Saturday, November 22, 2014

WRANGLER JIM FIXES A SECONDARY PROBLEM WITH OUR RIG TODAY

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KELLY STANDS OVERLOOKING THE VAST MILITARY RANGE WHICH INCLUDES THE CHOCOLATE MOUNTAINS ALONG THE HORIZON

Oh how nice it was waking up feeling well again this morning.  That food poisoning thing is a nasty bit of business.  Fortunately it was of short duration but it sure messed me up for a 24 hour period.  Knew I was fine when I was able to resume my usual peanut butter & honey sandwich breakfast this morning.  I guess one has to get sick every once & awhile just to remind one’s self how great life feels not to be sick.

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THE FOLLOWING PHOTOS WERE TAKEN THIS MORNING FROM THE HIGH VANTAGE POINT WHERE THAT CROSS STANDS…BETWEEN US & THAT CROSS FLOWS A WATER CANAL & ON THE FAR SIDE OF THAT CROSS IS THE MILITARY BOMBING & GUNNERY RANGE

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THIS CANAL CARRIES WATER FROM THE COLORADO RIVER NEAR YUMA ALL THE WAY NORTHWEST TO PALM SPRINGS CALIFORNIA…PHOTOS ARE LOOKING SOUTHEAST & SLAB CITY IS TO THE RIGHT IN THE PHOTOS

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THIS IS ALL AMERICAN MILITARY LAND & IS MUCH THE SAME AS IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN SO WE SUSPECT THIS IS WHERE MUCH OF THE MILITARY TRAINING IS GOING ON  

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THESE ARE 2 MILITARY BASES TAKEN WITH MY 300mm LENS…WE ALSO KNOW THE AREA WHERE THE NAVY SEALS TRAINING BASE IS & MAY TAKE A DRIVE OUT INTO THE DESERT TO SEE IF WE CAN FIND IT

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SPOTTED THIS APACHE HELICOPTER OVER ONE OF THE ARMY BASIS

The day dawned cloudy Friday morning with a 20% chance of rain & we did get that 20%.  Nice to hear rain pitter pattering on the roof.  Only lasted 10 minutes just long enough to freshen up the desert a bit but not enough to turn the deserts gray dusty looking shrubbery to a vibrant healthy green.  Much drier here in this area than our Saguaro filled Sonoran desert back in Congress.

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STANDING AT THE FOOT OF THE WHITE CROSS KELLY LOOKS TO THE WEST ACROSS SLAB CITY

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OUR RIG CAN BE SEEN ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BOTH THESE PHOTOS

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LOOKING NORTHWEST ACROSS THE SLABS I FIGURE THAT CENTER MOUNTAIN PEAK ON THE HORIZON IS THE SAME PEAK BEHIND THE CLARK DRY LAKE BED WE CAN SEE FROM THERE WHICH SOMETIMES HAS SNOW ON IT…MIGHT BE TULE PEAK

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CROSS IN THE TOP OF PHOTO IS ATOP LEONARD KNIGHT’S SALVATION MOUNTAIN

Kelly’s little clip-on FITBIT device says we walked over 4,000 steps on our morning walk which equates to about 2 miles.  We are located right next to the water canal which in turn borders on military land so we have lots of room to walk without meeting other walkers or having to walk in any of the Slabs neighborhoods.  If we think we have a lot of barking dogs in our Congress neighborhood we sure don’t have anything over the slabs.  I think there are more dogs here than Slabbers.  We did hear there is a dog problem.  No kidding………DSC_0014 - Copy

OUR FIRST YEAR AT THE SLABS WE LIKED THE THE LIBRARY THEY HAD HERE BUT HAD HEARD RUMORS IT HAD BEEN WRECKED & THE ROOF BLOWN OFF…NOT SO

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DESPITE NOBODY LOOKING AFTER IT ANYMORE THE LIBRARY IS STILL HOLDING IT’S OWN

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WE THINK THE LADY WHO FIRST STARTED & LOVINGLY CARED FOR THIS LIBRARY LIVED IN THIS OLD BUS…WE ALSO THINK HER ASHES ARE INTERRED BY THE ENTRANCE

