Thanks so much for visiting our travel blog. We hope that you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we're enjoying living them. Let us know what you think - leave a comment or two.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

San Diego Zoo

Okay, I was lazy this morning - I admit it. I didn't go to Curves. I rationalized that since we were going to the zoo today we'd been doing a lot of walking, so I could blow off Curves. Bad Terry. :)

We went out to breakfast at Denny's first. Then we drove around trying to find diesel at a decent price. Ugh! Don't think that's gonna happen while we're in California. We finally got it for $2.35 a gallon, but that hurt since we paid just $1.99 last week in Arizona! However, we also saw the price as high as $2.59 so we figured we'd take what we could get! And, trying to keep it in perspective, it wasn't $4.89 like we paid last summer. :)

As I said yesterday, I was very ambivalent about going to the zoo. I've heard all about how the San Diego Zoo is THE zoo to go to, but really . . . isn't it just a zoo? And the answer IS: yes, it's just a zoo.

We got there about 11:30, got our map and started walking. I didn't think the park was laid out very user-friendly - you had to do a lot of crossing back and forth to see all of the exhibits. We never did see the gorilla exhibit. (Sorry, Ginger!) But, we did see a lot of the exotic animals such as the polar bear and pandas. The polar bear was in a very playful mood. He had a ball he played with and was rolling around in the water with it. The pandas ignored us. :)

I took more than 100 pictures, but ended up with just 66. :) Rather than pick and choose which ones to post here, just click here to go to our web album.

Can you believe another month of 2009 is now over? Spring is here, well, at least calendar-wise. I know lots of you aren't feeling the love of Spring just yet! But, it's close and soon we'll be feeling the summer heat and wishing we had some relief from it. Aren't we humans such fickle beings? :)
Anyway, this just means we are almost halfway through out trip west and will be turning east in just a week. It also means we're that much closer to seeing each of our kids and grandkids as we make our way back to the east coast.

Tomorrow is another travel day - we hitch up and head to Los Angeles. This is going to be such a fun stop! Our nephew, Joe, lives there and we haven't seen him since last summer. AND my sister, Paula, (Joe's mom) is coming in on Thursday to spend several days with all of us. LA may never be the same when the McNeil sisters get done with it! :)

Until the next time . . .

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fun in San Diego

We were thrilled that the weather forecast changed a bit for the better! It was going to be sunny and 70 instead of just in the mid 60s. A nice day for exploring. But, first a trip to Curves for me. Then we got out the door.

We traveled south along Pacific Highway which runs along the water. Very pretty drive. Our first destination was Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma Lighthouse. Oh, the views were fabulous!

Cabrillo National Monument is dedicated to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer who landed at what is now Ballast Point, a small strip of land that juts into San Diego Bay.

In 1542, Cabrillo led three ships under the Spanish flag with the goal of claiming additional land for Spain and New Spain. While Cabrillo died just six months into his exploration, the expedition ultimately claimed over 800 miles of Pacific coastline for Spain.

When standing at the site of the monument and looking out over the bays, it is breathtaking. You can see the Naval Air Station across the bay; Ballast Point where Cabrillo landed; and in the distance, downtown San Diego.

Up the hill from Cabrillo Monument is the original Point Loma Lighthouse, built in 1855. This lighthouse operated from 1855 to 1891. The lighthouse was built so far above sea level, fog and low clouds made it difficult to see the light. Because of this, another lighthouse was built at a lower elevation in 1891. Again, the views from the lighthouse were awesome.

Upon leaving the lighthouse and monument park, we continued south. We wanted to drive along another scenic drive which would take us along the Pacific Ocean, but the map we used was a little deceptive so we ended up driving into Chula Vista via another route. One of the points of interest we were told about was Third Avenue Village in Chula Vista. We thought there would be shops and boutiques and such, but we didn't find anything that piqued our interest. So, we just drove through and came back home.

Once home, we took Blackie for a short walk along Mission Bay which comes right up to our park. There are mobile homes and park models here as well and many have beautiful gardens. I took pictures of some of the flowers. There are lots and lots of palm trees, too, and I just love them. We even saw some folks riding horses along the beach! It was a bit chilly because the wind was blowing pretty good, so we didn't stay out long.

