Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I have a grass clump that has expanded itself year after year, until it has taken over the entire end of the flower bed. I always say I am going to dig it up and toss it, but it never gets done. So this morning I began with my garden shears to clip the old brown grass off of the roots at the ground level.. This took over an hour, as I sat on the concrete and cut away.
I looked for a rake, but found none. It seems strange that all our rakes are just gone, but then our kids use the place when we are not there, and perhaps the rakes bit the dust and were tossed. Or perhaps they are really there , and per Loyce I am too bumbling to find them. But anyway I jumped in the car and drove the 6 or 7 miles into Lowes, and purchased both a leaf rake and a solid tooth garden rake.
As I returned I raked out a space on the side of the hill opposite the driveway, and began to burn some of the leaves. I started quite small and was only adding a rake full every now and then. But, of course, a big wind came up and blew the fire over in the unraked part of the hill, and all of a sudden I had a hostile grass fire!
This made my heart pound, as I ran around raking a fire line, and beating out the burning grass. It was surrounded on three sides by concrete, so it couldn't go too far, but I didn't want to burn the yard too. I managed to get it back under control, and was really glad that I had purchased the bigger spring tooth leaf rake. I was using it to beat out the grass as it was back burning against the wind.
So I ended up burning a bunch of the hill clean of all the brown grass and the leaves. It looks as though I intended to burn that part, but that might not be exactly the truth. I'm sure some of the neighbors were wondering what the heck I thought I was doing. We are way out in the county, so there are no burning rules. But still I think I should have waited until the wind was calmer.
Judgment is always 20/20 in hindsight! So with a nice big fire break all burned into the side of the hill, I continued to burn all the leaves and grass clump clippings. It was ten feet to anything that would burn now. Still I continued to add just a little at a time. Seemed like I raked and burned 30 bushels of leaves. Its always a mess down there in the spring.
There's even more piles of leaves down infront of the rocks and seawall by the lake, but I didn't want to press my luck after the fiasco up by the driveway.
Around three in the afternoon, I went inside and gathered all my stuff and loaded it in the car. I had washed the dishes and vacuumed in the morning, so I was on the road quickly.
Tonight we went over to Fuddruckers here in Overland Park, for another order of Sweet Potato Fries. Its been a few weeks since I had those. I think we found a Fudds in San Diego one night, but I know we never saw one again anywhere. So a Fudds fix was in order. I always get the smallest burger, so I will have room for all those tasty fries. My belt will never get shorter !! Ever!!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I had to stop by the storage place and retrieve another of my ham radios that went with us for our winter trip, as it really belongs in the car I am driving. So with only that delay, I hit the road East. It takes a little over three hours to get here, and I lazed along in no particular hurry. It was sunny and the temperature had risen to over 60.
It would have been nicer if the trees would have had some leaves and the fields were green, but it is still way too early for any of those things. The grass is showing some tinges of green, so it will not be all that long until spring is here in full force. I did notice some baby leaves on my tree in the front yard of the Kansas home.
The lake is quite low, and the water is still dingy from the long winter, which won't change until we get some meaningful spring rains. But luckily everything here is just as I left it before Christmas. Loyce usually does not come along on these "check the place out runs," and today was no exception. So I have been entertaining myself most of the evening with the computer, and the one TV channel that I can receive here without the satellite box.
She suggested that I bring the receiver, but it was wired into the basement in Kansas, and the second receiver is in the MH also wired in, so I passed on the removal process.
Some of my friends from Des Moines called tonight on Skype, so we had a big conference call, which occupied my time for about two hours. Then there were all the blogs to read, and you see I keep busy!
Not sure what I will do tomorrow, but perhaps I will just sit here in the screen porch and stare at the lake as it warms up in the spring sun. We are to be in the 70s and perhaps 80 one of these afternoons, so that will be welcome for the folks here in Missouri. I of course just came from that kind of weather in Phoenix, but it will be just a pleasant here too.
Loyce and I haven't been away from each other since we left after Christmas, so it seems really quiet without her here to instruct me as I make decisions. Really, I do miss her, almost immediately.
Monday, March 29, 2010
I didn't make it up for revellie this morning, more like noon. So the day here has been holding the chair down and reading the computer. Oh I did manage to drive over to the local car wash and pay the fellow for the drive through clean up.
And I got a Wendy's and went to Lowes for a TV cable tool. That sumed up the day. Didn't even watch any basketball, as I don't have any teams left that I remotely follow. Without some kind of vested interest, I have trouble keeping my self interested.
We did have our second grand kid Ema over during the day, and she and Grandma played around all day long. They went from school work to dolls and over to McDonalds, and I lost track once I went to the car wash.
Perhaps I'll sleep a little better tonight.....
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Claire my third grand daughter turned Five this week, and her celebration was today. In her honor, she had a birthday party at the local kids entertainment joint "Zonkers."
This is another Chuckie Cheese, or Peter Pieper Pizza type place where they have birthday parties and lots of rides that require tokens, that the parents dutifully purchase by the buckets full. I was just moral support, and I did get to hold the 9 month old baby for a while when she was passed off to me.
All of Claire's school chums came to the party, and they all sang Happy Birthday and had cake and ice cream. Oh and she got lots of presents. Most of us men sat on adjacent picnic tables, and told stories, until we were rounded up by our significant others.
Then after naps were taken, they all congregated over here for the evening continuation of the party where they had giant cupcakes that Loyce had made during the morning. The cup cake is a two layer job, that is in separate pans and frosted to be about 9 inches around and a foot tall. She also made individual cupcakes for each participant.
We had already watched as Kansas State went down in defeat, and watched as Kentucky fell to their nieghbor state West Virginia. It seems to be open season on number one seeds. Look out Duke!
So peace has finally come back to the Ivers homestead, now that everyone has departed for home. And we sent all that cake off with the kids, so there is nothing for me to piece on now that it is late at night, Dang!
You know I'm not supposed to have that sort of thing anyway, but ..........
