Wednesday, February 17, 2010




My mercury thermometer told me it was 90 in the shade this afternoon until I realized the little red mercury filled glass tube had come away from the backing of the thermometer.  As soon as I adjusted it we dropped 10 degrees.  I think the sunny side of the rig got up to about 310F!!  Wow, what a climate change from a few days & weeks ago in Arizona.  I’m sitting outside right now, shirtless, & totally enjoying the warmer air & new California mountain vistas in front of me.  With my map & compass I’ve already figured out where RICK is on the other side of the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto mountains.  He left his outside RV light on last night & I could see the faint glow over the mountain.  Said he’d be sure to turn it off tonight & not interfere with my Stargazing!!


The Class A motorhome closest to us moved this morning so I immediately thought it was because of us moving into the desert neighborhood too close to him.  You know how sensitive these boondockers are about their space!!  Turns out he moved a short distance away to where there is a flat & wide dead end road.  He had a small enclosed trailer on behind so figured he was an ATV’er with a machine inside.  Well he had a machine inside alright but it wasn’t an ATV, it was an ultra-light motorized hang glider.  Wasn’t long & he had the big door open & the machine rolled out onto the smooth gravel.  Grabbed my 200mm lens & headed in his direction & stopped about half way to watch.  He warmed up the engine for a few minutes & then shut it off while he carefully laid out a very large multicolored square para type chute behind his burgandy machine which incidentally had a large round propeller on the back.  I was careful not to approach any closer & distract him from his assembly & safety checks.  I know how easy it is to forget something when hooking up the car to the RV or running final checks if someone comes along & starts ying yanging to me.  By the way, when you see someone hooking up or unhooking their rig do not approach them with ‘”Howdy there neighbor!!”  Distractions cause accidents & especially at this age & stage of the game when it’s crucial us older folks totally concentrate on what it is we’re doing.  Wait until your neighbor is sitting down in a relaxed state of frustration before going over & hanging that “Howdy'” thing on him!!

I tried to put a photo album in here about the ultra lite power glider but after waiting for an hour & a half for the blog to publish I finally gave up & took the album out because I sign kept coming up saying there was a problem with the album so either Live Writer failed or Windows 7 failed.  Tomorrow night I will probably go back to the old computer & shove this new computer & Win 7 waaaaaaaay far under the bed!!!!



DSC_6189 DSC_6191 DSC_6193 DSC_6196 DSC_6197 DSC_6199 DSC_6201 DSC_6202 DSC_6215 DSC_6218 DSC_6220 DSC_6223 DSC_6224 DSC_6225


Ok, back to the hang glider guy.  Once he had that chute laid out behind him it didn’t take long for him to rev the engine, start a short take off roll, & become quickly airborne.  Cracked off a bunch of shots as he rose into the early morning air & disappeared off down the valley.  Wow, if only I would have been a whole lot smarter a whole lot earlier in life:((  I did sign up for an ultra light training course in 1993 at the Centralia airport South of Exeter Ontario one time but the course was cancelled & I was credited my $25 registration fee.  And that was the end of that!!

Of course it didn’t take us long on a short dog walk this morning to discover a better RV site just a couple hundred yards away from where we were.  Definitely a better spot but would our Verizon card work.  First order of business was to return to the rig & bring the computer over to the new location.  Should mention here that we are using our Wilson antennae to bring in the 2 bar signal we’re using.  Without that antennae we were only getting one to no bars.  We had tried that antennae a couple other times in different places but with negative results.  Glad we didn’t junk it because without it here we would not be on line.



And so began another move.  Drove the rig over to the new site & began setting things up again.  I hopped up on the roof & worked on deploying the solar panels while Kelly made 3 or 4 trips with the car between the sites bringing over the firewood, tables, mats, etc.  Up until yesterday we have always parked the coach with our side door facing south to catch the warming rays of the sun in the cooler Arizona air.  Either the right or left side of the rig has to face south in order for the roof’s solar panels to take advantage of the arcing sun all day.  Now that we are into California’s warmer climate we have to park with the side door facing north so we have shade to sit in & not roast over on the south side.  Another bonus of this new site today is that we can now see the town of Borrego Springs in the distance & that will be nice to see the lights at night.

DSC_0003 DSC_0005 DSC_0006 DSC_0008 


Once everything was set up it didn’t take Kelly long to hop into the car & head for town about 5 miles to our southwest.  Her first destination was the Thrifty Coyote thrift store she likes plus she wanted to pop into the True Value hardware store which happens to be one of the greatest well stocked hardware stores I’ve ever seen.  Another stop was the  Borrego Desert Nature Center where all the information is regarding things to do in Borrego Springs & Anza Borrego State Park.  It was another reason we came here earlier than planned because we knew the desert programs offered would be gearing up.  I knew there would be Astronomy & Photography classes, guided hikes in the desert, plus Jeep tours so we wanted to get in on all that this year…..& we’ve made a good start.



Kelly was back to the rig about 3 with a pile of information.  Inside half an hour she was on the phone & had us signed up for our first jeep tour.  I am also signed up for 2 separate photo instruction classes regarding desert photography.  One starts at 6 a.m.  zzzzzzzzzz.  Also a ‘Tailgate Tour’ this Sunday at Borrego’s tiny airport.    California’s only State Park pilot Kelly McCague explains her responsibilities & takes folks out to the runway for a close up look of her plane.  There are many more activities going on so we are probably going to be busy people.  I’m also thrilled to see there is a Ghost Mountain hike coming up because I took a great interest in the Marshal South Ghost Mountain Story when we were here the past 2 years.  In our search box at the top of the right hand column just type in Marshal South or Ghost Mountain for the blogs & photos I have done about that.

