Friday, November 20, 2015

A March Through Nature -- Nov 20, 2015

Last post I promised a review of our first hike of the season. it is!

At 9:00am, we started out at the hub of the campsite and headed across the main road....then...the climb started....

The sun was still fairly low, so it brightened up the landscape a bit, reflecting on the 
few plants that inhabit this rocky, desert landscape...

It was a crisp, breezy morning, but warmed up quickly...

Before reaching great heights, a pretty view of the Senator Wash Reservoir came into view...

As you can see, it's a vast, rocky terrain...almost volcanic looking....
so desolate and foreboding...and mysterious,,,

This gives you a bit of an idea of the largest part of this BLM camping area...
it's not too populated yet...
The water you see is the water treatment center.
Above it in the picture is "our" golf course!

 The reservoir is getting further away!

We stopped here for a breather and a look at the view...

...the view of Castle Dome far in the distance.
It's actually about 30 miles away.

Something was kicking up sand for the longest time in this spot...
never did figure out what it was...

Onward and upward!
These trails are rough and natural...nothing "commercialized" about them!

 One more nice view of Castle Dome.
Eventho' this is the desert, it is full of undulating hills and valleys...

This was about the peak of the hike....
a narrow pass through...

One last view of the mountains from our highly elevated vantage point...
So peaceful and beautiful!

So, that was the hike!  I didn't go on yesterday's hike.  I had to go into Yuma for a lot of errands and didn't want to hit the Friday or weekend rush...the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I got in and out as quickly as I could, but it still seemed like it took forever!

We've had more pretty sunsets...they never get old!

Still experimenting with the GoSun Solar Oven.  Often, "experiments" of any kind have an if-y success rate. 
Well...not in the GoSun!  Seems everything comes out perfectly!

Cranberry/Blueberry Upside Down Cake
Sweet and gooey!  Can't go wrong with that!

Country-Style Ribs
These were soooooo moist and juicy!

Now....guess what??  If you are interested in purchasing a GoSun Solar Oven, I can now offer you a discount code to save $25 by ordering from their website!

Just use Promotional Code 
AMBAP53 at checkout and receive $25 off any oven!
(I have the Go Sun Sport model)

Remember....this is not just for RVers or those who camp a lot....NOT AT ALL! Anyone can use this solar oven anywhere! Beach, back yard, picnic areas....while you are out fishing or hiking or tailgating or sledding.....anywhere you are going to want a hot meal in just a few minutes! It's so compact and lightweight (less than 4 lbs)! A Go Sun Solar Oven would make a fantastic gift, too....forget individual gifts....this can be a family gift. Kids will love to learn what the sun can do for us in our daily lives! They will gobble up a sweet upside down cake or buffalo wings! That makes learning even better!

Our temps are still in the 70s-low 80s. No complaints here! BUT....on Thanksgiving, we'll start to see some "winter" temps, in the 60s. Everyone here is looking forward to the huge Thanksgiving potluck! The turkeys, mashed potatoes, dressing and coffee are provided by the BLM. We all bring the sides and desserts and our own beverage. There will probably be about 60 or so in attendance! I'm bringing an old southern favorite that I doubt anyone will replicate. I will share the recipe with you next's not just for Thanksgiving! You can make this anytime. 

That's about it from here on this very sunny, 82* day in the desert. Everyone enjoy your weekend! And, of course, thank you to everyone who has been ordering via my Amazon link! I will provide links for gift savings for the next month. Forget the crowds and hassle...just order from Amazon and have everything shipped to your door! Couldn't be easier!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Around the Ol' Homestead -- Nov 12, 2015

We are seeing more and more "snowbirds" arriving here at Senator Wash Reservoir, 25 miles north of Yuma.  For the first couple weeks, there were two of us playing golf, then all of a sudden, there were eight of us one morning.  Most all of my golfing buddies came in all at once. Most all of my good friends from last year are here now.  It will be interesting to see if the numbers closely match that of last year...about 504 rigs spread across this 11,000 acre BLM.  A lot of people don't arrive, tho', until after the holidays....they want to spend them with family, grand kids, etc. and in some areas it's not "frigid" yet, but they are definitely ready to be here by January and February!  Here are our temps coming up for the next week or so.  No bad for mid-November!  

