Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, Ein Glückliches Neues Jahr, Feliz año nuevo, Bonne année, Felice Anno Nuovo, Godt nytår, Ευτυχισμένος ο καινούριος χρόνος, Feliz Ano Novo, Godt Nyttår,Šťastný Nový Rok, Gelukkig Nieuwjaar,Boldog új évet,Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku, С Новым Годом Gott nytt år, Честита Нова Година

To our families, our friends and everyone in Blog Land!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Time Zones
Looking at yesterday's blog, I see today's date on top of it. (now it has moved on top of this posting) Time Zones are the reason for it. I worked on it last evening and by that time Blogger had already changed the date. Or has it something to do with the time zone, my computer is set to?  Nope, my laptop is set to Pacific Time. Gotto be at Blogger where that happens. It's just so that most of the days's happenings happen to be at my knowledge by the evening. It's about the same as to say "You shouldn't praise the day before the evening". You've heard that before, right?
Kofa Mountains between Yuma and Quartzsite

Got an email from my brother again. He has had a bad day.
Going down a German Highway there happens to be an accident with a car about 300ft in front of him. That one was about to make a left turn, causing the following vehicle to make a full brake-up. The next was so close that he wanted to avoid to run into the stopped vehicle and turned into the left lane where it came to a frontal collision with an oncoming car. 
They have a speed limit of 50mph there, but most people make it 60mph, so go figure. 
Anyway, brother stops and helps other people dragging the injured out of their smashed cars. Luckily nobody died, but all three persons had severe injuries. A chopper arrives and lots of ambulances and police around.

Brother says 30 minutes later he got the big jitter. I would have too.

And what have we been doing?

Yesterday we had a phone call that my eye-glasses had arrived at the Optometrist in Algodones,Mexico. So this morning we were up early and were heading out on I-8.
Alas, after parking the car for $5.00 at the border it turned out that they had forgotten to put the anti-glare on the glasses. So our trip was done for no good reason. Anyway, we continued to downtown Yuma and had lunch at Steiners European Deli Market where we enjoyed a very rich sandwich with "Leberkäse". God, was that good!
Then off to the Super Fuels Station to get our two propane tanks filled. Of course there was a line-up again, but I stood out with that. 

When going "to town", I have a tendency to stick to whatever I had set out to do, while Bea could easily veer off and use the day for some none-topic shopping, which is fine with me, but only if I'm not involved in that. I guess that's why wifes should have their own day to go do whatever they like. To me shopping is a total waste of time.

Don't shop until you drop!

Thanks for visiting!

The big Internet Search
Today, we were spending hours and hours on the internet, searching for the best solution for Bea's flight to Germany this spring. Bea needs to visit her mother and maybe see my family as well. At around noon we had found out that we won't get anything under $900.00. Fuel surcharges must take the blame for the higher than normal prices. 
So then the question was should she fly from Arizona or after we get back to Maine? Since prices are getting even higher in April we decided to book from Phoenix during the 1.week of March. While Bea will be in Germany I will stay around somewhere not too far away from the city for 2 weeks. I will see to discover the area south east of Safford,AZ.
From our Christmas gathering
There isn't much more to say so I better shut up before you are yawning. You ARE already yawning? Ouch!

By then!

Don't get cold!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Canal
It is the longest (85miles) irrigation canal in the world. It is called the All-American Canal. I am not sure whether this name was chosen to insult the Mexicans or what else the meaning was. Fact is: the western most branch runs right besides the BLM-area where we are camped. Unlike the stretch which runs across the Imperial Sand Dunes which was lined with concrete over the previous years, the piece up here actually looks more like a natural river. Whereever there is water, vegetation grows up and tall trees have grown in patches along the canal. The picture below was taken by Expedition 19 from the International Space Station.
All-American Canal

The canal carries 26,155 cubic feet of water pr.second westwards from the Colorado River. It serves 9 cities including San Diego and irrigates more than 500,000 acres of agricultural fields.


The Harvest: Tons of hay

An old wooden bridge

Unfortunately, it has also turned out to be the most dangerous water body in the U.S. Over 550 people, mostly illegal border crossers, have already drowned in it.  Every year, several vehicles are ending up in the canal.