Saturday, March 27, 2010
So I pretty much worked on the computer for much of the day, until I just had to get out and about. So a scooter ride became the order of the day once the temperature was over about 55. I needed to go get the rest of my diabetic medicines out of the MH, and also some of the electronic stuff that was stored under the drivers seat.
So a bike ride over to the storage place reminded me that it was still quite cold outside at 45 mph. I had on sweatshirt and motorcycle jacket, but still I am a wimp. My gloves are summer grade without fingertips, and have ventilator backs, so my hands were cold immediately.
But I also rode over to Wendy's for a cheap burger and brought back a chicken for the boss lady. That must have been OK, as it disappeared upon my return.
Tonight, was the fourth Tuesday of the month, so it was Ham Radio Club night. I haven't been to a meeting since the Christmas party back on the second Tuesday in December. It was fun to catch up on all the stuff that us fellows talk about, endlessly.
So now the day has expired, and I have no productivity to show for it. But then retired folks do not need to demonstrate production any more, so that is quite all right. Surely I learned something today but I'm not too sure what it was. LOL
Friday, March 26, 2010
I have the probably mistaken idea that folks still want to know what we're up to, which today began by unloading a very stuffed car. Loyce has been stuffing all her packages into the available spaces, until there was barely space in the entire car for her to drive.
Once I had a car to drive, I went out in search of a new storage lot. The lot that I was using over in Missouri was 12 miles away, and was under power lines. That wasn't much of a drawback, until the fall when the birds began to roost. They would line the power wires wing to wing at night as it became cold. And they covered the coach with bird doo doo. Yuck!
I washed and washed and the stains on the dark paint are still there. So rule number one today was no power lines. Also I was unaware the number of trips that would be necessary to the rig as we were preparing to leave. Seemed that I was going over every day, and either trading the truck for the coach and driving it back, or at least packing away more stuff.
I finally decided that I was going broke making the 25 mile round trip twice a day when I brought the coach back here to wash it or change its oil. The new facility is another storage mart, with all the same features, but is about 4 miles away. And yes it costs more. Its in Kansas and everything costs more over here.
So with that decided, it was mundane, as we unloaded the trailer of all the stuff, including Loyce's 10 tubs of fabric and sewing notions. Oh and of course my motor scooter. I'm not sure about the fabric, but I really enjoyed having the scooter in Mesa this year, so the trailer was worth it. Even with the little mishap that resulted in some nasty scrapes on the side of the rig.
I rode the bike around the one mile block here after getting it out of the trailer, but it was still in the 50's and that is too cold for any speed. Or else I'm just a wimp.
I just spent the evening watching Kansas State in double overtime over Xavier. Man I'm worn out just watching. So next they play Butler, who just knocked out another number one seed Syracuse! It doesn't get a bit easier. But remember only one team can come home without a loss.
I'm really killed again tonight, but both the MH and the trailer are in their respective storage lots. Now we will have to get them back over here one at a time to wash up the mess.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
We stayed in Arizona when the snow was falling, so at least we didn't have to drive in the mess last week. The house was cold, as we leave the heat set at about 50 when we are gone, so the furnace has been running since 6PM constantly. It heats up the air, but the actual wood and drywall is still cold, so it isn't off for more than a minute, and its right back at it.
We have a heat pump, and it struggled to raise the temperature much at all, until I kicked it over to the reliable old natural gas emergency heat. Why do they call it Emergency, when it comes on at 35 degrees. Heck that means most of the winter is an emergency! LOL.
We have worked like dogs unloading the coach of all the stuff! Why do we have all that stuff! A lot of it is sewing stuff, but I have my fair share of hobby stuff too. We seemed to have accumulated a lot of extra grocery items as well. You buy it but then you don't use it.
Last night I emptied the 80 gallon water tank, so we drove today without that weight, and that made quite a difference, but I'm sure with all our clothes and groceries and the rest of the stuff out, I will not recognize the much lighter driving coach.
We didn't get done unloading, we just quit. It continues to rain which makes the job all that much more nasty. Tomorrow night we are to have nearly a freeze. Enough so that I will have to keep the rig here at the house and let the propane heat run inside. It also blows into the basement tank area keeping it above freezing. Maybe it will warm up again in a few days.
We really have no contract on a place to store the coach, as I let the old storage go last fall. That will become the first order of business in the morning.
So after 4 days of 350 to 400 miles each, I need to just kick back for the rest of the evening.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
We were right on the highway, and had not taken the time to dig out much of our stuff, so the pack out didn't take long. We were on the road by 10 AM Central time. Amarillo was 110 miles to our East. We drove about 65 mph as the wind was out of the South and buffeted the side of the MH making it a handful.
Arriving about noon, we promptly dialed in Wal Mart to the GPS and headed out to the South thru the center of town. I parked on the outskirts of the parking lot, and noted that I was the only RV. Must have been too early for the overnight crowd. There was a Lowes next door too, so this must be a popular spot.
We had our lunch in the parking lot after some necessary shopping, but didn't spend too much time lounging around since the GPS showed that we had 265 more miles to get to Oklahoma City.
I 40 to Oklahoma City is rough. So rough that it shook the rig in a violent rhythmic fashion that seemed to cause every joint to creak and squeak. Also the wind from the South had become quite strong blowing the side so strongly that at times I had trouble staying in my lane.
We didn't arrive until around 6PM, and I was beat. After three days of 350 to 400 mile days, I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. But it is only 320 miles to our home in KC, and Loyce is ecstatic at the prospect of getting back home. To me that just means I will have to begin working on the Income Taxes.
We are in a very nice park here in Oklahoma City. Twin Fountains is situated in a wooded area on a hillside. We are under trees and parked on concrete pads between blacktop streets. The clubhouse is quite rustic with a lodge like feeling of log cabin design. This is a destination campground.
But like all campgrounds there has to be some drawbacks. Right? We are located right at the Southwest Corner of I 44 and I 35. Because of the trees, you can't see right across the highway, but you can sure hear the traffic. It roars by and is continual. We have experienced this so much, that we will make due, but we have noticed that we also have quite an exhaust smell from the cars and trucks. I don't understand this, since the wind is still flapping the slide out awnings, but for some reason it must be in the exact right direction to cause us to smell the traffic as well.
