Saturday, February 19, 2011




The pain in Kelly’s knee that has been bothering her for a week & a half now eased off about 6 hours after taking the first 800mg Ibuprofen pill.  No pain when she got up this morning either & she thinks the swelling may have gone down a bit.  We will now likely head out first thing Sunday morning (depending on weather)  for Borrego Springs.  Might be over that way early next week depending on wherever the wind blows.  No idea how long we’ll stay there & that may depend on what happens here with this ranch deal.  We have not heard anything from the Real Estate fellow since earlier in the week.  Despite that we may return here sometime in March on our way home & feed the birds.  Because of the California gas prices we will likely not head up around the Death Valley area as I had hoped.  Maybe Joshua Tree SP on our return to the Sulphur Springs Valley.







The lifestyle between our home in Ontario & here in Arizona is so totally different that it is like stepping back into the past for us every time we come here.  I sometimes refer to it as having to put our southwest heads back on & look at things with our southwest eyes.  Ontario & Arizona are so different in so many ways.  And, it is that change I find so interesting & invigorating.




We find people very friendly & laid back in the southwest.  Especially in New Mexico & Arizona.  Not nearly as many rules & regulations here as back home & I like that.  Out here in the small towns & valleys there is still a wild west flavor & a closeness amongst the people.  For anyone who has read the Southwest's history they will know that is how the west has always been.  People could only survive by helping each other in the violent & turbulent times of the 1800’s.  There is a sense of that still present because life can be harsh in these here parts.   I’m not talking about the large towns & big cities,  I’m talking about the dusty little towns & burgs out here in the rustic & quaint wind swept desert backcountry.  Out here where the tires meet the mud, the rocks & the gravel.  Out here where you can see for miles & miles in any one direction & not set your eyes on a single car ahead or behind you.  People don’t look at you funny if your wearing a cowboy hat or have your boots on backwards.  If you want to grow your hair down to your knees that’s just fine because there are lots of good old down to earth characters in the west & I like that.  Doesn’t matter if you got a ripped shirt with an acre of dust in the top pocket or if you have an old beat up Ford truck with a missing fender, a blown headlight & a couple dozen dents in the sun faded paint job.  Half a dozen cracks in the windshield is alright too.  I like the idea a feller can just kinda fade away & become a part of the landscape.


I love this southwest lifestyle, feel totally comfortable here & fit right in like an old gray weather beaten barn board on a tumble down 49’er miner’s shack.


Aside from the scenic advantages of spending the winters in the southwest we have always known how much healthier it is than staying trapped in a house by the ice, snow & harsh freezing temperatures of a northern winter.  I was first hooked on the southwest back in May of 1992 when I made a fairly quick trip to Utah & back.  Kelly & I rocketed to & from Big Bend Texas during a Christmas Holiday break in December of 2004.  We had a Class C at the time & that trip sealed our love for the southwest.  We have returned to New Mexico, Arizona & California every winter since beginning in October of 06.



We have friends back home who have never been anywhere south in the winter & have no interest in going south despite being retired & financially stable.  That is a hard one for me to understand.  After having spent well over 60 years enduring all the aspects of full blown Canadian winters I do not want to ever have to do that again.  We have had enough of being trapped indoors day after day by blinding snow storms, freezing rain, closed highways & power outages, etc.  Here in the southwest we can be outside about 99% of the time walking, hiking, day tripping, working on outside hobbies, soaking up warm sunshine & all the time being surrounded by beautiful scenery, sunrises & sunsets.  We are not stay inside television people so the southwest is a natural & healthy place for us to be while we are still able.



We know this will not last forever but while we are healthy & still have control over our lives & destinations we will not be sitting around on our cans in Canada during the winter!!  The sands of time are just not in our favor anymore……………And, won’t you all be glad when we’re back on the road tomorrow & I will have something refreshingly new to blog about….me too:))


The air was so still this morning it would not have disturbed a candle flame.  However, around 9 a.m. the powerful southwest winds suddenly ripped in from the south scattering dust & tumbleweeds everywhere.  We retreated inside & hung on except for Checkers who really seems to enjoy having the winds tousling through her fur.  She just lays there under the Motor Home with a big smile on her face, fur blowing every which a way.  But, even she had to finally relent & come in.  So windy today a lot of the tiny birds weren’t even flying & as the day progressed we probably endured some of the worst winds we have ever had.  The north & south horizon lines were totally invisible at times because of the large clouds of billowing dust.


RETIRED ROD had a few questions about my Nikon D90.  In our comment section Rod asks, “Tell us more about how it works as compared to the older cameras, and how you lens transitions to the new body. And perhaps where you ordered it.”  I ordered the camera body from ADORAMA The Camera People.  That recommendation came from KEN ROCKWELL'S site which I highly recommend to anyone interested in photography.  He has the best product reviews & will tell you what is good or not about camera models.  He tests all new cameras/lenses & if he thinks a new camera model has a lot of useless tecky razzle dazzle kid’s stuff on it he will tell you so.  He also explains how to tweak your camera for it’s maximum performance.  His site has helped my photography & I’m sure would be helpful to other photographers as well.  Ok, back to Rod’s questions……Fortunately for me the D90 is not on a steep learning curve because the basics are carried forward from my D40 & D50.  Dials, switches, buttons, etc are all mainly in the same places.  Menu operates the same as well.  I was able to pick this camera up, snap on a lens & step out the door & start shooting.  The camera does have a lot of new internal features which will take me awhile to get onto though.  I can be a slow learner at times but thanks to Ken Rockwell’s site on the NIKON D90 I have already made some tweaks in the exposure department.  I like Ken’s photography so have basically set up my D90 the same as his.  Also made sure before buying the D90 that my 2 Nikor zoom lenses were going to be compatible, which they were.  Just snap em on & away ya go.  As I discover new technologies with the D90 I will pass them on but I’m not expecting you will see a big difference in my photos from the D40 but we shall see.  The D90’s potential is definitely there so we’ll see how lucky I can get with it.  The D40 is going to be hard to beat though because it was & still is an ‘Ace’ camera.  Also want to mention here that you can shoot your buns off with the best camera on the market but if you don’t have a good handle on some basic photographic techniques or are not familiar with your camera equipment & are not experienced with a good photo editing program you are probably going to be disappointed in your results.  As you all know, I use Google’s Picasa 3.8 photo editing program & it works just fine for me.  Lots of other expensive photo programs out there that do more but to each his own.  I’m not a smart techy guy so in my world….simpler is better.  Well, that sure took Mr. Blabberfingers long enough to answer a few simple questions didn’t it…………


