Wednesday, September 30, 2020

This Is Just Weird ....

 Some days it doesn't pay for me to get out of bed.  Let's face it ... I live a life on the edge!  I arrived at the Pumpkin Patch at the appointed time.  We (the local Pastor's wife and I) completely forgot to open the front gate.  It didn't matter though since no one showed up until noon.  It was the worst day in the history of the patch.

I know that's really not weird, because we are only open for pumpkin sales on Monday and Tuesday.  Today the patch opens at 11:00 for pumpkins and for entertainment at 3:00 and I'm on tractor duty.  Until 7:00 pm. 

It's really weird that it's October (basically) and our temperatures have been 100 every day.  What's up with that?  I've had a hard time being outside, even though I drink ten bottles of water every day.  In spite of doing everything possible to stay alive, I do seem to be slowing down.  That's weird!!

Anyway, we spent the day making up these arrangements all over the property for your purchasing enjoyment.  All weighed out, each one has a price tag attached for the entire thing.  They run from $25 to $40.  If nothing else, it kept us entertained and busy.

Then there was the trio that came to the window.  When told they had to pay to get in ... $7 each gets you a $7 token towards pumpkins ... they walked right on by the window without paying.  This time I raced out the door after them, explaining the process.  They said the girl told them they could take pictures for free.  No ... no she didn't because I was standing right there listening.  They left in a huff.

I won't mention their ethnicity, I'll let you guess.  They got in their car, drive to the little entrance display, jumped out and grabbed a huge hand full of flowering plants growing in the ground, ripped them out of the soil, jumped back in the car and floor-boarded the car down the dirt driveway.  Nice of them, yes?  And they wonder why they have a bad name!!! 

Finally home, I crashed on the couch and let the puppies out, first doing my scheduled walkaround for skunks.  Yes my friends, they are still here occasionally.  They do tend to stay away from the house if I leave the patio lights on.  Trouble is, the light shines right through this shade thing and keep the pups and I up at night.

I can fix that .... I grabbed my trusty ladder, a huge roll of duck tape and a quilt.  Sounds reasonable, right?  I was in bed for ten minutes when it fell to the floor, scaring all of us.  RATS!!  While putting the ladder away, I spotted some big pieces of cardboard.  That would be a MUCH better solution since it was lighter weight.

Back with the ladder and the cardboard, I didn't have enough hands.  I grabbed the duck tape with my teeth and tore off a piece.  Wait .... it stuck to my lip.  I'm telling you, this could only happen to me.  When I carefully pealed it off, it took off half the skin on my lip.  OUCH!!!!  I can't believe it did that!!

I smothered it in Neosporin, hoping it would be all better this morning.  Nope!  I look like a boxer took at shot at my face.  My lip is swollen to epic size.  Why me???

Well, as you can see, my taping job with the cardboard didn't fare much better.  One piece fell down, but at least didn't wake us all up.  The good news is a torn lip is a dieters dream.  I won't be eating anything soon.  Here's hoping today will be a good day on the tractor!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

One Two Three GO!!!

After opening weekend at the Hunter Farms Pumpkin Patch, we all caught a break.  Mondays and Tuesdays are pumpkin and chrysanthemum sales only.  The snack bar is quiet as a mouse.  There's no hot dogs in the tent on the right (out of sight), nor snow cones in the tent on the left.  This will happen three out of four weeks due to slower attendance because of the Covid stuff.

That means there will only be two people on board.  Me ... I'm helping Farmer Scott install barriers and make signs ... and whoever is working the sales office.  I'm so excited I actually get to sit down!!

I even had time yesterday to take a walk for a few pictures.  It's all so neat and clean, not a scrap of paper anywhere.  


Here's how it works .... you pay $7.00 each to enter (that keeps out the riff raff who try to steal) and you get tokens worth $7.00 you can spend on pumpkins or flowers.  This year they grew these gorgeous chrysanthemums! 


Of course there is always that ONE group.  A family of five came in, got the scoop from the new girl at the window, then just walked right in.  The girl said ... wait, you have to pay first, but they completely ignored her, went in and set up for lots of family pictures.  

I didn't say anything, just kept an eye on them.  No use making a big deal.  About an hour later, they came and asked me if they could walk through the dinosaur exhibit.  Ummmm no I'm sorry, the only thing open is pumpkin sales.  You know, pay $7 and get $7 worth of pumpkins??? 

