Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dreary San Diego

The canpground here in Santee, Ca. is largely sandy gravel.  The roads are blacktop, and not as effected by the rains that came here all day.  It seemed to let up and then start again even harder.  We are surrounded by water in the gravel of our camp site.

We sat and watched as the rain streamed down the windshield.  It never reached beyond mid 50's in temperature.  We read and Loyce sewed, but excitement was at an all time low.  By mid afternoon, we couldn't stand it and headed out in the car.

We didn't have anywhere to go, so we just drove around.   In the rain!  And rain again, and again.  Finally we had almost a torrent, at about 5 PM.   Since I was just wandering thru the East part of the suburbs essentially lost, I punched up Geo the GPS to take us home.

Even as we got out of the car, it poured and soaked us as we ran for the rig.  They claim that the snow level is about 4500 feet.  The forecast is for 43 over night.  It is way more cool here than out in the desert to our West.

It is supposed to stop raining in the next several hours, and they claim it will be sunny tomorrow.  We certainly hope so, as sitting in a mud puddle in the wet and cold camper, is not our idea of a really good time.

It just began to pour rain again.........

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 27, 2010

San Diego Bay


Hey here comes one of the Nimitz class carriers!  How many times would you have to be here to see this?




Hard to get it all at once.  Over 1,000 feet.


CVN 72 USS Abraham Lincoln


Over 3,000 sailors on board.




Out to the State Beach campground South of the Hotel Coronado.


The storm is coming, the haze is really bad.


Looking Southwest into the haze.DSCN1235

Ten bucks  to park out here on the beach.

Its been a long time since we were out here last, but we still know our way around.

Retired Rod

Friday, February 26, 2010

Off to San Diego

Santee Lakes camp site.



We were up early for us.  That would be just after 7 AM, which would be 9 back in Kansas.  Boy are we going to have an adjustment to make when we head back.  We had only been in the Palm Springs area for 9 days so we didn’t have such an adjustment to make to get packed back out and on the road.

I had stowed everything into the trailer yesterday, so only the hoses and cord were outside chores.  I folded the slides and raised the jackes and we were off.  Loyce had all the pink stuff stowed, as I was dragging the trailer out in the street with the car.

It was about 9:30 as I began to back up the MH to hitch up the utility trailer.  This usually attracts a crowd, and today was no different.  Our neighbor from across the street came out and assisted in backing me under the hitch.  Loyce is getting much better directing me, but usually relinquishes when a male neighbor arrives.

We were on the road before 10. We rolled along easy, as the traffic was about moderate.  As we rolled into the Riverside area, it became heavy, but still moved right along. 

What I find troubling, is when the cars in front of me will not allow me to keep enough empty stopping distance between me and the cars in front of me.  I will slow to allow for the correct following distance, but the cars zoom into the 10 car length free space, and then slow up.  They can see now, so they are in charge.  Never mind that I am right on their bumper and cannot stop in nearly as short of distance as them.

Somewhere South of Temecula and Escondido, this following distance became non existent.  That stresses the remaining nerves.  About then the road construction began with the concrete lane barriers.  I was glad to turn off of I 15.  It was smooth sailing into Santee.

Those of you that read Jim and Ellie’s Justraveling, will recognize the Santee Lakes CG as the place they stayed for over two months this winter.  I would have had no idea to stay here without their blog.  It is handy to all of the San Diego area without being into the city. The park is a lake setting with fishing and picnicking.  The campground is clean and our site is quite large with a table and a roof over it. 

We have a week to explore, so we will report on what we learn as time passes.

Retired Rod

P.S.  Those things on the trees are called Leaves, incase you might have forgotten up in the frozen Northland!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Headed South!

The poor little red motor scooter had to duck his head and park himself in his utility trailer.  That was right after the nasty old wind came up and ended Rick and my afternoon fat chewing session.  They needed to head for the dog park to relieve the puppies built up energy anyway. As we always say it is not goodbye, but so long for now.

Rick had stopped by in the morning, as he was headed out to go up town for a haircut.  I asked where he got that done, and he indicated a shop on the main highway.  As he left, I hoped on the bike and followed him up town.

I'm not sure he understood that I was in need of a trim, but didn't know how or where I was going to get it.  But since he was in the lead, I was suddenly in the chair next to him.  He kind of laughed that one off,  as we headed out to our vehicles and respective schedules.

I came back here and began gathering stuff to get the trailer packed, but the laptop got in the way as I caught up on blogs. 

Whenever I need to put away the bike, I feel compelled to go out and ride a while first.  The day was beginning to be windy, but I headed up to the burger joint and had a quick lunch.  After the lunch, it was out and about to the West of DHS.  The wind was causing a regular dust storm and the windmill generators were all but lost in the dirty haze.

As I came home, I went over to Rick's to say good bye, since we are leaving tomorrow.  We hung out for a while as the wind seemed to subside momentarily.  Its been great staying here at a park, where a friend is only a couple of rows over.

Tonight as we went into Palm Springs on a Wal Mart run, the wind was blowing the sand out of the desert, across the road in the darkness.  It looked just like a snow storm, but the dust comes into the car, and chokes you.  This area has some draw backs, but the normal weather is awesome. 

We are headed back down the road toward Temecula, but going beyond to Santee.  We have always liked the San Diego area, in our past visits.  We anticipate this visit will be just as rewarding.

Reviews say that the Verizon coverage at the Lakes CG is poor to non existent.  The camp has Wifi, and it is reported as good, so I will hope to get connected in some fashion.  If I am completely gone, I can make small posts from the cell phone.

