Tuesday, March 31, 2015

God treated us to a master-piece

This evening from the RV park, the view west toward the San Francisco Peaks was magnificent!
God used so many brilliant colors!
Panoramic view

Miss Daisy (she is the rig right at the American flag) with a view toward the east.

With the sunset reflecting off the side of Miss Daisy

Winslow, Arizona

We were only a few miles from Winslow, Arizona, so decided to visit it today in the Jeep rather than waiting until tomorrow (when we will be driving past with Miss Daisy).

We got to see "Standing on the Corner" park - what fun!
"Well, I'm a standin' on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It's a girl my Lord
in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin' down to take a look at me"

There's a flat-bed Ford parked on the street in front.

Like many small towns, Winslow was bypassed when the interstate (I-40) went through. 

Another view of the park from across the intersection.

A couple more pictures from Meteor Crater

While we were on the rim walk, a collared lizard came out and posed for his picture to be taken:

The view toward the San Francisco Peaks was gorgeous:

Meteor Crater

It was a busy day! I'll start with Meteor Crater...

Since we were staying at Meteor Crater RV Park, we got a discount card for visiting the site that was just 5 miles down the road.

On the way, we could see the crater in the distance.

We got to the visitor's center in time to join the guided tour of the rim, so we started our visit with that.

Scientists estimate that the meteorite that impacted here was probably 150 feet across and weighed several tons. It was composed of iron and nickel, and they can recognize fragments of the original meteorite from rocks with those elements.
Our tour guide, Kim, invited the kids to touch this "fragment" of the meteorite that was discovered several miles away.
The crater it created was estimated to originally be 700 feet deep (it is now 550 feet deep). The crater is 4000 feet across. To give you an idea of scale, the Washington Monument could be placed on the floor of the crater and its top would be eye level for visitors on the rim. The floor of the crater could hold 20 football fields, and the sloped sides could provide seating for 2 million spectators.
A panorama view of the crater

Do you see the white area in the middle? When Daniel Barringer came to the site in 1902, he was hopeful to be able to mine iron from what was assumed to be a huge iron meteorite buried under the floor. Unbeknownst to him, the meteorite totally disintegrated during the impact, so there are only small bits left at the crater of the meteorite. So all he got from the drilling was pulverized Coconino sandstone.
To give you perspective - this is zoomed in on the white area. There is a piece of mining equipment on the left center - it is 15 feet long and 10 feet high.

A further close-up allows you to see a flag and an figure of an astronaut at the closest corner of the fence around the drilling area. NASA used this area for training astronauts preparing for the moon landing to understand which moon rocks to collect to give scientists the greatest information about what had created the craters on the moon. The figure of the astronaut is life-sized (6' tall).

Another view of the crater
After the rim tour, we visited the museum. There was a LOT of information about this crater and meteors and meteorites in general.
This made-up headline highlights 3 meteorite impacts. Even though it implies Alabama as the site, only the second story told of an impact to a house in Alabama. The first story indicated that two meteorites have hit in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

This may make you wonder, as it did me, how often do meteorites hit the Earth. This display had the answer:

Another display told of scientists who are mapping and "Potentially Hazardous Objects" that may come close to Earth in the future. The closest that is anticipated will come within 241,000 miles in August 2027. Mark your calendars to be watching!

We enjoyed our visit to Meteor Crater. If you're in the area, check it out! And if you're in an RV, stay at their park and ask for the discount card!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Verde Valley Thousand Trails RV Park and onwards

We spent a week at the Thousand Trails RV Park near Cottonwood, Arizona. It was a LOT more crowded than when we were there in January. The sites at this park are close side-to-side - one rig will be facing east and one west with the hookups in between - once slides are out, you can borrow a cup of sugar just by opening the window. Our closest neighbors weren't actually there while we were; their rig was just there with no one in it. It seemed that was the case with a lot of rigs in the park; I don't really like that, it is like having an abandoned house in the neighborhood.

I have been trying to get Miss Kitty to walk on a harness so she can have outside time but not to just let her outside. I had taken her out and sat on one of our folding chairs. I decided to try a hint I had read - to take the cat a little ways away from the rig and let her walk back on her own (you don't "go for a walk" with a cat, you go where the cat wants to go). I took her over to the picnic table and put her down. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that the ground there was very sandy. Miss Kitty can't resist rolling in sand... she got quite filthy - as a result, she got a good brushing which she also loves... all in all, I think she was quite satisfied with herself.

