Calico ghost town

We did make it to Calico Ghost Town today, a San Bernardino county park. There is a full hookup area where OHVs are allowed but it was full, so we have a site with electric only. I am actually pretty glad because it is really loud in that area while ours is nice and quiet. It is a little tight, but we managed to get in.

The ghost town admission was included in the fee of $35. Not a bad price since admission by itself would have been $8 for each of us. The place was relatively empty which made for an easy visit, but some of the stores were closed on this Friday during the off season.

We ended up taking an eight minute train ride on a reworked ore train. I do like taking historic trains, and this one was great fun even if it was very short.

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It was a very narrow gauge!
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The best miner’s houses were in the rocks to provide shelter from the blistering summer heat.
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This ore cart was sitting by the side of the track.

The view from the station back to the town was nice also.

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I doubt the palm tree was planted by the miners.

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It was a nice relaxing day. We even had a beer at the saloon, a nice change from being in Utah.

Tomorrow we will be at Bolsa Chica State Park on the beach! We will have water and electric hookups only, so we will be sure to dump and fill up before we leave here tomorrow morning.

On the road again, plus some food goodies

We left the “sticks and bricks” house today to head south for warm weather. We took our time, didn’t leave until 11:30, and we were set up at the Eureka Casino parking lot (free!) by about 5:30. It was 57 degrees when we arrived, a nice change. Here’s what else happened since the last post though.

I sent a couple onesies with the heat transfer vinyl off to my 11 month old grandson. My daughter is under strict orders to wash and dry them a lot so I make sure I have the technique down. So far so good. I also used the Silhouette cutter to label my food canisters in the kitchen plus decorated a couple of sweatshirts for Kevin and me. Mine is a little crooked, but his looks nice.

Last night we went to see “Something Rotten” at the Eccles Theater. The first act wasn’t thrilling, but good. The second act was hilarious and definitely made the play. Our next show is “The Sound of Music” on 28 February. We have been arranging our trips based on show times, and it is a bit of a pain. I am not sure I will renew the season tickets next year; we would rather RV!

As for food, I have conquered yogurt in the Instant Pot. It tastes yummy even if it wasn’t as thick as I wanted. My first one was a complete fail, so I was thankful this one worked so well.

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The fruit came from individually frozen bags of cherries and raspberries. I did add a little bit of sugar since the fruit was unsweetened. Really lovely.

I didn’t get a picture of the other item of food porn: Kevin’s smoked turkey. It was a gorgeous color, amazingly moist, and utterly delicious. He vacuum packed it into 1/2 pound packages, and a bunch of it is in the trailer’s freezer for the trip. We bought the turkey when it was on sale after Thanksgiving. We actually bought two, but the other is in the deep freeze for smoking this spring.

We are all beginning to plan some trips in addition to the big Alaska trip this summer. We made reservations at Kodachrome State Park in southern Utah for late March. A friend who bought their first trailer last year is going to join us, a real treat. They have an A-frame trailer they call their “Tin Teepee”, a name if I find hilarious. During April we have to work around tickets to see “Hamilton” and my daighter’s completion of nursing school in late May. Fun times ahead. Tomorrow we intend on staying at the Calico Ghost Town. Let’s hope they have a spot open. Otherwise Plan B is another overnight in a parking lot somewhere.

A new toy

I like to sew and do machine embroidery. I have seen lots of my friends add a Silhouette cutting machine to their “toy” collection, some to cut fabric for appliqués and some to cut varieties of vinyl. I bought one a few months back, but soon learned I needed some more “stuff” to use it the way I wanted. So I bought a heat press and some fusible interfacing. That has arrived, and I am working on learning how to use the software and the cutter. The software runs on a PC and is very similar to my embroidery software, but cost so much less it is amazing. I first made some labels to identify which battery and charger went with which of our electric bikes. That was a few months ago. I am now working on heat transfer vinyl. You use a special thin vinyl with adhesive on the back. You cut your design, “weed” (remove) the part of the vinyl not part of the design, apply the vinyl with heat, then peel off a protective layer of transparent carrier. I decided to start with onesies since I had some and they are pretty cheap. Here are a couple.

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These are real simple one color designs, but I was practicing. The red one really is on straight and smooth, no matter how bad my photo is. I will do some multi color designs tomorrow. As soon as I figure that out, I will work on cutting fabric for appliqués.

