Sunday, March 31, 2019

I Should Have Stayed In Bed

Sometimes things just don't go your way.  I probably should have stayed home in bed and started out the next day.  

I said goodbye to my beautiful blooming yucca plants .......
Had the last ice cream for the road .......  and I was off!!
Before I even got out of Tucson, my brand spanking new windshield was covered with bugs.  Later, I found out that was nothing, because by the time I got to Quartzsite, I could barely see.  At least there were beautiful wildflowers everywhere along the highway.
I stopped for a puppy break in Gila Bend, deciding to fuel up here.  Just as I pulled in, some guy in a big truck pulled up facing me, just close enough to the pumps that I couldn't get in to get fuel.  I waited for a few minutes as he slowly meandered inside.  

I'm sure he had three cheeseburgers while he was there.  Meanwhile, his truck blocked all but one pump I couldn't get to.  Fifteen minutes later I gave up and drove around to the back.  As I did, I saw him finally come out, grab the car windshield wash brush and proceed to clean not only his windows, but his truck.  How rude!!! 
I decided to head on out to Quartzsite.  That's when I discovered, even though I made a reservation for a 50 amp hookup, the actual owner (who is rarely ever here) had given them all to other people.  Finally parked in a 30 amp, I began the windshield cleanup.  What a mess that was!!

While I did that, I turned on the satellite dish to acquire the satellites.  It did, but there was no TV.  Acquiring Signal went on for about ten minutes with not a single bar.  I spent two hours on the phone and got nothing.  Dish Network blamed the Winegard dish.  Winegard was closed for the evening.

Ok ... I'll watch a movie.  When I hit play, I could hear the movie playing, but could only see a blue screen on the TV.  Good grief!!  What next?

Maybe I'll vacuum the rig.  I plugged it in to charge up, but noticed the little light wasn't flashing.  I plugged it in to three outlets before giving up completely.  The outlets were fine when tested.  I showed great restraint by not throwing it in the trash.

What next?  My rotten little dog peed on the couch cushion sitting on the floor (it makes it easier for them both to get up ON the couch).  Luckily, it was an easy clean, but I was in no mood to put up with such happenings.  There was a lot of yelling going on!!

I was finally able to get ahold of electronic and technical wizard Barbara Westerfield, who walked me through some tests of the TV to find there is absolutely no signal going from the Winegard to the Dish receiver.  Maybe it's disconnected from the dish on the roof?  

Who knows.  I guess that will be my first repair when I get home ... crawling on the roof to check it out.  Otherwise, I may have to spend a couple nights at their house next week in order to get it fixed.  It's funny ... there are lots of dish satellite installation guys out there, but NO repairmen.

I would just laugh about it all, but I'm too busy sneezing from all the pollen in the air!!!

I should have stayed in bed ONE MORE DAY!!!  I've got a long seven hour drive ahead of me today.   Just for giggles, I'm heading up to Needles and then West instead of the usual Riverside freeways and traffic.  Here's to a smooth road ahead.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Life In The Desert On A Ranch

As I've said before and I'll say it again ..... geocaching can find you some very interesting places.  There was one way out in the desert, not far from my little house, that intrigued me.  Mostly because you had to walk about a quarter mile to get to it and I needed the exercise.

I'm sad to say I still haven't found any snakes to photograph, but I put my cowboy boots on anyway.  I parked way in the back of a bar, behind some fencing and bushes to remain hidden.  I completely missed the sign that said State Trust Property, Permit Required.

As I climbed through the barbed wire fence I was surprised to find these corrals and buildings.  I can tell you from experience, this was a pretty big cattle setup.  No one makes corrals like this any more.
As I got closer, I could hear the buzz.  I peeked in the first door to find a large swarm of bees meandering around the entrance.  Nope ... not going in there!!
I'm not sure what this building was used for.  It appeared there might have been living quarters in one end ... very tiny quarters ... with the rest used for maybe feed and supplies.  As the buzzing got louder, I tippy toed on down to the other end.
This is what's left of the cattle loading ramp, meaning it must have been in operation in the 30's and 40's when cattle were moved by trucks, not just on horseback.  It was VERY well built, so money was not a problem around here.
That's when I discovered this ... it's a cattle scale for weighing in order to determine the price for whoever was buying or selling.  This only comes with very large ranches.  It must have been some operation in it's day.

