Thursday, November 30, 2023

We're Back

It was nice while it lasted, and we had a great getaway to the sea, but we have come back to the desert and will be heading back out into the boonies tomorrow bright and early. We thought we needed a little ocean time and our trucked needed some brake and AC work so the time was ripe for a salt water escape. We came in out of the desert last Sunday, spent Monday catching up on our laundry and picked up a rental car while dropping off the 450 for it's spa treatment. Then it was off to the coast and Pacific Beach for a two night visit. It was different walking on the "boardwalk", really a cement sidewalk instead of meandering through the desert, but interesting nevertheless.
The two shots above were from last nights sunset, as I have said before it is worth staying for the whole event as things change rapidly as the sun goes down. In the first shot sharp eyes will see what I think is a Marine V-22 out for a sunset cruise. Both nights as I watched the sunset this aircraft came by, the first night doing a lot of dipping and circling, not sure what he was up to, but maybe he spotted a whale or something offshore and was just having a look, or just maybe he was just entertaining the looky-loo's shoreside.
These two shots above were taken from or off the Crystal Pier just down the beach from our hotel, those old planks creaked as I walked across them but I saw a pickup truck drive out there so they must be OK. There are cottages out on the pier that I guess you can stay in.
This great mural was in the alley behind our hotel. Pretty nice alleyway art. But sometimes an alley is just an alley, but we don't discrimate we wander in the plain ones as well as the fancy ones.
And a couple of shots of the local flora, around the hotel and throughout the area. Pacific Beach is for the most part a clean friendly place, lots of folks walking the beachfront and all pretty friendly, and dogs, man there are a lot of dogs, and everyone well behaved with and keeping their owners close at hand.
Below are a couple more shots of the beach I took yesterday. I can only imagine how many folks are on this beach on a nice summer weekend, cause here in what they call winter, in mid-week it was a busy place and hard to get a picture without a bunch of folks wandering through it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Change Up

I thought it was getting a little tedious for our readers, a few pictures of sunrise, a couple of hummers blowing by, and then a few words of prose so we decided to change things up a little. We had been in our spot on the American Girl for two weeks and that is a good time to move on in this boondocking world. We had a couple of things that needed doing, like dumping tanks, laundry, and getting the AC in the 450 looked after. So I made an appointment for the truck, but first we hauled the rig into a park where we could abandon it for a road trip of our own.
A shot of the moon as I headed out on my walkabout a couple of mornings ago, and below some Ocotillo's and the sunrise along the wander in the desert.
Then we decided it had been 25 or so years since we had ventured into the San Diego area so we made some reservations and headed west, without the Solitude or the truck. They are staying back in the desert for this trip. It is some interesting country to the west of El Centro going over that coastal range of hills. I would call them mountains but they look like nothing more than huge, 4000 foot high piles of boulders, dumped there by some behemoth rock truck. One of the things I saw that kind of bothered me was the mammoth solar installations on the edge of the Imperial Valley, while I have no issue with solar power, we have it on our RV, somehow it seems that land like that in the Imperial Valley, North America's green grocers homeland, is not the place to sterilize so much of it with those installations. I have seen a lot more likely places on land that probably doesn't feed a continent. But enough said about that.
I found this fellow standing on the sidewalk when I wandered down to the local Amazon locker to pick up something, and his buddy was watching over the beach go'ers just behind him.
We had an early dinner at a rooftop place down the road from our hotel called the Pacific Beach Ale House, good food, great staff, and a pretty decent view as well. Then it was back to beachfront walk by our hotel to see the sun sink into the sea. That speck, kind of bug like is a Boeing V-22, maybe some Marines out for their own version of a sunset cruise. I suspect they were combining a sunset cruise/whale watching session with probably some training as they seem to do a lot of circling and swooping out there while we watched.
And in the tradition of Lorne over there on the A Place called Away blog here is a view from my window this evening.
Till next time, life is good here down the road from Dogpound.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Another Desert Day

