Sunday, November 20, 2016

On Our Journey Back

A couple of days before we left Yuma we drove to Felicity, California population two…yes two. It is a quirky little place and was founded by frenchman Jacques-Andre Istel who named the town after his wife Felicia. It is recognized as the Official Center of the World by France and the Imperial County of California. It is home to a post office, a pyramid marking the official center of the world, a non-denominational chapel that seats about 12, a piece of the original spiral staircase from the Eiffel Tower, a sundial modelled after the hand of God from the sistine chapel and the Museum of History in Granite. 

We could not get into the pyramid as it was closed but the chapel was open and we also toured the grounds and read many granite pieces that showed the history of the world. The chapel is built on top of a hill made from 150,000 tons of dirt and it is a copy of a church in Normandy. The granite rows expands from the center outward into a star shape and many of the world’s events are etched into the granite. 

The entrance to the museum

Whenever we drove by we always wondered
what was this staircase to no where 

The pyramid

Replica of the Liberty Bell

The is the sun dial in the middle of the granite

We thought this was a maze from afar but 
it is actually ready for new granite pieces

The chapel at the top of the hill
You can see this chapel from the highway

View from the top of the chapel hill

Inside the tiny chapel

The stone that is outside carries on
to the inside of the chapel

All the doors are painted this amazing blue colour

Our last night in our Southern Home was spent with friends; Debbie, Norma, Delores and Art and we met them all at Da Boys Italian Restaurant where we had our fill of pizza, beer, salad and of course dessert…a huge piece of red velvet cake that all of us shared.  The evening was good and of course shared a few more laughs. 

We left Yuma by 8:00am and headed north towards Las Vegas where we drove through to Salt Lake City for the night.  It was a long day of driving but after having something to eat and a good night’s sleep we were ready to hit the road again, this time to Billings Montana. It was a shorter day so we had time to relax at the hotel, which was good as we drove through a bit of a snow storm in Idaho. From Montana we took turns driving to North Dakota and Manitoba we had clear roads and no snow on the ground.  We thought for sure there would be snow as you know it is the prairies. 

The next couple of pics are taken as we were driving.

View of the Missouri River

Our first sight of snow

Then it just became worse - we actually drove through 
a snow storm in Idaho

There is still no snow in Manitoba but we will be arriving to our Northern Home with the white stuff on the ground.  We will stay in Yellowknife for one night before we head to Cambridge Bay on Thursday.  It will be good to be back in the Bay even if it will be much colder than where we came from and much less sunshine. 

So hard to believe there is no snow on the ground in Manitoba

I was trying to get a picture of Molly but instead 
Blitz decided to photo bomb her

Here's the pic I was trying to get

I don't have much to say about this pic
except you know he was having fun because
of the big goober on his face...

To end this blog entry here's a couple more pics of the burrowing owls in Yuma.  We had to go back to Barb's house to return her golf clubs that she borrowed to Craig and momma was out.  

Well hello there!

She's so adorable

Talk soon!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Up Up & Away

What a busy fun-filled weekend we had which was so suiting as it was our last weekend in our Arizona home. (insert sad face here)  It started off on Friday with the Annual Veterans Parade. We went to the same parade last year and I found that this year wasn't as good as last year but we still enjoyed it. 

I had to take this pic for Craig's dad as he loves trains

My all time favourite car

From there we met up with our friends Debbie and Art and headed over to see her sister/our friend Norma as she just got out of the hospital.  She is doing amazing and looks great. 

Here's Norma and Craig hamming it up for the camera

From left to right:
Debbie, Art, Craig and Delores

Debbie asked me if we saw the shrine at the Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission when we went and we didn't see it so after our visit with Norma and Delores we drove over to the mission.  The shrine is tucked away on the side of the hill on the left of the mission and if you didn't know it was there you would totally miss we did. 

Since we were in the vicinity we drove through the Fort Yuma Quechuan Tribe again and took a couple more pics of the buildings and visited with a couple of local cats on the premises. 

The shrine is built in the rocks on the side
of the mountain

Took another picture of the statue of Father Francisco Garces

The following 3 pics were taken on the reserve.

Gorgeous views from this old building

Absolutely love these old doors and windows

Massive archway to the entrance of this old building

Debbie, Art, Craig and myself headed to the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival here in Yuma just before sunrise on Saturday.  As per their website there were 30 balloons and pilots this year and the West Wetlands Park was the host on the Saturday and Sunday morning take offs. I have never been this close to hot air balloons and they are massive. We were up and out the doors before sunrise as that was when the first balloon took off as the American national anthem was sung.  They couldn't of asked for a better day, hardly any wind, warm and sunny. It was interesting to watch them unfold their balloons, start the industrial fans, ignite the flame and sail off. 

Morning sun peaking through the balloons

Beautiful weather for the balloons

As some were taking off others were getting ready

Well hello up there!

Up and away

You didn't know where to look as there were so many,
here's Debbie and Craig

This was supposed to be the final balloon to launch but
the winds changed and they aborted.  This poor
fella was trying so hard to control the balloon

Had to take a pic of this young family as it was Dad's first
balloon launch and they were so excited

Debbie and Art watching the final balloon sail in the distance

We were home by 10:30am and that's after we stopped and had coffee and muffins. By 6pm we were off again, this time to the Desert Sun Stadium where the Glow was happening. Norma and Delores came along and our friend from Phoenix Cheryl and her friend Barb joined us as well.  