So it is off into the great unknown for us as RVer's.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hanging out as the wind dies down.

Loyce and Paulette headed out on the garage sale and thrift shop run today spending all morning and half of the afternoon out and about.  They claim to have found bargains and things that we can't live without, but as a dis interested party I remain skeptical.   They did have a good time, and that is the most important part.

I was left at home, and  spent the day using the computer, and enjoying a nice day.  The wind is finally gone, and that remains critical to this area, because the wind causes almost everything to stop.  Also it makes everything seem so much colder.  Even though it is really nice here, it is still winter.

After lunch, I went out with the car to Wal Mart and Lowes.  Our water hose connection had developed a drippy leak that a new gasket wouldn't repair.  It dripped in Mesa Spirit, and the water mostly evaporated, but here in California, it is more humid and the water makes a small pond, so it had to be fixed.

I cut off the end of the hose and replaced the female end.  It must have had a crack in it, but I couldn't see the problem.  But it is no longer a problem since I tossed it away.  A simple enough thing, but it takes time to correct.  It is a little over 10 miles from here to the closest Wal Mart.

Of course tonight the Olympic Games again caught us and held us captive.  The skating has Loyce glued to the TV.  I'm sure that will continue for the rest of the time it is on.

We have made reservations at Santee Lakes, in Santee, Ca. (San Diego) starting Thursday night.  So Thursday will be another travel day.  Tomorrow I will need to pack up the trailer again and get ready to roll.  It's been a week since we came here, and we have been busy most of the time.  Perhaps we need to schedule a longer stay next year.

A really slow day, but that is how us retired guys like it!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Temecula with Rick and Paulette

Today we were the guests of a very special couple, Rick and Paulette.  They had invited us to go to Temecula, California.  In the center of town, an area is preserved as an Old Town area.  This area is complete with wood sidewalks, but has concrete curb and gutter.  The stores are a mixture of old world and new products.

We met at the appointed time and departed in Rick's Chevy Pickup.  Even though we had only met a few days before, we felt right at home as we have read each others blogs for most of the year.  Our conversation was that of old friends, even distracting Rick at one point, causing us to miss our turn and head North instead of South.

After firing up Rick's trusty LG GPS, they call Gidget the Gadget, she watched over us as we traveled the rest of the way.  Arriving mid morning, we agreed to leave the gals at their favorite quilt shop, Quilter's Coop.  The place was huge!  I teased that they had to turn in their credit cards, but that went no where, LOL.

Rick and I graciously declined to attend the shop, and went back to the North end of the Main street.  We parked and walked almost the entire length of Old Town.  Not many of the shops are designed for guys, imagine that!  But we spied a starbucks back at the end where the truck was parked and bought two tall coffees.

Here Rick is contemplating where us guys might go hang out.

The time passed quickly, and we were back after the gals, picking them up from a second shop they had walked to.  They were hungry after all that exhausting shopping!

A trip to Mad Madeline's burgers was in order, as they advertised as a First Placed Winner in California's Great Hamburger Hunt.  And it was good too.  I'm not sure it beats Fuddrucker's freshly ground, freshly baked bun and sweet potato fries, but hey, a close second.

The rest of the day seemed to pass quickly, as we went to another quilt shop in Hemet, on the way back.  Rick and I were talking old computers, and really had some common background in the old IBM days that are only memories now.  And just like that it was over.

But a hearty "Thank You" is in order, as we met one of the nicest couples ever on the road, and were amazed at how well our interests and experiences meshed with theirs.

That is what is special about the RV experience.  We can argue over boondocking versus $50 RV resorts, and discuss solar panels versus gen sets, but what it really boils down to, is the wonderful folks we have the opportunity to meet and befriend along the way!

Retired Rod

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday morning blabber!

The wind continues to blow and blow here in Desert Hot Springs.  It roars in from the West thru the pass between the mountains over the town of Banning.  And of course that is where there are thousands of wind generators, so this must be quite a common occurrence.

We hunkered down yesterday and watched the TV, as we had the new direct TV box.  This gave us additional channels of coverage beyond the off air antenna that we have been enjoying.  Half of the off air in this area, are non English channels.  Several of which are Chinese!

Since we have more than one TV, we were tuned into more than one event at a time.  Ya we are spoiled.

Oh and then I have to feel sort of sorry, or perhaps just gloat about the USA Hockey team's success over our beloved Canada team.  Now I know that they are all NHL players, and in some cases team mates with a red or blue jersey, but Canada losing to the USA in Hockey??????  That shouldn't happen, should it???

Today we are to head out with Rick and Paulette for a distant Quilt store, one that Paulette says is the very best store for miles.  Of course, I am not equipped to make any judgment in this area of expertise.

Have a good day!

Retired Rod

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park


About a mile into the North side of the park looking back at 29 Palms Marine Base.



Hazy but the base is in the valley at the base of the mountains.


Cloudy broken sky


The trees that name the park.






Boulder rocks forced up out of the earth.


This is a camp site!


Looking Southeast over the desert floor.

Joshua 2


Its about 40 miles of corners and hills with a 35 mile an hour speed limit.  Sand blows across the road in places, and boondock camp sites were mostly full.  Tent camping or small trailers on most site.  We saw about 4 motorhomes and they were mostly smallish. 

No water anywhere, and latrines are the only facilities.  Overwhelming IT factor!

Retired Rod

We drive to 29 Palms

The unsettled weather continues!  We found the morning to be nicer and sunny, but you could see the clouds on the other side of the mountain.  It looked as though it was snowing up there, but almost 70 down here. 