We will do our final clean up of the rig in the morning, as we will have to put it in storage fairly quickly once we get back to Overland Park. We still have the no overnight parking rule to deal with when we get home. Also the water and sewers will need to be drained and ready for storage, since we have no way to hook up anything at our house. Well other than a 20 amp dropcord.
So our winter trip for 2010 comes to an end tomorrow. Boo Hoo Hoo!
For our new readers, I do continue to blog almost every day, during the summer. Since we do head off to the lake of the Ozarks, and have weekend camping trips with the grandkids. Our birthday girl who is 5 this week has declared that she is moving in with grandma and grandpa for the summer so we won't take off and leave her again. I guess we really are missed!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
What can you say about spending the entire day on the road in New Mexico? The terrain is not overly memorable and seems to go on forever. After 250 miles we arrived in Albuquerque. By then it was 1:00 PM. It took about thirty minutes waiting in the RV line at the local Flying J for folks that were dumping their sewer and taking on water. During that time, Flying J never sold one gallon of fuel.
I have read that Flying J is changing their policy on dumping and water service, charging for these services. Perhaps they need to move the facility from the fuel pump island, as today there were about a dozen rigs waiting to get thru the only two pumps set up for RVs.
Once I made it into the pumps, I purchased 50 gallons at 2.86 a gallon. Wow, that awakened the credit card. Once I had paid, I quickly moved the RV to let the next guy fill. The folks at the fuel desk are overwhelmed just settling peoples purchases, and make no effort to force folks to move right along in the pump line. Enough said.
We had our lunch in the parking lot after purchasing fuel, and watched as the people filed thru the fuel station. It was mostly orderly, but people can be interesting to watch when they are frustrated. We decided we needed to leave this station and get back on the road.
We climbed out of town to the East, on a mildly crowded road in the mid afternoon. It was sunny, and the recent snows had melted. The roads were dry, but the ditches were still filled with snow. The temperature dropped as we climbed, but it never was below 50 degrees. It seemed almost a perfect afternoon to travel.
Once we topped the 7,100 foot mountain, we laughed on the two way radio, that it was nothing but down hill from here all the way to Kansas. The fact is, that hills roll for miles and miles in New Mexico with scrub bushes and dwarf trees. It started to become tedious, but we finally arrived here in Tucumcari, and registered at another KOA.
Again they are right by the side of the road and checkin was just toss them the id card and sign here. It was a little over thirty dollars, and that seems small after paying the California rates last month. Still it is too high, if it were paid every day. But for the few nights that we will be on the road going home, we will bask in the convenience.
We will hit it again in the morning.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Taking pictures of windshield bugs.
Can you believe the desert is so greeeeeen!
It will be a while before we see these big cactus again, so it was kind of nice to wave goodbye. That’s when I started snapping pics. Kind a hard to do while driving, but remember Loyce is in the car following, so your on your own when stuff falls over in the back of the bus.
Headed up the Black Canyon Freeway North of Phoenix
We left the SKP park before 9 AM this morning, but I promptly turned the watch to Mountain Daylight time, which is ahead one hour. Arizona doesn’t do DST. But we’re going to New Mexico and then Texas, so lets get with the program right now.
It was a nice drive, until you get North of Black Canyon, and then you get to climb, and climb some more. Then you climb again. No fiddling with the camera then.
When you finally get to Flagstaff, you are at almost 7,000 feet, and Humphrey’s Peak North of the city overwhelms your view. It is the highest point in Arizona at well over 12,000 feet. It was cold in Flagstaff and there was snow all over the place. We have successfully stayed away from that stuff all winter, so it was somewhat of a cool surprise.
We parked in a Sam’s Club parking lot, and I headed in to get some pop. I found a loaf of bread and some frozen blue berries for Loyce’s breakfast too. We made lunch and proceeded to become parked into the lot by other folks that just had to park on the outskirts of the parking lot.
After some backing up and wiggling, I managed to get free of the lot and back out on I 40. I spent the afternoon listening to the Fox News People as they reported on the Congress. I stopped in the Flying J at Winslow for some diesel, and we came on to our destination for the night at the KOA in Holbrook, Az.
We didn’t make it completely out of Arizona, but we are only about an hour from New Mexico, and it should be goodbye fairly quickly in the morning. We do miss being in Arizona when we leave, but do not miss the 110 degree days that they have while we are gone. Maybe we just miss the Arizona we know in the winter, LOL.
We are camped by the interstate, and I am listening to the cars and trucks as they roar by. We are not really as close as we have been in other camps, but we came from North Ranch, where we were miles from nowhere. You could hear the gears in your own head there, so this is culture shock!
Better post this and get to bed, as tomorrow is another 400 mile day.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
As an Iowan for 59 years of my life, of course I have to be proud of Northern Iowa. I have only been a Kansan for the last three years, and I have left the state for the winters every year, so perhaps I can't even count three years. And of course, I am proud when Kansas is so successful, but when they are too arrogant, they earn an embarrassment, so tonight they are searching their souls. Will they be back in future years? Without a doubt!
I did not spend the day in front of the TV today. We went quilt shopping. Loyce had a flier that told the address of the quilt shop in Wickenburg. It was way out West on the 60 highway. That road goes to Quartzsite, and we did not go far enough out of town the other day. So she got another quilt shop fix, as I sat in the car reading a technical ham radio book.
Once the shopping was complete, we went to a local Mexican restaurant, "Anita's Cocina". This is a local family owned and operated establishment that is built in the rustic old West style that is all of Wickenburg. I should have taken some pictures, but didn't have the camera with me. The sidewalks have the old wooden roofs over them, but the sidewalks are concrete. In yesteryear they would have been boardwalks.
The restaurant was just as rustic, with some of the tables and counters in rough hewn wood. The food was authentic and unique. No chain restaurant here. The menu selections were predictable, but the plates were the local interpretation of the selections. The place was full of a motorcycle group that had ridden from a distance to lunch in Wickenbug. We are about 50 miles away from the big city, so the correct distance for a daily ride.
