Well here it is a month and two days AFTER Christmas, more than three months since we left the Okanagan and we haven’t written anything on our blog! There have been numerous daily missives on Facebook, so to those of you who do not trust Facebook or are like Betty White and think it is a giant waste of time, we apologize!
Let’s recap what’s been happening with us.
We made it to Fresno and were pleased to see so many of the faces we know from last year. Biggest bummer was the fact even though we had been promised a store front for dressing room/staff lounge/supply cupboard, we were instead shown back into the “cave.”
This cinder block building that has a metal roof about 20 feet in the air is unheated (no power), unplumbed (no water), and un”sewered” (no bathroom). Needless to say Ross was not pleased, however someone had been in there from last year and organized all the blueprints in a neat arrangement and sorta cleaned the place up…a bit!
The set manager, assistant manager, and one other crew were all back this year. The other crew were trained up and we had a successful year. The kids were great, the parents were something other than great in some cases. Most kids wanted electronics (computers, game stations, remote controlled everything), some sort of doll or accoutrement (Barbie, Barbie’s dream house/car/clothes), bikes (two wheel with or without training wheels, three wheel, motorized, electric, remote controlled), and such.
There were the “always trying to trip up Santa” requests for Santa, Mrs. Claus, one of my elves, one of my reindeer (principally Rudolf), a unicorn. There were those that wanted a live animal – puppy, kitten, hamster, python (!!!). And those that wanted money, gift cards, clothes, car, etc. Blessedly Santa had much fewer requests for ” a place to sleep”, “a house for my family”, or some such (hopefully that means a stronger economy is on its way). Santa had a few requests for loved ones to return for Christmas, sometimes the loved one was just in another part of the country due to work, sometimes due to divorce/separation, however sometimes the loved one had passed away and the child wanted to them to reappear. That’s when Santa put on his social worker hat and had a quick two minute counselling session!!! All in all, the year was busy and productive.
While Ross was being the jolly old elf, Ed was equally busy…….taking the dogs for their exercise, taking himself for exercise at the gym, making sure that Santa was well fed and watered, working the phone banks for the Obama campaign where he met a few interesting locals, and having fun being a secret shopper. This is where he is hired by a company to go into a specific business, pretend to be a member of the public, and shop. It may be the store’s management assessing staff helpfulness, or to see that the shelves were stocked properly, or that the staff is wearing the correct uniform, or that service was provided in a competent, and timely fashion. But he got to see inside some establishments that he would not otherwise step into—and some he’d prefer to never go into again!
Sickness was rampant this year between Ed and Ross. Ross had a cold that he couldn’t shake for the first two weeks of the season, then Ed had an extremely sore tooth that he had to have examined. Ross was doing well until the first part of December when some little something passed along the Norwalk virus he was off his feet for three days (not fun trying to find another Santa to fill in for him). Of course Ed was not to be outdone and he got it too………fun times in the motor home!!! We were both OK after that until we hit Quartzsite……..but that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Along with friends of ours, Buck and Heather Buchanan from Victoria, we had planned on traveling down to revisit Los Barriles a wonderful little town in Baja Mexico. We discovered that enclave on last year’s caravan and we all were planning on getting another caravan down to the spot and camp there for a month or so. But Heather had a health scare (it’s OK now) and they decided not to go.
Since they weren’t going and after the Norwalk scare we reassessed the situation and decided it was best to stay in the USA for this year. Of course, our friends Bruce and Sue Ferrie also from Victoria, and Monica and Laurie Belliveau from Kaleden were going to go down with the caravan that we took last year. We were all going to meet up in Los Barriles but it wasn’t to be! Anyway after all the long range travel planning and then un-planning we were at a bit of a loss!
We had always planned to meet up in the desert near Quartzsite AZ so after Christmas and a bit of recovery time we left Fresno for the Arizona desert. (regular readers can now skip to the next paragraph!) Quartzsite is a small town at the intersection of two major highways halfway between Lake Havasu City and Yuma. Quartzsite sits out in the middle of the desert and is a magnet for RVers. Thousands of rigs from little pup tents, to massively large motor homes converge on this town for a few months in the winter for the mild climate, dry air, and various shows – rock and gem, RV, classic cars, and the largest flea market we have ever seen (many, many acres of tables, tents, lean-tos, trailers, displays, food courts, etc., etc.). If you like to shop this is the place for you because if you want something and can’t find it in Quartzsite…..you probably don’t need it anyway!!!
