Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life in Blythe – Part 3 and Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

We have started to get out and about since Kathy continues to get better. We decided to go birding and went down to Cibola National Wildlife Refuge.  Cibola National Wildlife Refuge is in Arizona, about 30 miles south of Blythe. Their website says they have over 288 species of birds, but we didn’t find it very birdy. Most of the geese had already started north; we saw a huge flock of Canada Geese fly over I-10 as we headed for the refuge. Around the ponds we did see 50 or so Canada Geese. There were hundreds of Sandhill Cranes still around. There were also hundreds of Pintail Ducks in a pond near the visitor center. However, our “bird of the day” was a very cooperative Willow Flycatcher. 

We were surprised that with the Colorado River running through the refuge how dry and scrubby the vegetation was. Usually National Wildlife Refuges have very good gravel roads. Unfortunately Cibola has the worst roads we have every experienced at any National Wildlife Refuge and VERY POOR signage. Even if our one ton Chevy dually pickup has four-wheel drive, it is not a good choice for off-roading on narrow sandy roads!

Kathy was seen again by her surgeon this past week and he says that she is healing very well and is good to go. So, this Saturday we will be leaving Blythe. Our first stop will be back at Quartzsite. Some of our Montana Owner friends have returned to Quartzsite for few days, so we are planning to pick up where we left off, going back out to boondock in the desert.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life in Blythe - Part 2

Yes, we still are in Blythe and expect to be until the end of the month. The KOA here in Blythe says the rates are $45 during the week and $55 on the weekends. When I arrived here with the 5th wheel while Kathy was in the hospital they gave me a rate of $39 per night regardless of weekend or not. Then they let me use my KOA discount card which brought the rate down to $35 a night.  After we had been here 2 weeks we decided that Kathy still needed more rest, so I went to sign up for another week. At the desk they told me that since I had already paid the month amount we could stay until the end of the month for FREE. So we paid for 14 days and get 18 days free. The people here at the Blythe KOA have been wonderful and a help since I have arrived!

We have not really done very much since our last blog posting. We had two days of rain; which is the first rain we have seen since Christmas. Mostly the weather continues to be sunny and in the 70s.

Kathy continues to get better. She has once again taken over the cooking, but she still has me doing the laundry.  She has been doing at least one "Raider" walk a day. The morning walk is 2 miles round trip. However she is NOT 100% and still has some discomfort.

Blythe slide show

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Quartzsite – Part 2

This is the blog entry I intended to write before all of the excitement of Kathy’s emergency surgery.

We were having a great time at the MOC circle in Quartzsite and had decided we would be staying for at least a third week and probably until the circle broke up, whenever that was. As you know from our previous posts our plans were changed.

One of the great things this year in Quarzsite was the weather! Last year we had a few days of rain, some very cold nights and a lot of STRONG wind. This year everyday was 70 – 75, the winds where for the most part light, and the overnight lows were upper 30s to upper 40s.

Last year we arrived after everything was in full swing and were overwhelmed by all of the new names and faces. By arriving a week early this year, we were able to learn names and faces a little at a time as people arrived. So, we really could put names and faces together.

At its heart, the third week in January in Quartzsite is about the “RV Show”. If you can’t find it here it probably doesn’t exist for an RV and there are many items that you never knew existed that you now can’t survive in an RV without. Like last year we came with a shopping list of items to get at the RV Show. Okay, all Kathy had on her list was beads, beads and more beads.

Number one on our list was window awnings. We have been to several places where we had direct afternoon sun on the living room windows. Although the windows are deeply tinted there is still a lot of heat that comes through them. On days like that we keep the window covers closed. By adding window awnings we shade the windows and can even keep the windows open on rainy days. A great thing about buying things in Quartzsite is for the most part the installer comes to you out in the middle of the desert.

Other things on our shopping list included: new patio mat, new water filters, new water regulator and a screen for our awning to provide shade when the sun is low on the horizon.

