Friday, December 31, 2010

It never froze!!! What a bunch of Bolonga!

It was only 36 last night, and was as cold as it would get when I went to bed.  By morning both of the electric heaters and the gas fired propane forced air furnace were running.

But there was never any danger to the water systems.  Tonight is again forecast to be below freezing, but now I am quite skeptical of their prediction.

I know I wouldn't delay coming here if you are planning to do so!

Happy New Year!!!! 

Retired Rod and Loyce

Coldest night of 2010 in Phoenix

We are all bundled up tonight ready to take on another below freezing night that is forecast to be in the low 20's.  The last time we did this was in Amarillo, Texas on the way down here.  We got thru the night without freezing the water system there, and we are confident that we will not freeze up tonight either.

We did lose our ice maker water valve sometime this fall, but we are fairly sure that it happened before we left KC.  We went thru some really cold nights there, without anyone inside the rig or heat running at all.

As we usually do, we dropped and rolled up the water hoses late in the afternoon, after we filled up our fresh water tank.  That leaves us on the pump for tonight and tomorrow morning, until it warms up some.

Last night was a rainy wind storm here, as the rain didn't let up most of the night.  It would stop, and then return in another half hour.  But what really was with us without a break was the wind.  As I went to bed, the wind was 15 to 20 but the gusts were in the high 30's.  And to add fun, it was out of the West, which left our passenger side broadside, since we are facing South.

Even though we have all four jacks firmly down, the wind rocked the entire coach.  And of course the slide topper awnings were flopping like mad.  I finally got to sleep, but before long Loyce was back up since it was driving her nuts.  Usually she sleeps right thru this stuff, so it was over the top for her.

In the morning, the sun broke thru the overcast, but the sky never became more than broken all day long.  The clouds were angry, and the wind went back up to gusts of 35 by about 2 PM.  Sometime around then, a low hanging cloud that must have been really tall came over Mesa.  It was quite dark underneath, but you could see the blue sky out in the distance to the West.

The wind was blowing our garbage bins all over the place, and even though it was in the 40s, it began to sleet and snow!  Of course it didn't stick to the ground, but folks here in Mesa were amazed.

I was sitting at home here waiting for the FedEx truck, as he had a package from my son Ben onboard, (the watch I ordered two weeks ago).  But as he pulled up, he expressed that he had never seen snow in the valley before.  Ever!  He was a young fellow, and it might have been more years ago that I remember the snow, than he was old!  I just told him that I had seen it before, but that it has been a long time.

He was totally amazed, and wanted to get his shift over so he could go park his truck.  He has never lived in the part of the country where snow is common place.  Let alone the Dakotas or Minnesota or the Great Lakes!  I grabbed the package and let him get on his way.

This evening, the wind was blowing away our patio mat, that is 6 X 12.  It is made from a plastic that is weaved together, and if the motorcycle wasn't parked on top of it, we would find it in Utah.  I carried over a concrete block from an adjacent site, and put it on the other end.

The fun is that we are not done with this in the morning, as they think tomorrow night is going to be just as cold.  The scooter is still hiding under his cover, and doesn't want to come out and play!

Retired Rod

As a post script, after reading the comments about the rig being parked right on the money here in the park, management doesn't trust you to park yourself correctly.  They send the park guy on the golf cart to escort you to your site.  But more importantly, he watches you to make absolutely sure that you don't run over the utilities at the back of the lot, and park your rig exactly.  He doesn't leave until the engine is shut down, or the landing gear is down on a 5ver!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rain and more rain!

What do you do on a day when it dawns overcast and grey?  And that is the best weather it is ever going to be all day!  I think tonight as it continues to rain, that we are up to 55 degrees, and that is much warmer than we had late in the afternoon.

The rain began about 11 AM and the temps dove immediately.  It seems really cold after all those days in the 70s.  The poor motor scooter is outside under its cover and up on its center stand.  It hasn't even peaked out all day!

Loyce managed to get in her walk before the rain came down, and we cooked a late breakfast brunch when she came back.  We hung out inside all day.

Mid afternoon, we had a new motorhome come in and park three spots down from us.  And yes in the rain they were out jockeying back and forth to get it just so on the spot.  These parks that have a lot of park models are really nutty about getting each rig exactly straight on the lot, and the front of the rig has to be even with the patio concrete.  Like I said they are nutty about this.  But then we are to be here for 90 days and crooked for 90 days might bother someone after a while.

It has never stopped raining, so I haven't gone down and introduced myself to the new folks.  We have lots more empty spots around us , so perhaps we will have many new arrivals in the next week.

