Friday, February 28, 2014

We're doing fine... albeit's sure windy...

Hi folks. In case you're monitoring the weather in Palm Springs... just wanted you to know we're fine. Lots of wind and rain, but we're snug as bugs in a rug... tucked inside little Lucy.  It's pretty exciting tho'... watching all the problems being reported on our new TV !!  Fear not.  We will be fine.  Hope all of you are doing well... ttfn  CJ

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Golf this morning, this must be Wednesday…

Yes, I’m delighted to report that one of my dreams about retirement has come true…. if even for just a few short weeks.  I’m playing golf and tennis (yup, tennis, believe it or not…) each week… and lovin’ it.  Kathy too has jumped into the tennis and golf ‘swing’ and she’s acquired a new (to her) Head tennis racket.. now resplendent with a new grip…  You see there’s a tennis clinic on Thursday afternoons for the newly bitten… er smitten and those of us that have had a bit of a lay off.  Now I don’t think they mean 38 years of a lay off but…. oh well, Brian (the coach) took me in anyway and has been working on my ‘very’ old fashioned style.  Seems backswing is ‘out’ and wrist is ‘in’…. Okay… I can do this…  and it feels good.  Kathy’s joining us this Thursday and she’s already picked up some of the drills I’ve showed her very well….  As well,we’ve had a chance  to golf several times.  Absolutely nothing consistent about either of our games… not yet anyway.  Hopefully time (and practice) will improve that.  If I haven’t mentioned it already, besides a swimming pool, hot tub and tennis court within a few hundred feet of us…  there is an 18 hole par 3 golf course, and a nine hole par 3.  It’s pretty hard not to get motivated to get up and get moving….

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As you can tell, we like this place, and were supposed to be leaving this Saturday.  Note the use of the word ‘were’… Kathy has found us another spot so we can stay another 5 days.  That way we can wait out the rain storms that will be lashing the coast and north of us… and then it will be time to start winding our way north to home.

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As you can see, little Lucy seems quite comfortable surrounded by her gigantic kin…

Tracey, the gal looking after 1398 has sent us some photos of the snow in Maple Bay.  Yikes… it reminds me of our first winter there… with snow up to our knees….  Can’t say I’m sorry we’re not there… but I sure hope it cleans up quickly for all of you guys up there and for sure, by the time we hit the border :-)  Chuck hasn’t had to deal with snow for several years (since he was a much younger lad) and Lucy… well she’s a southern girl… doesn’t even know what snow is ….  yet.

Guess that’s all our news for now…  The next time I write I’ll be telling you about a friend of ours who has had a terrible accident in Mexico. It’s the kind of thing that could happen to any one of us and I’ll be telling you about him and the event.

Until we write again… take good care… and be safe.  Hugs….  CJ 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meet Lucy…



Finally!  It’s taken some time and lots of miles but we have finally invited ‘Lucy’ into our little fleet.  She’s a 2001 Casita Spirit Deluxe; a 17’ trailer built using a fibreglass shell which makes them lighter and less prone to leaks than most other trailers or campers.  We picked her up, as planned, in Henderson (a suburb of Las Vegas).  It was 5 PM on a Sunday by the time we’d closed the ‘doings’ so we headed to an RV park nearby… not just any RV Park mind you… “The Oasis” is pretty darn fancy.  It’s so fancy that they weren’t sure they’d let us in… thinking we were a pop up tent trailer or something (given the size and the fact the manager didn’t get up to come out and see for himself)….  Even their checking in procedure is fancy.  The security guard at the front gate directs you to a series of parking lanes… your choice, but pick one.  Then you go into the huge Oasis main building (which houses a store, a restaurant, offices, a gym, and access to the two (TWO) tiered and landscaped pools)… anyway, I digress.  You register and pick up your information package inside the building, then return to your vehicle and find your way (using the map) through the RV park to your little pull through pad…  It’s really quite nice, good neighbours, a picnic table (we’ve no chairs yet) and grass for the ‘girl’ (PS). 


This place has huge rigs… all but one (a tent trailer that ‘did’ get in… go figure)… but the rest are huge..  Many tow other vehicles in trailers or on platforms… all look like they must be millionaires… and then there’s us :-)   Oh, and a chicken… yup, a real live one, harness and all…. (note the pigeons keeping it company… or was it the food they were after?)