DSC_6226 DSC_6230 DSC_0017


As I’m typing this outside today there are unseen jet fighter aircraft high in the overhead sky twisting, turning, & diving.  Can’t see them but have been to enough air shows over the years to know the sounds of jet aircraft in tight turns, swooping dives, & afterburner climbs.

OK, time to field some questions……………..Regarding that $165 fine at the Kofa Refuge.  Friday morning a fellow in a tent trailer stopped by our site when he noticed me outside looking through my telescope at the mountain.  He is a part time forest ranger & pro photographer from Oregon down here for some camping.  He thought I might  have spotted some big horn sheep.  Anyway, he had come in the day before, gone past the Kofa Refuge kiosk & set up camp just off the road in the desert.  There are signs through there with a picture of a jeep with a slash through it.  Being a forest ranger he took that to mean no ‘off roading.’   What it really meant was No Motorized Vehicles.  A lady Kofa ranger came by, was very upset with him & stuck him with a $165.00 fine for camping in a no vehicle area.  Needless to say he was ‘not a happy camper!!’  Saturday we saw a Class C heading into the park & Sunday morning while out on our drive we saw that Class C parked right directly behind one of those No Vehicle signs.  Nobody around the Class C & we figure they were out for a desert walk.  Felt the right thing to do was leave a note in their door to warn them they could be in for a fine.  Yes, this is BLM land but they have signs up to prevent jeeps, ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc from ripping up certain areas of the desert.   I understand that but the signs are definitely confusing!!  Some signs are just a vehicle picture with a slash & some are a vehicle with a slash & the words, ‘No Vehicles.’


And in the photos of our group outing I think I remember naming all the folks in the first photo.  I remembering picking that picture so I could specifically do that & that’s why I didn’t keep repeating names with all the remaining pics.

And regarding snakes, scorpions, the desert, & our dogs.  During the cooler winter months the snakes & scorpions are in a dormant state underground so are not a threat to our dogs.  But, it is starting to warm up now & those critters may start to stir before too long so for sure we are going to have to be extra vigilant now.


Seems I am still forgetting some other questions but if you send them in again I will get on top of them right away.  I am slowly accepting the fact that if I don’t get on something immediately, chances are I am going to forget it:(( 



And I am also typing this with Live Writer for the first time on our new Toshiba laptop with Windows 7.  Had brought our older Toshiba out earlier but had trouble with reflections.  Noticed a big improvement with the new Toshiba so maybe they have improved the screen technology.  Also plan to use the new computer from this point forward for all blogs & photos as well so I’m officially off & running with Windows 7:))




The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. Al, you are becoming one sociable guy with all the group activities you're going in for.

    You seem to be in a beautiful spot, but it's probably going to get hot.

  2. Al, I fired up my new Toshiba yesterday afternoon while we headed south - needed to send an email. Usually the reflection on the screen under those conditions is almost blinding, but I, too, noticed that the reflection on the new Toshiba is was less annoying than on the old - good improvement.

    One other thought: When you have a poor Verizon signal, it is just a PITA to try to load a photo album - or even a blog with too many (large) photos. One little glitch in the connection and it's toast - not a LiveWriter problem or a Windows 7 problem (in my opinion), but a connection problem. You might have less frustration in your current location if you pass on the photo albums.

    Loved the photos of the ultralight! I always enjoy reading your descriptions of places we know. I wonder who is parked by the oven? Probably someone we know. :)

    Stay cool!

  3. Hi Guys,
    I like your Solar Setup on your RV.
    We have a smaller solar panel we use to run an Engel fridge and trickle charge the Aux battery.

    Your set up is a bit grander in scale but nice that it makes you self sufficient. :-)

  4. Looks like you've found a perfect place out there in the desert - especially sitting in the shade as you were. It doesn't get any better than that! Great pics of the hang glider too - what a surprise that must have been. I'll be sure to turn off my outside light tonight so the glare doesn't affect your stargazing!

  5. Keep on blogging, Al. You have our hitch-itch so fired up our shorts are burning!

  6. This year should be a most incredible year for desert bloom over there. Hope you get to see it. Great Pics.

  7. Good luck with W7 - The upload of te album is some flaw of Live Albums, and no Live Writer or Win7. I had the same problem too, so I use Picasa albums for slower connections (They reduce the size when uploading).
    Anza Borrego sounds like a wonderful state park, I think the largest in CA. Look forward to your desert photos.

  8. Thanks for answering the question about the fine business -- I now understand the dynamics involved.

    Glad to hear you are finally getting warm. Still nippy here in Louisiana but creeping up a few degrees every day.

  9. There are some wonderful metal sculptures in the Borrego Desert. At least, we think they're wonderful. But then, we like that sort of kitsch. It's fun to go on a photo hunt to find them all.

  10. Hey Al.. Small World here! I passed on the link to your blog post to a friend of mine, Roger, who also flies the Powered Parachutes like this. He took a look and recognized the guy and his unit that is in your photos! Turns out my friend Roger said he taught that guy how to fly! What a small world...