Monday, 16 February 2015

Greetings from the Desert

"Bless us readers for we have sinned, it has been 2 weeks since our last post" so here we go. It has been a very full 2 weeks as we have been extra busy with our regular activities and some extras for good measure. The three hikes we have been on were unique and quite interesting. We did Black Mountain a 4 mile 2800 foot elevation gain uphill, but that's ok you get to come down the same 4 miles. Elevation at the peak was 7772 feet above sea level.

If it looks steep that's because it was

Maybe the East Coasters could help identify the white stuff in this picture.......We understand it is native to your area

Fuel tank for the Ranger Station/Fire Lookout

View from the top
The next hike was the Panorama Loop in Joshua National Park. This was a much gentler hike with only a 700 foot elevation gain and 7.5 miles. 

Hikers under a Joshua Tree

The third hike was today and we spent 4 hours just climbing over boulders and rocks. We hiked into Rattlesnake canyon and bouldered around learning proper techniques. Just a day of fun!!

Don't know if that rock will still be there next year.

June blending in with the rocks

One happy group

June coming down

No Rattlesnakes but this guy was sunning himself on the rocks
In between hikes we spent time house sitting for our friends Geoff and Brenda. They are also from Sidney and they took their son, daughter in law and two grandchildren to Disneyland while we looked after Yoda the dog.
We saw some of the best Pickleball that can be played at the Desert Palms senior games. We watched an men's doubles bronze medal game where all 4 players were ranked 5.0 which for Pickleball is the highest ranking. They were very good.
On Valentines Day we went down to Cathedral City for the Balloon Festival and watched as a dozen "Hot Air Balloons" were inflated and then illuminated all at once. They were grounded as they cannot fly at night, during the day they were tethered but restricted to how high they could go because President Obama was in town.

Every time I saw this I thought...."Flame On"

Two flame are better than one

The World is full of hot air.

June lending a helping hand

Night becomes day as all 12 balloons hit the flame at once

The whole inflation process was interesting as neither of us had seen it before. We also couldn't get over how close we could get to the balloons. They encourage people to get closer for pictures etc, The big surprise was the noise level when "Burners" were fired it was quite loud.

Well that gets you up to date with us. We only have 9 days left till we leave here and head back to Victoria. We hope to do one more Blog before we go but finding time may be a problem! 
Take Care and stay warm(especially back east) thank-you for reading this.


Sunday, 1 February 2015

16 Months and still Loving It!!

Hi all long time no type for Kelly. It has been a strange month and I will do what I can to fill in the gaps. We have been very busy doing everything there is to do. We have been on multiple hikes and have played hours of pickleball. I figured out that if I am not writing the blog it is because I have been to busy living and not making the time to write. So today is the day I write.

On the 5th of January we hiked the North Lykken trail, it was more of  training hike than our standard hikes but still enjoyable.

This Hawk swooped by to check us out

Not a bad view of Palm Springs and the valley

The area we are in has been experiencing abnormal rainfall this year and on our next hike the result of all the rain could be seen.

Following a cow trail up the hill

We had just walked up through this valley

The amount of green grass on the side of the hill was amazing. We did a walk in this area in February last year and it was "Monochromatic" without colour.

The green green grass of Whitewater Preserve

Now this is what a true desert hiker looks like

Yup some things never change.

We still play crib on Tuesdays and Kelly plays Texas Hold'em on Sundays. June has started to play "Mexican Train Dominoes" on Mondays and the rest of the week is taken up with happy hours, potlucks, dances and what ever else is going on.

Our year in review included counting the number of different RV parks we stayed in in 2014  - 76 the number of states traveled in - 18 and 4 provinces. The total kilometres driven - 34,284. We didn't want to calculate the money spent so lets just say quite a bit. You can not put a price on the people we have met, both old friends and new. Thank-you to all of you that have helped us have a great year! Those of you that we missed this time around lookout because in the spring we will be on the road in BC and Alberta.

Take care and thanks for reading our ramblings. Junkel

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Family!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and a Passing

This is our Christmas to Boxing Day post. Yeah we know we are a little late, but time has been hard to come by lately. We spent  December 23 to December 30th at the Mesa Regal in Mesa Arizona with Natalie, Reid, Linden, Michelle and Natalie's parents, Maurice and Ann. It was a very busy week with something always happening. Reid and Michelle both learned the fine game of Pickleball and we went to two Coyote's hockey games. This post is all about Family and the time we spent together, sorry no hike or wildlife shots this time.

Linden Natalie and Michelle enjoying a Christmas Eve swim

We went out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve as we always do. Maurice and Ann tried very hard to help keep theirs and ours traditions alive, it was great! Christmas Day Linden was the centre of attention, not that he isn't normally.

 "Yes Dad the paper is more fun than the gift"

Natalie Linden and Reid

The whole flam damly...aren't timers great.

 Linden playing Peek-a-Boo with Santa

On the 27th we went to see the Coyotes play the Ducks and were treated to a good game with the Coyotes winning in the shootout. The grandmas stayed home babysat, I am sure they found some way to enjoy that.

 The pre-game beverage.....or two....

On the 28th we went to the Organ House pizza place in Mesa for Natalie's Birthday dinner. The restaurant was ok but, the huge Pipe Organ that was played for 20 minutes every half hour was spectacular.

Natalie and Maurice

Reid and Kelly

After Pizza we went out to look at some Christmas lights on a church grounds. It was very impressive.