Anyway, back to Lucy.  We hooked her up (after having to turn the hitch over to raise the height of the front) and towed her to this RV park.  We needed to stay here until today (Tuesday) as Kathy has some business to conduct with the DMV to finish the trailer paperwork.  We spent Monday cleaning (rather I should say Kathy spent Monday cleaning… she worked her ____ off). 


Me?  Well, as there’s really only room for one person crawling in and out of cupboards with a cleaning rag… I worked on things outside, like sorting out the piles of stuff crammed in to Chuck…  Anyway, by 3 PM we were good and ready to watch two young fellows (this place is so big they have companies making a living off the transients) wash and wax little Lucy…  Their price was more than fair and we figured they could do a better and faster job than we’d ever do.


So, here it is… Tuesday morning.  Kathy’s away at the DMV and I’m supposed to be getting Lucy ready to go…  Today we head back to The Outdoor Resort in Cathedral City (suburb of Palm Springs) where we’ll stay until the end of the month (rough life, I know). Chores are calling so must leave you for now.


Hope all is well with all of you… stay warm…  Hugs, CJ

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It’s Wednesday… must be time for a catch up…

Well m’lords and ladies… ‘tis high time I offered up a morsel of an update for your discerning eyes…. not that I have a lot to report (although I do have some good news) and not that there’s much exciting to report (and that’s a good thing as our goal has been to slow things down a bit…)… but time for a report it is.. and so hereafter it follows (is that proper grammar?  oh well, you know what I mean), hereafter follows an accounting of our whereabouts…

But news we do have… FIRST, we’re having a GREAT time here in The Outdoor Resort.  We have rented a fifth wheel and Kathy, Marg and I have been having a grand time.  Ron and Dal have been kind enough to ferry us about, showing Marg some of the sights of downtown Palm Springs including the night market and some of their favourite restaurants (even one with bottomless champagne… hiccup!!). The rest of our time has been mostly about relaxing… enjoying quiet times for reading, a little walking and golf, and time by the pool for swimming, hot tubbing, and tanning…. (repeat as necessary). The week is flying by but tomorrow (it’s actually Thursday now…) is Valentine’s Day and we plan to celebrate well with BBQ steak and lobster… a home-cooked dinner… with Ron & Dal.  Marg leaves us Saturday morning and we’re going to miss her very much… but the cold winds of BC are calling her back and so we must let her go.

More good news… we have a trailer!!  A 2001 17’ Casita travel trailer awaits our arrival.  The little trailer is in Henderson, Nevada and will join our ‘fleet’ as soon as we can get there to complete the deal. We will take ourselves off (back) to Henderson on Sunday morning… to pick up our ‘new’ addition.  We have reserved a parking pad back at The Outdoor Resort and, all going well, we’ll have the little trailer back ‘here’ for a week or so… to get used to it, check it out, and enjoy all that this place has to offer us.  We’ll send photos once we have them.

So that’s about where we are right now.  We’re ‘here’ for now, heading ‘there’ on the weekend.. and we’ll be back ‘here’ shortly thereafter.  With luck, we’ll have a couple weeks to work on our tans and swimming & golf prowess before it will be time to head back to BC and home.  We hope all is well with all of you…. and we wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day…  ttfn.. CJ, K, and PS

Here’s some photos… as usual you get to mix ‘n match the sub-titles….

Colourful California trucks;  A cozy setting in Jake’s backyard; Jake’s beautiful pool; and more great backyard; Putting anyone?; Working in the galley; Kathy and mom with ‘Marilyn’; BIG Lady;  Ron, Marg, Dal & CJ pre-champagne; Three amigas golf cartin’ – main mode of transport at The Outdoor Resort.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

We are so lucky to live in Canada…

Updates.. first about our journey… then about … well… ‘right’ and just plain ‘wrong’.

First the journey:

Las Vegas…Las Vegas….  (well at least Henderson, NV… still littered with casinos and slot machines :-) My sisters will never believe we actually got that close and didn’t drop one single quarter into a machine…  Oh well, we’ll be back. 

This trip was, of course, to take a look at a 2001 Casita 17’ travel trailer… I’d mentioned they are hard to find, and indeed, we’ve missed out on several because the first person to view, bought.  So, when Kathy spoke with the owner of this trailer and, voila, it was still available… well, we decided to make a run for it; and so began our trek to Nevada.

