped, and moved out, that also coincided with a short window of decent roads heading towards the Land just North of Summer that we call home, so once we got those wheels rolling we just kept them going. We got over to Constellation Park in Wickenberg the first night and then just decided to head out and see where we got the next day, weather dependant. We had our overwatch, Brent, watching the weather systems and the roads were good, traffic pretty light so we made it north of Salt Lake City to the Cabella's at Farmington. Thanks for the spot Cabella's and we'll be sure to do some business with you on our next trip as we are self isolating as much as we can and didn't want to come in and wander around your store.

The next morning we rolled out with the intention of getting across the Medicine Line in Coutts, Alberta, and that is exactly what we did. It was a longish drive, and the wait at the border went on for an additional 2.5 hours so we ended up stopping just 18 kilometres north at Milk River.

The next morning, early we rolled north to Dogpound, stopping once for fuel in Ft. McLeod, and nothing else. Matt had put a couple of things in our fridge and we were packing a bunch of groceries in the trailer so we were good from that perspective.

Once we got home, as international travellers, we were asked to self isolate for 14 days, so that is where we are right now. Day 7 is behind us and we have no signs of infection so far. It is a little odd being out here on the farm, life looks normal, until you turn on the computer, or the TV.

It will be interesting to say the least to see whether our decision to run north was a wise one, from this viewpoint anyway, we are happy with it, there are folks up here who are not taking this threat serious but not in nearly the same numbers we were seeing down south, but then it is ten days later and things might have changed there as well.

Until next time, stay safe, or as the kids say #staythefuckhome

Friday, February 7, 2020

Update Hummers, Vets, Moving on!

I know I am not very regular with this blog, but I find we are not doing all the exciting things we did when we first started traveling. Most days we do regular stuff, like eat, drink and chill, interspersed by a few photo ops for me. I have probably driven all my Facebook fans nuts with hummingbird pictures but when you are laid back in your recliner and they come and set on the end of your camera lens, what are you supposed to do.

Along about the 23rd of January we headed into Quartzsite and checked out Bloggerfest. Shadow Moss had set it up and about 10-12 folks showed up so we met a few folks and put faces to names and blogs.

Other than that burst of excitement we have just been enjoying the weather and chilling at one of our  favourite spots out near Bouse, Arizona. We run into Parker from time to time to pick up groceries or do some laundry but other than that we haven't been going far.

That said, our two four legged buddies Max and Maya have been having some problems so we have had to take them up to see the vet. Max was diagnosed with a mass last summer so he is on some pain meds to control his discomfort, and Dr. Wendy at Paws and Claws in Lake Havasu City has put him on some prednisone to deal with his difficulty breathing. seems to be working. Maya must have been  a little jealous at all the attention Max was getting so her stomach was bothering her and so she got an appointment to have that little problem looked at and some medicine to fix her up.


The folks at Paws and Claws take a picture of their patients for their records but both Max and Maya are kind of fussy about their social media presence and found the pics they took unflattering so asked me to send these up to them for their files

Max is on a Schedule III controlled substance so his prescription for that which Dr. Wendy increased was interesting to fill. Unlike home where the vet actually fills it here you take it to a regular pharmacy and they fill it. So Brenda is now Max's Guardian and she controls his medicine, well she controls all of their medicines in any case. They almost take more than me now.

Friday, the 7th, we packed our tent and moved camp, down to Ogilby Road, west of Yuma, on the California side. We have a few packages coming into the Amazon Locker here in Yuma next week and we are hoping to visit some friends from Dease Lake and Vancouver Island while we are here, and who knows if we hang long enough, maybe Phyllis, who folks who have followed us for the long haul will know had a place in Yuma where we stayed a long while ago. I will have to kick our aerial surveillance division into gear as rumour has it there may be a couple of other folks we know in the area as well, but maybe they have moved on.

Sunrise January 30, 2020

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Here and There

Picket Post Falls

“About time to update the blog. When we left it we were over near Superior at Picket Post mountain enjoying that beautiful spot while Brenda was undergoing her Scrambler Therapy treatments in Gold Canyon. They reduce her nerve pain, although they do nothing to deal with the muscle or deeper bone pain. Better than nothing I know. 