Kevin and I are both getting a bunch of appointments finished before heading out next week. Today I had a dermatologist appointment, while tomorrow is the optometrist. Still to come are the ophthalmologist and dentist.

Christmas with family

We left Utah on 20 December running out in front of a big snow storm. We did pretty good, 660 miles, and we spent the night in North Platte, NE at the the Oak Tree Inn. It was just ok. However the bad news was the forecast changed. We missed the front of the storm by about 100 miles and had to drive through snow and freezing drizzle for a while. After that it was pretty good, and we decided to just head to Cedar Rapids, IA where we stayed for 3 nights at Homewood Suites, a place I really liked. Two separate rooms and a little kitchen made it a lot easier to sleep well and have good coffee. We normally stay with my daughter in Marion, but one of my sons was staying in her spare room until he could move into his newly purchased house. We enjoyed our time with the newest grandson, 11 months old. We like our privacy anyway.

Christmas Eve we went to our oldest son’s house in Cedar Falls, staying until 27 December when we went back to my daughter’s house. My other son had moved into his house by then so her spare room was available. It worked out well because we were needed to babysit one day due to an emergency in her sitter’s family. We left on Friday, 29 December running back to Utah in front of a horrific cold front. We ended up driving to Sidney, staying at the Fairfield Inn. This was also a nice place though expensive.  The weather on Saturday was quite interesting. We left Sidney when it was -4 degrees with a bad wind chill. By 40 miles east of Laramie, WY it was 48 degrees! The temperature raised 40 degrees in 20 miles. Back home we have temperatures in the 40s so I hope to not experience low temps again this year.

Christmas itself was great fun. The kids all seemed to like their presents, and so did the grown ups. Of course the grown ups had all given us pretty detailed lists so it was fairly easy LOL! We were also able to pick up our mid-century maple dining room table at a shop in Marion, IA. They refinished it due to some damage it got before I inherited it, perhaps a hot pan a couple of times. The shop also modified the stretchers so it would take an additional leaf, p,us they made a matching left. I can now sit 6 people much more comfortably, and probably 8 in a pinch.

We are now getting an assortment of appointments done before we head off on our next snowbird trip south. Doctors, financial advisors, haircuts, etc. all get done in the next week and a half.

Fresh air, snow, and a little sewing

The pollution in the Salt Lake area has been dreadful all week with red air levels. Yesterday a slight snow storm came through and blew out the nasties. Ahhh! I can breath again.

Tuesday I went to the annual Christmas dinner for the American Sewing Guild Neighborhood Group. They like to eat at Golden Corral, a buffet. I admit it is not my favorite choice. I just can’t eat enough at a buffet to make it cost effective, but I like the company. I also went to an Open Sew Neighborhood Group on Friday where I completed the 35 blocks I need for my next Quilt For Kids project. I will wait to take a picture when I have the entire top done. I am sure I won’t finish it until we get back from Iowa after Christmas.

Today we went to Antelope Island to enjoy the clear air. It was glorious! The salty part of the lake was ice free, but the fresh water coming in from Farmington Bay was full of ice.

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Looking towards Promentory Point.
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Looking towards the Wasatch Front.
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Egg Island and Ladyfinger Point. Clear air is shown by the mountains in the background.
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A gorgeous buck.
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One of the harem.

They were filming a commercial just south of Garr Ranch.

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 The horses are being followed by a camera van.
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The parking lot was full of vehicles supporting the filming.

We are also doing some minor home repair – replacing sinks and faucets in my bathroom and the kitchen. After we went to the Island we stopped by Home Depot to pick os e parts up for the bathroom. Of course, something had to break requiring even more parts. Looks like it will be tomorrow before Kevin fixes it; it is just too risky to turn off the house water on a Sunday evening with the stores closed!

We are still shopping for Christmas, but almost everything is done. Still some wrapping, but that is about it. We have decided to leave on Wednesday mid morning or so, spending two nights on the road. There is snow expected, and I prefer not driving through snow in the dark. The trip is 1200 miles, and it is nice to get to our destination early enough to see people.

Sewing Presents

It is getting close to Christmas, and I am way behind on my Christmas sewing. Yesterday I finally got cranking. I decided to make some microwave bowl cozies, and I got six of them done. It requires a special batting that is 100% cotton, no polyester at all. The 42 x 36” piece I had was cut into 12 squares, 10” each. Each cozie needs 2 pieces of batting and 2 pieces of fabric. See how the bowl fits? I made 3 of the green/orange fabrics and 3 of the coffee fabrics.