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KELLY RUMMAGES THROUGH A FEW OF THE MANY BOOKS BUT WITH THE ROOF IN A BAD STATE OF DISREPAIR IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL THE MONSOON RAINS & DESERT WINDS DESTROY IT ALL…ANY FREE SPIRITED NOMADS OUT THERE LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO LIVE & PURPOSE CAN MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE SLABS, PARK THEIR RIG BESIDE THE LIBRARY & BECOME IT’S CARETAKER.  THE LIBRARY NEEDS YOUR TLC:))

We have another coach problem I hadn’t mentioned earlier.  Doing a lights check before leaving Congress last Monday morning I noticed we had no turn signals or four way flashers.  Decision was do we try to get this fixed before heading out or do we go with no turn signals.  Knowing the non heavy traffic route we would be taking to the Slabs I decided to go with no turn signals.  Not knowing if the problem was related to our inverter woes, a worn out part in the signal assembly or possibly a pack rat chewing a wire somewhere I knew it was nothing we had the expertise to fix.  Enter Wrangler Jim from Alberta Canada.

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YES THE SLABS DEFINITELY HAS IT’S CHARACTERS

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LOTS OF SOLAR POWER EVERYWHERE

Friday while I was sick Kelly had driven over to Solar Mike’s to get the UPS tracking number for our inverter.  On the way back she drove around a bit looking for maybe a shadier spot for us.  Stopped up in the Canadian section to have a look at a place beside some larger ?? trees.  Got talking to a fellow Canadian Snow Bird fellow living in a renovated bus there.  Turns out Wrangler Jim is a full blown mechanic who once operated a 4 bay garage in Strathmore Alberta.  He still lives in a Strathmore RV Park during the summer.  He sold his house, garage, & whatever else & hit the road back in 2007 in his now 45 year old bus.  Been coming to the Slabs since 1995.  Said he’d come over & have a look at our turn signal problem & this morning he did just that. 

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GOOD THING WRANGLER JIM IS SLIM ENOUGH TO FIT UNDER THAT DASH

As anyone knows electrical problems in vehicles can be a nightmare unto themselves but throw a another few hundred feet of wiring into the mix & the problem can quickly become one’s very much most worst nightmare of ever.  Wrangler Jim brought his testing device & quickly ruled out a fuse problem anywhere.  He next suspected a turn signal relay switch but here’s where the problem came in.  Where was the relay switch.  Normally located under the dash in the vicinity of the steering column it turned out to be quite a chore for Jim in locating it in the mass & maze of spaghetti tangled wires.  Nothing resembling a relay switch was visible anywhere.  Then we caught a break.  Jim had crawled back out from under the dash contemplating his next move when out of curiosity I reached over & depressed the 4 way flasher hazard switch & it started clicking.  No lights but we had clicking & that was all Jim needed to crawl back under the dash & track down where that relay switch sound was coming from.  Took him awhile to get his hands through the maze of wiring but at last he was able to locate it & pull it out.  He had brought a new relay switch with him just in case & sure enough when he plugged that new relay switch in we again had our 4 flashers back plus our turn signals were working again.  He had just picked that switch up in Canada before heading down to the Slabs this year.  Tomorrow we will probably head on down to Walmart in Brawley & pick him up another relay switch at the Auto Zone.  Yes they’re open Sundays.  Talk about a lucky break in finding a full fledged mechanic parked nearby.

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OUR FAULTY TURN SIGNAL SWITCH & WRANGLER JIM’S CAMP JUST A BIT SOUTH OF US

Took ourselves for a little drive around the Slabs this afternoon.  I won’t attempt to explain the Slabs but if you go to the search gadget at the very top of our right hand column & type in Slab City it will bring up my posts from previous times here.  I have thoughts there & plenty of photos.  Seems I always have plenty of photos doesn’t it.

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NOT ALL OF SLAB CITY LOOKS LIKE THIS BUT UNFORTUNATELY ENOUGH OF IT DOES TO GIVE IT A BAD REPUTATION…THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE HERE BUT UNFORTUNATELY AGAIN THERE ARE THE OTHER KIND TOO………………..

