Monthly Archives: January 2016


January 30, 2016

Las Cruces, New Mexico. ¬†Wonderful. ¬†It being Saturday, we decided to have a “Date Night” (and day). ¬†First stop – Sombra Antigua Winery.


When we arrived, it was packed with people, mostly from Texas, which is only 5 miles away.  Music was playing with Jerry Pacheco and Ed Camden, there was a food truck,  people brought mountains of food.


Dogs were lying in the sun, and little children were dancing to the music, fascinated by the musicians.  We tasted some wines and bought a bottle.  Then we sat with a glass and listened to the music.

We decided to go to Luna Rossa Vineyard & Pizzeria for dinner.


It was truly one of the best pizzas we’ve ever tasted. ¬†The owners were from Italy, and had a wood-fired oven built. ¬†It was reminiscent of the pizza we ate in Naples. ¬†If you ever get there, order the prosciutto and mushroom pie (do I hear angels singing?).

Next up, Vintage Wines, a tiny place in the old town of Mesilla.


It kind of reminded me of Greenwich Village, in that it was small and  dark, with dimly lit signage, and  down several steps. Maggie Garcia was playing  Spanish and pop guitar in the courtyard, singing her heart out.  It was extremely crowded- as in no seats.  But a group of folks graciously offered two spots at their table.  It made the evening fun, learning about the area from locals.

Before heading home, we stopped at High Desert Brewery, with beer made right on the premises.


We didn’t eat, but the food coming out of the kitchen looked amazing. ¬†Tim tried one of their craft beers and deemed it delicious, I enjoyed a pint of house-made root beer. ¬†The reason for stopping at this particular spot was the live Rockabilly music, with Double Clutchers.


Who knew that two guys, one with a guitar and one with a big stand-up bass could make such compelling sounds.  Plus, their voices were terrific.

We would stay in Las Cruces a bit longer, because we really like it but, after looking at weather maps we decided to move on to Texas. ¬†Maybe you’ve heard of Stormchasers, we’ve decided to call ourselves Sunchasers. So, onward!


January 29, 2016

We’re ba-a-ack. ¬†You just will not believe this. We we were all packed , provisioned and ready to go. We stopped at the insurance agency to purchase a 3 -month Mexican auto insurance policy, because they don‚Äôt accept US auto insurance. The agent was asking us questions to process our forms.
“Do you own or lease the truck, Mr. Reilly/“
‚ÄúWe lease‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúThen we‚Äôll need a letter from the leasing company granting you permission to drive into Mexico‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNo problem, will you accept an email‚ÄĚ.
ring -ring  ring Рring
‚ÄúHi, this is Tim Reilly. My lease policy is number #‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ. Will you please email me a permission letter to travel into Mexico?‚Äú
‚ÄúI‚Äôm sorry Mr. Reilly, that is against our policies – no exceptions.‚ÄĚ What? What?

As you can imagine, at this point I was about ready to stomp my feet, and cry.   No Mexico?  Ay, Dios Mio.

ay dios mio

You may remember this sad-sack character named Fericito, on Saturday Night Live, played by Fred Armisen.

Rather than cry the blues, we did the best we could. We drove to Winterhaven, CA, about 15 minutes away.. We parked our vehicle on this side of the CA – MEXICO border, and walked over through a maze to Los Algodones, Mexico.


Notice the two flags at the border crossing.

Los Algodones

Los Algodones is a colorful little town boasting over 350 dentists, all within ten minutes walking distance from the border.The dentists names are even on the street signs.


Los Algodones is a strange and colorful little town. ¬†It is dedicated to Dentistry for tourists. These dentists are mostly trained in the US. Everyone ‚Äúout here‚ÄĚ is aware that you can have dental work done for about 1/3 the price of the US. Tim and I both had our teeth cleaned for $35 each. That‚Äôs a steal if you don‚Äôt have dental insurance. Dr. Carlos Velas, at Gator Dental, who wore sneakers, jeans, and introduced himself as ‚ÄúCarlos‚ÄĚ did the work himself.


No assistant, no paper cloth to cover one‚Äôs torso, and no bowl to rinse/spit in. He did a full examination, and proclaimed everything as ‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ. I believe him because he also does fillings, extractions, veneers, crowns, and implants. Tim was also given a clean bill of tooth health.

