There were no bands or fans to greet me .... but up and into my campsite I went on 2/4 after a relaxing and enjoyable stay with Penny and Howard in January. It was time to leave. Not that I was a burden of course, but I think Penny wanted to change the sheets and maybe that was the secret signal that I should get the hell out.
The weather was absolutely perfect and as I drove into my pre-selected site I kept my fingers crossed that my campsite was still open and no one had found the "secret spot". Rounded the corner and there was my spot .... with someone next to it. Oh well, I introduced myself to a guy named Lonnie who hailed from Alberta, Canada, eh!!! Nice guy and he told me to just go ahead and put my camper in next to him. (In fact, he let me put it right exactly where I would have went anyway.) So I needed to accept the fact that he would be a camping buddy for a bit ..... he said he was leaving in a few days.
Lonnie ended up being a really great guy. He worked construction up in Canada and said he made about 120,000 a year doing that for 8 months of the year. Nice. He came over and offered me a Bud Light so he had to be ok I thought. He was divorced and kind of a Ner Do Well kind of guy it appeared ..... but hey, that sounded a whole lot like me, so .....
I called Howard and told him I was safe and sound. Gotta check in with the folks you know.
Spent the rest of the day getting set up and made myself a little fire. Drank beer and enjoyed the beauty of the Colorado ..... it was an amazing sunset and campfire.
I was surrounded by mountains and the river was majestic. Downstream was a Diversion Dam that is there to divert river water to watering canals for the farming going on in Blythe area. The water was extremely cold and beautifully clear blue as it made its way from the Rockies.
A few days later it was apparent that I should shower, so I got my shower system set up.
Howard had given me a couple boards to stand on and I had a fake grass mat. My camper has hot and cold running water outside so it was time for a "naked outdoor shower". Of course the only problem was the close by Canadian neighbor so I had to wait until he went to town for water. Eventually the time was right. Of course, I didn't want to make him feel inferior and since I was trying to be a good stewart of International Relations ..... I waited till he left then enjoyed my "nakedness". Not sure if I have an exhibition "problem" but I loved being outside in the warm sun naked under the shower. I would grow to love getting my showers this way. In case you're wondering ..... yes, I do have an indoor bath, but hey ..... what would be the fun in that?
The next day I awoke to some activity down by the diversion dam. It appeared the guys were getting set up to move some protective buoys in place on the river in order to keep "dumb asses" from driving their motorboats over the dam. It was fun to watch them go back and forth with cats and dump trucks and whatever. Bottom line ..... nothing got done. They gave up and now two weeks later .... still nothing. I'm cool with that since I think if you are dumb enough to drive over a dam .... you kinda deserve to die I think. Just sayin.
Thursday I was hanging out in the morning sun, when I saw a flash to my right and found my first river "critter". It was a gecko or lizard or whatever the hell it was .... anyway, I got me a photo.
Sounds really strange, but it was kind of nice to have a little friend to see each day and look forward to talking to. Geeeezzz, have I been alone that long????
Got my ass going on getting some exercise finally today. Blythe is about 12 miles one way away from me so I got my bike down and lubed up, then rode into town and back. My ass is sore, but it was good exercise and hey ..... I had a good excuse to take a naked shower again. ..... fun. Since then I have been going that route about every other day.
Howie and I talked today and he was telling me how much he loved his new HD TV. He comment was .... "I can even see the golf ball now". Anyway, he said he wanted a smaller HDTV for his bedroom and asked if I could find one. I found one today and got it ordered and shipped to him. It was a 19 inch HD with 1080p and was refurbished. Total $75 including shipping. I called him and he couldn't believe it. Love the internet. Love helping my buddy Howie.
On Friday I had to go to town for fuel, water, groceries, etc. Found this great Tamale store with take out frozen tamales. Mmmmmm Nice old Mexican lady selling them. They were delicious. I didn't have them right away but rather had my first steak on the grill tonight.
The next day I had one of the meatloafs that Penny made for me. She makes these unbelievable meatloafs with green olives in them. She made me 5 pans of it and froze them for me. It was fabulous ..... I did have one issue ..... after I baked it, I dropped my hot pad into the grease and it was covered in grease so I threw it out. I felt bad for wasting it, but then remembered that it was a hot pad from back in my married life and it actually then felt pretty good getting rid of it. Bought some new ones at the local Albertson's .... now they are mine from my current life.
