Thursday, January 29, 2009

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 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.

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"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Roaming the Country

Today was a lazy day, this morning I had my breakfast and then fired up the TV for a morning of watching the inauguration ceremonies in Washington. Dennis and Denice came over to help me moderate the show. Not that anyone else was interested in my comments but it was quite a spectacle. Some 42,500 security folks keeping an estimated crowd of 1,000,000 folks in line. Sure hope this fellow can live up to his billings or their will be a lot of disappointed folks. As a Canadian it is not really my concern but we are the United States biggest trading partners and share about 4,000 miles of border with them so I sure hope he can do all he is expected too.

After recovering from the morning of watching the tube I spent most of the afternoon reading a book and enjoying the peace and quiet. Also managed to talk to Matt about things that are happening back home.

Then I thought I better get moving before the sloth-like lifestyle gets to feeling normal. I went into town and braved the crowd to have a look around the Flea Market again. Nothing caught my eye except the flagpoles but I can't decide which one I want or need so left empty handed. Then I thought I'd have a look down in the Roadrunner 14 day area for the Bayfield Bunch. Al had given a pretty good description of their spot on his blog "" this morning and I managed to drive right to their doorstep. I introduced myself and we sat for a while and chewed the fat exchanging stories about great places we had found to camp in the SW and talking about our various interests. Time flew by and pretty soon it was dark and I thought I better head back to my own camp and check out what the Obama's were up to this evening.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Pretty nice sunrise this morning. I did a little cleaning around the bus this morning then took a drive over east of Bouse to the old mine site at Swansea. The roads were good getting there although mostly gravel. You go through a couple of different types of eco-systems from a dune type desert, called the Crescent Dunes where the vegetation is very sparse, until just before you reach Swansea you are dropping through more mountainous terrain that borders the Bill Williams River. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to save money on mine reclamation down here is call it a historic site and give it to the government.

Some of the mountains just to the west of Bouse

A Saguaro in the desert east of Bouse

The landscape in the Crescent Dunes area

A look at the country around Swansea as you drop down towards the Bill Williams River

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dr. Moriarty

This afternoon when I phoned home to talk to my Dad he gave me some sad news. Apparently my family doctor had been stricken with a heart attack and passed away suddenly earlier in the week. Fred had been my physician for many years since taking over the family practice from his father when he retired. Dr. Fred's father, Dr. Joe Moriarty, had been the Brown family doctor since he came back from his stint in the Navy during the Second World War. Dr. Joe was the attending physician at my birth as well as the births of both of my sons and Fred helped bring my eldest grandaughter into the world. Needless to say we have had a long and for the most part healthy relationship under the stewardship of the Moriarty family. I can remember as a kid having Joe Moriarty doing house calls and certainly remember when I was in the hospital as a teenager hearing his voice echoing down the halls of the Holy Cross hospital making sure that his patients were the recipients of the very best care the staff there could manage. They were not pretentious men but were not afraid to call a spade a spade. I also recall half a dozen years ago when I had my heart attack, Dr. Fred's daily visits to interpret for me what the cardiologist were saying and what it would mean to me. I know that I still have some of the drawings that he would make to be certain that I understood everything. My heart goes out to Fred's family in these sad times and I just wanted to say thanks for all their family has done for mine over the years.

Today I wandered into Quartzsite to look around another section of the Flea Market. There are hordes of vendors around town for this event but it appears that they all get their stock from the same supplier. Boxes and boxes of tools, gloves, wire ends, hats, t-shirts and trinkets of all kinds but after a while you have to look up and reorientate yourself because it seems like you may have been walking in a very small circle. It wouldn't surprise me if the many booths are all owned by a very few folks as they all appear to have the same stuff for sale at exactly the same prices. I also ran out and had a visit with Bill and Marg, and Ron and Edy. They are parked out on Dome Rock Road in almost the same spot we were in in November. I have included a couple of photos taken out there to show the number of rigs surrounding them.