This morning I went along the canal and took a couple of shots.
Irrigating the fields

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some are rolling down the road
Had the pleasure of reading Elaine's blog, E&R's Travels, today. They have left New Brunswick and are rolling southward in "Ossumer", their new Motor Home. It seems they have experienced "cool" temps underway as Elaine got cold on her legs. We have experienced the very same problem in our MH, and of course we are wondering why MH-Manufacturers haven't managed to put a usable strong heating system into their vehicles. Afterall nobody freezes in a Greyhound Buss when going down the road. If a Greyhound can have an efficient heating system why can't a MH have it? 
We have actually purchased an electric fan to put on the floor in front of the dash. Of course we have to let the genny run, which adds to the already poor fuel mileage these big rigs have.

But that is nothing compared to what Mike and Janna have experienced last night, Somebody messed with their Jeep!
Out here in desert land the day was a quiet one with temps climbing up to the mid-seventies. (F) And after a row of colder days that feels really well. Could sun-tan myself this afternoon. We took a dip in the hot pool, which was newly cleaned this morning. The Hot Spring is one of the main reasons for us to come here. It resembles a small oasis and is shielded from the Interstate by huge palm trees.

We have also noticed new rigs coming in. These are often those who have spent Christmas with their families before heading south for the winter.

Again new followers have joined up. Welcome Mike and Dee and BJ!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Depending of which country we talk about traditions vary a lot. In Europe there is Christmas Eve, which is the main day during Christmas, followed by the 1. and the 2. day of Christmas, after which most people return to work. Most stores will stay closed over the 1. and the 2. day. providing people  with the opportunity of peace and enough time to spend with their families. 

North America is different. After only one day of closed stores commerce will re-start on boxing day with a new buyers frenzy. Most people are back at work on boxing day which I personally find very, very sad. Yet we are singing about "The 12 days of Christmas". 

Well, all WE did today was getting a few groceries and getting to a laundry, all of which we could have done before Christmas or postponed for another day. That's how modern society is changing our habits.
Yesterday I had put on a video of the biggest Miniature Wonderland of the World. It is located in a huge old building at the harbour in Hamburg, Germany. Last year, while I was visiting family in Germany, I had the opportunity to see this masterpiece of small-scale engineering. I went with an old school buddy, and of course, we took the train down to Hamburg. After leaving the main trainstation downtown, we switched to the subway and ended up right across from the Wonderland.

Many visitors show up early in the morning and leave in the very last minute, only to come back next morning. The Miniature Wonderland cannot be explored in a couple of minutes. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to show you Wonderland in a 5 minute movie, but I can at least give your some impressions:

Even if this movie should take some time for the download, you should not miss watching it. It is simply AMAZING!

And here is a bit of the history:

Frederik Braun and his then-girlfriend and today’s wife were visiting the alpine city of Zurich in July 2000. Sauntering together through the alleys of Zurich’s center, they came across a railway model shop, which at once evoked childhood memories in Frederik.

During the following hours, the idea of realizing the long forgotten childhood dream became more and more mature. On the very same day he called his twin brother Gerrit and surprised him with the following words: „We are going to build the largest model railway in the world“.

Gerrit, who is more rational and sceptical by nature, doubted Frederik’s state of mind and didn’t take the idea too seriously. However, after having received about six more calls from Frederik enthusiastically presenting new ideas about this topic, Gerrit realized that his brother was very serious about it. So, he started thinking about the project from an economical and technical point of view.

The result was that the project is technically demanding, the economic aspect is very risky and from an entrepreneurial view it is crazy – but, still possible. Gerrit had been infected by this idea as well. The two brothers passed the coming days intensely planning their dream despite many doubts and misgivings from their environment.

Only a few days after Zurich’s enlightenment both of them were sure that they would engage in this adventure.
How was the decision reached?
Before this dream became reality, one thing had to be ensured: the adventure must not totally destroy their existence as discotheque and music label owners which the Braun brothers had built up over years.

It had to be clarified, whether the dream was financially feasable at all, if enough visitors would come, whether the technical realisation was possible, and whether there was an appropriate place available in Hamburg where the world’s largest model railroad could be established.

In order to find out if it is possible to cover expenses with enough visitors, they decided to carry out a survey. More than 3,000 persons with different social demographic attributes were questioned via Internet, and were supposed to rate which of the 45 attractions listed, some of them fictitious, they would visit in Hamburg.