It is now the first Saturday and I am doing basic household chores like keeping generators full of fuel and making sure I have water, etc. Got a call from Val today and she said she is coming to visit on Monday. Excited about that, but of course now I got some cleaning to do. The is a picture of Valerie and her friend Kim. Val is on the right hamming it up for the camera. They were out for a girl's night and partied down I think.
I had dinner on Sunday night in town at the "authentic" Mexican place. You always wonder what authentic means, but let me tell you ... this was indeed authentic. The food was fabulous and it was just full of local Hispanics. I could not read the menu so asked the waitress (she had a hard time with English) if she could help me out. I pointed over to a gent who had this very large bowl of what appeared to be soup. She told me that was Menudo. I of course asked ...I had no idea what Menudo was. She pointed to her stomach and said "cow belly". Ohhhhhh KKKK It was cow intestines. Passsssss. She said it was a special and they only served it on Sunday. I had Chimi's and they were unbelievable. Eventually I came back and took Valerie to this restaurant .... she loved it too.
Also talked to Don Fluegge today. He told me that his nephew Mike (we all hunt together so I know Mike well) was diagnosed with a tumor near his brain. Of course he is very concerned as he should be. We talked. It brought back ugly memories for me.
Changed the sheets (so Val didn't have to sleep in man germs) and even washed the windows in the camper ...... what a great guy, eh?
Speaking of eh? My Canadian partner was gone now. Moved on toward Palm Springs I think. All by myself with no one even within 3/4 of a mile now. Peace, quiet, beauty.
Valerie and her little bud, Sammy, arrived today. Sammy needs a haircut.
I had been on the internet and researching what was near or around the Blythe area and discovered that it is actually most famous for some ancient indian monuments called "Intaglio's". They are best described as a drawing made by moving rocks in the desert so that from up high in the air you would see pictures. There are other Intaglios around the country but in Blythe they have the only ones known to man that display a person. One is a man and the other is of a mountain lion. I found where they were ..... and lo and behold they were only about 4 miles from my campsite. I had to see them and asked Valerie if she would like to see them. She "seemed" interested. We packed up and drove the truck up and did indeed find the site. Obviously I can't get a pic of the intaglio from in the air, but I did take a pic of the monument placque that was there to describe the formations. You could google earth it and see them from the sky if you wish. It was a nice walk and really kind of interesting. The whole time though I was thinking about Don Fluegge and how much he would love to 4 wheel (they call them quads down here) the area rather than look at these silly drawings. Gave me an idea ..... since he is coming down March 7th, I need to research renting quads for an adventure in the desert. Don would love that. Here is the not really good pic I have of the Intaglios.
Back to the camper and Val made this unbelievable grilled cheese sandwich for us. She is a great cook and nice to look at too. She used provolone and showed me what to do. It was so nice. And it was nice that she left me with extra tomato soup, cheese, grapes, and so much more. Thanks sweetheart.
We had dinner in town at the Mexican restaurant then enjoyed the beautiful sunset with a nice fire in the firepit. Sammy loved it here .... FREEDOM !!! to roam. The stars were beautiful.
The next day we went for a walk down by this old bridge. It was there I discovered the depth of Val's fear of heights. She told me about in her youth her girlfriend had horses and she loved them but couldn't get on, because it was too high. ????? She would not even get within 10 feet of the torn out bridge because it was 8 feet or so over the river. I teased her about that and then she must have decided to get back at me cuz she then told me about her experience with getting attacked by "fire ants". Oh great .... now I get to worry about that. They sound nasty.
Hated to see her go home.
Next day had steak and shrimp on the "barbie" .... talked to Don about the unbelievable snow and cold back in Minnesota. Did some stained glass work today and watched the new "Survivor" on TV.
Talked to Howie the next day and he told me that him, Al, DeeAnn and Penny are going out to Tortilla Flats today then cocktails on the way back. Sounds like a great trip. He told me that Al got his wall oven installed for him. Nice. We made more plans for when Steve/Linda and him and Penny arrive on Sunday for a rib dinner and their overnight.
On Saturday I did some paperwork, chores, etc. Howard is going to try to get me some wood for the firepit. Funny thing, but wood is really, really hard to get here. In the stores it is $8 for a small bundle. I heard from one guy that you can buy a cord for around $800. Makes sense I guess as I look around ..... no friggin trees.