GROANER’S CORNER:(( Manning the computer help desk for the local school district was my first job. And though I was just an intern, I took the job very seriously. But not every caller took me seriously.  "Can I talk to a real person?" a caller asked.  "I am real," I said.
"Oh, I'm sorry," the caller said. "That was rude of me. What I meant to say was, could I talk to someone who actually knows something?"

---

The preacher was having a heart-to-heart talk with a backslider of his flock, whose drinking of moonshine invariably led to quarreling with his neighbors, and occasional shotgun blasts at some of them.  "Can't you see, Ben," intoned the parson, "that not one good thing comes out of this drinking?"  "Well, I sort of disagree there," replied the backslider. "It makes me miss the folks I’m shootin at."

Friday, November 21, 2014

AL’S TURN TO HAVE A ROUGH NIGHT

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A RELAXING NIGHT AT OUR HOUSE

About an hour after eating supper Thursday night I began feeling sick to my stomach.  It continued to get worse as the night wore on.  Kelly had saved the Fajita from Del-Taco she didn’t eat Wednesday & that is what I had for supper.  I’m guessing something in that Fajita was the culprit.  By 9:30 I was outside throwing up in the desert.  No way I could sleep so tossed & turned aimlessly feeling very sick.  At 2:30 in the morning I was outside again & threw up everything but the kitchen sink.  Sickest I have been for many years.  Not much sleep all night & I never got out of my bed until 10 this morning.  Longest I’ve stayed in bed since I was a teen ager I think.  My whole body ached including my skin.  I was back in bed by 11 & just kind of laid around for the rest of the day.  At the time of writing this tonight I am finally feeling a bit better & I think with a good night’s sleep I’ll be back in the game again sometime Saturday.

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PHEEBS RACES TO GREET KELLY >>>

Looks like we are gonna be here awhile.  Our inverter is on a UPS truck somewhere & has not arrived at it’s destination at TEMECULA VALLEY RV in Murietta California yet.  Geeeezzzz, it’s only 300 miles from here.  Kelly’s been in touch with Temecula RV & they said they probably will not get it until Monday now as UPS doesn’t drop off on Saturdays.   And they said they are already backed up.  In hindsight we could have just driven the inverter over there ourselves.  But it is what it is now.

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AT HER COMPUTER STATION TALKING TO TEMECULA RV THIS AFTERNOON

Kelly noticed on Facebook another 8 years + Fulltiming RV couple has just made the same decision as Jo & Fred Wishnie made.  And like Jo & Fred they made the decision rather quickly.  Popular RV couple Ellie & Jim Meachum who we have also met have just bought a place in North Ranch which is just a few miles south of Congress Az.  And like the Wishnies they are pretty excited about moving into their new digs.  I well remember our excitement a couple years ago when we bought our place in Congress.

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SUNSET AT THE SLABS (no that’s not our rig)

GROANER’S CORNER:(( This guy dies and finds himself in a small room. It looks kind of like a living room from the Andy Griffith show, and has a couch and TV set in it. There's another fellow sitting on the couch watching TV. The newly dead guy looks around and asks, "so... is this heaven or hell?"  The other guy looks up and says, "Well, there's no windows or doors, and no apparent way out."  "Oh," says the first guy. "So it's hell."  "Well," says the other guy, without looking up from the screen, "but they did give us this nice big TV set."  "I see. So maybe it's heaven."  "Yeah, but the TV has only one channel."  "Oh, so maybe it's hell?"  "Well, but the TV station it gets is pretty good -- it's PBS."  "Oh, so maybe it is heaven after all?"  "Yeah, except for just one thing..." the other fellow says, sadly.  "It's ALWAYS pledge week."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

IT’S THURSDAY I GUESS

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Lots of excitement over at Jo & Fred’s place.  After over 8 years full timing the Wishnie’s finally decided it was time to come in off the road.  JO'S POST talks about the thoughts & feelings behind that decision, the direction they are moving & steps they have already taken.  FRED'S POST also talks about some of the reasons for their decisions & looks back on their years of constantly being on the move.  I won’t spoil their surprise by telling you what they have done but I sure can relate to their excitement & totally agree & understand their thinking.  Good for you guys & I we really, really like your new…………:))

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We did the square root of nothing today so there is not even a root of an idea in my square tonight.

