Tuesday, October 25, 2016

WIN Dance Rally - 2016

October 24, 2016.
At 7:30 AM I was at Leon’s Car Care Center to have the brakes checked on the motorhome.
Since there was nothing wrong with the brakes I figured I would be on the road by 10:00 AM.
After the mechanic took all the wheels off and took the braking system apart, he called me and showed me the front brakes.
The brake calibers, the pads, and the rotors had to be replaced. It was a $ 1,589.42 job.
I was told that it would take all day. I drove to Claudia’s house to pick up my mail and from there I went to the Senior Center and used one of their computers. Then I drove to the mall, had lunch and did some inside walking. It had rained all night and was still raining.
At 1:30 PM I left to check on the progress of the brake work. The motorhome was parked on the street. Nobody had called me.
I put on a poncho and attached the car to the motorhome and then I went to the office and paid the bill.
The parts had come in real fast and two mechanics finished the job.
 I left Eureka at 2:00 PM and arrived at the Coyote Casino in Ukiah at 5:00 PM. It was driving three hours in the rain. I was glad when it was over.

October 25, 2016.
This was another driving day. It rained most of the drive. When I reached highway 99, near Modesto, the clouds were brighter and the sun peaked out occasionally.
I arrived at the Walmart in Fresno at 3:00 PM.
After going to the store and looking around for a bit, I took it easy.

October 26, 2016.
I arrived at the Elks Lodge in Bakersfield at 9:30 AM.
David Lemos and his friend picked me up and we went for lunch at a neighborhood restaurant.

David and his wife Sharon are on a short California trip.
It was wonderful to talk about the good old times at Convair and McDonnel Douglas.
Nelda, a friend from the WINs, invited me for dinner at the home where she lives. The meals are very good there.
Nelda is one of the original WINs. She was on the road for twenty five years. It is always fun to see her.
This was a super day. Even the weather was fine. The temperature was 76 degrees F.

October 26, 2016.
I moved only a short distance. The last few days I had to rush. I did not want to miss to see David.
Now I have time. I stopped at a Passport America Park in Mojave.
I arrived here at 9:00 AM. After setting up the motorhome I drove back 26 miles to see the Tehachapi Loop.

When I arrived at the outlook a man told me that a train had just done the loop. Normally another train should have come in another thirty minutes. I could hear a train in the distance. Thirty minutes later another train came up the mountain.
I waited two hours. Several car loads of people had arrived. The railroad company is adding another track at the loop and trains have to wait until equipment is moved from the track which is in use right now.
Finally the first train came out of the tunnel. On this picture the train has come around the mountain already. The tunnel is where the end of the train is.

The train is going up the mountain and cars are still coming out of the tunnel. Years ago when trains were shorter one could see the front and the end of the train.

I always wanted to do this. The bucket list gets shorter.
On the way back I stopped at Home Depot and bought a twenty inch wide Venetian blind. On the rough road north of Bakersfield the blind had come apart.
My next stop was Red Rock Canyon State Park. It looked a bit like Utah.

Up the hill was a campground with motorhomes and trailers. I drove there and checked it out.

I would have liked to walk the Hagen Canyon trail. But there was only one car at the trailhead and I do not walk alone anymore.
In the evening we had a few drops of rain. Here in the desert the need rain very badly.
I was lucky, I did not have to install the brackets for the blind. It fit in the old brackets. This was an easy fix.

October 28, 2016.
This was another short drive. I stopped in Boron to go to the Borax Visitor Center.

Outside are the wagons the Twenty Mule Team was pulling from here to the railroad station in Mojave.

The Visitor Center is on top of a hill and one has a good view of the giant pit and the plant.

Inside the first item one sees is a big piece of ore. There are only three places on earth where boron is found in large quantities. This mine provides forty per cent of borax in the world. Borax is used in many products, from glass, detergent, insulation and many more.

The machinery used in mining borax is super large.

There is still a Twenty Mule Team. A man in Bishop has the mules and uses the wagons from the visitor center for parades. I saw the team a few years ago in Death Valley.

The Borax Company sponsored radio and TV shows. Some of the stars were well known.

