Friday, January 30, 2009


We were supposed to be celebrating my sister having her broken ankle free of a cast and boot. Instead, Karen and I celebrated her birthday (belated) with oyster hors d'oeuvres, only, we had to shuck them first. Now, I've never shucked an oyster and we prevailed upon friend, Jerry Baumgartner, to help us. He googled the instructions. Then, with much hilarity, we got the job done. (That's me wielding the big blade.) Jerry decided with the economy tanking he could now put Oyster Shucker on his resume. His tool box would be a bit heavy with a hammer, two pairs of pliers, a beer opener and an assortment of knives. (Jerry was absolutely indispensable.) After slurping them down with a bit of lemon, Tabasco and Lea & Perrins, we repaired to the Murphys Grill for steamed clams and a salad. Yum! The white wine was good, too.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Jim is in Quartzsite today for his talk on Central America and a book signing. It will no doubt be a full day. Now that I have my camera back, I can share this picture of him doing his commercial for this event.
On the way to Quartzsite, we stopped to see this beautiful bridge fashioned after the Golden Gate. It crossed the once mighty Gila River. The river is now a trickle so this "bridge to nowhere" sits decaying over a vacant wash. The road to Quartzsite was relocated and only the curious view it.
Speaking of viewing, I just discovered it you click on a photo on a blog, it will enlarge and be much more visable than the small photos posted. Some enlarge to full screen size. Hey, hey!
Have a good day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This is Suzy, sweet and kind and sharing and fun! Her other strong trait is an empathy for animals. I was gone for two months, and what happens? Suzy finds a wandering cow. First it is in Brian's yard. Then its on the road. Next the pasture at Gonzalez'. The whole neighborhood has seen the wayward cow except ME of course. Its a smart cow. It gathers where the grass is greenest. (Of course, I'm missing my camera right now.) This isn't the first time she has guided a lost pony, sheep, dog, cat or cow to its rightful owner. Then, the worst happened. A horse was down on the road. Suzy held its head and tried to make it comfortable. It was extremely thin. It hadn't had its teeth floated and couldn't chew so it was starving. Its hooves hadn't been filed and it couldn't walk comfortably. She got it up and tried to walk it to her barn, but it collapsed. The Deputy from Animal Control and Suzy stayed and held vigil until a horse trailer arrived. The horse died before the vet could treat it. Suzy burst into tears and speculated that with the economy in the tank, so many people not working, they just turn their horses loose. Her message is: THAT DOESN'T WORK!! The horse suffered and died. Please, let someone know, 4-H, or Suzy Hayes on Pennsylvania Gulch Rd. at 728-8949. People will take your horse in and care for it until a new owner can be found. Amen!

Monday, January 26, 2009


I returned to Murphys and found 28 degree weather. It is unusual for me to make a public declaration about something so personal as choosing a Life Partner, Jim Jaillet. But what can you do when you meet a ramblin' man who prefers to park where the weather is warm, the stars are bright and the voice of a lone coyote his music?
I thought it fitting to review the poem Stop By A Woods On A Snowy Evening..."And miles to go before we sleep, and miles to go before we sleep."
As we assay our golden years; review life's conditions, and find that very rare gift of congenial and joyful partnership...Well then?
I make my pledge to our future together for " hand can make the clock strike for me the hours that are passed."And we have promises to keep!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Local festivals are charming and the Yuma Lettuce Festival promised to entertain and delight. A man encloses himself in a balloon and bounces all over the street. We somehow missed him but we did get to see the ladies modeling their hats and jewelry made of lettuce, brussel sprouts, onions and...well you get the idea. They really got into it and played to the crowd and it WAS charming. However, Murphys has so many street festivals that I attend (or not), that I realized half the fun is meeting and greeting half your neighbors and friends. Even, so, I would opt to do it again.
The local quilt faire was quite well done, as well. Our own guild in Calaveras County, the Independence Hall Quilters does a superb job and their workmanship is superior. (Of course, I'm biased.) But, hail to all quilters and lettuce queens. It was an excellent last day in Yuma.
Until Tomorrow
Back in Murphys, Karen tells me they have had false spring. She says,
"We can't send it back, so we might as well enjoy it."
(Jim is jealous of our weather...Heh, heh, heh!)

