Winter, 2002
January - February

Arizona can be very cold and very hot, (all on the same day;) but it's always a  wonderful place for the eyes.  Here's a typical, but spectacular, sunset in the desert.

Every January thousands of RV'ers converge on the small town of Quartzsite, Arizona.  Most of us camp out in the middle of the desert and go into town to visit the hundreds of rock, gem, RV supply and flea market vendors.  It must the the world's largest swap meet.
We belong to a branch group of the Escapees RV Club named "The Boomers", (as in "Baby Boomers").  This was the third year that we joined them in Quartzsite for the huge January RV rally.
This picture was taken at the regular 4:00 happy hour.  This day we had a potluck, so everyone is sitting down to eat.  During the day people are off in all directions -- some are in town at one of the swap meets or the RV Show, or going for a hike in the desert, or 4-wheeling in the mountains, or making RV repairs, or making improvements like installing new solar equipment, or just hanging around in a hammock.  The cost of rent here is a big fat ZERO.  This year we even met two families traveling with kids, (one daughter each, to be exact.)  Quartzsite is always an interesting place to visit -- we always look forward to spending a week in desert in January.

After a week in the desert we went on to Sedona, Arizona to help build a fence around Cheryl's dad's new house.  Here Mitch and Max are cutting up the pieces -- assembly-line style. 

Then we made some jigs to lay out the fence sections.  This reduced variations and saved a lot of time.
Click here if you want a copy of the fence design along with a parts breakdown, material order and Home Depot pricing (as of the date of this design.)  I did make a couple of last minutes changes in the height of the top and bottom sections, and we used more screws than planned, so if anyone uses this design, e-mail me for updates before starting.
Cheryl and Shirley started painting the sections by hand but we switched to a sprayer to save time.  Unfortunately, the wind began to blow, so we had to move inside.
The "'Painters"

We put together this paint booth in the garage, complete with a ventilation system and a rack to hold and rotate the sections being painted.

After all the painting was done we built another jig to hold the top and bottom sections together for final assembly.  Of the 198 screws per 8' section, only 20 are visible on the inner side when complete.

The Proud Owners

The Work Crew
Mitch and Max learned a lot from this experience.  Building and using jigs, using chop saws, drill presses, drilling using screw guns, painting, working eight hour days, (well, two out of ten wasn't bad), surveying, leveling, grading and more.  OK, this job is done -- so where do we go now?
How about Salt Lake City to catch the end of the Olympics? 

We packed up and headed north towards Seattle via Salt Lake City, Utah to prepare for our journey to Fairbanks, Alaska.  We stayed one night in Park City and toured the Olympic sites the next morning.  This was the day of the closing ceremonies.

The Olympic torch and stadium are in the background.

Another shot of Max at the Stadium.
Above the back of the truck are the ski jump ramps.  Max really wanted to see the bobsled and luge tracks but they were not accessible due to security.  We did, however, meet two of the luge officials at our RV park, (which was right across the street.)  They told us that they had grown up with Luge Silver Medalist, Mark Grimmette.  After telling them that Max wanted to see the track, they told us that Mark had built a luge track in Muskogee, Michigan. They provided us information on the track so that next winter we can all go there and Max and Mitch can try out a real luge track.  If you want to give it a try too, their website is

We also enjoyed an afternoon of skiing at "The Canyons Resort", (where NBC broadcast the games.)
A photo of downtown Salt Lake City.  Delta Center, where the figure skating was held is in the lower right hand side of the photo.
Must be one of those new Land Rover conversion SUV's I've heard about.

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