October 29, 2016.
At 7:30 AM I was at West Coast Fleet Services. At 8:00 AM they took the right, rear tires off. The inside tire was flat, but there was nothing wrong with it. It was the valve extension. Monday, when I had brake work done, the mechanic did not connect the extension correctly. Today, the mechanic and I tried to connect the extension and we both could not do it. I have to buy a new one.
It is very difficult to add air to the tire without the extension.
They charged me only $ 20.00 which is very reasonable.
I left Hesperia at 9:00 AM and arrived at the Elks in Indio at 11:00 AM.
It is still warm here. I had the air conditioner on all day.
Marjorie, a friend from the WINs, and I went in town for lunch. When I came back I took the car to a self service car wash. Driving in the rain, with the car behind the motorhome, leaves the car real dirty. 

October 30, 2016.
The RV Parking area of the Elks Lodge was filled to capacity yesterday. RVers from five Southern California lodges were here for a Halloween Party. The party was last night and while sitting at the patio doing my computer work, I could admire the party people in their Halloween costumes. A lot of couples had matching costumes.
Today, only a few motorhomes are here.
The lodge has over forty RV sites.

The patio area has tables and chairs for smokers. It also has a big Elk and a water fountain.

Marjorie and I drove up to Idyllwild. We both had not been there for many years and decided to do it today. The town has grown a bit but it is still a touristy mountain place.
Marjorie spends most of her summers in Idaho. She is a camp host at a resort. She lives in Indio and gets away from the heat that way.

The wooden statue is very beautiful and has many details. The carving is fantastic.

We had lunch at a nice restaurant.

On the way home we stopped at an overlook. Palm Springs is a few thousand feet below. It was very windy and cool up there.

October 31, 2016.
I arrived at the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort at about 10:00 AM.
While I checked in at the entrance gate I saw Donna Backus waving at me. When I stopped at the office to complete the paper work I talked to her. She is the co-host of the Dance Rally. She told me her site number. I was glad I talked to her. There was an opening next to her site. It was the only available site in that area.
Most of the WINs and single non members had made reservations. I had no reservation.
Our sites are near the dance hall. Dancers who come now without reservations have to take sites near the swimming pools, which means more walking or using the car.
After setting up the motorhome I went swimming.
Eight WINs are here already. The resort gives us a good deal. People who have never been at the Fountain of Youth pay $ 10.00 per day for a site plus electricity. Old timers pay $ 20.00. The regular price is $ 45.00. So far 130 people have signed up for the rally.
In the evening we went to a Halloween dance at the hall where we will have our rally. A lot of people came in costumes.

They had a DJ providing the music.

There was a little contest. Teams of three people had to make a mummy with toilet paper. I was the mummy, and Donna and Gene did the wrapping, which was not easy with the cheap toilet paper they gave us. We won. I know we won because we were the guests. There was a lot more noise for another team.

November 1, 2016.
Today I drove to Slab City to talk to Solar Mike. I decided to buy another solar panel and a larger controller. This time I let him install everything.
In the past I installed the panels myself and did the wiring.
Arlene and Barbara have never been to the Slabs and wanted to come along. They could not believe how some people live.
Slab City is a former Marine Base. Now some people live there all year and a lot of people spend the winter there.
I took them first to the library. They were impressed. They got some fantastic book donations and one can take a book without signing it out. It is strictly an honor system.

From the library we went to Salvation Mountain. A nonprofit organization takes care of it now.

Late afternoon we went for taco night at the American Legion in Bombay Beach.
More WINs arrived today.

November 2, 2016.
I drove this morning to Brawly to buy an extension for the valve on the inside rear tire on the motorhome. I went to every automotive parts store and tire stores. Nobody had any.
Camping World has them in their catalog. I have to wait until I get to the San Diego area.
I also did some shopping at Walmart.
It was very windy today and some areas in the Fountain of Youth did not have power. The office could not use their computers and there was no WI-FI.
We had our first afternoon meeting. We are now twenty WINs.
I did again laps at the swimming pool.

