Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snow and the trip home

We were up and at it before the sun arrived this morning. Hotels seem to wake up and come alive before 7 AM. Once people are making their way up and down the halls, that is the end of me sleeping.

Our check out billing was under our door, and they had honored the $58 price that was quoted the night before, and I made a mental note to use from now on. Or priceline or one of them. This must really be the way folks are doing things now.

We decided that we needed to get on the road back to KC, since the weather folks were calling for snow and freezing rain by mid day. Loyce called the family and apologized that we would need to leave, but we felt we should get on the road.

After buying a few pounds of wrapped hamburger from the local Fairway grocery store, and going to Younkers department store for Loyce, we headed out of town.

We had barely made it to Indianola when it began to rain rapidly. The temperature on the dash showed 34. By Osceola, the rain began to change to snow flakes and the temp was 32. Oh Oh here we go again.

Now as past Iowans, we are used to this drill, and we were driving a AWD SUV, so we pressed on. The visibility was down some, and the snow was melting into rain on the pavement, but the farm fields were quite white. A winter wonder land.

As we drove South of Bethany, Mo, all at once the temperature went up to 36 and the snow went back to rain. All within about a half of a mile. We sped up and headed for home. We did see more flurries, and it had been raining here all morning as well, when we arrived.

Tonight, we were over to Ben's house to do the sitter thing so they could go to a show in the Sprint Center. So we had supper and watched the Oregon Oregon State Civil War game. Oregon won eliminating O State from the Rose Bowl. The kids were fun, but didn't want to go to bed. I never wanted to go to bed when my folks went out either.

As we left to come back home, the windshield of the car was covered with snow. We have not escaped from winter in Southern Kansas City either.

Retired Rod

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Des Moines and the Hotel

We are in Des Moines, Iowa where we lived for 40 years or so. Actually I was born there, but that means I would have to tell you that I am 61 and have lived about 58 or so of those years here.

But we came back this morning to be with Loyce’s family. Her dad and Sister live in Urbandale, and many of the brothers and sisters and their kids were here yesterday and today.

We got to meet the newest member of the clan, Loren Loy. Who is now 5 months old. She was born mid summer, but this is the first that we have been able to see her. Loyce was pumped to hold her and all that a good aunt would do for a new baby.

That was over all too quickly, as they had to get back to the North East part of the state where they live.

We spent the rest of the afternoon with the remaining family, and one by one they went home. That gave us time to spend with Grandpa for the supper hour.

The fun part was the Motel. Our sister in law had recommended this hotel that I am typing from since they stayed here the day before. All inclusive price for them had been $62. A good deal.

But when I came to the desk, the price was $79 and then all the taxes after that. What gives? Explained that my family had just stayed for 59. Had to look up their stay on the computer and Oh!

They had made their reservation with Hotels dot Com and they got that special rate because of it. Your rate will be $79.

I inquired if that was still on tonight, and they said only if it was thru I asked if they had free internet and why yes they did. So I explained that I would go out to the car and get the laptop and make the reservation right before his eyes. But you can’t do that!

Sure I can, hold tight and I’ll go get the computer. He said that I couldn’t do it that way. So I said well then I guess I’ll go check out the hotel across the interchange, and turned to walk out the door.

As I made it about half way to the door, he said he would honor Pam’s (sister in Law) rate. Only when it was completely apparent that I truly did intend to leave, did the good rate come as an offer. Isn’t that about how things work most of the time?

Retired Rod

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Thanksgiving Stuffing

Did you ever wonder why we would be giving thanks when we are actively stuffing copious amounts of food down our throats? Thanking the provider for all that sustenance. Perhaps if we were not so ingrained that all food within our sight must be consumed immediately, we wouldn’t need to be so thankful.

But then there are many things to be grateful for beyond food. For me, I am grateful that I have a wonderful family and the ability to enjoy them most any day of my choosing. This cannot be paid for with money, but is earned thru conscious efforts to be kind and considerate. Thanks for being there guys.

Today was one of those days that we all interacted as that family unit. We came together at my oldest son’s house to fry the bird. Yea that’s right fry!

We had a 17 pound turkey, and it was done in one hour flat. Cooked in boiling oil. Chris has a Turkey frying stand and pot. This includes the hanger that goes into the bird and the temperature gages that keep the temperature just right.

He used a blend of peanut oil and vegetable oil that is commercially available heated to 350*. This has to be done outside away from the house incase the oil should flash and make a large fire.

Should this happen when cooking in a garage, the building would be toast rather quickly. We did not have any problems like that today, but we were outside and away from the house just in case.

Since the turkey immediately sears when initially dipped into the oil, none of the juices are lost with the cooking process. The meat is therefore very tender and moist with its natural juice or the injection that you use to enhance the flavor.

Chris used a Cajon seasoning that was not at all overpowering, but added a nice spice to the bird. He had numerous complements from the guests, so that would be the overall test.

Tomorrow we will be driving up to Des Moines to see the family on my wife’s side. They are encamped at her dad’s house, so we will be leaving early to meet them before they leave.

We plan to stay overnight and return on Saturday. I will take this computer along, but may only get minimal time to do a blog. But should I miss, we will be back in KC for Saturday night, as we are doing babysitter duty for the three bandits at Ben’s house that night.

Oh yes we did have stuffing with the turkey today too, but the real thanksgiving stuffing that I was referring to in the title was the reason my belt feels so short tonight.

Retired Rod

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

I thought that I might come up with an epiphany this evening, that would make me sound like an old sage of knowledge and wisdom!  But the thoughts never occurred.  I hate it when that happens!

So perhaps a simple wish will do…….

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

And don’t eat so much turkey that you fall asleep in the middle of the football game.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A new editor for the blog (Live Writer)

This is what I get for reading Chris Gould’s, Geeks on Tour blog page late at night. She had to tell us about a new windows program called Live Writer. Live Writer is a program that writes the HTML code for your blog page. Stores it on your computer and then sends it all at once to the blog page.

At least that is what I think it does! I down loaded it last night, or should I say early in the AM on Tuesday. It is now installed on my computer, and seems to start just fine. But I have no idea how to run it.

So this post is my first attempt. Seems funny to not be connected to Blogger as I type. In order to learn to run something you have to use it. So you folks are my test session. Hope you don’t mind.

DSCN0663I had to insert a picture to see how that works, our street in Mesa Spirit RV Resort. This picture is over exposed, need to look at the camera and see if the settings are bumped up. It used to do better than that, Lol.

The day here was busy, but not too interesting. I had about a two hour conversation with the stock broker this morning, trying to figure out if there is anything left to manage. That wasn’t pleasant duty, but challenges present themselves especially in bad times.

Then in the afternoon, I decided I needed some comfort food. Beef stew! So over to Wal Mart for the fixins. Four pounds of top round steak and the potatoes, carrots and celery. And don’t forget the big onion and the bullion. After cutting that all up, I wasn’t so sure this was a good idea.

Once the meat was browned and the onions were sautéed, it was into the crock pot for the afternoon. It smelled good, but I didn’t partake until after I added the potatoes about 4 PM. Then the taste test was in order, you know, to see if it needed salt. Lol

Tonight, I have been reading the financial statements of my old company that I retired from two and a half years ago. They filed for an extension of time to get them filed with the SEC, and I was curious what that was all about. They have many challenges ahead of them. So for a little while I was back in that old world.

