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Sat. Jan. 26- Fri. Feb. 1- Quartzsite AZ to Menefee CA

Saturday- It rained most of the day. The Sheriffs dinner for Saturday evening was cancelled, since it would have had to be outside. We stayed in most of the day, watching TV and taking a nap.

Mary Ann and Ray invited us over to dinner. The we went to the campfire, as the rain had stopped.

Sunday- We were up around 7 and worked on getting the motor home ready to leave. At 8:30, we were ready, but we went over to the campfire area for doughnut bread pudding, coffee, the Sheriff’ results, and the group picture.

The Sheriff is one of the members, who watches for infractions, such as forgetting to wear your name tag. You are fined and the money goes to charity. The Sheriffs identity is a secret. This year it was a woman. She was great, she had infractions for everyone, and if she didn’t, she made them up! It was fun…  below is the ‘Sheriff’ reading her list of violations.

The Sheriff reading her list of violations.

Three of the ladies, Susan, Sharon and Mary Ann made the bread pudding from left over stale doughnuts from during the week. Each one made it their own way, so each one was different. They were delicious. 2/3 of the doughnut bread pudding for Sunday's breakfast

Doughnut breadpudding with baked rum bananas


About 9:15 we were on our way. But before we leave, here are a couple of signs that we thought were interesting in the BLM lands:

We liked this sign! Liked this sign too...

View of Quartzsite from I-10

Quartzsite from the motor home, looking back over the big tent and the RV’s as we moved onto I-10.

We drove west on I-10 stopping at the Flying J, just inside the Arizona border to top off the diesel and to dump. They charge $5 to dump, which is a pretty good price.

We noticed border patrol checking each car as they entered into Arizona. We breezed through the California Agricultural Inspection station. The gal at the booth just asked us where we were coming from. Bob said two weeks in Quartzsite and the gal just waved us on…

We stopped for lunch at a rest area and continued west. Just past Palm Springs, there is a canyon, where all the wind turbines are located.

Wind farm west of Palm Springs

Wind farm west of Palm Springs

That canyon had some ferocious wind gusts. Bob almost lost control of the motor home with one gust, so he slowed down to 35 mph. Trucks and other motor homes just went flying past us, but we stayed at the safer speed.

We exited I-10 at exit 94 and turned southwest to Menifee. We will be staying for 6 nights at the Wilderness Lake Thousand Trails.

Once at the park, we parked the motor home and ran around the park in the car, looking for a space. We finally decided on #94, next to the canal and a bridge. Once we set up, we ran into town, just a few miles, to Lowes to see if we could buy a new microwave/convection oven. They only had the upgraded model for $ 999.99. So we moved on to Best Buy. We found one of the GE Profile, which we were looking for… Lowes had the GE Profile Advantium, which is the top of the line. The difference is the  speed cooking light, which we never used and figured we did not want to pay $400 for just one feature. The new one even has two shelves, which my old one did not.

They are going to deliver it on Thursday! Since it is going to take so long, we moved on to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Before we even arrived there, our credit union had called to check with Bob on the purchase on his credit card. He took care of that, but we are now waiting for them to call me next.

We were able to find the Breville Convection/toaster oven that I want at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Mary Ann had a 20% off coupon that she gave to us, so that was a pretty good deal. They were $150 more at Macy’s.

New Breville convection toaster oven

We also want a new coffee maker, but they did not have what I am looking for… so we are going to have to search for the coffee maker. We are going to take down the one that we have and donate it, and put the Breville where the coffee maker is located, once we find the new one, which will just be placed on the counter.

We returned to the motor home, moved the Breville into the motor home, fed the dogs, and went to dinner at BJ’s Brewery. Bob had a deep dish pizza and I had shrimp scampi. I have enough leftovers for two more meals!

We returned home and found that we are having satellite problems, so Bob is going need to work on that issue.

Monday- Shaun Davis and his brother ( Davis Cabinets) were to arrive around 10 AM to put in our MCD day/night shades.  We rec’d a call that they would not be here until around 1 PM, so we ran to Lake Eisinore, for me to have a drug test for the agency before I restart working on Monday. I have to have a repeat drug test since it will be over 30 days. Stupid, I know ! I walked in at 10:59 AM. They only do the drug tests from 9-11 and 1-3. Or course, that is not what my paperwork said and it is not what it says on their website (Labcorp). So I have to return.

We stopped at the local Goodwill and picked up a cheapo Mr. Coffee coffee maker. Then went to Walmart. Unfortunately, it was not a Super Walmart, so we did not get any groceries. We drove back home, as it was now after 12.

