Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Am I Bored? And a few thoughts about staying put for the winter.

By the time we leave Jojoba we will have spent almost six months in one place. I have to say that some weeks, the time seems to fly by and others drag.

One of our pretty little ponds

 I guess it has had to do with how active I have been. In the first three months we spent numerous nights in San Diego with our daughter and family for the holidays and just visits, but this month we were only down once, since she had work and travel commitments. Our younger grandson is going on a week long eighth-grade trip to Costa Rica, and then the family will be taking a "look at colleges" trip for our older grandson. They are not coming home until late Easter night. So, we have decided to visit one last time on the Monday after Easter.

Although just being together is reason enough for the visit, I have come up with another project to do while there. My daughter got a Food Saver for Christmas this year and uses it frequently. I am going to buy an extra large Honey Baked Ham for our dinner, and package up the leftovers into lunch-sized portions to take along for our travels north. I always make sandwiches to eat while we drive, and Honey Baked Ham will be a special treat!

I was also more social during the first few months. Although I like the concept of large gatherings and community dinners, the reality turns out less interesting.

Jojoba image from web
he bad weather kept me out of the pool in February, and it was closed for a renovation project for most of March. It is open again now, and I plan on going for a swim later today!

I am surprised that I did not feel confined by the small dimensions of a 35' motorhome during our long winter.  Craig and I don't seem to get into each other's way. We each have our own TV preferences, and the arrangement of the Alfa easily accommodates our needs. Sometimes he closes off the bedroom, and sometimes I do. And, of course we often watch movies or shows together. He often sits at the table with his computer, iPad, or Kindle, and I spend time at the little table behind the passenger seat which is just right for my coloring projects.

The only time I really feel troubled by the small space is when I'm cooking. I really have to be very organized to manage multiple ingredients and multiple dishes. I prefer cooking from scratch, so using prepackaged foods is not as much of an option as it could be. But I manage, and I think we eat pretty well. 

A pretty bouquet Craig brought home from Trader Joe's one day
Storage space? This winter I went through the cupboards and reviewed their contents. I tossed some things that have not been used in three years, and emptied some of the canister jars that contained expired flour, flax meal, wheat germ, etc., that I had used to make healthier bread. I'm still hanging onto the bread maker, but I find I am more inclined to buy fresh Artisan breads than to bake them.  The last loaf I baked tasted somewhat stale, which prompted the purge of the cupboard contents. Besides, I am once again trying to lose a few pounds by cutting out bread and other "white" foods.

A financial glitch caused by being full time RVers: Craig and I live a fairly modest life. We have no debt, use our credit cards all of the time but pay them in full every month, and have a substantial amount in investment and retirement savings. Yesterday we went shopping for a new comforter for our bed. Many of the stores were having good sales of 40% — 50% off. We found one we liked at a Macy's, but their sale was only 20% off. They did have an additional offer for another 20% off if we opened a Macy's account. We don't need a Macy's account, but with sheets and all we were looking at a savings of over $100. So, Craig applied.  Surprise! He was denied!  Why? Because we do not have a RESIDENTIAL address. It seems our Sioux Falls mailing service is not acceptable for Macy's credit applications requirements. We could have used one of our other cards, but would not have gotten the extra 20% off. Instead we walked. 

We had no problems getting a new credit account from Sam's Club last spring, nor one from Camping World. (The Camping World one gets us 4% off any commercial RV park in addition to the 10% GS discount, and the Sam's Club Mastercard gets us 5% of gas at any station.)

Craig thinks it is because banks are changing their credit card requirements, I think it is because the CW and SC cards are associated with memberships.

Has anyone else run into this? 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Morning Glorie Muffins and Pretty Flowers

Good morning!

In the Bayfield Bunch's last post, Al mentioned Morning Glory muffins.

Craig looked up the recipe and we made them for breakfast this morning. Yum! Strange, because Craig normally does not like carrot cake or cinnamon. I thought they were a bit on the sweet side, but good despite that.  