The shot below is from up at the Stone Cabin looking off to the NW across the Dome Rock Road 14 day area.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Big Tent

Well today I braved the road into Quartzsite to visit the RV Show and the Big Tent. In the desert surrounding town there is an abundance of RV's parked, and most of their owners were swarming into town to look for that elusive deal. The traffic was not to bad and I actually got a parking spot within a few hundred yards of the centre of activity. There were a lot of folks moving around the tent but at least from my perspective I couldn't see that there were any great deals to be had. Kinda reminded me of a small town RV show, say Red Deer, back home. Certainly nothing compared to the Tampa Super Show that we attended about this time last year. That said it was interesting watching the people.

In the small world category I met Eddie Dillon from Tuktoyaktuks cousin working in the Northwest Territories and then standing right next to me in the tent were Dennis and Denice. I worked with Dennis for the last 20 odd years back home in Canada and although I knew there was a chance they would be in the area I was not sure. Fortuitous meeting, later in the day I went over to visit them at their site at Hi Jolly and got myself an invitation to dinner.

Other than those exciting bits the rest of the day I spent working on my tan and keeping Brenda's bus clean while enjoying the temperatures in the mid 70's. I mention the temperatures, not to gloat, but so that those back home in the Great White North know that there is hope. Spring and summer will come back to the land up there but it will be awhile I guess.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bouse Road Exploration

I went over to Bouse today. The road runs right by the door of the motor home and I figured I should see what was over the hill. It ran over a range of mountains and down into another large flat desert valley. The small town of Bouse is at the intersection of the road I am on and Highway 72. From there I traveled on the County Roads down to Brenda, Arizona. Must of have been missing the real thing I guess. Then it was I-10 back to Quartzsite and back home.

It is BLM land all the way from Highway 95 over to the junction with Hwy 72 so there are boondockers scattered randomly all along the way. By far the highest concentration though is in this Plomosa 14 day area along the first 2 miles of Bouse Road. Once I got over to Bouse I took a drive through the Community Park there. Although they don't have full hookups they do have water and electric and a dump station. It is pretty reasonable to stay there and maybe the most intriguing thing to me is they have an equestrian section. I have been looking for a spot where I could bring some saddle horses down and while there met some folks from Washington, Carroll and her husband David who have done just that. They tell me that there are a lot of great places to ride in the surrounding area and even though the spot they are camped has no water or electrical the horses have all the water they need as well as good pipe pens to spend their evenings in. Through the daylight hours they have them turned out into an electric fenced area just off the edge of the campsite. Now if I can just find a place that I can turn them out for a week or two if we want to run off to Mexico or something maybe I can rescue my ponies from the cold next winter too.

Along the road to Bouse I saw these CJ type jeeps heading off road and although I thought of following them I figured Brenda wouldn't want her baby to head into the outback, no matter what its heritage is.

Once again I came across a couple of these Road Runner guys while the first just showed me how they got their name this fellow seemed inclined to stick around and see what I was up to as long as I didn't try to get to close.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gone but Not Forgotten

Today is the day that Brenda went away. She has flown home to have a visit with her brother who has had some surgery and also see the kids. Matt, our son, is picking her up at the airport, and I see from the flight tracker that her plane is almost an hour late getting there. He will take her out to the farm and make sure she can get the truck out of the garage. Tomorrow she will be off to Rocky Mountain House to visit Brent and our daughter Lacey. This will be the first time she has seen Lace since she annouced her pregnancy so that will be a lot of excitement. I am sure that there will be a visit with Bec and Ved in the plans also.