We arrived and realized that we could not have lunch, as we had no bread or fixings. So Bob stayed, waiting for Shaun, and I ran out to In and Out Burger. Still like their burgers, although their fries are not as good as Micky D’s or Burger King! I returned and we ate lunch. The phone rang, and Shaun would not be here until 3. Okay… so I ran back to Lake Eisinore and did the urine test.

I returned and we waited! A little before 3, the phone rang, and we found out that they were a little lost. They finally arrived at 4:45. They had gone to the wrong Thousand Trails. Shaun knew we were Wilderness, but he thought  Idlywood TT was the Wilderness TT.

They got started and had the shades in by 7 PM.

Measuring for the wood to hang the shades on

Hanging shades

When they left, we ate dinner and enjoyed our new shades!  Here is what they look like completed:


The shades are two part, except for the bathroom one. They have a black screen for daytime and the off white for nighttime. They are great!

Tuesday-  We did not have any milk, so we decided to go out to breakfast. We went to the Breakfast Club of Menifee. We each had the ”1”. Mine was 1 piece of French Toast, 1 egg and bacon. Bob’s was a huge pancake, egg and sausage.

The CRV was showing that we had a low tire, so we stopped at a gas station to fill it up with air. The plan was to go to Walmart in Hemet for groceries, return home,  then head west to the Nixon Presidential Library. We thought it was in San Clemente, but it is actually in Loma Linda. While we were heading to Walmart, Bob checked the map, and found that we would have to backtrack. So we skipped Walmart and headed off to Loma Linda.

Bob was starting to have the A-fib, so we stopped for water. He tends to get attacks when he is dehydrated.

The original thought was that San Clemente was going to get the Library, but Loma Linda bought the land and lobbied to get it. Nixon was born in Loma Linda. San Clemente has been sold.



Above is the design of the Library.

Lobby of Library

Above is in the lobby. We toured the timeline of Nixon’s life, while waiting for the introduction movie to begin. The movie was interesting, as there was a lot of information that we did not know about.

From there we went to the exhibits. The tour starts with a review of presidential campaigns, mainly Republican, from the 1800’s to the present. Then there was sketchy information about Nixon and his political career.

Cool car!

There was a lot about his work in Congress and the Senate. This nifty car was the one that he used to tour California when running for the Senate. There was a lot of information about his Vice-Presidency, including his filling in for President Eisenhower when he had his heart attack and his stroke.

From there, the exhibit showed us what the President thought were important people that influenced his Presidency.

People that Nixon met during presidency

Note former French President Charles de Gaulle, to the right. I saw Nixon and de Gaulle, during a visit to the White House when I was in high school. That was an interesting field trip!

All of these figures are make of paper mache, which is painted. You cannot touch them. They are life size. Note that I am the same height at Khrushchev!

Note I am the same height as Kruchev

He was short, as was Golda Meir. Around this room were some of the items given to the President while he was in office.

The next exhibit fascinated me.!

Embroidered cat from china                     Other side of cat

This is a two sided embroidered  silk cat from China, given to Nixon. We did not initially realize that you could see through this. It was phenomenal! 

Needlepoint by the People of China, gift for Nixon

This is a needle point done by the Chinese and given to President Nixon by Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai  to depict their meeting in 1972. It was given to the Library by the Chinese government at the dedication of the Library on July 19, 1991. 

Lincoln sitting room replica

Above is a replica of the Lincoln sitting room.

Presidential Limo

The 1967  Presidential Limo used by Presidents Johnson and Nixon.  There were a number of memorabilia in the exhibits. These and the presents are rotated. Recently the Library was given over to the National Archives and in the downstairs, where we did not go, are all of his papers, presents and memorabilia.  Below is the picture of Elvis at the White House with Nixon. Elvis gave the President his family picture and this is the famous revolver that he gave to Nixon. Bet you couldn’t get that into the White House nowadays!

Elivis portrait given to Nixon along with the infamous pistol

They had a display about Watergate and the missing Tapes.


Taping System

It was interesting what they glossed over! Even VP Agnew was never mentioned! They also glossed over  Ford and the pardon. There was a lot on his post presidency career, his travel and his books.

Finally, they showed videos of the First Lady’s and Presidents funerals.

Billy Graham presiding over Pat Nixon's funeralNixon's funeral

From here, we went outside to the center of the Library. This is the reflecting pool.

Reflecting Pool in center of the Library

The Pat Nixon Amphitheater, donated by Bob and Delores Hope.