Friday, January 23, 2009


I'm leaving Yuma for good, tomorrow, with much of the city left to explore. I'm glad to announce that Jim's nudist friend Paul Weiner from Oasis Book Store is holding my camera for Jim to Pick up on the 29th. I'm so glad to have my trusted tool back.
I wanted to check out the desalinization plant here in Yuma, but wasn't able to get to it. My interview for yesterday got canceled because Paul Harder had fallen and thinks he has the flu. He is 94 years old. Be sure to click on Jim's PI link on my page to see Yikes, Spikes-
My picture today is daughter Kristanne who professes to have been on a Charity ride. I have no doubt it was a charity ride, but did Kristanne ride? Hmmm. I think she is just BIKER FLUFF!! Anyone who knows her will probably agree.
My daughter-in-law, Laurie sent me such a neat email, I thought I'd share it:

Never lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms
of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If
you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments
that take your breath away

Isn't that a great sentiment?
Today we will attend a lettuce festival and quilt show.
Hasta La Vista

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Hey, folks, it may surprise or shock you what this ole' grandma is doing in the desert at Quartzite... frolicking with a nudist! Paul Weiner is a nudist and he has owned the Book Oasis for twenty years. He has had his picture taken with 1000's of customers. The people of Quartzite accept him as he is, a browned, tan man, who by law has to wear a thong during business hours. When we arrived he was clad in a sweater plus the thong because it was a chilly morning. Before we left the book store he had shed his sweater. I took a picture of him on my camera, but then lost my camera. O, woe. The cat is Paul's. We went for the day so Jim could do the commercial for his speaking engagement at the Library on Jan. 29th. He gives a talk and has a book signing there on his latest book about RVing through Central America, about which he is an expert. He is also an expert on Central American History.
This gathering in Quartzite is the largest RV show in the world. The local paper estimated that 750,000 people attend this event with two million RV's puling into Quartzite each year.
We parked on a knoll and as far as the eye could see was a desert full of RVers. We visited several of Jim's friends, who are parked in a Singles Area. Different groups claim their spot and tend to return to the same area year after year. There is a Nudist Area; an area of Gays and Lesbians; Senior RVing Clubs both single and married. Other RV groups are defined by activities, such as kayaking or hiking. Other attendees are individuals with no connections. It is quite a gathering in any case. We walked through the vendors tent and my Birkenstock sandal came undone and one vendor gave us a free roll of Rescue Tape, which is a NASA product and very effective on high pressure leaks. Amazing stuff. Tomorrow, I'll include Jim's commercial that I caught on his cell phone.
Adios, Amigos

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I meant to do one blog today, as per usual. However, in Brownie's Restaurant, I spied this political treatise by an 18th century philosopher by the name of Andrew Oliver of Boston. Thought I'd repeat it for you on this auspicious day.
Politics is the most hazardous of all professions. There is no other in which a man (or woman) can hope to do so much good to his fellow creatures..and neither is there any in which, by mere loss of nerve, he may do widespread harm.
There is not another in which he may so easily lose his own soul nor is there another in which a positive and strict veracity is so difficult. But, danger is the inseparable companion of honor. With all its temptations and degradations that beset it, politics is still the noblest career any man (or woman) can choose.

The (or woman) was added by me.
I'll be back on Thursday


I've always maintained that having good friends makes you rich and its true in my life and Jim's life as well. Yesterday we had dinner with Horst and Margot Schnieder who have lived an incredibly colorful life. Married over 60 years, she is 84 and he is 88, and both are young at heart. Jim sees them once a year when he is in Yuma, and we enjoyed a typical German dinner of savory red cabbage, stew, potatoes and apple sauce. All home made from scratch. Terrific people.
Today is an historic day in American and my own personal history, January 20th, inauguration of the first black President of the United States. Personally, my oldest son, and two brothers share the 20th of January as their day of birth. As stated, I'm rich in friends and even better, rich in family as well. I love you all.
Pictures today are from our bike rides, the Yuma Territorial prison was a rustic adobe affair and 1/3 of it was removed to make way for the new highway and bridges. The lettuce fields we see everywhere in the area. They are the most marvelous green. Tomorrow, we will leave early for a day trip to Quartzite for Jim's commercial and a Howdy to old friends. No blog. Yay Obama.

Monday, January 19, 2009


This beautiful old St. Thomas Church sits on the site of the Purissimo Conception Mission site, built by the Spanish Padres in the 1700's. The original mission was burned by the Indians and replaced by this church. On our "two state" bike ride along the Colorado River yesterday, we crossed the Ocean to Ocean Bridge and briefly entered California and then back to Arizona. The mighty Colorado River is the border between the states in this neck of the woods. It was a beautiful day for a scenic bike ride of about 8 miles and good exercise as well. Of course, the beer I drank afterwards probably used up any calories I expended.
Lutes Casino is a well known restaurant and bar in Old Town Yuma. It's no longer a casino but in its rip-roaring heyday, it served as a brothel, a casino and now a down town hot spot. Good food, good beer, and the atmosphere is colorful with all manner of memorabilia hanging from the ceiling and covering the walls. Famous people over the years have their photos and autographs about the place. Ya gotta go to Lutes, is what people say. So, we did.
Hasta La Vista