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I also made some bibs for my grandson. These should have been made months ago, but I was having trouble finding the ribbing that goes around the neckline. I finally found some at a local quilt store of all places!

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I am going to write my directions down here because I modify the ones I have found online. I use hand towels, not finger tip towels. I fold them of the way to make the center of the neckline. In this case, it was 10”. I then cut a circle out using the a CD for a pattern. I also cut 13” of ribbing. The ribbing is sewn into a circle using a 1/4” seam. I then quarter mark both the ribbing and the towel, applying the ribbing with a faux serger stitch on the Bernina. I used to use my serger, but the sewing machine is much easier for the small openings. I also top stitch the ribbing to make sure it stays turned over correctly.

I will take one of the bibs and one of the cozies for tonight’s American Sewing Guild meeting. We are having a holiday dinner instead of a regular meeting, but Sew and Tell always happens! Over the next few days I will make some more cozies, and that should do for Christmas sewing.

Back home with good stuff and bad stuff

The first day back in the sticks and bricks house I basically just slept! It took us a couple of days to move the things back to the house – clothes, food in the refrigerator, etc.

We are catching up on medical appointments, so I had a small cyst removed from my face. I was lucky enough to,score a quick appointment due to someone else canceling. It left me with a couple of stitches right under my eye, a real bother. It is hard to keep a bandage on it, yet the dermatologist says I have to do so to minimize scarring. Ugh. I get the stitches out in a couple of days thank goodness. Everything should be fine by Christmas pictures at least.

The really bad stuff if that we finally had to have one of our cats, Minou, euthanized. I cried and cried. She was 15 years old, and we knew she was basically on hospice care, but that doesn’t mean I was ready for it. I became aware how few pictures I had of her. She was all black and hard to get a photograph, but that isn’t much of an excuse. She looked like an Egyptian cat goddess.

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She loved sleeping on her back.

i also have been doing some cooking and sewing. The cooking was mostly in the Instant Pot. I made red curry with a bottle of curry sauce, some chicken thighs, rice, and miscellaneous vegetables – peppers, mushrooms, sugar snap peas. I used the pot in pot method, and it worked wonderfully. I also made beef stroganoff again, though I used more seasoning this time plus a bunch more mushrooms. Delicious.

The sewing was slow. I just haven’t been able to get in the mood, but I finally got motivated to complete a Quilts for Kids project. Super simple, and I got to enjoy the quilting process. I ended up using an all over leaf meander since the focus fabric had trees on it.

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BTW, this comes as a precut kit so I take no responsibility for the poor cutting!

i have never had a bad kit from Quilts for Kids before, but I rejected the second kit I was given. The pattern was designed for strip piecing, but they gave me random lengths of fabric of all different lengths plus some smaller pieces that were cut to 7” instead of the needed 6 1/2”. My time is worth too much to mess with randomness, so I am giving it back with a complaint. This is from the relatively new local group,so I think it is probably just growing pains.

 

 

Last hurrah of the 2017 season

Today was our last real day camping in 2017. We head home tomorrow. Even though we will spend one night on the road, I don’t really consider that “camping,” so today was it.

We went back to the Mohave to visit the Goff Schoolhouse Museum on the southern edge of the Reserve. This place is totally misnamed! It should be called the Goff Railroad, Mining, Ranching, and SchoolhouseMuseum since there are more exhibits in the first three categories than the last. Here is the namesake Schoolhouse.

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It is prettier than this picture shows. The big porch provided a cool place to sit on an unreasonably hot day. It also has a number of palo verde trees surrounding it, but they are just outside the frame. The museum is free though we dropped $10 in the pot. It would have been well worth twic that amount. Here is just a sample of the neat sites.

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These three pictures are of a two stamp mill mill that was disassembled, brought to the site, and lovingly restored by volunteers.

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This is a ten stamp mill, also brought back to life by volunteers. I guess my pictures sow I was particularly impressed by the mining exhibits.