November 3, 2016.
There is still no WIFI at the Fountain of Youth. I drove to Niland to go to the library. The building is boarded up. The town closed the library. I went to the next town and the library was open but the WIFI did not work. I used their computer and did my E mail but Google would not let me open up my blog because it did not recognize the computer I was using.
I gave up and went home and did some laps in the swimming pool and took a wonderful shower.
They have big showers and it is more fun than in the small motorhome shower.
More people came today and at the 4:00 PM meeting we were more than twenty WINs.
After the meeting we went to the Café where they had Karaoke.
We did some dancing.

November 4, 2016.
I went with a small group again to Slab City.
At the hot spring people take their baths. I would not go into this water until I could see my feet. The water is very muddy.

This time I climbed up Salvation Mountain.

Leonard Knight received some honors after his death.

Our next stop was East Jesus. I forgot to ask about the origin of this name.
A group of people live in this compound. They seem to pretty happy. Their bar was well stocked. They have plenty of solar power and even a compost toilet.
We got a tour of their private quarters.

There is a stage with musical instruments.

The idea of the whole place is to make objects with all the junk they find, and there is plenty in the slabs.

From Slab City we drove to the Mud Volcanoes. We could not get close to them because there were warning signs. The Geo Thermal Power plant probably tries to avoid law suits.
The mud volcanoes grow slowly. One can hear the bubbling hot water which evaporates and the minerals form the structures.

At the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge unfortunately we could not see any birds. They were seven miles away where the grass is still green. We did not drive there.

We had to head for home and prepare for the burn your own potluck.
At 4:00 PM we had our meeting and at 5:00 PM we brought our meat and a side dish to share. I had hamburger meat and made a broccoli salad. There was plenty of food.

During our meal we had a beautiful sunset.

After the meal I went to the computer room did my E mail. Then I went swimming and took a shower.
I missed the swing dance lesson but when I came back I danced for an hour. This was a busy day and I was glad when I could go to bed.

November 5, 2016.
I walk early in the morning because the temperature is still in the seventies.
The sun is just coming out.

Some people give their houses that special touch. Many homes are single trailers. In the summer most of the people are gone to their regular homes in British Columbia, Alberta and the Northern States.

The Fountain of Youth has a dog park.

There are two large swimming pools and four spas.

One spa is filled with mineral water. The water leaves the sides of the spa dark.

There are several walking trails in the desert. They have different lengths.

I walked outside the park one morning, on the Canal Road. The dry camping area is visible.

There are plenty of places for recreational activities.

Hays Hall is the largest hall and is used for meetings, dancing, theater, and flea markets.

There is a good sized library.

A computer room.

An exercise room.

A bocce court and horse shoe pit.
A new home has just arrived. It has sliding glass doors and will be facing toward the Salton Sea. It has to be leveled, the utilities hooked up and the bottom covered.

The park has dancing every Saturday. We outnumbered the residents. Of course a lot of residents have not arrived yet. Some of them come after Thanksgiving and some after Christmas. There are a lot of empty homes here right now.

November 6, 2016.
After my morning walk I did two loads of laundry and then drove to Brawly to do some grocery shopping at Walmart.
At 1:00 PM I went to Hays Hall to help with decorating the hall.
At 4:00 PM we went to a show at a strange motorhome and black smith shop. While the blacksmith was making little steel figures for hanging around the neck, his wife was telling a story about King Arthur. She was talking with an English accent. She was an American though.
The show was free. They make money by selling raffle tickets and giving six of the steel objects as a prize. They also sell those things for five dollars.
Elmer came on his motorcycle.

At 6:00 PM we had West Coast Swing lessons and also danced. The dance rally has not started yet. This is just to have something to do. Most rally participants have arrived.
Tuesday is registration and the official start.

November 7, 2016.
This was an easy day. I walked in the morning, swam in the afternoon and went for another swing lesson in the evening.
On my morning walk I took more pictures of the Fountain of Youth RV Resort and Spa.
One of the wells is near the store.

Freddy’s Fountain and Café is around the corner.

Women were exercising at the swimming pool.

Elmer’s large motorhome and beautiful trailer are a sight to see. He has a hydraulic lift inside the trailer. His Harley goes on the lift and is parked above his Jeep.