This does not seem too bad, to run this editor. If you go to Chris’ blog on the link above, she has the link to down load it, if you are so inclined.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No electricity and aircard research

The new mp3 player must be alright, as I was handed another stack of CD's to rip into mp3's this morning. That lasted into the middle of the afternoon. Not too exciting work except..... right in the middle of a rip, the computer inexplicably shut down.

I mean it shut totally off, and wouldn't come back on. I had the battery out and laying on the end table as I often do. This preserves the life of the expensive thing since you are not charging a fully charged battery all the time. But only after I replaced the battery did the computer begin to boot again. I thought the power brick had burned out.

That's when Loyce noticed that the clock in the microwave was off too. In a few minutes, the neighbor came over to see if our electricity was out too. She thought she had knocked out her house some how, and was relieved that it was the entire neighborhood.

I started the generator out it the drive and set up an electric heater in the kitchen. It was rapidly cooling off in here once the heat pump wasn't running. Seems like it runs continuously. So for more than an hour this morning we were powerless.

To my knowledge, that is the first time we have ever been without electricity since moving here in January of 2006, and then it was only for a little more than an hour.

Once the music project was complete, I went out for some manly type shopping. You know, fill the gas tank and get a burger. And I went over to Best Buy to learn more about a wireless air card for the computer, once we get to Arizona again. I came away troubled.

Seems that the vendors have all setup download limits. 5 Gb per month. Its not that they charge a little more after that amount, but something like 25 cents a meg more. You could get yourself into financial trouble really quickly and not even know it. Its designed to be punitive, as they do not intend for their customers to use over 5Gb.

Now I am stopped in my tracks on what seemed like a simple decision. Folks that had a card from before the date that the limit was imposed are grandfathered onto unlimited band width.


Retired Rod

Monday, November 24, 2008

MP3 Player

We spent the day purchasing a MP3 Flash player. First studying the available players at Wal Mart, and then on their web site.

Since I wanted to get the thing and learn how to make it go today, I needed to select one that they had in stock here in Olathe. That Wal Mart is about a mile away, and it didn't make to much sense to chase around town looking for just the one, when they are much the same.

I settled on a 2 Gb Phillips that had a small screen, and a FM radio. Seemed like that was about the right mix of funds laid out verses features acquired.

Once I got it home, I had to learn the things that all 14 year olds all ready know, the difference between the various files. The player wouldn't play .wav files that are on the CD's but would play .mp3 and .wmv files. I messed with microsoft's media player, and never did get it to read a file and rewrite in an acceptable format.

So a Google search, for a conversion program led me to some that cost money, and a free one called Switch Sound File converter. This allowed me to rip the songs from the CD to my hard drive while converting them directly to mp3's. Cool.

The player shows up just like a thumb drive on the "my computer" screen, and a simple drag and drop moved the songs to the player. It works like a dream.

So even though it is my birthday, Loyce got the present today of the MP3 player with several disks worth of "her" music on it. She was upstairs messing with it this evening, and declared that it was a good thing. The FM radio works well also.

Messing with computer stuff causes the day to disappear in rapid fashion. So I nothing else was accomplished here that is of merit.

Perhaps tomorrow will be more productive.

Retired Rod

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hawkeyes and a birthday

We spent the evening at son Ben's house where we watched the Hawkleye football game with Minnesota. This is an old rival between these schools. They have a travelling trophy called Floyd of Rosedale, that is a bronze pig.

That's right a big bronze pig, in a wooden trophy case. It has a lid and handles and weighs about a million pounds. The winning team runs over to the other side and hoists the pig above their heads. Or at least the big linemen do. It does weigh several hundreds of pounds. Iowa had it from winning the last several years, and they indeed kept it again tonight.

They beat Minnesota by 55-0. It was an unbelievable game that went totally in Iowa's favor. They seemed to not be able to do anything wrong. Sometime in sports you have one of these games, but on other occasions, you have an opposing team that has one against you.

This makes Iowa 8-4 for the season and we should get a fairly good bowl.

Also we celebrated yours truly's birthday which is tomorrow. 61 of those wonderful years. Or should I say that this is the 61st time I have had a birthday. But really it is the 62nd since your first birthday is really number zero.

I haven't got any presents, but tonight I was able to hug all four of my grand children, and that is present enough for me. And a year from now I will be able to hug five grand kids as we have another on the way.

I made crockpot spare ribs from the RV-Dreams cookbook, to take to the party. I had to modify the recipe to make them no sugar so I could eat them. Rather than make the home made BBQ sauce that the recipe calls for, I used a bottle of KC Masterpiece sugar free, mixed with a can of Ro-tel tomatos. Since it didn't have the sugar for a base to thicken the sauce, I used some corn starch to add the normal body the sauce should have.

I could have boiled off much of the liquid, but I wanted plenty of sauce, so I only boiled away half of the water, and thickened from there.

The ultimate complement is when there are none left, and that was the case except for some of the remaining sauce.

Football can be so rewarding, when it turns out your way. And such a let down when it goes against your team. Minnesota is a better team than 55-0 would indicate, so I am sitting here in amazement that it turned out that way.

This is why the BCS and the computer matching system can never replace the playing of the game. We need a tournament. Somehow!

Retired Rod

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Jig-A-Loo and gas prices

We made it up to 34 here today, after an overnight low of 17. The first part of this week we were enjoying 85, so I am frozen. The irrigation man yesterday wanted to know how I got so sun burned in Kansas. He said I was unusually red faced for this time of year, and I had to admit that I had just returned from Arizona.

So it is only natural that I hung around inside today, not wanting to poke my head out into temps that were barely above freezing. By mid afternoon, I did venture out to Wal Mart over on 159th street. I was in search of a can of Jig-A-Loo.

What the heck is Jig-A-Loo? It is a lubricant that is not oil, grease, wax,or detergent.It is colorless and will not stain or drip. It protects against rust and is an excellent water repellent. I am copying from the side of the can as I type. I bought it after seeing it on a web site, and totally out of curriousity. Basically if it needs lubricated, but can not be wet, oily or stain a fabric, this is the product of choice.

Now I must admit that the can was on the close out counter at Wal Mart, meaning that it didn't sell too well or at all, and doesn't even warrant sending back to be redistributed to another store that did sell the stuff. I may have the only can that I will ever get. Lol. But the stuff is certainly slipery enough. I plan to use it as a water repellant, to seal some boots that I use in rainy and snowy conditions. Time will be the teller of this story in the long run.

I also noted that crude oil has dropped to the mid 40 dollar range in price. I think that will give us yet lower gas prices. Thinking about the prices I personaly saw this past three weeks, I do not understand how these prices could be so different in the parts of the country I drove thru.

When we left Kansas, three weeks ago, gas was 2.03 to 2.05 here. It was 1.95 over in Missouri. When we got to Oklahoma City, it was 1.89, and I saw a 1.79 for cash with a paid car wash. That was the low point of our trip. Once in Amarillo, it was back to over 2 dollars.

Travelling West, to New Mexico it went up in a hurry. At Clovis, I paid 2.45, and when we stopped overnight in Roswell, it was 2.59. How can a product vary that much in only 300 miles?