Los Algodones has more square feet of dental offices than any other place in Mexico – probably the world. It also has pharmacies, optometrists, restaurants, liquor stores, curio shops, and a few places to enjoy a really good margarita.


Beautiful straw hats at one stall.

It is said that on an average January day, over 33,000 tourists walk across this ¬†border. ¬†I know that’s correct, we waited in the line to get back to the USA.



After we got our teeth cleaned, we went to Paradiso for music, Mexican food, and a few Margaritas to help chase away the blues.


Here we are enjoying margaritas. ¬†But I did find a new drink I loved. ¬†It sounds gross, but it’s delicious. ¬† It’s a Bloody Mary, and you add beer to it and stir as it goes down. ¬†The glass is rimmed in chili powder. It’s called a Michelada – delish!



Knowing that unless we purchase the truck, this is our only trip into Mexico for now, certainly not the one we’ve planned and waited for. Perhaps we’ll buy the truck Рwe’ll see.


In the meantime, we thought about going north to the Grand Canyon, and then on to Las Vegas. But after checking the weather, that was a resounding NO WAY! So, we are headed east, along the most southern route. We are currently in Las Cruces, New Mexico for a few days. ¬†Then we’ll tackle Texas and beyond. ¬†Thank goodness we don’t need permission to cross Canada and go into Alaska. That‚Äôs still on tap for the summer, but you just never know‚Ķ

Our first night headed east was spent in Benson, AZ. It’s an amazing park called Butterfield RV Park and Observatory. The big draw? It has an actual observatory Рa real one.



So tonight we went to the show – only 15 people at one time. There was a wonderful 16‚ÄĚ ¬†university grade telescope,¬†

At about 7pm, Lance the self-named ‚Äúastronerd‚ÄĚ, opened the aperture of the dome. We were invited to step up onto the ladder to see the most wondrous sights. Betelgeuse, Sirius, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, open-cluster stars, globular clusters, and the newborns that make-up Orion‚Äôs sheath. It was an experience like no other, and it took a lifetime to see it. We discussed the possibility of asteroid or comet strikes on Earth, and the likelihood of life on other planets. You may not know this, we didn‚Äôt. ¬†Arizona is the center for astronomy in the world. The main reasons are the clean air, and lack of light pollution, particularly in the deserts. Even the Vatican has an observatory here. Wow, what a night. ¬†You know the saying, ‚ÄúWhen one door closes, another one opens‚ÄĚ – for us, today, it couldn‚Äôt be truer.

This morning just before we left Butterfield, we were invited to view the sun through an amazing telescope.  Michael Kidd is a mathematician and computer scientist who studies astronomy for fun.  Again, seeing the sun, through filters course, was a first for us.

Note: ¬†I would never have believed when we started out, that this lifestyle would present us with so many “first”, ¬†so many brilliant minds, and such mind-bending experiences.

Note #2 – Michael Kidd writes a blog – you can find it at


January 25, 2016

If you follow our blog, you know we’ve had a few brushes with the law (Jackson Hole, WY, Roseburg, AZ). ¬†Well now, Yuma can join ¬†that illustrious group. ¬†We were in Staples the other day having some printing done. Tim had just gotten the art work from his phone and laid it down for just a moment. ¬†When he went to pick it up again, less than a minute later, it was gone. ¬†We both were quite upset, because it has a whole lot of important and personal info stored. ¬†Step in the App – “FIND MY PHONE”.


¬†Tim used my phone to “Find” his phone. ¬†We watched the blue dot representing the phone begin to move, still in the store.”Hurry Tim, before he/she leaves the store. ¬†But wait, it’s not leaving, it seems to be moving in circles. ¬†Hmmm. ¬†We then used an employee’s phone to call Tim’s phone, hoping we would hear it ring. It’s a good time to tell you that I have great hearing. ¬†Hearing so good, it could quite possibly be my super hero talent. ¬†Like a bloodhound after a scent, I began to walk around the store, listening for the sound. ¬†Closer, closer, louder, louder. STOP! ¬†I was standing in front of a culprit whose pocket was ringing. ¬†I looked him squarely in the eyes, giving him my best impression of snake eyes, on a very stony face. ¬†He reached in his pocket, pulled out a phone, and said, “Is this yours?” ¬†I took it from him and said no more than “thank you”. ¬†Hey, this being a pro -gun state- I’m no fool. ¬†We were just happy to get the phone back.


