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Monday, January 30, 2012

A word from Germany
A bleak winter sun fights to make way through the white of clouds in the east. The frosty fields are covered by a thin layer of snow. A fierce wind is blowing off the Baltic sea, bringing the wind chill down to God-knows-how many degrees below freezing.
Northern Germany in late January was so far removed from my memory and now it feels like a shock. Yet I grew up in among this landscape, the wintry cold seems frightening now. I am standing here, shivering through the frosty days with the coldness penetrating into my body. Is it the cold weather alone alone which makes me shiver, or is the fact that mother is gone contributing to it? I catch myself longing to be back in the California desert. What a selfish thought! There are duties and plights to be fullfilled right here.
We have mother´s funeral coming up on Wednesday, and guests from various parts of the country will be arriving. There will be that afternoon after the funeral to go through with. A gathering at the local restaurant with scores of people. It´s gonna be a hard day for all of us. Dad has been holding up so far, but there are days after that. Lonely days for Dad. The big house out on the country always seems so cold, and the winter is far from being over. Classical music is waftring through the house. It was HER kind of music, but it was also music I grew up with. It never before sounded like today.

Saturday, January 28, 2012




We learned that 'the event cooks about 12,000 pounds of specially ordered fresh pork ribs. Ribs are not the only thing on the menu, as tacos and side dishes will be sold by vendors. And for dessert, there will be home-made ice cream.'
12.000 pounds of pork ribs...

..waiting to be consumed

'There will be 750 volunteers and around 1,200 to 1,500 people are expected to visit. All proceeds from the ribs sold go to different charities and programs across Imperial County. 25 teams participating in the rib contest. A $1,000 grand prize is up for the team that makes the best ribs. But most of the prize money usually is donated back. '
Long lines everywhere
It was pretty breezy but that did not deter people from participating. When we (5 adults and 3 dogs), arrived at around 10:30 AM, the place was packed with locals and winter visitors (snowbirds). The aroma of grilled, smoked meat wafted through the air. 
yummy.....

spicy chili

Long lines everywhere for the ribs and other goodies. We got our tickets and found a booth with no line at all. 
...yummy
Their grilled ribs were tasty nonetheless. Additional we got a bowl of spicy Chili. 

From up on the bleachers we got a real good look over the area.
View from the bleachers



Then back again into the line for ice cream.


The dogs tried to get our attention in vain.  
Miesha, Taffy and Molly
We enjoyed great food and good music of three bands. Now we are looking forward to the "Carrot festival" in February. There is always something going on!
Thanks for visiting! (Bea) 







Dear Friends and Readers 


We want to thank you for your heartfelt emails of condolence. Your prayers, supportive and warm thoughts mean a lot to us. It is so good to feel that we are surrounded by friends who care.


Thank you, friends.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It is hard to say Good Bye forever


Hi all, this is Bea writing while Peter is on his way to Germany.


We lost J.P.' mother, Lotti.
She passed away in the early morning hours of January 25th.

At her 60th Wedding Anniversary, Oct 7, 2010
She is survived by her husband Hasso of 61 years, two sons (Jens-Peter and Ingo), their families and her two sisters (Inge and Erika).

We had many a good time together, especially while we used to live in Norway.
They visited us a lot and loved to hike with us in the mountains.
These memories will stay alive in our hearts forever. She was the best mother-in-law I can imagine.
God rest her soul.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Family Matter in Germany
A serious family affair makes it necessary that I fly to Germany on the 25th. Therefore I have to put in a mandatory break in my postings until after February 16. Maybe Bea will be putting up a posting. Please stay tuned and if you have a prayer or two, please do so.


God bless you!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

 

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Today I was off to Yuma. It was time for the German Festival and I had to pick up a FEDEX parcel and fill up a tank of propane.

The German Fest was to be held on Madison Ave in the old town. Since I came early there was lots of available parking. Pretty soon the first band “Just for Fun” entered stage. Canadian Snowbirds playing for Snowbirds, could it get any better.

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Down the Street a row of vendors had set up and were offering food, beer, pop, wine, pastries and souvenirs among other stuff. Even Harleys were on sale today.

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Passing the booth of the “Bratwurst Haus” I got real hungry and ordered a “Curry Wurst” and potato salad. Ah… yummy.

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After an hour the bands changed. Now the Yuma Accordion Band entered stage. This group of enthusiasts have been playing together for 9 years and are joined by Canadian Snowbirds every winter. This year a couple of Wisconsin joined the group for the German Fest. They sure knew how to play German music, and they could even yodle.