When we came out of the mountains and crossed white sands desert, it was suddenly 2.35 in Las Cruces. Out in the middle of the I 10 corridor just before you cross into Arizona, it was 2.27. I filled up everything there as I knew that would not be the case in Arizona.

We got to Benson, and got off the Interstate at the camp ground exit and saw a station for 2.99. Oh my! Up town thou it was back to 2.59. Forty miles farther West, we had 2.35 in Tucson.

Phoenix had the same 2.35 when we arrived, but during the week that we were there, it went down almost every day. We filled for 2.15 when we left for home. Amazingly, we saw 2.59 in Flagstaff. We drove past that opportunity.

On the way home it got cheaper every town we came to, with the low being 1.75 in the middle of the turnpike in Kansas. I haven't bought any since.

This is certainly much better than the 4 dollar prices from summer, and I will not complain at all. But I do not understand how there can be such a variance in seemingly short distances. Different taxes in different states yes, but 45 cents different from Phoenix to Flagstaff, how does that compute?

Prices have always been higher than heck in California, but they seem to be high any time you get into the mountains as well. We found that to be the case in Colorado this summer as well.

Dillon and Vail were still well over 4.25 when the rest of the country was back at 3.50. If you are in the mountains and at a touristy location, hang on to your wallet, you are going to get charged.

Once the demand for fuel becomes higher this spring, I would bet we will see a sharp increase in these low low prices. But for now, enjoy the brief respite while it lasts.

The OPEC nations have said that they will not finance the US financial troubles. One good news item is that this also curtails Iran's ability to sink spare cash into nuclear ambitions. At these oil prices, they have all they can do to feed their people.

Just some of the things we learned from this latest trip.

Retired Rod

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dentist and the sprinkler man

We raced home to get Loyce to the dentist appointment that she had made last month. She had some extensive work and could only get in on certain days. I cringed when she made the appointment, but that didn't change the need.

So she was up early this morning to go to the dentist. Not your favorite activity to be sure. She came home numb and tired from the experience. She slept most of the afternoon, since she had been up much of the night.

For me, it was the day the irrigation guy was coming. In the fall or early winter, it is necessary to shut off and blow out the watering system. This is accomplished with a jack hammer style construction air compressor.

The fellow showed up mid afternoon, and was driving a F350 diesel truck pulling the construction compressor. He was lost getting here initially, but once he called and got some directions, he remembered that he had been here before, and drove right to us.

It only took about 45 minutes and the water was turned off and the pipes were blown clear of water. It wasn't very warm, only in the 40's and the water coming out of the sprinkler heads was really cold when driven by air. It came out as a fine mist, and was blown by the wind.

We were both somewhat wet when it was all over.

Inside, that required a nap to warm up, once he was gone. Later, I went to Wal Mart to see if they had a certain micro fibre sock, that I like. In Arizona, they had sold out and were not getting any more. But here in Kansas, they still had some. I should have purchased all that they had, but backed away with only four pair more than I had purchased in Az. I get these things in inventory, and then find something I like better before I use up the old stuff. So I refrained from taking all they had.

Tonight, the computer has kept me totally busy. I have a really good high speed connection, and what a pleasure that is after the sloooow RV park systems.

Not nearly the excitement of a 600 mile day on the road, but then I couldn't take too many of those in a row anyway.

Retired Rod

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The trip home

We were up before it was light outside, around 5:30 AM. I fussed with the water and sewer, draining and flushing both. There is no water left in the trailer tanks or water heater, even the hose to the sewer was lifted from the slinky and drained.

We put in the slide and locked the door. We were off and it was barely 7 AM. After a quick stop at the local McDonalds, we were on the 101 headed North past Scottsdale. Rush hour traffic is never fun in these larger cities, and the Phoenix area is not exempt, as it was after 8 by the time we were free of the city and on our way towards Flagstaff.

You immediately climb as you leave the valley, and the temperature dives as you leave. In the Sedona area we saw 47 on the dash, but surely that would warm later in the day. Rounding the corner at Flagstaff, we were on the famous I 40 aka route 66. Then just as the song says, we started ticking down the towns. Flagstaff, Winslow, Gallup New Mexico.

By the time we were in Gallup, I needed a Double Stack from the local Wendy's. Loyce likes their Chili, so we stopped. As I got off the Interstate, I was following an older Chevy, and I began to smell engine oil. A burning smell, I changed the A/C to recirculate. Once we had the lunch complete, I headed for some gas, and casually switched off the recirculate. OH OH! That smell wasn't coming from the old Chevy! We had a problem!

At the gas pump I lifted to hood, to find oil all over the underside and the top of the valve cover. And there in the middle of the cover laid the oil cap completely loose and upside down in the depression where it should have been threaded in.

I pulled about a mile of toweling from the window cleaning dispenser, and began mopping up the mess. This took a while. Had Wal Mart failed to replace the filler cap, or had they left it loose and it worked its way out while we drove? We'll never know, but still, it has never come out before, so they are implicated no matter how you slice the pie.

Luckily the cap was still there, and they had given me the half of quart that was left over from the 4 1/2 quart change. So we tightened up the cap after topping off the engine. We had only lost a small amount, but leaking oil makes a big mess with only the smallest amount. Never had that happen with any of my Ford products, but then perhaps they fit in the Wal Mart mechanics hands better.

Loyce took over driving and we stopped in Albuquerque, to gas up and check the oil cap again. It was tight and had not moved since I put it back on. Wal Mart couldn't have got it on right, or this wouldn't have happened. Still the incident bugged me, that it would repeat itself.

We stopped for the night, at Tucumcari. Discussing where they would accept our dog for the overnight. We know that some super 8's and of course the old standby motel 6 will take the dogs, but 6 is such a lack luster place. We looked at both. Loyce likes the outside door to your room, since she doesn't have to haul all her stuff past the desk into a common indoor hall. Including the dog and her stuff.

So Motel 6 it became. I got a room on the back, with our car parked right outside. We were several blocks from the interstate, so no noise either. Place wasn't that bad, but it is definately no frills.

We went to the local Pizza Hut, and had dinner for two. Med pizza, salads and breadsticks. They had a 42" flat pannel with the NC state Ky game on. Cool. Ky was getting killed.

To get the internet, you had to buy a $3 access card, but I was too tired to care, when we got back to the room. We had driven 67o miles.

This morning, we headed out at 7:30, but that would be 8:30 in thirty miles as we crossed into Texas. By 10 we were in Dalhart, and I rolled into the local diner, Martha's. We had eaten there two years ago, I went directly to it like a local.

Martha's was still very busy, but we ordered the big breakfast, 2 over easy and biscuits and gravy. Came with hash browns too. Washed it all down with 2 cups of coffee. Ah! Now why did I do that? Took the diabetes pills out in the car as I left. Gota live once in a while.

The afternoon stretched long on the two lane road across Kansas. Forever comes to mind. We changed drivers in Greenburg, the town that was blown away by the tornado last summer. There is still nothing left but a few trailers and some partially rebuilt buildings. What a mess. The folks spirits seemed high, as they look forward to a new town in the end.

Wichita at 4:30 in the evening traffic, gave Loyce some pause, but she got thru all right. I took over again, half way up the turnpike to KC.