I got a good picture of the sunset with a reflection on the side of Miss Daisy last night...

Today we drove to Meteor Crater - we contemplated making a day trip up from Verde Valley, but there is an RV Park right by the Crater, and taking our home with us saves us the round trip drive and moves us along the path towards home. Though it was only about 100 miles, we had to climb to 7000' near Flagstaff, and I-17 narrowed to one lane for a short distance that caused quite a backup.
That's a UPS truck with double trailers heading south.
Dwayne outside our rig with view to the west from Meteor Crater RV Park

There is a beautiful high prairie surrounding us - those are trucks on I-40, but we don't hear them at all since they are downwind.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

There's a 'booug' in here...

I suspect this is the case in all families - there are certain words that you say "differently" even though you know the correct pronunciation. Dwayne and I say "booug" (one syllable, not exactly sure how to spell it) instead of "bug".

When we were attempting to rid ourselves of one of the lightweight floppy bugs the other night (I've heard them called May Flies or Mosquito Eaters), and we called it "booug", it reminded me of a video that Jimmy took of Ginny years and years ago.

I think he did the video for our mom. As I remember it, he started off saying that they had a new toy, or two new toys to show her. One was the video camera, the other was the new pony that Ginny was riding on of which he was taking a video. Regina was leading the pony (I think Po was her name). As they came around close to Jimmy, Ginny said something and Jimmy said, "You have a booug in your ear?" (which was evidently what she had said - and "ear" was two syllables "ehr-ah").

The next time around, Jimmy encouraged Ginny to "Wave to Grandma".

Ginny didn't wave, but she did start looking around.

The next time around, "Where's Grandma?" came from Ginny!

Such a cute video - I can see it in my mind's eye.  I sure hope we still have that video somewhere!

Friday, March 27, 2015

In the interest of full disclosure...

I have been reading some articles on Facebook recently that talk about how we only portray the side of our life that we want others to see - and that is certainly true in blogs as well! I thought I should mention a few things that aren't so "nice" on my blog in the interest of fairness in reporting. These are not necessarily stories about where we are now, but just a collection of reality stories.

In some campgrounds, the sites are VERY close together. This means that what goes on in your neighbor's rig may be quite apparent in your rig as well. We recently had a neighbor with two small children and three dogs in a very small rig. It was nice because the kids got lots of time outside - right?

In a similar vein, it is good that folks don't smoke in their rig, right? That would pollute their environment. It is nice that they get to smoke outside, and if it happens to be right under the bedroom window of their neighbor's rig, well... at least they are keeping *their* rig smoke free.

And, then there are the arguments. Some couples are more, uhm, noisy when they argue. Slamming doors, shouting, etc. Oh for a noisy a/c unit!

Have I mentioned "other people's animals"? Most campers abide by the leash rule, but there always seem to be a few who think it only applies to everyone else. Then when their animal is out, they must call and/or whistle loudly to get the animal to return. When it happens at 3am, it is a bit disruptive...

Trash trucks - do they get a bonus if they collect the dumpsters before 7am?

Railroad tracks - I think I have mentioned this before - it is very common for RV parks to be right along a railroad track. Obviously people don't want to purchase a home that is right along a busy train right-of-way - but the RVers only have to deal with it for a few nights, unless each RV park is by a railroad track... then we just get used to being lulled to sleep by train whistles and chugging.

Then there is inside the rig - cramped quarters that require each space to be multi-functional. The same space may be dining room, office, living room, kitty petting center, etc. Changing from one function to the other means finding another place to put the computer, kitty, or whatever.

Free wifi is usually worth what you pay for it. I wonder if there will ever come a day that RV sites come with a FIOS hookup? Or a time that the charges and quality mobile internet will come closer to what we had at home?