Well they weren't interested in that, so as I followed them around, they finally got uncomfortable enough and left.  People sure can be funny!!

These are my favorite pumpkins ... the warty ones. 

One of the things we all do is keep an eye out for rotten pumpkins.  I smelled something every time I went in the barn, but couldn't find it.  At last, I spotted it at the very bottom of the crate.  I reached in, sans gloves, and YIKES! my fingers went right through the entire thing.  OH YUK!!!  You cannot imagine the smell.  Something akin to baby throw up, which of course almost made ME throw up.

I found a pair of gloves and cleaned up the mess.  It's not all glamorous at the Patch!!  With our 100 degree weather (isn't it October?) we are finding several of these disappearing pumpkins.

In the meantime, I have another problem to take care of ... that battery minder I put on the truck did absolutely nothing this time, in spite of the lights saying it was working.  The truck is dead as a doornail.  I'll have to find someone to bring batteries over and get it running again.  Eeek last time it cost me $500!!  Seems it's always something!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Those Embarrassing RV Moments

I know we've probably all had them ... those moments when we forget to check something.  I try very hard to be exacting in everything I do, but alas, tiredness and brain fade set in.

I wasn't the only one however.  As I was parked in Williams minding my own business, I spotted a Luxury Van Rental slowly driving past my front window with two women inside.  The word RENTAL on the van said it all.

They had not put the cap on their sewer connection correctly and were dumping "stuff" all along the road as they drove to the garbage cans.  There they deposited dozens of bags of junk, making me wonder where all that came from, along with even MORE sewage.  

I said something to the lady, who just gave me a weird look.  She had no idea what I was talking about.   Luckily the second lady came out and solved the problem ... sort of.  I hesitated, but called the office to report the damage so cleanup could commence.  I felt bad for the maintenance guy.

 So here I am parked at Newberry Springs.  With no power and my generator running loudly, I finally shut it off, turned on the inverter and stowed the dish satellite. 

I said my goodbyes to the ducks and headed out at 6:00 in the morning.  I literally did not sleep a wink.  Being 50 yards from the freeway full of trucks probably had something to do with that, not to mention it was HOT!!  In the mid 90's.

 I did my normal checks, but didn't bother with the dish since I knew it had stowed the night before.  ALWAYS CHECK AGAIN AND AGAIN!!  In 25 short miles, I was at Flying J to get fuel.  It's a good thing their ceilings are high.  

Yup ... there was that embarrassment BIG TIME.  The darn dish did not stow like it told me it did.  I quickly went inside and hit the button to wake it up, then again to STOW.  This time it worked.  It's bad enough to not check, but to have all those truckers snickering ..... oh yeah!

Back on the road, I made it through the new Barstow Hwy 58 beautiful freeway, down into Bakersfield.  I just don't get it.  That section has been under construction for what ... 5 years now?  And it's worse than it has ever been.  Not only that, but now the entire town of Bakersfield is having repairs on Hwy 99 from one end to the other.  It's a horrible mess, rough as all get out and hard to navigate.  Just for your info, Madera is now exactly the same.

It was so rough driving that the entire Dish satellite box fell out of the cabinet and onto the passenger seat.  When I was finally able to stop, I stuffed it all back in the cupboard.  Hopefully it still works.

Finally home, I unloaded the puppies, myself and some important things like food and camera, then headed off to the Pumpkin Patch.  I'm official this year since I have a Hunter Farms shirt instead of the new (but very awesome) red white and blue flag tee the kids wear.  

In two seconds I was hard at it getting the snack bar organized.  With all the new Covid crap, I mean regulations, things have changed considerably.  I restocked everything they were out of and proceeded to sweat up a storm.  It was over 90 degrees with humidity I'm sure in the 90's.  Wow it was HOT!!  

Five hours later I was home, collapsed on the couch.  This was my parting shot of the patch.

 That's not a light pole, that's the sun.  Although not smoky, it's pretty hazy.  The new schedule has us closed Monday and Tuesday except for pumpkin purchases.  I'll be going in for a short time, but don't expect to stay.  I've got lots of unpacking to do and pictures of the train ride to process for you.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dumb Question #396

Telephone Call:      Hey Dan ... what's the air brakes PSI supposed to be?