Buck and Heather of course had stayed in Victoria, but Bruce and Sue were waiting for us with cold Martinis upon our arrival! Also met a couple of their friends who were experiencing Quartzsite for the first time. They are serious dog breeders and also were going to show their Pomeranian dogs at some rather prestigious shows while down here.
Bruce and Sue had also brought their granddaughter with them and she was with them for a couple of weeks. Always good to have new audiences to tell old jokes!!!! Weather in Quartzsite (and everywhere else in North America) was cold and bleak. We didn’t have snow but it got close to or below freezing many nights. Thankfully the furnace works well and we were able to make it through those cold nights!!!
Took in the rock and gem show and the RV show. Rock and gem show is great for anyone thinking about, or actually creating, jewelry. Any type of rock, in any form, in any size is available in hundreds of buildings, tents, or displays. There are also any type, colour, size, quantity of equipment/accessories for jewelry.
The RV show takes place in a massive tent (about this size of two football fields put end to end) and around the perimeter outside. Everything from the smallest nut or bolt needed in a RV through the complete RVs. We saw one RV where they were asking $275,000. Mind you it was nice and all, but that’s more than our house, car, motor home, and all the furnishings put together!!!! Well, almost. And the flea market – what can we say………..again if you can’t find it here, you don’t really need it!!! Camping goods, household goods, gee-gaws, flags, books (possibly from the naked book sellers –he’s not THAT good looking, but he is naked!), sculptures, used auto parts, guns, knitted goods, kitchen appliances, etc., etc. Some of it great, some of it not worth stopping to look at it. Then there’s the auction house (tent) where you can buy out of date food stuffs (or food stuffs that never have a “best before date”), tools, and all manner of other stuff from an auctioneer so desperate to sell his goods (we think he buys trailer loads of left over shipments for all over) he has been heard to say: “What am I bid for this? 10 dollars……..5 dollars……..2 dollars……..come on now, that’s cheaper than broom straw”. Auction hunters have nothing to worry about!!!!
During the three weeks in the AZ desert we were able to go to Yuma a few times (twice to visit with friends from the B&B) for groceries and cheap gas. We made it to the Crossroads Café in Parker for our favourite dish……chicken fried steak…….YUMMM!
Went to Lake Havasu City to see the hot air balloon festival but it was too windy and there were no hot air balloons to be seen…..bummer. Found a VERY eclectic bar in the foothills, and an exceptional road side diner in a tiny town east of Quartzsite where their prime rib was the special of the night and wonderful……..even if it was too filling (the 8 oz. Classic portion looked like about 16 oz.!!). We had campfires and great times, but isn’t that what vacations were meant to be??? Of course Bruce came down with a cold just before we left and has given it to Ed then Ross picked it up…..health issues…….again!!!
We have moved onto Fountain of Youth Mineral Springs and RV resort, just north of Niland, CA. We have been here before and wanted to come back……possibly the only place we have re-visited with the exception of Quartzsite. This RV park is terraced up an incline and looks out over the Salton Sea and the mountains beyond. The hot tubs (there are 4 of them are at differing temperatures) and the 2 pools are wonderful. They have every imaginable game/sport that a retired person would want – pool, shuffleboard, bocce ball, horseshoes, tennis, water aerobics, Flintstone desert golf (yes, there is a semi golf course scratched out in the desert next to the RV park…..but don’t use your good clubs or they won’t be ‘good’ afterward!!) and everybody races around the place in golf carts!!! Mind you, Ross (being the night owl that he is) is usually just going to bed when everyone else is getting up………..early to bed, early (WAYYY too early) to rise. Ed has been enjoying the hot tubs while Ross is still not feeling well enough to soak, but maybe within the next few days!!!
So there you have it…………a blog covering what we have been doing from late October, to mid-January……and all in 2 ½ pages!!!!!