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October 30, 2008

update UPDATE update

     Looking back I see it is almost a month since I have updated our blog.  It was not my intention and I am not going to offer an excuse for dropping out of the blogging spirit but my heart was just not in to writing.

     We spent a great summer with our boys and their families, especially the little people.  It seemed as though every day we were on the go.  Couple that with mega problems with our air conditioning system in the coach and I was one busy dude trying to cope with it all.  Having A/C problems when in the northwest isn't critical as temps are cool enough most days and nights but now that we are in the southwest not having a functioning A/C makes for a sour attitude and sour attitudes don't make for good blogging.

     We made a hurried trip home by flying to Minneapolis, renting a car, and meeting Kathleen's appointments for her six month check-ups and I'm happy to report all is well.  We got to see my mom for several hours on two of the days we were home and we stayed with Jim and Alyce (Kathleen's brother) and then drove to La Crosse each day for the appointments.  It was such a hurried trip home and fully scheduled that we didn't even have time to stop and visit our close friends in the Wisconsin area.

     We are now in Yuma Arizona waiting for two more Canadian couples to join us and we will make a small caravan of four units as we plan to cross the border and head south to Lo De Marcos Mexico for our winter stay.  Glen and Brenda Tooke from Campbell River, BC are already here.

     This SKP park here in Yuma has a beautiful pool and both Kathleen and I have been spending a great deal of time there.  You would think we would both turn in to prunes pretty soon, but so far, no visible signs.  There are a number of sno-birds arriving here almost daily and it is fun to talk with them while at the pool. 

     We crossed the border in to Algodones Mexico for a few hours each day for the last three as Kathleen got a new pair of trifocal glasses and a beautiful pair of frames for $80.00.  Then she had a root canal in one tooth and a porcelain cap placed on it.  We were quoted $1,200.00 for the root canal in Washington State and in Algodones it was $250.00.  The cap was $180.00. The Mexican dentists were excellent and came highly recommended by fellow RV'ers who have been going to them for years.  It was a husband and wife, both dentists that worked on Kathleen.  We are very pleased with there work and will return again and again if needed.  They had no problem accepting our personal check for payment.  As an aside:  Crossing in to Algodones Mexico is a piece of cake.  One parks in a beautiful black top parking lot, walk to an entry gate and just simply walk in to Mexico to shop the stores, seek out a dentist of which there are hundreds, visit the pharmacy of which there are hundreds, and check out the optical shops of which there are hundreds.  I wouldn't even begin to count the street vendors.  We had several mid day lunches there and always while sitting in an outdoor courtyard being entertained by live music.  Mexico--ya gotta love it.  Crossing the border back to the states is not a piece of cake.  I can understand the need for security and I don't have a problem with that at all but the attitude of the U.S. customs personnel leave a lot to be desired.  On our last trip back across, the line outside leading to the actual crossing was several blocks long and seemed to move very slowly.  We discovered why.  Only one agent of four was on duty as the other three had gone to lunch.  The long stand in the hot sun was not appreciated. 

     My little scooter is in the Honda Shop getting a new fuel pump as I have been unable to get it to run.  Once I get it back and if "my" fix of the A/C continues to hold, I will be back to a "happy camper".  It's amazing how when things are looking up, ones attitude changes.  It's good to be back!!



October 01, 2008

Spada Lake

1st look at Spada Lake















     Those of you who follow our blog know that we "go out on a limb" from time to time, we like to see "what is around the corner", and tend to be a bit adventurous.  We probably make some of our friends and for sure our boys a little concerned that perhaps we explore a little beyond what we should but heck, that is what we started this life style for.  We were not destined to sit in Stoddard and watch the water just flow by on its way to the gulf.

     Maybe when we are in our 80's we will be a little more cautious but for now we prefer to see what is over the next hill.

     Having completed our chores around our wheel estate we decided to pull out the gazetteer and find a road not to far from us that would lead us off in to the mountains.  If we could find one that looked like one might have to use four wheel drive and it dead ended at a lake, all the better.

