Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument – Ajo AZ

Today, January 20, 2016, we (I, Chris and Marsha) took a drive to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Oh! my goodness, what a gorgeous place. We first stopped at the visitor center and watched a movie and listened to a park ranger talk to us about three different types of Cacti and some of the wildlife who live there. We then took a 20-mile scenic loop drive in the park and saw all this beauty that God has created.

This is a Saguaro Cactus-The Saguaro often gets its start under a nurse tree called Palo Verde. Temperatures, humidity and soil conditions are more favorable and constant under the Palo Verde tree. As the cactus matures, it competes with the nurse tree for moisture. Over time, the nurse tree weakens and dies from lack of water.

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Prickly Pear Cactus

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Creosote Bush

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Jumping Cholla

As you can see this Cholla has branches going all over the place with these things hanging off them. This is a very spiny cactus with several irregular, jointed branches that are sharp-barbed spines that are painful and difficult to remove. Because these joints separate easily, it sometimes appears to “jump” to attack you.

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Saguaro

Little bird on top of a Saguaro

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My friend, Chris standing almost on top of the world

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Sun setting-Perfect ending to a perfect day

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January 6-11, 2016 Vacaville to Temecula

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two weeks since I set out on this journey. It has been a busy, fast couple of weeks. I stayed in Vacaville through Thursday, January 7. I had a few things that I needed to be done to my RV and we had rain Wednesday and sun was called for Thursday. I ended up with a few leaking issues with the roof so my brother helped me out by doing some sealing work. I headed on my way Friday morning January 8th for Temecula, CA where I would be visiting another friend from high school, Cindy.  Friday I made it as far as Pismo Beach….I came up over the hill just as the sun was setting and it was a beautiful sight to see that sunset and the ocean right out there in front of me.

By the time I got to the campground, it was dark. I stayed at Pismo Beach State Park and had a pull-through spot that was close to the beach.

Saturday morning I did a little exploring and took just a short hike from my camp spot to just over the hill to the beach. It was beautiful. I wish I would have had more time in Pismo Beach it was such a quaint, beachy little town. The last time I was in Pismo Beach I was just a kid (can’t remember for sure how old I was), but my parents took us along with our neighbors (Ray and Shirron) to go clamming. One of the memories I have that never left me was we were pretty-much-done clam digging as the tide was coming in. I was with Ray and we got caught in one of those sinkholes. Ray was wearing those wader boots and they started to fill with water and the tide was rising and I was afraid we were not going to get out. It was something that sure scared me and I have always remembered that. Just a side note… Ray and Shirron had a daughter who was a few years younger than me and just recently we reconnected on Facebook. I love Facebook and the reconnections I am able to make.

I continued on my way about mid-morning driving along Hwy 101. I passed through Santa Barbara, CA. Although I lived near the Ocean in Washington and often saw so much beautiful water I never tire of the ocean. It’s always so amazing and beautiful.

On through Ventura, CA along the Rincon. This would have been a cool place to have stayed overnight. On the Rincon, you can park and camp right off the highway that puts you right there looking out at the ocean and the surfers.

From Ventura I was heading on to Temecula, CA……the next several hours of driving were tough as I was transferred from one highway to another through the LA area. As it was nearing evening time I was only 30 miles to my destination when I blew a tire! I was not a happy camper but if it had to happen it happened in a perfect spot that had a wide shoulder off the freeway. My motorhome has dual rear wheels so when it blew there was no sudden jerking or uncontrolled driving, it was just a loud “pop” and I knew exactly what that was. I  pulled over and got out to inspect the situation. I was disappointed to see that the force of the blowout messed up my wheel well and part of the paneling above it. I was happy to see that my storage box right there was not damaged. I called Good Sam roadside service and they were having trouble pinpointing my location and was asked to call the CHP because they have a better GPS system. I called the CHP and she was able to pinpoint where I was and was also going to alert the CHP patrols that I was out there. I called Good Sam roadside assistance back and gave them my location and they dispatched a truck within the hour. In the meantime a CHP officer knocked on my RV, he offered to stay with me until I was back on the road as long as he did not get called away on an emergency. I was happy that he was able to stay the whole time until I was taken care of and back on my way.

This was the damage that was done and the duct tape job the roadside assistance guy did. I will have pictures later in this blog where I re-did this so much better LOL.

I slowly made my way with the spare now on to Cindy’s house in Temecula and arrived at about 8:30 PM. I was so happy to finally have arrived as it had been a very long, harrowing day. I was so happy to see Cindy and happy that I was able to park my RV at her house.

By now I am sure you are losing track of even what day I am on, as I am LOL. Sunday, January 10, 2016,  there is not much I can do about getting my tires checked out on a Sunday as most places are closed, so Cindy and I spent the day having lunch and walking around old town Temecula and doing a little grocery shopping. Old Town was awesome and had a lot of neat shops and activity going on.

This was an awesome mural painted on the wall on the back of one of the buildings.

Monday morning comes and my friend, Cindy is off to work and I must deal with the tire issue. I called a couple shops and get a referral to a small local shop about 20 miles out of Temecula in a little town called “Winchester”. I get to the shop and find it to be very friendly and helpful. They check out my tires and find that my tires are pretty old………9 yrs old to be exact so for peace of mind and to avoid any further damage to my RV I decided to replace all the tires. To make a long story short, the tires had to be ordered and after spending a day and a half dealing with a set that was bad and made my RV shake something awful a new, better tire had to be ordered and I ended up staying overnight in the tire yard that is locked and gated. The guys were feeling bad and very frustrated over the situation and were kind enough to let me stay there as well as hooked me up with their electricity for the night. Tuesday morning came, new tires arrived and were put on and I was finally on my way to Yuma, AZ by 11:00 A.M. This was truly a lesson in patience!

This is my motorhome at the tire shop

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This is the new duct tape patch job I did! Don’t you think it’s better than the other one?

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