I met a full timing "new to RVing" couple from Chicago on an RV group on Facebook and they were looking for somewhere warmer to winter than the Sedona, AZ area.  The elevation there is 4500' keeping it quite cool...even "cold" over the winter months. Brrrrrrrr.,,definitely too cold for me!  The elevation in Yuma is 140'. BIG difference!  So, I suggested Senator Wash.  After answering a lot of their questions, they arrived here on Saturday.  I went into Yuma with them the other day to show them the shopping, Walmart, etc. so they could get an idea where the important stops are.  So far, I think they like it....and the variety of things to do right here within the BLM is also a big plus.  It will take them a little time to get the feel of this being "home" for several months, but I think they will see the advantages, eventho' it's boondocking, vs. staying in RV parks all the close neighbors, no noise, no lights, stargazing, etc.  Not to mention the cost savings!  :-)

The other day, Nikko and I heard a loud whirring noise outside.  I didn't think much about it because I thought it was some kind of "something" flying over from the Yuma [Army] Proving Grounds.  But then it sounded just a little too close.  I looked outside just in time to see what was buzzing around...

I wish I had looked out sooner because he had been virtually right next to the RV!  But, nonetheless, it was fun to see him.  You just never know what's going to pop up....or fly by, I should say!

I've been cooking a lot in the Go Sun Solar Oven!  Hands down, I think this was the best pork tenderloin I have ever had!  I cut the tenderloin "log" in half lengthwise and it fit perfectly into the tray.  I seasoned it just with salt/pepper and a good drizzle of sesame oil.  Into the oven and out into the sun it went! About 1/2 hour later, in this full AZ sun, it was at 140* -- perfect!  145* is "done" for pork, but it is still cooking while it is resting on the counter for 5-10 minutes (called "carryover" cooking).  After the rest, it is 145*.  I made up a simple glaze of cherry preserves, dijon mustard and thyme.  That, mixed with the juices and the sesame oil, was delicious!  I could barely stop eating it, it was so good. It was so juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender. 5***** Star I would say! Try the would also be really good on turkey or chicken...maybe as a second "cranberry sauce" on your Thanksgiving table!  Add a little "zing" with a dab of horseradish!  

I also baked up some pumpkin/banana cake.  It came out sooooo moist!  It was kind of like a banana upside down cake in that I laid the banana slices in the tray and covered them with brown sugar and cinnamon, then poured the cake batter over.  When I flipped it out, the bananas were ooey-gooey and the cake baked just right!  Great for breakfast with coffee or tea.  

I also roasted some chicken thighs and sliced brussels sprouts and onions.  Again...perfection!  The chicken was moist and flavorful and the sprouts were great!

Then on to a yummy dessert!  Baked pears and bananas...into the solar oven with a few drops of pure vanilla extract (almond would be good, too!), a little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon....

Great over ice cream or topped with vanilla yogurt or custard!  Maybe add a little fresh mint or basil. 
This was really good!

You may get tired of me touting the greatness of this solar oven, but I'm going to report my success stories anyway!  LOL! (So far everything I've tried has been successful!) I'm just keen on keeping everyone mindful of what the sun can do for us in our every day life as a wonderful energy saver....and cooking great food on top of it!  Win-Win!  Plus Go Sun is a super company made up of energetic, dedicated entrepreneurs!  They were just named a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Nominee. The CES awards are sponsored by the prestigious Consumer Technology Association.   

I took a couple of "artsy" photos of my main objects in, rocks and more rocks.... wanted to see what artistic merit came from such a natural earth specimen....rock still lifes.  I really like the black & white.

I don't think I've mentioned, at least not this season, that campers can park right on the edge of the reservoir.  Folks with the Long Term pass like I have can't park down's only for those with the shorter term passes...probably so more people can have a turn at camping on the beach. That makes sense.  It's pretty cool, I think!  You can't get closer to the water than this!

Six of us went on the first "organized" hike of the season this morning.  Kind of brisk and quite windy, but nice views!  Here's a sneak peak of our trek start.....more in the next post!

That's a wrap from here...for now!