     Kathleen did just that.  Not far from us was just such a road that left the main highway and for 25 miles or so would wind its way up and into the mountains and according to the map ended when it reached  Spader Lake.

     The beginning of the drive was uneventful with a pretty good black top road but it wasn't long and things began to change.  The road turned to gravel and although seemed well maintained it had its moments with us weaving in and out of pot holes.  A plus was that we were following a cascading creek that at times pretended to be a river.  We made numerous crossings of that creek called "Ollyn" and always the bridges seemed in good repair.  A sign ahead as we climbed ever higher in altitude said we were approaching Ollyn Pass and so we did only to drop down the other side into another mountain gorge.

     We had reached a point where we felt that the lake should be close when we came upon an unmanned registration station of sorts and the sign indicated that to travel beyond required one to fill out a paper stating your purpose for being there and a copy of which was to be deposited in the box provided.  Probably a good idea as we did not know what we would encounter as we proceeded further.  There was an old map pasted to the side of the building which showed three roads.  The one to the left appeared to head for the north end of the lake and the dam.  The middle road skirted around the south end of the lake and appeared to show boat landings or perhaps camping areas etc.  The third road appeared to lead to some sort of a mine.

     We decided to take the road to the dam first as the setting sun would allow us to get better pictures from that end of the lake.  In a short distance we met a truck coming toward us and the driver signaled that we should stop.  He warned us that there would be many trucks coming at us soon as they were all a work crew doing maintenance on the dam and it was quiting time.  It was a great opportunity to ask him if going to the dam would provide us with good picture taking or what would he suggest.  He indicated that we should go back and take the road around the south end of the lake and at "station" #5 there would be a lookout and we would get good pictures from there.  That put the sun at the wrong angle but off we went.

     As we started on this south loop around the lake, the scenery was spectacular even though we had not seen the lake yet we could tell there was going to be water somewhere as there we little water falls everywhere, sometimes spilling across the road as they all seemed to be going toward the same direction.  The further we went at times we would catch a glimpse through the thick forested area of a lake. 

     Just as we rounded a corner there was a man made cement pillar with the number one on it and the beginnings of a blacktop road that appeared to head for the lake.  The sign at the entrance said "boat ramp closed" but it would be worth a look.



 boat ramp ends















checking it out















     The area was reminiscent of what it must have been like when the government first put dams on the Mississippi and before they held the water back all the tree's were cut off several feet above the ground and then the bottoms were flooded as the water was held back.  With the water drawn down so as to repair the dam on this lake the stumps from what must have been huge tree's were everywhere.  The lake was a mear shell of what it would probably look like when full.

     We continued on passing pillar #2, 3, and 4 only to peer down a nice black topped road leading to either picnic areas with blacktopped parking lots or more boat ramps.  It was interesting to note that there was moss growing all over the black top as these areas had not seen use for a long, long time.

     We did continue on to pillar #5 and hiked to the lookout for pictures.  Someone had been there just previous to us as there was an empty can of beans on the ground with a paper plate still holding most of the beans along with the plastic spoon.  Someone had got out of "Dodge" in a hurry, or so it seemed.

     We still had not come to the end of the road and our map indicated it would end so we continued on, climbing even higher up the mountain.  We came upon our first indication of someone else ahead as there was a car parked just off the road.  A little further on we did come to the end of the road and there were 4 vehicles parked there.  There were signs indicating trail heads leading off to a couple more lakes that were not shown on the map and most likely these were hikers who had parked here for the day.  It was nice to know that if we had trouble on the way out someone would be coming along.

     When they get the repairs completed on the dam and they allow the lake to refill this will again become a very pristine area for people to come fish and enjoy a day at the lake but for now it looks like something out of Lord of the Rings, "middle earth".

     The slide show that follows is worth a look.  Just click on the "slide show".  Enjoy.


                                                       Slide Show



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