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Speaking of yodling, I must say I am always amazed to see that the North American understanding of German culture results in Lederhosen, blue/white checkered flags and symbols and yodle and umpta-music. What we see of re-enacted German culture is actually BAVARIAN. So it fits the picture that not a single German flag was seen today. I wonder why.  

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Anyway, regardless of what flag is on the pole, it sure was a very entertaining fest.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Santa Claus back at the Hot Springs!
He is "off duty" now, and has brought the reindeers back to northern Sweden, where Rudolph and his friends can enjoy a nice nordic spring and summer before they are again called to duty in next december. 
You guessed it, I'm talking about Santa Claus who came yesterday in his red-hot truck rolling down the dusty road to the Hot Springs.
Santa was nice enough to grant me a little interview. And I asked him how he ended up as Santa. 
"I had a friend who did this and at some point I took over for him when he couldn't do it"  
Apparently it must have been a lot of fun, for the new Santa decided to get on the road and be a professional. 


I am impressed about the working hours, or should I say working weeks? In the U.S. Santa starts working the 2nd.week in November, while in Canada it is the 3rd. week in November. After Christmas, Santa is off duty again and can relax from all the traveling and meeting all the kids.


By the way, our Santa here has gotten himself quite a truck to travel all these long distances. The Tractor frame was extended with a few feet and a fancy body with living quarters and a garage for a small car was built on top.


Santa made also sure that other highway drivers noticed that this was Santa-on-the-road. Approaching the truck from the rear it reads "Be Nice" and "Believe" and on the bumper are arrows for passing traffic saying "Nice Side" on the left side and "Naughty Side" for those wanting to pass Santa on the right side.

We would have liked to have Santa around for a while, because he is real nice fellow, however, Mrs.Claus is at home way up in the North and needs her husband around. So Santa is North-bound tomorrow.


Good thing I met him today. And if, you Santa, read this I can asure you that I will be nice all year round and hope you have a package with a little something for me next Christmas.


And THANK YOU, Santa for the Interview.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
We are still BLOCKED off from I-8 and by now most people are using the access road from the north over 2miles of incredible dusty desert roads. 


There is no telling when construction on the bridge will start. Many I have talked to have said they won't be back next year, if the bridge stays closed. It is too much of an inconvenience.


Bea has been SICK with the flu for a couple of days, and we wonder whether that was the reason of her recent problems, when she needed to go to the E.R. However, after 2 days down she is on the road to recovery. 
Another neighbor had to go down the same road having an experience of her own at the E.R. 
Don't get the FLU!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Earthquake!
At 5.31am I was still in bed. But I had noticed the slight rocking of the coach. Earthquake - I thought and checked it on the pages of the USGS. And there it was - a big blue square south of the border. It was  a 4.1 and only 0.2km under the surface. 
Earthquake map centered at 33°N,115°W

Magnitude4.1
Date-Time
Location32.345°N, 115.235°W
Depth0.2 km (~0.1 mile) (poorly constrained)
RegionBAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
Distances
  • 13 km (8 miles) WNW (298°) from Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico
  • 40 km (25 miles) SSE (147°) from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
  • 44 km (28 miles) SE (146°) from Calexico, CA
  • 169 km (105 miles) E (97°) from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 2 km (1.2 miles); depth +/- 3.7 km (2.3 miles)
ParametersNph= 33, Dmin=50 km, Rmss=0.48 sec, Gp=223°,
M-type=local magnitude (ML), Version=0
Source
Event IDci15098716

We have had quakes here in earlier years. I remember a 4.7 which rocked us pretty good. And one year, we had just left the area a 7.2 struck the area and caused quite a damage on buildings on both sides of the border.


San Andreas Fault
Being that close to the San Andreas Fault we are aware of that earthquakes can occur at any time. When visiting the Joshua Tree National Park recently I was looking down on the San Andreas Fault from Keys View Point.

The good thing for us is that we are not in a building, but in an RV. It would take a lot to cause damage to an RV parked out in the desert. The worst scenario would be that roads break up and we can't get out.


Enjoy a quake-free day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jamming it up...
Every tuesday a bunch of gifted musicians are meeting under the canopy of an RV for jamming. Today was the most beautiful weather and a nice crowd had found time to listen to the gang, consisting of snowbirds and locals.
Locals and Snowbirds jamming it up
"Bring a chair and have fun" are about the only official requirements if you want to come for listening in. Of course new talents are always welcome as well.


