A Date (farm, that is)

We do try to have a “play day” with our friends Dave and Marilyn, that live in Yuma, and see various sites in the area.  Dave was trying to find something new to show us, but we got off track and ended up at the Imperial Date Gardens, in Bard, California.  Little did he know this was actually a place that I wanted to see.  I love dates, Dan, not so much.

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The place does offer tours, but since we just happened upon the place, it was not on a tour day.  No one was at the place, but one of the workers took the time to come outside and talk about the date palm trees.  In a very short time, I learned more about dates and palm trees than I thought possible!  It was very interesting, and growing/harvesting dates is a very labor intensive process.  Imperial Date Gardens specializes in the Medjool Date, because, as the manager honestly pointed out, it has the highest profit margin!  They also taste great.  To buy them right at the plant, was very cheap.  I was able to get a pound of extra fancy medjool dates for $5.75.  I should have bought more, as they are double and triple that price in the local stores.

The “male” date palm trees and the “female” date palm trees are carefully populated (I think that was the term he used), and they create little offshoots.

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the “male” trees

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the “female” trees

The male trees and female trees are kept in different areas.  If you stare at the two pictures long enough, you will see the difference between the sex of the tree.  Once a month, they flood the fields to provide water for the tree.  The harvest starts in August, and can go as late as October.

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the “baby offshoots”

 

Because Yuma has over 300 days of sunshine a year, it is a major agricultural area.  Acres upon acres of produce is grown here, and sold throughout the United States.  It is interesting driving around the Yuma area to see the lush green fields surrounded by desert brown roads.  If you check the origin of your winter produce, much of it will come from this area.

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Dave has noticed this white buildings all over the country.  We spotted one in the Yuma area.  We have no idea what it is, other than a government facility of some sort.   We tried to get closer, but there was enough Warning: No Trespassing signs to keep us away.  It is surrounded by acres of romaine lettuce fields.  If you know what this if, let me know.

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Sometimes it’s okay to just wander and get lost.  You never know what you will find.

Quote for the day:  “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” – Lawrence Block

Working and visitors

For the first five years of our full-time RV life, we only worked from mid-May to the end of December.  We spent January thru March just hanging out in Florida, but I would get bored by March.  I need to have something structured to do with my time.  This is the first year we will be working all the way thru mid-April, at Westwind RV and Golf Resort.   (yes I know, “poor us” having to stay in one place for six full months!)

Our current job is a good test to see how this longer winter job will work out for us, from both a financial standpoint, and on my “boredom” meter.  We probably won’t decide until the end of March what we will do next winter.  We really want to give this a good try, and see how everything goes.  Ideally, it would be nice to find shorter term jobs, and be able to travel more.

Work in the office/registration has definitely picked up.  January was very busy, and February has been crazy as well, as this is the peak of the snow bird season.  March is when we start taking reservations for next season, so we don’t anticipate much of a slowdown at work until early April.  Dan has been busy on the golf course, and enjoys cutting the fairways, and rolling the greens.

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But once again we have been faced with the sad reality of life.  Monday we noticed an ambulance down the street from us, in front of the motorhome of the work camper that works opposite days of Dan on the golf course.  His wife had a heart attack, and passed away.  We spent some time with him yesterday, and he told us they should have started RVing earlier in life.  We hear that all the time.  Don’t wait on your dreams, whatever they are.

We did have some visitors this past month, which we always enjoy (our door is always open!)  As Makena posted in her blog, Dan’s parents were able to visit for a couple of weeks.  They were able to golf a few rounds on the par 3 course here in the park that Dan works on, as well as participate in many other activities that go on every day in the park.  They had a great time, and we were happy that they were able to make it out to Yuma for a visit.

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Our friends Joan and Steve stopped in as well.  They volunteer at the Lake Mead Recreation Area in Nevada.  Due to the government shutdown, they were not able to work, so they drove down for a visit.  We learned some new card games, and talked about future work camping and volunteer jobs. We also got together with Henry and Terry, that work in the pro shop here.  All six of us worked together at Crazy Horse Memorial, so it was nice reminiscing about that summer.