Dan:   What does it normally run?

Me:  Heck if I know.  

I'm in panic mode.  Everyone at the rally had terrible problems, from no brakes, to air bag leaks, to no brake pads and more.  There were two separate trips to Colorado Springs.  I just knew my time was coming.  So when I pulled out of the Loves Truck Stop and hit that first big hill, not sure if I had air brakes, I pulled over and gave Dan a call.

Turns out it was all okay, especially when I did the math right the second time.  120 is much better than 80.  Big thank you's as Dan explains Nancy's dumb question #396.  And so I was off to the big town of Newberry Springs.

 This is the big La Quinta built just across the street from the RV park in Williams.  This wasn't here the last time I stayed at the Grand Canyon Railroad RV Park.

 And this is the brewery/restaurant next door that has no name.  This wasn't here either.

 The scenery started off very hazy, but got better as time went on.

 I kept a close eye on my pressure gauge as row after row of beautiful yellow flowers kept me company.

 Hey ... cattle!  Half of this crew had about 20 head gathered together, waiting for this half to show up and help.  No idea what they were doing since I was past them in a flash.

 Kingman was .... well Kingman.  Hot and an even more terrible highway, if that's possible.  It did get better eventually.  I just drove by Needles without a blink.

 Cruising right along, I've been here before.  This is right at the turnoff for Lake Havasu City.  It was pretty hot by this time and there were about 20 boats in the water.  Nice!!

 At long last, 6 hours later, I arrived in beautiful downtown Newberry Springs RV Park.  Everything went well at first.  It's a 50 amp full hookup for $35.  What more could you ask for?  How about power!  Not an hour later, one more huge fifth wheel pulled in and plugged in.  My power went out immediately.  Low voltage.  My handy dandy EMS system saves my electronics again.

I grumbled a little since the rig next to me had both it's air conditioning units running full blast with no one there.  If they even turned ONE off, I might have had power.  Good thing I have lots of diesel, because I ran my generator for a couple of hours to keep cool.   

It's 98 degrees, in case you were wondering.  So as much as I thought this was a great find, I was wrong.  My Energy Management System will not let my rig work on low voltage. When I checked this morning, it said 115 on both legs. 

For your hot sweaty pleasure, there is a pond, rather green and weird looking, but it's water ... and helps me think I'm cool.

To go along with that, there are quacking ducks.  How fun is that?  At least Cooper thought they were worth a chase.

And so it goes as I head home.  I'll get fuel again in Barstow and be home by maybe 1:00 ... just in time to hit the Pumpkin Patch!!  It appears I just MIGHT get Monday off.  That would be a blessing so I can rest up and unpack.  Can't wait to get home.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Now THAT Was A Long Drive

Off we go, heading out of Albuquerque.  I've driven this highway before, but to be honest, hardly anything looks familiar.  That's probably because I was following Barbara and Tom Westerfield coming back from Maine and not paying attention.

 The mountains of New Mexico are beautiful, to be sure.  That red rock just fascinates me.  Traffic was heavy with the usual trucks going 75 mph while I cruise along at a lowly 60. 

I was pretty much counting the minutes as I crossed the Continental Divide.  This was a very long 8 hour drive I was not looking forward to.  New Mexico does not have very many rest stops, and most of them are closed.  Too bad for drivers like me that need a rest.

 The New Mexico roads aren't all that great either, as told by all the smashed up guard railings.  They were repairing them every twenty miles or so, the entire way.  Luckily there were some trains to grab my attention.

 Just in case you were wondering, all those really cool very old Indian Reservation stops are closed.  I was hoping one would become a rest stop, but alas, at this point the only place I could find to stop was the side of an off-ramp.  The puppies really needed a break after four hours.

 At long last I found a rest stop near Flagstaff.  We had lunch and spent thirty minutes hanging out on the couch.  It was a good thing because Flagstaff was the pits, and I'm being nice.  The highway through there is horrible.  Even at 55 mph, things were crashing and banging, including my teeth.  

Why go 55?  Because the wind was terrible, throwing me and everyone else all over the road.  Some people with trailers were down to 45 mph.  Boy was I happy to land in Williams, even if I was exhausted.

 Hmmm, is that a new sign?  Don't remember it, nor do I remember all the stop lights at every corner the entire length of this town.  I found the Grand Canyon Railroad RV park office with no trouble.  At least I DO remember this!  