We decided that we were heading up into the high country to the North of the Coachella valley.  We drove to the 29 Palms Highway, and headed out.  First we climbed into the mountains, and then ended up at Yucca Valley.

We had a list of places that would sell quilting supplies.  Addresses were somewhat hard to find, but we managed to find two places that were open.  Several were closed or gone out of business.  The day was about 52 degrees up in the mountain, but it was mostly sunny.  Best of all the wind was on the other side of the mountain.

We headed on to 29 Palms, but found a farmers market in Joshua Tree.  We did a double back and parked.  This place actually did have produce for sale.  Tomatoes, Potatoes, and big flats of Strawberries, which I bought a bunch of. 

As it turned out, Loyce had bought some too.  So we had a lot of strawberries.  But we were eating them like it would go out of style, so that was OK.

We stopped in 29 Palms, and went to the local McDonalds.  Seems as though many off duty marines had the exact same idea, as the place was full of short haircut young men.   We marveled at the number of barbers up and down the main street.  They all advertised, Marine Haircuts on the front of their stores.  I suggested that I would stop and get one.  That idea didn't fly!

I was in the Navy, as an enlisted man, and joined the Sea Bees as an electrician.  In that process, I trained at camp Pendleton in the San Clemente area.  Once in the military, always in the military, so the marine base seemed right at home.  We did not attempt to go aboard the station, as we had no real business there, and in this time of hostilities, sightseeing doesn't seem like a good thing to do.

We drove on into Joshua Tree National Park, and flashed our Senior Pass instead of paying the $15 per car to get in.  Man that is nice!

I have pictures and will have to get them out of the camera and post them after I can edit them.

We came back to the MH and settled in to work on the replacement Direct TV box that our son Ben had sent from KC.  By the time I got it somewhat working, it was too late to register it for service, so that project will have to continue into tomorrow.

When we got back to the RV Park, we came back to the windy side of the valley, and the gusty conditions continue tonight, just like last night.  The slide awnings are a flappin and a floppin!  I thought it would let up some by dark, but not so far, and it is after midnight.

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Goofy weather.

 What happened to the beautiful weather?  It went somewhere out the window during the night last night.  The wind came up and began to shake the slide out awnings.  Maybe shudder the entire MH would be a better description.

We had rapidly become used to the 85 degree weather, and using the A/C in the car and coach.  But that is all gone now.  The actual cold weather and rain is on the other side of the mountain that we went over yesterday.  Still it is not all that cold, as we started in the 50's and warmed into the 60's but the wind makes it seem a lot cooler.

Now I know that it is cold and snowy back in the Midwest and the East, but we are really a bunch of sissies after spending the winter in the relative warm.  But we were making the transition into almost summer and then just like that it was gone again.

Tomorrow is to be rainy and barely 60 degrees.  The TV weather person described it as a burrrr!  Of course most of us from up North almost laugh.

We almost did nothing today but about noon, we decided to go out and find a quilt shop to keep Loyce in the groove of shopping for more stuff to fill yet another tub in the utility trailer.  While she was hard at this work, I took a power nap in the parking lot.

The shop was in the South end of Palm Desert, and we then went to La Quinta to an older Wal Mart.  After a few grocery items, we looked for a couple of scooter shops, but they turned out to no longer be in business.

The wind was kicking up desert sand and dust all afternoon, causing a sand storm like loss of visibility, and the cloudy haze was coming over the mountains.  It was weird weather for a Midwesterner.

The Olympics has kept us busy tonight.  Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same, but perhaps the wind will let off a little.  We can't let that slow us though, as we only have a few more days here and then we have to move on.

Retired Rod

Friday, February 19, 2010

Trip to the mountains and California as a destination.

We decided to drive up the mountains today.  We went to Palm Desert, and headed up the Eastern Santa Rosa mountain slope.  This is somewhat more shallow, and leads to the center of a valley where there are ranches and mountain homes.

I stopped along the road where we first got a glimpse of mount San Jacinto.

I snapped a few shots.  We were at about 5,000 feet, and it towered above us.  It is over 10,000. We began to get the lodge pole pines that we like in Colorado. 

This closer mountain looked taller but only because it was closer.  

There's the big guy over there in the trees.

 The zoom on the pocket camera is not too optical, but does the digital bit where it zooms the image at a cost of pixels.  But at least it seems closer in this smaller size.

As we drove into the town of Idylwild, we stopped in front of the school and snapped the street.  The school was big but not too photogenic.

Idylwild is all restaurants and gift shops.  It had a bunch of us tourists wandering around, and many colorful locals that hang around downtown..  The tourists were in tennis shoes, and the locals all had on hiking boots!  Most of the locals had winter coats too.

We drove on to the North, and found the lookout over Hemet.  The haze was really bad today, but the close mountains were clear.

What the heck, can you see Hemet down there.  Maybe if you imagine a little.

Beyond Hemet, we could just make out Diamond Valley Reserve Lake.

There it is!

I would have taken more pictures, but I was busy white knuckling the steering wheel as we came down into Banning.  The road clings right to the side of the edge of the mountain as you make switch back after switch back.  It did have a guard rail, but you could easily be convinced you were in Colorado.

Once back in Banning, we stopped at the outlet shopping mall for a quick sandwich.  After lunch we drove the parking lots looking at all the stores, but could not become excited to go walk the interior malls. It is mostly ladies stuff, with very few men's places, so I would have sat it out in the car, but Loyce didn't see anything we didn't have in the outlet mall in Lake Ozark.  Fine with me!

Sandra asks if we would think of staying here versus Arizona.  That is an interesting question.  Some quick thoughts.