On the bright side, we’ve driven around a great deal, as we usually do, and know this city fairly well at this point.¬†We had lunch at LUTES CASINO,¬†which really isn’t a casino at all. ¬†But it used to be. ¬†It’s now a restaurant.


Their “especial” is a hamburger, topped with a hotdog, with all kinds of condiments. ¬†It wasn’t bad, (and it wasn’t good either). ¬†I guess it begs the question, why not just order a hamburger and a hot dog, and take a bite of each. ¬†We also ordered Chili Fries which were yum.


People don’t necessarily go to Lutes for the food. They go for the visual pleasure. ¬†There are all manner of things hanging from the ceiling and coming out of walls. ¬†And from what I can see, for no good reason. ¬†It’s just fun. ¬†Here are a few of our favorites.


A gigantic fish hanging from the ceiling with a woman in its mouth.


A foot coming from the ceiling, presumably from the floor above..


An antique urinal decorating the bar – kind of gross.


The cash cage of the old casino, playing the role of cashier today.

Lutes is a fun place to visit at least once, unless you love the “Especial”, then go for it.

On Friday night we went to see Johnny Counterfeit,¬†at¬†Cocopah RV Resort. ¬† He sang songs, told jokes, and did impressions. ¬†It was fun, but, unfortunately, not too relevant for 2016. ¬†Jack Benny, George Burns, and Rodney Dangerfield were a few of his impressions. ¬†The one that stole the show was impressions of Archie Bunker and Edith from “All In The Family”. ¬†He was perfect in that bit, and hilarious.

johnny cash


Here’s Johnny Counterfeit as Jack Benny – pretty good, right? ¬†Don’t know Jack Benny? ¬†Exactly!

Lastly, on Sunday, we went to Paradise Casino, sister casino to Quechen, where I made a donation, as I usually do.


Day view of Paradise.


Night view of Paradise.

Tomorrow we leave for an extended stay in Mexico.  We should be there by Wednesday.

Adios, Amigos.


January 13, 2016

We pulled into Quartzite, Arizona, and decided to stay in Rice Ranch, a full-service RV park of a sort – ambiance – ‚Äú0‚ÄĚ. Most people who stay in the desert in BLM (Bureau of Land Management ) areas, have large tanks of water, 100 gallons or so, and generators for power. We have neither. So, instead of meeting up with the Outside Our Bubble (OOB) group, we moved into Rice Ranch. We would later meet up with the OOB group and stay in the desert for a few days.

The beauty of Rice Ranch is that it is directly across the street from the Sport, Vacation, and RV Fairgrounds, with all of its madness.


Check out all these RVs… they go on much, much farther than the picture – at least for eight miles!

The first full day, we started to walk the streets to look at some of the hundreds of booths. We came across a wine tasting tent, and in we went. We sometimes share a tasting, but this time we each had our own. What was on the menu for tasting? Every single wine they had Рat least 18 different reds and whites, and Dawn was a generous pourer. So several hours later, we left the wine tent, and headed home.  Tim tells me I drank a little too much wine. I have to believe him because my walking stick sure came in handy.

The second day was even better. We saw an advertisement for the Quartzsite Yacht Club.


Being boaters, we had to see this for ourselves. Despite the fact that we’re in the middle of the desert, ¬†there is indeed a thriving yacht club¬†¬†(hence their slogan: ‚ÄúLong time, No sea‚ÄĚ).


it is the largest Yacht Club in the world. You know I just had to join. My membership fees included a T-shirt, hat, personalized laminated club card, and certificate. I am member #9,812. It is a recognized club throughout the world, so I will be accorded all the privileges of any yacht club member in good standing. ¬†Really! ¬† We had lunch at ‚Äúthe club‚ÄĚ, and moved on.

The Reader’s Oasis Bookstore is a must see for anyone who, quite frankly, can see.