I'm glad we are here, and really glad that we do not have to drive on to Chicago or some place in the morning. Thirteen hundred miles in two days in a Corolla is plenty for anyone. I didn't calculate the exact mileage, but we were getting around 35 miles per gallon. With the motel room, we came home for around a hundred bucks. Even a tight guy like me is happy with that.

We would have had to eat anyway, so that doesn't count. Gas in the median of the turnpike this afternoon was $1.75. That was the cheapest we saw for the entire trip.

I miss Phoenix already!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Safe and Sound in KC

We're Back in KC. We pulled in about 7:30 and unloaded the car. Now we are sorting the stuff to see why we brought this or that back.

One He!! of a bunch of riding! I'll blog later about the trip.

Right now I'm trying to stop going 75 miles an hour. LOL

Retired Rod

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And we're off!

Its kind of like the lull before the storm. We sit here tonight knowing we will button up the RV in the morning and light out for KC. Neither one of us really wants to go but we have accomplished what we set out to do.

We have appointments in KC that would need to be rescheduled if we stay, soooo. We have packed the car and have made the necessary arrangements.

I spent the day by washing the car, or driving it to the carwash where the machines did the washing. Lol.

I have gathered up the outdoor toys as stowed them and went through all the bins looking for the things we need to take back, and so forth. I also spent some time on the computer planning out the route home, comparing distances and driving times. It is amazing that the interstate distances are longer, but when you set the speed for attainable interstate speeds, the driving time is less. So we will take the interstate and drive 75. At least back to Kansas, where we will take US 54 back to Wichita. That will be slower but because it is at an angle, it saves miles and time.

If I have internet, I will try to blog tomorrow, but if not I'll see ya in Kansas City!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Sunday, and the nice weather continues. It got hot enough this afternoon, that we turned on the AC for the doggy friend. Since we couldn't leave her in the car when it is closed up and parked she stayed home.

Loyce decided that we needed, as in needed, to go back to the swap meet flea market. She wanted to exchange a T shirt that she bought yesterday. As well she had seen some things that she wanted, but wouldn't tell me what they were. That usually means that I wouldn't approve, so she quietly hides the packages in the trunk. She really likes to shop. That is why we must be in a large city when we camp.

If I go to a country setting, then she has nothing to do. She will kill me when she reads this but it is true.

While she was in the flea market, I went to Wal Mart and had the oil changed in the Corolla. While we have only traveled 1300 miles in the truck, we have put over 2K on the car. Since it is 1300 back to KC, we decided to get a fresh oil change. Better to be on the front end rather than extend the back end of the service life.

We plan to leave here on Tuesday for a really quick trip back to KC. We will leave the truck and trailer on the site we rented for the winter. They have no problem with us doing that, as long as the rent is paid and they know we are not here. This place is less than half full right now, and while many spots are reserved for the after Christmas months, we wonder if it will fill up this winter.

The thing that makes us lucky to have arrived when we did, is that we have a pet site. Only about 20 percent of the park is allowed to have pets. Those sites are totally reserved and taken for this winter. The doggy complicates things a great deal.

I was on the internet tonight researching where we could stay on our way home that would allow pets. We have decided that we will try to get to Tucumcari, NM as a stop over on Tuesday
night. That will make for over 600 miles each day, which is a big day of driving. We will change drivers during each day to break that up. We hope to pull into KC on Wednesday evening.

So with those plans, we will be packing tomorrow and ready to leave at first light on Tuesday.

The blogs will be spotty once we are on the road.

Retired Rod

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flea Market

As we got up this morning, the wind was blowing the awning fairly heavily. It was rocking the whole trailer, but then it is a lot like a sail in the wind.

After some breakfast, I went out to deal with the awning. It is murphy's law that the awning can never fold up quickly, when there is a wind out. And yes it did fight me as I folded it up. It had been down for about three days, and the side slides had taken a set in the out position. This happens from the anti flap devices, that stretch the center of the awning. They put tension on the bars that hold the roller away from the trailer.

These bars are not designed to have sideways tension on them, and it upsets the telescoping nature of the bars, which is necessary when you fold the thing up. I got it, but it took longer than it should have.

Mid morning, Loyce made mention that the neighbor had said, that there was a large flea market here in Mesa. So I thought a while, and remembered that Sandra of Nightly News had mentioned going to it last winter. So I went to her blog and scanned thru the entries. Yup, Jan 4th and again on the 11th. Took me a while to find it but she had the website linked as well.

Mesa Swap Meet

That gave us all the necessary info to go to the meet. After some battling with the Doctors back in KC to get a prescription renewed for Loyce, we set out.

This is the biggest swap meet I've ever seen. It is metal Morton style buildings, built in a row. But it is a quarter mile long. You cannot see to the other end when you enter. There are booths on both sides. They kept referring to A106 and then C200 and D95 and so forth on the PA system. That is when I realized that there were four rows of buildings that paralleled each other with about 250 booths in each one. Somewhere around 1,000 or so spots. Of course the larger stores had many spots that made up their store. But still, if you want to see the whole thing, you are going to have to shop a mile of stores on both sides of the aisle. Holly Cow!

I lost Loyce right off the bat, as she went to find a bathroom. But we both knew where the car was so I set out to see the stores. I made it all the way down A aisle, and back up B. That was a half mile of shopping. I had purchased some little tools at one stand and a new phone charger cable at another. And a cheap replacement billfold with a card insert, from a kiosk in the middle of the aisle, in the South end of Row A.

I started back towards aisle C. But then I thought better of it and went to sit in the car. I waited for her about a half an hour, re arranging my cards and stuff into the new billfold. Then I set out to go look for her. I had no more than walked into aisle A from a side entrance, and there she was in the middle of the aisle. She saw me, and made her presence known.

I was determined to go to C aisle to see a computer store, but she was tired. We bought a T shirt for her and went to the car.

Driving around to the far end in front of the C doorway, I hopped out and took the shortest route to the computer display. They had used corporate pull computers, mostly for $99. I have enough used old computers now, so that turned out not to be worth my while.

After we came back to Mesa Spirit, we decided to go get some Mexican food. Garcia's is a popular restaurant here in Phoenix, and there is one about a mile East of here. We went and had combination dinners. We had the same thing, Sour Cream Chicken Enchalada, and Shredded Beef Burrito. Way too much with the ton of chips we ate before the dinner plate came. And I had to ask for the muy picante salsa too. That required about a gallon of water, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Back at the rig, I am now into the Cabernet Charles Shaw, from Trader Joe's. Since it is now beginning to get late, that will have me to sleep directly. Lol

Yah, Charles Shaw is also known as two buck chuck. That's because they sell it for $2 in California. But here in Arizona, we do not get the tax break on California wines that they do, so it is $2.99 here. It seems quite smooth for such an inexpensive wine. Notice I did not say cheap, lol.

That was today, I wonder how tomorrow will turn out. It will probably be sunny and 85 again. Don't ya just hate it when that happens?

Retired Rod

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Electrical Outlet and a Clean Awning

Another outstanding day in Mesa, Az. We reached 84 and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The wind was very light, and I sat under the awning for much of the afternoon.

Well that was after I washed the awning with a scrub brush and vinyl awning cleaner. The stuff is kind of caustic, and I had to wash it off of my skin. It did do a job on the awning however. Got the stuff at wal mart the other night when I wouldn't buy their sewer hose slinky.