Pat Nixon Ampitheater, donated by Bob and Delores Hope

The Pat Nixon Rose Garden.

Pat Nixon Rose Garden

Pat Nixon's gravesitePresident Nixon's gravesite

You follow a walkway towards the Nixon birthplace and you pass the graves. The graves are on a small plot of land, surrounded by flowers, to delineate the plot of land.  California law does not allow people to be buried in their back yards, so the plot of land was donated to a local church, to get around the law. The plot of land is surrounded by pretty flowers. President Nixon’s youngest brother, Edward, is still alive at age 92. Sometimes he visits the Library. When he does, he calls down to the docents to let them know he is visiting. He looks just like President Nixon, so he likes to sit near the graves and scare the dickens out of visitors! Evidently it works, as the docent told us people tend to freak out when they see him sitting there!

Next we visited the house. The house is a California Craftsman (not a Sears Craftsman), but the same idea, which was built by Nixon’s father. His father bought eight acres in Loma Linda, when the town had 280 citizens.It was a Quaker town. He wanted to be a farmer and raise oranges and lemons. He was not good at it, and eventually the family moved and opened a store. The house went through a number of other owners until the city of Loma Linda purchased the land and the house. The house was then moved to the current location. The President was asked if he wanted the house to face the Library, but said no, he wanted it to be placed exactly where it had been and in the direction his father had built it facing. So the back door faces the Library building.

Nixon's childhood home

The foundation was put in and the house was lifted and moved into place. The floors are original as is all the furniture. Family members had kept the furniture in storage, so everything is original and is placed exactly where it was when Nixon was a child.

Nixon's high chair and dining room table

The high chair was used by all four Nixon brothers. At the table, their father quizzed the boys each evening before dinner, promoting a debate on various subjects. They could not eat until the father thought someone had won the debate.

President Nixon played the piano, and three other instruments.

Nixon living room with original furniture

Fireplace built by Nixon's father

The President’s father built the fireplace, and when the farm was not doing well, he built a number of fireplaces in the town of Loma Linda to support the family.

Original stove

The original stove and the original ice box.

Original ice box in kitchen

Original bathtub which Nixon used as a child

This is the original bath tub where the Nixon boys had their weekly bath! Guess whose bath was first…. the cleanest kid! There is an upstairs which had two beds, that the boys shared. The steps are 24 ‘ wide, so they are very narrow. Of course, we were not allowed to go upstairs, as it is not handicap equipped, so no one gets to tour the upstairs. 

California native tree planted by family

This is a native California tree which was originally planted by the family. The next tree is the Andrew Jackson magnolia tree.

Andrew Jackson tree planted by Pat Nixon

Pat Nixon liked this tree, so when they left the White House, she took a clipping from the tree and planted it at San Clemente. When they were building the Library, she took another clipping and planted it where the white building is now located. They moved the tree to this location when they built the white building, which is used for meetings and weddings.

View of the Library from the house

This is the view from the back of the house, facing the Library.

The helicopter Nixon used to leave White House

Past the house is the helicopter that Nixon took to Andrews AFB.

Nixon helicopter

Nixon Helicopter

We were allowed to walk through the helicopter, but could not take any pictures. The pilot thought that the helicopter should be saved, as it is such a part of history. So he hunted it down when it was taken out of service. He had it moved here. The inside was untouched, which is pretty cool! It was known as Navy One. Nixon took it to AAFB, then took Air Force One to San Clemente. That is the only time that Air Force One took off but never landed. The Air Force One designation was changed mid-flight, when President Ford’s inauguration took place.


Buzz Aldrin walked in his ‘moon boots’ in concrete at this spot in the Library. 

Buzz Aldrin foot steps in moon boots

My foot in footsteps Bob's foot in footsteps

My foot and Bob’s foot in Buzz Aldrin’s footsteps!

Back inside we looked at the Time Magazine display. All of these magazine covers, on which President Nixon appeared, were donated by Time Magazine, the last cover being of his passing.

Time Magazine covers

It was after 1 PM at this time, so we started looking for lunch. I asked Bob to check his smart phone to see if there were any Polly’s Pies located nearby. When I was in California in 1978, one of the other Fellowship recipients ( there were 5 of us) insisted that we go to lunch at Polly’s Pies for a tuna salad sandwich. I do not like tuna saka! But she insisted. It was awesome, so I had told Bob when we found out we were coming to So. California, that I wanted to go at some point to Polly’s Pies for a tuna salad sandwich. He also doesn’t like tuna salad either. There was a Polly’s Pies, located a couple of blocks away, so off we went.