What wasn’t on our list was an inverter. An inverter allows you to run 110 volt appliances like the TV, DVR, computers, router and most importantly the drip coffee maker, off of our 12 volt trailer batteries. Our MOC friend Dave Anderson was upgrading his 1000 watt inverter to a 3000 watt inverter. So, I bought his old one. I have never been a handyman type of person and never went near anything electrical. However with a little guidance from MOC friend Carl (Butch) Youngren I was able to install the inverter! There I was drilling holes into the walls of our trailer and pulling wires from the batteries to the inverter and then from the inverter to the inside of the trailer. When it was all done it worked, without any sparks or fire.

The beauty of an inverter is that you can make coffee, surf the internet, or watch TV without running the generator. This is something that our neighbors really appreciate if we wake up before they do. Also some National and state parks are very restrictive about when you can run a generator. People that use inverters are always worrying about how many AMPs they are using and how to save AMPs. One way to save AMPs is to replace the standard RV light bulbs with LED lights that draw only 6% of the AMPs that standard lights draw. Naturally we had to get some LED lights to use when we were in “inverter mode”. With the installation of the inverter we hope to do more boondocking without missing any of the usual convinces.

PS Kathy must be better, she is beading again.

Quartzsite part 2 slideshow

Friday, February 6, 2009

Life in Blythe

Today's blog was written by Kathy:

We have been on the go since we last made an entry. Feeling sorry for Grant, who has been so busy, I thought I’d pinch hit for him and get the blog updated. I have been resting while Grant has had to learn Laundry 101 and Cooking 101, not to mention dishwashing, too!

Thanks to all of my well wishers, every day I feel a little stronger than the previous. I am up to walking the short loop in our campground.  Surgery pain is now pretty much gone, just trying to get those tender muscles working again.

The weather couldn’t be any more perfect! Mid to high 70’s, sunshine and gentle breezes here in Blythe.  They do have an Albertsons, so groceries are only 3 miles away.  The campground is real quiet and clean, there are a few weekenders coming in, but we would never know it unless you’re out and about.

Monday we decided to go out to the Montana Owners Circle at Quartzsite to say “HI” to everybody there and see how they all were! We called Susan and Carl to make sure they’d be there. I wanted to personally thank them for taking care of Raider while I was in the hospital. They said they would be there and glad to have company, too! We sat in the shade of their Montana, it was nearly 80 out and had fun catching up with them and Pam and Ray next door. Raider ran around with all of his buddies, “talking up a storm” to human and canine alike!

All of a sudden, I looked up and there were at least 24 people joining the circle, inquiring how I was doing and glad to see me out already! Wow, I was overwhelmed by everybody’s concern! I needed the social outlet, the fresh air and change of scenery! I also needed to say “Goodbye” and have some closure on Quartzsite. I knew that everybody would be leaving soon, scattered to all directions of the compass! We did have a great time this year with our friends from MOC at Quartzsite, better than even last year!

Tuesday we took it easy and just enjoyed the pleasant weather. It being the first of the month, we needed to plan where to get our usual RX refills. There is only a Rite Aid here in Blythe, and Walgreens is usually the best. However, the nearest Walgreens is in Palm Desert, 100 miles away! We checked to see where the nearest store was that carried Raider’s special diet. Guess what? It’s also in Palm Desert. Well, we had some banking to do, as well, and they have credit unions there. What the heck, let’s check for a Beverages and More. You can get pretty thirsty out here in the desert! Maybe we can find some fine Alaskan Amber there!  Sure enough, they have a Bev Mo, too!  Whoohoo!!

Wednesday, Grant was prepared to make the 200 mile round trip by himself to run the errands.  I decided, “I can sit in the truck and keep you company, while you go from one errand to the next! We can take our buddy, Raider can keep me company, too!”  So we piled into the truck at 10:30 and arrived about noon. Got all of our stops done, boom, boom, boom, one right after the other! Took time for lunch at Panda Express! I had their mall lunch, but it was a treat from eating soup!  We got back to the Montana by 3:30. Mission Accomplished!

