A Day at the Zoo

Yechiel and his family came to La Jolla for the weekend and we decided to cap the week end with a day at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.  The day was like most days with children at a zoo.  Where are the elephants?  Can we eat lunch now (at 10:15 AM) ?  Look at those birds!  You get the point.

The Wild Animal Park has changed since our last visit eight years ago and the tram that used to circle the park is gone, replaced by a shorter ride around the African Veldt area of the grounds.  By 11:30 we had worked our way back to the Simba Station where the “African Safari Tour” begins. The line was fairly short.  We decided that we would ride now and eat lunch after.  The ride was fairly typical, if anything about this immense park can be said to be typical.  Here is a herd of 5 or 7 black rhinos and there an uncountable number of springboks and oh my gosh the number of giraffes.  Oh look, that herbivore with the corkscrew antlers has an infant, the guide says he doesn’t remember it from the day before and it is shaky on its legs it must have been born today.  As we watch a giraffe seems interested in the newcomer and ambles over; mom is not happy and begins to threaten with her antlers and gets really protective although the giraffe is more than twice her size.  Oh my . . . the giraffe has kicked or stepped on the newborn and it is not moving.  The tram accelerates away.  Next stop the lions. 

I will spare you the pictures. 


A lot of our time is spent connecting with people.  Over the years we have made many friends on  the road and have arranged to meet again as we move cross the country.  As we sit here in the Borrego Springs area of southern California we seem to have hit a confluence.   We planned to meet Jane and Dean here, we met last year in Death Valley.  WE knew that the Hoggs, who we first met in El Paso in 2003, were going to be near by, so we planned to get together for lunch.  The plans worked better than expected and we had a Happy Hour with Dean and Jane and the Hoggs AND met Denny and Irene, friends of Dean and Jane.  Whew!

Picked up a message one night from the Armstrongs, Who we met several years ago at Dockweiler (Los Angeles) and since in a couple of places.  They have been west bound about two days behind us for over a month.  It appears they are headed into Borrego Springs.  We may have a gathering with them and Dean, Jane, Irene and Denny.  We have seen other friends along the way including the Topfs in Florida – although we met in Minot ND we have seen them in three corners of the country and too many times to easily trace.  Gee this RVing is lonely 🙂

Oh yes we are planning on meeting my sister Sandy and husband David in La Jolla, CA, but I am not sure that’s really RV related although we would not be nearby were it not for the lifestyle. 

The Armstrongs are here and Dean and Jane are gone.  We have been hiking all over the place and may use the car today.

Not sure I will be posting much for a while.  I will continue to put up pictures at:  Winter 2010 on Picasa

Decisions, Decisions

Each day upon sitting down to breakfast we face a serious decision; shall we take a hike, or go kayaking or maybe go for a bike ride.  Actually these may not be mutually exclusive as it is possible to go for a kayak ride then take a hike or vice versa.  Oh my aching head, what should we do first.  Some days are interrupted by other needs.  Just as the body has its needs the coach needs to be serviced regularly.  Today we were reaching the end of our on board fresh water and the the grey water tank was claiming it was full.  So the first activity of the day was preparing for the short ride off the beach and up the hill to the water fill and dump area.  An hour later we were faced with more choices.  We had not gotten on the bicycles which we have transported from Rochester on the roof of the car since, hmmm, I’m not sure when.  So we set out for a ride up the road to the Imperial Dam and Water Diversion facility.  Here we found the beginning of the All American Canal which supplies irrigation water to the Imperial Valley farmers. 

In the mean time our the lake at our doorstep is literally at the doorstep as we had planned when we set up here.  Our next plan was to go for a kayak paddle on our own lake having moved the inflatable up from the launch area at Squaw Lake (just above the aforementioned Imperial Dam) after yesterday’s superb float with Doug and Lois, our neighbors.   The wind has picked up and is too strong for us to consider getting out on the lake with our high floating inflatable – we would have a merry ride downwind, but I have my doubts about our being able to come back upwind or even to have much control trying to paddle crosswind.  I get to devote more time to Moby Dick and some writing.  We saw one nice aluminum canoe put in at the upwind end of the lake and the guy had to walk back the length of the beach – half a mile or more – to get the truck to pick up the canoe and his woman friend at the far downwind end of the beach.

Tomorrow, or maybe Monday, we will go into town so we can have clean clothes and fresh produce.  The forecast for Sunday is grim – high of 63 and 80% chance of rain.  Of course generally rain here is 1/4 inch and if you stand out in it you might get damp.  OTOH it is possible to get an inch or more and face serious issues with the many dirt roads in the area. 

It was more.  A lot more.  We went into to Yuma and did laundry, had lunch – don’t ask – and did some shopping for food and stuff.  As we were heading back to the coach the rain resumed with a vengeance.  I will admit to getting antsy about the situation of the coach, but when we got there all was well, if a bit muddy.  The lake level had not risen any consequential amount and I would not have wanted to try to move until the mud had a chance to dry.