The invented Miniatur Wunderland concept came in third place considering men’s voting, but was rated on the very last place considering women. Despite this ambiguous result the twin brothers had made up there mind: “WE ARE GOING TO BUILD THE LARGEST MODEL RAILROAD IN THE WORLD.“

How was the Wunderland financed?
It didn’t take long to realise that a model railroad of that size and the planned attention to detail will be very expensive and can only be financed by loans. The Braun brothers took an A4 sized paper with a draft of their idea and went to their bank asking for a credit of 2 million D-Mark.

Both of them were sure that bankers would be laughing at them – 2 million D-Mark, an A4 sized paper and a dream of a model railraod… That doesn’t necessarily sound plausible to a banker – they thought. The more they were surprised when the bank soon granted the loan.

With hindsight, the calculation turned out to be completely wrong as out of 2 Mio. D-Mark became more than 7.3 Mio. Euros to this day. Fortunately they misjudged the number of visitors as well – in June 2007 the 4 millionth visitor was expected. And so the bank granted two more increases.

At this point it has to be mentioned that the Miniatur Wunderland, unlike most other exhibitions of this size, goes without any kind of government aid. The construction phase after the resolution was made to build the largest model railroad of the world, the two brothers drove around Germany and looked at different model layouts.

Hundreds of ideas were explored to create a model train experience that would be entertaining for the whole family. Enclosing a facility behind a window pane wouldn’t be part of the plan, but instead the idea was to create a giant, immersive experience.

“Our idea was to build a world that men, woman, and children can be equally astonished and amazed in”, says the co-creator Gerrit Braun of the philosophy.

With this philosophy and thousands of ideas they drove to Gerhad Dauscher in the city of Mühlhausen (near Neumarkt). Gerhard was infected immediately with the concept and dropped all his contracts and appointments. This day played a large role in the Miniatur Wunderland being what it is today.

Prior to construction, a team had to be assembled. For this, the three held a model construction casting, with over 150 persons applying and 40 being short-listed to attend. Based on the casting, Gerhard assembled a team of model creators, of which up to 95% were not classical model-makers, but instead excellent craftsmen.

In this way, the construction of the Miniatur Wunderland that exists today began. The original layout was 1000 square meters, with many more today and planned up until 2014. In the Weekly Reports you will find documentation about the construction progress and other timely information.

I can't wait to see this giant model railroad again. Especially the new "Knuffingen" Airport stirrs my curiosity.

Traveling is fun and makes you rich. 

Get rich!

And thanks for stopping by.

I almost forgot to welcome John and Ellen who climbed aboard the blogging train. Take a seat and see where we are headed. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!
Magic Tree of my childhood. Our Tannenbaum has always been of the size that just about touched the ceiling of our living room. It was decorated elaborately with tinsel and silvery ornaments made out of glass. There was little angels and birds, and it was customary to hang all kind of sweets into the tree. We stood and marvelled at that tree. The tree was carrying 12 white candles and when we entered the room all electric lights were switched off. Only the 12 candles were lit. They threw a mesmerizing shine, reflected by the ornaments. 

Mom was playing the Grand Piano and we were all singing a Christmas Choral. 

Most years we had snow outside. We kids opened our gifts and later we were all having our Christmas Dinner.

The above video is taken from the "Mini Wonderland" in Hamburg 
Germany, the biggest model train display in the world.

I don't remember exactly the year, but one Christmas was standing out in an amazing way. Beside the Christmas Tree our parents had set up an entire model train display, with a train eagerly steaming through an unbelievably detailed landscape and with small houses illuminated from the inside. Dad and Mom had been building this over many, many weeks in all secrecy without ever letting us have the slightest idea.

The memories we have from our childhood will stay with us for the rest of our lifes. It is therefor important to give this greatest gift of a pleasant memory to every child.

Enjoy the time with your families!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

To all our readers and fellow bloggers and their families: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The day started cold with below freezing temps. However, Mrs. Sun warmed up the California Desert pretty fast and we had to hang our shade screen from the awning. 
After extensive talks to our European Families and Friends we will enjoy a nice lunch and attend the Candle Light Mass
at the Lutheran Church in El Centro.

