About Me

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Cedar, Leelanau County, Michigan (near Traverse City), United States
I am a 76 year old (born 7/4/1937) retired Public Radio Engineer from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Happily married to the love of my life, Teddy (nee Teddy Schlueter). Teddy is a retired Medical Records Clerk from Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah, Wisconsin. Two children, Michael and Lon. Lon passed away in 1994. Michael is married to his wonderful wife, Toni and lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. For photos click on link below or visit our photo site http://www.flickr.com/photos/igboo NOTE: Click on photos for full-size images.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The China Ranch Date Farm

Last Saturday, April 18th, Teddy and I took a day trip to visit the China Ranch Date Farm. The China Ranch is located near Tecopa, California on the southern periphery of Death Valley about 45 miles from Pahrump. We decided to make a day of it so took our time and enjoyed the drive there. We left Pahrump on Nevada Rt. 372 which turned into California 178 at the border.

Along the way between Pahrump and Shoshone we spotted these delicate beautiful desert flowers growing wild along the road shoulders and had to stop and photograph them. They grew in bunches and the individual blossoms were about an inch and a half in diameter.

Reaching Shoshone we turned left (south) toward Tecopa.

We stopped in Tecopa to visit the hot springs which apparently are a natural phenomenon in the area.
The cost was $7.00 per person to go into the hot spring baths. It was highly commercialized, bathing was in the nude and there were separate baths for men and women. I couldn't see sitting in a pool with a bunch of other naked men so we decided to pass. If Teddy and I could have went together we might have went in. The kicker was that later in the day on the way back to Pahrump, about three or four miles north of Tecopa we spotted several cars pulled off the road on the shoulder of the road and people walking into the desert. Curious, we stopped and I waited in the truck while Teddy investigated. She came back about a half hour later and said that there was a natural hot spring pool/pond and several naked people were lounging there in the muddy water. Wrinkly old men and sagging breasted women, so I was probably better off that I didn't go with her. ;-)

Continuing on we finally arrived at the date farm.

These date palms are entirely different from the date palms that we saw two years ago down by the Salton Sea. I never realized that there was such a great variety of date palms.

While there I snapped these macros of some desert cacti.

...and these three classes of wildlife...avian...reptilian...mammalian.

Needless to say we also sampled several varieties of dates before leaving.
And guess what?
Teddy made some date cookies when we got back. MMMMMMMM.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

All fixed!

Update on blog of January 11, 2009.
Readers may recall my shower door fiasco last January. Well, in view of my initial research on replacing the door costing in the neighborhood of $600 (a neighborhood that we didn't want to visit), I rigged up a shower curtain solution as a temporary fix until we were a little more solvent. I had also contacted a glass dealer in Lake Havasu City and they didn't want to handle it.
So after we arrived here at Terribles Lakeside I decided to investigate local glass dealers here in Pahrump. Found a family owned business called "Quality Image" and they were confident that they could install a new tempered glass for less than $200. They said that they could cut the glass to size, then have it tempered and installed in less than a week's time. I was, WOW, go for it. The very next day an installer named Steve came out to the park, made measurements and true to promise came back with the glass a week later. The installation took about an hour and we are pleased with the new shower door. This time we opted for clear glass instead of opaque. Gives the shower an entirely different look and now I can watch Teddy while she showers, or vice versa.
Hmmm...well...probably not! ;-)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Home Improvements (floor project)

We have often thought of replacing the carpet in the Cardinal with a hard surface floor. Carpet is fine for occasional use RVers but for we fulltimers it can be a real nuisance trying to keep it clean. We have met other RVers who have replaced their carpet with "Pergo" or a similar wood floor laminate with good results. Our only concern was if the slides would mar the floor. I called Forest River, the manufacturer of our Cardinal, and they assured me that there would be no problem as long as the new flooring wasn't thicker than the carpet. I had also previously noted that there didn't seem to be any track marks on the carpet after extending the slides. So armed with this information I began researching alternative flooring ideas and discovered Allure flooring sold by Home Depot. On Thursday the 10th my friend, Hank Syberden and I visited the local Home Depot and were both impressed with the product. So on Friday afternoon in view of the fact that Hank volunteered to help with the install, we bit the proverbial bullet and I returned to the store to purchase the flooring.

