Monday, February 22, 2016

The balloon burst and Nightmare at the ATM!

Call off the search parties.  We haven’t gotten lost in the desert.
We moved back into California for a while – back on Ogilby Rd again.  Not much was happening, except FINALLY the warm weather arrived with a vengeance!  They’ve been setting records down here for the earliest time of the year where they have broken 90F.
At last no heat is needed at night and windows can be left open without risk of frostbite Winking smile
There is usually some sort of air show going on out here.  This time it was some big ‘V’s of geese warming up for the long flight north.  Too high for photos.  The next craft were easy to see, and a lot easier to hear.  Too easy in fact.

There were some night time visitors to camp.  I suspected as much when I found some signs of fresh digging in the morning.  This little fox is the main suspect.
I wondered if Wandering Willy might still be in the area, but he and his friends were gone. Turns out, he has already finished the long drive home to BC.  Jean & Skip recently paid a visit to the Bayfield Bunch, and are now on their northward migration to Vancouver Island.  Wheeling It  made a one night stop here on their way from their long layover in SanDiego headed for points eastward, but they were gone before I realized it ;-(
It was so hot and sunny that I even pulled out my awning for the first time in months.  Good thing, since it was still wet from the last rains in December.  It’ very dry now!  There were even a couple of trees perfectly spaced for hanging up my hammock.
I wanted to be a bit closer to Yuma to enable some visiting with relatives, so after a few more enjoyable days at Ogilby, we cruised back through Yuma.  It was time to visit an ATM to replenish the funds a bit.  I love it how in addition to the horrible exchange rate for Canadian dollars, the dang machines politely ask you if you would like to donate another $3. to their profits to get your own money!!  Well, of course I said ‘yes’, but what happened next was straight out of nightmare!  The ATM was outdoors in a small strip mall.  Much to my surprise and horror, the machine began flinging the money right out onto the ground where the breeze was doing it’s best to blow it away – one after another, as I stood there shell shocked and immobile!  At least the silly machine was only flipping out 20’s, not a hundred ($140.Can) dollar bill like the atm at the casino did.  Luckily for me, there were a couple of nice Border Patrol members behind me who helped me corral the runaways, just like they were undocumented aliens!  If the wind would have been stronger, much of that money would have been wafting through traffic on Foothills, border patrol or not.
I am a rather inactive Ham (amateur) radio operator, but when I found out there was a Hamfest going on at the country fairgrounds, I knew I had to attend and check out all the cool equipment etc.
I had to do a quick check of my clothing to make sure I followed the dress code!
Come to thnk of it, there were lots of dogs inside, but not a single street gang.  Just the opposite in fact; just a whole bunch of polite, well-mannered young folks in uniform from the Civil Air Patrol.

I attended a few of the seminars – most of which were WAY over my head, but I did end up building an antenna, and buying another one to use with my scanner.  There was enough shiny stuff there to have any radio person drooling!
One interesting sideshow was put on by the Arizona Near Space Research people.  They launched a large weather balloon right from the fairgrounds on Saturday morning.  Hanging beneath it was a large array of research and test equipment that they were sending aloft.

They had some high tech tracking equipment they used to follow the flight and receive data, including a live video feed that could be seen by the assembled crowd.
The balloon made it to almost 100,000’ before finally bursting and drifting back down to earth on it’s parachute – out near Tacna, east of Yuma.  Unfortunately, it landed on military reserve land, so would not be recovered till the following Monday.

The other sideshow – and frequent conversation stopper – is the fact that the Marine Corps Air Station’s active runway takes off right across the fairgrounds.
There was regular activity from a whole variety of aircraft.  “What’s that”?  I can’t HEAR you!!IMG_0771IMG_0763IMG_0752IMG_0766IMG_0762

Meanwhile, back in camp …


  1. We've stayed at the fairgrounds for rallies before. It was noisy from the planes but they didn't fly after dark.

  2. Did they have to get clearance to use the airspace for the balloon that close to an airstrip?

    1. Yes, for sure they did. The launch was timed to the second, and the payload included a transponder to identify it on radar. What they did have to wait for was clearance to recover it from military land!

  3. Great report and some fun activities glad you're enjoying your time in the south hope the Canadian dollar gets better real soon

  4. I've opened US dollars account in TD Canada Trust
    Transfer some amount of Canadian money with good exchange rate
    Bank gave me Visa for payment in $USA
    I think this is a best way to avoid high rate exchange rate and ATM fee