November 8, 2016.
We are registered and are assigned to teams.
Each team cooks breakfast for one day and greets the dancers at the door and makes sure that they wear their badges.
There is also set-up and clean-up involved.
At 4:45 PM we had a lasagna dinner and at 7:00 PM we danced. I stayed until 9:00 PM and had danced almost every dance.
The temperature was 90 degrees F. today. The large hall is not air conditioned. There are only large fans high in the wall.
The dance lessons are from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. I wonder how hot it will be in the hall tomorrow.  

November 9, 2016.
We survived the hot day. The temperature was 91 degrees F. today.  I did my morning walk.
We had breakfast at 7:30 AM.
Somebody brought large electric fans and put them on the floor near the dance area.
From 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon we had Two Step dance lessons. Most of us know this dance but the instructor taught us a fancy version.

After the lessons I went to the swimming pool. I did not do laps and took only a shower. In this heat I need all my energy for the dance lessons.
From 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM we had advanced Two Step lessons.
After the 5:00 PM meeting we had a meeting to talk about the skits we are doing at the Talent no Talent Show.
From 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM most of us danced to live music. I danced the waltz with Bertie. Three years ago she helped me with the waltz. She actually counted out the steps for me. I do not need help anymore.
It was a busy day.

November 10, 2016
The team in charge of today cooked a fantastic breakfast. The resort has big, built in grills outside of Hays Hall. The team cooked the eggs, bacon and potatoes on them.
The rest of the meal was served inside.
Our morning lesson was the Country Waltz. Couples dance straight ahead. It is almost like walking.
I did not walk today, but went swimming.
The afternoon dance lesson was advanced dancing of the Country Waltz.
After the lesson we had a practice session of the skits we are participating in. Shortly after that we had the 5:00 PM meeting and then a potluck dinner.
At 7:00 PM we started dancing to the music of Smoking Joe. The music was very good and we had a good time. I stayed to the end, which was 9:30 PM.
It was a little bit cooler today.

November 11, 2016.
The resort had their annual flea market/ crafts show in Hays Hall and outside.
We had no morning dance lesson and cooked breakfast.
The team in charge for today provided a Continental breakfast at an outside area.
I did laps in the swimming pool and walked today.
Since it was Veterans Day there was a celebration at 11:00 AM, near the flag pole, honoring American and Canadian veterans. A lot of regulars in the resort come from Canada.
Bagpipe Bob provided the music.
At 1:00 PM the hall was available again for dance lessons.
At 3:00 PM we had another practice session for the talent show. There were problems again with the microphones and it looked like the whole thing would be a disaster.
I am playing Dr. Mal Practice, sitting on a table, on the stage, while members of the audience ask me questions. Only one lady of my skit showed up. She had to ask all the questions.

We had our regular 5:00 PM meeting and at 6:30 PM started the Talent/No Talent Show.
Our director could breathe easy, everything worked out fine. There was a lot of laughter in the audience. Most people wore red, white and blue outfits. As a medical doctor I wore regular clothing.
The mandolin group performed:" How much is that dog in the window?".

Before the show we had a small Veterans celebration and all veterans lined up and stated their names. 
We also took a group picture. Then we danced until 9:30 PM.

This was another busy day. I have no problem falling asleep.

November 12, 2016.
Today we had another fine breakfast. The team prepared French Toast, Sausages, fruit and beverages.

The bottle neck was the toasters. It took a while to get toast.

My team is in charge of breakfast for tomorrow. We are making a breakfast casserole. The cooks started this morning, after breakfast, cooking the potatoes and sausage.

The morning dance lesson was the Cha Cha. I know the basic steps but have trouble with the fancy stuff.
The Fountain of Youth people have a Saturday Dance. At 7:00 PM we joined them dancing at Hays Hall.

Not many people came. I believe the residents thought there was not much room for them when we also would attend the dance. Some of the WINs did not come. People are getting worn out from all the dancing and other activities.
Today the temperature was perfect. It was cloudy part of the day.

November 13, 2016.
I stayed away today from dance classes.
I walked, was a greeter at the breakfast, and did laps in the swimming pool. In the afternoon I drove to Brawley and went shopping at Walmart and Vons.
In the evening we had a dress up dance. Most people dressed nicely, some more than others.