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Joan, Jonell, Dan, Terry, Henry and Steve

Friends from Wisconsin, Dean and Jeannie texted us that they were passing through Arizona on their way to California for a volunteer work camping job, so we had a quick breakfast visit.   They spend the winters traveling in their Airstream, and summers back in Wisconsin.  It’s probably been five years since we have seen them, and it was great catching up with their adventures.img_2333

While Dan’s parents were visiting, Dan’s cousin Dave and his wife, Dee, stopped by as well.  They are over-the-road truck drivers, and were in Yuma to pick up a load.  It was a quick hello, as they had three days to get to Georgia.

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The big Quartzsite RV show took place at the end of January, and we drove up to check it out.  It was basically a giant flea market, but we did meet up with Terry and Wendy for lunch.  And as you can see, it was cold out in the desert!

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Our park has a concert series where they bring in tribute bands, and we have attended several of the concerts.  Some good, some okay.  Dan’s parents were able to see ‘December of 63,’ a tribute to Franki Vali.  It was an excellent show, and Dan’s mom was able to meet the band!

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And then there was the very energetic ABBA tribute band…

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Quote for the Day:  “It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius

The dog blog is back for another year!

Hello everyone!  Your favorite dog blogger is back!  And Happy (belated) New Year!!  My parents need to leave the computer open and the wifi on while they are busy at work, so I can keep my peeps updated more often!  For those new to the blog, I’m a little Jack Russell Terrier that likes to take over the blog once in a while, and post about my life on the road.

 

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Keeping my peeps informed!

Normally my parents do their work camping thing (which pays for my toys and treats) from mid-May to the end of December.  I’m not sure that I like this idea of them working all the way through mid-April this year.  Usually I get to spend the first four months of the year being the center of attention.  Now they are off working 3 days a week, and I’m home alone listening to the radio.  I guess it’s better than being back in Wisconsin, where it’s 22 below, and that’s just the air temperature! My mom’s sister Margie sent her this picture this morning.  That is just wrong!  I feel bad for my cousins, Rudy and Reagan.  They are German Shorthair Pointers, so they have even less hair than I do!  I would need to use a litter box, because there’s no way I’m going outdoors to pee in that temperature!

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I did get to go with my parents to San Diego (thanks Gary and Julia for booking a dog-friendly house so I could come along!).  I’ve visited the Atlantic Ocean several times in Florida, and was excited to get my paws wet in the Pacific Ocean!  I’m officially a coast-to-coast traveler now!

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My mom and I sat down for our regular photo with my cousin Simon.  That tiny baby has grown into a handsome young boy.

Simon has also grown into the perfect height for getting snacks!  I’ve taught him well.

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I was super excited when my grandparents came to visit me here in Yuma!  They have been very busy with golfing, line dancing, playing cards and participating in many other activities in the park.  When they came over, gramps was a little pooped out, and grandma was more interested in her iPad.  I feel left out….

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sigh…

Longtime readers may recall that grandpa and I share the same birthday, March 20.  They will not be here in March, so we decided to have an early birthday celebration, with gramps turning 82, and I will be 12!  The cake was delicious!

 

Looking at the photo with 2 candles, has caused me to reflect on the 10 years that have passed since the last time I had 2 candles on a cake.

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just a pup at age 2

I now have some gray behind the ears, but I think I still look great for my age!  Back then, we were living in a house, and I enjoyed playing with the neighbor kids, Adam, Faith, Josh and Ben.  They would play football with me, which I enjoyed.  But I really enjoy living in a fifth wheel.  The smaller space suits me better, and I get to meet people from all over the country, and discover new spots to sniff and pee.   Life is good!

Quote for the day:  “A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” – Robert Benchley

 

 

 

A visit to Los Algodones, Mexico

Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico, about 9 miles west of Yuma, is unofficially known as the dental capital of the world.  Over 350 dentists practice in the small town of 5500 people.  There are also a number of eye doctors, and several pharmacies.  It is a popular tourist destination for both Americans and Canadians, looking for reasonable dental work as well as prescription drugs.  We have many visitors to Westwind RV park where Dan and I are working, that stay for a week while they get dental work done.  Everyone raves about how affordable it is to have root canals, implants, crowns, etc.

Our friends Dave and Marilyn that live in Yuma during the winter, have been to Algodones many times, and took us over the border for a day to check the town out.   You can drive across the border and parking in town for $1-2, or parking in the lot for a $6 fee before the border, and walking across.  The parking lot is owned by the Quechan Tribe, not the United States.  Since Dave and Marilyn have a small vehicle, they drive across and park.  If we were going with our one-ton dually truck, we would park and walk in, as the town is not really a big truck friendly town.

