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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Phoenix and Sue's Birthday -- Thursday

Today, we drove up the Apache Trail and visited the Goldfield ghost town and Tortilla Flats. They weren't spectacular attractions, but we had fun. Here are some Goldfield pictures:
Here's Sue at the jail......

A picture of Sue taking a picture of a nice cactus and the Bordello in town....

A metal cut-out art piece at the entrance...

After Goldfield, we went to Tortilla Flat. There, I got an appropriate picture of Mark......

Here's some other "artwork" pictures from Tortilla Flat.............

Today was Sue's birthday. To celebrate, we went out to eat. Mark and I both read Nick Russell's blog (http://www.gypsyjournal.net/NicksBlog.htm), and on January 5, 2008, he was in Apache Junction, and he ate at the Happy China Buffet and recommended it. So that is where we went............

Happy Birthday Sue!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Phoenix Superbowl Site -- Wednesday

We decided that we would drive to the Superbowl area in Phoenix before the congestion got too bad. The traffic was unbelievably light, with most of the activity being the vendors setting up. There were a lot of TV satellite trucks and dishes around the area. The Goodyear blimp was cirulating the area, and there were a lot of security camera all over the place. Following are a few pictures (the third one shows Mark scalping tickets to the game):

The following is a picture of the Bus in the Palm Garden RV Park, and our muddy site. The second photo shows our "wooden" deck, and welcome mat that we found at our site after we got back from the convention center. The management at the park had been real responsive to the condition of our sites. They even brought in some extra rock. We were just happy to have a place to park with the Superbowl here:
Here's a couple of permanent sites here in the park:
Here are a few shots or the park...... the fountain looking toward the entrance, the pool, and the shuffle board area:

Tomorrow, we plan to drive out the Apache Trail, and visit the Goldfield ghost town and Tortilla Flats.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mesa Workamping Convention -- Tuesday

Weather-wise, Tuesday was a very nice day. We left the campground at about 9:30AM to arrive at the Mesa convention center by the 10:00AM opening.

Patsy and I went with Mark and Sue, even though we aren't necessarily looking for a workamping job, but we wanted to see what was available. We left a couple of resumes and we will see what will happen. Mark and Sue have made a commitment to work at the same place in Des Moines, IA as Greg and Mandy. They are pretty excited to be working together this summer.

We returned to the campground and got on the internet to see what we wanted to do. We ended up in the afternoon traveling to a La Mesa RV dealer to look at a Phaeton floor plan that Mark has not been able to find anywhere else. We also drove a good ways to look at some EXCEL fifth wheel trailers that they are considering.

In the evening, we came back to the Bus, and while the wives made dinner, we worked on the internet............. Since a lot of his cables were still in the basement of the Bus from Quartzsite, he hooked up the satellite at my site!!!! It is nice......... I may leave in the middle of the night!

One guy in the park has decorated his site with 'beer (or coke) can art. It looks neat.

Before we leave, I will try to get more pictures of the park. Tomorrow, we plan to go to the Scottsdale shopping area, and then down to the Super Bowl site.

On the Road to Phoenix -- Monday

Our plan was to stay in Yuma until Monday morning, and then head to Phoenix so that Mark and Sue could attend a Workampers Conference in Mesa, AZ.

Before we left Yuma, Mark wanted to buy Sue a bicycle for her birthday from the shop where Greg works. That was our first stop on leaving Yuma. Her are pictures of Sue test riding bicycles and Greg working on them in the shop:

Sue found the bike that she wanted, and after a few alterations, it was paid for and loaded. Then we were on our way to Mesa. On Friday, we had made reservations at the Palm Gardens RV park, and we were looking forward to having a 'plug' again!

On the way, we went through the town of Gila Bend, AZ. We stopped for lunch and to look at a craft shop. They had a lot of interesting things...... here are some pictures:

After we finished the visit to the craft shop and had some lunch in our RV's, we finished our drive into Mesa. When we got to the RV park, we were very pleased with what it looked like. It was a gated park, and very well kept. However, it was full, and the two sites that were saved for us were underwater from the record rains. Mark and I rode around the park on a cart with the manager, and looked things over. Although it was muddy, we felt that we could get in, and the manager agreed to put some rock on the sites the next day. We tried, and were successful, but it was a messy situation. Here's a photo that Patsy got of Mark's effort:

It was dark when I got in, but my situation was about the same. However, it is drying, and all the hookups work................. and it is a real nice park at a great price in the middle of town!!!

The Slabs -- Sunday

When we were planning to go on this trip, Mark commented that he wanted to see "the slabs". We looked it up and it was not that far from Quartzsite.

The slabs is a large section of land near Niland, CA. During WWII, the Marines used the area for training, and it was apparently abandoned with many building slabs and a few structures such as bunkers. Over the years, people began to 'squat' there, and today, there are a lot of "permanently-looking" structures........... as ragged as they are!!

When we got to Yuma, the weather forecast called for sunny days on Friday and Saturday, and rain on Sunday. We chose to go to the Flea Markets on Friday, and Mexico on Saturday. That left the slabs for the rainy day, which made sense to us. While visiting with Greg and Sandy, the decided that they wanted to go, and since they had the van that would hold the six of us, they offered to drive.