We enjoyed our time chilling in the desert there and other than trips to town for those appointments we just hung out. I have never, nor am I going to start to spend a lot of time in my blog, telling you about my morning coffee, I don’t drink it anyway, or the regular things that happen every single day. I like to stick with those things that are of interest to our friends and readers and to tell the truth we are not doing a whole lot of them. I like to throw a few photos that I deem worthy of sharing in here and I apologize if you are a follower of mine on Facebook, they are probably repeats. I find my own journal to satisfy all my cravings to ramble on about my daily mumblings.

Once we pulled out of Picket Post we headed over towards Thunderbird Farms to visit our friends the McMeekins, Trish and Lorrie, and empty out their entry of all our Amazon packages. We also managed to eat a little Mexican at Plaza Bonita as well as a couple of home cooked meals at the McMeekin Hacienda. Thanks for your hospitality Trish and Lorrie, it was great visiting with you and telling a few stories, all the gospel truth I might add. 

After leaving our old haunts we headed for Gila Bend and Holt’s Shell to fuel up, dump our tanks, fill with fresh water and propane before heading over to Quartzsite for the Grand Design Owners Rally in the desert south of town. This was our second appearance at this event, I always find the talks from Grand Design, suppliers and equipment manufacturers to be very informative.

Along the way we had bit the bullet and made the decision to upgrade our battery bank from 4-6V Lead Acid batteries to 4-12V Lithium batteries from Battle Born. They had them shipped to Quartzsite for us to pick up on the 13th. That started a major re-powering program led with the batteries and a new Victron Solar controller MPPT 150/60 and a battery monitor also from Victron, a BMV-712 with a temperature sensor added in. Along the way I upgraded a couple of cables from smaller wires to 2/0 cabling and moving wires to make sure the shunt actually was able to log accurate information. Learned a lot along the way, and got a lot of help from Jim Hinkle, a fellow Grand Design owner, Battle Born Batteries, and the manufacturer of our inverter/charger Go Power. They all had good tips and as of this writing we are on the verge of saying we have a working system. Update: two days of testing with or without the generator all seems to be working as advertised now.

Once we got done with the re-powering and the rally we moved on to our old favourite spot near Bouse with a stop at Satellite Advantage in Quartzsite where we had an upgrade installed in our Winegard dish that enables us to automatically locate the Shaw satellites. They had made some changes over the summer that made older dishes like ours unable to do that. 20 minutes of work, and a pocket full of money and it is all good. Along with that change Shaw was moving channels around amongst their three satellites, one of which has no coverage down here in the sunbelt, and it appears that one of my favourites has been shuffled out of range. Oh well.

Once we got settled in here we headed into Parker to get caught up with our laundry and restock the larder.”

Add caption

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Day One Done

Yesterday was the first day of Brenda's Scrambler (Calmare) Therapy and although it wasn't the instant relief she was hoping for today she says it is better than it was so maybe after a few more sessions next week, she will be good to go as far as the nerve pain is concerned.

Probably part of the issue with the slow start yesterday was the fact that after the treatment we hit an RV spot to pick up a new water pump, ours is on it's last legs and will need a replacement. Then we slipped into Costco in Mesa to pick up a few of life's necessities, before stopping at Basha's in Gold Canyon for some other groceries and the Shell for a little propane to keep Dogpound Anywhere nice and warm during the cool spell we are having right now.

Other than that excitement we have been just chilling here at Picket Post enjoying the every changing scenery and muttering about the cool weather.

Boxing Day, the 26th for our American readers, Max and took a little walkabout up and down some of the surrounding hills and tried to find some different scenery to capture.

Picket Post Mountain and the Saguaro's

Our friends heading out for a ride
Beware of the cuddly cactus or jumping cholla

Picket Post Mountain in the background
The picture above is almost the same as the picture below with a little bit of flash and definition added. No Photoshop though.