I came back and watched Kansas in desperation! Stuffed beyond full, I promptly fell asleep. Loyce came back from the laundry and brought me back to the world.
So tonight we are sitting here cleaned up and ready to pack up the slides and hoses in the morning to depart the area. We have been here in the Southwest since the beginning of November. We almost feel like a local, so it will be a big transition now to go home again. But we must!!
So bid us farewell, as we travel North to the Cold part of the state, only to turn East to even colder New Mexico. But I must remember, Summer Is Coming!!!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Once it was by us, the wind picked up to about 10 mph and it cooled to the low 70's. We had been in the 80's. I turned off the computer, resolving to go outside.
We suddenly had a new neighbor on our door side, and I went out and moved the car so they could back in their motor home, but the guy was a pro and really didn't need it moved. Since I was outside, I turned my attention to the holding tanks. We have 30 feet of hose out, and I got out the sidewinder ramp to attempt to get it to drain. It is up hill towards the back, so even with the rack, it collects water in the hose.
I walked some around the park, over to the activity center where the wood carvers are having a rally. Not many of the men had arrived yet, but tomorrow will be their big day.
When I got back, the tournament reached out and grabbed me. Its still running as I type this. How many more weeks does this run?
Loyce spent her day sorting thru all the cupboards deciding what we have used in our last 5 months of travel, and what is excess baggage. She has identified a bunch of stuff that we shouldn't be hauling around. It will be off loaded when we get back to Kansas.
So we hang out watching the weather, as the storm has now passed us by and is tormenting New Mexico and the four corners. Looks like the snow event will be in the Tulsa, Oklahoma City, area. It will stretch from Omaha down to Texas. That pretty much defines the entire area we want to travel.
So we stay put some more!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Today we headed to Wickenburg, and drove around the city for a while, but lacked for anything that called our name. Now don't get me wrong, there are lots of attractions, and cafes and saloons abound, but perhaps we were not seeking them out.
We drove around several times, and even went on a lot of side streets, but never got out of the car. So we pressed on toward the highway 74 turn off to see what that road will look like with the MH. It was straight and reasonably wide, so we will use that to get over to I 17 on the way out of here.
I declared that we needed an oil change in the Toyota, and decided that Wal Mart would be the place of choice to acquire the service, so we headed on to Surprise. Ya like as in Sun City and almost Phoenix. When we got there it was a mad house as Grand Avenue Hwy 60 is still all torn up. I see no work being completed on the project since we were there last month. I think it is stalled out due to lack of funds. Heck the weather couldn't be nicer so you can't blame it on that.
When we got to Wal Mart, there was a line of cars that reached way out toward the front of the store. All of them wanted an oil change. There was only one guy on duty, and he said it would be 2 hours at least. Uh, well, we drove in 50 miles for that?
So I drove farther into the City, and the traffic around the 101 with the construction backed us up even farther, but we finally came to the Second Wal Mart in Peoria, and it had no line at all. So we shopped a bit and ate a Mickey D's and putzed around a bit and they were done!
So we are back here at the SKP park tonight enjoying the sunset and some TV. Maybe tomorrow will be uhhh, slower yet??? But when we leave we will drive right home, so rest may well be in order.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The weather man could change his mind before then and that would change ours as well. We looked tonight at last years blog, and we decided that we arrived home on March 22nd last year. We may be a few days beyond that this year but not by much.
So with a few days at our disposal, we decided to drive North from here on Arizona 89. This road climbs over a mountain and arrives in Prescott. Then beyond is Prescott Valley. We drove thru quite a bunch of hairpin curves and reached 6,100 feet in altitude, passing thru another lodge pole pine forest.
When you get on top of these mountains it is hard to remember you are still in Arizona. Prescott is at 5,000 feet above sea level. It is at the same altitude as Denver, and is much different than the lower elevations here in the state. The city is built in a valley that is surrounded by peaks and has quite a bit of charm. It is quite old. The new area is Prescott Valley, and has all the new shopping areas that we have become accustomed to in our larger cities.
We are told that the Prescott Valley area is a large retirement mecca. Our short shopping excursion didn't verify that however. We then took the long way to the West thru Skull Valley on the way back home. As we were advised, it is not nearly as mountainous of a drive. On 89 trucks and vehicles are limited to 40 feet, but no such limit was necessary on the Skull Valley roads.
The problem with all of this is that the Prescott area is a lot of city driving and stop and go lights. I think that since we have experienced this area now, we will go South out of here and then over to I 17 North of Phoenix. That will be farther, but will be at normal highway speeds. From a time standpoint it should be faster, and much less stressful on the motorhome driver.
Tomorrow we hope to go experience Wickenburg to our South. Also we are only about 40 miles from Sun City, Sun City West and all those areas that we visited last month. So if we find we need another shopping fix...........
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
We had completed all the setup and had left the site headed for the parking lot where the trailer was parked. We managed to get the trailer out in the street with the car and disconnected the car to drive the motorhome in front of the trailer to hook up. That's when the trailer began to roll forward down a hill that was several blocks long.
I looked up and realized that the motorhome was not passing the trailer but we were moving together. Woa! I quickly decided that the only way to stop this was to slide the coach up against the moving trailer and stop both together. I pulled over into the side of the trailer and braked both to a stop. The trailer crunched into the motorhome, but came to a stop.
It was then wedged against the door. I managed to get the drivers door open, and slid down to the floor on my butt. I then hopped out onto the road. I usually do not use this door, as it is very hard for me to climb down the side of the rig. My neuropathy goes nuts with pain when I use this door, but it was now the only way out.
We stabilized the trailer with the wheel chocks that somehow were not in place correctly to hold it in place on the hill. We searched our souls to decide how we messed up blocking the wheels, but in the end didn't place blame on each other. We obviously miss understood what we were doing. It doesn't help to change the outcome. We were very lucky to get it stopped right away, or it would have been in the wash at the end of the street.