By the time I returned Teddy had most of the carpet torn out...

...and was working on the kitchen vinyl.

We decided to start in the Cardinal's rear living room and work our way forward toward the Kitchen.

By six PM we were about halfway done and decided to quit for the day.

The following day (Saturday) we attacked the floor again with renewed gusto and by noon were well into the kitchen.
Here is Hank on his beleaguered knees trimming another piece.

Almost done!

Although the directions said that it was not necessary except in commercial applications, we decided to roll the floor for better adhesion.

Here is Teddy wielding the 100 lb. roller like a professional.

So two days later, here it is all done except for some molding.
Teddy and I are quite pleased with the appearance and no more carpet cleaning.
We owe a big, big thanks to Hank Syberden for his help. My poor knees and flabby body make it difficult to get down to floor level and Hanks help was a godsend.

Hmmm...now...what project can I start on next? ;-)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Scotty's Castle

We are now in Pahrump, Nevada at Terribles Lakeside RV Resort. We left Florence Sunday morning, spent Sunday night in Henderson, NV and arrived here about noon on Monday the 30th. Monday afternoon we got together with our friends Don & Carol Dingman who were already here in Pahrump at the Winery RV Park. We then made plans for the following day to visit the famous "Scotty's Castle" located in Death Valley National Park. It was about a three hour drive to get there so we left here early Tuesday morning at 8 am.Arriving at 11 am we were greeted with this view of the building and grounds.

Admission to the "castle" is only available via a conducted 40 minute tour and our tour guide shown here sure looked the part. We entered through the door in the circular tower...

...into this inner courtyard.
Note the clarion clock tower in the background

From there a door on the left led to this sitting room on the lower floor of the living quarters.

We then were led through several rooms in succession with stops in each where the guide described what we were seeing.

We toured Scottie's bedroom (not shown) and this lower level music room with this large Don Quixote tapestry on the wall. This room also housed this player piano.

On the left, note the small keyboard for the clarion.

This hallway then led to the dining room and kitchen in succession.

Dinnerware in dining room.

Kitchen stove.

At this point in the tour we were led up a staircase to the second floor which contained several bedrooms, a bathroom and ...a glorious upper level music room complete with a Welte-Mignon theater organ with more than 1,000 pipes.
Chandelier in upper music room.

And now for the rest of the story!
It turns out that Scotty's Castle is essentially a big sham. Walter Scott aka Scotty, was a flimflam man that managed to talk a rich Chicago insurance magnate named Albert Johnson into investing large sums of money in a non existent gold mine in the desert. Mr. Johnson on discovering that he had been flimflammed decided that he liked the area so much that he undertook to build this magnificent Spanish themed manor house here in the desert as a vacation retreat for he and his wife, Bessie. He also became so enamored with the Scotty character that he entered into a quasi partnership with him using Scotty as a front man.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Florence Prison RV Park

While we were at the Desert Gardens RV Oasis we visited the prison outlet store in Florence at the Arizona State Prison Complex also known as Florence State Prison (FSP). It is one of 13 prison facilities operated by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). FSP is located in Florence, Pinal County, Arizona, 55 miles east from the state capital of Phoenix.
There we found good news for RVers that enjoy a different kind of camping experience. We discovered that they are building an RV Park addition in the prison. There RVers will be able to mingle with the prisoners in the yard and participate in their various activities such as body building and running. Part time employment opportunities for work-campers will also be available in the prison laundry and license plate shop.
It is also rumored that it will be possible for minimum security prisoners to purchase their own RV, albeit with bars on the windows & doors, and live in them as opposed to a cell; motorhomes will, of course, have to have their engines disabled as well. This should go a long way in relieving the overcrowded prison conditions and may become a model for prisons around the nation.
So...if any of you RVers should find yourself in south central Arizona I suggest that you investigate what should turn out to be a unique camping experience. And who knows, some of you single or widowed RV ladies out there may even discover a new romance. ;-)