Bea has done her magic and decked our rig into a Christmas setting.
Have a wonderful time where ever you are and thanks for keeping an eye on us!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Strong Winds are blowing
It is kinda cold outside. A strong wind is blowing out of the North. We are inside the rig talking to family through SKYPE. Earlier I went to Holtville for drinking water, propane and to check on any mail coming in.
The Holtville Post Office is opposite of a hardware store, so following a sudden thought I went inside, looking for an outdoor carpet to put under our awning. 
Walking through the sandy soil we get too much dirt inside. A carpet is taking away most of that.
Bought a 20ft. of that green outdoor mat and installed it outside our rig.  It just hits me that I should have bought a red carpet - in case the Queen is visiting. :-))

Yesterday was the 21th of december and last night was the longest winter night. It is also called winter-solstice. 

WIKIPEDIA: The winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26'. More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere's wintersolstice occurs on the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the sun's daily maximum elevation in the sky is the lowest. Since the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, other terms are often used for the day on which it occurs, such as midwinter,the longest night or the first day of winter.

There exists a tradition where people made a huge bonfire to mark this day. A short look-up on the internet shows that many cities worldwide celebrate the winter-solstice with a huge bonfire.

The bonfire is a true pagan ritual. The darkness of the long nights needed to be conquered by bringing light into the darkness. Huge fires where built, tar balls rolled down mountains and hill sides, torches where placed in snow. People needed to be reassured that the light would return, that the sun would return, lengthen their days and grow their grain. -
panevin treviso bonfires northeast italy
Winter Solstice Bonfire in Veneto, Italy
To this day the custom of lighting fires on the longest and the shortest night of the year have held the fascination of modern Europe. The Alpine communities of Europe and Scandinavia today have torch light parades down the ski slopes and bonfires on the foot of the mountains signaling comfort and re-assurance that the light will return. The pagan ritual has turned into a modern celebration of light

One year, we thought we would like to do that as well. It was up in Alberta when we lived on a lake. I gathered a big pile of wood and set up a bonfire just 10ft. off shore on the ice. We had invited friends from town to enjoy hot cocoa, and a BBQ.
It was getting dark when the first friends arrived. The thermometer showed -15C (5F). But the fire would warm us, or so I thought.
When we were ready to light up the fire, a slight wind started off the lake, making it really hard to get the fire going. The wind increased and we had a battle to keep the BBQ flame from being blown out. The cocoa was hot when we brought it down to the lake and placed it on the side flame of the BBQ. However, the cold became so fierce that it cooled down even on top of the flame.

Someone had brought a pile of pallets and those were set up against the wind. Everyone huddled behind them, ducking out of the blast. On the opposite side, where it actually was warmer, nobody could sit, as the area was constantly showered with sparks flying from the burning brush. Between the hot dogs and the somewhat cooled-off cocoa we had a great time, but I was surprised when the first guests were leaving way too early. :-((

After two hours in sparks, smoke and ice-cold wind also the rest of us succumbed to the elements and warmed up the bones inside the house.

But it sure remains a remarkable experience.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Dough
It isn't really gettin' Christmas without Christmas Cookies.
In the past we always received "Care-parcels" from Germany, but since International Postage has gone through the roof, and after last year's disappearance of two parcels during a famous U.S. winter storm our European cookie-providers have given it up. (I'd like to know which dude ate our christmas cookies)

So what else can I do but baking our own cookies?  So after consulting with the Internet, I found mother's recipe for "Schmalzplätzchen", a culinary special with which I would have refused to grow up without.

I did not say it was HEALTHY. And that's because they are made with pure lard. There are places on earth where lard won't be available. Norway was one of them. But here, close to the Mexican border lard can be found in any store. Mexicans seem to know what's tasty and what's not.

If i close my eyes I can see mother standing at the kitchen table, baking Schmalzplätzchen. She always managed to fill two huge containers with them. One for the chocolate version, the other for the vanilla version. We knew where these were kept and when mom was gone shopping groceries, we climbed a kitchen chair and got to the cookie containers. She should have kept a padlock on it.

Baking was one of the main Pre-Christmas occupations in my parent's household. We always made sure that we kids happened to drop into the kitchen when mom was in the baking department. When the dough had left the bowl, the bowl had to be "cleaned out". And we were eager enough to help with that. I can even remember that mom had to make a middle line through the remaining dough in the bowl. My brother would get one half, and I the other.
Whoever scraped the spoon across the border line was liable to incite a war.
Telling this to Bea she exclaimed: It was the same with me and my brother.