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The Quartermaster's Depot sits on the banks of the Colorado River and was a Western Outpost for the military. The grounds, buildings and artifacts are now part of a State Park. The museum holds many, many wonderful old pictures and the most complete set of drawings of Civil War Uniforms known. The drawings were commissioned at a time when few leaders really thought it was important to record the various changes in uniforms over the years. Luckily for us, a very valuable history was preserved.
The depot was located near a shipping company on the banks of the Colorado River. The company brought paddle wheelers upriver to deliver goods as far up as Utah for $40 a ton. When a competitor went into business, the price dropped to $20 a ton. That is the devil in private enterprise and the savior is competition. It all came to a halt when dams impeded river traffic and the Pacific Railroad became the new "savior".

Travel is nothing if not educational and I will soon have to forget something to make room for all this new stuff I'm learning. At the museum, docents worked at weaving. This woman has a special loom called a shawl loom. Others made lace and turned cotton balls into weaveable threads.
Hasta La Vista

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars, so, the story goes. Married women tell tales, (its universal,) about men being terrified of running out of toilet paper. My guy has no such peccadillo. A true snowbird, he, instead, is terrified the weather might turn cold and he could actually experience rain!!. He diligently reviews the weather channel and drools over a good weather report. (See his tongue hanging out?) He puts a T shirt on every morning, and resents it if he has to change to sweats. That, and, now that he is down to about 5,000 plastic bags, its possible he could run out of them. He is avoiding California where they may be passing a law to charge consumers a clean-up fee for each plastic bag they use. O’ woe. What can I say! I, the Greenie cheer, while he scowls.
I do love to have fun at Jim's expense, but on a more serious note, I wasn't quite sure I understood the nomads that are part of the RV culture. The book, Back Roads America, has a statement by the author that defines Jim, so I will repeat it here. "I had grown attached to my nomadic existence, wandering the highways free to go anywhere, passing in and out of people’s lives with the impermanence of a weather front. Each day brought novelty-the narcotic of the traveler, and I was hopelessly addicted."
Adios Amigos

Friday, January 16, 2009


I couldn't resist sharing more photos from the Gunfighters of the Old West because they are so interesting. The crossed gun belts on this woman are very Spanish. But, that is not the subject of my blog today. Yesterday, when I returned from Mexico after my final dental work, I had an interesting experience with a Border Agent
crossing us back into the U.S. He was yapping with his partner across from him and hadn’t signaled me to come forward. I walked toward him and he said to me, “Are you trying to make trouble?” He was young, and I told him, no I wasn’t, as I beat a hasty retreat back to the red line. He signaled me immediately to step forward and said, “Hit me! I’d like 45 days off. Why don’t you punch me?” I told him: “I don’t hit anyone. But, my bag is heavy enough to knock you over.” I hefted it onto the counter. He checked my passport and waved me through. Jim was right behind me and this same agent asked him, "Are you bringing anything in from Mexico?" Jim said, not a thing? The guard asked him, "then what did you go to Mexico for?” Jim answered, "I’m with her, she’s getting her dental work done.” He passed Jim through. The guard was quite surly and I speculated about what he would have done if I’d hauled off and smacked him one. He was inviting me to do it. The thought made me giggle, but I don’t think I could have done it even if he had pissed me off, as he did Jim.
I wanted to take his picture, but big signs all over the border station warn you not too. Do I look threatening?
So, enjoy the gunfighter pictures.
Hasta la Vista

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today we made our final trip into Mexico to
take care of my dental work. YAY!!! Yesterday we had lunch at the Garden Cafe with Bob Gambol and his companion Hilda. Both are ex-marines. Bob back packed the world at age 55 and visited 168 different countries over a period of six years. Hilda, just got off one segment of the Appalachian Trail. She intends to hike the whole thing-its over 2,000 miles. She is in her 70's. What an interesting pair they are. And here in Yuma, you find that residual taste of the Old West, the modern and the decidedly different. I'm learning that people who choose alternative lifestyles, are interesting, cantankerous and contrary. More about Bob to follow as I am currently working on his manuscript. I have another victim on line as well. And, this photo of an old clock fits the craziness of the old west. It hung across the room from the bar. When the drinkers looked in the mirror, they could tell the time because the numbers, as you can see, are printed backwards. Some drinking somebody thought that one up I suspect.
Until manana.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