Time passed and we had another great float, this time on Senator Wash with Lois and Doug.  As we fought the wind back to the coaches we were glad to be back on shore.  Then the wind died for the moment.  They had some firewood remaining and were planning on leaving the next day so Doug invited us to join the fire circle and we shared snacks and bear and wine until time (well, past time) for dinner.  We said farewell in the morning and set off for Mexico, if you can call Los Algodones Mexico.  It is on the other side of the border by 100 yards and offers, 400 dental offices, 300 opticians and more sources of generic medicine, vanilla, liquor and, and  and, than you can think about.  I have new lenses in a pair of glasses for half the price of the same lens in made Rochester.  We bought some meds for much less than the states.  One example that I did not buy is Simvastatin.  My copay is $7.00 for a 30 day supply.  I could have bought the same dose of the same drug for $6.50.  No wonder people are willing to cross the border and then wait in line to get back into the US for up to 3 hours.  They can buy a 90 day (legal max) supply of medicine for less than the copay, if they had insurance. 

More decisions.  Tomorrow we head for Borrego Springs and the Palm Valley RV Resort where Dean and Jan are staying.  We were able t get two nights and then we will move out into the desert for a while.  Pat and Bob Hogg will be visiting for a day and we will probably get to the Indio area where they are staying before heading into LA.

It’s Warm!

We have settled in almost the same place we were last on the “beach” at South Shore of Senator Wash (the GPS keeps saying Senator Washington, wonder where that came from).  The lake has emptied for the time being and we are overlooking a mudflat with gulls. Day time temperatures have been mid 70’s and overnight has been mid 50’s.  Shorts weather is greatly sought after and will be with us for a while. 

We have taken a hike around the lake, three and a half hours with one small detour.  As we approached the end of the walk we came across a man selling LED replacement bulbs for our interior light fixtures.  They are very bright and draw a tenth the power of the old incandescent bulbs.  They are also about ten times as expensive!  The lamps he had did not work out as the light they cast was too garish and inadequate for the purpose in the fixtures we have.  Fortunately he left them with us on a trial basis, back they go.  The technology is changing fast and while we were in town shopping for some other replacement stuff I found some newer LEDs that work very well.  They have warmed them up and these can be swiveled within the fixture.  Although I have seen similar lamps for in home use I would not suggest them, yet.  The price has to come way down and the light quality still needs a lot of improvement.  We have three on the coach now because they are battery savers, and when dry camping they are fuel savers as I can reduce my generator run time.

Last night, after having finished yet another Nevada Barr murder in the National Parks mystery, I got out Moby Dick, the Whale, H Melville and started out with the classic opening sentence: “Call me Ishmael.”  I think Carol was surprised to hear me chuckling through the opening chapters.  I guess I too was surprised at the humor.  I am looking forward to a great time reading this book.  You will understand if I write less for the next week or so. 

I shall pause in this writing now to enjoy the day. . .

Resuming; It is now Wednesday, March 3, We have gone kayaking with Doug and Lois from the Southwind parked next to us.  We have been back to town for more produce and to take back stuff that was the wrong stuff and replace with the right stuff.  I now have new windshield wipers on the coach, a nontrivial exercise since many places do not carry the 26” wipers we need.  The old ones were shredding as we drove through the last rain storm. 

We have finally been to Lutes Casino for lunch.  It may have had some gambling once upon a time, it was won by the current owner 40 years ago in a card game, but its primary business today is to serve a lot of good food at a reasonable price.  It is on Main Street in Old Yuma and it is packed.

And now it is Thursday, I had better finish this off and post it, but first another set of facts we learned yesterday.  The reason for the highly variable amount of water in Senator Wash has been a matter of conjecture among those of us camping on its shore for as many years as we have been coming here.  Yesterday while Carol and I were on a walk ( a hike would imply use of poles and backpacks with water and distance) that took us down to the Pumping/Generator station below the Senator Wash Dam.  There was an employee of the Imperial Valley Irrigation District coming out of the pump house and we stopped him to ask about the operation.  It seems that water for agriculture irrigation is ordered from Hoover Dam seven days in advance of expected need.  The wash is the last holding place for surplus and a buffer in the event too little is available for the farms’ needs.  According to this man up until four years ago the woman responsible for estimating the need and placing the order was so competent that the reservoir seldom fluctuated more than a foot or so.  She died, the current managers, including her son apparently are not so good at forecasting, thus major swings in the amount of water in the Wash and the shoreline comes and goes.

When we leave here we will go to Borrego Springs to meet Dean and Janet – Death Valley last year – and arrange to get together with the Hoggs as well.  then into Los Angeles to spend family time and face an incredible rip off at Dockweiler RV Park (municipal park) where the rate has risen 80% from last years rate which was a 33% increase over the prior year.  Welcome to California!