Ok - I'm done with griping for today, back to the "Everything's rosy all the time" messaging of your regular program!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Everyday tasks

On days when we're just staying around "home", we're doing things like you are probably doing:

A week ago I was doing our taxes. TurboTax acquiring data electronically from institutions and a fast internet hookup definitely helped. We have tried to get electronic communication from as many institutions/companies as we could. We had gotten our collected mail sent to niece Ginny and that had brought the remainder of the hardcopy items, I hope! We may get one more physical mailing before I file just to be sure. I also did Dwayne's mom's and stepdad's, need to check them over and print out (they must be filed hardcopy).

Yesterday was laundry day. This Thousand Trails campground has an odd "card" system for their laundry (you have to purchase a card and put a certain amount onto it, and then add to it with pre-defined increments, so there is always a little left on the card that you don't get to "use" - I am CHEAP), so we headed in to Cottonwood to a laundry there. While I was doing laundry, Dwayne picked up a prescription at CVS. It has turned out to be handy to have our prescriptions with CVS - they seem to be present in all states (though I have heard they are not in Oregon, so if we end up going there next year, we'll need to consider before going to fill any needed prescriptions). He also got the Jeep washed and got his hair cut.

We have also acquired two items that are supposed to help with our communications and connectivity. We got a WiFi Ranger Elite at Escapade. We installed it while we were at Mission View RV Park in Tucson. Honestly, I can't say that we've been able to make good use of it yet, but I'm not giving up. I think the problem here is that we don't have line-of-sight to the place where the free WiFi is. We had also ordered a Wilson 4G Mobile Cellular Signal Booster from Amazon - also had that sent to niece Ginny. We finally got it installed today and it seems to be helping to boost both the phone and data for my smartphone - so I'm using the internet cycles on my phone instead of the free WiFi at the campground at this point.

We'll be heading over to the clubhouse to use their free WiFi for a couple of meetings with the Technomads today...

Everyday life!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Barry M Goldwater Air Force Range

On our way from Organ Pipe to Cottonwood, AZ, we drove through the Barry M Goldwater Air Force Range. As we drove along, we noticed bombers in the air a couple of times. At one point, they were flying pretty low over the highway, so we stopped to watch for a little while.

The pictures on my phone look like specks of dust, but Dwayne got one with his camera that he deemed worthy to share:
While we were stopped, I noticed something moving on the ground near the side of Miss Daisy. When I looked more closely, I determined it was a "Horned Toad". His camouflage was ideal as long as he didn't move!
Hint: lower left

Hint: lower center

Hint: center

Hint: center (smaller in frame)

Isn't he gorgeous in an ugly sort of way?

One more from my camera
The aircraft eventually left to head back to base - and then Dwayne took a gorgeous picture of the "Horny Toad".
He said, "You're getting my good side!"

Sunday, March 22, 2015


We drove into Ajo (ah-hoe) today and joined in worship of God at Ajo Calvary Baptist Church. It was nice to be in worship with other Christians. Ajo is a small town, and the church reminded me of the one I grew up in by size. I guess they have a lot of "snow birds" who are winter members there. The pastor prayed for those who would be traveling away this week.

The pastor shared about how all of us are represented in the people who mocked Jesus in Matthew 27: 27-44. There are the Roman soldiers (who probably weren't actually Romans at all, but conscripted soldiers from another conquered land. They didn't know who Jesus was, and didn't care; they mocked him just because that was the thing to do. Then there were the thieves who were also being crucified that day; at least one of them also mocked Jesus, even though they were being punished for doing wrong, and He had done no wrong. There were the Jewish people who were in Jerusalem because it was the Passover. They would have known about Jesus and what he had been doing; some of them probably were in the crowd who called out "Hosanna to the King!" just the week before. But, they were looking for a political ruler, and when Jesus didn't satisfy their image of what the King should be, they also turned against Him and mocked Him. Finally, there were the religious leaders; they would have known the prophesies and should have recognized Jesus as their long awaited Messiah, but they were more faithful to their society of belief than to the Savior, so they also mocked Him.

But, the Bible also tells us that one of the Roman soldiers, a centurion, recognized Jesus at the foot of the cross (Luke 23:47). It tells us that one of the thieves recognized that Jesus was not guilty and asked to be remembered when Jesus came into His kingdom (Luke 23:42) and Jesus told him that he would be with Him in paradise (Luke 23:44). Some of those crowds who were in Jerusalem for the Passover were still there when Peter preached in Acts 2 and recognized their sin and desired to repent (Acts 2:37); Acts 2:41 indicates that about 3000 were saved that day. And, finally, Acts 6:7 tells us that a number of priests also became believers.