On a side note, when we were forced to move because of the dam being built, my dad found two properties.  One with a set of scales and an old house, and one with a nice house and a real bathroom.  The scales won out and the old house pantry became a bathroom.
I tried to find some indication of the ownership, but this was all I could find.  At the bottom of the tie rail for horses, someone put their name in concrete.  I wish I had cleaned it off better so the letters would stand out more.  It's now a mystery I would like to solve ..... who lived here?  Jose Somebody.
Since I couldn't seem to find the geocache, I walked on up to the main ranch house.  It had a nice front walkway, but the entire inside was destroyed.  Everything was ripped from the walls in the kitchen/living room area and I didn't dare go into the one bedroom.  The roof looked like it would collapse any second.
At long last, I found the geocache and started my walk back out.  That's when I spotted this.  What a weird setup.  There apparently was what we call a one-lunger here that turned the screw that ran the grey machine.
But what in the world is the grey machine?  This is the back side where the arm is attached that makes a crazy looking blade turn.
Here's the blade with spikes on the end.  They must have pushed something into these blades to grind it up.  But what??  The only thing I could see was cactus plugging up the wheel.  Did they grind up cactus?
Here's the view from the opposite end.  Now what would you lay in this trough and push into the shredder?  Maybe saguaros for cattle feed?  I've absolutely no idea.  If anyone has a clue, please let me know.
As I contemplated all that, I wandered back towards the car through the outside corral fence.  That's when I discovered all the outside fences were set in poured concrete.  This truly was a big dollar ranch.  NO ONE does that .. especially in the old days ... unless they are VERY rich. 

Luckily none of this can really be seen from the road, so there are not lots of people wandering around.  Maybe that permit sign has something to do with it.  I was happy that my car was still there when I returned and I didn't get arrested.  

I think this geocaching spot requires a little more investigation.

Friday, March 29, 2019


Yes my friends, the day has finally arrived.  Opening Day of baseball was a hit, especially since I get to watch all the games.  I know, that's weird for a girl, but you've never had so much fun as being at a baseball game ... live and in person.  I was hooked from the start.  It's also more fun if you've been up close and personal with many of the players.

Unfortunately, none of my favored teams won.  No problem ... there are lots of games to come.
In other exciting news, I HAVE A NEW WINDSHIELD!!  Wasn't I pleasantly surprised when he called at 12:45 to say he would be here in two hours.  Progressive should take a lesson from these Mobile RV Repair guys.

Talk about professional ... from the time they arrived to when the windshield was out, amounted to 30 minutes.  Can you believe it?  He said he's been doing this for 25 years.
I had no idea how this was going to work.  It was interesting to watch him pull the seal away, whereupon the glass just lifted right out.  I was surprised to find it was made up of two very thin pieces stuck together.  No wonder they break so easily.  
In no time at all, the new glass was in as he ran a bead of black caulking around the edge while maneuvering the glass under the seal.  Once that was done, it was just a matter of putting the beading back.  That probably took longer than anything.
Here she is with brand new glasses I can see out of.  The entire process took about 75 minutes.  Before leaving, they used a glass cutter to split the old piece in two so I could see how it's made.  I tried to snatch that really nice super sturdy ladder, but I got caught in the process.
To celebrate, I picked up a pizza at Arizona Pizza Company.  If you "like" them on Facebook, you will get the Thursday night secret word.  In this case BASEBALL in order to cash in on a pretty big discount.  This large came to $17.  Why buy a large?  Because it's going to be my breakfast, lunch and dinner for the entire trip home!!!
Sadly, time flies when you're having fun, and I'm packing up to head North.  Jonathan and the kids voted to stay, but it's again time for that nasty word TAXES.  It's time to head 'em up and move 'em out!!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

I'm Obsessed!!!

My new book ..... How To Gain Weight In Two Hours.  Believe me, it's as easy as pie!  While at a quilt show a week or so ago, the nice lady said she would be at the Green Valley Farmer's Market, held every Wednesday.  What?  I've never heard of that before and I've been here two years.  Patty had not heard about it either and she's been here seven I think!!

So off we trotted yesterday to Green Valley.  Thankfully the Arizona weather Gods have turned a corner to lovely 50 degrees at night with highs in the 70's.

Truthfully, it's more of a craft fair than a farmer's market, which is right up my bailiwick.  We wandered slowly looking at mostly jewelry, southwest blankets and artsy stuff, until we came to these!  I cannot tell a lie ... I NEVER pass up cupcakes ... EVER!!