November 14, 2016.
After breakfast I went to the computer room and did some work on my computer. The WI-FI in the camping area does not work anymore.
I skipped the morning dance lesson, but went to the afternoon swing session. I am glad I did. Most WINs are worn out of dancing, and it was only I and Gayle who attended the class.
Dave, the instructor worked with Gayle, and Joann, his assistant, helped me. It was a private dance lesson and really helped me. When Joann went to eat lunch, Gayle and I danced and Dave gave us instructions and taught us different routines.
At the 7:00 PM dance I felt great.
This was the last full day of the Dance Rally. It was fun and also work. The Fountain of Youth RV Resort and Spa is a great place to have fun.  

November 15, 2016.
We had our last breakfast today and the kitchen staff tried to empty the refrigerators.
What we did not eat was given to a church.
I walked today and swam in the swimming pool. The few of us who stay extra days at the resort will continue with the morning and afternoon meetings.
The white board is already marked with things to do.
Members signed up for desert golf, bocce ball, water volley ball, a five mile hike, and table shuffle board.
Groups are also playing cards.

November 16, 2016.
Today we did another one of Chuck’s moderate hikes. We hiked up a Painted Canyon which turned out more than moderate.
We arrived at the trailhead at 9:00 AM.

We entered the wide part of the canyon.

After climbing over large boulders we had to go up ladders.

After a while we reached the top of a mountain, a good place to take a short rest and gather.

It did not take very long and we did spread out again.

Most of us had small stones in our shoes, Phil stopped and removed them. It was difficult to walk in the canyon because of the sand. In higher elevation the ground was more solid.

At several spots we had to climb down on our butts.

I liked this part of the canyon. The rocks were colorful.

We stopped to eat our lunch.

Somebody had a lot of time and placed small rocks on this large boulder.  It was actually a beautiful sight.

We had to slide again down to a ladder. Near the ladder was a rope, but we would have appreciated a rope further up.

We finished the five mile loop in four hours.
When we came back to the motorhomes I took a nap and then attended the 4:00 PM meeting.
Then I went to the computer room and from there to the swimming pool and shower.
Several of us are staying for a while and are trying to keep busy.

November 17, 2016.
Yesterday’s hike made me very tired and I slept through a wind storm. Donna, my neighbor, told me that she got up at 2:00 AM and brought her window awnings in and also her slides. My motorhome must have been shaking. One of the tire covers on the motorhome flew away and I could not find it.
I took it easy today. I did my morning walk and did a few laps in the pool.
The group had organized a Bocce Tournament. I watched them for a while.

After the 4:00 PM meeting some of the group went to Freddy’s Café for pizza. I went there at 5:00 PM when the karaoke started.
Some of us sat at the covered patio and some at the outside Patio.

Donna and Arlene sang one song.
Later Janet and Arlene belted out another song. The audience liked it and they sang along.

The fire was started and the group enjoyed it.

We danced to some of the songs.
The temperature is back to normal now. Today it was 79 degrees F. While we had our dance rally it was hot.

November 18, 2016.
The group is getting smaller. People are heading for Borrego Springs, our next stop.
I have an appointment with Solar Mike on the 22nd , in Slab City. I am getting another solar panel.
From there I will drive to Borrego Springs.
On my evening walk I saw those houses with fancy lights.

The Salton Sea is visible in the evening. During the day the water blends in with the sandy land.

Even in the evening people were playing water volley ball.

November 19, 2016.
A lot of WINs left this morning.
After the 9:00 AM meeting I drove to the Walmart in Brawley. The WINs who left this morning were there and did some shopping. In Borrego Springs there is only a small grocery store and it is very expensive to shop there.
I did some walking and swimming today. There are about twenty of us left.
In the evening the resort had a “Welcome back potluck and entertainment”.
The Snowbirds are coming back and this was a get together after they had not seen each other for months. We were invited.
After the dinner there was some dancing.

November 20, 2016.
Nine of us are still here. I started getting ready for moving to Slab City for a day.
Tomorrow morning I will try to get a haircut. The beautician works only half days since the season for the people who have homes at the Fountain of Youth Resort has just started.
On my evening walk the Chocolate Mountains appeared more reddish because of the evening sun.