We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Lake Havasu City. We also went to see the Christmas lights on the canal next to London Bridge, quite nice. We filled the truck with fuel, and we are back cleaning up for tomorrow’s drive to Cedar City. We will stop at the KOA there are get everything ship shape to put the trailer to bed for a month and a half until our trip to California and Arizona in mid January. I always take this chance to wash everything I can in the trailer, both inside and out. We pull the rugs, quilts, sheets, bedspreads, towels, etc. These things get washed as needed on trips, but this is the time of year they all get put back completely clean. Kevin has decided to winterize the trailer back home since the weather is still so warm.

Next at home is a lot of sewing and quilting. I am making myself finish quilting a bedspread for our queen sized guest bed. I also need to finish a couple of Quilts for Kids kits. We will see how much I get done our the quilt for our king sized bed. It should keep me busy!

Catching up: Moving into Arizona

We are now at Route 66 Golden Shores RV Park at Topock, AZ. It is a quiet, older park and has the nicest people! We had Thanksgiving dinner with the other residents, a potluck with lots of food. My contributions were smashed red potatoes, made in the Instant Pot, and my new favorite dessert – Upside Down Apple Bread Pudding. I found it at https://recipeforperfection.com/upside-down-apple-bread-pudding/. Take a look:

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Isn’t it gorgeous? For the potatoes I cut up 5 pounds of red potatoes into 1-2 inch pieces, added 1 c. water, then pressure cooked for 8 minutes. I drained the potatoes, smashed them some, added sour cream, butter, some milk, garlic flakes, and salt. It was so easy!

Other than Thanksgiving, we visited Oatman on Route 66 to see the donkeys.

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The donkeys are definitely part of the experience. They stay in the middle of the road and beg. A number of the businesses sell donkey food so they are spoiled rotten. I particularly like the picture of the baby nursing.

My birthday was on Monday, but I gave Kevin my nasty cold so we just stayed home. On Tuesday we decided we felt well enough to get dinner so we went to Lake Havasu to do some sightseeing, eat, and get groceries. The lake has a bunch of miniature light houses, so I took a picture next to the miniature Split Rock lighthouse. The original is  along Lake Michigan.

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I apologize for my wind blown hair!

We also went to the marina to look at the boats. While there we found a huge flock of quail, probably 75 or more. They were obviously after some bugs that were hanging around the parking lot. A few pigeons were in the mix too.

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The first picture is pretty bad because we didn’t want to disturb the birds. The second is much better at showing the quail plus a friendly rabbit.

We went to dinner at Cha’Bones, and it was wonderful. I had prime rib, a baked potato, and mixed roasted vegetables. Kevin had a T-bone with the same sides. It was some of the best food we have had in quite a while. The service was good, and the bottle of Malbec we shared made it even better.

Today we went to the Mohave National Preserve which was ok though not as nice as Death Valley. Here are some scenes.

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Kelso Dunes. I can’t walk far on sand (bad Achilles’ tendon), but they are big quite tall – 600 feet.

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This is the old depot/Harvey House at the railroad town of Kelso. It was renovated by the Park Service, and is now the Visitor Center and Park Headquarters. Seriously cool.B0A1056D-B512-47AF-8B4F-9D80D3FF75DC

It turns out there are a lot of Joshua Trees in the Mohave Preserve. These are shorter but have more arms than others, and they are actually a separate subspecies from the ones in Joshua Tree National Park.

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The last two are of the Hole in the Wall area. We got to it from the north on a bone rattling dirt road, but the road from the south is paved. Lesson learned.

i am officially caught up.

Catching up: More about the Sierras and Bishop

We continued taking gorgeous pictures of the eastern side of the Sierras as the light and weather changed.

23201E8A-1E01-463A-AD97-F4DE68840CFAThere are some lovely alpine lakes in the area.

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See the white on the upper left of the peak? That is actually snow blowing off the mountain. The Alabama Hills are in the foreground.

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Yet another mountain lake.

We also too, a trip to Bishop, CA to see the Laws Railroad Museum there. The name is of the old railroad station, and is much more than a train museum. It is basically a recreation of an old train town using both original buildings and other old buildings from the same period that were moved to the area. I still felt dreadful with my sinus cold, but it was worth the pain.

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I highly recommend it. We also had dinner in Bishop at Holy Smoke BBQ. This is one I do NOT recommend. My ribs were way over cooked and very dry. Kevin’s brisket wasn’t bad, but wasn’t exceptional either.

We left Boulder Creek campground on Sunday, 19 November. As I left, I noticed their cable had two channels of Fox News but no CNN or PBS. I wish I had asked them why, but take it as a hint of their politics.