Over the last few days she has given me detailed instructions on how to keep HER bus neat and tidy and I am trying my best to follow the rules. We got the laundry all done up in Quartzsite the other day. I have figured out that if you go at Happy Hour in the evening the thundering horde has left the laundromat and it goes much quicker. Not that I am much of a laundry person, but in the past I have been known to do a load or two. ...only my stuff as most folks don't like everything a light shade of

She had to be at the airport by 1:00PM and as usual we were ready to roll in lots of time. Good thing because last night just as I shut the place down for the night our air card gave up the ghost so I took it with us and the folks at the Sprint store replaced it for us. The charge was minimal as we didn't have the insurance on it but the actual cost was less than we would have paid to date for that insurance. After that we managed a stop at Costco for the required hundred and some dollars worth of purchases, I'm sure if you don't spend a hundred bucks there they tell you to go back until you have or they won't let you out. Even had time to run into Cabela's to pick up some Cinnamon Apple jelly, imagine our disappointment when they told us they had none as they were reducing stock so the upcoming inventory would be better, strange. It will be really easy if you sell everything and don't restock, go figure.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Full Moon

Just another day in the desert. We didn't do much, went for a couple of walkabouts, ate too much and set outside and enjoyed the sunshine. It was almost 80F today and the wind was never more than a pleasant breeze so it was an almost perfect day. What could have made it nicer I am not sure. There are a lot of outfits going by our camp, I'm going to have to take a tour up the road to see where they are all going. This area runs for another mile or so to the east so there is a lot of space still unused. Our closest neighbour is probably 1/4 mile away and with the lay of the land around here it will be hard for anyone to move in on us.

Yesterday was a full moon and here is another shot of the moon coming up right at sunset. It looked pretty big as it rose over the hills to the east.

Our solar system is working great, we ran everything we wanted last night and by midday today we had replenished our batteries. It certainly makes it pretty nice to be able to enjoy being in the middle of nowhere and having all the conveniences of being hooked to shore power without the cord. Below is a shot of the sunset tonight. It didn't have to compete with the moon rise as that happened almost an hour later this evening.

What a difference a day makes the moon rose later into a dark night sky.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bouse Road

We have moved. We left Yuma this morning as the wind was rising, heading for Quartzsite. First we had to stop and fill the propane, quite a difference from the KOA in Las Vegas where we paid $4.99 a gallon for propane, in Yuma it was $2.45 a gallon and you could find it cheaper if you wanted to run all over town looking. Seeing as how we are not exactly a fuel efficient runabout we decided to eat the difference for the few gallons we needed. The wind was rocking and rolling for a lot of the trip north but our Power Bridge chassis had no problems dealing with it. It is sure a pleasure to drive, almost like a sports car, a big one but a sports car nevertheless.

We decided because Brenda is going to head home in a few days it would be good for us to be in a spot where the aircard and phone would work well. The site on Dome Rock Road that we have stayed at a few times in the past does not have good reception so we are up on the Bouse Road north of Quartzsite in a 14 day area called Plomosa. One of the drawbacks to this site, the oldtimers tell us, is when things start hopping in Quartzsite it takes a while to get through town to get down where all the vendors are on the south side of I-10. Shouldn't be a problem as we certainly have a lot of time to spare here. We are about a .9 miles off of Highway 95 so we won't know it is over there and although we are quite close to Bouse Road, the last time we stayed here it seemed to get pretty quiet in the night. As I write this it is early in the evening and Bouse Road is quiet.

We have got everything set up and all systems seem to be working as advertised and with the great sunshine the power substation on our roof will meet most of our electrical needs. We actually have two setting areas here one out the door of the Discovery for the hot sun part of the day and the other, pictured above, which is overlooking a wash and gets great sun and is protected from any breezes by the tree on the left. The winds that were evident in Yuma this morning appear to not be able to find us here in Quartzsite so it is a beautiful day here with temps in the mid 70's. The hummingbirds have already been to check out our feeder and we have some seed out for the doves and Gambel quail that we can hear but have yet to see.

The shot below is of the full moon just as it was rising today. It is pretty bright, who knows maybe the solar panels will get a little jump from it tonight.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tumco Wash and Glamis

Tumco Wash

Today I took a drive over into California to have a look at the country around Tumco Wash. The Bayfield Bunch were camped over here for a while and their journal piqued my interest. Not hard to see why they liked this country, lot's to see and some great places for my morning walkabouts. On the east side of Ogilby Road there is a lot of BLM land where boondocking is allowed and there doesn't appear to be all the ATV traffic that is over a little way to the west near the Imperial Dunes. All to the good.