I can honestly say, that it was as good now as it was 35 years ago! Bob tasted it and decided that he is going to have one next time we go there! My thought is that it is made with fresh tuna fish, not canned.

My tunafish salad sandwhich

Bob had the chicken pot pie with cornbread.

Bob's Chicken Pot pie at Polly's Pies

We stopped at Walmart on the way back to the motor home.

Thursday- The microwave/convection oven is being delivered by  Best Buy today, between 11 and 3. Since we didn’t know what time they were going to arrive, one of us stayed home to wait. Bob went to Lowe’s this morning to pick up a few items. When he returned, I went to have a manicure and to cruise the local furniture store. We are looking for some different chairs for the motor home.

We ate lunch and waited. While waiting, this hot air balloon floated overhead.

Balloon over Wilderness Lakes TT

They arrived around 1 PM and it took 20 minutes to install the new oven. Here is the old oven:

Old Microwave/Convection oven Inside of old microwave/convection oven

Here is the new one:

New microwave/convection oven Inside new convection/microwave oven

With the new one we have two metal shelves. The old one did not have any shelves at all. It also does the speed cook and roasting. Now we have to learn how to use it. I baked a cake. Yea! It came out perfectly. The old one was cooking only one side of the cake. Now I know it was not me, it was the oven!

We decided to go to Hemet, the next town to the east. We had driven through there twice now, but had not stopped. The drive is about 10 miles, so it was a short drive. We stopped at Home Depot, then went in search of the Ancient Maze Petroglyph. We had seen a sign for this when we went to the Nixon Library. It is located three miles out of town. You drive up to a gate, then walk about a 1/2 mile up the side of a mountain.

There is a double fence protecting this petroglyph.

A local Archeologist has “recorded and photographed 50 Indian mazes he estimates are up to 3,000 years old in Orange, Riverside, Imperial and San Diego counties……The Hemet Maze Stone is in Maze Stone County Park, just west of Hemet, 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The 5.75-acre park was dedicated in 1957 to preserve and protect the elaborate, remarkably preserved 3 1/2-foot-square maze….Based on pottery shards, ancient tools and other artifacts found at a prehistoric village site in the immediate area, the Hemet Maze Stone has to be a minimum of 500 years old," The LA Times, 6/11/1991

Ancient Maze Petroglyph

It was interesting how square the drawing is! Also, not only is it clearly white, when looking at it, you could see that the rock is etched with the design. As we were walking back down the hill, Bob spotted another, faded petroglyph on another rock, up the hill. We also saw someone, much higher up on the mountain, taking pictures of another rock. This petroglyph is shaded most of the day, which is why we think it is in such great shape.

We returned home and went to the hot tub. Then we played with our new oven! We had trouble getting the pork chops to bake. We have to figure out what is wrong.

Friday- We drove west on SR 74 to San Juan  Capistrano to visit the Mission. The drive was pretty interesting, To say that the road was curvy, would be a gross understatement. It had more twists and turns than a slinky! Every mile or so, there was a turnout for slow vehicles. We were the slow vehicle. The speed limit was 55 and I was uncomfortable driving 45 mph on this road. So we used several of the turnouts.

The road went straight to the Mission. There was free parking across the street from the Mission, in a city parking lot. We rec’d the senior discount for our tickets and they give you a free audio tour of the mission.

San Juan Capistrano is the seventh mission( of 21). It was founded November 1, 1776 by Father Junipero Serra.  I have been there before, but did not remember much, except eating lunch with Jackie out by our VW bus on the street, 37 years ago! ( see below)

Where I ate lunch in 1975!

This Mission has not been renovated as much as the last Mission that we visited, although, they are constructing a new entrance and gift shop, which is supposed to open this coming summer.

The first stop on the tour is this rock, which has a copy of the “Founding Document”, dated 1776.  The bronze replica shows the items needed for the founding of the Mission.

The Founding Document

The second stop was the Olive Millstone.

Olive Millstone

The stone was powered by a boy of the Mission or by a donkey, used for crushing olives for oil. Olive oil had many uses at the Mission including cooking and was traded for other goods.

The third stop was in the Soldiers Barracks. Built in 1791, the Barracks or the Cuartel, housed about six Spanish soldiers stationed at the Mission. The barracks later became guest quarters. In the barracks and the other rooms we ran into a large group of school kids touring the Mission. We spent a lot of time dodging them.