This morning I found the necessary screws in the bottom of my tool kit to install the electrical outlet under the refrigerator. So with Loyce out on a walk, I started and finished this task while she was gone. That way she never had to see the mess. I was running the dirt devil vacuum when she got back.

The outlet is closer to the middle of the RV and will allow me to put the electric heater closer to us.

Perhaps that will mean I can turn it down and not have it run as much. The experiment continues. But last night, it was never below 50 degrees outside, so the heater only came on about 15 seconds at a time, and then turned itself off again. More than likely didn't need it at all.

I continue to repair things and get ready to close down the rig so we can leave to go back to KC. The thought of that is making me shiver. Lol. Or maybe cry out loud.

Retired Rod

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sewer Slinky and a Sunset

Last night when we were at Wal Mart, I looked at the sewer hose slinky that they carry. It was only 15 feet long and they wanted $27.96. It was wal mart flimsy, and I decided we could do better. So this afternoon we went to Camping World, and they had bunches of these things.

We settled on one that was advertised as 20 feet, but it will open up farther. It was quite a bit more sturdy, and cost $24.95. With the member discount of course. Sham Sham, another profit center for CW.

Hey, its getting dark, and the sunset looks like it is going to be a good one! Most of the time Az sunsets are full of color. The sun is down below the horizon, but has not begun to illuminate the bottom of the clouds yet.

This old guy has seen it all before, a million times. Lol

Oh yea, the sun is beginning to be on the bottom of the clouds.

While the camera makes the brightness be about the same, it is now dark enough that the street lights are beginning to come on.

The camera is really opened up here, as you can tell by the brightness of the street light. The sun looks like fire as it goes out of sight.

You stand there and take it all in, not knowing how to contain yourself from the beauty.

It was in the 80's today, and seemed like summer. We ran the air conditioner in the car, as it was too hot not to.

We went to the Mesa Trader Joe's, and bought a bunch of stuff, sourdough bread and two buck chuck. Low fat crackers and a bag of 50% fat pop corn. Which we promptly got into in the car, after we went to camping world. Damn kids anyway.

Back home, I started in on some of the projects that I had gotten parts for. I had some electrical stuff to add an outlet for 110 V under the fridge. I had purchased this from Home Depot. But then I decided I needed more screws and the project was tabled.

Tonight, we went to Pizza Hut for supper, and had personal pan supreme. Loyce got a big salad to go with hers. So as I write this I'm stuffed like the proverbial goose.

Loyce also went and got a flu shot early in the day. This was a program here at the park. Really convenient, but I didn't need one, since I had one at the Doctor's office before we left.

Not an important day, but man, sitting outside under the awning at 84 degrees is about as nice as it can get.

Retired Rod

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mesa Spirit RV Resort

Welcome to Mesa Spirit RV Resort. Our oldest son has requested pictures of the park, so after a little bicycle ride, we now have pictures.

The sign out on Main street.

Of course everything is gated, and surrounded with a concrete block wall. You need a car pass to get in, and we forgot ours one night. Had to prove what spot we were on and they took our license plate to verify before we could enter. We made sure not to leave without our pass again.

The main entry drive. These are the newest park models. Many are still for sale, the economy is down.

This is the main office and the large activity center. Has the pools and the auditorium at this location.

Way back in the back, we have our unit in the pet section. Thou shalt not walk thy pet in a non pet section, least the heaven open up and smite thee.

This is one of the main pools behind the office.

The auditorium from about the middle of the dance floor. there is as much room behind me as you can see from the picture.

Pool room

This is a second pool and hot tub area behind the first pool. In the month of February, I am told that both pools will be full of folks.

The computer room has more machines behind me as well.

The library has a librarian and another wall of books behind me.

I took more photos, but it took almost an hour to up load these. Tengo Internet is not too fast and there is no one here yet. I can only imagine how bad it will get in February. Perhaps I will need to break down and get a Verizon card. Remember I am tight and that will cost a bunch of money.

We again hung around the rig today, and washed the outside area. Mostly the driveway and the little car. I set up a ham radio antenna on the satellite dish tripod in the morning and had to spend some time playing with that radio, since I hadn't used it in a while.

We aired the bike tires, and then had to go ride it for a while to see if they were up hard enough.

Then I went and bought a gate card, for the back University Avenue gate. I say bought, but it is a deposit of $25. The card is one with embedded electronic chip in it like an ID card. They then have a record of each time you come and go. Since there are 1500 sites in here, and it is a half mile to the front gate, the card to get out the back will come in handy.

Lets see, we grilled steaks on the gas grill for supper, and then went to Wal Mart for our seemingly daily visit.

We are now discussing if we really want to go back for thanksgiving, since it will be in the 80's tomorrow. Oh and for the rest of the week as well. We might stay a while longer, but will be back for Christmas for sure.

All plans are cast in Jello, of course.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans Day in Mesa, Az

It seems quiet here in the park, as there are so many vacancies in all the spots. When I inquired about the number of spots available for the winter, there were not too many, but folks will not arrive until later in the season. There were two pet spots left as of yesterday, and we took one. Today the second spot was filled as well.

We otherwise would not be accepted here with our dog. So we lucked out arriving here in November, when there was a spot available in the pet section. Now the pet section is only about 20 percent of this park. And the literature they hand out says that you should keep in mind that not everyone loves your pet. Not when it barks, and poos on the neighbors space, for sure.

I can't wait to see the rest of the rules here, but the books for this year have not been printed yet. So we only hope that we will not be in trouble with things not being as they should be, to match our lifestyle. You know, with the drunken beer parties and all! Lol.

I can't remember the last time I had a beer. Oh well.

Since we came off the road and set up the trailer on a permanent site, Loyce declared that today was cleaning day. Everything has been scrubbed from top to bottom. Floors, walls, cupboards, all emptied and washed out. She is relentless.

I mostly did a few lifting jobs and tried to stay out of the way. Mid afternoon we went to the Wal Mart two miles North of the Park, and suddenly realized how close we are to the Park that my parents had a park model in years ago.

Our park's East wall is the West wall of Orange Wood Shadows. We are no more than a 1,000 yards from their old trailer. We enter this park from the South on Main street, and the entry for Orangewood is on the North from University, and that had me thinking we were much farther away.

We drove thru the Orangewood park and found it to have many much older park models, and be tighter crammed together. My folks old rig, we guessed is about a 1982, and is still there. Actively owned by a snow bird, who isn't here yet.

Mesa Spirit is just as old as Orangewood, but has built new common facilities, and remodled the old buildings along the way. So we seem newer and nicer here. Also the sites here are at least ten feet wider, which doesn't seem like much, but gives the whole place a more wide open feeling as you drive thru. To be sure, we have many park models as well, but they are not as dense, and do not overpower the RV's and Motorhomes.

Once all the RV pads get rigs parked on them, I'm sure this will become very crowded as well. But then we didn't buy the place or a park model or anything long term, we only rented a site thru February.

We did drive over in the original part of this park, and it is just like the old Orangewood park. Just as tight together as well. So we are in the newest part and lucky to be here.

With that said, this is a city camping experience, and it does not have the outdoors "it factor" that comes with a state park or a Core of Engineers park. After we spend the two months of Jan and Feb here I'm sure we will be itching to get the "Heck Outa Here. "

On Veteran's Day. As a Veteran from the Viet Nam war myself, I hold our men and women in uniform in the highest honor. The sacrifice they make in their family life and personal aspirations can never be replaced by any honors that they may receive. It is because of their dedication, that you and I are able to live in this country, and not have our thoughts and these blogs censured, or worse.

