Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dirt road riding

We woke up one morning and decided it was a good day to go dirt road riding.  Not to be confused with going mudding.  Dirt road riding is more of just a leisurely drive down whatever dirt roads you find with no destination in mind.  Just driving...

Do you ever just drive like that?  Taking which ever dirt road looks interesting and hoping it leads somewhere.

It's ok if it doesn't, which is often the case.  Then you just turn around and try another one. 

The point isn't really to get anywhere.

It's fun to just be out there.  You never know what you'll see.

Sometimes you might see some critters.  Deer, eagles, turkeys...we saw lots of those near our home in South Dakota.  We didn't see any of those on this day, or any other animals.  That's ok...

We did see something that surprised us.  SNOW!  In the Mojave Desert.  Totally didn't expect to see snow.  I guess we couldn't run from winter forever.

If you have never been out dirt road riding, you really should go sometime.  It's a great way to see some beautiful things that otherwise you would never even know were there.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pirate Cove - Needles, California

The campground we stayed at for the last month in Needles, California was Pirate Cove Resort & Marina.  I mentioned before that we were out on their peninsula just steps from the Colorado River.  Very pretty and VERY sandy ;).

Back in the main campground area there was a playground for the kids, that's also where the showers were.  They had a store that sold the usual grocery items and some clothes.  Nice brand swimwear, flip flops, etc., and fishing stuff.  There was also a marina, restaurant, zip line, and I don't know what else.  We took our food to the beach area one evening and had a picnic, but that was it.  We never went to the restaurant or anything.

They had a pirate ship anchored in the cove.  Kinda neat...

We were visited by the cutest little birds, Gambel's Quail.  We were in the camper and heard a "peeping" sound.  All the windows were open and when we looked out there were a bunch of these little birds running by.  The kids had learned about them in their Saguaro National Park Jr. Ranger books back in Arizona, but we had yet to see any.  So fun to finally see some!

male and female

We enjoyed our stay there.  I don't know that I would want to be there in the summer, though.  Tons of people in boats like to go to the cove when it's hot.  We prefer the slower more quiet off season.  Plus it's ridiculously hot there in the summer.  The highs often reach 120 F up to 125 F with lows at night only dropping down to 100 F.  No thank you!

I will tell you, if you ever stay there the laundry room is creepy.  We took one peek inside and decided to skip using it.  The laundry in Needles was next to an "adult" store, so we skipped that one too.  We found a really nice, clean laundry in Lake Havasu City that was in a family oriented area of town.  It was a bit of a drive, prolly 45 minutes or so, so we only went once a week.  It was called Southside Laundromat and it was worth the extra driving.  The lady that ran it was super nice, she gave the kids some chocolate candies and was just really friendly.  The other thing was the campground showers...they were coin operated.  Either be prepared with plenty of quarters or use your shower in your camper.  We just used our shower.  Neither of these things was a big deal, just a heads up should you ever stay there.

Overall, everything was great.  We ordered all of our Christmas presents online and had them shipped to the park office.  The girls in the office were always sweet about it and we got everything with no problems whatsoever.  If we are ever in the area again, we would stay at Pirate Cove...on the peninsula, of course :).

Friday, December 28, 2012


I love sunsets :).

The hour or so around sunset has always been my favorite time of day.

The kids and I always stop and take the time to appreciate a beautiful sunset.

They truly are a gift from God.  A special painting, new each day.

We had made a quick run to town and got back home just in time to take some photos of this beautiful sunset.  We were standing at our picnic table right in front of our camper.

Ashlyn enjoys taking pictures as much as I do and had her camera out, too.  She and Trevor went down to the water to take some pictures as it was getting dark.  Who was there to greet them?  Those silly geese!  They sent little Ash quickly running home :)

Sunsets are such a beautiful way to end the day...don't you think?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Slow days

The past month has been so relaxed for us. 

It was nice to just slow down.

The kids enjoyed lots of play time in the sand and water.  Time to simply be kids :).

It was so cute to see their sand creations and how they are learning from our travels.  There was Casa Grande ruins, arches, lake Havasu, a zen garden, and a balanced rock. 

Our friends the geese joined us from time to time.  Silly birds.  They would just hang out near us, watching us watching them :).

The kids made a little fort...

Messages were written and names were created in the sand...

These childhood years are zooming by way too fast.  I don't wanna miss a single minute of it!  I am so thankful for these slow days :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas fun

The kids have been busy today.

Wrapping their secret santa gifts.  They drew names and used their allowances to buy that person a gift.  Totally their idea :).

Making snowflakes.  Very creatively colored snowflakes...

They also made their gingerbread houses.  Only a few tummy aches from all of the candy snitching ;).

Add in lots of playing in the sand and water down by the river and we have had a fun Christmas Eve day.

Only a few more hours until bedtime...I wonder if any of the kids will actually sleep tonight?  They are all so excited for Christmas morning to come :)!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Arizona - London Bridge

Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme about the London Bridge falling down?  We got to go see it!  No, we didn't go to London;).  We saw the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona!

As the nursery rhyme says, the bridge was falling down.  Constructed in 1831, this bridge was the busiest in London.  After many years, all of the traffic caused the east side to sink about 4 inches lower than the west side.  When it was time for London to finally replace the bridge, they decided to put the old one up for sale.

It was purchased in 1968 by American Robert McCulloch for $2,460,000.00.  The bridge was then taken apart and each block was marked with numbers and/or letters so that it could be reconstructed in the same order.  The blocks were shipped overseas through the Panama Canal to California and from there trucked to Arizona.  Reconstruction was completed in 1971.  Pretty cool.

We first drove over the bridge and then back.  I have to admit, I was a little weirded out about it.  London sold it because it was falling down, so an American buys it and now it's safe to drive over?  Obviously it's safe, and I knew that...but still, makes you think :).

There is a visitor center and an English village at one end of the bridge.  After parking, you walk through a pretty gate and enter the little village.

The kids enjoyed checking out the fountain and sticking their hands in the water.  Of course :).

The phone booth...had to do it ;)...

The visitor center was small, but nice.  As soon as we entered, the lady at the desk greeted us with a smile and some free postcards for the kids.  There is the typical gift shop area and also an area with photos and descriptions of the bridge from when it stood in London, the demo and reconstruction, and then the finished project as it stands today. 

There was also a table with different rocks that the kids could touch.  Not sure why they were there, but the kids liked it :). 

Time to see the bridge.  We walked along the water beside the bridge, went under it, and then walked along the water on the other side.  Some of the number/letter markings were still visible from when it was taken apart. 

After peeking in a few of the shops, we were ready to go find something to eat.

Just across the street is an In-N-Out Burger.  The kids had seen it, so that is where we HAD to eat :).  They think it is so fun to order from the secret menu *giggle, giggle, giggle*.  Sillies.