Of interest in this building was some of the items that have been recovered when they excavate.  Some they found  as late as 2011! Also, when trying to fix some pipes a few years ago, they found an underground system of water ditches/pipes that had been diverted from local streams for drinking water. They also had a room which had a lot of the original items from the Mission. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed in this area. Included were chairs, chalices, priests robes, tabernacles, chandeliers,other religious items, and a picture of Mary Pickford being married at the Mission.

Back outside again, we went over to see the Kiicha, which was not there, it is being renovated. Info about the Kiicha.

The Kiicha is a living residence. It is circular and had an opening in the roof so that they could cook inside, although most of the cooking was done outside. This rock, in front of where the Kiicha would be was used for grinding.

Grinding stone

This an Elderberry tree, or as they called it , a musical tree.

Elderberry Tree

In May the berries are made into wine, but the wood from the tree makes great flutes, which is why it is called a musical tree. The branches have straight spots which are hollowed out to make the musical instruments.

Other parts of the buildings included the living quarters for the priests including the dormitory, kitchen, pantry, Padres living room, guest bedroom, Padres dining room and other exhibits. The industrial center which was excavated in the 1930’s revealed the tallow vats where Indians made soap, candles, grease and ointments from animal fat. Below the tallow vats were dyeing vats where Mission inhabitants dyed wool. To the south of the dyeing vats are the Catalan furnaces, the oldest metal furnaces in California. South of the forge area is the kitchens where Juanenos cooked their food.

They also had a Music Room, dedicated to Leon Rene. He composed a song in 1939 called “When the Swallows come Back to Capistrano” . The story is, that Father Serra saw one of the people in the town who was running off the swallows. He told the man that the swallows had no where to go. The man did not care. So Father Serra told them to come to the Mission, because they could stay there and they started to move in the next morning, building their nests. They return each year around March 19.

Along the eastern side of the Mission is the Serra Chapel. Completed in 1788, this is the only original Mission church in California still standing in which Father Serra is known to have celebrated the sacraments. In the early 1920’s, Father S. John O’Sullivan, pastor of the Mission from 1910-1933, restored the chapel. The beautiful baroque alter is from Barcelona, Spain, and is made of hand carved wood with a gold leaf overlay. It is estimated to be over 400 years old.

The Serra Chapel More Serra Chapel

A story on the audio tour was told by a man who attended Mass at the church as a child. He said that the chickens would just wander into the church during mass. His grandmother lived a short distance away and she raised peacocks. One morning, during mass, one of the peacocks wandered into the church and sat on the pew railing, behind the family. They ignored it, but it sat through the entire mass. When the family left, the peacock stayed, but it was never seen again. The story is that the family ate it for dinner that evening!

We went outside and back to the eastern side of the Mission. This is the location of the bells. The two large bells are recast of the original that date back to 1796. The small bells date back to 1804. Bells were important to early Mission life and call the community to meals, religious services, work, funerals, the sighting of a ship or a returning padre and for recreation purposes. The way that the bells were tolled, told the people of a death. If a man died it tolled one way, if a woman died, it tolled a different way. It also rang one bell for each year of the person’s life, even if they were 90 years old. The smaller bells tolled for children who died. The plaque on the wall is to commemorate President Nixon’s visit to the Mission in 1969. It lists “ President of the US, Richard M. Nixon and Mrs. Richard M. Nixon ( not Mrs. Patricia Nixon or First Lady Mrs. Nixon, just Mrs. Richard M. Nixon, pretty sexist!).

Bells with Nixon sign

We moved on to the ruins of the Great Stone Church. Begun in 1797, the Church took nine years to build. On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1812, an earthquake struck during morning Mass. The walls crumbled and the domes caved in, killing 40 Indian worshippers. The church was never rebuilt.  When the bell tower fell, the two boys who were in the tower, ringing the church bells, were killed.  The bells below are located on the site of the original bell tower.

Ruins of the Great Stoen Church 


This is what the church originally looked like.

Replica of original Great Stone Church

When we left the Mission, we went to Café Mozart, a German Restaurant, for lunch. Bob had the bratwurst and I had pork schnitzel.

We returned home to the motor home and took a nap.  We sat out in the sun until it became too cool, then ate dinner and prepared to leave tomorrow.

We liked Wilderness Lakes TT, except that they have two problems. One was the water, which had a distinct bleach taste. So we drank bottles water. The second is that it is located next to a very large dairy farm. When the wind blew the wrong way, it was pretty stinky! Too bad, since the weather warmed up into the 70’s so we had the windows open. We started the week with the nights in the 30’s and ended with the nights in the 50’s.

One Response

  1. Very busy but very interesting week.

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