Later, we decided to head on out and go to Loyce's favorite store, Joans Fabrics.  It was in the 40s when we were out.  We came back home on the interstate, and the traffic was nutso in the rain.  I was glad to get off.

So we are snug in our rig tonight and watching the TV.  Tomorrow is to be colder yet, and if it continues to rain, it will snow.  The forecast is for snow in elevations above 2500 ft, so we are at 1400 ft and it won't take much to bring it on down.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Iowa and the Bowl game over in Tempe!

Now what?  We just finished watching the Iowa Hawkeyes pull out a squeaker of a game over the 12th ranked Missouri Tigers.  With a very questionable call against Missouri in the final minutes of the game.  A player caught the ball on the sidelines, but it was under him and he evidentially dribbled it against the ground as he was sliding out of bounds.

The on the field call was overturned and the ball went back to the Hawkeyes.  Since Iowa was ahead at the time, and the clock was about 2 minutes, they ran the clock out to win.  I just hate it when the refs end up having to make a call that decides the outcome of the game.  The teams were very evenly matched and it could have been a win for either team. Phew!  Iowa gets the W!

But I also feel sorry for the Mizzou fans and team.  They had control of the ball and the field for much of the game.  But then they threw the pick 6 at the end that let Iowa back into it.

Enough of that, but my heart is still racing!  Today it was really cool here, as we were barely in the mid 60s.  But mid afternoon, I went out and decided to ride the scooter.  I had my winter gloves on and the liner in the motorcycle jacket.  Still the wind seemed to go right thru.  But I went to the West and hunted for another Wal Mart on Greenfield road, that we used last year some.  It sets way back off the road, but I found it.  We have WalMarts in every direction from here so I'm not too sure what difference it makes.

But as the sun got lower in the sky, I scooted for home.  The night air cools off really fast, so I don't stay out after dark.  We are to have a high of 57 tomorrow, and 52 on Thursday.  So the motorscooter will be parked for those days.   At night they are calling for below freezing, in the really low 20s so we will have to roll up the hoses for the next several nights.

But they have taken the word SNOW out of the forecast, which is quite alright with me!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Medical day and colder!

Today was another medical day for me, and that takes almost all day, so I don't have much to report on fun activities.  Hanging around the doctors office, while beneficial, isn't always good for your peace of mind, so I was really glad when it was over.

Back here at the rig, we hung out for the rest of the afternoon, and tried to enjoy the day, but it was quite a bit cooler today.  So cool at 59 for a high temp, that we didn't sit outside.  It was one of those days where the sun warmed the RV to a point where staying inside was too hot, but once outside it was too cool to stay.  Even in the sun.

As it began to be dark, I got involved in the TV and the dog whisperer show marathon, and as I type this it is still playing with the sound down.  I am practicing my calm and assertive mode just like Ceasar is explaining.  We haven't had much issues with Biscuit on these fronts, but it really doesn't hurt to learn as much as possible.

Tonight we are running both electric heaters, and have the propane set as a backup should they fail to keep up in the late night, or early morning.  Still it will remain above freezing for now.  But on Thursday they have said possible SNOW!  Say it isn't so.

Retired Rod

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weather here to be worse!

This didn't post automatically again, so I just found it at noon mountain time, so will post manually.

It seems that all I talk about here on the blog is our nice weather, and I am painfully aware that it is really nasty in New England tonight with heavy new snow.  So my heart goes out to those of you dealing with this weather event.

But in the process, I checked our upcoming forecast as well, and low and behold, we are in for our own version of a winter event this upcoming week as well.  Now will we get a foot of snow?  Well, no, but it is to get quite cool and begin to rain mid week.  But then after that, it will become much cooler with night time lows in the 20s.  Yes, well below freezing!

I'm not sure it ever froze all last year here in the Phoenix area.  So, should the freeze and the rain come at the same time, it could snow.  Actually many years ago when we were still working, we used to come here to the Scottsdale area for winter meetings, and one of those years, we actually were here for a snow

So, it could be fun in the next few days.  But even then it won't be anything like the winter we left behind, so we are not complaining, rather just reporting the events as they unfold.

Today, I decided to take Biscuit on a walk, and since she can't walk as far as Loyce does, I took her on a walk.   We went about half as far as Loyce would normally, but much farther than she has gone before.  I suppose we walked for more than a mile, which really tuckered Biscuit out.

She came back into the RV and just dropped in the middle of the floor.  She wasn't hooked to anything but that didn't matter. she was dead to the world and slept for much of the afternoon.

Meanwhile, I was outside doing RV jobs like the dump the black water, I decided to restring the rope lights.  We had them strung over the mirrors and wipers of the coach.  And a couple of the stings were in the lemon tree to the side of the coach.  But Christmas is over!

