Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy New Year!

Leaving SoCal after for 11 days was pretty easy for us. We had great visits with family and friends, but were anxious to find warmer weather and new scenery. We took a leisurely drive from Huntington Beach to El Centro, where we stayed one night. We stayed at a very nice RV park, but found the town of El Centro to be less than desirable. It's doubtful that we'll stay there again.

We headed east on I-8 the next day, arriving in Winterhaven, CA, our home for the next week. Winterhaven is the last city in California before you cross the border into Yuma, Arizona. Our first year out, we had stayed 2 weeks in Yuma. This time, the Yuma resort was booked solid, which is why we opted for Winterhaven. The park is on the west side of town, so it was about a 10 mile ride to Yuma and all of it's amenities. We basically hung out for a week, going to the movies once (Marley and Me), and doing some shopping at Sam's Club (exciting, eh?). We did venture across the border into Algodones, Baja, did some window shopping, and had a nice lunch at a very local cafe.

Would you eat here? We did, and it was good!

Donna and I have a game called "check-out-the-casino". We find the local casinos, sign up for the Players Club, get whatever free gifts available, and try out the buffet if it looks good. Sometimes they give you $5 or $10 free play, which is perfect for us, since we aren't big gamblers. We did this at 2 casinos in the Yuma area. We took our free play money, worked the video poker machines, and walked out with $16. Since there wasn't a buffet, we went to In-N-Out and splurged!

By the way, the weather, while mostly sunny, remained cool in the high 50's and low 60's.

After a week, we headed further east, to Casa Grande, AZ. This town is a mecca for snowbirds looking to escape the snow in the northern states and Canada. We had another peaceful week, and even got to have lunch with some of our Country Coach friends, Tom and Lynne, who live in the Scottsdale area. We also took in another movie (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). It's rare we go to the movies, but twice in the same month? The weather was still cool, but the temperatures were getting close to "shorts" weather. Another week, time to move on!

Almost a year and a half ago, we purchased our motor home from Beaudry RV in Tucson. We didn't go to AZ, we actually ordered it at a rally in Redmond, OR. They had given us a certificate for 3 free nights at their RV Park, so we headed off to Tucson. We have never stayed in the Tucson area. Our impression is that Tucson is a very spread out city! Not highly populated, but spread out over many, many miles.

We managed to do one touristy thing - we visited the Biosphere2, north of town. This facility was built in the late 80's and early 90's. In 1991, several scientists were sealed in Biosphere2 for a couple of years. Our memories recalled that it was an experiment to see if man could create an environment and sustain themselves. Our memories were wrong. The purpose of the Biosphere2 was to study 5 distinct environments (biomes) to see how plants and animals behaved in controlled conditions. The scientists were sealed in to monitor and record the plant and animal behaviors. Our tour included a walk through the various environments, labs, and housing. The tour was fascinating, and we learned a lot. In case you're wondering, Biosphere1 is The Earth. The facility has had a few owners, and now the University of Arizona is the caretaker/operator. We are unclear as to the owner is, but they told us that the facility is up for sale. Experiments continue, and a new study is being launched to study the effects of VOC's (volatile organic compounds) on the environment. VOC's are things like paint fumes.

Our 3 night stint over at Beaudry, we headed east to Benson, AZ, where we are visiting with friends Leroy and Carol. We will be here about 2 weeks, before heading towards our home state of Texas.

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