The trailer wasn't damaged but the paint on the side of the coach took a nasty hit. We will need some paint assistance from a paint shop some time in the future. So be sure that trailers are blocked adequately when disconnected. Also the new jack has a wheel on it, where most of the time we use the center post on the old jack on a block. That alone would have had enough friction to hold the trailer in place.
Once on the road, we fueled up town and headed over to the Hoover Dam. I had to pull into the RV area and two agents began the inspection. They made me open up the entire bottom storage doors all the way around. Also the trailer had to be opened up. They crawled thru all the lockers and spent time digging around in the trailer.
Finally he asked permission to go inside, and told me to remain outside. That seemed odd, but he was inside only for a moment returning empty handed. Just like that he said have a nice day.
As usual the SKP s that run the office here in Congress were full of beans, and teased and had fun as we checked in. I couldn't find my membership card in my billfold, and they teased that I didn't have one. One of the different things checking into a SKP park, is they want someone to notify in case of emergency. I never can remember the phone numbers of my sons, as they are on speed dial in my phone's memory.
So we had to go retrieve the phones from the car to look up numbers. I tried to pay for a couple of nights, but they said just pay when you leave, or at the end of the month. That's all there was to check in. With your SKP number, they already know all about who you are. I guess it is about the same with the KOA folks as you give your ID number there and they know all about you instantly too, but they always take your money for a specified number of nights up front. The SKPs trust you!!!!!!!!
Checking the weather to the East shows below freezing and rain/snow for the weekend. Do we really want to drive the motorhome into a snow storm? I don't think so........ Maybe that end of the month thing may come into play if the weather doesn't straighten out.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
There’s three rides on top of the tower.
It looks a lot like the Eifel tower inside, but we all know its concrete!
The observation deck. It goes all the way around.
Dinner? It was too early as the restaurant opens at 4:30. This revolves.
The view! Downtown and the Fremont Street Area North of the tower.
Golf Course behind the Hilton
Southeast, Hilton and McCarrin Airport
Las Vegas Blvd and a New Hotel that I do not know the name of. (Help Me in a Comment)
Circus Circus and the KOA closer to the tower. Gold building in background is the Trump Tower
Looking Southwest over I 15 into the sun!
Zoomed in down Las Vegas Blvd. Encore, Treasure Island, Mirage (Golden), Caesar’s Palace and Bellagio with the little round dome on top.
Back down in the Casino!
Here is one of the rides that is on top of the tower. You spin around at 45 mile an hour looking straight down. I couldn’t even go out there to take its picture, so I grabbed this off the web.
Another ride zips you up and down the tower on top of the building. Your feet are dangling on that one too. The third is a roller coaster that goes around the building and hangs over the side at about a 45 degree angle. When it hung over the side, it shook the entire structure. Get me down from here!
They are in the process of building a cable drop from the Southwest side that will drop riders over the side in a free fall, down a guide cable. It will arrest your fall at the end before you break the sidewalk. That is to be open by the early summer. Get ready!
We will be leaving the area tomorrow, so I am not sure where we will wind up since we do not have reservations anywhere. I am aiming towards Congress, Arizona where there is a SKP park. You cannot make reservations at SKP parks, but they allow boondocking until you get a spot.
Monday, March 15, 2010
When we arrived last Tuesday from Arizona, I announced that I wasn’t changing my watch to Pacific time, since it would be daylight saving by Sunday and change ahead again at that time.
Now that is true since Arizona doesn’t observe Daylight time. So in the summer they are on Pacific time, and in the winter they are on with Denver. Confused yet?
So Tuesday when we leave here and return to Arizona, we will not be changing our clocks again. That is until we go to New Mexico, where they do observe daylight time. Then changing again when we go to Texas as it is Central Daylight time.
I wonder if my watch winder is up to the task?
Today was a complete down day where we never left the park. Loyce did the laundry and I helped by toting the big bags over to the laundry building. We spent the afternoon reading the maps and looking at weather forecasts trying to decide which route to take home, and when to go.
I’m not sure we were able to come to any conclusion, other than we wanted to stay above freezing at night as we go back, and we decided to go from Arizona on either I 40 or I 10 depending on the weather.
So far we have decided to go back into Arizona to perhaps Congress where there is a SKP park. We will stop there and watch the weather and see when we can leave for Kansas. Right now it looks to be quite cold as we go over the mountains from Flagstaff all the way over to Amarillo. If this doesn’t improve, we will head South and take the I 10 solution where the weather will be more agreeable.
Time and mother nature will make this decision for us.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I had hoped that we could bring the trailer to a parking lot by the pool and bath house here next to our lot, but the fellow that checked us in said no. He is the realtor that sells the lots around here, and he is very concerned about our impression to the customer. He is the boss.
So I was concerned about attaching the new jack on the front of the trailer, since that could be construed as working on the trailer and that is against the rules. It only took four big bolts but the nuts are cap nuts that self lock, so every turn of the bolts have to be done with the ratchet. I parked the car between the trailer and the office so they couldn't see what I was up to.
That worked. He never came out of the office. I quickly installed the jack and left like I was working inside looking for something. Later we went back up and opened the back door and re arranged the inside load. It had all dumped over when we jumped the railroad track on the way up here last week. By that time the fellow at the office was gone for lunch.
In the afternoon we headed out on a Wal Mart run, and a trip to Jo-Ann's fabrics for Loyce. While she was in there, I headed out to Best Buy to look at new toys, but was a good boy and didn't purchase anything. Still I learned what is new in computers and cameras and TVs. That is never good as learning is the start of buying.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I did get some make up time however, as we stopped at two different radio shops. The first was here in Boulder City, and was absolutely filled to the ceiling with every kind of old used electronic equipment. This would take hours to look over to see what it all is. Like looking thru a junk shop for antiques. I decided I needed to come back after Loyce was back home.
The second radio shop, was a mainline Ham Radio store that is found in many cities in our country. It is based out of Wisconsin, Amateur Electronic Supply. I purchased a book written by Bob Heil, a well known microphone specialist. I have met him at Dayton during the Hamvention.