So we decided that we would use the rope lights to outline the ground in front of our rig, and up along side of our patio.  Same lights, and they are white, so they can be used all year long, so I crawled along the route we chose.  I drove the stakes into the ground and used cable ties to fasten the lights to the stakes.

Tonight we are enjoying the new lighting now that it is after dark.  It does outline the site and doesn't look like Christmas lights too much.  Do you folks use rope lights on the ground at your campsite?  Does it still look like you forgot to take down the Christmas stuff?

So we watched the football games and read some, but mostly watched as Biscuit was entirely killed from her walk.  Perhaps that was a bit far for her, so we will back it off some for future walks.  She is still really wild, as we walk and puts on about twice as much mileage being a ramrod, so perhaps less will be more in the future.

Tonight, she was back to her normal self, running from the back to the front of the RV over and over.  She, of course didn't want to go to bed when it came to 10 PM.   It seems a lot cooler tonight, but I'm not sure it would have if I hadn't looked at that forecast!

Retired Rod

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The postmortem of Christmas!

Christmas eve, I decided to head on out on the scooter.  It was almost 70 degrees and the sun was overhead.  Christmas shoppers were everywhere, so I headed out South to get out of town as fast as possible.

But getting out of the traffic here is mostly impossible, even on days that are not busy.  But Christmas eve?  Well anyway I was enjoying myself and traffic was running about 50, so it really didn't matter much.  

The thing is, that after about 8 miles, you come into the next community, Queen Creek.  And all the shoppers were out in force down there too.  I steered clear of the shopping mall, and went to a Olive farm that we went to a couple of years ago with Larry and Jean our friends from Iowa.

But, it was Christmas eve and the place had already closed down.  I was amazed that I even found the place as we haven't been there in a long time.  On the way back, I stopped and shopped at the Wal Mart that is on the outskirts of Queen Creek.  You know, picking up the stuff that I can never remember to tell Loyce that I want, unless I see it in the store.  The place was swamped, but not impossible like the one closer to our park would have been.  I was only about 5 shoppers back in the checkout line.  Thats how I gage the business of a store, how many folks are in front of me to check out?

So then the ride back home was as the sun sank into the West.  A nice day though.  Any day on the bike, is a good day!

Now today, we seemed to be on Skype and the cell phone for a lot of the day as we communicated with all our friends and relatives in other locations.  Tonight we were on Skype, as the Grandkids back in KC opened their gifts, that was special!

So Christmas is in the books, and we didn't shovel a flake of snow.  But of course it only flurried back in KC yesterday and it didn't even stick to the ground.  A much different outcome than last years nasty snow storm that we had to dig our way out of.  That is kind of Murphy's law, since we are out here and not back home.

We thought about participating with the park Christmas dinner here, but since I can't really eat very much yet without becoming sick from the GERD and the resection, this year anyway it just isn't in the cards. Also Loyce is on a strict diet to lose weight, and she didn't want to break that either.

We knew it wasn't going to be an exciting holiday, and that was an understatement, so maybe next year we will be able to leave earlier in the fall and go back home for Christmas.  Every year is going to be different!

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It is late Christmas Eve, and Loyce and I have had a quite Christmas Eve.  We have watched the many Christmas services on our Direct TV satellite service. And enjoyed a candle lighting service at the Catholic Basilica in Washington DC.

While we are not Catholic, we enjoy the service more than watching the Pope, because it is in English and not Italian, which we cannot understand.  So our evening was more religious in nature.

So please where ever you are and what ever you choose to do to celebrate Christmas, please have a

                                MERRY CHRISTMAS

Enjoy your families and friends with whom you have chosen to celebrate the holiday.

Rod and Loyce Ivers

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pre Christmas Shopping.

First off, we did not have any damage on the automatic awning.  At least it opened normally and has stood open ever since.

Everything was drippy and wet and the temps were in the basement for here in Phoenix this morning.  But by about 9 AM it began to warm up some.  Now some is only to about 60 even late in the afternoon. With full sun, it never did force me to take off my jacket.

Now compared to back in the center of the country, we were at least 20 or more degrees warmer, but we get so spoiled here.  It is supposed to warm up into the 70s for Christmas, but Loyce says she is not at all in the Christmas spirit, because she has never been anywhere warm  at Christmas before.

But with that as an attitude, we headed out in the car to do some of her errands today.  She is totally worried that Wal Mart is closed on Saturday and we won't have something we cannot get along without.  So I am playing along and we are going to the stores.