And that's about it for today, folks. We are living a totally unexciting life out here, unless of course, you count the previous trip to the E.R.  :-)


Stay healthy, folks!


This "Big-Hat-Lady" sure like to have shade in the bright California sun

Monday, January 16, 2012

A trip to the ER
Over the last coupla days Bea had complained about shortness of breath, and yesterday evening it got worse. The symptoms she had, were those of a heart attack. So we got busy with calling our insurance company, preparing for a claim.
We had to go over dark dusty desert roads to get out of the BLM-camp and reached the Emergency Room of the El Centro Regional Hospital about 40 minutes later.


Over the course of the next hours Bea got checked and cross-checked. After 4 1/2hrs of doing tests she was released with the message that the tests hadn't shown anything wrong with her.


We had first anticipated that the dust in the area would be the culprit, but that didn't seem to be the case. We are still at a loss as to what went wrong.


Had this been a real cardiac arrest case we would not have made it to the hospital in time. The unfortunate situation with the closed bridge has given us a disadvantage which could turn out deadly in live-or-death emergency.


I am not in the mood to elaborate any further, just wanted to let this message leave my laptop.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

OK, let's have a Party,
We are no party animals, but when friends came by yesterday and asked us whether we would go to a party in town we accepted. 


The party was at the Silverado Ranch and the reason they had it was Enrique's 65th birthday. A birthday party. We had been at "The Ranch" before, so we knew a bit about it. A big open hall with walls at the small ends only, and open to the sides is the place where it happens.


Shortly after our arrival a 4-man band assembled on stage. (Yep, they have a stage!) and started to blow the tunes of the  fifties and sixties. It was good music but LOUD. I saw other snowbirds installing their earplugs. In fact they were dancing with earplugs. We didn't bring ours - how would you know about it? So we sat tight, hoping for a break. There was somethig else I had forgotten to bring - a warm jacket. See, it was a cool day out here and I should have known. So in order to stay warm we milled with the other dancers.


Enrique and his wife Elvira have a lot of friends between snowbirds and have been known to throw a party from time to time. There is always lots of food, drink and dance. A couple of years ago they had hired a full-blown Mariachi band. THAT brought the old legs to moving around.


When the first band quit after an hour, another band mounted the stage. The new band had a couple of real oldtimers working the instruments over and some were Enrique's and Elvira's family. Have you guessed it that they are Mexican? . Their music was many decibels lower and somehow increased the number of dancers rapidly. 


We had some food but with the outside temperatures I felt a shiver creeping up on me, so we took our farewells and thanks for the company.


After warming up in the coach and a coupla hours later our neighbours popped over, and we played cards for a while. Well, they taught us a new card game. Don't even know the name of it, but we had great fun.


And that was Saturday. 


Now, looking out of the window I can't see the sun. A cloudy day and if I remember it right the weather guy had annonced "a chance of rain". Normally, that doesn't happen out here, and if we get rain, then it might be a torrential one. In that case we have only one way out of here - the old broken Hwy 80, as the dirt roads will be transformed into mud beds.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

To Algodones for new eyeglasses
I heard Molly whining, but it was still dark. Way too early, I thought, but what the heck. Didn't I plan to drive to Algodones for pickup of my new eyeglasses? 


Right. 


So I got up and went outside with Molly. The car was covered in ice and boy did I get the shiver. Back inside the furnace had kicked in and I put on the water boiler. Get a cup of coffee and then - on with the day.


I left camp at 7:30 and went onto the old Hwy 80 towards Yuma. 
Quickly I got across the border and as usual the "market shouters" tried to get my attention, once I was walking the street in Algodones. Luckily, the optometrist isn't far from the border. So it didn't take me long to get the glasses. I walked straight back to the border crossing and to my car.


Used the opportunity to gas up with cheaper Arizona gas and got 2 decent breads from the European Deli place.  Was back in Camp at 10:15am. Not bad for going after some business on an early friday morning.


It was napping time after lunch and somehow I managed to snore away 1 1/2hrs of this beautiful sunny day. Had to fully waken up again with a good old cup of coffee and an icecream.


Made an honest attempt to attend a neighbors bonfire, but with the plunging temps we got too cold and went home.


So that was all and funny enough I am tired again. Too much excitement for one day, I guess.


Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bloggers meet at the Hot Spring
After yesterday's return from Joshua Tree National Park, it became clear that we had another blogger couple in camp. These were Georg and Suzie Yates, and this morning they came for a short visit before they were heading out again to Pilot Knob. They are fulltimers but come from Ontario, Canada. We had an easy chat about all kind of topics, but they were having plans for the day, so we said our Good Byes with the promise to meet again some day, maybe in a totally different spot.


And I went back to putting our internet contraption back on. 
Later I went on an explorative mission. I wanted to check out 3 ways to leave this area without using that darn old Hwy 80. First I went north in the camp. At the end the camp road makes a break through some bushes and one has to follow the canal road for a little bit. Then one reaches a bridge across the canal. It is an old wooden bridge and I just hope it isn't falling down when crossing it with our motor home. The distance from there to our spot is just 2 miles, which isn't too too bad.
The 2. road I checked leads under the I-8 and down through the South BLM-area. It ends up on Holdridge road and joins with the Verde School Rd. However the bridge from there across the canal is closed as well. I never got that far as I met a huge mud pudle farther down which I'd never cross in hundred years.
The 3. option is going down Holdridge Rd. right from the beginning at the south side of I-8. However I ended up at the very same mud puddle. 
Both gravel roads on the south side are way too far to go with a motor home. They are rutted, bumpy and unbelievably dusty. Nobody will get me to drive that direction.
That just leaves the old Hwy 80 or the run north out of camp for us.
I happen to come across a piece of information to the extent that Public Works had applied for funding for the bridge repair just a few days ago, inspite that the bridge has been closed with wooden barriers since july. That means the bridge will never get fixed this year, and we will not return to the Hot Springs next winter. 
It is sad that lazy bureaucrats can drag their feet that long, making life miserable for others. It is also highly remarkable that the campers at Hot Springs are being treated so badly, after we have been spending thousands of dollars every winter in the local community.




Sorry folks to bother you with this but I had to let it out. Afterall, what do we have blogs for?


Thanks for visiting!

We left the Park
But before we did I made another trip to Keys View Point and I started early. In fact I was up so early that I got the sunrise on pictures. But then everything went dull. Clouds everywhere and the colors just disappeared. Again I was contemplating whether I should turn back - this time for a different reason, for the SD-card was in the camera alright.




Well, I went on. At about 8:30am I reached Keys View. Got out of the car and almost lost the door in a terrible wind gust. When I climbed the last steps to the top of the view point I had to lean against a ferocious storm. It was like I had no coat on - the wind went straight through me. The haze and the grey clouds all but obscured the view towards Mt. Jacinto. Yet I took a number of shots. I knew I could remove some of the haze with help of my graphic program on my laptop.
From the Keys Viewpoint: Mt Jacinto
But this was no place to dwell on. I waited a few minutes in the car as the sun seemingly tried to break through the grey layer, but it did not improve much.


Returning down the road I stopped in the "Lost Horse Valley" for a couple of more shots. A huge rock formation, called "Cap Rock" incited my curiosity. Looking up at the rock I could see why this name was so approbriate. On top of the rock sat a smaller rock on a slope looking just like a cap.
Down here not a grass straw was moving. I met a young chap who apparently had slept the night in his station wagon. I told him about the storm at Keys View and I think he did not believe me. And I can understand that. It was just not plausible in such a quiet place as we were at.



After returning to the coach, (it was 11:30 by then) we had lunch and packed up. I had a sudden desire to get "home" to our Holtville Hot Springs camp.
We went down Box Canyon, and reached Mecca by the Salton Sea. Following Hwy 111 we stopped at Walmart in Brawley for stocking up on food. After a week with absolutely no shopping, our fridge looked like it had been robbed by some hungry desperados.


 Coming down to Holtville we had to backtrack 11 miles past the turnoff to the BLM area, as some stupid California bureaucrats had ordered the bridge across the All-American Canal closed off, this time with solid concrete barriers. We have to consider how long we are gonna stay here. With the bridge closed we have pretty much lost connection with the I-8, unless we make that 22mile (back+forth) over the cracked up old Hwy 80. It pretty much made all the shelfes in our pantry come down.


But lets not not get too much into that for now. We will evaluate the situation over the next 2 weeks.


We welcome George and Suzie Yates as new followers. You guys are parked in the same spot as we, the Holtville Hot Springs.


Thanks for stopping by!