Additionally we stopped by a trailer supply place on Fremont Street only a few blocks East of the famous light show. I purchased a new jack to go on the utility trailer. This is a marine style jack that mounts on the side of the tongue. It is a fold up jack that turns a quarter of a turn to fold up. On a marine trailer, the standard crank jack often reaches up under the bow and the handle cannot be turned without hitting the boat.
By mounting the jack on the side of the angled part of the tongue, it is out of the way of the boat. In this application, I hope folding it up will remove the post out from under the hitch so it will not drag.
I will attempt to mount this jack on the trailer in the morning. Wish me luck!
It was fun buzzing all over Las Vegas looking for stores and shops. We drove thru the strip several times, and once the full length from downtown to the Luxor. We also drove around the KOA at Circus Circus. It is a large blacktop parking lot. It does have full hookups and is marked out in camping spots. But it is right North of the Circus Circus parking garage. Most of the attraction properties are South of this location, but can be reached on foot. Like having your own house on the North end of the strip.
We were really tired as we arrived back here tonight, but I'm sure we'll be right back over there tomorrow.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
First and most importantly, we headed to the quilt store Fiddlesticks here in Boulder City, Nv. Loyce had gone long enough without a good fabric shop! Once we got that out of the way, the sun decided to disappear.
So we decided to drive out to Hoover Dam since it is only 11 miles East of here. Of course we had to wait in line to be inspected. Since 9/11 they have inspected every vehicle that travels over the Hoover Dam. Since Lake Mead provides water for all of the Southwestern states, it simply wouldn’t do to let something happen to this dam.
We finally approached the inspection station, and learned that if we had brought the motor home, we would be directed to the parking lot and thoroughly inspected by agents both inside and out. And the trailer would have been opened up and inspected as well. We are mulling over the departure we will make from here. You just about have to go that way.
Anyway we got up to the guy and he looked me over and I looked old and blonde and fat and and and. Well he just nodded and we were off. Guess I’m not the profile he was looking for.
We drove underneath the new bypass bridge that is under construction so all the traffic doesn’t have to drive on the dam, and right over to the other side. It is amazing how many folks had paid to park and walk all over the top of the dam. We have not been here since 1978, so we had forgotten all the people. Or perhaps there were not as many back in those years.
The bypass is to travel at highway speeds and not require any inspection. Also it will allow trucks and busses which are not allowed now.
We drove part way up the Arizona side wall and stopped in a parking lot and took this picture. The actual dam is under the center of the arch. It is back closer to where the cars are climbing the hairpin curve, behind the big rock wall.
The bypass bridge was began in 2005 and is to be finished this fall. (2010) There seems to still be a part missing!
What you can’t see is the center part is just the steel beams without any concrete decking to drive on. But the massive vertical concrete stanchions are all in place and ready for the road to be assembled. Also the approach road was in place on the Nevada side completely to the point where it will join the main roadway. It still needs some finish surfacing, but that would only be a small task in the scheme of things.
I’m not so sure that this bypass bridge isn’t a bigger undertaking the the actual Dam itself. Since we didn’t pay for parking and walk a mile to get to the Dam on foot, I couldn’t take any pictures of the Dam. Everyone knows what the Hoover Dam looks like, right?
From there we drove into the Lake Mead National Park. You have to love those Senior Passes, as we blew right thru the fee station. The rains and fog settled in on our sight seeing rather quickly as we headed North along the West side of the lake.
You are stuck by the serious lack of water in the lake. It seems that the water is down about 120 feet since the year 2000. Currently the lake is only 43 percent full. Man it looks empty. We are using the water in our Southwestern cities and farming operations faster than snow is falling in the Rockies. We have been for the last 10 years. Some specialists predict that the lake will be empty by the year 2021.
That would render the Hoover Dam useless. But at least, we could speed right over the disaster on the big bypass bridge. Other folks are sure that it will refill again as it always has in the past. Blind hope? Another natural resource used up?
The water should be most of the way up to where I am standing to take this picture. I read that a flooded town from years ago has reappeared, but I do not know where that is.
Some of the things we have seen on our first day here.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
We were both up before 7:30, which is almost unheard of for us as we like to sleep late all the time. Today was a travel day and that changes things that we like! LOL. We went thru all the normal routines to get ready and we were off.
Again backing up the motorhome to hook up the utility trailer, up at the front parking lot attracted a well meaning fellow that felt he needed to help. Loyce is now becoming quite a pro at getting me under the hitch correctly. And…since the long handle jack that we are using in place of the tongue jack has wheels under it, we just roll the trailer over to where the ball is and drop it on with a quick turn of the handle.
That sort of startled our helper, as he was all ready to have me jockey the MH all over the place to get it just right and before he could even suggest the next step, I rolled it over and dropped it on the ball in one quick move. “Well how bout that?” he said. “I guess you won’t need me anyway.” Well at least his heart was in the right place.
After drinking at the money (diesel) pump, we were on the road. North to I 40 and then into California. Stopped by the agriculture inspection, they inquired where we came from, like yesterday, but with the MH also asked where the coach was registered. Kansas!
Next he wanted to know how long we had been in Arizona, and the answer of since last November, brought about “have a nice day.” I never have figured out what they are looking for, but they stop everyone coming into Cal.
The road North from Needles, US 95 is horrid in California. Its just blacktop on the desert floor. It follows the undulations of the terrain without much grading. It is broken up because it carries so much traffic, and since its destination is Nevada, hasn’t had repair in years. At one point I went over a railroad track that had a severe drop on the North side of the track. Loyce told me it launched the trailer completely off of its wheels.
It also dumped all our clothes off of the closet pole and bent the pole and bracket as well. I stopped and re arranged the trailer inside as everything was upset.
When we crossed into Nevada, the road became a divided 4 lane highway that is worthy of interstate status. It is obvious that Cal doesn’t care and Nev sees it as their lifeline. We’ll go home on 93 if we can cross the Hoover dam with the MH.
We are staying in the Boulder Oaks RV Resort, here in Boulder City. This is an owner park that is leased back for the park to sublet. We are on the nicest lot we have ever stayed on.