Many, many houses are built on hills here. The grades are so steep it's a wonder the houses stay up! The picture below doesn't do the scene justice, but it was the best I could do.

The rest of the day was spent watching TV and relaxing, as usual. We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

Tomorrow we're going to the San Diego Zoo. I was kinda of iffy about going because I figured you see one zoo, you've seen them all. But, everyone says this is THE zoo to see, so we're going. I'll let you know what I think tomorrow. :)

Until the next time . . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our First Look at the Pacific Ocean

Under sunny skies with some wind, we left Yuma, AZ about 9am and headed west on I-8. Just 10 miles into our trip, we crossed into California! I was pretty excited about that - not sure why, except I guess I never thought I'd really be here. But, I am!! ;)

Along the way, we passed through the Imperial Dunes BLM area. This mass of dunes runs about 40 miles along the Imperial Valley and is five miles wide. It is the largest dunes system in California.

Many RVs were parked here. Now, I realize it is very inexpensive - next to nothing actually - to park there, I cannot understand why you'd want to. All that sand! We had enough of it while in New Mexico and Arizona; a fine layer of dust constantly. I
cannot imagine actually living among sand dunes. Different strokes, as they say.

It was another uneventual trip, which is how we like it. :) We got to our park, Mission Bay RV, about 1pm.

After set up, since we hadn't eaten anything all day, we decided to go grab some fast food and bring it back home. While out, we'd find the local Curves so I'd know where I was going in the morning.

We found the Curves AND the Pacific Ocean! I actually squealed when I realized it was right there! I know. I know. I'm a goober. What can I say? I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it looks just like the Atlantic Ocean. I think I thought it was going to be more blue or something. :) I was happy none the less.

We did get our food - Wendy's for Randy and KFC for me. Now, we're settled in for the night. It's pretty chilly and overcast right now. That's not so good, but it's supposed to be sunny and in the 60s the next couple of day. Very different than what we've been used to recently, but I'll take it.

Looking forward to seeing what comes. Until the next time . . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Nice Way to End our Time in Yuma

Today was going to be a laid-back day at home. I did laundry early this morning. Then we went out to breakfast at Penny's Diner. It's a small place that looks like the diners of the '50s. Good food.

Back at home, I threw on my muumuu and proceeded to watch a couple of the Nora Roberts' movies I'd recorded. I also did some research on tours in the Los Angeles area for next week. Randy was outside working hard on cleaning the inside of the truck. With all the wind the last couple of days (and me leaving the windows partially down the other night!), there was a coating of dust everywhere!

I keep meaning to tell you about the citrus orchards here. They are everywhere! We are surrounded by them. There are lemon and orange groves.

The smell is overwhelming - in a good way. :) The fruit is thick on the branches and some has fallen to the ground. I didn't realize that this area was big on citrus growth, but there you have it. And at the orchards near our park, lots of small white birds that look like little egrets hang out at the irrigation canals. They are adorable.

Then came a wonderful surprise! Midway through the afternoon we got a call from Russ & Pat - they had just pulled into Yuma!! We were so surprised and thrilled. They were supposed to be on their way to Las Vegas to meet up with family next week. But, they had a change of plans and needed to be in Palm Springs for a couple of days before going on to Las Vegas. And, Yuma was a good halfway point to stop.

So, we got to have dinner with them tonight. YAY! Whenever the four of us go out to dinner, Russ always votes for Mexican. They knew of a small Mexican restaurant in town so we met there. It is located in a house - literally.

It's in the middle of a residential area and was once a house. The food was good, but the company was better. How nice to see them again so soon! We're hoping to catch up again in Colorado.

A wonderful way to end our stay in Yuma - dinner with good friends. Tomorrow we continue our trek west to San Diego. Looking forward to that.

Until the next time . . .

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yuma Territorial Prison

With another beautiful day on tap, we decided to check out the area. First stop - Cracker Barrel! But, of course. :) This was #69 for those of you helping us keep track.