This is convict Evil Eye Jimmy. He started out so innocent, too. The "ladder", just steel spikes sticking out of an adobe wall were climb able. A note in the Arizona Sentinel of 1882 reports: "Sheriff Potts, of Mohave County will take down to Yuma by the next steamer, five prisoners convicted at the recent term of court. The number of years they will serve is 18, poor devils; we pity them: but pity should never be a allowed to undermine justice. The prison is now crowded with inmates, causing six to be locked in each cell. The unfortunates are suffering for room and air, and it would be inhuman to leave them there until and during the summer season.The legislature should take immediate steps for relief."
Of course, the old newspaper doesn't tell you if relief was given.
Adios Amigos-stay out of jail.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Being a jail oriented person,( shucks, I even met my husband in jail,) not too many people can say that. But, the Santa Rita Jail that I know and the Yuma Territorial Prison were very different places. These Iron bunks were made to alleviate bed bug problems. The prison was located in the wilds of Yuma because it was said the heat there could melt the wings off mosquitos. The Indians covered themselves in mud and crawled into their mud huts during the heat of the day and white guys stayed in the river and drank whiskey until it was sane to move about. Surely, this would be a great place to put a prison. No one could escape because the rivers were wild, the desert surround was savage, and mosquitos vicious. Unfortunately, it didn't prove to be true. Convicts escaped on a regular basis because the tin roof of the prison cooked them alive. Many died from heat alone. It was open for a short 33 years. All that said, I thought the most interesting thing about Yuma was the types of crimes people were punished for. For instance: Morman Polygamists and Bigamists were severely punished despite the promise of freedom of religion. One man was jailed for talking disrespectfully in public to a Yuma Statesman. Fighting and drunkeness and the usual crimes of murder, prostitution, theft and cattle rustling were all represented here as were 68 different ethnic groups/countries. I wish our archives had the funding that this interesting place has. More later.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Sunday, after a hearty Breakfast at Brownie’s CafĂ©, we tripped over to the Yuma Territorial Prison to watch a Gathering Of The Gunfighters. They had re-enactment groups from California, Nevada and Arizona at this particular annual affair. They have a three day competition and judging of their skills and costuming. Notable was the knock-up western buildings which, while small, weren’t far from the real time shacks and shanties of old West towns.
Today, Gunfighter groups are so popular they are divided into eras. The 1850’s, the 1880’s, early 1900s. Some are fancy “Dan” gamblers and Shady Ladies, Spanish Vacqueros, and Basque Herders or an outlaw gang or simple western cowpunchers. These groups first competition was in the form of a skit. One depicted the lawlessness of the old West and the repercussions of new rules preventing the carrying of guns into the saloons. Another about western Mayors and Sheriff’s bribing Mexicans to vote for them, even when they ignored them the rest of the year, and so on. It was entertaining even if a bit corny. The costuming was rich. Perhaps the serious competition was slated for later in the day.
I’ve seen gunfighter groups who ply their hobby with such seriousness that the altercation they re-enact is anything but corny. It is so realistic, babies cry, dogs howl and grown men shiver at what the Old West was really like.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


In the Northern U.S. when it snows, the white coverlet erases all faults and provides beauty. Here in Yuma, especially in the poor part of town, water is scarce and people don't have lawns. The dirt blows, they still crop dust here and the air quality is suspect. But, in the early morning light, all hard scrabble is erased and the half light provides beauty just like the snow.
We traveled to the Ocean to Ocean Bridge at first light for this photograph of the historic Yuma Crossing. This bridge was built in 1915 as the first bridge that allowed travel by car from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean by the southern route. Early morning moonlight reflects on this narrow section of the Colorado River. In territorial days, even without a bridge, this was one of the only places to get across this wild and raging river, which is now tamed to a low flow. It's just a trickle by the time it reaches Mexico.
The weather is beautiful, Jim the snowbird is chirping a happy song and all is well on the western frontier.
Saw, and recommend, A Civil Action, with John Travolta, which we saw last night.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Each day finds us at Yuma Public Library to check email and post a blog. That is, all days except Sunday. Upon arrival I look with envy at this beautiful library and fervently wish it were located in Calaveras County. The inside is a marvel as well and yet, we have yet to spend a day lolling around the place, perusing and losing oneself in a book or two. But the temptation is strong and I'm determined to have one complete library day before I leave Yuma. Hmmmm. Strangely enough, on the road, the relaxed lifestyle, the hours fill up and I never get done what I would wish to each day.
Currently, I'm working on Bob Gambol's rambles in South America. At one point, he was returning to his hotel at dusk and he saw a guy walking towards him. It was a rough and tumble town so he crossed the street. The guy crossed as well, his intent clear. Bob waited until the guy was 50 feet from him, reached in his pocket and brought out his hand in the shape of a pistol and said as loud as he could, "BANG!" The guy took off running. Altercation averted. Rather amazing.
Jim and I talked about characters we've known. (Bob his one of his rambling friends who backpacked the world from 1991 to 1997.) As we talked I realized, I've known many characters in my life and I'm so grateful to have crossed paths with them. As a writer, I hope to get them all down on paper. (Some of them are my own family members.)

