Wednesday, February 20, 2008

President’s Day Fireworks

In Lake Havasu Sara Park, the pyrotechnic dealers put on a superb fireworks show every President’s Day weekend. Terry did photograph some good videos but it is difficult to photograph these fountains, flowers, and shooting stars of fire with still photography. A young girl danced with fire batons but caught the seat of her pants on fire. Someone sprayed her with an extinguisher while she kept on performing. One point five million firecrackers made a continuous noise. It was a night to remember. The only fireworks that we have seen to top this was when we saw the continuous one hundred and eighty degree display around Battery Island in New York City in 1986 at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty.

Carnival Cruise to Cabon San Luis

My daughter, Karol Rhoads, and I had a wonderful time on a cruise to the tip of Baja in Mexico from February 4 to 8. (I had never been on an overnight cruise before.) The service on the Carnival Elation ship was great, the gourmet food was superb, and the company was delightful. Pictured are Laura and Gordon Bornkamp and their niece Mirah, who were our dinner companions.

When we reached Cabon San Luis, we decided to take a rubber boat to go whale watching. We not only saw whales but also had one breach in front of us! We got good pictures of seals but when the captain saw a whale, he speeded up and we were holding on the side of the boat with both hands for dear life. It was exciting but next time I will be on a catamaran or larger boat.

Karol said that the trip was “awesome” but she had to make her own bed and coffee and the temperature was below freezing when she returned home to Iowa.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


While in Quartzsite, we met with the Boomers. (For more information on Boomers, see the chapter on Boomers in my new book, More RV Chuckles and Chuckholes- More Confessions of Happy Campers.) Terry went to several seminars and was co-host to a seminar on solar power. Richard made this oven from clay and sand that he found around our campsite and demonstrated baking bread. Terry went to the chili lunch but I missed several things because I was selling my books. I did attend the great potluck dinner and we went to dinner with Lynn and Jim, and again with Marshall and Ulle for salmon. Carroll and George went to dinner with us at Sweet Darlene’s restaurant.

After Boomerville, Terry took the RV to Yuma. I picked up Karol from the Phoenix airport. We drove to San Diego where we joined the Boomers for a cruise to Carbon San
Luis. Here is a group picture of us on board the Carnival Elation ship. The woman in the pink sash that reads “Birthday Girl” is Laura Bornkamp. She and her handsome husband Gordon, were our dinner companions aboard ship. Not only was the gourmet food wonderful but we had so much fun with Gordon and Laura.

Quartzsite, Arizona

The pictures show me selling my books in the Quartzsite library and at the Reader’s Oasis Bookstore.

Quartzsite, Arizona is where about 700,000 RVers come to see friends, shop at the RV vendor’s booths and camp free in the desert BLM land. When we came to Quartzsite in 2000, we saw a town of adobe buildings and dusty tents. Uncle Don, dressed in his black Stetson hat, dark long sleeved shirt and what he called his $2 pants with a $500 belt buckle, walked along the dusty path to the grocery store to buy his morning newspaper. He would pause and turn around and look at the large tents of Mc Clouds that sold precious and semiprecious stones and tell his dogs to go home. Mom and dad would drive from Mesa to see him and eat at the Stagecoach restaurant. Quartzsite had an elementary school and churches but no bank or dollar store. If you changed the RVs in your mind’s eye to horses and stagecoaches and wagons, you would picture a mining town of the Old West.

Today the streets are wider and are lined with new concrete sidewalks. Uncle Don lives in Oregon. In place of the tents of Mc Clouds, you see rows and rows of shiny new RV dealers. Aluminum buildings house the gems and rocks and other vendors. Most of the little specialty mom and pop vendors are replaced by huge establishments in aluminum buildings. The Stagecoach restaurant is closed. Quartzsite now has a bank and dollar store but you can’t buy a daily newspaper. While progress has changed Quartzsite to better serve the needs of residents and visitors, it seems that it lost some of its charming ambiance.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Dome Mountain Mine and Museum

Parking free in the BLM land is fun since we meet so many friends. Since we are around Quartzsite without electricity for about six weeks, I will not be posting my blog for a while. Our refrigerator, heaters and furnace are using propane and we have enough solar for important things like watching TV.

We caravanned with a church group to Dome Mountain Mine and Museum. I did not realize that most of the silver and lead found in the area was found along fault lines. The mine tour was mostly looking at holes in the ground and being very careful not to get too close to the unstable sides.

The museum was recreated to the height of activity in the 1880s when the site had a greater population than Yuma, Arizona. Since the museum owners used 90% original materials, the result is excellent. I liked all the tin ceilings.