After breakfast, it was on to the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. The prison was built out of necessity - there were too many prisoners to keep them in the local town/county jails. There was fear of escape from the local jails so it was decided to build larger, more contained prison. It was originally meant to be built in Phoenix, but through some quick thinking on the part of a couple of Yuma politicians, the location was changed to Yuma. These politicians simply lined out the word, "Phoenix" on the authorization before the Legislature and wrote, "Yuma." Interesting, huh?

Construction on the prison began in late April, 1876 and the first prisoners walked through the doors on July 1, 1876. Those men were also the ones who helped build the prison in which they would serve their time. During its 33 years of operation, a total of 3,069 prisoners were incarcerated here; including between 30 and 40 women.

The park sits up on a hill overlooking the Colorado River. At the time it was built, the junction of the Colorado and Gila Rivers was here. But now, due to the damming up of the Gila River, that junction is now four or five miles away.

The Main Guard Tower sits over top of the water cistern. Since the weather becomes so hot in the summer, the water tended to evaporate, so a platform was placed over the cistern and then the tower was built on top of that. From this tower you can see the Colorado River meander along, as well as the site of Fort Yuma, which is now gone.

It was kinda spooky walking into the cells, especially the Dark Cell which was used for the ultimate punishment. Prisoners who caused trouble and would not adhere to the rules were put in the Dark Cell and provided only bread and water during their time there. The cell was only five feet tall and sometimes there were more than one person in it at a time. There is lore that says the guards would drop snakes and scorpions through a hole in the roof to torture the prisoners. Of course, there is no record of that.

Randy walking into the Dark Cell
Main cell block
A typical cell
There is a cemetery onsite in which 104 are buried. In all, 111 prisoners died during the prison's operations. Not sure where those other 7 are. We decided there must be multiple bodies buried at each grave because there aren't 104 graves in the cemetery.

Due to overcrowding, a new prison was built in Florence, AZ. The last prisoner left Yuma in 1909. In 1910 the Yuma Union High School took over the facility and used it until 1914. During the 1920s hobos used the cells for lodging while riding the trains. Many homeless folks lived there during the Depression.

This facility was also the site of several movies that starred John Wayne, Gene Autry, Ernest Borgnine, etc. It is said that the door to the New Yard was lowered so that the men looked taller on screen than they were in life. :)

Here's some beauty we found:

The "Ocean-to-Ocean" Bridge is located beside the park. The building of this bridge in 1914 meant that folks could now travel from Florida to California without having to take a ferry across the Colorado River. That drive could now be totally done on land.

The gray bridge in the background of the picture is the ocean-to-ocean bridge. The black bridge in the front is a railroad bridge.

It was a good day of sightseeing. Learning the history of our nation is one of the greatest perks to this lifestyle. We find many interesting places along the way.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be another at-home day. Sunday we take off for San Diego. Until the next time . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Enjoyed a Quiet Day at Home

And I mean quiet - we did nothing today. It was so nice. Well, I did go to Curves, but that's a normal part of a day. However, I haven't found the folks of Yuma to be particularly friendly. There was just one woman at Curves who spoke to me while we were exercising. The coach who signed me in hardly even looked up from whatever she was doing to acknowledge me. And she didn't ask me if I was familiar with the machines or tell me where the stretching area was or anything. I have a problem with people who are sloppy in their jobs.

Sorry - didn't mean to go on a rant.

Anyway, both Randy & I were fairly lazy today. I did some cross stitching and a little reading. Randy walked Blackie a few times as usual. But, mostly we just relaxed in the rig and watched some TV.

Now it's dinner time and the meat loaf is in the oven. We'll be recliner potatoes the rest of the evening, I'm sure. :) Tomorrow we're going to explore the Yuma Territorial Prison Historic State Park. This is the one thing Randy wanted to do while we were here. So, off we go.

Until the next time . . .

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Arrival at KofA Ko-op in Yuma, AZ

We got on the road about 9am for a three hour drive from Casa Grande to Yuma, AZ. It was a very uneventful trip which is always good!

About 12:20 we pulled into the Escapees co-op, KofA Ko-op.