The drive from Williams to Nevada was, in a word, LONG.  We slipped (that’s nautical for ‘left’, but I have to stay in practice.. it’s been so long I feel like I’m losing my edge)…  we slipped Williams at 0500 hrs… and headed out onto the southbound roadways, highways, slip roads, and dippsy doodles…  It takes two of us to navigate our way in and out of each city.. well actually three if you count Emily the GPS without which we would be totally lost.  Once onto clear roadways we charged south, driving…driving…driving…  Our breaks were shorter than normal (dear Sophie didn’t even complain.. just did her part) but we had to keep going as it was to be the longest drive yet. We knew we needed to stay out of the mountains, what with the cold weather, rain, and possibly snow that was being forecast in higher elevations, so we skirted the row of National parks and mountains that run down the center of California… all the way to almost Bakersfield, at which point we curved east and began to cross the state on route to Nevada. We arrived in Henderson at 1700 hrs and were able to have our first view of the trailer before dark. It was perfect.

The trailer needs a little clean up but, basically, it’s all there and in good condition. You can google 17’ Casita Spirit Deluxe if you want to see what it looks like.  This is the one with not only the usual table with bench seats that drops to a double, but also a smaller table with two seats that drops to a single… plus a toilet and shower, closet/hanging locker, fridge, two burner stove, microwave and air conditioner with a heat strip; all in a 17’ trailer light enough for Chuck to tow. We’ve laid claim to it (deposit paid) and will meet the owner (who lives elsewhere) on or around Feb. 16th (at which time I’ll no doubt invest a little into the Nevada infra-structure) to transfer the paperwork and complete the sale.  This works out very well for us as we’re due in Cathedral City on the 8th for a week with Kathy’s mom and friends Ron & Dal.

The next morning (yesterday) we headed off again.. this time heading west towards La Quinta and dear friend Jake.  La Quinta is a very cool place, small, and near to Palm Springs… lots of history and gorgeous homes (including Jake’s)… We’re here now, being spoiled by Jake and enjoying the chance to catch up.  Tomorrow we head to Cathedral City…. today we kick back and relax. Kath’s got some work to do and I may have some shopping to do, but other than that… this is a wonderful place to put our feet up and rest.

It seems kind of funny tho’… our friends Alison and Craig are camping on the beach in Chacala (remember our absolute favourite anchorage) and we’re travelling through the ‘best’ of civilization… (still missing Chacala).  But, life goes on and so shall we.  In case you’re wondering… no, we have not given up on sailing… just making the best use of our time we can… and continuing to watch the ‘doings’ in Mexico.  FYI, most of the boats have been released now… and we’re waiting to see what rules the MX government will decide to impose on future foreign cruisers…  we may or may not qualify…. only time will tell.

 Now the bad news… and what is so terribly ‘wrong’…

We continue to read with deep sadness of the violence and hatred being levelled against gays in Russia and ask that you take a moment to learn about what is going on. This life throws many challenges at all of us, many we can’t do much about, but some we can.  Opening ourselves to at least be educated as to what is going on is a first and major step. Please take a few minutes to read through the information contained on the following sites; and then follow your conscience.

Thanks for taking the time to learn about and monitor what is going on in Russia and other countries.  These atrocities must be stilled somehow and acknowledging they are occurring seems like the logical first step.

As for our current journey… for now, we work towards one of our other goals… or several of them.. relax, get healthy, slow down a bit… soon.  :-)  For now, we say adios and we’ll write again next week…  Know we’re well and thinking of you…  CJ

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Beautiful, brilliant nature !!

Monday & Tuesday – Feb 3&4

Close your eyes, clear your mind… drink in nature’s beauty (or, at least, share a sip) with me…

Brilliant blue skies over seas building… stronger and higher as they course towards the shallows and crash upon the rocks and beach, clouds (low) and fog mingling with the mists pushed up from the waves crashing on shore and spraying Chuck as we pass.  Thick, ever-green forests towering over the roads… so tall they block the sun and the sign says “headlight area ahead”  … And that was just one short passage of a long day of driving. 

We have had two days of fantastic views provided by mother nature.  Not just the redwood forests, not just the open Pacific ocean as far as we could see, and not just the beautiful beaches (Sophie just loved to frolic on every chance she got)…. but later, this afternoon, such wide open and flat expanses you could just picture the wagon trains spread out meandering their way towards a far-away horizon and praying nothing bad would happen while they had no cover.  And then, if they actually made it across the flats, how on earth did they manoeuvre through the deep and treacherous river gorges and valleys?  We thought often about our forefathers and mothers… and how courageous and strong they must have been to have even attempted to pass through this terrain on their journeys north and west. 