After snooping up a few roads and scouting a few future camp spots I headed over towards Glamis to get a closer look at the Dunes. Because it is mid week there are not nearly as many machines roaring around over here as there would be on the weekend. I went west into the Dunes and tried to pull into Osborn Outlook to get a look over the area but they were filming a movie and that was one of their operations bases. The Highway Patrol had the highway closed to allow them unfettered access and the Outlook was closed to the public until sunset. I didn't want to stay that long so flipped a U-turn and headed back to Foothills near Yuma.

I also stopped at Harbor Freight and picked up a few things that I saw yesterday but didn't want to stand in line to buy. Today the line was shorter but the prices were the same.

The Imperial Dunes

These folks had something to do with the movie. It was a secret who and what was going on so I think it is a remake of Mad Max starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Well in the absence of information I can make up my own story. LOL

This is a look to the north of Osborn Outlook where the ATV's are not allowed to go. Looks a lot better that way so it is good that there are areas that are off limits to protect the eco-system.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hanging out in Yuma

Not much happening this week but we are enjoying the warm weather and the days have been sunny although it cools off quite quickly in the evenings. It seems we are not doing much although we have been visiting with all our neighbours, Jim and Ginny, Norm and Diane and our hosts here Bob and Phyllis. Bill and Margaret came over for happy hour on Monday night and Bill and I watched the Team Canada Juniors thrashed the Swedish team on their way to their fifth straight gold medal in this annual tournament of All-Stars from around the world. It was a great game that was always close until the end. Margaret and Brenda hung out at the fire with Bob and Phyllis and Knute and Hannah until the last few minutes of the game.

Today Brenda went out with Phyllis and Hannah and some other ladies to celebrate Hannah's birthday, Happy Birthday Hannah, and had lunch at Olive Garden. I did some running around, picked up my shirts at the laundry, checked out the Harbour Freight shop for tools and made an appointment for the Jeep to get serviced on Friday. I also picked up some smokies and buns as tonight we are heading out to Ron and Edie's place by Yuma Lakes to roast some dogs over their campfire. It was a beautiful night for a weiner roast.

Brenda's brother Brent has had a setback with his leg and it looks like the diabetes is affecting his circulation to such an extent that they are going to have to remove his leg just below the knee. Never ends it seems, so we came home from the fire and booked Brenda a flight home next Thursday the 15th so that she can be with him for a while. He lives alone and and has no other family around except for our daughter Lacey who also lives in Rocky Mountain House. Thanks Lace for all the things you are looking after in our absence.

Looks like that fire is almost ready for some smokies

And here is a shot of Ron and Edith's travelling companion Kato

I've been watching our friends Dennis and Denice's blog and the roads from Alberta are not good and they are having trouble getting south this winter. I think they have been ready for a week or so and are loaded to go. I bet next year, Dennis you are heading south in

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On the Roll

Yesterday afternoon we ran over to Bill and Margaret's as Marg's sister Linda and Mickey are headed back to Watson Lake and we wanted to say goodbye before they got away today. Then we came back and enjoyed a visit around the campfire with Phyllis and Bob, our landlords, and their/our neighbours Hanna and Knute from over the back fence. They are all from Kent, Washington.

This morning Hanna came by with a hand knitted baby blanket for Lacey's new baby and some dish clothes for Brenda.

We took a little drive today, East on I-8, over Telegraph Pass, and into the next valley. There is a little town there called Wellton, and nope Mick we didn't see any Eybens or Greens but who knows maybe next time. It is primarily an agricultural area but there weren't any good photos of that part of it to be had, except the feedlot, and I couldn't hold my breathe long enough to get a shot of that. There must have been a half section of pens, all full of holstein cattle, and by the odour they were hard at work producing green house gas. We did take a spin out into the desert to the north and it looks as if there is some BLM land up there that you could camp on. Long way from the cattle and the farm fields also so a pretty peaceful area. We also came upon the village of Roll, there were a couple of buildings, an implement dealer and a cafe as well as a post office/general store combo and that was about all. Along the way we came across this Road Runner running along the road. He was making time but I did manage to get him to stop for a photo before he headed off to look for that old coyote.