We knew the office would be closed for lunch, so we just fixed ourselves some lunch and ate while we waited for the office to reopen. Once it did, we paid for our stay and were escorted to our site. We got set up and settled in for a couple of hours to rest up from that arduous trip. :)

Actually, I was trying to sleep off a nasty headache. I've been fighting headaches, and losing, quite often recently. Not sure why they've been coming on so much lately, but there it is. Anyway, I took some meds and napped a little. I hoped it would ease enough for us to go out to WalMart.

I finally just got up, the headache wasn't gone, but laying around didn't seem to be helping, either. So, we headed out to WalMart and to find where Curves is so I'm not driving around in circles tomorrow morning. :)

Missions accomplished - we found Curves; picked up some groceries at WalMart; and got a couple of subs from Subway for dinner.

Just watching TV this evening. Not sure what's happening tomorrow. Until then . . .

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Visit to an Ostrich Ranch

Our morning started out pretty slow. I did go to Curves and work out, then came home and posted a blog entry for yesterday. So, you're getting two for one today. :) Once that was done, we headed out for our destination for today.

We went to Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch! It was fantastic!! If you are anywhere near the Phoenix area, you have got to take an hour and go there. Absolute must. It is just $5 admission and that gives you feed and nectar for the ostriches, deer, donkeys, and lorikeets. More than enough feed when there are two of you because each of you gets some.

We had a blast! Who would have thought Randy was Dr. Doolittle and The Lorikeet Whisperer in one? While snapped pictures, Randy feed the animals. The ostriches were so aggressive they pulled one of the cups of feed right out of his hand. I'm just glad they didn't get his hand! :)

The donkeys were miniature Sicilian donkeys and so cute. They were females and many of them were pregnant. There was one baby - just three weeks old.

The best, though, were the Lorikeets. First, they are absolutely gorgeous. Their coloring is so bright; the sign called them rainbow birds and for good reason. Again, Randy had the nectar and I was photographer. It was great. At one point, he had at least seven, maybe eight birds perched on his arms and shoulders. The birds would jockey for position to get to the nectar in the container Randy held.

There was one pair that never left a tree - they were mates. They were snuggling and loving on each other. Lorikeets mate for life and these two seem pretty happy with themselves.

Again, this is a must see/do. You can't beat the price and it is so much fun being in the middle of these animals.

Tomorrow is a travel day. We're moving on to Yuma, AZ. The main thing Randy wants to do there is visit the Yuma Territorial Prison Historic State Park. That should be interesting. :)

Until the next time . . .

Casa Grande Ruins Monument and Dinner with Matthew

Yesterday was a full day! I started it at Curves, then came home and got ready to go out for the day. We went out to breakfast first - needed to get some fuel for our explorations. :)

Casa Grande Ruins Monument was our destination. In 1892, this park was the first one in the nation to be designated as an archeological reserve and became a national monument in 1918. It preserves the remains of a Hohokam farming village which includes the Great House or,
"Casa Grande." Paraphrasing the brochure, the Hohokam people come from hunter-gatherers who have been called, "first masters of the American Desert." Their culture was lived along the Gila and Salt Rivers, in permanent settlements, making pottery and trading their wares, which include jewelry.

In addition to the Casa Grande, you will find walls from other structures in the community as well as the remains of a three story house. Across the complex is a ball court and what is left of their village center.

It is amazing to stand where these people lived, worked and play more than 700 years ago! To be able to see the work of their hands and walk among the ruins of their homes just boggles my mind. I continue to be in awe of these people that we think of as plain, unsophisticated and "savage." They are much more complex and brilliant than our "civilization" gives them credit for. When I experience places like this and see the buildings they've built, I often wonder how much of our culture will be standing 700 years from now!

Our afternoon was spent relaxing in the rig and napping (for me).

The evening was spent with our nephew, Matthew. We had not seen him in several years, so we were looking forward to being with him. We met at his home, which is lovely! He even has a small pool in his backyard. Matthew was gracious and treated us to dinner at a gourmet Mexican restaurant. We laughed about that because none of us had ever heard of a
gourmet Mexican restaurant! And we wondered if they'd let us in as we were dressed very casually! (Imagine that!) Well, they did let us in and we had a wonderful meal! The food was great and the conversation was even better. It was so good catching up with Matthew and seeing how happy he is with his life.