And, oh boy, did we enjoy the Fish Market, a fresh seafood cafe, right on the water of the harbour at Bandon.. the neatest little town… with the bestest fish and chips.  And then there was Brookings; what a cool place.  Folks come from all over to fish the rivers in the area.  The only sort of bad thing that happened there is that, while driving down a darkish street looking for the evening meal, we accidently drove over broken glass.  That wasn’t the worst.  While out checking the tires I found no glass embedded (that was good) but I did find a self-tapping screw drilled right into one of the tires (that wasn’t good).  All tires still being round we had dinner and headed back to our motel.  The next day (this morning) I got up early and headed back 4 blocks (Brookings isn’t very big) to the Les Schwab Tire Center… got there an hour before they opened and walked right in.  Told my story to the nice young man who signed Chuck up for the first appointment.  Not only did these folks fix the ‘screwed’ tire, but they checked all four for glass, checked the tire pressure in all five.. and had the whole thing finished by 0830 hrs.  And then, they charge me $0.00 for the service!!  Wouldn’t even take a donation to their slush fund.. nada.  Just a smile and a hand-shake and I was on my way.  Well done Les Schwabb… thank you !!

Today’s drive took us through the red-wood forest and up to an elevation of at least 3500 feet.  The good news is it was a dry and sunny 3500 feet and Chuck did the hills just fine.  We finally arrived in Williams, had a nice dinner and have checked in to our hotel. Tomorrow we will be leaving early (0500 hrs.) as we have a date to look at a Casita trailer in Henderson, Nevada.  We’ve been watching for one of these for some time now… they’re rare as hens teeth and sell even faster; sometimes only hours after being listed.  Kathy has spoken with a fellow who owns one currently stored in Henderson and we hope it will still be there when we arrive.  So…. it’s to bed early tonight and up before dawn….  Chuck’s gassed and oiled and aired and ready to go. The princess is already asleep and snoring away… dreaming of sandpipers on foam sprayed beaches… and Kathy’s researching insurance, sales and tax laws in Nevada, California, Washington and Arizona.  Me, I’m just chatting with you all… and hoping that life is going well for you and yours….  Take good care.. talk again soon….  CJ

Monday, February 3, 2014

We have a plan...

Good morning...

Today's post is just a little house-keeping for those folks who want/need to know where you are.. you know, moms and sisters and others who might miss us if we get lost...  :-)

It's Monday... this must be Springfield.  Yup, we made it.  Yesterday we were up at 0330, slipped at 0430, at Departure Bay by 0530 and on to the 0630 ferry... no problem. Sunday morning drive through Vancouver... also no problem. Comfortable drive to the border, through the Nexus line (first time) no problem.  Onto I 5, southbound at an easy pace and, after a few stops at rest stops (one for a yummy home-made ham bun lunch)... we pulled into Springfield, OR at about 5 PM... tired but glad to have made it south of the cold treacherous weather threatening parts north... or so we thought.

Seems this area (southern Oregon and northern California) is expecting at least a week of extremely cold temperatures and some precipitation.  While the little icons in the forecast suggest 'mostly dry' (sunshine with clouds) in most parts.. we're pretty sure that higher elevations such as Grants Pass are very lightly to see some moisture (read that 'snow')... and that's a concern.  Chuck is a fine truck and has been doing double-duty as a cargo transport... but he's just a truck.. a two-wheel drive truck with (new two years ago) all season tires....  Soooo, we have a plan...

This morning we're going to head west.  Yup, instead of directly south and up and over Grants Pass, we're going to head to the coast and follow Hwy 101 south... at sea level.  We'll pass through the coastal towns (some of which we visited by boat on our way down) and we'll enjoy a view of our beloved Pacific ocean as we travel.  Kathy's even looked up some beaches for the princess to romp on. Rather than push on for another hugely long day, we've broken it up into two shorter (5-6 hour drives). We expect to be in Brookings tonight... and then tomorrow we'll cut inland and head for Williams, CA.

From Williams we're heading south to La Quinta to see Jake.. finally we're going to catch up with him and get to see his new digs.  After catching up with Jake we'll be in a good place to pop over to Cathedral City on the 8th.