Once again we didn't do anything worth writing about, a wander about the desert, a couple of great meals, and a picture or two of my friends the hummingbirds. Over the last couple of days there has been a few more rigs showing up in our neighbourhood, but none within our comfort zone, which is great.
Above is a look at our spot here. Although we have to share it with two or three hummingbirds and a coyote that comes by in the night, it is a pretty great spot to hide out from the winter weather back home.
Other than a picture or two of this little rooster that posed for my camera, I pretty much let the little speedsters come and go unbothered today, even hummingbirds get tired of being pictured all the time I bet. But they did gobble up a bunch of food on their visits here to see us.
We think this is an Anna's hummingbird but whatever he is he is a pretty little critter.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Camp Day

It is Thanksgiving Day for all our American friends, but us Canadians had our turkey day back in October, just before we left to come south. I enjoyed Thanksgiving at my son Paul's place, and they always have a big spread of to much food that tastes to good to not eat, so I have already done my overeating for the fall season.
Here is my looking back at my window shot for this morning, taken as I was heading out to make sure the desert was all good since I was last out there yesterday morning. I like to get a little exercise in the morning as for the rest of the day I do a pretty fine imitation of a sloth and don't do much of anything.
Someone was working overtime this morning colouring up the skies for us desert rats. Once I get done my wander about the countryside I usually just come back and chill around camp, unless there is some burning desire to go to town, but today is a camp day, and tomorrow probably as well, as the Black Friday horde will be out in full force I can imagine. So it was basically a listen to tunes, and shoot some hummingbirds type of day. I caught this one showing off her flying skills and coming in for her Thanksgiving feast on full instruments, she has done it so often she can do it with her eyes closed.
The shot below shows some nice colour but really shows how fast these little critters move, my shutter speed is taking this image at 1/8000 of a second and that can't even freeze the wing action on this little desert speedster.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

And Again

I needed to fill one of our propane bottles and it dawned on me that tomorrow was Thanksgiving here in America, and then Friday is that horror of horrors they call Black Friday and I try to avoid both of those days like the plague. So today was the day to run in and get ourselves ready for a couple of days hiding out here along the American Girl. The hordes won't find us here although, from all the toy haulers passing by on Obilby Road today, the Dunes to the west of us will be a busy spot this weekend.
I took this shot above as I left this morning on my ramble across the desert and shortly after this dead tree caught my eye.
And then as I returned I walked by that same old tree and the different light changed the whole view. Almost looks like one of those critters the folks were riding around in the movie Avatar was frozen in time and turned to wood.
We brought some leftovers home from our lunch yesterday and I do believe they were even better today than they were yesterday, so thanks again Don. Then I spent the rest of the day setting out watching the 3 Hummers we have here dogfighting and zooming back and forth in front of me. They are entertaining little critters and it is a good thing they are hardly bigger than a bumblebee, as agressive as they are. They are cool to capture with the camera, but it takes a little patience, and a well charged battery. Today I took about 750 images of them, and picked what I think are the best three to share with you folks.
So that is a hit rate of about 0.4%, now there were a bunch that were decent but these were my picks. With todays camera's there's not really a lot of terrible ones, but my first pass through I threw out about 650 of them as not worth keeping, and then the next time through whittled about another 50 out, most as pretty much duplicates of something I kept or Hummers, just like people, sometimes blink and we all know how folks hate those pictures so off to the round file they went as well. I did keep one of the terrible one just to post here though.
So for all our American readers, enjoy your day tomorrow and hope you are lucky enough to spend it with family or friends and eating to much.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Into Town Again