The city here is more catered to the higher dollar customer.  This is the golf crowd, mostly retired business folks.  They drive expensive cars, and the shops are geared to their tastes.  More like Aspen, Colorado.  There are ordinary folks here too, but they live over toward Indio, to the East.

Up here in the Desert Hot Springs area, it is more of a Latino community.  There are the Spa's on the North end of Palm Drive, and as you reach the foot hills of the 29 Palms Mountains the homes become gated and expensive again.

We have a golf course here at the RV resort, but it is a public course.  Don't get me wrong, it is quite nice and a green grass oasis with many trees.  Lush would come to mind.

You are not as connected to the desert here as you are in Arizona.  You don't have nearly as many kinds of cactus, and the saguaro's are missing.  I wouldn't be nearly as inclined to find a place to hike, like I would in Tucson.  You do have the mountains that tower above the communities, and they are like going to Colorado.  The road is called the Palms to the Pines Road for instance.

Price wise, it is more expensive here than Arizona.  Gas is three dollars.  Arizona was two and a half.  Groceries are higher too.  Yet by staying North of I 10, and on the monthly registration, you can camp for about the same.  Our single week was $265.  But a month reserved in advance is about twice that.

Again location becomes the issue.  For Rick and Paulette, it is much closer to BC.  For us we would have an extra day each way trying to go back to KC for Christmas.

But would we come back next year?  Sure we would, but not for months at a time.  The proximity to all of Los Angeles and the cities to the South are within two or three hours drive. That might be a destination for visits to acquaintances.  Just different strokes for each of us.

Oh, I forgot to mention the Salton Sea and the Anza Borrego desert to the South.  This is where the Bayfield Bunch is camped in the desert.  The long term areas go for miles and miles.  The little town of  Borrego Springs is an oasis out in the middle of the sand in all directions.  The ATV crowd is really in love with this area, but they are mostly present on the weekends.

Al has been recapping his fellow BLM campers for the last few days, and is interesting reading if you have missed it.

Retired Rod

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sands RV Resort

I grabbed the camera and shot some photos of our space here at the Sands RV Resort.  We are shoe horned into the space between the hedges that separate the lots.  Most folks don't have a car, trailer and a motorscooter.

Froggy is out front guarding the rig!  He has had a number of comments from folks passing by.  They all like him, but the men usually want to know about the scooter.

There are mountains in every direction, but the ones to the South and West are the biggest ones with the snow packed tops.

We had a knock at the door, and it was Rick out on his morning walk with the dogs.  Riley and Molly, which are cute as heck, but he caught me as I was cleaning up and I didn't have the camera ready.  We talked for a moment, and I told him I would come over to his place.

The mountain to the West is the most spectacular.

I got over to his place, and realized why I thought he wasn't home.  Since there are folks from British Columbia in every other site here in the park,  I had the wrong trailer.  I looked at the number in his blog, and then headed out with the scooter and found him.  But I forgot the camera.  Drat.

We solved a bunch of the world problems, and discussed all of you who write blogs that we all read, LOL.  Did you feel your ears burn?  We spent a while, until it was time to check back in with our better halves.  It was a good time, and we will have to do it again.

Rick's blog highlighted the tram, that goes up the South, San Jacinto mountain.  Loyce and I  drove by the lift as we were out and about this afternoon.  I snapped this into the sun, and the little camera was overwhelmed.  But no wonder Paulette said No Way!

Cables and five towers connect this from the bottom to the top.  If  you haven't read Ricks Story on this go see his blog HERE

We spent the afternoon just driving around some more remembering the places we have been in our previous trips.  Downtown Palm Springs in a big tourist area, with tons of shops and restaurants.

Then we drove to the main street in Palm Desert, El Paseo.  This is a Rodeo Drive (Beverly Hills) type of shopping area, where the Porche and Mercedes cars are normal, with a few Bentleys mixed in with the Jaguars.  We had purchased a statue of our dog back ten years ago on this street.  Now with her passing, the statue is all that remains and the memory of having it shipped back to Iowa, as it weighed way more than we could load on an airplane.  Even back then!

Then we drove to the South of Indian Wells, and found a shoe store.  A NORMAL shoe store, Famous Footwear.  Loyce got a pair of sandals, and in a very unpredictable move, I went in to use the bathroom, and ended up finding a new pair of heavy Lugz boots that I can use riding the scooter.

I have a bad habit of riding in some Teva enclosed sandals, and that is taking more chances than I really should.  So I spent more than Loyce.  Its rare but once in a while!

It was 82 again today, and we alternated with the A/C in the car and all the windows down enjoying the summer weather.  Life is good in Palm Springs.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Palm Springs!

I think California is a lot warmer than we were in Arizona!!!!!


This is an actual picture of the window thermometer on our MH door.  It really did read very warm!!  But of course it was mostly in the sun.  But still the sun was hot, and we were using both air conditioners during the afternoon.

We have found summer, during the day here in Palm Springs.  The camp ground is in Desert Hot Springs, and for those of you that read Rick and Paulette's blog, they are here too in the next row over.  We went by mid afternoon, but their truck was gone.

Well lets start back in Quartzsite, as I woke up about 6:30.  Seems like I always want to get up early on these travel days.  I did wait until it was light to go outside and wander around.  Up to the office area to use the facility.  But then I realized that I didn't know the code for the door lock.  I remember them telling us, but had not committed it to memory.

Some nice folks happened by, and could see my emergency and told me the code.  Whew!    After the morning walk, I was back at the coach, and had breakfast.  We were packed and ready, but had to hitch the utility trailer.