I had the S'mores one on the right.  Oh my .... I was in heaven!  How in the world do you make graham cracker frosting?  Well I'm here to tell you, I'm going to find out.  I almost bought a second one, but better judgement finally took hold.
Not for long though.  We really did look for vegetables and fruit, but they were few and far between.  I mean really, that stuff doesn't exactly grow on trees in the desert.

Next up, a local lady had made these pecan pie bars, GLUTEN FREE she said.  That means no sugar or fat, right?  I moseyed right on up to the table and bought one.  Maybe not the best I've ever eaten, mostly because I couldn't get that cupcake out of my head.
Then it happened.  I spotted the bread on the cutting board.  I took a taste.  I took another taste.  When the proprietor came back, I took a third taste.  OMGosh this is GOOD!!!  Gluten free she said, with no yeast and no sugar.  It's soft yet chewy, sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt.  I bought a loaf, but should have bought every one she had.

I'm now completely and thoroughly obsessed with finding a recipe for this bread.  If anyone has something similar, please let me know.  It's a type of french bread with rosemary, brushed with olive oil, very dense and moist with a good chew.  I can tell from the bottom, it's been baked on a baguette tray.  I MUST HAVE MORE!!!!
Just to add to the flavor, I purchased a bottle of 25 year old balsamic.  My oh my this is tasty.  I could almost drink a shot of it.  Perfect for dipping that bread.
Sonora dogs were the lunch of the day, although three other options were available.  Do NOT buy the PASS-tees (pasties).  It was like no other I've tried and I wish I hadn't tried that one.  

On the way out, at the back end of the parking lot is a cactus/plant nursery of sorts.  They had lots of pots, water fountains and statue-type things.  I picked up these cute quail for $25 as we wandered around.
I've had so many scorpions in my house, what's one more.  Maybe this one will scare off the smaller ones.
I was stuffed to the gills, but as long as we were there, we make a quick trip into Joanns to check out their sales.  That's when Patty pointed out this tree.  Anyone know what it is?  I'd love to have one in my back yard.  It looks very much like a wisteria.  Maybe it is ........  
Upon my return, I spent another 45 minutes on the phone trying to get my windshield replacement scheduled.  Finally, Progressive's computer system updated and gave me a new Referral Number.  I called Duncan, but they said it was a no-go.  Why?  Because they were running it through under the OLD number.  

At long last Carla got on the phone with Duncan and FINALLY I am good to go.  I called the installation company, who said possibly this afternoon.  I'm not holding my breath.  It will be tomorrow morning at the latest.  Nine days and umpteen phone calls to get this taken care of, not to mention my $5,000 payment over the last two years.  Next month I'm lowering coverage and raising the deductible.  I think it would be cheaper and easier to pay for the windshield myself.
The desert rewarded me with a beautiful pink sky last night and I contemplated my obsession with that bread and how many calories I ate in one day!!!  Hey, what's a few calories when you're having fun!!  Life's short ..... eat cupcakes!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

A Nice Diversion

Sometimes you miss things and just have to play catchup.  I didn't show images of the inside of the Bird Cage Theatre in Tombstone.  This is where miners, cowboys and outlaws spent their hard earned gold, or stolen loot as the case may be.

You can take all the pictures you want, but are not allowed to show any of them on the internet.  I suppose it's bad for business.  If you can see it on your computer, you might not be as likely to part with the $14 entry fee.

Personally, I don't think that's the case.  You can't see the details in pictures, and the details are certainly worth $14.00.  Did I take these images or steal them from the already hundreds posted out there?  I'll never tell.

This is the entry way where the actual bar was located.  You can still see bullet holes in the wood, as well as the dumbwaiter they used to hoist food and drink to the upper floor.
This is the view from about mid way.  It's very small inside ... nothing like you probably imagined.  That piano on the right?  It came around the horn and is the original one brought in to accompany the singing ladies ... or maybe the male comedians, which for obvious reasons, were few and far between.
Here's the view from the stage.  Those are the bird cages hanging from the ceiling on either side.  That's where the girls entertained the miners, cowboys and outlaws behind red curtains.  Not much privacy there!!
This is the same faro table that Wyatt Earp played on.  All those papers say don't touch, and smile, you're on candid camera.  There is an entire bank of cameras viewed from the gift shop to be sure you don't steal anything.
I'm not sure they help because many artifacts are missing from my trips of the past.  This image is part of a hand painted collection that runs around the entire room at the bottom of the cribs.  They are holding up pretty good for their age.  I wonder whose idea it was to encircle the place with pictures of a circus??
Here's one of the more interesting items.  Have you ever seen Jake the Alligator Man from Long Beach Washington?  This must be his long lost wife, the mermaid girl.  She doesn't look any too happy to be locked up in the desert away from her watery home.
To keep me occupied while waiting for the insurance company computer to update, I worked on painting my latest gourd.  I still think I may add to it somehow, but time is running short.  I've got water tanks to fill and stuff to pack.  I have to admit there's not much this time ... what a refreshing thing THAT is!!  I think the dogs have more stuff to pack than I do.
I'll be off to Green Valley for their Farmers Market this morning.  Maybe I can add to the "take this home" box by the back door.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Another Crazy Insurance Story