We may find ourselves today mocking Jesus or His church because "it's the cool thing to do" or because we don't see ourselves as God sees us. We might mock because Jesus or His church are not how we would have done it if we were God ("I can't believe that a loving God would..."), even if the Bible tells us clearly. I recognize the need to invite God to search my heart and see if there is any wicked way in me (Ps 139: 23-24), allow Him to cleanse me! None of this mocking disqualifies me from turning from my mocking and accepting Him as Lord and Savior.

A few pictures from today:
Newly opened Sonoran Desert Conference Center (in an old school building) in Ajo. http://www.sonorandesertconferencecenter.com/

The downtown area of Ajo

Between Ajo and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is Why, Arizona.
In the pictures from our drive on Saturday, I posted a picture of a crested Organ Pipe Cactus. The information said that there were crested Saguaros too - I saw one on our way out towards Ajo.

A close-up of the top of the crested Saguaro. Isn't it "beautifully flawed"?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The night sky

One of the reasons we wanted to come to Organ Pipe at this time was to be here at the "dark of the moon" - so we would have the best access to a dark night sky so Dwayne could try out some night photography techniques with his camera. The first night we were here, it was too cloudy to see the stars, but last night was promising. He got up several times in the night and here is the fruit of his labor!
He particularly wanted to capture the Milky Way - this shot was taken at about 4am.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."  Ps 19:1

Canon EOS 70D, 10mm, f/5.6, exposure time 60 seconds, ISO-6400

More of the amazing desert

We took the Ajo Mountain Loop Road today - the ranger station had provided us with a booklet with explanations for several stops along the way. Although it was a much shorter drive (21 miles compared to yesterday, it took us about 4 hours as we stopped a lot and saw a lot!

I think this is a "pincushion" cactus

The flowers were so pretty, and there were seemingly millions of bees!

The pincushion cactus was amongst creosote bushes - they are so prolific, that I realized I hadn't even provided a picture of them - they have tiny yellow flowers.

A Saguaro (sah-wah-ro) with interesting "arms" - notice how tall it is next to Dwayne! One of our friends pointed out that Saguaro know to praise God with their arms lifted high - this one must be conservative...  ;-)
This one has come to end of life and fallen over.
Even at the end of their lives, Saguaro look interesting, with their inner skeleton continuing to be around for a long time.

This is to show how large the Organ Pipe Cactus plant is also.

A view toward the east (the way we were driving)

A view back to the west. Can you tell I just learned how to use the panoramic feature on my Android camera/phone?

Another big Organ Pipe - this one had a unique growth in the middle.
From the brochure:
This organ pipe has an abnormal growth on an arm growing out of the the center of the cactus. This growth is called a "crest" and can occur in almost all plant species. A typical organ pipe cactus has growth cells on the tips of the arms. These cells grow in a circle to form our beloved columnar cactus. A crest can occur when the growth cells form a straight line instead of a circle. If you could peel back the skin and tissue of this organ pipe cactus, you would see the comparison of a normal straw-like skeleton to a mutated skeleton branching out like fingers of a hand. This beautiful phenomenon is unexplained in the scientific world. Some scientists believe that it is genetics; other believe it is a deformation due to frost; yet others think it may be caused by an imbalance in growth hormones. The truth is we don't know why this strange formation occurs.
<<< end of information from the brochure

This is the growth near the center of this particular cactus.

Isn't it beautiful?
This reminded me of Bethany Hamilton's retreat for young women with limb loss called "Beautifully Flawed". It may not be like all the others, but it is very beautiful!
A bit further down the road, we saw an arch in the mountain.
 The description from the sign informed us:
"Weathering, not wind, formed this double arch. Daily heating and cooling and seasonal freezing repeatedly expanded and contracted these rocks, forming countless cracks of various sizes. As moisture that seeps into the cracks evaporates, solids that were previous dissolved in the water are left behind to form salt crystals. These crystals grow in the cracks and cause pieces of rock to break off flake by flake."
On the second half of the drive, we started seeing Agave.

And we also enjoyed seeing more of the blooming and leafed-out Ocotillo.
 A beautiful day!