This was a good stop in our journey. We got to see family and reconnect with an old friend. Doesn't get much better than that! Later today, we're going to an ostrich farm!! Bet you can't wait to see those pics! ;)

Until the next time . . .

Monday, March 23, 2009

Too Tired to Post

Just got home from dinner with our nephew, Matthew. Gotta go through pictures from the day's adventure and I'm just too tired to do that tonight. So, you'll get two posts tomorrow!

Until then . . .


I have to apologize - when I was sharing the events of our day yesterday, I was neglected to tell you that Randy gave Blackie a bath. He (Randy, not Blackie) told me about it last night when he was reading the blog. So, to give my wonderful husband the credit he deserves - he did bathe Blackie yesterday. There, now my conscious is clear. :)

Today was another beautiful day - sunshine and temps in the 80s. It was a bit windy, but that kept it from being too warm; didn't need the A/C today. However, as I write this at almost 10:30 at night, the wind is quite blustery as Pooh would say. Living in an RV when the wind is blowing hard is always interesting.

This morning we attended the church service held here at the campground. Generally, campground church is very generic with someone from the park leading the service. Not here. A real live pastor preached. He brought a couple with him who lead music. Apparently, these folks have an RV park ministry - they go to different parks and hold worship services. Ours was the second of the day. Isn't that neat? Anyway, it was a pretty decent message out of Romans 12.

This evening we drove up to Mesa to meet Neil & Alexis. As I've mentioned previously, Neil and his family attended Covenant Baptist in Columbia, MD back in the 80s and 90s. We've not seen him since the early 90s but we became "friends" via Facebook just recently. When I found out he and his wife were in the Phoenix area, I suggested getting together. I was so glad when he agreed. :)

We had a terrific time together. At least, Randy & I did. We're hoping that Neil and Alexis did as well. :) I think they did. We met at their home which is very nice. They have four beautiful cats. We went out to dinner at a Greek restaurant where we were able to dine outside. It was lovely. The food was delicious and the company was great. We reminisced a bit; well, Neil & I did most of that. But, Alexis and Randy put up with us. We laughed a lot. And we just caught up with each others' lives. They are a wonderful young couple with so much life ahead of them. We wish them well in their pursuits.

The drive home was quiet. After we pulled into our site and got out of the car, I noticed that the sky was just FULL of stars. Randy pointed out several constellations to me - he's so good with that stuff. All I know is the sky was beautiful. Nice end to a great evening.

Tomorrow we get to see our nephew, Matthew!! SO looking forward to that!

Until the next time . . .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday in Casa Grande

Since it was Saturday, you know how my day started - in the laundry room! Yep, just a little past 6:30 this morning, I had three loads of laundry in the washing machines. I know, I know - that's early. But, I've found that I don't have to fight for position if I do it then and that's worth it to me. I'm usually all done by 8am and that's great.

Randy & I spent the rest of the morning on our computers (yes, WE are enjoying having two!). We took Blackie for a walk around the park. Then I put the laundry away, cleaned the bathroom and updated the finances.

After lunch Randy made another attempt at setting up our router. And this time he was successful! YAY! Apparently you need to turn off the pop-up blocker in order to set up the system. Once Randy did that, the rest of the set up was a piece of cake. So, we now have our own mini network.

We then took another walk around the park with Blackie.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent watching a western we had recorded awhile ago. While watching TV, I continued to make progress on my cross stitch project. I also took a short nap. Wild time, huh?

Dinner was leftover Hamburger Taco Pie from earlier this week. It was still very tasty. Randy said this was definitely a keeper! :) After dinner, Randy called me outside to see the sunset. It was just gorgeous. As we stood there watching the sun go down, I felt such contentment that I thanked God for His goodness. I told Randy I couldn't believe that we got to watch such beauty for free! :) And I get to share it with you:

And we took one more walk around with park with Blackie. :)

Just another day in our phenomenal life. Until the next time . . .