Max added in of course
And of course my walkabout partner, enjoying his freedom.
"c'mon let's go"

Tonight we headed into Superior to Hermanos for some Mexican food, it was as good as I remember it and the waitress was delightful. We came away with some homemade tortilla's and a whole Lemon Meringue Pie as well. Score

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Just Chillin'

After our headlong rush to southern climes we are just cooling our heels here waiting for Brenda's Scrambler Therapy treatment to begin tomorrow. That usually eradicates her nerve pain, and that means one less thing to cause her discomfort. There are still other symptoms of her CRPS but anytime you can lessen the load that is a good thing.

We were into Gold Canyon to pick up a few groceries the day after we arrived here, so we haven't been going hungry. Christmas Eve some old riding friends, Dave and Linda Modahl put together a dinner, we contributed cheesy potatoes and although all the baking she did, and prepping the spuds wore Brenda out, I went and had a good time visiting and telling stories about the good old days. Mostly true too, but maybe a little better with age.

The view out of our door

Christmas Day we had a relaxing day, a tea fire in the morning and BBQ'ed some chops in the afternoon. The dogs are enjoying staying here where they are not having to be chained up all the time.

The sun is still out there

It's cool at night and the wind has a bad habit of cooling things off in the day time. Christmas Eve it rained most all day, and yesterday there was intermittent downpours interspersed with sunshine so the solar system was cranking all day. Our batteries are on their last legs so even with the solar we are having to run our Honda from time to time.

Sunset Christmas Day

Sunday, December 22, 2019

What's Up

A long time ago in a land far, far away we left you hanging after telling you our rig had been in an accident. As I said all living beings were fine but there was a lot of bent iron. Although we did make it home the last 600 or so kilometers, (370 or so miles) once we got there the truck was grounded and loaded on a flatbed for the last 30 miles to the repair shop and Woody's came down and hooked on our trailer and took it up to their facility to begin the process of estimating and finally repairing it all. There was close to $20,000 damage to the trailer and about $12,000 to the truck, mostly running gear, springs, etc, along with a new rear fender and box side. I won't bore you with pictures of bent tin though.

Brenda and the folks at Woody's got everything under way and our trailer was back in our hands by the first week of December rather than the estimated Spring 2020 we started with.

The truck was less of an issue it was back in a month or so.

So our potential winter north of the Medicine Line was averted and after a final doctors appointment for Brenda last Wednesday we hooked up and rolled south.

Southern Alberta sunrise

It was a coin toss whether we should scoot for the coast and enjoy the rain heading south or just go for it and head straight south. We opted for I-15 and the more direct southerly route. That meant we had about 1200 miles of high desert and potential snow to maneuver through but the gods were smiling and other than a little drifting snow coming over the Milk River Ridge and even less on the Monida in southern Montana it was bare and dry, cruise control weather the whole way.

We stopped the first night at the Clark Canyon Reservoir in southern Montana, where it was bitterly cold with a gale force wind blowing and ice fishing shacks set up right next to our spot. We ran the gennie all night with all the heaters roaring just to stave of hypothermia.

I promised you ice fishing, Max and I are gob smacked that folks actually do that for fun. Brenda not so much, she says it is a blast. I prefer my ice in my drink.

The next morning we were off and across those Idaho flat lands and then into Utah.

Idaho sunrise

Salt Lake City was its usual mess, but we just tucked in behind a semi and motored on through with him clearing the way. The day was uneventful but we did make about 700 miles before it was over in Logandale, Nevada. That meant we had moved over 1300 miles in the last two days but only left us 410 miles to get to our final destination east of Gold Canyon, Arizona.

Sunrise this morning, Picket Post Mountain in the background

Long time readers, and folks on my Facebook page will know that over the last few months at home we weren't just cooling our heels waiting for our southerly migration to begin. We did a little haying, baled some straw, swam most days, and did a whole lot of what my granddaughter calls picturing. I won't subject you to all those photos, there were a lot, of snowy owls, blue jays, moose, and other critters as well as innumerable sunset and landscape shots. But this lady was looking at me like she was saying isn't it time you moved on south and left these northern ranges to us hardier folk. I agreed, hopefully she will be gone back home before we have to. LOL

Snowy Owls end their southern migration about where we begin ours.