Friday, January 9, 2009


Yesterday was the big day. I was supposed to go for a short appointment and have my final crowns inserted. Ohhhhhh, boy. We arrived in Algondones, Mexico at Dr. Deni Salinas' office at 9 A.M. but didn't leave until 6:00 p.m. It was a looooooong day. Nothing serious, just sending my crowns back to the lab, and waiting, and fitting, and waiting, etc.
So I have a new smile and got to eat some of the best tamales I've ever had. Tamale makers in this area put green olives in their tamale and I love the flavor. I also got my haircut at Judy's in Garza Plaza and saw some interesting metal sculpture. Ever the wanna be arteeste, I habitually photograph artwork. Its been a long time habit. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Mary the environmentalist is a strong, incurable greenie. I recycle and complain if other's don't. So, I haul out my mesh bag and the grocers here in Yuma look at me as though I'm a strange critter. I reuse and carry plastic bags so they get a second go around. Jim keeps counting his plastic bag stash under the refrigerator (10,000 of them I"M sure.) "We're gonna run out of garbage bags, he fears." HAH! Now places to recycle in Yuma are not very plentiful. So, I called the Chamber, the Visitors Bureau and the Solid Waste Dept. and lo, they DO recycle here. And, I asked about gleaning and much to my surprise, they glean here in Yuma, too. Oh, now I'm happy! Jim says, we better get over to recycling pretty soon or I won't be able to see out the back window. He has to get greener. The recycle bag is getting so full it is blocking his vision. (chortle) I've taken over his refrigerator until he doesn't recognize it. Now all the space in the Bronco. And this morning I declared that I would be carrying a plastic bag with me on the bike to pick up cans that people throw out. Ohhhhh! Groan-
Poor Jim. He doesn't have a clue what's in store for him. He doesn't know about my hobby of collecting photos of art work including benches.
Oh joy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I have a friend, Richard Patton, who is a veritable crusader against the current fire alarms installed in most homes. He crusades against them because they are ineffective. He worked in the industry for years and knows of what he speaks. To condense the danger I'm repeating information from this website: . Another is
Early warning is the key to surviving smoldering fires, the deadliest kind of home fire. Ionization technology to sense the presence of smoke is slow to warn, if it warns at all, especially smoldering fires which typically happen while occupants are sleeping. Most smoke detectors work on the principle of ionization. Smoke particles enter the chamber and the alarm triggers. Burning toast for instance, generates a lot of small particles and sounds the alarm. But smoke particles from a burning couch, for instance, are large and fewer in number and don't set off your alarm. Having a detector that doesn't work efficiently lulls you into a false sense of safety. And, in fact, many lives are lost each year because the industry continue to sell devices that don't do the job they were intended to do.
I'm an activist and that is a part of my personality, so message delivered.
On the personal front, Jim and I enjoyed a bike ride and picking fresh organic oranges. I also completed an interview with Bob Gambol who backpacked to 128 countries and one Sultanate in six years, in his fifties. He visited communist countries and places where tourists didn't and couldn't go. He avoided the usual European destinations. An amazing feat.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Yuma is an agriculture area. We see vast fields of lettuce, kale, cabbages and alfalfa plus orchards of citrus and dates. Packing houses with iconic names like Dole and US Packing Company are evident about the area.
Sheep in herds of undulating wool are visible in the background as the individual sheep cruise the fence lines and seem less sensitive to traffic.
We drove out to the edge of town, crossed the Colorado River that put us in California for a couple hours as we visited Bob Gambol and man who lived and worked in Las Vegas at one point in his life. He claimed that people, when they found out his name, advised him that it was a lucky name and he should put a lot of money out there. He wisely didn't. Some of those quirky superstitious gamblers did. Much to their chagrin.
Bob Gambol is a WIN, a rambler like Jim, and an interesting individual who back-packed 128 different countries over a period of six years. He avoided the most traveled spots, such as Europe. He chose instead, the off beat, small towns, communist countries and revisted Viet Nam where he spent two years at war.
The wandering culture of the RV world is an interesting phenomena that I have yet to explore fully and to understand.
But, I'm working on it.