So there you have it.. our plan.

So, from all of us to all of you.. take good care.. stay warm... talk to you soon....  CJ

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Some folks say we’re hard to keep track of…. what’s up with that??

The weather man said it might snow last night.  It didn’t.  Good thing because we took a chance it wouldn’t and decided not to leave yesterday.  Leave where?  Why?  What’s been happening?…  Glad you asked.

We haven’t really actually accomplished a lot since our last post.. but we did get home (to Canada) safely.. and Chuck (the truck), bless his gas-driven heart, held up well and delivered his payload with aplomb; all of it… all the blue bins, all the loose stuff, the dinghy, the kayak and the whisker pole… All of it arrived safe and sound and has now been distributed in various ways throughout the ‘warehouse’ of our garage; there to await its new assignment whenever that might occur. Chuck himself went for a well-deserved servicing and, thank goodness for the thorough check-up by Olender’s (our very good mechanic services in Duncan) who went to the trouble of checking the spare tire which is stored way up underneath and hard to get at.  It was flat.  Oops.  Don’t know how long it’s been like that (had it checked before we left in October) but sure glad it’s not flat anymore (fingers crossed).  Anyway, he’s all well again and has had a good rest.  I was delighted to see his springs return to their normal position after we took out the hugely heavy load of gear he lugged home from Mazatlan.

We weren’t home for long; just long enough to see a few friends, tidy up a little business, and say ‘hi’ to our house. With a careful eye on the weather forecast (it’s pretty cold up here compared to where we’ve been) we decided we’d better head out before the snow flies… We need to be in Palm Springs by Feb. 8th and they’re calling for snow between now and then in the Pacific Northwest…

So here we are… on the 0630 ferry out of Departure Bay.  We hope to make it all the way to Springfield today… weather and traffic allowing. Once we’ve put the snow and colder temps behind us we’ll be able to slow down and enjoy the trip.  Chuck is loaded up again.. but no where near the weight.  We’re carrying a little extra (what else is new :-) because we’re hoping to come across a small 17’ travel trailer.. either a Scamp, Casita or Escape.  They’re very light, fibreglass, travel trailers.. with a floor plan that includes a table that drops to a small double, a smaller table and two seats that drops to a single, an enclosed heads with toilet and shower, a galley with stove and fridge, and… a storage/hanging locker.. All in a lightweight 17’ package.  They’re rare as hens teeth and sell within hours of being posted, so our search should be very interesting.  Kathy’s researched how to import one into Canada when we return and how to insure it.  So we’re ready… just have to find one.  No, we’re not swallowing the hook.. we just enjoy land-based exploration as well and, with a little trailer, will be able to spend a little time in the summers camping, fishing and exploring… We’ll be looking for one while we lounge about in the US of A between now and mid-March when we will return home.

We’re taking a break from our focused and exhausting hunt for a new boat.  We’ll still be getting one… no worries there.  It’s just that the shenanigans in Mexico continue (I can tell you that they have released some – but not all -  of the foreign yachts but the up and down, hit and miss, love you – hate you, rule making and interpretation of said rules… isn’t over yet), and some of the rules they’re talking about making will set up requirements that we Canadian sailors can’t even meet (eg: Captain’s Licenses… common in the US but not so much in Canada).  Latitude 38, an on-line publication, continues to be the best way to stay up to date on this issue… for those of you who are interested.  For us, the uncertainty and escalating risk factors are certainly having an impact on our motivation to do the work necessary in order to return to Mexico.  The Broughtons and Desolation Sound are looking better and better… and the prawning and crabbing is better for us here (it’s not allowed for us in Mexico).  Time will tell and we have little Mojo to keep us busy while we watch for and look at potential cruising yachts for our future.

Sorry to be abandoning many of you to the cold and snowy weather on its way… but, Palm Springs is looking pretty good right now… and we’ll be there from Feb 8-15 having a good visit with Kathy’s mom and friends Ron & Dal.  Where we go after that isn’t even written in the sand yet… pretty good for a couple of Capricorns :-)

From all of us to all of you… take good care.. stay warm.. have fun..  Will let you know how we’re doing in due course.

Carolyn, Kathy and PS (Princess Sophie, currently bundled up in her purple sweater and sound asleep in Chuck… waiting patiently for the adventure to continue.. she wouldn’t miss it for the world)