Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March

It’s hard to believe it has been a month since I posted to this blog. We’ve been busy, first returning south from Portland where Don’s niece’s wedding was held. Weather in the Pacific Northwest was pretty good for our trip northward. Then the rain came, starting about an hour before the wedding and continuing off and on for the next several days. Snow covered Mt. Hood nearby…


…and we even got a dusting in our RV park next to the Columbia River, but it quickly melted.



We managed to avoid a couple of snowstorms on the way south, by staying overnight in Sutherlin before driving over the 4 passes on Interstate 5 between Roseburg and Grants Pass. The highest pass is only about 2,000 ft., but the fact that they are near the Pacific coast makes the relative height significant. The elevation at our RV lot at Cochise Terrace Resort in Benson, AZ, for comparison, is over 4,000 ft. The freeway was clear of snow and ice, but there was a significant amount of snow on the roadside and arterial roads, and a bit of fog here and there.


Another RVer at the Elks Lodge in Redding, CA said he was delaying their trip north because he heard that chains were required. Not true, because we’d just finished driving that route. And he said we just missed the snow in Redding. By this time, both of us were suffering, in varying degrees, with head and chest congestion, cough, sore throat, etc. We really didn’t want to be in cold weather.

We took a detour to Santa Rosa to check out the fairgrounds and to see Don’s Aunt Della and Uncle Gene McKamey, Both Gene and I begged off a family gathering during this time, due to coughing and generally feeling miserable. So Della and Don attended it together.


By the time we reached Edwards AFB, I was having a lot of trouble with my right ear. Don took me to an urgent care clinic and they determined that I had an ear infection, so I was put on a 10-day dose of antibiotics. We traveled further south to Indio, near Palm Springs, where I spent several winters when I was RVing solo. It felt really good to reach southern California and sink our cold bones into a hot tub at Indian Waters, a Western Horizons RV resort.

We attended the Gypsy Gathering Rally in Yuma, Arizona March 7-12, put on by Nick and Terry Russell, publishers of the Gypsy Journal, a newspaper for RVers. Nick and Terry live full time in their motorhome and put out the newspaper every other month, handling that business, plus several books they publish and sell, *and* they conduct two rallies in different areas of the U.S. every year. Plus, they are geocachers and kayakers! And Nick writes a daily blog. How do they find time for it all?

For reports on the rally, go to Dennis & Carol’s RV Adventures and Nick’s blog. Both of them provided a daily report during the rally, so you’ll want to go forward (or backward) to read all the reports. We participated with the advance crew to help with parking and registration. Dennis loves to cook, and he prepared some wonderful smoked pork for all the crew, about 30 people.


Here, Nick (left) and Dennis observe a typo on their T-shirts from last ‘Steptember’s’ rally in Indiana! Funny, it took everyone several months to notice the error! This is the rally we missed because of Don’s ladder accident.


On the last full day of the rally, I taught a craft seminar to introduce people to knitting. It was fun and rewarding to see these women struggle with the awkward feel of the needles and yarn at first, then gradually become more comfortable with the process.


An incredible amount of effort goes into planning and carrying out the plans for a major rally. Don and I are keenly aware of that because we’ve agreed to kick off plans for one in April 2012. The Escapees RV Club, of which we are life members, holds one major rally per year, the Escapade. It will take place in Gillette, Wyoming August 28 – September 2, 2011. We’ll be helping as volunteers on the staff this year, coordinating efforts of volunteers for such things as minding the gates, monitoring seminars, and running shuttles for handicapped and others parked far away from the venues at the huge Cam-Plex in Gillette.

However, for several years members of the club who live in the western states have wanted to have rallies closer to home. There are 9 chapters of the Escapees RV Club in California, and a total of 27 in the western states. Don agreed to investigate a location and date for a western regional rally. In addition to the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds, we visited 3 other possible locations in California. We decided the Lodi Grape Festival grounds would serve our needs the best, and have reserved the facility for April 15-19, 2012. You’ll hear more about this as plans progress.

Today, we finally accomplished a task we’ve wanted to do for a long time on our RV lot. We had a large, ugly, dangerous cactus removed from our front yard. A front-end loader was required to remove it because of the super-fine needles that will permeate anything they touch. The operator took aim and chewed the beast out of the ground.


He had to use a pitchfork and rake to help load pieces of the plant.


After several trips to a pit in the desert to discard the remains,


and lots of effort to get all the small pieces left behind,


he finally managed to remove every shred of the wicked plant.


Don raked gravel from the surrounding area to cover the site, and you can hardly tell there ever was a plant there!


Due to the extremely cold weather while we were away, we need to remove a few more cacti that suffered a freezing death. Here’s evidence of what the single-digit temps did to our donkey cactus. Before:




We’re happy to spend a bit of time on our RV lot and get re-connected with neighbors. But it won’t be long before we’re on the road again.