There you go!  Siblings can be cruel.

If you are looking for the recipe go to Bea's blog!

Now, I'm looking foward to coffee time. 

Stay alert!

And thanks for looking at my Cookies!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Accidentely...found on the Internet
Back in 1982 I had a weird accident. I was forced off the road and my truck landed in the water of a Norwegian Fjord. I survived and found myself with my head down on the broken windshield between rocks on a beach. Truck had landed on all 4 wheels with the engine still running and the water reaching well over the top of the wheels. 
Other people have freak accidents which is nicely documented by the following pics.

Weird Accidents
Too early to start the hoist...

Weird Accidents
Old Beemer wasn't worth much - so it goes into the dumpster

Weird Accidents
No money for a garage or what?

Weird Accidents
And what a duck it is - indeed!
With the Weekend gone...
Where was I when I forgot to put up a posting yesterday? I know the date of the last posting shows the 18th. but actually, being way out west in the PST (Pacific Standard Time not: Provincial Sales Tax) Blogger's date change must be located some distance east of here, I posted it on the 17th, but was pushed into the 18th. Are you confused now? Well, it isn't all that important. So here we go again.

Weekend is gone and boy was I ever lazy. Had us an alright Sunday, and luckily the weatherman had lied, or maybe not "lied" but was just plain wrong, as he had predicted rain between 10am and 12am. But the sun was shining out of a blue sky. The ladies had their annual tea party, but somehow Bea wasn't going. Nope, she dug herself down behind a book and wasn't seen much. But I do have the pics from last year, so that's what you can enjoy here.

I did observe the neighbour lady returning from the party. Whew..what a sight. Had arranged some sort of flower garden on top of her hat. 

The day ran out at the camp fire which basically serves to gossip about all the weird things happening out here. Every now and then we are asked what kind of language we prefere to speak. And then they are stunned to hear: All three of them. And that is true. Ever since we settled in Canada we have spoken a conglomerate of Norwegian, German and English. And nobody guesses the real from-abouts as our accent is a derivate of all three languages.

We are really glad to learn from the bayfieldbunch that Al has no more pain from his Kidney Stone. Boy that story was a scary one. Hopefully the pain will stay away, Al!

Guess, I'm done.

Thanks for dropping by!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Quiet Saturday
It all started with a nice sunshine and still cool temps. But then later the clouds increased and we got a bit of rain. However, the afternoon was dry again and I went to a local Jamboree, initiated by a few campers here in BLM-Land. They have been doing that every year and it is always nice to meet together over some popcorn and a few snacks.

For the evening we had another gathering at the Host Station for a birthday celebration. It's customary to dish out some cake there around the fire, so obviously Peter had to be there. 

There are those days where nothing really happens here and I must say I enjoy that. It gives me ample time to read, nap or do whatever else pops into my head.

Tomorrow the ladies will have their annual tea party and there is always something going on with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  

Already the girls are sticking their heads together for the planning of the Christmas Supper. I really hope It's gonna warm up a tad.

The next party will be the New Years Costume Party. Last year it was freezing cold and by that reason this year's party is gonna start at 1pm, which seems early to me, but I can understand that people don't want to freeze. And one of the drawbacks of boondocking out here is: There is no Clubhouse available.

So we gonna wait and see what it's gonna be, right?

Stay out of the mud!

Thanks for coming by!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Peter makes a Cheese Cake and we go to the Mariachi
As far as I have a memory of my own being, I have been a lover of cakes. In our family, baking was a necessity. EVERYONE loved cakes and every day at 3:30pm Dad would have a break and sit down with his family to enjoy coffee and cake. So with that background, I became a vivid baker myself, with myself eating the most. Haha..

So yesterday I decided it would be a good time to make a cheese cake. Since i made the last one with FAT creme cheese, resulting in Bea's complaints (she thinks she is on a diet) this one had to be made with low-fat yoghurt and low fat sour-creme. I baked the bottom, then filling up with the cheese-stuff, which was made up with gelatine. After cooling in the fridge I added a top layer of nice and brightly red Strawberry JELLO. Voila - there it was and we could invite our friends for a bite.