Please help these folks repatriate, as they come back from their duties in foreign lands. As a veteran from Viet Nam, I know the feeling of not being acceptable, because you fought in an unpopular war. May that never happen again.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mesa Spirit RV Resort Mesa, AZ

We are in Mesa, Az. How we got here is a long story. But not so long as to not be reportable.

When I last blogged we were in Tucson and the Diamond J RV park out in the desert West of Tucson. It is a quaint little park and has some nice areas in the back of the park, that back up to the open desert. Those spots are reserved for special folks that have been there before, and for folks that want to stay the winter, on the monthly rate plan.

But for us folks that are only there for several days, we got to stay out next to the highway on the large bolder rocked area. We didn't understand why you would make your customers miserable when they were clearly checking the place out for winter possibilities. We paid for three nights, but only stayed for two nights. The $25 that we lost was not worth suffering without Wifi, or any public bathing facilities. The laundry only had minimal washers, and we didn't try it.

I would have blogged last night, but try as long as I might, I could not connect to the park Wifi. Even thought it was there and strong, the lady that runs the park, had no idea what a computer would be used for, and didn't know how to fix the system.

I did have a new and positive experience at the park though, I got to meet some folks whose blog I read most every day. JoAnn and Doug spent the summer with Howard and Linda of RV dreams, at a ranch in Southern Colorado. She spotted that we were in Benson when we were there, and invited us to meet them. Subsequently, we both moved to Diamond J.

You couldn't find two nicer folks. And they have Filmore the standard poodle. He is a hoot. He thought I was there, just to meet him and play with him. So yes I did play with him. He kept bringing me his ball and wanted it tossed or hidden or however we could think of to change up the game. JoAnn and Doug have many things in common with us, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to actually meet some folks whose blog I read most all the time. Thank you for the invitation JoAnn and Doug!

Yesterday, we went to Casa Grande, Az., with the little car. We checked out the Palm Creek RV resort. It is built around a 18 hole par three golf course. The place is neat neat. But oh my heavens the price. The Month of February was $1,080 plus taxes. And then that was for the small lots, and there are not too many of these small lots, so a lot that you could get was $53 higher. You could store your rig there for $60 a month, but it was better if you rented a lot and paid for the site even when you were not there.

The kicker was that the town is small with only a few big box like stores and the old part of town was all but closed up and swept away. Since we are not able to play golf anymore, why would we pay for the course with our lot rent? So in the middle of the night, I had an epiphany. We'd go nuts couped up in that little town. So we came here to Mesa today.

I helped a couple find a site to dump their motorhome at Diamond J this morning, and the conversation changed to Casa Grande verses Mesa. I showed them the prices at Palm Creek, and they said that since we didn't play golf, wouldn't we be more entertained in Mesa. And suggested Mesa Spirit.

So we did check out seveal choices here in Mesa when we arrived this afternoon. And just like they said, we liked Mesa Spirit the best. So much so that we rented a lot for the next three months. We will leave the trailer on this lot and also the truck here, when we come back to KC for Thanksgiving thru Christmas. Looks like it will be winter in Phoenix this year. Should be fun!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tucson, Az

Today we went from Benson to Tucson. It is only 50 miles, so the trip took about an hour.

We are out in the country to the West of Tucson, at a place called Justin's Diamond J. This is a large campground, that is somewhat of an improved desert experience. We have water and electric and sewer, but the sites are not much to look at. At least ours isn't.

Since we are only here for a day or so, they gave us a site out near the front road, where the Highway is driving us crazy with passing cars. Hope that slows down some before we go to bed.

The big thing that has Loyce concerned is the lack of a public bathroom. We have to use our camper bathroom for all services, and she likes to use a campground bath house. So we may not stay here for more than one night.

We do have our eye on Casa Grande as a destination, and perhaps we will go check that out in the morning.

We spent the day setting up, and then trying to get hooked up to the internet. The wifi at the camp here will allow you to connect, but then says that it has limited or no connectivity. You cannot see the internet at all when you are connected. They also have a little linksys router that sits on the office desk, for the staff to use to connect.

I found out from one of the motorhome campers over closer to the office, that the little wifi is the only thing that works here. I am connected tonight by using my repeater router sitting on the roof of the trailer outside. It can barely see that desktop router, but I am connected to it, at a sloooow speed. So no pictures tonight.

The actual grounds have been improved with rock that is about 3 inches in diameter. The site is hard to walk on and is almost impossible for our 14 year old dog to negotiate. She is blind, and thinks she is on a cliff when she feels the rocks under her feet.

So while others have said, and have had positive experiences with this location, at least for us, it isn't working too well.

I did set out the satellite dish and have the direct TV running on all of our subscribed channels, since there is no cable TV here either. I was surprised that we could not pick up digital TV with our roof top antenna. We are far enough from town, that even the analog TV was mostly snowy with exception of two or three channels.

On a positive note, it is much warmer here in Tucson. At Benson, we were at 4,000 feet and the mountain air is cold. But Tucson is at 2,500 feet and it was above 80 this afternoon. It will require some heat before morning, but both the electric and the propane heaters will not run all night, like they did last night.

Camping is supposed to be and experience, and this is one of them.

Retired Rod

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tombstone / Bisbee

The OK Corral. They have the whole thing fenced off and have built bleachers for the paying folks to see a reenactment of of the gunfight. We didn't check on the price, because we didn't want to sit out side and wait for an hour and a half for it to begin. The actual fight took place in the street in front of the old corral and that part has been rebuilt, into this movie set type place.

Rather we wandered the town looking for famous places. Everyone has heard of the bird cage. Folks were lined up to go thru this attraction as well.

How about the Silver Nugget?

The Longhorn seemed to be a sit down dinner kind of place today.

Hey look, here is a gal coming out of the Shady Lady clothing (if you can call it that) store.

Golden Eagle Brewery, and the Crystal Palace.

They advertise food, but when we went inside.....

It looked like an old time drinking establishment to me. Not much food, but they had a flat panel TV up front over the pool table. Sort of killed the 1880's effect for me anyway.

The stage has arrived, wonder what desperados are getting off this time. Oh no they are just tourists. Looks like the biker gal in the foreground, hasn't read the Arizona no smoking law, LOL.

Hey there is big nose Kate's. Wasn't she Doc Holliday's girl friend?

Hey they serve food, lets go take a look.

We ordered a sandwich and sat patiently waiting for our food or for a bad guy to burst in the door.

They had the one man band thing doing a country western gig. He posed for me, but I didn't tip him. Remember I'm tight.

This place is authentic, according to the bouncers that carried colt 45's and were dressed in period correct clothes.

After the meal, we went to the newspaper office.

They have the paper on display that was published after the gun fight. If you click on the photo, it will enlarge so you can read the account of the fight.

This is a museum, and here is one of the old lynotype machines.

Another machine, but I do not think these are from the 1880's. More like from the 1930's.

We drove on to Bisbee, Az. It is a town built in a valley. It has all the ambience of San Francisco, on the hills. No cable cars, but the town is not that big.