Got a funny story for you. Late on Saturday I am laying on the couch and reading when out of the corner of my eye, I see this flash. I looked just in time to see a mouse running across my carpet from the kitchen sink to behind the table. At first it kind of shocked me, then I came to realize that I was in the dam desert and certainly there must be mice her, right? Being the ever prepared boy scout that I am .... I dug out two mouse traps I had brought and got them set up. Went back to my book, when about 30 minutes later ..... POW ..... one went off. I got up and looked and sure enough .... got em. Didn't want to touch the mouse so I picked up the trap with the mouse attached and set it outside near the firepit. Felt good ..... probably a better mouse hunter than deer hunter if you consider my recent hunting success.
The next morning? ....... the mouse and the trap were "GONE". WTH is with that. I am assuming coyotes? Valerie said that maybe it was a giant snake. She knows I am afraid of snakes so it was a cruel thing to say ...... think she did it on purpose to get back at me for the fear of height jokes I made of her. It was a mystery this disappearing mouse and mousetrap. Never did find it. No more mice though.
Sunday I went into town to do laundry. I like my sheets and clothes to smell good so I started using some Downy softener. Mentioned this to Valerie who asked me how I put in the softener. I told her that I put in some with the detergent. Of course, I was doing it wrong. She told me about the amazing device called a "downy ball" Never heard of it. Did my first load with my "downy ball" (just saying that sounds weird) and it really worked great. Called her and told her of my success. The clothes smelled great.
Went to a thrift store in town to and got a bunch of books to read for like 50 cents apiece. Good stuff.
Howard/Penny/Steve and Linda arrived and we had a great rib dinner that Steve and Linda had cooked up for us.
After dinner, Steve and Linda left so Howard/Penny and I had a nice fire by the pit.
We had a nice evening of conversation. I decided to put a few of the rib bones on a rock over to our side just to see what would happen by the next morning. I'm still thinking about those coyotes, etc. We hardly got to dusk when I looked over and all the bones (not some) were totally gone .... disappeared. We had not seen anything moving over there so it was another critter mystery.
The next morning we travelled up to Las Vegas and met some old friends and business colleagues. We met up at the Golden Nugget but stayed the evening at Terrible's Casino nearby. Got to see Ron Bauer, Gary Havir, Scott Wright, Mark Anderson, Jim Lovat, Jim Perry and wife Sandy and another guy from SD named Hoffman that I didn't know well. Al Anderson was there with his wife DeeAnn. We learned about how Gary Havir has been "hooked" by an rich asian woman and is days away from marriage it appears. Lovat and I got to talk about my experience in management and how I was frustrated when no one did anything as well as I would have.
Howard and I played forever at the tables and came out about even. We forgot to eat supper and after 30 cocktails we were more than ready for bedtime. Really, really enjoyable time with good friends.
Next day we travelled down with Al and DeeAnn to Laughlin and stayed at the Tropicana. We had happy hour at the Gourmet Room at the Riverside ..... fabulous! We had better luck at the tables too.
Pay no attention .... it only "appears" that we are always drinking. Not true.
Howard and I made a visit over to our favorite Chinese place and had a nice Hot n Sour soup. Oh man. We played enough at the Riverside that the pit boss said she was putting us down for a free round trip airfare from Mpls. and free nights stay at Riverside to get us back. Didn't think I lost that much, but ???? Our friend Al had a horseshoe stuck up his ass .... he "found" $55 in a cash machine, hit every blackjack and even sat down at a machine playing Keno and hit on that too. Sickening. He had fun.
The next day it was back to my camp .... peace and quiet is good at times too. Need to recover some brain cells for a few days. Caught up on mail and email and other stuff.
Oh, and since I ate leftover ribs for dinner, I thought I would try to solve the mystery of the disappearing rib bones. I did !!!!
I left a nice pile of them out on the same rock, then got my camera ready and sat inside the trailer waiting for movement. The trap was set.
I look a few minutes later and it appeared to me that a few might be missing. I decided I better keep an eye on this. All of a sudden I see one of the bones flying off the rock and down and into the bush nearby. My eyes aren't what they once were so I got my good glasses and looked again. The culprit was actually culprits. Down came a gecko like lizard and grabbed one and scooted back into the bush. Not to be outdone, a mouse ran up the rock and grabbed another and away he went into the same bush. In a couple minutes they had the rock all cleaned up of rib bones. Sooooo .... no giant snake, no coyotes. Mouse and lizard.
Love and miss you all .... keep warm.