You really can’t tell a book by it’s cover. Not much to see outside, but inside…

The owner, Paul Winer, is shall we say, a naturist. That‚Äôs right ladies and gents, he sells books nude. Well, not nude exactly, he wears a little knit cap on his ‚Äújunk‚ÄĚ. ¬†It‚Äôs kind of like the ‚ÄúHats for Bats‚ÄĚ scene in the movie, ‚Äú Major League‚ÄĚ. (At least, I thought so)…


People take pictures with Paul and all his glory, but when I went in, he was in the middle of giving a concert – singing and playing the piano – and if I may say, he was quite entertaining.

I didn’t want to distract him by asking for a picture, nor did I allow him to distract me from my mission, of seeing this eccentric purveyor of literature Р and his jewels.


We ended the day by having pizza and listening to music by ‚ÄúOne-Eyed Romeo‚ÄĚ at Silly Al‚Äôs Saloon. By the way, Romeo had two eyes, and he was a trio..


On our last day in the middle of the fairgrounds, we walked what must have been miles, through aisle after aisle of vendors. There was every kind of product imaginable for RVs. We ended up at Beer Bellys, having a few drinks, some pulled pork, and listening to ¬†country tunes sung by ‚ÄúCowboy Joe Lonsdale‚ÄĚ. Lots of fun.


We decided to spend a night or two cut off from everything out in the desert.  But not exactly alone.  At least 39 rigs showed up for the OOB gathering.  There was a potluck dinner, and movies under the stars.


My favorite thing was sitting around a giant campfire, with a great group of people talking and sharing stories.


It was an extraordinary evening!

¬† Throughout the trip, we’ve seen people who bring all kinds of toys with them – ¬†canoes, kayaks, ATVs, sport cars, motorcycles – but today was the best. ¬†We saw someone flying an ultra-light plane with a parachute (powered paraglider), skimming above the desert floor.


I’ve got to get me one of these!

Next stop – Mexico…



January 11, 2016

Welcome to Yuma, Arizona Everyone. ¬†For all of you who may not be aware, Yuma is the sunniest city¬†in the USA, with the least amount of rainfall. ¬†Because of the sunshine, rich soil, and good water ( legally taken from the Colorado River), Yuma produces 90% of the nation’s leafy greens from November through March. ¬†Driving in on Interstate 8 is pretty dramatic. ¬†The highway has been carved between mountain peaks that are craggy and gorgeous. ¬†Then just as dramatically, the mountains give way to huge swaths of green fields lying in front of you, seemingly stretching all the way to the horizon.


Looking for an RV park was kind of strange. ¬†Once you are on the highway frontage roads, the green fields give way to ¬†large swaths of RV parks, seemingly hundreds of them. ¬†They lie one after the other. ¬†If you wander inside, you’ll find they all tout similar amenities – pool, bingo, pickle ball, and bocce courts – oh my! ¬†Plus, the living quarters are so tight, you couldn’t slide a dime between the cottages or rigs. ¬†People looked like they were happy, but it was a little too close-quartered for us. ¬†So onward…where will we stay? ¬†Shall we make a run for Quartzsite, the boondocking capital of the world (or so I’ve heard)? ¬†It’ll be dark by the time we get there – so, no. ¬†I remembered that there is an Indian reservation close by in Somerton. ¬†The Cocopah Reservation. ¬†Not only is there a casino, but 12 miles or so from the casino is an RV park and Golf Club. ¬†How bad can it be, right? ¬†Turns out, not bad at all. ¬†We pulled in, hoping there was room for us – there was. ¬†We were escorted to our site, right beside the golf course – not too shabby. ¬†There was plenty of room to park the casita beside a concrete pad, with dedicated space to park the truck on the other side of the pad. ¬†We set up our rug, table and chairs, and sat down with rum and cokes (with lime, of course) and appetizers. ¬†Life is good ! ¬†Too bad we won’t be here for the Lettuce Festival in late February. ¬†Their slogan is “Lettuce Entertain You”. ¬†Isn’t that cute? ¬† We will also miss the Medjool Date Festival in January – oh well…

One note about Yuma that I think is pretty cool.  The people who live in Yuma are called РYumans Рwhat else?  That really tickles me.


