Sunday, December 30, 2012

Life in the desert 2012

The word desert means different things to different people. Desert is mostly associated with a lot of sand and sand dunes. In Southern California the desert has some vegetation, and when there is rainfall at the right time, there are beautiful flowers in March and April.
The desert for me is beautiful sunsets.

It also can be colorful rainbows when it rains on the other side of the mountain.

The desert also changes people. Most visitors to Peg leg Smith come from cold climates, like Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Manitoba, and the Northern United States.
People from those regions appreciate the climate near Borrego Springs and do not complain about the occasionally strong winds. Thirty inches of snow on the ground is a lot worse.
Most of my neighbors are Canadians. There is Heather and Dan. They are from British Columbia and still working. They work eight months and spend the rest of the year in Southern California.
Dan is self employed; he does concrete work, and Heather works in a vineyard. They are very active and took their mountain bikes up the mountain. This was no small task. It is very dangerous to get up there and then riding on the narrow trail takes courage. They also invite their neighbors to play bocce ball.
They live in a small van and have their toys in a trailer.
At home they moved from a 3,500 square foot home to a 750 square foot house. After living in a van for four months their little house appears to be large.

My favorite neighbors are Coleen and Gordon. They come from Brandon, near Winnipeg, Manitoba. Winnipeg was my first home town on this continent. They sold their house in Brandon and bought their big motorhome. They plan on moving to British Columbia to be near one of their daughters. Their other daughter lives in Ontario, on the other side of Canada. Coleen and Gordon were teachers in Scotland. They saw an advertisement in a newspaper in Scotland. Brandon was looking for teachers. They applied for the job and got it. They were teachers in Brandon for over thirty years.

Gordon seems to work a lot on the electrical system on his motorhome. Dwight assists him.
Dwight is one of the old timers at Peg Leg. I know him for many years.

Norman and Gatsby are from Saskatchewan. They have a big truck and pull a big fifth wheel. When they arrived here, in the night, they did not pull the trailer. A tow truck pulled their truck and the trailer. Their
Truck has a blown head gasket. The truck has 450,000 kilometers on the odometer, this is about 300,000 miles.

Larry and Marilyn come from Oregon. Marilyn knits and does fine bead work. She uses tiny beads. Gordon reads a lot and cooks on his solar cooker.

Nancy and Don are active too. They like to play horse shoes.

Jim and Jane are also Canadians. The bought a bigger motorhome while they were in Texas. It is a Texas sized rig. He is still working on wiring the solar panels to the batteries. Getting the wires to the controller and then to the batteries is a big job. I have done it now on three motorhomes.

Here is another Rick and his friend Dave. Both are Canadians. Rick was a teacher and Dave a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. Their wives must have been shopping while I took the pictures.

Jim is parked next to me and he keeps me laughing with his antics.

Another Rick and his wife Virgie also come from the San Diego area, but they will stay only for a few days.

Several groups have happy Hour in the afternoon.

Mike always has a can of beer in his hand.

There is also a short time visitor from Austria. The lady brought her motorhome across the Atlantic. She has been in America and Canada several times and has been in all the provinces and States.

Besides interacting with my neighbors I go to the Senior Center in Borrego Springs on Tuesday and Friday for lunch. Normally George, who is 102 years old, and I are the only men.
George is still mentally sharp and comes on an electric scooter. Because of his eyesight they took his driver’s license away. He is angry about this.
The lunch is catered by Kendall’s restaurant. It is one of the best restaurants in town. The donation is $ 5.20.
The group exercises before lunch.

I come just for the lunch.

Every day I spend some time at the library.

People have put solar Christmas lights on bushes and one couple brought a tree.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Convair Tooling Group Christmas Luncheon 2012

I left Peg Leg Smith Monument at 7:30 AM. In Santa Ysabel I stopped at the bakery and bought two bear claws. I put them on the back seat of the car so I could not reach them.
Since I was on my way for having lunch, spoiling my appetite would not have been a good idea.
In the mountains it was cold and I had to put on the heater.
I arrived in Santee at 9:30 AM and had plenty of time to go to Walmart and do some shopping. At Office Depot I bought a cartridge for my laser printer. The cartridge is more expensive than the printer.
The Hometown Buffet opened its doors at 10:30 AM and there were already a few of my former Convair buddies. I started to eat right away and had then plenty of time to socialize.
Ernie, one of the tool designers, was there too. I had not seen him for over twenty years. He had moved to Texas and is visiting relatives in the San Diego area.

Some of the older people did not show up. The group is getting smaller. It is wonderful though to get together once a year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Borrego Springs 2012 (3)

After breakfast I packed a lunch with some water and I was ready to go on a park ranger guided hike through a slot canyon.
We were to meet at 9:00 AM at the Buttes Pass Road trailhead. Clouds came over the mountains and they were very dark. I knew no ranger would go into a slot canyon when there is a chance of rain. So I did not go.
An hour later it started to rain. It was a steady rain and it rained all day and all evening. The sun did not come out and people were running their generator to charge the motorhome batteries.
I started mine too and took the toaster oven out and broiled two chicken breasts. I cooked bow tie noodles, chopped up some onions and green peppers and made a chicken noodle salad with mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar.
Later I went to the library and spent three hours there. I read some of the national and local newspapers, and some magazines. In the health section of one of the magazines I saw an article about grapefruit.
Grapefruit are supposed to be no good. They interfere with medications. Since I am in grapefruit country right now I eat a big grapefruit every day. A big bag with ten grapefruits cost only $3.00 here. They are the sweet red ones.
I have a lot of time on my hands and should work on my Christmas mail. I do not feel like it. When I am not happy I have a difficult time to accomplish things.