I walked inside, totally beat up.  PLEASE PLEASE HAVE A PULL THRU.  Well let me tell you, Allison is a miracle worker.  SHE RESERVED A CANCELLED PULL THRU JUST FOR ME!  I can't tell you how excited I was.  I would have jumped up and down, but my back was killing me. 

I pulled in, plugged in and spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch.  It was then I realized I gained an hour coming into Arizona.  I kid you not, I fell alseep on the couch at 7:30.

 I did get outside to take one picture.  Terrible picture ... I'll try to get better ones today ... but if you look between the coach on the left and the tree, you will see a LaQuinta Hotel.  Now I KNOW that wasn't here before, nor was the huge bar/restaurant to the right.  It was a smaller bbq place.

More money savings ... one of my favorite quilt shops has gone out of business.  RATS!

Today I'm off again, hopefully only a six hour drive this time, to beautiful downtown Newberry Springs RV Park outside of Barstow.  I've never stayed there, so here's hoping it's not a dump.  But first, fueling up at a brand spanking new Loves Truck Stop on my way to the freeway.  You can't beat that!




Friday, September 25, 2020

The Days Are Too Short

A little catchup today.   Rarely do I post pictures of me, but here I am at the rim of the Royal Gorge while hiking with Cocoa the bulldog.  It was a short hike, only 2 miles, but the excitement of the snake made up for it, along with the views.

 After hiking, we were going to walk to downtown Alamosa, but opted for the car.  The altitude has been getting to me since I've apparently become a desert girl.  We ate at the Purple Pig Pizza Parlor, since it was actually world pepperoni pizza day.  

Surprisingly, they did not HAVE pepperoni pizza, so I chose Pork and Peaches.  I know, it sounds weird, and it was!!  However ... the pulled pork, slathered in barbecue sauce along with those sweet peaches was a tasty delight.  I would definitely have this one again!!

If anyone has a mind to travel to Alamosa Colorado for the Cumbres Toltec train ride (totally worth it), the Cool Sunshine RV Park is a must stay.  The sites are wide, it's quiet and the staff is very friendly.  The only bad part was they charge extra for dogs.  

The days just don't seem to be long enough.  In no time, I was heading back to California while the rest of the group went to Chama to ride the other end of the train.  They have split it in half, making them twice the money.  I've heard the Chama side is the most spectacular to ride.

My ride to Albuquerque wasn't near as fun.  I headed south on 285, with lots of twists and turns as the highway ended in towns you had to negotiate before coming out the other side.  I did make one wrong turn, but luckily landed back on the highway. 

 I have to say though, the mountains are spectacular.  Fall colors have arrived, making this calderon volcano look gorgeous in yellow and rust colors.  Sadly, I'm too far away to get a good picture. 

 Even the highway scenery was nice.  New Mexico likes to paint their freeway crossovers with pretty designs.  I've no idea what the word is, but I'm guessing it one of many Indian tribes that lived in the area.

 At about this location, coming into Santa Fe, is where my backup camera went on the fritz.  I think it's a loose connection, but can't seem to find a way in to tighten the wires.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed it works when I land in Williams Arizona, since I have a back-in site.  I begged and pleaded ... maybe someone will cancel.  

After seven hours of driving, I probably won't be in any kind of shape to unhook the Jeep.  I'm already looking forward to SLEEP and I haven't even left Albuquerque!!!

Next up ... the Cumbres and Tolec Steam Train ride.  Hopefully I'll have time to download those 400 pictures I took.  No kidding ... it was pretty spectacular!!!



Thursday, September 24, 2020

Famous Alligators

 Not an alligator!!  Along with all those 300 plus gators and big snakes, there were some other critters like this beautiful rose breasted cockatoo.  Isn't she a beauty?  Be careful when you walk underneath her.

 The largest recorded alligator was caught off the Louisiana coast in 1890.  It weighed almost 2,000 pounds.  Elvis is a runner-up to that title.  He's absolutely huge and not friendly, meaning he gets his very own area to sun in. 

 This guy didn't want me near at all.  He began hissing very loudly and moved away.  What amazing creatures.  If you want to learn how to wrestle them, they give lessons here.  Wouldn't THAT be fun!  Oh, and just for your information in case a python or boa constrictor gets your hand in it's mouth, just stuff your fist as far down it's throat as you can, making it gag and spit you out.  I don't think I want to try it.