I won't name the company, but it starts with a "P" and Flo is their representative.  Now that they have raised my RV insurance cost over $1,000 in the last two years, they have also coincidentally, lowered the service quality.

In February of 2017 I got a bad ding in the windshield.  Naturally, I called it in and did the zero cost repair.  It didn't work.  Ever since, the cracks are getting slightly bigger until you can see it's broken all the way through the glass.

No problem .... call Progressive (oops did I say that?) and get the windshield replaced.  Since Mobile RV Glass was in town for the Escapade, what better time to get it taken care of.  I called "P" and after getting cut off, I called again to talk to Gil.

Gil said "go for it".  Here's the number to Duncan who handles all that for us.  I called Duncan, who didn't call back for two days, so I called again.  Destiny took my info, but instead of putting it through, she marked the case PENDING until Branden (female) called me back, which she did not.

I tried twice more, to no avail.  Finally I called the Glass company, who got ahold of Duncan, to push for the repair.  At long last, Duncan had all the correct information and submitted it back to "P".  Why, I have no idea since "P" told me it was up to Duncan.  I waited.  Then I waited some more.  Finally I called "P" to find out what the problem was.

Seems they couldn't find anything on my repair.  In fact, my entire insurance policy was PENDING.  Pending what??  They said I had an open claim.  What???  No one could tell me what it was because they have switched computer systems.  My original claim on the windshield was in the old system that no one could access.  Are you kidding me??

After scrounging in my rig for 30 minutes, I found the repair paperwork, but when I called back, I never could reach the original person I spoke to.  After explaining everything again to the now four people on the line with me, they discovered the 2017 claim had never been closed out, and so remained pending in the system all this time.  They decided to start my claim all over again.

Guess what ..... that means Duncan, who already submitted their info to "P", will probably have to resubmit under the new claim number.  But wait ....... that can't take place because it will now take "P's" computer system 48 hours to update and clear out the OLD claim before it can pull in the new claim info.  I kid you not.

Here's the problem ..... I'm leaving Saturday.  If I don't get it fixed here by a glass company that knows what they are doing, it will actually cost Progressive (oops) another $1500-$2000.  Not surprisingly, they didn't care in the least.  No wonder our insurance costs are through the roof.

And so I'm playing the waiting game.  At exactly 2:00 on Wednesday, I'll start calling everyone and complaining until I get some results.  In the meantime, the very nice service-minded glass company has now changed my appointment from Tuesday, to Thursday, to maybe even Friday.

What a great example of one hand not having a clue what the other hand is doing, and the first hand seems to be in LaLaLand.  C'est la vie!!

So to take my mind off how cranky I was getting, I went geocaching.  There's nothing like bushwhacking through the brush and cactus looking for a tiny container.  I'm so disappointed.  I haven't seen one snake the entire time I've been here.
This is the tiny container you would be looking for at this particular site.  See it hanging down in the center of the picture?  This was actually an easy find. 
There were a few beauties along the way to brighten my day.  Few and far between, but at least they are blooming.  What better way to spend a few hours becoming even more agitated because you can't find the cache!!  
In between all my frustration at the insurance company and not finding some geocaches, I stitched this charity quilt together for our little group.  Shirley was able to pick up a couple of huge bins of fabric for a song.  We'll stitch up a couple of different patterns and donate them to the Quilt Guild, who in turn will donate them to someone deserving.  
I have 32 hours left to contemplate how much I LOVE my insurance company.  A little more sewing and maybe a Craft Fair-Farmers Market in Green Valley will help sooth my soul.

Monday, March 25, 2019

One Of My Crazy Ideas

I always wanted to take an old house and fix it up.  We're talking REALLY old house.  I came very close to buying an old church near Sandpoint Idaho.  I laughingly said I'd make it a quilt shop and live in the back.

