And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stormy Seas

Much as I enjoy the warm temps and daily sunshine here, I’m missing the ocean.

Things are getting tougher by the day. We are getting to the point of needing to make some hard decisions, just like many others in our wayward economy. I don’t dwell on it much in these web pages, but it’s a task we face daily.

The prospects for Marc continuing on project work in commercial construction do not look particularly good at this point. It’s been an exercise in frustration for him to send off resume after resume with absolutely no response, not even a form letter email back acknowledging receipt. One time he did get through to the owner of a construction firm who is bidding on some work here in Yuma, and the guy informed Marc that he has received over 750 resumes recently for Superintendent work. WHAT???

Ok, so what are the odds of even getting noticed in that sort of crush? Does Marc’s resume contain enough of the “key” words to even make it past all the filters that companies are now employing to whinny out the “losers”? Our gut feeling is: no. Daily, Marc networks his contacts like a crazy man. I’m sure they are tired of hearing from him.

What’s next? We support a park model parked at the ocean where we dearly love to be, but that costs us monthly to sit there vacant. In Yuma, we own this place outright. Beyond utilities and cheap property taxes, we sit here in the sun for free. So we question whether it makes sense to have the park model transported here for permanent setup. Or should we try and sell it? My beautiful dollhouse, where I love staying…gosh, that doesn’t seem right either. Besides, who has money to buy anything these days? Do you notice anything at all selling? We don’t. Anywhere.

How long do we go on looking for construction work? What comes next? Do we consider going back to workamping? It’s fun, we can be in a lovely location like a national park, and we can sweat bullets because the income will not be enough to support what we need it to. It’s bad enough losing our health insurance; what else will we lose working for $8 an hour?

Which way to turn? It seems that the decisions weigh heavily on us—each having repercussions that may not be pleasant and that will change our lives forever. I always thought our saving grace was that we are highly mobile. I don’t know anymore; in this economy what will work to not face losing everything because we are out of work? Will the ship of state turn things around quickly enough or will the sleazy bankers continue to gobble up everyone else’s piece of the pie in their continued greed? All I feel is the clock ticking like some Goddamn bomb.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Object of My Desire


Marc decided it would look better built out as a triplex; what do you think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Object of My Desire or Fool, Don't You Know You Can't Go There?

The beautiful day started simply enough. I’ve been eyeballing quite a few neighboring yards with dead trees used in their landscaping and thought one would go well in ours too. Marc, having just been out to the desert the other day in the Freightliner to pick up the boulder for our address, said he would take me out and we’d check out some washes for downed trees. I know you know where this is going….

Not twenty minutes later we find my prize. It’s awash in a cluster of brush so we wrestle it out of its hiding place only to find that it is fairly heavy for the two of us to pick up. We have left the truck parked back about a block away on the dirt gravel/road so Marc figured he would get the truck closer. We consulted and my best advice was “That’s foolish; it will never make it through the wash.” What is it about men that when you make a direct challenge to them such as this they just have to try anyway?

Yup, he made it all of about ten foot down the incline into the wash before the tires started burying themselves in the sand. He obviously knew enough not to keep on spinning the wheels and we did a “now what?” look between us.

Ok, step two. We only have a couple pieces of 2x6 with us; he places these behind the back tires (the front are not stuck at this point), gets in and revs another try in reverse. The wood totally disappears; to where we never do find out. Step three—we’ll build a rock “road” for the tires. So…we pack rock for the next hour. We try again; again it buries itself, this time with the back of the bed hanging up on the slight incline. We throw more rocks to the front of the truck so Marc can drive forward dislodging it from the hill. He crawls under the truck and adjusts the air suspension as high as it will go to give maximum clearance. Tired of packing rock, hot and thirsty, I tell him this is the final try and then we need to call for help. What is it about men that when they are in trouble they will never admit defeat and call for help?

Step four fails again. Thankfully, I brought the cell phone and we have signal! We call out the Calvary, our good neighbors Ron and Jan in their half ton four by four. “Bring lots of wood, 2x4’s”. Half an hour later, they arrive with camera in hand and wearing smiles that say they can’t believe the sight of us. Marc snakes out the long tow chain; we have made yet another rock road and the lumber goes down behind the rear wheels and up the incline. Ron gives a tug; Marc goes into a strong throttle in reverse and up the hill the Freightliner moves as she skids across the lumber. Success!

"Now, you guys wanna help us pack out my prize?"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let Me Show You Our Neighborhood

First off, this is the incredible desert available within a three minute walk from our lot. It takes you into another world immediately. Moving back a block, this is the way our lot looked four years ago when we purchased it as dirt. There were a few other homes in this section but nothing like what has mushroomed over the years. The last photo is recent.

We have a few main thoroughfares through the neighborhood, with E. 52nd Street being the primary one. It is broad and wide with some very spacious lots; most of which are developed now. However, I recently came across a series of lots not yet resold. As you can see from the asking price, we don’t seem to be affected by the pricing downturn evident in many other parts of the country. But then again, not a great many of them are selling either.

We have the advantage of being on a spur short block back from this main street which doesn’t really go anywhere as a connector and hence is rarely traveled.

A walk through the neighborhood is highly entertaining for the variety of styles, landscaping and unique ideas folks have come up with to personalize their abodes. The zoning here is conducive to RVs, stick built homes, casitas, or manufactured homes and park models. CCR’s are lax but for the most part, this section at least, seems to maintain an upper end feel to it and is not at all trashy-looking the way some of the older parts of the Foothills can be. Come along and let’s see what we can see.