GROANER’S CORNER:((  The Doctor was puzzled 'I'm very sorry Mr O'Flaherty, but I can't diagnose your trouble.  I think it must be drink.'  'Don't worry about it Dr Cullen, I'll come back when you're sober.', said O' Flaherty.

Tourists see the world, travelers experience it.
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.


  1. beautiful shots of the white sand!!!..looks just like snow if you look real quick!!!

  2. Do you think the southwest will remain interesting and invigorating to you if you don't have the change each year from Ontario?? Just wondering... :)

  3. This post took my breath away. You summed up this land so beautifully. I love the desert so much (except for when it's 120 and 130 degrees outside) but definitely don't have the ability to write how I feel. Thank you so much. This made me feel so wonderful inside.

  4. I don't think you blog too much about the changes you are making. I am also going to be moving out of the cold soon, and I like to hear others thoughts on the process. I know I'm going to go as soon as the house is sold and the RV is purchased, but every so often a little bit of doubt pops up - so this is why I like to read what others are doing and thinking.

  5. You speak so eloquently about Arizona and it always tempts me to jump in my truck and try it again. My experiences there in Nov/Dec clouded my perspective though and I doubt if I'll ever go back there. I would like to try a few weeks in Northern NM some time, although it's pretty cold in the winter and I've never tried in during the early spring. I can deal pretty well with cold and rain, but the wind is not to my liking at all, nor the dust that gets in every crack and crevice.

  6. Canada's a big country and luckily for us, winter on Vancouver Island is no where near what it is in Ontario as the temperature seldom falls below freezing. That said, the southwest winter is definitely much warmer and we especially like the change in scenery.

    By the time our winter vacation is over though, we're ready to head home to Vancouver Island to enjoy another beautiful spring, summer and fall.

    We've already made reservations for another winter down here in Palm Springs for 2012! It's a great life!

  7. Al, have you thought about taking a body cover for the lens opening, and drilling a very small pin hole in it, and making you D40 a digital pin-hole camera? Or just cover with black duct tape, and stick a pin through it? Might be fun to play with, if the shutter still works.

  8. Thanks Al, for the nice explanations. I think my D70 is even older than your D40 and D50. It is only 6MegaPixel. So I need to do something to upgrade one of these days.


  9. Wish you guys would stop and visit a few days with us here before heading to Borrego Springs.

  10. Al, you said "Ontario & Arizona are so different in so many ways. And, it is that change I find so interesting &invigorating."

    I was born & raised high up in the Colorado mountains, and the first time I saw AZ (Sierra Vista) I was hooked. AZ is interesting & invigorating :)
    I have been home a few times in passing, but would never move back there, I find still too many untraveled roads to explore here in the SW.
    Have a safe trip :)

  11. We are not lovers of winter either...I would like to visit the Pacific Northwest some summer..maybe this one?? Glad you are getting back on the road..We don't like to sit too long in one spot...

  12. We shared your winds, of course. Fortunately, there is plenty of work to do indoors!

  13. I really agree with your posting about the West. Have you seen this video? And nice pics again.

  14. I agree with Rick, about all of Canada not being the same, as you know this is our first time visiting the south west area and we love it, but can't imagine leaving Vancouver Island and our laid back life style there.


  15. I have to wonder if you're waiting out this storm pushing's snowing in the Verde Valley! Thanks for the camera links...I've been "looking" but didn't know what to look for!

  16. Great pictures today. Thanks for the photography site. Clearly you are hooked on the SW and will find some way to spend lots of time there, no matter how the ranch deal works out.

  17. Come on AL, go to Death Valley and enjoy yourself. If you can afford a Ranch you can afford 3-4 tanks full of $3.50 gas. Don't let that being contagious and ornery about the high price of gas ruin your fun, just do it. My best bud that I started 1st grade with and played high school football with was going to retire 2 years ago but decided to work just a while longer before he started his adventure........ laid him to rest Feb 5th.... he never got to take a trip....but he was an executive for 36 years and had lots of money to show for it.


  18. Hi Al...the big winds BLEW us right through Benson, Bisbee and right past you! Hunkering down at Rusty's RV Ranch in Rodeo, NM, at the moment...waiting for the winds to die down a bit before we continue East on our adventure!

  19. Enjoyed reading your thoughts - as always. Great writing. And fantastic pictures of the white sand. Makes me want to see it.

  20. Enjoyed reading your thoughts - as always. Great writing. And fantastic pictures of the white sand. Makes me want to see it.

  21. Such a good eye you have for just the right elements in a photo! I love your pictures! The white sands photos are very interesting. They remind me of the snow at Crater Lake. It would be fun to play in warm sand, instead of the cold snow.

    Sorry the wind is so blustery. I think there was a great book about that..."Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day". I'm sure you've seen it. Our kids loved it, and so did we.

    Take care, and hope the birds will soon find their way back to the feeders.