Friends had also tickets for the great Mariachi evening at the Palmer Auditorium in Brawley,CA. So at 7:00pm we were seated there, ready to be swept of our feet by the 16-member MIXTECO band which also has a dance group of it's own.

What can I say, but that the performance was ravaging and outstanding. The rythm and speed, the precision with which they played, the movement, the costumes --- it was all marvelous. This type of music gets into your bones, makes you think you are deep, deep down in Old Mexico.

What a great entertainment. I have to dish out another slice of cheese cake to those friends who got the tickets.

My brother sent me the following little poem about Christmas. If you understand a little wee bit of German and likewise English you might enjoy this: 

Merry Christmas allerseits
By Udo Jürgens

When the snow falls wunderbar
And the children happy are,
When the Glatteis on the street,
And we all a Glühwein need,
Then you know, es ist soweit:
She is here, the Weihnachtszeit

Every Parkhaus ist besetzt,
Weil die people fahren jetzt
All to Kaufhof, Mediamarkt,
Kriegen nearly Herzinfarkt.
Shopping hirnverbrannte things
And the Christmasglocke rings.

Merry Christmas, merry Christmas,
Hear the music, see the lights,
Frohe Weihnacht, Frohe Weihnacht,
Merry Christmas allerseits.

Mother in the kitchen bakes
Schoko-, Nuss- and Mandelkeks
Daddy in the Nebenraum
Schmücks a Riesen-Weihnachtsbaum
He is hanging auf the balls,
Then he from the Leiter falls.

Finally the Kinderlein
To the Zimmer kommen rein
And es sings the family
Schauerlich: "Oh, Christmastree!" 
And ein jeder in the house
Is packing die Geschenke aus.

Mama finds unter the Tanne
Eine brandnew Teflon-Pfanne,
Papa gets a Schlips and Socken,
Everybody does frohlocken.
President speaks in TV,
All arround is Harmonie.

Bis mother in the kitchen runs:
Im Ofen burns the Weihnachtsgans.

And so comes die Feuerwehr
With Tatü, tata daher,
And they bring a long, long Schlauch
An a long, long Leiter auch.
And they schrei - "Wasser marsch!",
Christmas is now ganz im  - Eimer.

Merry Christmas, merry Christmas,
Hear the music, see the lights,
Frohe Weihnacht, Frohe Weihnacht,
Merry Christmas allerseits.

Hopefully the above is not gonna happen to you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thousands of "Diamonds"
When walking Molly through the desert this morning I discovered thousands of Diamonds hanging in the creosote bushes. Yesterdays rain had left them hanging for me, so I went back and got the NIKON out. They were sparkling in the early and bright morning sun and looked more like Christmas ornaments. An amazing show of light it was.

Some of yesterday's "lakes" had shrunk back, but right in front of our rig we have a depression in the roadway and you'd need angler boots to walk through. (or a boat) I've been wondering why some people seem to enjoy racing their car through that water, while others go rather slow and cautious.

It was not the warmest day out here, but at least we had sunshine all day long. And it sure brought the dust out of the air.

I was back with the "dog-people" today, enquiring about the little stray, Well, it turned out that it had been picked up by animal control and was placed in the Imperial County Dogpound. I have their phone number and we will be making a couple of visits there to see whether we can bring that stray to develop some sympathies for Molly. The lady at the pound said that the stray had shown agression towards other dogs in the pound, so with that knowledge I don't have too high hopes, but we will check it out.

I used the bright sunny day to mount our new slide-out awning which had arrived yesterday. The old one was destroyed during the last storm we had on Campobello Island. 

And over the last days we had noticed that our coach batteries had shown signs of a weak charge, inspite running the generator at times.
So I dived into that battery compartment, and found that one of the clamps were a bit loose, That might have been enough for a minor malfunction. We will watch that over the coming few days and hope for improvement. If not, I'd have to check every single battery for performance.

I'm done.

Thanks for stopping by, coffee will be served later!  :-))

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Somebody gives us a pair of oars?
Blurred by torrential rain: Our Lakefront property

And there it was again, one of these typical torrential rainfalls happening out here from time to time. I had taken off to Algodones for the last session with Dottore. It had started raining before I got outside again, but it was nothing compared to what I met out on I-8. Vision ahead turned to zero and everything came to a crawl.