One thing that the architectural style of the area lends itself to is privacy walls and courtyards. All perimeter walls are required to be Mexican brick; after that, anything goes. Case in point: this sea container that someone has painted and decorated up to resemble a casita.

One of my favorites from years ago was what I called wagon wheel casita. You can imagine my disappointment to see that the owners have now added on to the casita, drastically changing the cute appearance of the place.

Along with the courtyards goes gate details. Note the nice cactus touch on this beautiful metal sliding gate enclosing the carport.
Another is this larger home which looks like it may have first started out as a casita and then morphed into a full blown home, now with a guest house.

Some front walls are only high enough to add interest

while others contain an entire world behind their walls. This is an excellent example:

In the first picture you can see a doorway leading through a very tall wall which totally occludes what’s hidden behind. Since the doorway was open when I passed I zoomed in and saw the small desert garden, the wooden easy chair and the fountain, all tucked into the shade of the interior covered courtyard. Magnifico!

Some folks concentrate on their outdoor space, with the most bizarre example being this manmade palm tree! Why wait for one to grow this tall, right?

That’s enough for today but hopefully you now have a better understanding of our piece of the Arizona desert and our neighbors. Ah, we do love it here!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The "Namesake" Address

The namesake: Tucker
Marc came up with the idea of mounting our new address tiles in a desert rock. After bouncing out into the desert in the Freightliner looking for a likely candidate, he returned home with a boulder loaded onto the bed, compliments of the davit. After placing it in the front of our lot this morning, he proceeded to roto-drill out an opening to fit in both the namesake and the numbers. Great job, Honey! I love it!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Still Digging Holes

Things haven’t changed much around here since getting rid of all our company—Marc is back hard at work digging more holes. He and Bill got the last of the gravel delivered and spread and then Marc commenced to doing a trench to install a new hookup on the guest side of our lot. The other pole was set before we had so many motorhomes staying, and it required a long electrical cord which many RVers don’t seem to possess. Problem solved. That’s my guy; working hard till dark!

Marc took some time out to try and help our neighbor practice for his motorcycle license. The poor kid has failed to pass the test four times and really needs to take a motorcycle safety class to learn better how to operate his brand new bike. We fear for his safety!

Me? Well, I’m continuing to enjoy the daily sun and supervise of course!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Return to Fortuna

With the wind beginning to whip the tops of the tall ocotillo cactus, we pulled to a stop in the rutted, boulder strewn path called a dirt road in these parts, and took a break. Bill is driving his four wheel drive Dodge truck and we are on our way to explore the Fortuna mines and ghost town. I previously wrote about it on our website here: At that time, Marc and I didn’t realize it was even out here and we serendipitously stumbled across it one day wandering around the bombing range. This day we know where we’re headed but still take a wrong turn, leading us onto the goat path, and not the main road. Travel is piteously slow as Bill carefully negotiates around the tire eating boulders that comprise wash after wash. Have fun finding the “road” in these pictures!

A little farther along, Marc insists that we need to pull over and visit the taxi stand. The what??? It seems the Border Patrol offers aid and comfort at several stations along the way for those illegal’s who get into trouble crossing our border. Push a button; get a ride within an hour. Standing on the high hilltop the guys are enthralled with two Harriers playing tag overhead. This is the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range and travel here is by permit only. You definitely would not want to be caught out here during the live bombing runs.

Just when our backs and Marc’s fake Titanium knee-knocking seemingly won’t stand a minute longer on the rutted path, we drop down the hill and into the ruins of Fortuna. Since our last visit the local Marine Corps has posted signs of interest along a walking trail two miles long and a kiosk story of the area. It fills in a lot of the gaps for us on the history of the area. At the main mine shaft, 1100 feet deep and surrounded by chain link fencing, we see a group of four ATVers and sand buggies—our first company of the long day. Soon they leave and we have the place to ourselves as we pull over ready to make the hike to view the water reservoir and have our picnic lunch.

Before that though, we scuffle through hillocks of broken glass, all of it very old. Nothing meaningful is gleaned from the rubble with the exception that the locals of the time must have been exceedingly bored and proceeded to shoot up as much of their garbage as they could. It’s a shame since most shards are a deep purple (from sun aging) and the few larger green and brown pieces we find are very heavy and thick compared to modern glass. Marc finds the bottom of one embossed with the name of a town in New York. The detritus of a mining camp also includes an old coil mattress spring.

From the water storage area the view to the main mining area and distant barren hills is compelling. The wind is blowing so fiercely it nearly blows me over as I arrive at the top to look down into the cistern. Bill proceeds to sit on the very edge giving me the heebie-jeebies to the point where I can’t look and need to leave down the loose rock-laden path. A fall, at the very least, would leave him stuck down in the hole with no way out. Everything is so barren and quiet save for the whipping wind whistling in our ears, and the mind’s ghostly images of what life here must have been like stuck so far out in nowhere.

We take a different route back; proceeding down the Camino del Diablo, that “highway” from the 1500’s, which is still just a mere dirt rutted path requiring four wheel drive for miles down the wash, where we finally reach a washboard sand road and can kick up our speed to 10 mph. After six hours, we arrive back home, thoroughly tired out and oddly exhilarated.