Hey grandpa you almost cut me out of the photo

Michelle Reid and Linden hanging out before leaving for the hockey game

On the 29th we went to see the Coyotes and the Flyers. Man were there ever alot of Flyers fans there. Probably about 1/3 of the crowd had on some sort of Flyers apparel. They sure were disappointed when the final horn sounded and it was 4-2 for the Coyotes.
We drove back to Desert Hot Springs on the 30th after packing as much into the week as we could. The Michauds made us feel welcome and we all enjoyed our stay. Michelle came back with us and Linden and his parents flew home that day.

 Saw this when we stopped for fuel...Semi pulling a large fifth wheel pulling a Jeep.....Yup

We having writing this blog for almost a year now and we have always tried to keep it light and enjoyable. As in life every once in a while you just can't do that. On Boxing Day we found out that June and Kelly's best friend  Wayne Gear had past away on Christmas Day. June and I each have brothers but Wayne was the brother that we shared. We have known the family for almost 40 years. There are only two types of people in this world Wayne's friends and people he hadn't met. His passing leaves a huge whole in our lives. It has reminded us how precious life is and how important friends are. We some times seem to take friends for granted and we are trying to change that. So please if you have been putting off that call to an old friend Don't. Rod and Sylvia we are sorry we didn't hook up when we ere in Mesa we will do better next time.

 Wayne Douglas Gear.........Our friend

Thanks for reading 


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hiking without and with Mickey

Well I found some time to catch up on the blog so stay close because here we go. We went for two more hikes in the last week. We did Yucca peak with Ken and 15 others, it was a very strenuous hike and just a tad cool at the top. Thursday hike was Murray Peak "The North Face".

 Early morning shadow of us on a Water Tank.

 The Highest peak is Murray Peak

It took us 2 and a half hours to get to the top and another 3 hours to get back to the truck. It was a long but semi-enjoyable hike that was enjoyed by all.
Michelle arrived at the Palm Springs Airport on Friday night the 19th. We headed out on Saturday morning for three days in Disneyland. Yup  doesn't everyone take their kids to Disneyland? We hit the ground running and according to Junes Pedometer 55 kilometres and three days later we were done, in more ways than one.

The Bumper tires in the Cars section

 I think they got wet!!!!

This sign just tickled my funny bone.

We got park hopper passes so it was back and forth between the two parks, fast tracking rides as we could as it was extremely busy. You can't complain too much about the crowds if you go to Disneyland just after school is on a break and its 5 days before Christmas.

The Hub Cap Christmas Tree in the Cars area.

The Girls in front of Its A Small World

The Girls in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle

Sleeping Beauty's Castle

The Park is quite spectacular after dark. The hydro bill must be something else with all of the lights. We sat through 2 parades and one of the greatest fireworks shows we have ever seen. We arrived at the park by about 8:30 every morning and left around midnight. Michelle kept us going from ride to ride and we did them all multiple times. Kelly is not to sure about Space Mountain, something about not being to brace himself for the next turn.
We left Anaheim buy 9:30 am and headed back to Desert Hot Springs to pick-up the trailer and then headed for Mesa Arizona. Linden and his parents were visiting his other grand parents so we decided to get in on the deal. We arrived around 6pm on the 23rd for a week long stay. There will be one more post before the New Year. Thanks again for reading this and we hope you have a great holiday season.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

AHHHHHHHHHH Life in the desert!

Well another week has come and gone and we are getting back into a routine, a busy one, but still a routine. Monday and Thursdays are hike days. Sunday Kelly and his friend Al play texas holdem, and the ladies watch movies and discuss the short comings of their husbands. Monday night is Photo Club for Kelly. Tuesday night is crib night for both of us. Wednesday is Happy Hour from 4 to 5:30. Even numbered days are set aside for Pickleball in the morning and for odd numbered days it's Pickelball after 2pm. We only have one court here and we share it with the tennis people. Yes we are very busy and having a real good time!
Last Mondays hike was the Side Ladder Canyon.

Hope those guys can't see up my shorts

Water break in the canyon

View from the top

I hope that guy in the front knows where he is going

June's turn to hold up the rock cliff.

We did this same hike last February and is still one of my favourites. You have to climb 5 ladders and 2 dead waterfalls to get to the top, but with the "we're all in this together" attitude we get there.

Tuesday was Pickleball day and Palm/Christmas Tree decorating day. I must say it is a bit different decorating a Palm Tree.

Our first Palm/Christmas Tree

Thursdays hike was the South Lykken Trail. This was another "cardio" hike as it was straight up 2300 feet then across a ridge and then switch backs to the bottom.

View of the valley from the top. Where there is green there is irrigation

Junkel at the top!

The forecast for Friday was Rain. Some of the clouds came in early and we were treated to an amazing sunset on Thursday.

The sky was a deeper red than this.

These bands of cloud went across the valley.

Thursday night was also Hiking club potluck dinner night. We had a great time there yabbering with all of our fellow hikers. We took a block of the Maple Cream that Kelly's grandmother had got for us. Needless to say it was all gone and I am not to sure but I think some one licked the plate.
Friday was complete shut down day as we were bagged.
On sunday we sat out at the end of our street with our friends from Sidney and watch the Golf Cart Santa Parade. They also pickup donations for the local food bank. Apparently this is and annual event and one that we will have to take a more active role in, in the future!

Santa and the Mrs. leading the parade.

When we were here in October and November we struggled to keep our Non-air-conditioned RV cool, now it is the reverse. The nights have been dropping down to 5-7 degrees and what ever the temp is outside it is the same inside. This means we have had to have the heater on a bit, this is the part where all of you feel sorry for us. Michelle is flying in on Friday and the three of us are off to Disneyland for three days. Then it is off to Messa Arizona for Christmas with Linden, Reid and Natalie and her parents. The excitement never ends!
We hope to post one more blog before Christmas comes but if not Merry Christmas to all and we hope 2015 is all you want it to be.
Thank-you for reading this and Take care of one another.