When I turned onto our BLM-LTVA-area I could have used a boat. Seriously, there was no land in sight. A huge lake filled the entire entry to the camp.

I made my way through it and proceeded through more lakes on the 1/2 mile up through camp.
Had to back up our car to the RV-door so I could jump out and reach inside as quickly as possible.

Noticed a new follower. Welcome aboard "bsg".

Monday, December 12, 2011

Almost got ourselves another dog
Being dogowners and -lovers we always have a bad time seeing homeless dogs, strays. Several years ago we lost our yellow lab "Boomer" to cancer, when we were in Denver,CO. We tried to adopt a dog from the local SPCA in Wheatridge,CO, but were told that they wouldn't give a dog to travelers, as they required a fenced yard and the possibility on checking on the dog for a certain length of time. We found this rule was present at most SPCA-facilities.
While these rules truly were set up for the benefit of the adopted pets, I'm sure, they do not gain the goal of getting as many as possible pets adopted. And the Wheatridge dogpound was full and several dogs were already on "Death Row", meaning their alotted time in the pound was running out. You would have thought that it would be better for a pet to be adopted than killed, right? 

And we are still convinced that most pets would find a better home in an RV with a retired couple than in the fenced backyard of a house where the still working owners are absent 8-10hours a day.
Finally we had to leave Denver with our Molly only.

Today we learned about that a stray dog had attached itself to a couple here in camp. Trouble is that couple has already three chihuhuas and cannot have another dog. So we thought we might look into this. The dog is a female border collie mix and about the same size as Molly. Her friendly attitude is charming and she needs to eat, as she is very thin. But we have to make sure that she would be OK with Molly around. So I brought Molly over (leashed) and tried to introduce the two to eachother. However the stray started showing fear of Molly and growled and snarled. Molly did show zero interest in this lady and turned away. 

Meanwhile the dog's "Host couple" had called animal control and they will presumably arrive this afternoon, and take the dog away. So what are we gonna do?
My take is, it's not gonna work.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another Christmas Concert
Today we went to a late-afternoon Christmas Concert at the First United Methodist Church in El Centro. And have you noticed that I said CHRISTMAS-Concert? Seems the churches are still allowed to call it by its right and correct name. Politically correct are the schools, not the churches. That's why Church and State should never be mixed up. Church is church and State is State. Basta!
Winter in New Hampshire
Photo: Asta Jorgensen
But back to the concert. It was marvellous. A great choir with a great instrumental accompaniment. And I never heard "Ihr Kinderlein kommet" in English before.

Like always I enjoyed the "12 days of Christmas" What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? 

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So now, fellow bloggers you might or might not have learned something as well. 

Have a wonderful evening and next week - the last week in this year's Advent.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Safety when we travel
From time to time we've been asked whether we feel safe when traveling thousands of miles through the country. The answer is YES, as long as we observe a number of basic rules, call them precautions. What are those rules we follow? Let's have a look at that:

  • OUR VEHICLE: It goes without saying that we have to make sure our vehicle is in safe driving conditions. For bigger rigs the conditions of our TIRES are of utmost importance. Blow-outs can end disastrous. I have just recently learned that one should neither apply the brakes, nor take the foot of the accelerator too abruptly. Rather apply more pressure to your gas pedal, thus increasing the force that drives your vehicle forward. If that is not done the force pulling your vehicle sideways and off the road can be hard to handle in an unexpected blow-out. When you have gained controll over the vehicle you take the foot off the gas pedal, thereby slowly coming to a full stop. Make sure the vehicle's brakes are in good working order. The worst thing which could happen is loosing your brakes on a long steep down-grade. Make sure you also have enough windshield washer fluid in the can. If you can't see a thing through a dirty smeared windshield you don't drive safe. We bring our Motor Home to a certified shop every year and get everything checked before going on the big trail.
  • SPEED AND VIEW: Driving a big rig over highways and through cities requires extra caution. Our all-around view is limited, the dead-zone along the sides of the vehicle much larger than with a regular car. Driving in tight city traffic I constantly watch the vehicles coming up from behind. That way I know 
    when the last vehicle has passed and I can make a safe lane shift.
    In cities pedestrians are crossing. I make sure I always can come to a stop without causing an accident. At the same time fuel economy is best if our highway speed does not exceed 65 mph. Approaching a red light, I do not race up to it but slow down in time, thus often getting the green light before coming to a full stop. Saves fuel too! Don't make the dash to "catch" the green light before it turns. Your attention to possible vehicles approaching is very limited at that moment and pedestrians may be underway to cross the road inspite of having a red light! Remember, we are on vacations and have all the time of the world.           I often see big rigs racing down a long down-grade. It makes me shiver. A sudden wind gust would be enough to make them swerve and get out of controll. A safe descend  starts with adjusting the speed and gearing down approbriately BEFORE we reach 75mph.  If your motor home or truck has a retarder brake, use it. It is the best way to get down that steep mountain. I have been on a 14% down-grade in Utah. By gearing down already on the top, using the retarder brake (or tow-haul function on your truck), I made it down safely.
Listen to weather reports before you go!
 FOG: We all get into it from time to time. Fog is dangerous as it limits our view ahead. SLOW DOWN or even pull out and STOP. I have a horror of hitting a stopped vehicle in dense fog.
RAIN: Extreme amounts of water on the road can lead to loosing controll of your vehicle and is known as aquaplaning. It also limits your vision ahead and to the rear. Your back-up camera will only show a white or grey screen. 
WIND: It is something we have always experienced on our travels. WIND can blow a high-profile vehicle right off the road or flipp it over. Neither is a desired experience and we have stopped for wind storms more than just a couple of times. It also brings your fuel economy to horrendous bad figures. 
SNOW/ICE: There is a safe way to avoid problems with snow on the road: You must find a place to stop and wait it out.  Trying to drive on snowy or icy roads is asking for trouble. Be aware off bridges which freeze over sooner than the highway. On an icy morning I'd wait until the sun is out and has thawed the roads. 

  • PREVENTING CRIME  This is a very important part of our traveling safety. Finding a place for an overnight stop along the highway might have it's challenges. Campgrounds and RV-parks might not be open during the late fall or early spring. So we need to find an alternative. There are truck stops, which I generally consider as safe, and there are Walmart parking lots along most roads. Walmart runs security on their parking lots. There are security cameras and there are bright night lights, and besides of that they are mostly pretty quiet at night. Staying in public rest areas is not the safest location as those can be pretty empty during the night. On many larger rest areas along major highways truckers pull in at night, which will add safety to the place. NEVER pull into a too quiet country road or a hidden-away forested area. If you are underway on secondary highways and need an overnight stop, try find a gas station and ask them for a permit to stay overnight. You can do the same with other parking lots in shopping malls, but you'd have to ask permission. 

  • STRANGERS Some times you may be approached by strangers. Where ever you are, never open or unlock the door to strangers. Talk through the window and be ready for quick action if necessary. Always have a charged-up cell phone handy. If you see an accident, happening, call 911 but remain in your vehicle until you deem the situation to be safe. Don't cross highways by foot! Leave your kids and your pet in the rig! Have your camera handy for taking pictures of the scene!

  • PREVENTING A FIRE  Thousands of RVs burn down every year. The reasons can be many. As we carry propane we ought to make sure that we have no gas leaks on the rig. The simple flick of a switch can lead to an explosion of accumulated propane along the floor. A propane gas detector will warn you very loud if propane is around. Smoke detectors can be a hassle, I know, as they go off even if you fry up some bacon on the stove, but they are present in every RV. Make sure the batteries are working. When taking something off the stove, make sure the gas is turned off. It actually happens I forget it too! Sometimes a turned-down flame can be blown out by draft. Watch that too.  Don't drive with the water boiler or the furnace switched on. If it is cold in your motor home while driving, run the generator and let an electric fan do the job. It's safer than the built-in furnace, and hardly more expensive. Fires often occur at the fridge.   It is necessary to keep the chimney of the propane fridge clean. Propane creates sot which will settle on the inside of the chimney. When the hot air cannot escape fast enough heat will increase in the lower part. Keep the burner clean as well, and make sure no flammable materials are close to the chimney. Carry at least two fire extinguishers and have them placed at easy accessible places in the rig. Be careful with carrying full gas cans in your luggage compartments. Fumes might escape and create an explosive environment in the confined space. Here are more tips for preventing a fire
  • 3
    Don't let this happen to YOU
Now, stay safe out there, and thanks for peeking around the corner!