Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chilly (a bit) in Yuma

As planned, we left Salt Lake City for Yuma Monday morning.  It was only snowing lightly, but colder, snowier weather was predicted for the next few days -- not just in Salt Lake, but also in Cedar City and Las Vegas which were on our route.  Per Jim, forecasters in SLC are also predicting a wind chill dropping temps to minus 25 to minus 40 tonight.  Ouch.  Glad we left when we did.

For the most part the roads were OK.  But in Utah County -- especially in the Provo-Orem area -- it looked like I-15 hadn't even been plowed.

We spent Monday night in Henderson, NV, just south of Las Vegas, at a Hawthorne Suites.  Not fancy, but it's dog friendly, clean, and barely off our route.

The  big story on the Las Vegas TV stations was a predicted New Years' Eve snowstorm.  Reporters were passing along ideas on how to save your desert plants (wrap them in old fashioned Christmas lights) and pointers on how to avoid hypothermia while partying on the strip (dress in layers and don't forget hats and gloves; my advice, however is: stay home.)  Jim just checked the Las Vegas weather and it's 31 but feels like 19. If it feels like 19, my party is definitely moving indoors.

Meanwhile, we arrived in Yuma yesterday afternoon, where it's a chilly 43 as I write and a little windy.  It's winter-jacket-but-no-boots weather.

Happy New Year everyone!

Driving on I-15 near Provo's Center Street exit about 9:30 Monday morning.  Did Provo forget to collect taxes for snow removal or something?
Highway 95 going south toward Yuma. Much more pleasant.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A couple of Christmas photos

We had a fun Christmas Eve (stayed up until 1:30 in the morning playing a card game called 31 and also Cards Against Humanity with our daughter and SIL, plus Shad's sister and spouse Jessica) and a wonderful Christmas.  Luckily the kids did not get up too early, so we opened gifts about 9:30.  In the afternoon we had dinner at the home of our friends John and Deb. 

If the weather cooperates, we'll head back to Arizona Monday.  It's been a nice visit.

Annual holiday matching PJs photo.  Left to right top row:  SIL Shad, daughter Ashley, Bev and Jim.  In front are grandchildren Mia and Marshall.
Marshall got a Ninja turtle doll to go with the ninja turtle shirt he has worn every day since last September (he will wear PJs at night,  however, so his Mom can launder the shirt.
Granddaughter Mia got a ukulele from her Uncle Paul in Ohio.

While the weather has been fairly warm and clear (for December in Salt Lake City) since we arrived, this photo of our mailbox was taken Christmas morning.  Another snowy blast starts tonight.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Yuma to Utah

My Mom is on my case to post something, so I guess I better get writing.

After three weeks in sunny Yuma, we drove the 700 miles to Salt Lake City to spend Christmas with our daughter, son-in-law, grand kids and friends.  We've been in Salt Lake since December 11. This is the fourth year in a row that we've driven our tow car from Arizona to Utah for the holidays. Usually we put the motor home in a storage lot, but this year we paid for a campsite at the Yuma Proving Ground RV Park, left the RV hooked up to electricity, and gave the keys to some neighbors just in case.  It was so much easier than draining the tanks, taking the tire and window covers off, driving the rig to storage, putting the covers back on, etc. etc. Instead, we just packed and left.

We would not rank Yuma as an exciting town, but it's a great winter place. It's warm, the people are great, and Jim and I got into a comfortable routine that was fun for us but didn't give me much to write about.  (Except the Ohio State Buckeyes!  I should have done a post on them.  Never did I think I'd be happily yelling "We're number four!  And then Jim's team -- the Oregon State Beavers or the "other OSU" as I call them -- actually he calls the Buckeyes that, too -- lost their long time coach to Nebraska so we've been following that.) We go to the military base gym every day, read, watch some TV, socialize a bit, drive the 25 miles into town to Yuma, and generally take it pretty darn easy.

Now that we're home in Salt Lake, we have a little more to do but it's hardly a tough life. As I'm writing I'm drinking my daughter's wine and eating chocolate truffles.  Like I said, life is not tough. However, I get up about 6:15 to help get my grand kids ready for preschool. Jim and I finished our Christmas shopping and did some errands -- doc appointments, car to the shop, hair cuts, stuff like that. I had to go to the Apple store today because I downloaded something I should not have and ended up with ad ware that changed my search engines and we couldn't get rid of it.  But I think Apple succeeded.

Anyway. We will celebrate Christmas with our Salt Lake family and friends. And we're having a nice time.

Arizona sunsets are amazing.  They can color 360 degrees of the horizon.
Typical scenery near the Yuma Proving Ground.  The day after I took this photo some folks in a big Class A motor home drove in the same location and got stuck.  It took a tow truck three tries to pull them out of the sand. 
I was walking from the commissary to our campground when I saw this soft looking branch over a sidewalk and pushed it aside with my hand.  I should have remembered a ranger's advice that everything in the desert "sticks, stings, or stinks" because this tree has thorns. Ouch. 
We've had nice visits with our neighbors at the Yuma Proving Ground RV Park.  Several couples have standing "everyone come on over" times in the late afternoon.  The gathering above was held at our neighbors Mike and Carol, who are from Wisconsin and have a rig directly across from us on the campground road. The guys were all outside (that's Jim in the third chair from the right) ...

...While the women chatted in Mike and Carol's tent.  We also played a card game called "Sequence" where teams try to get five chips in a row on a board.  I am not a game person at all, but this was fun.
Jim loves the burros that roam near the Yuma Proving Ground and occasionally (more than occasionally last year) make their way onto the military base.  This one was at the side of Imperial Road, the road to the base.
Back in Salt Lake, grandchildren Mia and Marshall work on a gingerbread house. It looks like Mia may have part of it in her mouth.
Jim and Bev with our friends John and Debbie.  John is the library/media specialist at a Salt Lake City elementary school and Deb is the deputy director of the Salt Lake City Library  They are both from Ohio (like Bev is) and I've known them for 40 years. We'll have Christmas dinner at their house. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blast Off

We’ve been warm in Yuma since November 17.  But today it’s cool enough to wear a sweatshirt and a little rainy, which will probably be the big story on the TV news tonight.

We’re staying at the Yuma Proving Ground (YPG), an army base about 25 miles north of the actual city of Yuma.  Another big story on the news tonight will be the YPG’s involvement with a NASA program that will eventually take humans to deep outer space, including Mars. The spacecraft is called Orion and is scheduled to launch an unmanned test flight tomorrow morning from Cape Canaveral.

YPG personnel are involved in testing large parachutes that will get Orion -- and by 2021 its four human occupants -- safely back to earth.  Per a YPG web site, the parachutes will "slow the hurtling capsule to a languid 17 miles per hour upon splashdown in the ocean.”  To read more about YPG’s role you can click here.