The last couple of days my walkabout have been almost all in the wash here as it has been quite windy the last few days and the wash gives a little bit of protection from the wind. Once I have gone half far enough I climb up out of the wash and let the wind carry me home. Each day I do somewhere between 2 and 3 miles, and that scratches my itch to do something at least.
Once I got back and got cleaned up we headed into town to make some arrangements for our next week or so of activities and meet Don and Angela Ritter, folks who we met down here, but have followed for a long time through blogs and such. Usually we are not so fortunate as to get to spend much time with them, but this year we have met for lunch twice, once here today, and once a few months back on their home ground, Vancouver Island. Thanks Don for lunch.
Long time followers will have come to the conclusion that I am not a very good people picturer, and today was no exception, besides between telling tall tales and gobbling down a great lunch who has time to drag out a camera. While we were in town we decided to brave the local grocery store, something we usually avoid like the plague in the days leading up to American Thanksgiving, but actually other than the many carts full of multiple (6-10) turkeys and hams it was really quite civilized in there today. We'll see what sundown brings but we may end up this post with a shot of the rig as I left this morning on my daily march.
Drinking and flying, guess he didn't read the JSA.
And sundown from the American Girl Wash

Monday, November 20, 2023

Trip to Town

I might have to call these shots looking back at the rig in the morning, the view looking in my window, playing on Lorne at A Place called Away's view from his window. Well I would but I probably can't depend on having a great backdrop like here along the American Girl every day so it is going to be a limited time offering.
After my walkabout, we decided we needed to run to town, Brenda had some shopping to do, not very successful I gather, and then we needed to stop by a Cannabis dispensary. She is having a lot of pain with her knee (CRPS) and hoping to find something that might relieve it a little bit. The place we stopped in Yuma needed ID and Brenda had forgotten hers and I know absolutely nothing about the whole wonderful world of Cannabis and without ID they don't allow you in the store, so she decided we needed to head back home without anything. Once we got here we realized there was a store in Winterhaven, on the California side of the river, so we grabbed her ID and headed back into that place. Apparently, they had an entirely different process there than across the River in Arizona, and she was happy with what she found. I will reserve my happy to see if it works.
This is the view on the way back to the rig in the morning.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Just Walking

and Hunting Hummers
The sunrises shot with my iPhone, the Hummers with my Canon.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Hanging Out

Not a lot happening here along the American Girl. Roaming about the desert is the highlight of my day, that and hunting hummingbirds. My walk is always interesting in its own way, the desert is a pretty cool place to wander, you can ramble back and forth with no set destination, changing course on a whim and and zigging and zagging back and forth across the landscape.
It was a beautiful day today, warm, but a little breezy, so the temperatures didn’t climb too high. Took a few pictures, read a few books and stalked the hummingbirds most of the day. They are tricky and the winds today made them even quicker. This fellow was a little yellower than usual it seems.
We had a visit today by a couple of Osprey’s, the Marine kind, Boeing Tiltrotor aircraft. They are odd looking machines but can land either like a chopper or like an airplane, I guess, and are much faster than normal helicopters.
I wonder what these Marines think about as they buzz the RV’s in the desert.

Friday, November 17, 2023

A Different Sort of Day

I started off my walkabout this morning in a bit of fog. It was really quite different, the shot below is a panorama of my view for much of the ramble. I would say visibility was about 8-10 paces.
It was really quite disorienting in a kind of cool way. When your sight is handicapped your other senses take over and especially your hearing, the crunch of your footsteps, as you wander through the desert. Ghostly cacti appearing out of the mist and the disappearing again. Weird but I am sure welcome for the flora and fauna that call this place home. Those desert tortoises I talked about a few days ago probably depend on these mists and the accompanying humidity to get a sip or two of liquid into their diet.
That is a shot of our rig as I left walking into the mists of time. Brenda figured I should stay home but I thought with all of the technology we have at hand now, the likelihood of me disappearing forever were quite slim. That and the fact that I have walked all over this desert for years and only once saw a tortoise here, I got to thinking maybe they are only out and active on days like this. Sure enough when I stopped and listened I was certain I could hear the sounds of their footsteps and maybe the echos of their shells clunking together as they snuck through the fog in migrating herds. Can't prove it but I am sure they are out there.
I did enjoy the time in a the sensory deprivation tank though, but as I finished my wander the mists started to burn off and the sun shone through.
And by the time I got back to DPA the day was warming up and we were once again tortoise free.