Thursday, Grant went to Albertsons to get some serious grocery shopping done. As he was checking out, the credit card wouldn’t go through. Thinking it was the old beat up card, he said, “Here, try this one it is newer.” (This was the replacement credit card we had shipped all of the way up to Tok, AK in Sept. before we left Alaska!) Nope, that one didn’t want to go through either. Hmmm. Fortunately, we travel with an extra VISA card.

While I put the groceries away, he got on the phone to Chase to see what the problem was. First they recited all of the recent charges to see if they were our charges, and then they came to 2 we could not account for. A small charge for $14.64 and then a good size charge for $121.95 to an Insurance company in London, England!  “Hold it, that is definitely not our charge! We have had no insurance transactions recently, certainly not in London.” This charge was just in the “pending charges” so it didn’t show up under recent activity. I check every other day to make sure no bogus charges get on there! You just never know any more!

So, everybody knows the routine! “Cut off charges to that credit card, please expedite a new card directly to us at the RV Park.” Then there’s all of the “automatic payments” with various companies we deal with to change the credit card number! But we have to wait until the new card arrives.

Then I started to put away the Rx’s and realized they shorted me half a month of my important blood pressure medicine!  UGG!! I should have checked the bottle as soon as Grant walked out of the store with it! But my mind was on worrying about him and getting him lunch! My Irish was getting a full steam at this point, I must be feeling better. I call back the Walgreens and tell them, “I take this medication, one tablet twice a day, which means 2 times 30 = 60 tablets. There are only 30 in this bottle.  Yesterday we drove over 100 miles one way to your store, the closest one we can find. You need to check your quantity count for this product, you should be over! Please check!”  The pharmacy technician came back on, “your right we do have 30 over and we must have only counted 30! I’m so sorry, how can we remedy this problem. Is there a Walgreens near you?”

“NO, I just finished telling you that your store was the closest store, all of the others were even beyond 100 miles. Blythe has no Walgreens, just Rite Aid, while Palm Desert had one on every corner! You will have to mail me the remaining tablets to the RV Park we’re staying at for another week. If you put it in the mail today, I could have it by Monday! I am not driving another 200 miles to pick up 30 pills!”

To which she asked again, “Are you sure there isn’t one closer! I don’t know, but this is way out of the ordinary! But OK, I will mail it out today, I’m sorry for the confusion!

OK, it was time for lunch. There was a fine Alaskan Amber calling me by this point!

Then I had to call the surgeon’s office, my daily call to see if they had gotten the Path Lab report back yet. Yes they had and I was told, “You can make an appointment for Friday and the doctor can give you that information”.

“Fine, whatever it takes! We’ll be there at 2:15!” (When we went to the doctor’s the Path Lab report said that they had to forward it another Path Lab. We may get the results next week)

Talk about “one of those days”! Everybody gets them and I guess it was our turn!

On the lighter side, Raider and Grant have been enjoying their long walks along the Colorado River. The river forms the boundary of the park and has quite a swift current at this section! As we suspected before in Morro Bay, Raider’s a Beach Bum. He shocked Grant by actually stepping into the river to get a drink! This water fearing dog got his feet wet on purpose?! The sand has to be softer than those volcanic rocks back in Q!

We have puffy clouds floating by on a gentle breeze today, and yet it still is a comfy 73! Though tomorrow’s forecast is 70% chance of rain. The thirsty desert needs it, that is for sure! Maybe if it rains the Ocotillo will bloom! It is a tall spiny cactus with small leaves and when it rains bright red blooms sprout from the end of each branch! That will be a pretty sight!

One thing with being in one spot for a week or so, we can get mail! We got the new credit card, Thank you Chase! I also got my remaining Rx to complete my order, plus all kinds of tax goodies to work on the taxes. Oh joy! Grant’s Bird List Report:


Double crested Cormorants

Yellow Rumped Warblers

White crowned Sparrows

House Finches

House Sparrows

Great tailed Grackle

Eurasian Colored Dove

European Starlings (they are everywhere)


Says Phoebe

Black Phoebe

Great Egret

During the night I heard a Great Horned Owl in one of the big palm trees near the trailer!

Time to get on with life and enjoy this life style’s freedom!