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GROANER’S CORNER:(( Faced with hard times, the company offered a bonus of one thousand dollars to any employee who could come up with a way of saving money.  The bonus went to a young woman in accounting who suggested limiting future bonuses to ten dollars.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A DAY TRIP UP THE EAST SIDE OF THE SALTON SEA TO MECCA & BACK

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LOOKING NORTHWEST ACROSS THE SALTON SEA

Ok so what things did I goof up last night.  Well I left our Sirius Satellite radio on & forgot to turn the outside light off when I came in after being outside with Pheebs.  Noticed it did put a drain on our batteries.  Now let me see, what do ya suppose I can screw up tonight……….

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SUNRISE AT OUR HOUSE THIS MORNING

Lots of room for morning walks here at the Slabs & where we are camped at the outer eastern edge beside the irrigation canal we can head right off out into the desert without having to go by hardly any other RV’s or Slabbers.  Bonus.  We did walk through the artsy EAST JESUS section again though.  Had walked through that area a couple years ago & there are definitely more pieces now.  I will post more photos from there over the next few days.

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BOTTLE WALL

Cold nights but the mornings warm up fast so we figured we had better crank up the Jeep & head off early for a little road trip up along the eastern side of the Sultan Sea before it gets too hot.  It’s an area we had not seen in daylight.  A year ago coming to Solar Mikes with the Winnie Wagon we came down this stretch of highway 111 from Mecca to Niland/Slab City at night.  I remember how beautiful the lights of Salton City were shimmering across the waters of the Salton Sea.  It’s one of those memories that will stick with me.

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It’s only maybe 3 miles from Slab City heading west into Niland.  Turned right onto highway 111 & headed north.  Nice to finally see this stretch of road in the daylight.  Had no destination but we did end up going all the way up to Mecca. Turns out BOMBAY BEACH was our first stop.  Well we never really stopped we just slowly drove through the place.  As with so many of the places surrounding the Salton Sea Bombay Beach was waaaaay passed it’s prime.  People still living here & some of the small homes & trailers were fixed up nice but overall it’s a very sad state of affairs with all it’s tumble down houses long ago abandoned & left in a state of dis-repair.  We have seen this on the west side of the Salton Sea as well in Salton City.  This whole area was once a very popular spot for movie stars & celebrities of all kinds.  Big Band orchestras played here for the rich & famous at one time but rather than me tell you about the Salton Sea’s sad history & how it fell on hard times you can just look all that up on Google.  I’ll just say that it gives me a feeling of sadness knowing what this whole area once was & what it is now.

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About 10 miles south of Mecca we stopped at several camp grounds bordering the Salton Sea.  Got out & took ourselves for a walk at the Salt Creek Campground.  Big parking areas & lots of room for big rigs.  Water taps, pit toilets, & picnic tables as well as showers at the southern most end.  Ten dollars a night & it’s a self serve pay system.  This is the spot I took all of tonight’s bird photos.  We were pretty well the only 2 people there & that made it extra nice.  The blue placid waters of the Salton Sea backgrounded by the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa & Vallecito Mountains shimmered in the late morning sun.  Pelicans & other water birds dotted the shoreline.  A much welcomed serene feeling after these past few stressful days with the inverter problems etc.

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A NICE DAY TO BE AT AN INLAND SEA

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We were both feeling the need for some lunch so headed on up to a familiar place at the northern end of the Salton Sea.   We have traveled through Mecca on our way to & from Borrego Springs & Slab City before so we knew where to find some eats near the intersections of highway 111 & 86S.  Gas station, Truck Travel Center Subway, Starbucks, Del-Taco & a couple other eateries all in a small plaza complex.  We have gassed up & grabbed a Starbuck’s here several times over the past few years.  Today we decided on Del-Taco for a Chicken Fajita & a Chicken Burrito.  I had the Burrito.  The Del-Taco building was undergoing a face lift so we watched that while eating our munchies.  Kelly slipped into Starbucks for a take-out ‘light blond’ coffee for me & one of those milkshake coffee’s for herself.  Topped up the Jeep’s gas tank & headed off back down highway 111 for Slab City.