It was almost dark when I took this, so the picture is all washed out. We have the premium site, as it only was about $20 more when we paid by the week.
The neighbor doesn’t lease his lot back, so it has a chain across the front of the drive, but I walked over and took a picture of our patio, and the table and chairs. We do have a couple of owner boxes that are on the back and padlocked, but they won’t bother anything.
If you look, you can see lake Mead in the distance.
Here is the lake with the zoom lens from the back corner of the lot. Can’t see Hoover Dam as it is around the corner to the left. I’ll try to get some better shots when it isn’t so dark outside.
We drove into Las Vegas in the afternoon, driving the length of Las Vegas Boulevard and then around Freemont Street and Binion’s downtown. We were just refreshing ourselves, since it has been over 15 years since we were here last. Most of the Hotels we knew have been torn down, but Circus Circus, and the Caesar’s Palace are still here, so that provides orientation. Downtown is much the same except for the light show over the Freemont Street area.
Places new to us are on every other corner. It’s a wonder I didn’t have a wreck, as I was gawking out the window as much as driving the car.
We are not sure what we intend to do here, but we have a week to figure it out. Or perhaps longer if the weather doesn’t improve back on the road to Kansas. That doesn’t look too promising in the next week or so. Wouldn’t it be the raspberries if we had to extend?
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The motorhome next to us dropped his hoses and electric cord and headed out somewhere this morning. He's back again tonight, so I took advantage of his absence this morning to take a picture of our rig. That is our picnic table behind his sewer connection and electric post. Nice eh! He has a slide just like we do, so it nearly touches the car when he comes back.
Looking down the street, you can see we are stacked up as tight as can be. My slide is against the pickup's door so he can barely get out. Iguess the place is what it is. But it has hook ups!!!!! And that is good for tonight as it is to be a tad cold. The propane space heater is up the street in the trailer, as we couldn't have that on our site.
Today we decided to take a little tour up thru Mohave Valley and Bullhead City, Arizona. We have never been up that far, but wanted to add the experience to our book of Arizona travels. We briefly were in California again as we traveled thru Needles, but then back over the Colorado river and into Mohave.
We buzzed around the city for a while, and even headed out to Rex and Mary's campground the Blackstone RV Park, but they were not there, since they deal blackjack at the Avi and have blogged about working all the time. We have never met them before, so I wonder if we would have had the courage to just pop in on them anyway. But it would have been Oh Hi! were readers, perhaps we should have called ahead. Oooo!
We drove the distance of Bullhead City, and then across into Laughlin, Nv. This is the gambling meca started by Don Laughlin. There is really not too much on the Nv. side of the river, except a bunch of mega hotel casinos all lined up in a row on the river bank. One is like a river boat, and the others are huge multi story properties. Since we are not much as gamblers, we didn't head into the casinos.
We went to the In and Out Burger for a double double and shared a hand cut fries. It was too cool to eat outside on the picnic tables, so we took refuge in the car. The pigeons were attacking our fries as well. I made the mistake of giving in and tossing a bird a fry, and al of a sudden a flock of birds swooped down on us. Obviously they have been fed by a lot of folks here before.
There is an outlet mall across from the Riverside Casino, and we parked underneath the stores in the garage and headed in to shop a little. Splitting up, I went and did the men's stores, while Loyce just disappeared. I decided to wait on the lost husband benches at the top of the escalators, but we still managed to miss one another, until she called me on the phone and announced that she was back at the car.
From there we did a little fabric shop hunting back on the Arizona side, and buzzed back across the river from Mohave Valley to find the AVI. This is an Indian owned and operated lodge and casino. It is in Nevada, but the bridge comes right across the river specifically for Arizona traffic.
We were tired of touring and headed back to Havasu City by way of the local Wal Mart here. Our day was over, since we made taco's at home tonight.
Tomorrow is another travel day, as we plan to move the rig up to Boulder City, by the Hoover Dam. It has been years since we have been there also. Maybe the air card will work there a little better.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I can see the antenna out the windshield!!! So I more than likely haven't read your blogs, or may have to walk up to the office to post this entry.
We have a verizon air card that we use most of the time from these parks. Many time we don't even try the local wifi, but here in Havasu City, the verizon doesn't reach out this far North of town. I will keep up publishing this until it finally posts.
We left Yuma this morning in a drenching downpour. I had to dig out the poncho to roll up the hoses and hitch up the trailer. We were on the road at 10 AM, about normal for us. The rain continued as we drove North.
We headed thru the US Army Proving Grounds.towards Quartzsite. We came across a blimp anchored out in the desert. Tethered to an anchor tower about a half mile away from the highway, I had no idea what it was, but it is fairly close to a museum, so perhaps it is a display. We pressed on.
As we left the proving grounds, the washes began to run full, and over the roads. This wasn't too much of a problem for me in the motorhome, but Loyce following in the car had to be careful and go slow as the water began to be deep in places. The highway patrol was placing flares on the road over the crests of adjacent hills. It is amazing to see people hit the water at full highway speeds. The water really flies, and it can't be good for their cars.
We arrived about 1:30 and began setting up again in the pouring rain. This park is all concrete and heavy gravel patio areas. There is no grass or plantings anywhere as this is a parking lot with picnic tables. No ambiance at all. But it is completely full, and had the no vacancy sign out when we arrived. We had a reservation.
It the sun ever comes out, I'll take a picture. That is if I can post a picture on the Wifi. We hope to tour some more of the area tomorrow.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Now how did it get so bent? It seems that as you climb a hill that becomes more steep, like pulling into a parking lot from a deep curb cut, you tend to drag the back end of the MH. Or at least the trailer tongue. This has drug several times since we left back in November, but most recently over in El Centro, California the other day when we were done with our In and Out Burgers.
You never really hear it hit from the driver's seat, and can only slightly perceive that it is dragging, but it bends things up big time. So much so that just removing the three bolts that hold the jack in became a problem. The jack was tilted forward on top making putting a socket wrench on the front bolt impossible.
