Saturday, November 17, 2012

WIN Thanksgiving 2012

I am now three days at the Jojoba Hills SKP Resort.
It is a member owned park and it shows. There is a large swimming pool. The pool is 65 feet long and 35 feet wide, good for swimming laps. This is a swimming pool with a view.

The people at Jojoba are very proud of their library. Besides books they have 1750 DVDs, from classics to new releases.
Since I am parked in the boon dock area and I have no hook ups and cannot get television with an antenna; I go to the library and watch the news there on a big screen television.
They charge me five dollars a day for camping and I can use all the facilities.

Today, while returning from a shopping trip to Temecula, I met Ricardo Breceda, the sculptor and designer of the sculptures in Borrego Springs.
I had seen the horses on the side of the highway and knew that they were his statues.

Now he is building a new sculpture near the Vail Lake Resort. It looks like a giant snake. I was so busy talking about what he had done in Borrego Springs that I forgot to ask him about his new creation.
His Borrego Spring sponsor, Dennis Avery, died in July.

It is across from the stage coach and near the two Indians.

Ricardo told me to drive into the resort and look at some of his other statues. Near his workshop are about a hundred animals of all kinds and people too. They are for sale and have the prices on them.

This cute Bighorn Sheep costs $ 1,500.00.

This was another bad day. I went to Carlsbad and got rid of most of my tools. At least they are in good hands.
I was able to fix almost anything made from wood or metal. It all changed.
While I was down there I converted a safety ladder, designed for a two story building, for getting out of the emergency window of the motorhome.
Today was the first time that I checked how the window works, which is not very smart. One should do that when buying the motorhome. Now I have to get a wooden dowel for keeping the window open in an emergency.

I left Jojoba Hills at 7:30 AM and arrived in Borrego Springs an hour later.
I encountered some light rain on the west side of the mountains.
I Borrego Springs I stopped at the library and did some computer work outside. At 9:00 AM the library opened its doors and I went inside for a short while.
My next stop was Gary Magee’s house for some fresh water. I filled up the tank and then knocked on the house door. He was home, which does not happen very often since he works at Boeing in Everett, Washington.
It was nice to see him. From his house I went to Peg Leg Smith’s Monument where about ten WINs have already set up camp. Since I am early for the gathering I got a good spot for the motorhome, not very far from the gathering hosts, and a good direction for raising the solar panels. The gathering officially starts tomorrow, but we had a 4:00 PM circle meeting today.
The two hosts have planned already hikes, State Park Ranger Talks and of course dancing at the American Legion. Monday a trip to Julian is on the chart.
The hosts will buy 15 turkeys this year. Last year’s 13 were just enough. They do not want to be worried about running short.
I have telephone service here but only two Mexican channels on the TV.

We had a beautiful desert morning, blue skies with dark clouds on the other side of the mountains.
I hiked up the hill.

At 9:00 AM I went to the library, and from there to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center.

The 11:00 AM Ranger Talk was about coyotes. The ranger was a high school teacher and presented a very interesting slide show. He emphasized not to feed wild animals. I saw the result when people think it is cute to hand out food to coyotes. In Death Valley they stop cars and beg for food. Eventually they get run over.

Some states still pay a bounty for killed coyotes. Here they are attached to a building.

My next stop was at Ron Carlson’s house. Since both of us had not eaten lunch yet, we went into town and dined at Ron’s favorite restaurant.
I am not the only one getting old. Ron will be soon 80 years old and he has slowed down.
We are still around, some of our work mates are gone.
When I came back to the motorhome I cleaned the windshield and windows on the Saturn. I got another surprise. The windshield has an eight inch long crack, starting from the top. It has to be fixed before the crack grows all the way to the bottom of the windshield.
Nelda arrived today. She is 85 years old and drives a big motorhome with a car in tow. She is the baker in the group. She bakes cakes and cookies and brings them to the meetings.

The group went to Julian for apple pie. Since I spent a week there a few months ago I stayed behind.
I felt like having an ice cream and went to town to enjoy one.
The ice cream store was closed. The library was closed too, but I could do my E mail at the bench outside of the building. It is a lot more fun though with a table.
Wednesday the host will pick up the turkeys. I signed up for carving the birds. There will be four carvers. I also signed up for making a broccoli salad for Thursday.
So far 40 motorhomes and trailers have arrived.
This evening was a perfect day for having a camp fire. There was no wind. I started the fire at 5:30 PM.
Everybody told the group what they did for a living. I am surprised how many teachers are WINs.

Today was an important day for the Wandering Individual Network (WIN).
Sharon, the owner and president of the network, had health problems this year and sold the business to Bob Parker. Bob had to pay one dollar to Sharon.

We had a lively meeting. Bob wants the members to run the club. He gave the group an outline of how we should proceed.
Some people behaved like children. Instead of thanking Bob for trying to save the club they talked nonsense. A committee of eight members was finally formed and they will go ahead and listen to the rest of the membership and make some rules.
Since only about 55 members of the club are here, and there are over 300 more members out there, it is not easy to work things out. Bob is trying to get back some of the 400 members who left the club in the last few years.
I hope we will continue having a wonderful club with a lot of spectacular trips. I had always a good time with the group.
The week on a house boat on Lake Powell, and the week in a raft going down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon, were life time experiences.

I got my ice cream today. Our little RV village in the desert is growing.

Nelda, Lois and other senior members asked whether Doreen is coming.