I am still at Peg Leg Smith. The plan was to celebrate Christmas with the WINs in Yuma. I will be staying here another four weeks.
Today I made reservations with the San Diego County Parks and I will join the Convair Camping Club at their January outing at Agua Caliente County Park, which is located not very far from here.
I also will attend the Convair Tooling Group Christmas Luncheon in Santee.
From Agua Caliente I will go to Quartzsite, Arizona.
I called relatives and friends in Germany today. They did not take my bad news lightly. My sister is also worried about me with all those shootings in the United States. They see the same news in Germany.
Today is a slow day. The library is closed on Sunday and Monday. I vacuumed the carpet in the motorhome and did some house cleaning. More Canadians arrived. They will stay all winter. We few Americans are outnumbered. Gordon, my Canadian neighbor, told me that they would let me stay. He is very funny.

Yesterday, on my morning walk, the sky was blue and our little community with the mountains in the back was waiting for another beautiful day. Clouds were hanging on the mountains.

In the afternoon the clouds turned red and the wind picked up. I had to lower the solar panels.

This morning it was calm again. I went with Ron to Brawley where we went to the hardware store and then to Walmart. We had ice chests with us and bought a lot of frozen groceries and fresh vegetables.
My freezer is full again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Convair Camping Club Christmas Luncheon 2012

I left the motorhome at 5:15 AM and arrived in Vista just before 8:00 AM. I bought a lot of fruit and vegetables at Frazier Farms Market.
At Pep Boys Automotive Parts Store I got rid of the old engine oil and the filter from the motorhome.
My next stop was Walmart where I bought more groceries. Then I went to Doreen and picked up my mail.
From there I drove down to San Diego, to the Holiday Inn at Harbor Drive. The Convair Camping Club had their Annual Christmas Luncheon there.
It was a good turnout and it was wonderful to see the old camping buddies. I have not been with the group for a while.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Borrego Springs 2012 (2)

Borrego Springs 2012 (2)
I spent the day with Ron at his ranch. We shot our rifles and Ron also took some practice shots with his hand gun. A guy came up from behind the hill and shouted at us. He told us that he was camping on the other side of the hill.
The left target is mine. I have to adjust the scope a bit to the right. The pattern is perfect.

I felt like working today. First I changed the oil in the motorhome and then I went to the State Park and emptied the holding tanks and filled the fresh water tank. On the way home I stopped at the library and checked my E mail.

I had a very interesting morning. When I came back from my walk my neighbors were calling me. Coleen wanted to go for a walk but could not open the door of the motorhome.
They were locked in. Gordon gave me the keys through the window and I tried from the outside. The locks moved but the door would not open.
I got a large screwdriver from my tool box and tried to pry to open the door. Nothing worked.
Gordon took the dead bolt lock apart, still no luck. Then he disassembled part of the screen door to get to the main lock. He took the cover off and told me that he would not touch that lock, to many springs and levers.
I set up their step ladder and Gordon climbed out of the window. He went to another neighbor, with a similar motorhome, to get a telephone number.
When he came back we decided to move the motorhome back and forth to loosen the door frame. That works sometimes because the body of the motorhome twists and the door opens easier or harder.
Coleen raised the hydraulic levelers and moved the motorhome back and forth. I used my screwdriver again and still no change. So she leveled again the rig. While Gordon and I worked outside Coleen opened the door and came out. We could not believe it.
I had noticed that the door was not stuck anymore, it felt like the lock was still engaged. She had moved the door also in and out and noticed a piece of round metal coming out of the striker plate. It was part of the striker. The cheap two part construction had come apart.
Before I was thinking about taking a picture Gordon had assembled it already. The aluminum part on the right was still engaged in the lock. The part had opened up, where the slit is, and the one eight of an inch diameter pin had slipped out. Gordon had reassembled it already before I took the picture.

They bought their large, beautiful motorhome new, since they did not want to buy anybody else’s problems. New motorhomes have problems too.

There is not much to do in the desert. A lot of people read and some women do knitting. Marilyn also makes beautiful bracelets and other items with tiny beads.
Walking and bicycle riding are popular. I start the day with a walk up the hill. There is also laundry to do. Shopping for groceries is expensive in Borrego Springs. There is only one store.
People go either to Ramona or Indio for restocking the refrigerator and freezer. On Tuesday and Friday I go to the Senior Center for lunch. They serve lunch only twice a week.
Only about ten people come. The food is catered by the Kendall restaurant and very good.
There are groups who have camp fires in the evening. During the day people hang out or play games. Here desert bocce ball is played. I was invited to play but I rather watch.

It is not easy to play the game here. The ground is flat, but there are stones and when the ball makes contact with a stone it changes direction.
There are now more Canadians than Americans at Peg Leg Smith. Two motorhomes from Quebec just arrived. My neighbors Gordon and Coleen come from Brandon, near Winnipeg, Manitoba, one of my old home towns.
There are also people here from Ontario and British Columbia.
The regular snow birds are coming one by one. Some will arrive right after Christmas and stay the rest of the winter. When they arrive, everything stops and they are greeted like long lost relatives. Some come with new rigs and there is a lot to talk about. Peg Leg Smith is a small community. Years ago, when Marvin Rudd came here, he was the mayor of this group of people. He made sure that there was enough fire wood for the camp fire and that the unwritten rules were observed.
Most of the group are couples. There are only a few single people.
I am spending a lot of time in the library reading the daily newspaper and magazines. In the evening I watch a DVD from the library. They have a large selection.
Right now I am reading “Years of Minutes” by Andy Rooney. It is very funny and is a collection of his five minutes on the end of 60 Minutes.
It is colder at night now. In the morning it is between 45 and 50 degrees F. in the motorhome. As soon as the sun comes out it warms up to the mid seventies.