I managed to get the bolts out with a box end wrench and a crescent wrench over the end of the box end as a cheater bar to lengthen the leverage. And you wonder how heads get broken off of wrenches.
But the jack needed pounded back into some shape that resembled its original form in order to slide out of the tongue. I needed a really big hammer!
So with that, it was off to the Arizona Swap Meet here in Yuma. In the very back of the D row is the tool booth, and they had a 3 lb mall that was just the ticket. I knew right where the store was a went right to it.
But we had to walk around for a while too, since I was looking for diode lamp replacements for some of my 12V light fixtures. They pull a lot less current and are able to run for hours on batteries when not plugged into the power grid. I went in everywhere looking for them. Several people had talked about getting them at this swap meet.
Finally I found a fellow in another tool crib style place that said he had previously kept them in stock. But that his source to buy them had dried up. His words! So no more diode lights. He did have one bulb that was running in a display, but had been on forever. He offered it to me, but I passed. Wouldn't you want light bulbs that were new in a package?
So, so much for the swap meet. I spent the rest of the afternoon pounding away on my bent up jack until it finally came free of the trailer. I'm sure I wasn't overly popular with my neighbors as I made all the pounding noise. It was Saturday, and the only folks on duty were the work camper security folks, and they didn't say anything.
I do have a roll around floor jack with me, so I will use that to put the trailer back on the hitch when we leave tomorrow. Oh ya, we are leaving tomorrow to drive up highway 95 and thru Quartzite to Lake Havasu City. I managed to make a reservation at one of the parks up there that we scoped out the last time we were there.
The place is a concrete jungle RV park with no space in between rigs. It costs too much, and is in town. But, it has hookups which will keep my spouse on board. It is supposed to rain later tonight and tomorrow, so that will add to the overall fun and ambiance of our trip.
If all goes well, we will see you from there.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
The parking lot is giant. It is Indian owned, and they collect $5 off of all the folks heading across. Well, except the folks that park in the street and walk several blocks to get to the crossing.
Since the parking is fenced, we pay the five bucks. We didn't go until after noon, so folks were coming back and we got a spot right near the front of the lot. I've walked farther to Wal Mart.
So just like that we were over looking thru the stuff. We aren't really looking for stuff, but rather I can buy some of the diabetes drugs quite cheaply in Mexico. When you get 100 count bottles of the main med for $5. Well that won't even pay the co pay here in the US.
Since we really didn't have any other business over there, we went around the big square block where all the shops are and headed back out.
Now comes the rub. The line of all the folks that were over in Mexico is forming about 2:30. We wondered how long we would have to wait, but then just got in line as we decided it was just as easy to wait in line as standing around waiting for the line to go down.
As I was just going thru the door into the US customs agent, I glanced back and noticed the line was only about a third as long as it was when we got in. We had hit the exact high point of the line.
The agent swiped my passport, and asked "what did ya buy?" Meds.... and he nodded me on! See it helps to be an old fat retired guy.
Back at the MH, we had a nice warm afternoon going on, and it was almost too hot in the rig. I put on the stand fan, and promptly fell asleep.
Tonight was Cracker Barrel, gota love those biscuits, will need more of those meds we bought today.
Friday, March 5, 2010
This time we are in the Sun Vista RV Resort. This is East on 32nd street, several miles South of I 8. The last time we were here, we were right on the frontage road of the interstate. And we were right along the front of the RV park.
Again we are in the front of the park here but, we are inward about ten rigs from the road, and the road while busy, is not the interstate!
We were up before 8 AM but that was California time, It was already 9 AM in Arizona. I didn’t focus on that, but rather got right to work cleaning up all my junk up in the front of the MH. My mess has to be in order or the slides can’t be folded. Loyce had done most of her stuff the night before.
Once outside, the blue jobs fell in order. We were on the road about 10.
Santee is in the middle of the city, and has a river dividing it. I decided to go West directly to the freeway even though that made us drive around a big circle of freeways. The freeways were moving at highway speeds and the city is gridlock. We rolled right out of town without any slowdowns.
As you head East out of San Diego you climb. And climb. The semi trucks are in the slow lane. All the cars are in the fast lane screaming by. On some of the hills there are three lanes and I was able to drive the 55 mph allowed for vehicles pulling trailers. The Cummins engine in the front diesel is able to climb past all the trucks and the gas MHs. Still, it is trying to weave back and forth between the faster group and the slow trucks.
I was really glad to take a break when we made it to the first rest area. Loyce requested the stop on the two way radio, but I readily complied. As you top out after about 50 miles, your reach 4,200 feet above sea level.
The rocks at this summit are giant boulders. Piles and piles of sandy tanish brown boulders. Like a kid with piled up irregular shaped marbles. They are mounded into mountain like piles. Its neat, but there were no places to stop. Pictures were out of the question.
Then as you reach the top, there is a little sign warning about the 6 percent down grade. Then you go past a yellow diamond with a bundle of S curves all connected together. Thank goodness for the Exhaust Brake, it was on for the next ten miles. You end up back at sea level or below.
Imperial Valley is a large oasis of farm ground with canals for irrigation and greeeeeen fields of hay. Right in the middle is the town of El Centro. We got off the interstate again. I saw the In and Out arrow before I could begin to read the sign. More hamburgers! We parked and rested along a empty lot adjacent to the burger joint.
Back on the road, we only had about 60 miles to Yuma. You travel along the boarder with Mexico, and the white boarder trucks zoom all over the place. There are check points but only the West bound lane was being checked out today. The fence is massive and runs on mile after mile. I know it is necessary as folks are storming across in record numbers, but it is a real scar on the landscape.
After the Imperial Dunes where giant sand dunes reach skyward for about 5 miles, you break out into BLM ground. The desert is peppered with RVs as far as can be seen. The main road for this boondocking is called Ogilby Road. It has an interchange right from I 8.
We are not boondockers since we like our water and electric. Loyce would mutiny. So we came to East Yuma and looked for a RV park.
So here we are in Sun Vista, which is waaay too high priced for what we have, but most of the parks were completely full. What are you going to do? Its the law of supply and demand.