On the way to Yuma, we stopped in  Organ Pipe National Monument, created to protect the species of cactus called Organ Pipe, in its most northern range.  Organ Pipe Cacti only grow in the Sonoran Desert,  found from southwestern Arizona to Mexico.


These cacti are very sensitive to frost. Cold air settles in valleys and the desert floor, so the heat loving organ pipe cactus grows on southern facing slopes below elevations of 3,000 feet.

The organ pipe cactus gets its name from the many slender, curving vertical stems which resemble the large pipes of an old-fashioned organ. Growing from a base just above the ground, the column-like stems usually grow to a height of 15 to 20 feet, but can be larger. The stems are about 6 inches in diameter, and rarely branch out.

Like the Saguaro, the organ pipe cactus needs shade and protection for a few years during its seedling stages. It depends on “nurse plants” like the desert ironwood and palo verde to develop. When the organ pipe cactus matures, its root system will eventually absorb any rain that falls. This deprives the nurse plant of the water it needs, and as a result, it becomes stunted or dies.

The flower buds of the organ pipe cactus grow from the tip of the stems. The flowers are white or pale lavender in color. They mostly bloom at night and are pollinated by nectar feeding bats, and by morning they close up again. The cactus has many buds which open up on different days so that the flower season can last for many weeks. They bloom annually from May to July.

NOTE: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument – The #1 Most Dangerous National Park in USA.
“It’s on the Arizona-Mexico border, at a spot where up to 1,000 illegal immigrants pass each day. 70,000 lbs. of pot were confiscated here in 2001, and the park doesn’t have enough rangers to stem the tide.” ¬†The visitor center is named after¬†Kris Eggle , a ranger who was shot and killed in the line of duty at Organ Pipe, on August, ¬†2002 while pursuing members of a drug cartel who fled into the United States after committing a string of murders in Mexico. ¬†He was 28 years old.



So far, we have spent more time in Amado, AZ, than any other spot.  Not only was it great fun, but we made lots of friends, including Patti and Jeff (below).


Hey y’all !!!

Quartzsite, AZ

We will be leaving the (Shimmy Shimmy) Cocopah reservation on Wednesday, headed for Quartzsite, AZ. ¬†There’s a giant S RV and ¬†Show there, and we’ll be meeting up with other RVers to dry camp, or “boondock” in the desert. ¬†We’ll be off the grid until next week sometime – ¬†Happy Trails til’ then.


January 3, 2016

This is my first post for the new year, 2016. ¬†It’s aso the first time Tim and I have ever seen WILLIE NELSON in concert. ¬†But first, I just want to say that, we may live in a tiny trailer, but believe me, we are prepared for every eventuality. ¬†I just knew I’d be needin’ my cowgirl hat at some point, and I was right. ¬† Now I’m all set for Willie ! ¬†I hope he’s set for me…


At age 82, he was absolutely a-maz-ing !


The Desert Diamond Casino arena was the venue. ¬†It was pretty small, so every seat was a good one. ¬†Speaking of seats, they were sold out. ¬†And, I think most people were in the age group of 45 – 85 (and beyond). ¬†The lady in front of us visited the 10 or so rows in front of her, asking people not to stand up so she could see. ¬†What a hoot! ¬†Everyone complied, although I don’t think there were too many “standers” in the crowd anyway. ¬†As for us, we were directly behind the director of who gets to sit / stand, so we had a clear view of the stage from start to finish. ¬†Thank you ma’am. ¬† That didn’t stop them from hootin’ and hollerin’, not just for Wille, but for each band member as they did an introductory solo. ¬†His band was also fantastic, and included his sister Bobbie on the keyboard , and son Lukas playing guitar. ¬† Lukas was great. Not only can he play guitar, but his pipes are very cool – very bluesy and raspy, kind of like a male Janis Joplin.


A picture of Lukas Nelson, a real cutie and fantastic musician.

Willie can still ¬†please a crowd. ¬† He did a few “costume” changes. ¬†With each change, the crowd roared. ¬†He came on stage with a black cowboy hat, changed into a red bandana, and then just his signature pigtails. ¬†Each time he switched head gear, he would throw it out into the audience. ¬†People scrambled to catch them. ¬†It was kind of funny because each time he threw the bandana, he would put on another. ¬†After a song or two, that bandana came off, was thrown, and replaced by a new one.