As always, thank you for shopping my Amazon link!
Enjoy a great weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Little Jaunt and Lovely Landscapes! -- Nov 5, 2015

Nikko and I are settled in at our great spot overlooking the Senator Wash Reservoir....25 miles north of Yuma, AZ.  Eventho' we were here last year and the view isn't "new", it's still wonderful to wake up to every morning!  :-)

It does seem like we were just here, tho.  What happened to the summer?  I'll have to go back into my own blog archives to remind myself!  LOL!

I'm pretty sure Nikko remembers this site.  If I take him off his long lead which is attached to the RV just for a he goes!  And he knows I'm coming after him.  He'll stop for a second like he's waiting for me...I get a little closer....and he darts off again.  I really wish I could just let him go, but of course, free roaming isn't allowed here.  He got spoiled at our summer stops....most everywhere I could just let him out to run around on his own.  It is cooler now, so we can go on long walks again. Isn't he handsome?  :-)  All muscle!  No fat!  Still loves his Bil-Jac food!

A golfing buddy was going to Los Algodones, Mexico a few days ago to the dentist, so I tagged along to get some prescriptions filled.  It's only an hour away.  Meds are 1/5 (or better) the cost there. And, actually, you don't even need a prescription.  Anyway, we just went down for a little while.  I just hung around on the four corners near the pharmacia while he was getting his teeth cleaned ($25). There are literally about 400 (maybe more!) dentists is this small border town.  All the "snowbirds" go there for dental work when they are here for the winter.  

As you would expect, there are vendors everywhere vying for your
attention.....and purchases! 

This fellow was an amazing artist with just cans of spray paint!

Color everywhere!

I'm not a big tequila drinker, but there are so many different kinds to choose from!
I didn't find the prices to be all that much of a discount, tho'.  
But I suppose the intrigue is the variety.

My friend's dentist is where the large tan sign is.
He says she's fantastic.  Very direct - no nonsense.
Just does what is necessary and out you go!

Of course there is a lot of jewelry.  Notice -- no price tags.
Haggling is expected and welcomed!
I wasn't in a buying mood this time, so I didn't let the vendors draw me in,
but maybe next time!  There were some nice inlaid pieces.  

I did purchase one thing....or should I say, a pound of one thing....fresh JUMBO shrimp!  8 = 1 lb!
All I added was about a pound of garlic and a pound of butter!  LOL!  That was a filling dinner!

So, that was our little jaunt across the border.  Nothing spectacular, but certainly a change of scenery!

Speaking of scenery, here are a few more photos of the scenery around area.  All these were taken from my parking spot.  Really can't beat the views from here!

These are walking and ATV trails.  

Layers of landscape!

I know --- LOTS of brown!  But, hey, it's the desert!  To me, anyway, it is still beautiful.  It really comes to life when the sun is rising or setting.  Everything glows at those times of day.

Between a lot of wind and a mix of clouds and sun, I caught this very cool sky prism yesterday poised at the far end of the reservoir.  Usually they are rather small wisps of color, but this one was huge!  It only last a couple of minutes.  I looked out my window at exactly the right time!

I'll be cooking up a storm here in my GoSun Solar Oven....the sun is in full force most all the time here. (Yuma has the most sunny days/yr of any city in the U.S.)  I heated up some left over pasta with chicken, tomatoes and parmesan for lunch today.  It got piping hot in about 20 minutes....maybe less, but that's when I checked it...everything was so moist...nothing dries out in the GoSun.  Tomorrow I think I'll bake either some blueberry cake or almond poppy seed cake and I'll roast a pork tenderloin. I'll post some pics next time! Again, if you are interested in the GoSun....for home, vacation, the beach... anywhere there's sun, even if it's cold outside, here's the Amazon link.  It is a super great invention!  Help save the planet!

Thank you for shopping Amazon via my link!

Check out these handmade items from talented artists!  
Very unique gift ideas.  I love looking at these pieces of art, even if I don't buy anything!
Handmade by Worldwide Artisans

I need to check into the details about opening a store for my Aura two are ever alike.
I made this set for a friend to give as a Christmas gift.
They look nice in person.
Southwestern Motif

From Nikko and I, Happy November and Happy Trails!