After we got back to Foothills where we are staying Brenda started making bread so soon we will be enjoying the smell of fresh bread and soon after that I think a slice of bread and some peanut butter will be called for.
And for those of you who look to us for a glimmer of warmth, it is a little cooler in Yuma today, but it still is sunny at 59F.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Shopping around Yuma

As you can see we finally got the satellite dish painted. The fellow at the Arizona Swap Meet did a great job and the price was the same as when you drag it over the border to Algodones. We wanted something a little different than the standard desert fare and you know with Brenda's inclination towards matching colours we thought a barn and some horses would work well. Just to help remember those of you back home in the cold, you'll notice we had the roof snow covered. Yesterday was in the high 70's and today till about 2:ooPM was also quite warm although it is cooling off a little as the clouds come in this afternoon. Probably get down into the 60's this afternoon. We also found a laundry yesterday so all those long sleeve shirts I am packing can get washed and pressed and they should be ready next week early.

Today we again visited the Flea Market/Swap Meet and wandered about looking at the deals that were on offer. There is a lot of stuff there but most of it is not exactly what we want or maybe we just don't realize we need it yet. You can poke around looking at stuff there for so long that after a while you figure you better take some of it just in case.

After that we headed over to the Olive Garden to partake of their Soup and Salad lunch special, all the you can eat salad and soup with breadsticks for $7.95, best deal in any town I'm sure. We really put on the dog today and actually ordered the Calamari appetizer too so we might well of been the big spenders amongst the lunch crowd.

Ginny from next door brought Brenda over a 10KG bag of good old Robin Hood flour from back in Canada so we should be having some homemade bread soon. It seems that the flour you get down here doesn't make the kind of bread we are used to or so those who know tell me anyway.

Doesn't seem like we did too much but believe me we are busy all day doing what we're not sure. But as Rod a fellow traveller says "we are retired, so I guess we don't Have to do much"

Stay warm and keep in touch!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day

So for the first day of the year we went out looking for something to do. First I took the dish off the roof of the rig as we were going to get it painted at the Flea Market. Surprise, surprise, much to my chagrin and Brenda's delight it was closed. I can hardly imagine the fact that with all the folks down here on holidays they would take a day off during the holidays especially one that is only dedicated to recovering from hangovers, overeating and watching to much football. But Brenda warned me. Once we discovered it was closed we headed downtown looking for Gene's Chinese Restaurant. It is really called Jeannie Wah's Chinese & American Bistro but they are open today and we are thinking of trying them tonight as Brenda has a craving for Chinese. Well searching for them we came across Brownies Cafe and it looked like a good spot to have breakfast at, great eggs, hash brown's and bacon but as usual in the states the toast/bread leaves a little to be desired.

After breakfast we took a drive down to the Colorado River, the boundary between Arizona and California, and stopped in at the Quechan Indians Casino on the California side. Brenda says smokes are cheaper in California than Arizona. After that vice break we popped back across the river and visited the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park. It is the old prison and was active from about 1876 till 1909. Pretty much carved out of the hillside and it is hard to imagine that with the summer temperatures here it was a very hospitable place but apparently it had some modern features ahead of its time so the locals called it the Hotel. After it's time as a prison it served as a High School hence the name of the present day Yuma High School athletic teams "Criminals". Here is a shot of the grave yard not much more than a pile of rocks on each grave and there were reportedly 111 prisoners who died while incarcerated here.

One of those prisoners was a fellow, wrongfully accused I'm sure, named John Brown who was murdered by his cellmate.

The cells here make a spot at Alcatraz look like a country club stay.

They tell us this door used to be a lot taller but what with all the movies being made here and the fact that the leading men were usually quite small they lowered it so that they would appear taller going in and out of this entrance.
This is a view across the Colorado River at St. Thomas Mission on the Quechan Indian land in California

Posted by Picasa