He sang lots of songs that are recognizable to everyone, and a few that were new to us. The crowd favorites were “On The Road Again”, “Georgia On My Mind”,”You Were Always On My Mind”, ¬†“Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die”, “Whiskey River”, and “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”.

We were delighted to have seen him in person. ¬†He still has “it” !


December, 2015

Tim and I love water, so we decided to take a day trip to drive the Apache Scenic Trail, partially because it passes three lakes.  The trail itself is only 145 miles long, piece of cake, right?  Wrong! The blurb we read did say that even though it was short, it would take a full day because of the slow speed limits, and the unpaved road.  That blurb was written 20 years ago, so we figured there would have been much improvement to the road, right?  Wrong!  There was a 22 mile stretch that was not only dirt, but had mountainous curves with no guard rails, and a 10 mile per hour speed limit.  So this little day trip took 12 hours of driving.  Was it worth it?  Heck yes.  Not only was the scenery divine, but we made a few pit stops that were really fun.

Our first stop was in Mesa, AZ, at the world famous (???)  Mesa Market Place Swap Meet.  It was pretty cool, but typical.  Have you ever been to Zerns in Pennsylvania Dutch Country?  Same thing only with more doo-dads pertaining to the west, like cowboy stuff and Kokopellis.


Love the purple cowgirl hat…

Onward. ¬† Next up was Tortilla Flat, an old mining town. ¬†I use the term “town” loosely, because it was really only a block long. ¬†But what a block. ¬†Here are some photos.



We stopped in the Superstition Saloon, which was completely wall-papered in Dollar bills.


¬†Tourists sign them, and the staff glues them to the walls. ¬†If this was the 1800’s, I do believe this would have been a place for a major hold-up. ¬†Tim had a special brew called “Snake Venom”, I had one called “Mule Oil”. ¬†Now, I’m not a real beer drinker (I prefer Margaritas), but that Mule Oil was pretty tasty! ¬†The best part of this saloon? ¬†The bar stools were real saddles.


Here’s Tim – (back) in the saddle (again).



Next up?  The 22 miles of frightening, hair-raising dirt road, which took many, many hours.  We were rewarded for our efforts with beautiful scenery, and pictures of Apache Lake, Canyon Lake, and the Theodore Roosevelt Lake and Dam.






Reportedly, this is the largest Masonry Dam in the world. ¬†(You may ask, what about the Hoover Dam? ¬†I can’t answer that – maybe it has something to do with the way it was built, i.e., poured concrete vs masonry). ¬†At any rate, to have been completed in 1911 is a marvel.

After completing the Apache Trail, we stopped in Apache Junction at Filly’s Roadhouse for a bite to eat, and a bit to drink. ¬†It was a lot of fun because they had live country music. ¬†And let me tell you, ¬†the people there came to dance. ¬†Every tune!


Notice that the two “Ls” in “Filly’s” are cowgirl boots. ¬†Nice touch, don’t ya’ think?

Last but not least is Organ Stop Pizza, in Mesa, AZ.


As you walk in, in front of you is a counter much like those found in movie theaters. ¬†Only this one sells pizza, ice cream, and drinks. ¬†So, you order your pizza, or not, and walk through a set of doors, food in hand, and are met with a small size arena, again, much like an old-time, one-show theater, complete with a balcony. ¬†There are no chairs, but benches at tables, meant to seat you and your perhaps unknown neighbor next to each other. Unless you sit in the balcony, where there are tables and chairs. ¬†At the appointed time, a “Mighty Wurlitzer” Organ rises up and out of an 8,000 pound rotating hydraulic elevator to the circular stage, with the musician already aloft. ¬†The lights go on and he begins to play. ¬†This organ is unbelievable. ¬†It has 6,000 pipes, that require four huge turbine blowers for air. ¬†It also boasts 17 ¬†percussions and innumerable traps and effects. ¬†Many of the percussions like the xylophones, drums, and glockenspiels are installed in the dining room for “greater audience appeal”. ¬†It is the largest Wurlitzer in the world.


I guess all I’m going to say is, the organ is magnificent, and the ambience is, well, ¬†…let’s just say ¬†it’s odd !!!