Monday, January 23, 2017

Picacho Peak with Scamp

A question I often hear from non-RV dwellers:
"Don't you get lonesome living in an RV?"
Well, if you discount the fact that I have visited more relatives, friends, and acquaintances in the last five years than I did in the previous 25 years, I suppose I do get lonesome on a very rare occasion. But whenever the need for companionship arises I have discovered  this life can be a very social one.  I have shunned the over-50 RV parks with their line dancing and bingo games; I am hesitant to attach myself to caravans and travel clubs because of my need for travel freedom;  and I have been selective of traveling companions because I don't like negotiating all that much.  But there are a few loosely organized groups around that fill the need for camaraderie when that need arises and SCAMP, here in Tucson, is one such group.


SCAMP members meet once a month during happy hour and plan short, usually weekend, trips. 

This month was to the state park that sits on the north side of that interesting peak in the above photo.

The peak is called Picacho Peak.  Picacho is the Spanish word for Peak so the actual name of that peak is--
Peak Peak!

This spot has an interesting history.  It is the site of the westernmost battle of the Civil War.  Who knew?  In 1862 the south, while believing they were going to win the war, wanted to extend the Confederacy from ocean to ocean.  A band of Confederate Rangers from Tucson held off a column of Union soldiers from California in a very fierce battle.  The Union soldiers retreated but returned one month later to take Tucson without firing a shot. 

The State park sits on that battleground. 

Fellow 'Scampers' included Colleen and friend, 

Candy and...

Stan and Dusty.

There might have been more but it was a little chilly.


The days were very pleasant, as well as the company...

Stan provided our campfires at night...

...and the nights were spectacular.

The next Scamp outing is to a Blue Grass Festival in Casa Grande.  
Sounds like fun, I might feel some loneliness coming on.

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Year's Eve in Palm Springs

Finally!  My computer is back and working just fine. Thank you, Ron.

Time to catch up on the blog and posting New Year's Eve photos is the first item of business.  

We stopped at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum to see their wonderful display of baskets.

These designs are not painted on the baskets but are woven into them using different grasses.

The intricate weaving and beautiful artwork are breathtaking.

It was a drizzly, overcast day but we still took the time to window shop.  Ron and Loretta bought a great big wall clock here.

Palm Springs has a Walk-of-Fame on their downtown street and we came across this momento of a talented lady we will miss.

                   Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher, had just died a few days prior. 

A stop in Ruby's Diner for lunch.

Kitsch everywhere!

Statues (Sonny Bono) and fountains, expensive shops, and sidewalk cafes are the makeup of Palm Springs.

No, that little horse isn't sad, he's just embarrassed.

I spied two famous people dining out at Tommy Bahamas...

and after dinner they drove me back to the RV so I could nurse an oncoming cold.  That rain was getting to me.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2017

A game of cat and mouse

Posting to the blog is difficult these days as my computer is still in San Diego with Ron.  He is doing his best to revive it, and meanwhile all blog postings are on hold.  A few weeks back the curser began to flip out, jumping all over the screen at will.  I was aghast! Was Putin hacking my computer, trying to steal my gumbo recipe?  I was sure someone was hacking.

Well, I was right, sort of...When Ron opened the keyboard to clean it he found cat hair...lots and lots of cat hair. It was then I remembered that Sigh Me liked to stretch out on the keyboard whenever I walked away from it.  My computer had a hairball!  I still miss Sigh Me and that nest of hair brought back lots of memories.

Returning to Tucson meant trips to the dentist then a tiny two day trip to Picacho Peak with SCAMP, an RV group here in town.  The worst souvenir possible...I had picked up a mouse while camping on Picacho.   I have spent two days now, emptying cupboards and tossing lots and lots of partially nibbled foods in the trash.  Everything has been washed with bleach water and I am holding my breath that the little vermin has moved on.  Especially since she is probably about to be a mother...she was making a lovely nest from a roll of paper towels.

Once again I am missing Sigh Me.

To safeguard against any more pest invasions I bought a string of solar lights and stretched them out under the RV last night to ward off the beasts.  I should have done that long ago,  nothing will motivate like a mouse.