Backing the MH up to the trailer blind, except for the camera is a challenge.  Loyce is learning how to guide me, with hand motions since you can't hear anything over the diesel. We got it done after a few tries, and were still married!

Again we were on the road by 10 AM, but that was promptly 9 AM as we crossed the California line.  The morning was warm, and very sunny.  We drove right along, only stopping for a rest area break, and spent a while programming the GPS for our destination.  Changed a bunch of clocks while we were there too.

It was after 1 when we pulled in and began the registration process.  We had a spot, but they began to second guess if we could get onto it.  The golf cart fellow took us over for a looksee.  The lots here are arranged strangely.

The RV goes right in the middle of the space, with a narrow area on the door side, and a wider area beyond the driver side, to park your car or tow vehicle.  Since we have four slides, and a car and a utility trailer, they were worried we wouldn't get situated.  And it was a bit tight, and we are very narrow on the rig door side, but we are shoe horned in here.

Since there are hedges on each side of the lot, it is quite private.  The awning reached out over the top of the hedge, making almost a room out of the sitting area.   The checkin lady live across the street, and she checked on us again to make sure we were getting along alright.

I unloaded the bike, and rode around the park a little, but it is not nearly as big as the Mesa park, so that didn't take too long.

This afternoon, we went out exploring with the car, as we think it is over ten years since we were here last.  We did find the hotel we stayed at, and also the local Wal Mart!  Once you find the wally world, all else is just routine, LOL.

While we were out this afternoon, we had a high temperature on the car dash of 82 degrees.  We had to run the A/C in the car too.  If that keeps up, it won't be too hard to stay here!!!!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We Move to Q

We were up before 8 AM, which is early for us in this laid back retired life.  And of course it was moving day, but we were as ready as you can be the night before.

After a shower and breakfast, I headed over to the office and paid the electric bill for the last month.  It was over $80 bucks.  Ouch.  We must have been casting fate to the wind with the heaters, but we were free to go once it was paid.

The neighbors came from everywhere, as we were pulling out.  I put the utility trailer in the street with the car, and then pulled out the MH.  This took some jockeying as the street is narrow.  A neighbor from last year happened by, Richard.  He was out walking, and stopped and guided me to keep from hitting the carport on the drivers side of the coach.  It was quite tight.

After hitching the utility trailer to the MH, we were off.  The usual see ya laters were issued with handshakes and hugs, and we were on the road by 10 AM.  Not too bad for not moving in three months.

The drive thru Phoenix on Monday morning had the usual number of crazies, but we drove slowly.  After an hour, we were on the West side of town, and the traffic began to thin out.  Now remember I 10 to Los Angeles is never going to be light.

After some lunch in a rest area, and some fuel 25 miles before Quartzsite, we arrived.  We are camped at the Holiday Palms RV Park.  This is the park that Howard and Linda used last fall when they were waiting brake parts for their broken 5th wheel.  It is quite fine, but a bunch dusty as is everything in Q.

We buzzed over to RV Lifestyles after we were set up, and they had the legs for our Kozy World LP heater.  She said she had just received them late last week, and she saved a set for us with a note attached and on her will call shelf.  I love it when dealers are really efficient like that.

Late in the afternoon, we drove around the sights here in Q, and out South of town to look at the BLM camps.  There are still a number of folks in the desert, but not nearly as many as the last week in January.

As the sun was descending, we were looking for the grave of Hi Jolly the camel tender from the Civil War era.  I had seen pictures on the blogs, but no one gave a location for the grave and monument.  We found it  across the street from the Pilot truck stop on the West end of  Main street.  It is a block North of Main on a side street behind all the rock shops and street vendors.

Hi Jolly is really a man named Hadji  Ali, but the Arizona country folks couldn't say that, so they renamed him Hi Jolly, his story is here.

Quartzsite is truly a unique place.

Tomorrow we head out again for California.

Retired Rod

Monday, February 15, 2010

Packing and Planning

As I sit here tonight, I am thinking about tomorrows departure from Mesa Spirit.  After three months of being parked here, it feels like home.  But home for a motor home must change!  After all it has wheels, and doesn't like sitting around for such long times.

We enjoy the Mesa area a great deal, and need a place to park that is secure while we return to the Kansas area during Christmas.  This park has filled the bill nicely.  But we have now been here four months last year and three months this year.  We are all too familiar with the area.  So we must move on!

Still we feel attached to this community, and will return in the future but maybe not to this park.  Just changing the park we are staying in will refresh our experiences.  We will not make these decisions until much later in the summer.  You do need reservations in order to stay in these destination parks.

Today was a work day.  It started early and lasted all day.  Washing the entire MH with a brush on an expanding pole and a bucket of soapy water, lasted forever.  Riinsing with the hose removed the soap, but the water here in the valley is very hard and water spots our dark colored rig.

I couldn't chamois the entire rig, as my arms are way too tired.  Then my wife reminded me that we are going to dusty Quartzsite.  But we had several months of rain stained mud which is now removed.

After riding the motorscooter for a burger lunch, and about a half hour joy ride, I put it all in the utility trailer. Loyce has increased her tubs of fabric from three to nine, and there is barely room for the scooter now.  She keeps acquiring stuff!

It will be up early and out of here in the morning, so I will wrap this up and see ya on the road.

Retired Rod

Sunday, February 14, 2010

All over town.


Literally, we were all over town today.  Mostly in Mesa and Tempe, but we did duck over into Phoenix for a few moments.

We started in the downtown of Mesa, where we parked along the street and wandered street vendors.  They claimed they had a farmers market, but there were only about three stalls that had anything to do with farm produce.