Looking South, this is a Copper Mining town that exists to support the miners, until 1976, when they closed the mine. Now it is totally a tourist trap.

I tried to take a picture of the explanation of the mine, but it wasn't too legible.

This is the Queen Ann Mine. It is a really big hole in the ground.

The mining buildings are on the other side of the massive dig.

We were worn down by now, so we headed back to Benson.

Here at the campground, propane has been a hot seller all day. I was almost first in line this morning, with my empty tank this morning. Seems that we have a good price here at the campground, $2.19 a gallon. So we have had a line up all day long. Even when we came home tonight, the pump is still filling the empty tanks.

It was quite cold for trailers last night, as we were well below freezing. That must have brought out the empty tanks, or so it would seem.

Tomorrow we will move on to Tucson, a whopping 45 miles East of here, but quite a bit lower in altitude. That will make us warmer at night.

Retired Rod

Friday, November 7, 2008

Benson, Az

Benson, Arizona is a small community 40 miles East of the large city of Tucson. I was tired of pulling the trailer day after day, and stopped at 200 miles today. It was nice and warm this afternoon, as we set up the rig. And no wind, Yeah!

We think we will go down to Tombstone tomorrow. It is a really touristy thing to do, but we have never been there before, and you know h0w that is, got to go experience it for ourselves. Just to say we have stood in the street next to the OK Corral. We were in Leadville, Colorado this summer, where Doc Holliday ended up after the folks in Tombstone kind of encouraged him to leave. We are following his footsteps so to speak.

I was reading up on the story, on the wikipedia tonight, so I can be a real authority (LOL) when I get there. What ever that might be.

We pulled into another KOA again for tonight, and it is not overly nice. But then it was only $29 and that is cheap by KOA standards. So no wonder it isn't too nice. The bathrooms are quite clean however, and Loyce spent some of the late afternoon doing up the laundry. She thought the laundry was clean as well. I would have heard about that, had it not been clean.

It always makes for more room in the trailer, once we put away all the clean clothes. Gets rid of the dirty laundry bags for a while.

It is supposed to be quite cold here tonight, down below freezing. Yeah I know, it is way colder than that up North, but this is a summer trailer, and the cold radiates in from all sides. To top it off, we ran out of propane in one of our front tanks tonight as well.

The other tank has not been used, and should be full. Famous last words. But we won't mess around, we'll go get the empty one filled tomorrow.

It is supposed to warm up for the weekend here, so it should become quite nice for next week.

We will stay here for two nights and then move on to Tucson.

Retired Rod

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Las Cruces, NM

Not nearly as far today, only about 170 miles. We were up on Central time zone time since we didn't know exactly where the time zone change was. But we knew we would go to bed on the Mountain time zone.

I made the comment that we should get the heck out of Dodge, so we didn't battle the wind all day. We left the campground at 10 AM Central or 9 AM Mountain, and started Southwest. But as we climbed toward Apache pass, the winds picked up. We reached 7600 feet at the highest point. Not high by Colorado standards but quite a climb into 40mph winds.

And pick up the winds did. Part of the time I could barely go 45, and even then the truck would be in second gear and the engine would be over 3K in rpm. So easy does it was the order of the day. Were not in any hurry, and we did gain the hour, and we were in Las Cruces by 2 PM mountain time.

I didn't like the looks of the commercial camp grounds here in town, so we are on the West edge of the city in the KOA. It is more expensive, but with the wind blowing 30 to 50 and dirt flying so that the air is a dust haze, this place became a refuge so to speak.

We sat in the trailer for the rest of the afternoon, only looking out and taking the dog for her potty walks, and so forth.

As the wind dyed down after sunset, we went to the little town of Mesilla that is West of the interstate. We found a authentic Mexican restaurant that we like two years ago, when we were here and had to go back.

La Posta is in an adobe building that has 18 inch thick walls. The roof is made of corrugated metal over the old tree branches that go across the Adobe. It is more than just authentic, it is historic. It has been repaired over the years, but is a cantina from the 19th century.

Mesilla was a Mexican village (pueblo) before it became part of the United States. The streets are all named Calle de what ever. They are so narrow that cars must only go one way, and are mostly parked in vacant lots.

Billy the Kid was tried and hung in a corner saloon, that also doubled as the territorial court house for New Mexico and Arizona. The history drips out of this place. There are no street lights to speak of, so after dark pictures were not to be had.

We will more than likely go West again tomorrow, but we have not set a goal. It almost three hundred miles to Tucson, and if the wind is still as strong, we won't make it that far.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Roswell, New Mexico

We are now in Roswell, Nm. We drove 220 miles today, during one of the highest wind storms we have traveled in. The wind came from the Southwest, and that is the direction that the road takes.

There were gusts up to 40miles per hour, and we stopped in Clovis for about an hour to let some of the worst part of the day pass. Shopping at Wal Mart and sitting out in the parking lot, eating lunch passed the down time.

We had 81 degrees during the late afternoon. Thats not too bad considering it is November 4th.

When we arrived at Roswell, we went directly to this RV park. It is small and not overly nice. I think there are only 15 sites in a horse shoe around the back of the office. We are on one, of two pull thrus. It is unusual, as it has a gate on the front of the site that faces the Highway. To leave, we only need open the gate and pull directly out onto the road.

The wifi here is slow and not able to keep up with the camp during times that every one is on. Lowell from Des Moines called, but we were not able to make a reliable connection to actually talk to each other.

We watched the election returns tonight, but since we have no knowledge about New Mexico politics, it didn't mean too much, except for the national races. Now that the country has its favorite president, I am hopeful that the Markets will settle down and make some sense. Time will be the final measurement on that one.

Oh, and we didn't see any aliens here, except for the plastic blow up kind at the novelty shops in the downtown area. Since the UFO happened in 1947, it would seem that they have about all the mileage they can get out of that one.

We plan on driving down to Las Cruces in the morning. That goes thru the white sands missile base, but you can't see anything from the road. Except the really tall fence. Lol.

I hope the wind lets down some for tomorrow, but when it does, it is supposed to get down to freezing even this far South. That should be fun in our summer insulated trailer.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Amarillo, Tx

Tonight we are in the Overnight RV Park East of Amarillo, Tx. This interchange is famous for the Big Texan restaurant. This has been featured on the Travel channel show of famous truck stops.

When you stop at one of the truck stops along the frontage roads or at several of the camp grounds, within the five mile area, they send out a limousine to pick up folks. They had an old Caddy and now have a newer Lincoln, with Texas Long Horns on the hood. They came thru the campground right after we got here, but we were not set up yet.

But once we had the rig leveled and the hookups connected, we went over for a steak. Now if you can eat the 72 Oz steak and the three big battered shrimp and a baked potato within an hour, your meal is free. And you win a T Shirt that proclaims your feat.

But should you falter in your eating prowess, it will cost you a buck an ounce for your dinner. Thats right $72. But you get a doggie bag, LOL. We ordered the sissy size steaks! I think mine was 10 oz and Loyce had the 6 Oz fillet. I'm still sitting here overstuffed. They offer two sides, and I had the baked potato, and corn. So that is what has me so full.

I forgot to take the camera, but with daylight saving time over, it was dark outside by the time we arrived anyway. The place will seat hundreds, but was fairly empty on a Monday night. The waiter said that they had a good crowd for Halloween, but it had been slow since.