You could walk through where the balloons were and every time they ignited that flame you could feel the heat.  The announcer would yell out 5-4-3-2-1 and all the pilots would light up their balloons and they would glow in the dark. It was a sight to see as these colourful balloons would set the dark sky aglow.  

I think this is my favourite pic of the evening
Not all balloons were present but I think I counted about a dozen

After the "Glow" we said our good-byes to Cheryl and Barb and made plans to meet up again the next day for Sunday Brunch.  The remaining 6 of us carried on, this time to Cocopah Speedway to watch the sprint cars races.  Much to our surprise a racer from our home province of Manitoba was there and won one heat, he came in 6th or 7th in the end.  There were anywhere between 6-8 cars per race but at the end there were 24 cars and 30 laps around the track.  We all kinda giggled to each other when we first sat down as the people in front of us had ear protectors on and safety glasses. WELL that bit us in the butt as when those 24 cars raced around the track the Arizona dust flew and I think we were all cleaning dirt out of places that we didn't think there would be any.  Rookies...

After the races Debbie and Art came by and we played Rummy and had a few more laughs from our day's adventures.  

And they're off

#82 was from Manitoba! 

I have to back track a wee bit; the weekend before, Cheryl and Karen, friends I met from our GSP Group on Facebook come down from Phoenix to spend the day with us. We first met them a couple of years ago and were so happy to see them again.  We met them for lunch at Mi Rancho and then came back to relax at the house and spend some time with Molly and Blitz as they have never met them.

Cheryl and Karen with Molly and Blitz

This past weekend Cheryl returned to Yuma as it was her friend Barb's birthday so we got to hang out with her again.  Her friend Barb is a photography buff and knows of some good places to photograph some wild horses, burros and just down the street from where she lives a family of burrowing owls call it home. Their home is under a sidewalk and she said they come out first thing in the morning and again in the evening.  Lucky for us they made an appearance before we left Barb's place.  I'm thinking Barb and I (maybe Craig) will be driving out to places to do some photography next time we are down.

Here's Blitz giving Cheryl some lovin'

Cheryl with Molly and Blitz

Momma and 2 of her babies peaking out from under 
the sidewalk...can it get any cuter than this?

Was a fabulous weekend to end our vacation here in our Southern Home.  It was great to catch up with some old friends and meet a couple of new ones. We will cherish these friendships as it makes our time here that much more fun.  We have already talked about when the next time we will all see each other and we will be looking forward to it. 

We finished a lot of projects this time as well and we have really enjoyed the backyard and will keep on enjoying it and making more memories there in years to come.  Mid-week we start our journey back to Manitoba where we will spend a couple of days with my mom and then in the city for a day before we fly out to our Northern Home.  I'm thinking all of our bodies will need time to adjust as we haven't had a day here less than 30'c and CamBay is well below zero.  

Talk soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Before & After

Our small backyard is finally completed!!!  It took the guys from All Play Synthetic Lawns and Landscaping about 4 full days to remove 2 large slabs of concrete, level the ground, remove the not-working sprinkler system, lay down the paving stones and install the artificial grass.  Craig also removed two large tree stumps before any of this could be done. 

Our backyard always looked smaller than what it actually was as there was about 18 inches of dirt around the outside with 2 spaces where trees once were.  Now with the new landscaping it looks so much cleaner and larger.  Joel, the owner of All Play was fantastic and worked with us to get the job completed before we headed back to our northern home. He was at the job site at least twice a day if not more to make sure his guys were getting the job completed on time and to make sure we didn't have any concerns.  The crew was great and were on the job by 7:30am - always in good spirits and listening to their Spanish music.  

Here's some before pictures:

You can see the dirt along the edges where the neighbours'
cats used it as their personal litter box

Too much concrete and wasn't inviting

These are the two slabs that were removed

Here's the two man crew that worked their butts off

Concrete is gone now they need to level and add
the base

The one guy had the pattern wrong so the foreman corrected him
and they removed about 5 rows of paving stones and started over again

As mentioned in a previous post there were also a neighbours' trees that were growing into our yard and over our house.  After getting the ok from their HOA we got them trimmed up today.  Joel from All Pay recommended a small family tree trimming company.  He said that they do a great job, not over priced and their cleanup is amazing, much better than the bigger companies in Yuma.  Well he was right, they started the job around 8:30 this morning and by 11 they took down the one very large branch that had grown over our house, trimmed the 4 bushes on the side of the house and had all debris in their trucks and the yard blown and vacuumed. They also blew all the dead leaves that had accumulated onto our roof. The other neighbour was impressed and he also hired them on the spot as this large tree was also over grown into his yard. 

Our dining room was always so dark as it faced the over grown bushes and as I am sitting here at the table there are sunbeams entering into the room and I don't need a light on. We also had problems with our satellite radio with reception and this afternoon we tuned into a station and had perfect reception.

I can't say how much we love our backyard and our friends Debbie & Art came for dinner last night and we sat around the fire to christen the yard.  

Here's some before pictures:

It was a jungle in between our house and the fence

This large branch had grown so far into our yard

And over our house.

Here's the after pictures:

Look how wide the walkway is between the house and the fence

No more overgrown tree over the house  

Or into the yard

Here's some after of the yard:

Our small yard looks so much bigger now

As you can imagine the dogs are loving the turf

We now have a place to sit and have a fire or bbq

Here's what it now looks like from our back door

Blitz grabs a ball as soon as you let him out

Two happy pups!

Should of called him Snoopy as he is always looking 
over the fence. He has never tried to jump it even though
it would be nothing for him to do.

Talk soon!