It began raining on Saturday night, and continued to rain on us all day Sunday. The slabs are about 100 miles from Yuma, and while we were gone, Yuma got a record rainfall. The rain caused the unimproved roads at the slabs to be tough to navigate, so we did not explore as much as we might have if it was dry. We still got to see and get a feel of "Slab City"

One of the attractions was 'Salvation Mountain'. It was and is being built by a man that came there in 1983. For more information, go here:


As you can see in the following picture, the road to the "mountain" was washed out!

The following are a few of the structures that we saw:

After touring the area, we all agreed that this is where we will find Mark and Sue next year, after a year of full-timing, and running out of money!!!!

Greg drove back through El Centro, CA, and took us to a Costco store. Neither the Didelot's or us had been to one before. They are a lot like a Sam's Store.

When we got back, Mark and I went to a local Days Inn motel to sit in the parking lot and pickup WIFI to update our blogs....... previous postings through Saturday! The wives shopped at a nearby Target, Kohls and Ross stores.

When we finished, we called Mike and Linda and drove out to where they were parked for a visit. Mike and Kathy Nix were there, and Chuck and Loraine North showed up shortly afterwards. It was a good thing that we did, because Linda had picked up aerial pictures of our Quartzsite campsite, and we got a copy. We had completely forgot about the picture!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yuma Day Trip To Algodones -- Saturday

After we left Greg’s, I checked out a place for propane close to his house so that I could come back later. When we got there, we noticed that it also had a fairly clean Laundromat, so we decided that we would get up early on Saturday and go get propane and wash clothes before Greg and Mandy showed up for the Mexico trip. I was almost empty on propane and put $62 worth in!

Greg and Mandy showed up a little after 10:00am, and we had just gotten back. We loaded up and headed to the border. We parked on the USA side and walked across. It was an interesting day, and we had a good time. We bought a few trinkets for grandkids, Patsy got a new purse, and some liquor. Greg went to his regular barber there for a haircut, and then Mark decided to get one also. We did a lot of walking, and Mandy had her foot in a special support because of a strained ankle. She also carried a cane to help, but I think she had other plans for it………… see later!!! Here are some pictures of the day:

We stopped to have lunch. We had fish and shrimp taco…….. and they were really good. Here is a picture of the group at the table, and a shot that I took of the kitchen (after we ate!!!).

While we ate, the street vendors pestered us, and I finally gave in on one that was going to make a name bracelet for Aubrey for $4. Here’s the vendor and the finished product:

Of course, after I got one made for Aubrey, Mark had to have one for his grandkids. We all waited and watched:

After lunch, we walked and shopped some more, and then stopped at a bar for drinks and to rest. I also found a T-shirt that I wanted, but it did not come in colors or my size:

While we were at the bar, a little girl came by selling toys. I bought a ‘red lady bug’ to put on my dash, and guess what……… Mark had to have one, so she came back with more and he bought it. I also think he fell in love!!!

We decided to head back, and we were un-pleasantly surprised to find that the “walk-across” line to go back to the USA was several blocks long. Mandy thought she could use the cane and a pitiful look to have the Mexican Police let her and her party in through the handicapped line. It did not work, and we grudgingly walked to the back of the line that would surely hold us for at least 2 or 3 hours.

While at the back of the line, Mandy got the brilliant idea that we could hitch a ride in the back of a pickup truck in the vehicle line because it was moving much faster. She asked the first pickup driver if we could jump in, and he said “no”, but she kept working on him, and he gave in. So, we all piled into the back of the pickup truck, and as we rode up the line, people really stared at us. We started to joke about how we would have to go around the block if the officials made us get out and go to the back of the line, so all the people that we passed would not laugh and make fun of us.

Well, we made it all the way to the front of the line, and the agent with the sniffing dog told us that we had to get out because it was illegal to be on a California highway with people in the back of a pickup……….. and we would be on that highway as soon as we crossed!!

We got out with our worst fears being that we would be laughed at. However, the place where we got out, was right at the handicapped entrance. A couple of us were quick-witted enough to realize that the people in line did not know what the agent told us, so we got into line and were prepared to say that since she was handicapped, the agent told us to get in line here!!!! We were betting that no one would check our story…….. and no one did. We were out of Mexico within the next 10 minutes.

For the insiders that understand “Tiffin Trash” and “Trailer Trash”, we decided to title this little escapade “When Tiffin Trash (Mandy, Patsy, Greg and Richard) travel to Mexico with Trailer Trash (Mark and Sue)”!!

Here are some pictures of us riding in the truck, and then helping our handicapped old lady out of the truck:
It’s a good thing that we have raised our kids and no longer have to be good examples!!!

Once safely in the good ole USA, we celebrated by going to get milk shakes at the local “date” farm shop. All got date milk shakes except Mark and I, who got Chocolate!!

We decided to cap the day off with a meal at a local Mexican restaurant. We ate at the Mi Rancho Restaurant, and it was really good. Patsy and I have enough left over for another meal.