I started the day this morning by going to the Goodyear dealer that is two blocks South of the Murrah memorial in downtown OK City. I was there shortly after they opened at 7AM. The really short version of the story is that there is no warranty on the tire, as it is hard to get Goodyear to stand behind the tires since they are parked in one place for long periods of time.

They claim that you ran the tire under inflated, or that you hit an imaginary object on the road, or any other thing they can think of to say they are not responsible. You are flat out of luck. Period. So $125 later and after waiting until 10 AM for them to go get one from some warehouse, I was back on the road.

When I got back to the campground, I had to jack up the trailer and replace the spare with the new tire, and then remount the spare in the tongue carrier. I suppose I could have taken the trailer to the tire shop, but it was right downtown in the middle of the big buildings, and their lot was quite small for a 50 foot rig so, I took the tire in the back of the truck.

We were on the road before noon and arrived here in Amarillo by 5 PM.

We are going on toward Roswell, New Mexico tomorrow. That is only 220 miles, and should be a more comfortable trip. We'll blog some more from there. Keep your eyes peeled for aliens!

Retired Rod

Monday, November 3, 2008

Road Runner RV, Oklahoma City OK

This is what is left of our tire from yesterday's misadventure. As you can see the belts separated and a big chunk is missing. Loyce is still ducking from the flying rubber pieces. I am hoping to take this to the Goodyear store Monday morning for an adjustment. Perhaps my billfold will be adjusted as well. Time will tell on that.

We are situated in the Road Runner RV Park here in Oklahoma City. This is mostly a concrete and grass park near downtown. The most notable problems we have experienced was the position of the sewer hook up. It was completely at the back of the lot and about as far away from the connection on our trailer as possible.

We used 30 feet of hose to connect up but got the job done. This picture looks back at the shower building and the office. We are connected and probably a part of the storage business that is attached on our South lot line.

The place was quite full for Saturday night, but during the morning many folks packed up an left. We had a number of Iowa folks here that must have been here for the game yesterday.

We have the place to ourselves with the long term folks, that live here more permanently. We must leave tomorrow or renew for more nights, if our tire becomes a problem.

We went to the memorial at the Murrah Federal Building today, to see the empty chairs that are on the footprint of the old building. It is a somber experience. We were amazed at the number of people that were at the site thirteen years later. This was a defining event for this area. 186 deaths and over 600 injured.

Part of the original wire fence, that was put up to keep folks out of the damaged site still stands today, and is the collection piont for flowers and personal memorials that are left on the site. They say that there are over 60,000 items that have been collected.

I did not take any pictures of this area as it was quite somber. We were not able to walk around much, due to the problems that I have with Neuropathy.

This web site is the official memorial information and has good 360 views of the area.

We used today as a reorganize day, to put things away in the trailer. Seems as though most things were stacked in the dinette and couch area and needed to be filed in their proper drawers and cabinets. As well, Loyce gave the floor and tables a proper cleaning since we now have water back in the pipes.

Looking at the weather forcast tells us that it will again freeze here later in the week, so we need to move along to the Southwest. We have a heated underbelly so that our pipes do not freeze when we are running the propane heater, but with single pane glass windows, this is not a good rig to stay in during freezing weather.

When we get to Arizona, the nights should remain in the 50's with the days in the early 80's. That will be hard to take, but I think I am up to the task.

Retired Rod

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bang/ Flop Flop Flop aw Sheeeeeet!

The day went just as planned, we were on the road by 11:00 AM and traveled thru the day. We went 335 miles and ended up in Oklahoma City. We planned to stay here one night, but have had a little difficulty that will require us to stay here until Monday.

Lets just say that the tread came right off the Goodyear tire like it was jello. Loyce was following me in the little Corolla, and quickly passed me get away from the flying debris.

By the time I got stopped, the tire was shredded. I heard it go and slowed down instantly, but allowed the rig to roll out its speed rather than slam on the brakes and loose control. The bad tire was on the passenger side of the trailer, so no laying out on the interstate to get it changed.

I had the rig up on a jack and the tire loosened right away, but the thing that became the problem was the spare. It had plenty of air, as I had checked that before we left home. I couldn't get the hold down bolt out of the bracket the tire is mounted to.

It was corroded from the road salt and grime. Wouldn't budge. It is shaped as a big wing nut that is made to do by hand. If it had had a bolt head on it I could have used a socket and a breaker bar. But a hand tightened wing nut has no wrench that fits it.

I only had spray silicone as a penetrant, and it did little good. I managed to move it slowly with a big crescent wrench. Grabbing one of the wings , and adding the length of the wrench as lever.

It took an hour and a half to get the tire changed. During that time the Oklahoma State Game got over, and we had a traffic jam on the interstate as the people poured back to the OK City area. I thought that the trailer would fall from the jack several times as large trucks passed within inches of the side.

I learned later that they had beaten Iowa State and were quite euphoric about it. I just thought that, heck everyone has beat them this year, so whats the big deal.

We are in the road runner RV park in South OKC. We are not far from downtown, and have learned that all tire dealers are closed on Sunday in these parts. Except for Wal Mart, but they do not carry RV tires.

Since we will be here for at least two days, I'll tell you about the park on the next post.

Retired Rod

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On the lookout for the cops/Halloween

I was kind of disappointed with the outcome of yesterday's encounter with the police. And it showed in the blog entry. I was up several times during the night, looking out the front windows of the house, to see if the cops were here with the tow truck.

The garbage folks came at about 7 AM and it is still dark at that time, and they made quite a commotion with their big diesel truck and its back up bell. Beep Beep Beep, and I was sure they were here to get the flat bed trailer with the 8N Ford tractor down in the end of the culdesak.

It was only the garbage folks loading their packer truck, but I was up in a flash to see if the tow truck was hauling the trailer away.

Mid morning, the neighbor who's relative owned the trailer with the tractor stopped by to explain, that they have a death in the family and her cousin stopped by with the trailer and his pickup on his way from somewhere else. He was on his way to Texas with the 8N when he found out and detoured here.

She apologized for getting us into trouble, since she felt that her neighbor across the street from them wouldn't have called the cops, if the tractor wasn't there. We were just caught up in the mix of things, since we were also in violation of the no trailers rule. That was nice of her. She was a really nice lady and was anything but cold hearted. The tractor and its trailer was hauled out by her cousin mid morning.

Even so, our trailer is still up in the driveway, and will only move when we leave tomorrow. And we will have to leave with it, because our 48 hours are up. Oh the joy of living in the suburbs of a town that is overly impressed with itself.

We had a Halloween party here tonight during the beggars hours. The grand kids did their own neighborhoods first, and then they came here for beef burgers and french fries. They ate rapidly, to get back out and trick or treat some more in our neighborhood. They filled their candy bags again. So they got to double dip the neighborhoods so to speak.

They were rushed off home by about 9PM, as they were eating candy with both hands. I think the dads were raiding the haul as well. I have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, that no one likes or wanted but me. I can't eat more than a half a piece at a time, because it upsets the blood sugar. Only the tiniest piece seems sooooo sweet, that I can't eat it anyway.

We are mostly packed and ready to go in the morning, but I'm sure we will have a lot of last moment stuff.

The next blog should be from a campground South of here.

Retired Rod

Update: 11:00AM We're outa here!!!!!