I ended up in a bookstore, and found an old book on Ham Radio.  It was way out of date, but historical.  I was surprised that he rang it up at $9 when it was only worth $4 brand new back in 1972.  Not wanting to make a disturbance, I had a quick decision to make.  I bought it anyway.

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Next we went to Gilbert, and went to Joe’s Bar B Que.  We had been there back in January, and it was fun to go back with our friends.  The Pulled Pork was just as good as before.

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From there we headed over into Phoenix and went to Fry”s Electronics just to show Larry the immense store.


From there, we came back to a fabric store in central Mesa, Sally’s Fabrics.  The gals had fun looking in there.

And finally we went to several nurseries, where the new plants are beginning to be featured for Spring planting.  We saw baby tomatoes, and peppers, and beans.  Also all the landscaping plants are featured in full force, as it is time to begin renewing the stuff that is burned up from last year.

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These pictures were all taken at the first garden store, and were with my poor quality cell phone.  I tried to fix some of the pictures, but alas you can only do so much to bad photos.

They had an antique shop in among the flowers, and the prices were over the moon.  For the most part, it is just old dirty stuff.  But perhaps, I don’t understand the value of these things when they are positioned with the flowers.

The rusty old bed frame that was out in the rain, was marked down from $1,200 to $800.  Kind of makes a new meaning of flower bed!

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Swap Meet and the Radio/Quiltz stores.

The day was beautiful.  We were warm enough to loose the jacket, and bask in the afternoon sun.  It has been a while since we were able to do that.

We joined Larry and Jean, our friends from Iowa, and headed out to the Mesa Market Place, swap meet.  Again the isles seem to go on forever, and my back is never up to the task, but I hung in there all morning.  We sorted thru all the guy stuff, while the gals went off on their own.

My only purchase was a lone pair of leather gloves.  The really thin kind, that you can work in without taking them off because they are in the way.  At $4, this is a bargain, as most of the time they are $10.  They are probably seconds, but I never found anything really too wrong with them.

We spent a bunch of time at the tool places, and the gals had a bunch of packages from their shopping too.

Next it was time to have a footlong Subway sandwich and a drink, outside on the sunny patio furniture in front of the sandwich shop.  Again, in only a T shirt and jeans, the sun was warm and I felt as though I would get sunburned if I stayed too long.  Since our friends came from below zero F weather up in Iowa, I was especially happy that they had such nice weather.

From way out in the East Valley, we headed back into the far North side of Phoenix to a quilt store named "Quiltz."  We left the ladies there and raced off to the Ham Radio store back over on West 43rd street.  This was about 10 miles each way, and we needed to move right along, since it was a long drive.

It was over an hour and a half, before we got back to the quilt shop, but we had stopped for gas as well as our purchases at the radio store.  It was quite a commute back to Mesa, but we were rewarded with Dairy Queen when we arrived back home.

As the sun set, we were installing some of the purchases at the radio store in Larry's car.  Along with a few small parts from the storage bins in the coach, and some testing with the antenna analyzer, I think the radios were working like new when we got done.

Tomorrow will be another day!  So many things to do and so little time.

Retired Rod

Friday, February 12, 2010

A day of organizing and Friends for Dinner

The sun came out today!  It was the first time we had seen it in two days.  Now I know that folks in the Midwest have gone weeks without the sun, but that isn't common down here.  It did make it up to  about 60 in the middle of the afternoon, and I was out on the motor scooter.

At 60 it still requires your jacket to be jipped up under your chin.  But I don't let that stop me much, as I keep thinking that my friends back home haven't rode their bikes in months.

We didn't do much here but begin to clean up and packup for our departure next Monday.  Since we have been here for three months, everything we own is in the wrong place for travel.  Today was a reorganize day!

In late afternoon, our friends Larry and Jean arrived from Iowa, and we went to Fuddrucker's for Sweet Potato fries.  They are always a nice treat!  And of course since we haven't seen our friends for several months, the conversation was lively!  We talk on the radio and the skype, and the phone when all else fails, but that's not like being together over dinner!

It is to be sunny and temperatures are to improve over the next several days into the upper 70's.  I can't wait!

And........The supper last night was fresh stewed chicken noodle soup, with big cut carrots and celery.  She had chopped and cooked the onion and boiled the frozen noodles that are made back in Iowa.  Reames frozen egg noodles.  They are just short of the ones made by my mother from scratch.  Back then they were rolled out on the counter and left to dry all day.  I think that is a skill that has been lost over the years.  At least we have never made them.  It was good, and there are lots of left overs.

Are you hungry yet?

Retired Rod

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cool day and sprinkles!

It was overcast and cooler this morning, as we were forecast to have rain.  It reached the low 60's by the early part of the afternoon, but I was out walking around the park checking out what all the other guys were doing when the front went thru.

It was quite black over to our West, and you could see the rain coming out of the clouds.  We had some scant sprinkles, but the temps ducked back into the 50's.  I scurried back home thinking it might rain for real.  After changing clothes, I decided that I needed a $2.99 Wendy meal. 

Since Loyce had taken the car, I had to uncover the scooter for the run to the fast food joint.  Its still looked like rain, but what the heck?  50 is really cool at 45 miles an hour!  I had the cycle jacket on, or I would have wimped out, but the burger was good.

That turned out to be the only time I left the park all day.  The sun never did come back, and the cover went back on when I got back.  The book and the computer received heavy use for the rest of the afternoon.

Tonight we are hanging out watching tv and Loyce is cooking something that is new.  I haven't been brave enough to inquire what it is.......