So while I was in the Benson Arizona Museum, you shouldn't be surprised to find out I asked around for information on the Arnold Hotel.  Unfortunately, this is one of those beautiful places gone bad.

It was built by Mr. and Mrs. Arnold McGinnis (a retired engineer and his wife) in 1890.  They filled it to the brim with gas lamps, a Steinway piano and fresh linens for the railroad workers and cowboys happening through town.
Mr. McGinnis died before it was finished, so his wife Nora's brother (pictured here) came to help her run the daily operations.  There were twelve rooms in the hotel, as well as a brick house with four units and several small cottages around the entire block.  Water was provided by a windmill driven well out front, which still exists today.

The hotel wasn't really used until the railroad came to town in 1906.  The tracks run right out front, so it was a short walk to overnight accommodations.

In 1910, a city water line erupted, flooding the street in front of the hotel.  City workers dug up the street, but not willing to leave the holes open at night, set up sawhorses with red lanterns to warn people before they fell in.  

Nora was furious because she said it made her hotel look like a bordelo!!

This is the hotel last year when I looked into the purchase.  I was told a local hot shot already had a grant in place for restoration and that the City was selling it to her for practically nothing.  It was to be restored and used partly as a gift shop, library sort of arrangement.  I was a day late ... literally!!
Here's the back side of the main building.
In 1933 after Nora's death, her brother sold it to a mining entrepreneur, who tried to keep it up until after World War II when a steady decline resulted in it being boarded up.  There it sat for many years.

Eventually, the last owner came back to open it up and sell every single artifact still inside the building.  What a waste.  Can you imagine how fabulous that hotel would be with the original fixtures?

On my way back from Tombstone, I stopped in to check on the progress.  Wasn't I flabbergasted when I found the hotel in even worse shape than before, now with all the boards on the porches torn off and stacked in the dirt.  Absolutely NOTHING has been done to this property.  Not even fallen trees or trash has been cleaned up.  It's a crying shame!  

I was surprised when I drove up to find a very old gentleman with long white hair and a cowboy hat, sitting on the steps.  I struck up a conversation about why it still sits here abandoned.  Apparently the hotshot who still owns it has no intention of fixing up anything.  What happened to the grant money?  Why isn't the city making her finish the project?  
Apparently she is now renting this and a couple of the other buildings on the property for storage purposes.  Are you kidding me?  Why isn't this building being restored.  It put a blue haze over my head the rest of the day.  

The next time I'm in town, I'm going back to the museum and ask those questions.  I suppose it's a crazy idea to want to fix it up, but that's what everyone says about historic buildings ... until they are restored to their original beauty.  At the very least, maybe I can shake the bushes.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

More On The Train Robbery

I'm sitting this morning contemplating my sore calves with my coffee.  Here's the coffee cup you get when you're caught robbing the train.  It's from the Missouri State Penitentiary I visited a few years ago.  As a VISITOR, not an INMATE!
Maybe it's a good thing we couldn't catch up to the speeding train, although I'm pretty sure back in the day, it wouldn't have been going quite as fast.  
We hot-footed it to a turnout on the road to be far away from the train when it went by.  He honked at us ... not once but about six times as he lumbered by and I snapped away.
Again with the graffiti.  Some people just have WAY too much time on their hands.
And yes, their minds are warped when they deface such a beautiful little dam in the middle of nowhere Arizona.  Paint the trains all you want, just leave nature alone.
Further up we did find a few flowers blooming along the tracks.  
Even poppies!  I thought they were all in California, but here in the desert on the side of the railroad tracks were a small group of beautiful orange flowers.
When we got to the creek, I was fascinated by these bulls-eye like algae somethings growing on the bottom.  Has anyone seen this before?  Do you know what it is?  There were hundreds of them along the bottom.  Definitely a new sight for me.

On the walk home, dreaming of cowboys robbing trains and riding off into the sunset with all of the gold, I wondered aloud if there were any spikes left from the old tracks that went through here.  Of course, Dan said, so I made my way up the rock base to the top and walked along the rails.  

Holler if a train comes, I said.  Sure enough, I found one.  Then two.  If that wasn't enough, I found three, four and five.  I ended up with SEVEN.  Two look very old and two I'm sure were never used.  They have some kind of stamp on the top with letters and a number I can't quite read.  
That might have been a mistake.  By then I think my backpack weighed in at around 30 pounds, including my camera.  That last half a mile turned into a really long hike.

Unfortunately, Tom Selleck never road by on his white horse to whisk me away to his log cabin.  I'm giving him another shot as I check out a local ghost town.