I have never been much of a baker, and because of the difficulties of keeping the bottom of things burning in an RV oven, I have not done much of it in the last three years. This time, I was successful  using foil-plus-paper cupcake liners and two sturdy cupcake tins.  I have also learned it takes a long time to pre-heat our oven, and usually almost double the baking time.  But, we now have enough muffins for several days.

[From Craig] If you decide to try these, please pre-taste your walnuts.  Ours were from WalMart and were somewhat bitter.  You would think a place named WalMart would have good walnuts!  🙂

As my readers know, I love flowers. Jojoba Hills is really beautiful right now:

The image above is along one of the roads in the park.

Many of the individual sites are also decked out with potted flower gardens.

Yes, you can see your neighbors rig, but there is plenty of room for plants.

Jojoba Hills is in a high desert area, so much of the common ground is devotet to cactus.  These are just across from our dining table window.

Finally, I leave you with one more delightful Jojoba Sunset as viewed from my kitchen window.

And, a new feature, the travel countdown:  

24 days to departure!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Thank You

First off, I want to say Thank You to those who left comments on my last post. It has encouraged me to think about posts that I might write in the next few weeks, before we actually get back on the road. So I looked through some of the pictures we have taken this winter for inspiration.

We have gone on a few outings while here at Jojoba. We met this fine fellow at the Flying LC Ranch. It was the home of Leo Carrillo who played Pancho, the sidekick of the Cisco Kid in the 50's. The ranch is now a Carlsbad municipal park and the grounds are quite interesting. In addition to being a working ranch, it was a well-loved retreat for many Hollywood celebrates. We were amused to here about how they would bring down their Airstream trailers to stay in while visiting. Apparently there were some really good parties!

The peacocks were just filling in their magnificent tails since the breeding season was approaching  They are wild birds who descend from a few original pairs brought to the ranch by Leo. They are not fed or protected from coyotes. The city does protect them in the surrounding neighborhoods, and they are said to be a welcome nuisance. Imagine a dozen peacocks, screaming and pooping in your back yard!

There is always something to see if you look for it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Flowers

While the Northeast has been dealing with a spring blizzard, we have been enjoying the sudden arrival of summer-like weather.

Southern California is blooming!  The hill sides along the roads are covered with dense patches of wildflowers.

On Tuesday we drove our Jeep over to Borrego Springs to see the desert bloom.  We had heard that over the weekend there had been bumper to bumper traffic around the small town. We were happy we had the luxury of visiting on a weekday. There was some traffic, but it was not bothersome. Everyone seemed to be mellowed by the beauty of the blooming fields of wildflowers.

I guess we have gotten out of practice for taking pictures. As far as I could tell, all my pictures of the field were out of focus.

There were many kinds of flowers blooming.

These were scattered in among the yellow.

Speaking of flowers, the hillsides around Jojoba Hills are lush with blooms as well.

The flowers are wild flowers, but I think they were seeded.

This is a close-up of the hill in the previous image. Wonderful!

It's hard to believe we have been here for almost five months. I have started to write posts from time to time, but they just never get finished. In general we like Jojoba Hills, and are comfortable with our decision to "buy in" here for a winter home base. My only disappointment has been in the weather. January and February were much colder than I expected. We were glad for the rain, but it spoils my almost daily attendance at the pool.

My summer plans for our trip to Alaska are coming together. We will leave here on or about April 18. We want to  spend May in Oregon and Washington. My first reservation is in the Vancouver BC area for the Memorial Day weekend. My next reservation is in Valdez, AK for the 4th of July, and then at Denali National Park in mid-August. We plan to travel "with the wind" and make reservations a few days ahead, but only if it seems necessary. Although not enthusiastic about boondocking, we are comfortable dry camping for a few days at a time. It looks like there are a limited number of full-hook-up parks in Alaska, but plenty of no-hook-up accommodations. 

I hope to start more regular blogging once we are on our way. This is a travel blog after all!  And travel we will.