Friday, January 6, 2017

From San Diego to Palm Springs

San Diego was lovely as usual and Ron, Loretta and I spent several days driving the city looking at possible homes to purchase.  Whew! Did you know a million dollars might buy you a fixer-upper?
We took in a movie, and if you want to feel depressed, sad, and mournful be sure and see "Jackie" followed by "Manchester by the Sea."  Not the best holiday fare.

Ron and Loretta wanted to go to Palm Springs for New Year's Eve.  I struck out ahead of them and chose the back roads over the mountains to get to the desert.

What an utterly spectacular drive.

It was twisty, windy and at times....

...very steep.

...but Spirit performed like a champ.

Clouds were gathering everywhere and rain was expected but not until NY Eve. Snow was accumulating on the mountain tops.

The valley floor is a 'rift valley' caused by a major fault line (San Andreas?) and is filled with lots of dry lakes (according to my map), lots of sand, natural hot springs, and is surrounded by high peaks.  

The views at every turn are spectacular, and in the center of the valley is Palm Springs with some very pricey real estate.  Palm Springs is still a favorite escape for the traffic weary from L.A. and the famous names from Hollywood.


Here is one car that didn't make it to the valley floor.

If you look above the wreck you will see the vehicles on the curve he didn't make.  It is sobering to see something like that and it always makes me slow down.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Sister's gift

The following is a family story ...
Many years ago son, Tom, while serving in the Coast Guard, was stationed in Washington state at the same time that his sister, Janice, was living in Seattle.  Tom, along with his fellow Guardsmen, were given the job of cleaning, painting and restoring all the lighthouses along the coast of Washington.

Tom Larson at age 20
 Tom was 19 when he went in the service and he served 20 years.While in Seattle he celebrated his 30th birthday....

...and his sister, Janice, decided to do something extra special for him.


She is an expert 'needlepointer' and she wanted to give him something to commemorate the work he had done on the lighthouses.  The above needlepoint piece is her creation.

The first photo shows the detail and this next picture better shows the colors. (neither picture shows it well but it is the best I have and I hope you get the idea.)

Through the years Tom has been unable to find a wall to hang this amazing creation on because:
* He's been in the Coast Guard
*After the Coast Guard he and his wife lived on a sailboat and traveled the world
*He now lives in a small apartment in the Virgin Islands and is keeping his 'stuff' to a bare minimum.

Out of necessity sister Janice has been the custodian of this piece and the two of them  decided to offer it to the Coast Guard Nautical Museum in Seattle.
The museum quickly accepted it.

Coast Guard Museum Northwest
c/o USCG Base
1519 Alaskan Way South
Seattle, Wa  98134

The following description is in Janice's words: 
*The completed artwork is 2 1/2 ft high by 1 1/2 ft wide.
*It is 18 X 18 stitches per square inch.
*It is classified as "counted cross-stitch" because I did not have a pre-printed design on the fabric.  *Every stitch had to be counted to its precise location.
*In the legend box is the needle I used to pull every stitch. 
*Also in the legend box are the words:  Presented to Thomas L Larson, lovingly designed and hand stitched by your sister Janice 1996"
*The Semaphore flags around the border spell out the exact same sentence.

 *It took two years to complete, (from 1994 to 1996) and when it becomes 30 years old it will be considered an antique.
*The various shades of green and blue indicate actual elevation and depth. Oregon owns all the Islands in the Columbia River so they are colored as such.
*The frame cost me more than all the textile materials.
*This was made for my brother Tom as a reminder of his first job in the Coast Guard cleaning seagull poop from Lighthouses in Washington State.

"I have entered it into two Washington and Oregon county fairs and two Washington and Oregon state fairs.  The artwork has won several Second Place ribbons, several First Place in Needlepoint ribbons, and it won one Best in Show ribbon over all other types of needle arts. (quilting, crocheting, knitting, tatting, etc.) It also won the Stitchery Division Award of Merit meaning--an original design, not from a kit, not pre-printed, not from a pre-existing graph on paper; only from my brain and hands, and from whom-ever made the earth and the lighthouses."

From a proud Mom: Next time you are in Washington State, check out those lighthouses; and when you are in Seattle stop by the Coast Guard Museum and take a look.  It is quite a remarkable piece of needlework.  (That's true, even if I am her Mom.)