It was a long time idling around Christmas, New Years and the beginning of January. The Mini Cooper problems set us back about three weeks while we dealt with Mini of Ontario (very professional) who in turn had to deal with BMW and headquarters in Germany. Our issue, of course, was that the motorhome is our home and we have no other base than the highway. There was never an issue of fixing the car, but the logistics of a loaner/rental and delivery of the Mini once repaired was complicated. Mini of Ontario had no idea when the car would be fixed as it took two deliveries from Germany for parts which took over four weeks to come to pass. We told them we had to get on the road and finally they took back our loaner and arranged for a rental from Enterprise (a Hyundai SUV that could accommodate the bikes) for as long as it took to fix the car. Before leaving Palm Springs for warmer and drier environs, we went with some new friends, Art and Wende Ovitt, to Pappy and Harriet’s, a saloon/honkytonk/music venue in Pioneertown serving up great burgers and all genres of music near Joshua Tree National Forest. Always sold out on the weekend, renown musicians like Paul McCartney are known to drop in for impromptu sets and the night we were there a band musician from Nashville did a couple of sets with his guitar.

The first stop we made after leaving California was in Yuma so we could get to Mexico for our annual prescription drugs (me), eye exams and teeth cleaning (Jan). We both had eye exams and purchased glasses with progressive lenses for $130 each. Wow! My drugs were around $230 for a years supply and Jan’s cleaning was $25.00.  All very professionally done, and a very sad commentary on the state of our medical and drug prescription costs in the United States.  Just about every civilized country in the world has a more encompassing, affordable and inclusive healthcare system than the United States.

Picacho was our next stop, a sleepy little town near Casa Grande, which in turn is between Phoenix and Tucson. Known for the Picacho Peak State Park and the trails that lead to the top, it is a full-on bed of wildflowers in the spring (we were a few weeks early), a source of geologic history, has been a landmark for travelers heading west for centuries, and offers panoramic views of the Sonoran Desert.  We were there in late January and the weather was perfect, very mild during the days and quite cool at night, perfect sleeping weather.

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We stayed at a great park just below the peak where we plan to return for a month next year. No more snow, rain or any of that other bad s—!

Admittedly, there isn’t a hell of a lot to do around there other than play golf and do some hiking but we did stumble upon a sky jumping school at jump time and watched scores of parachutists, some gliding and others doing power descents and landings, all without injury. We also went to one of the larger cattle farms in the country where the cattle were plentiful and the aroma was strong.

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Jan’s cousin Linda and her husband Alan spend winters in Casa Grande along with Linda’s sister Jackie and matriarch Gertie, a spry 96 year old. We played golf with Alan and Linda one day, the first time in two years for Linda who had undergone two knee surgeries since her last go at any greens and who did very well that day! We went out to dinner with them one night and a couple of other nights at their place where they introduced us to Mexican Train, a variation of dominoes. Eye opening game, very competitive! And fun.

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The first time I had Prawns Peri Peri was in Laguna Beach at a restaurant called Mozambique and I loved the sauce, which can also be added to chicken and probably pork. But the shrimp is the main ingredient here, and you can make it as hot or benign as your taste buds like with those little red chiles.  Wash it down with a chilled sauvignon blanc or your favorite South African beer! Enjoy.

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