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ONE FELLA SPRAY PAINTING & 2 FELLAS INSTALLING THE DEL-TACO SIGN

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KELLY’S FAJITA WAS GOOD BUT SHE JUST DIDN’T FEEL WELL ENOUGH TO EACH MUCH OF IT

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On the way we spotted what looked like a settlement of sorts a couple of miles off the road to the east over towards the Orocopia Mountains.  Big sign said Fountain Of Youth Spa & RV Resort so we took ourselves for a drive up that way to have us a look.   Nice places of course if you don’t mind living in a tight spaced community.  I know lots of folks like these kinds of places but it’s not the kind of living Kelly & could ever be a part off or get used to.  Maybe 10 feet between residences.  Lots of amenities though & it is a gated community.  Club House, pools, spa, lots of Palm Trees, an outdoor CafĂ©, etc. etc.  A very tight knit community I would think.

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We were back to the Big EEE sometime after 2.  Kelly wasn’t feeling well all day so I think tomorrow we’ll probably stick pretty close to the rig.  She is having difficulty knowing what to eat because of a stomach problem that has been bothering her for quite awhile now.  She still tires very easily so I think we’ll have to tone things down a bit. DSC_1838 DSC_0075 DSC_0063

AT THE SALT CREEK CAMPGROUND ABOUT 10 MILES OR SO SOUTH OF MECCA CALIFORNIA 

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TAKING OFF IN THE DIRECTION OF BORREGO SPRINGS

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Always enjoy the night sky here in the South-West not only for it’s star clarity but also for all the military activity going on overhead.  Have always enjoyed watching the aerial night combat maneuvers of jet pilots in training.  Easy to spot them with their single blinking white lights darting about amongst the stationary stars behind them.  Last night I again saw something strange as I watched two fighter pilots doing a slow circle overhead.  Watched as the second pilot slowly converged on the first pilot.  As his blinking lights came ever closer I watched the second blinking light merge with the first one.  No collision of course but no second blinking light either.  Only one blinking light in the sky now.  Where did the second aircraft go?  Did he switch his blinking light off?  And yes they were jet aircraft because I could hear the unmistakable sounds of their engines.  A few minutes later I saw a faint blinking light ahead of the brighter blinking light.  Again the lights closed on each other resulting in only one blinking light aircraft again.  I watched this all taking place overhead for about 5 minutes before the single blinking light headed off in an easterly direction possibly towards Yuma.  I have seen other things in the night sky here in the southwest but nothing I would call a UFO.  Not yet anyway but I keep watching because I know they are out there……

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Here’s one of the perks of an aging mind.  Reading Ivan’s post this morning I was reminded of Edward Abbey’s book ‘Desert Solitaire’.  I have this book & read it about 5 years ago.  Of course I haven’t a clue what it was about because my memory has of course lost all the information.  Think I might just make it my next Kindle read & enjoy the book all over again.  Well at least I think I enjoyed it.  Must have because I kept the book.

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We saw a border patrol vehicle speed by so fast this morning we figured for sure he must have been chasing Speedy Gonzales across the desert floor.

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OROCOPIA MOUNTAINS

GROANER’S CORNER:(( My High-School English teacher was well known for being a hard but fair grader. One day I received a B minus on a theme paper. In hopes of bettering my grade and in the spirit of the Valentine season, I sent her an extravagant heart-shaped box of chocolates with the pre- printed inscription, "Be Mine." The following day, I received in return a valentine from the teacher. It read: "Thank you, but it's still Be Mine-Us."

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An airline pilot was telling about a particular flight where he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, give a smile, and a "Thanks for flying XYZ airline."  He said that in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for this little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?"  "Why no Ma'am, what is it?"  "Did we land or were we shot down?"