Everyone in this huge pond was out warming themselves on the banks.  Alligators stay in the water at night, coming out on to the banks to sun themselves in the morning.

 They are stacked like cord wood in every enclosure.  It's like sealions ... all on top of each other.  If one moves, they all move.

 Not an alligator, this is a caiman with large teeth and close set eyes.  Many of these critters came from smuggling operations confiscated at airports.

They have two huge albino alligators that stayed in the water and were hard to see.  This guy had pink eyes and was probably ten feet long.  

 These two Nile Crocodiles are the biggest on the property.  Also rescues, they get to live their life out here with all the food they can eat.

Freeway, named because she escaped and was found walking down the side of the freeway, is famous for the Lubriderm commercials with the alligator walking around the model. 

Morris is the movie star here.  He worked in Happy Gilmore, Doctor Doolittle, Interview with a Vampire and several other films.  He once destroyed an entire set on the show Coach and was finally donated when at 450 pounds he became too big to handle.


 Besides the snakes and gators, they have dozens of rescued turtles and tortoises.  If you're looking to be an alligator wrangler or just want to see some up close and personal, this is the place to visit.

The next stop on our tour is a steam train ride ..... a very long train ride in a Colorado storm.




Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gators In Colorado?

Who would have thought there were alligators in Colorado?  Just down the road from our Cool Sunshine RV Park is a gator farm with a story.  I have to admit when I pulled in at 10:00 in the morning, I was a little suspect.  It's not Disney World, African Safari or even your local zoo.  It's rather fallen into disrepair. 

For $10 as a senior, you too can ooh and aah over their critters.  Here's the story.  Originally this was a tilapia fish farm.  They raised fish to sell to stores and restaurants.  These big guys are obviously not fish, but African tortoises.

 When you have a big fish farm, you end up with dead fish.  Instead of spending a fortune to dispose of them, they purchased four alligators.  Problem solved.  Why are there snakes?  I'll get to that in a minute.  These are both rattlesnakes, kept in iffy looking glass cages. 

 So ..... pretty soon Fish and Game from all over the country were calling to see if they could take rescue alligators that people had dumped in the local ponds because they got too big.  In no time they were taking in rescues from everywhere and now have over 300!!   

Little did I know when they hand you this little cutie that they take a picture to SELL.  I gave them my camera for this one.  Then I felt bad and let THEM take one, which of course I had to buy, that turned out dark and terrible.  This little guy was solid as a rock and much heavier than you would think.

 The first thing you see in the door besides lots of tortoises hiding absolutely everywhere, is the section of really BIG snakes.  These guys were over 15 feet long and gave me the shivers.  Again, these are all rescues.  They all got too big for people to handle and ended up here.  Sadly, their enclosures are not much more than a trough full of water.

 As you move through the building where they grow plants hydroponically (don't be alarmed by all the rusty hanging steel), you come upon huge vats of fish.  There's a bucket of chow for you to throw at them.

 As soon as you walk near, they all come over to your side because they KNOW you have food.  As soon as you throw it, they erupt into an explosion of fish.  Since the tilapia market has declined, they now sell most of them to Fish and Game and people who have ponds in Texas.  Bass fishing is big there.  The bass eat the little fish and grow big for fishermen.  The big fish eat all the yucky stuff in the pond, keeping them fresh and healthy.  It's a win-win!

 I've no idea where this 100 pound snapping turtle came from, but he lives with the fish.  Don't get too close.

 Once outside, you'll find the alligator enclosures.  There's lots of chain link fencing, much of which has been repaired ... sort of.  Luckily I was there in the morning.  They all come out of the water to warm up in the sun.  Otherwise they would all be UNDER water.  The tires help them get out and stay relatively clean.

 The water is well water, so it stays at a reasonable temperature, even when there is snow.  The American alligator isn't as big and impressive as say a crocodile, but their numbers make up for it.  You can buy alligator chow to feed them, but they were mostly sleeping on this morning.


There's much more to see, including all the movie star alligators, but I've got pulled pork to cook, so I'll introduce you tomorrow.  Think the Lubriderm commercial ... remember the alligator walking around?  He's here, along with Elvis!!  Who knew?