Retired Rod

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Sun City for another RV Park Looksee!

We have been looking at all the RV parks here in the Mesa area, and today, we drove up to the Sun City area as well.  It is quite a jaunt to the Sun City side of town.

You have to drive back into the area of central downtown where the interstates cross.  This is just North of the downtown, tall buildings area.  The traffic there is somewhat over the top.  But on I 10 you go thru a tunnel in order to get to the West side of downtown.

This time the traffic accident was North on I 17, that goes toward Flagstaff.  That made the decision easy, we will go West to the West side of the 101 Loop.

As an aside, when we were diverted last Sunday as we were headed to Quartzsite, a lady was killed on I 10 when her car stalled and she was stuck from behind with a big truck.  The crash crushed her doors so they couldn't be opened, and she was burned to death from the fire that started during the crash.  We were glad that we were diverted away from that scene.  Needless to say we are now quite careful as we drive downtown.

We headed today back North passed the University of Phoenix stadium (Cardinals football)  and got off on Grand Avenue headed for Surprise.  What a weird name for a town.  The Geosat GPS had us going a bit, as we turned off a little late, and had to back track.

The RV park is called Sunflower RV, and is another park that was purchased by Cal-Am parks.  Seems that many of the parks have been purchased by this company.  We don't know if that is bad or good, but it appears that there is no connect between the properties.

This was a nice park, and is laid out much the same as all the others, with many of the same features.  It would be all right if you had some reason to be in the Northwest end of this city.  We feel that it is too far from many of the other attractions in town.  Of course Sun City, and Sun City West are all organized around golf courses.  If your life is mostly golf, there would be no other attractions that would trump that activity.

With my diabetes, it is not easy for me to play golf, and the many drugs that are required preclude long exposures to the sun.  So with golf out of the question, that doesn't make the area attractive to us.

At least we went and looked, and if the park had been a complete brand new knock out place, it might have been worth moving up there next year.  But alas it was not any better than most of the parks here.

It took hours to drive back here to the rig, once we decided to leave the area.  I didn't go back downtown, but rather opted to drive around the city on the North part of the 101 Loop.  This was quite a ways farther, but we were in the HOV lane since there were two of us.  We flew by all the folks commuting with only one person in their vehicles.

Our research is likely for next year now, since we have reservations over in California.

Retired Rod

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Making Plans

Now what?  No football, and I can't get into spring training of baseball.  We are here in Phoenix, and the spring training is right here,,,, but.....

I did a little calling around this morning, as I needed to cancel the appointment for the gas line installation that I had set up in Quartzsite for next Tuesday.  At the time, I had no idea how the LP system was plumbed in the rig, but with a little study, I now know where most of the pipes are.

Finding the big manifold behind the false panel in the cupboard was the big breakthru.

Second, our direct tv receiver has fried.  It won't even come on.  So I had to spend time on the cell phone convincing the nice customer service lady that we needed a new receiver.  She will send it to me, but that means we will have to have an address!

We are scheduled to leave here next Monday morning, and our tires are itchy as heck to get on the road to somewhere else.  So I had them ship it to our home, for now.   Once we get a little settled where we are going, I will have my son send it on.  In the meantime we are stuck with the antenna only for TV.

Now where are we going from here?  Since Lake Havasu has camper on every available site, we have decided to move on over into California.  With some phone time, we were able to make a reservation over in the CG that Rick and Paulette are in at Desert Hot Springs.  We didn't even ask them if they wanted us to come, for fear that the answer might be negative!!! LOL.  We look forward to meeting R & P as it is always fun to put faces on the folks in the blogs we keep track of.

We only have a week reserved, as it is somewhat expensive, and we may want to move along after that.  We plan to drive over to Quartzsite on Monday, as we will have to go thru I 10 in Phoenix during the Monday morning drive.  I'm sure we will not get out of here before 9 or 10, so most of the morning traffic will be at work.  I hope.

So as of today, we are on our last week here.  For now anyway.

Retired Rod

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday is like New Years Day

Yes it is like New Years Day.  Because I don't get much done except sit here and watch the idiot box.  But today, I went over to Lowe's and bought a couple of LP parts, to change my heater connection a bit, and I read my book waiting for the big game.

By midnight last night, the  rain that was over in California arrived.  And it really rained most of the night.  We have the hard fiberglass roof on the MH, and I think it is more noisy than the rubber kind we had on the travel trailer.

So the rain sounded like a downpour, but in reality it was barely a quarter of in inch.  Things were cool and fresh this morning with big billowy clouds that came from the North.  So I took the car over to Lowe's.

I moved the gas valve back into the cupboard, rather than being out in the middle of the gas hose.  That took a couple of gender changers ( a computer term) to accomplish but it is better to disconnect the hose when we travel.  So that was on the agenda before the game.

I then became involved with my book on Sam Walton, and just like that it was time for the game.

I thought for sure that Peyton Manning was way more than the Saints could ever handle.  So what do I know?  Perhaps the Saints just wanted it way more than the Colts, who have had so much luck with being better than their opposition.  The trick on side kick to start the second half was another moral builder.

But my teams lost way back several weeks ago, so the outcome didn't mater as much to me.  I fell asleep during the WHO half time.  The light show that went with the performance was good!

Loyce gets mad when I mute the commercials, as she likes to see the new twist that the super bowl  puts on all the adds.  Within the week, we will have seen them all a thousand times.

A slow day for sure.