This is the entry into Mexico, with pedestrians on the right.  Algodones is a very small port of entry city.

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The purple pharmacy/liquor stores are huge, and very popular.  We found a great deal on Kahlua, $7.50 for a one-liter bottle!  As for the drugs, you do need to have a prescription, just like you would in the US.  I don’t know much about the rules/regulations on getting prescription drugs across the border, but many people were getting their prescriptions filled.

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The city is filled with dentists and eye doctors.  It’s a one-stop medical shop for many tourists.  Many of them live in Yuma, and commute daily into Mexico.

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We found a great spot for some excellent shrimp tacos, and real Coca-Cola, not the high-fructose corn-syrup stuff sold in the US.  It was delicious!

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There are plenty of street vendors selling everything from t-shirts, tablecloths, jewelry and other knickknacks.  We found the people to be very polite, and everyone spoke English.  This town is very dependent on tourism, and they go out of their way to treat you in a kind, respectful manner.

Apparently the people of Algodones are Packer fans, as Dave found a pack of Green Bay Packer peanut (or should I say cacahuate) M&M’s at the grocery store for us!  Must be why everyone is so nice!

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What’s that in the background?

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This has been in place for over a decade.  Call it whatever you want.

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When leaving Mexico, whether by vehicle or foot, plan on spending a long time waiting.  There is one long line for vehicles, as there are only two vehicle lanes of entry into the US.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), there are plenty of vendors to keep you entertained.  One man was selling homemade tortilla shells.  I bought a bag of them for $1.50.  They were still warm, and they were excellent!

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This is the pedestrian walkway back into the US.

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We had a great time visiting the city, and plan on going back to get our teeth cleaned (and more shrimp tacos!) before we leave Yuma.

Quote for the day:  “I always encourage people to get out there, travel the world, see new things, experience new people, experience new culture.  What happens is that it helps you grow and be your best self.” – Karamo Brown

 

 

 


 

A quick trip to San Diego

Happy New Year!  I made one of my New Year’s Resolutions to blog on a more frequent basis, but I’m not off to a good start!  (I have until December, right?!)

Just before the start of the year, we made a quick trip to San Diego, about 180 miles West of Yuma, to visit with Dan’s brother Gary and his family.  Julia was turning the big 60, so she booked a dog-friendly house just a block from the beach in San Diego, for her birthday/Christmas/New Year’s celebration.  We had a nice time catching up with Gary/Julia and their daughters, Brooke, Jasmine and Carmen (front row, with grandson Simon).  Chris, Gary, Luke, me and Dan in the back row.

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We were very close to the famous San Diego Zoo, and spent the day checking out the animals.  p1030357 (1)

The Meerkats were a lot of fun to watch.

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A male Nubian Ibex

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For the bird-nerds, a White-fronted Bee-eater…

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…and two female Yellow-crowned Bishop (one hanging upside down!)

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The zoo has dozens of African Penguins, which are fun to watch.

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They have one Andean Bear, which is the only bear that lives in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The Shingleback Skink looks like a two-headed lizard

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This Cuban Iguana was playing ‘hard to get’ when the zoo keeper was trying to get it back into its cage.

The Gharial, a crocodile, with a very narrow snout.

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The zoo has an abundance of flamingos.

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The Schmidt’s Red-tailed Monkey, which is also known as the black-cheeked white-nosed monkey.

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The San Diego Zoo has a Giant Panda Bear exhibit, but the line to see them was over an hour wait.  With so much to see, we did not want to spend an hour in line.  There is a bridge that crosses over from one side of the zoo to the other, and if you lean over the bridge, you may be able to spot a panda or two.  This is the best photo I could get, as it was a long distance down from the bridge.

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If you have been reading the blog for a while, you know I have been in search of a porcupine.  There appeared to be two of them sleeping in this cage, but it was hard to see.  I’m going to continue my search to see them in the “wild!”

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Simon enjoyed watching the two hippopotamus that were swimming in a giant pool of murky water.

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My favorite animal of the day was the Koala.  The zoo has several of them, and they are known to spend 20 hours a day sleeping, so it was exciting to see one of them awake.

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We thank Gary and Julia for letting us spend a few days with them.  San Diego looks like a fun city to explore, and we plan on going back sometime in the next few years to check out more of the sites.

Quote for the Day:  “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.  You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” – Neil Gaiman