At yesterday’s meeting it was suggested that the bimonthly club news bulletin should be send out only on the Internet, to save postage.
One lady got angry and used the “F” word. I think she will never use it again in front of WINs. Almost everybody made it be known that this is not acceptable. I should have been careful since I was sitting next to her. She is a lot bigger than I. She has no computer and would not be able to receive the news letter.
Last night we had another beautiful camp fire. We were entertained by a singing guitar player. I hope we have the same weather on Thursday. The last few days there was hardly any wind.
This morning I went to the Christmas Circle for the Farmers Market. I bought a loaf of rye bread. It looks, feels and tastes like German bread but the lady who sold it looked and talked like she is from a Mediterranean country.

Shortly before 3:00 PM the cooked turkeys arrived and we started carving. There were only seven turkeys and two hams. This was the lowest attendance since I started coming to the WIN Thanksgiving Outing.
Last year we had eleven turkeys.

We had our Thanksgiving Dinner at 12:30 PM. More people arrived today and seventy WINers were fed.
I had set up my table and Lois asked me whether she could sit with me.
In the sun it was warm, so we moved our table to the shady side of a motorhome. Everything came out fine again. The food was hot and tasted delicious.

Peg Leg Smith would have been proud of us.

Exactly eight years ago I was here alone and felt the same way. Sometime things are not what we would like them to be.
The crack in the windshield of the Saturn gets bigger every day. The windshield has to be replaced.

Last evening people asked me to show them the trail to the rim of the mountain east of us.
At 6:30 AM we took off and I managed to get up to the rim. Then the trail disappeared. I had walked it many times before but could not find it this time. My career as a guide was short lived.
I took them to my favorite place instead, my little Indian Ruins.

At 1:00 PM we were feeding our faces again. We had leftovers. There was plenty of food.
The weather is perfect; there is no wind.
In the evening some of the group went to the American Legion to dance.
I went with some people to the Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center where Dr. Mike Wallace, the Conservation Program Manager at the San Diego Zoological Society, presented The Ups and Downs of Saving the California Condor.
We learned of the history of this very large bird and the reintroduction in Northern Baja and the US.
It was a very interesting program. Dr. Wallace used slides to show the birds in captivity and in the wild.
From near extinction the recovery program was able to increase the number to about 450 California Condors. 200 of them are flying free.

This morning we hiked up Ghost Mountain.
The hike was not on our schedule board. Somebody saw a notice at the park Visitor Center and talked about it at the 4:00 PM circle meeting. He mentioned 9:00 AM.
I should have gone to the Visitor Center yesterday afternoon and checked it out. Instead we arrived there today shortly before 9:00 AM and were told that the trail head is at Blair Valley, 25 miles away.
Brad and I were in my car and Joann and Don took Don’s car, in case they would not do the trail . Joann has two new knees and did not know whether she could go up the steep mountain.
I knew we could not make it in time, but we went anyway. When we arrived at Blair Valley we asked for directions and were told the wrong way. After a while we figured it out and took the four mile dirt road.
We had to go through a section where it was sandy. I did not feel good about this. The Saturn is very low and has only two wheel drive.
We made it to the trail head and decided to do the hike on our own. The four of us started climbing. It is a one mile hike one way and very steep.
Brad and I went ahead. When we arrived at the homestead site there was the ranger with two visitors.
He talked to a young lady from France.
Joann and Don arrived later. Joann had made it.
I had seen the movie about Marshall and Tanya South. They were homesteading in this remote region during the depression.
All the water and supplies had to be brought in by Model T from Julian and then carried up the mountain. When it rained the elaborate system Marshall had built channeled the water into holding tanks.
They had a vegetable garden up there and used native plants for food and fuel and building material.
The three children were home schooled. Both parents wrote articles for magazines, and Marshall wrote books. The family lived there for seventeen years. Only ruins are left.
The adobe building was destroyed by the elements. This was an interesting trip.

One has a spectacular view of Blair Valley.

In the other direction is Agua Caliente County Park.

At 2:30 PM we had five different turkey soups. Five individual made stock from the turkey bones and made very good tasting soups with turkey meat in them.
In the evening I started another camp fire. We all are very happy about the weather. There is very little wind and the temperature is in the seventies during the day.

This is the last day of the WIN Thanksgiving Outing in Borrego Springs.
At 9:00 AM we started to hike up Palm Canyon. This is one of my favorite hikes. I would have liked to start earlier because an hour later is was warm.
It is one and a half mile to the oasis.

We all made it and were ready for a rest. Joann was with us again. Her knees are doing fine. She also had chemo last year to fight cancer. She is eighty years old and wants to experience life to the fullest.

On the way back we took the alternate route.

Three women of the group, who were behind us, saw a big horn sheep.
At 2:30 PM we had an ice cream social. Only 46 WINs are still at Peg Leg Smith Monument.

Nelda and another woman backed cakes. Nelda is 85 years old and traveled with the WINs for over 20 years. Lois is the same age and she also has gone around the country with the group for many years.
Since there were only two pieces of wood left it did not make sense to start a camp fire.

Most of the group are gone. Some are going to Indio, and some to Yuma. After Yuma they go for a trip to the east. I would have liked to join them for the Texas portion. But I have to get a new windshield for the Saturn and move more stuff out of Doreen’s garage.
Before I leave the San Diego area I have to get my life in order.