Retired Rod

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Swap Meet and a day reading

We went to the Mesa Market Place swap meet again yesterday (Friday) and Loyce had plans.  She wanted to see a little doggie guy that she met last time she was here.  She had forgotten what mix of dog he was.  Hmmm?

I'm really not sure she can go without a pet for too long.  So I guess time will be the judge of that one.

So I walked around the long corridors down aisle B and back aisle C.  I think it is over a mile for one complete loop.  Of course you are shopping from booth to booth, so you are not really thinking about the distance. 

The place was swamped with folks, and you had bodies in your way any direction you turned.  The little old gals with their monster purses over their shoulder will kill you in one turn of their body.  Smack!

When I got back to the car, I was done.  I sat patiently and waited until Loyce came back to the car.  Or tried to, since she was having trouble finding it.  A monster pickup had parked in the stall next to us at an angle, and you could not see our car at all.

Today, it was supposed to rain, and the day started partly cloudy, but as the afternoon progressed, the overcast covered us.  It did rain about two minutes of sprinkles, and that was it.  Enough to spot the car all up, but not rinse it off.  LoL

I spent the afternoon reading the Sam Walton story from a hard bound edition borrowed from our CG library.  Oh and that caused a nap for a while.   Loyce had gone to Wal Mart, while I was reading about how it began. LoL

Tonight, we headed over to Fuddrucker's for the really big burger, but again Loyce had salad.  Not having much lunch,  I think that will make up for the burger.  I hope!

Tomorrow is the super bowl and Loyce said  Wal Mart was really picked over with the shelves mostly empty.  Must be some really big parties planned here in Arizona!

Retired Rod

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Toyota Recall

As most of you know, we purchased a 09 Camry last February when we had a roll over accident here in Arizona.  And I’m sure that everyone on the entire earth has been advised how awful the Toyota products are by the news media.

Not that they tend to sensationalize these things, I’m sure that it is very alarming to have your throttle pedal become stuck, and not be able to slow down.  Shift to neutral and kill the ignition switch.  But don’t lock the steering!

So this afternoon, we drove to our Toyota dealer here in Chandler, and asked what the official line was on our car.

It seems that there are two different gas pedals on the various cars.  One made in Japan, and one made in the USA.  The problem is with the one made in the USA.  Doesn’t that just seem about right?

So I hopped out of the car, and the service writer crawled in under the dash and declared, you have the one made in Japan.  To be sure, he took the VIN number, and entered it into the computer, checking for recalls. 

We had a letter before all this trouble, requesting that we have the pedal corrected for the floor mat interference. That is the only recall on our vehicle.  Otherwise we are good to go.  Whew!

I had not gone to get the pedal adjusted, as what they do is to cut off about 2 inches of the pedal on the bottom.  That way they are for sure that the pedal will not contact the floor mat.  That’s what I want to have happen, lets deface the car in the name of safety.

We have the hard rubber floor mats and they are anchored at the back.  There is no way for them to become entangled with the gas pedal, unless they somehow get loose and slide way sideways and raise off the floor several inches. 

For now, I am having trouble perceiving a problem with our car!  This is just my opinion, your mileage may vary, go find out which pedal is in your car.  They can look it up with just your VIN number!

Retired Rod

Friday, February 5, 2010

LP Heater

This is a Kozy World KWP 122, 10k btu propane heater

It is not vented, and puts out some CO, but not enough to cause any trouble.  It is a radiant type of heater, as the gas fires a pair of cataliytic bricks in the center as they glow red.  It has a thermostat on top, with a temperature probe in the back near the floor.  It does not use any electricity to run.

Loyce is not completely on board with this purchase, because she thinks I only want to use it so we can Wally Dock.  You know stay at a Wal Mart, or some other unapproved camp spot.  She really likes the electric grid.

Notice the nice PVC feet that are under the heater, as the dealer in Quartzsite was out of the factory built ones.   I had to spend a dollar and a half for the pipe, and a buck on the screws to attach it.  Hopefully we will stop back at the RV Lifestyles dealer when we go thru Quartzsite on our way out of here and by then they will have the  correct feet.  I could hope anyway.

Back in the corner is a cupboard, where the kitchen slide pipes and wires come into the slide unit.  I removed the false panel, and right there was the LP manifold where all the propane lines were connected to the main.  I simply teed into this supply, and the hose comes out of the cupboard.  When we are not using the heater, I will disconnect the hose and toss the rest into the cupboard like it didn’t exist.

I used two three foot flair hoses, and put a valve in the middle of the hoses.  By closing the valve, you can shut off the propane, and take the hose off beyond the valve.  I thought about the quick disconnect, air chuck style connection, but the RV dealer here in Mesa, said that they had trouble with them in the past, and he wasn’t sure that using them inside was what he would do.  So if I do use one, it would be for convenience only, leaving the gas valve stop in place as well for a more permanent shut off.  For now, it takes a small crescent wrench to loosen the flair nut and break the hose.

I wanted to be able to remove the gas pipe from view, for times when the grandkids are here.  I have visions of the kids turning on the gas if the valve was out in the room.  I will go buy a flair cap to seal off the hose, in one of my next trips to the store.

I’m not sure how often we will use this heat source, but at least it is available, in the event we really do need to wally dock as a last resort. 

By the way, I owe this idea to Laurie and Odel’s, Semi True Tales of our Life on the Road.  They purchased this item for their MH back in the fall, and have been using it successfully for most of the winter.  Click on the link for their blog where they bought and installed the unit. There are several comments, including some questions that I wrote.  Again, your mileage may vary.

Without the flash, you can see the glow of the catalytic bricks, and the hose going back into the cupboard.


Retired Rod