In the process, we went to K Mart, where she has most of her prescriptions filled.  This is always a big problem for all RVers this filling prescriptions on the road.  I do mine mail order, and they come to KC where my sons forward them to where I am now.  And Loyce has the prescriptions transferred to the local store.  This takes a few days to get done, but we have never gone without pills totally.

So while she was dealing with the pharmacist, I was over in the doggy aisle checking out the pet carriers.  The little one was only big enough to carry a cat or a chihuahua, so it was out.  But the next biggest one looked OK, so for 29.95 I bought it.

Once we went to the next store, I was out in the car putting it together.   It only had three pieces.  The top, bottom, and the door.  And of course I put the door in backwards and couldn't get to the latch mechanism.  There are little keepers that slip into oblong holes in the two plastic parts that hold the thing together, and I only lost one down into the car seat never to be seen again.

Meanwhile Biscuit is totally scared of the thing and bolts into the backseat where all the junk is, laying on top of the various bags and packages.  So to make a long story short, I emptied the seat and put the carrier on it.  I strapped it down with the seat belts,and put the door toward the center.  After I took it back out and turned it over.  Feeling quite dumb.

After putting her blanket and a soft pillow inside, she kind of reluctantly got shoved inside.  But as we drove to the next stop, she didn't cry or whine a bit.  She just went to sleep.  Success!!!!!

So now we have a safe place to leave her when she is in the car.  With our other dog, we would often leave the car and AC running for the dog if it was hot outside, as we never would leave the car closed up with her in it.

Even in the hottest weather, the Toyota never seems to overheat with the AC running, something we watched rather carefully at first.  So we have a crate in the motorhome, and a carrier in the car.  And a soft bed when she is in neither place.  This dog is the most pampered mutt in the world!!!

But she is not sleeping with us!  Had to put the brakes on that one.

If I do not see you before Christmas on some of these blogs,  Please  have a


Retired Rod and Loyce

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rain and some Wind.

It was supposed to be a rainy day, and it did look all overcast this morning, but it only sprinkled a little bit.  That's usually what a rain storm that is forecast here in the valley becomes.  A sprinkle event.  But just like clock work, the rains brought the wind and frontal passage.

It began to whip the awning, and before the auto retractor could get it done, I pushed the button.  In the travel trailer days, it would have been manually release the arms and fold up the sliders.  After releasing the lock, it was carefully allow the roll to retract as it rolled up the strap inside the fabric.  Seems like I always managed to let it slip about two thirds the way up, and it would bang home against the side of the trailer.  Then it would take physical shoving to get the arms to line up and retract inside of each other.

On the travel trailer, I used some manual straps to keep the awning folded while we were moving.  I have read several blog stories about awnings that began to unroll while moving down the road.  Al of the Bayfield bunch comes to mind immediately!

But the most horrendous story belongs to JB and Brenda about the day that the wind up in Montana blew the entire roof loose on their motorhome.  I don't know how to link to that story, or I would.  Basically they had the entire roof come loose from the walls.  Perhaps they can leave a link to the story in a comment, since I think they read this most days.

Since it was cloudy and then sunny and alternating between cold and windy and then really nice, we just hung out here at the coach all day.  I left on errands and we walked around the park between the rains.

But tonight, it began to rain for real.  Coming down in torrents, but the wind had settled down.  Loyce took Biscuit out to go potty, so for a while I put out the awning again.  Bad choice, as the wind just came up as I was writing this little piece and about blew it over the coach.  It is supposed to auto retract, but it never does when you need it most!  I was pushing the button, but it didn't want to roll up in the wind.  I guess the motor isn't strong enough to overcome the gusts.

It is finally retracted, but it is dark, so I can't see if it is rolled up correctly, and the rain is in torrents again.  I even had to put the bat wing TV antenna down, as the wind was blowing that all around too.

But we have had no where near the amount of wind and rain that is over in the Colorado River area and from there on into California.  This is supposed to keep up for most of the night.  Slide toppers are a flappin, but we haven't put the slides in yet.  That may be next!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nice Days?

Our nice days seem to have gone the way of winter.  We woke to overcast, and it threatened rain all morning.  I read on blogs that folks over in California had torrential amounts of rain.  All time records!  That's OK just keep all that over there.

But the forecast is for us to get the moisture in the coming day or so.  More than an inch, and that is a lot for here in the desert.  So I need to get out my rain gear.

The big excitement here this morning was that two new park models were brought in for the sales row behind us.  We now have a total of eight new homes, but one of them has a sold sign in its window and is locked.

They are parked two to a lot, with very little space between them, so it was really interesting to see the truck driver jockey the three axle trailers into the tight spaces.  They use a really short one axle tote truck to haul them.  It is a diesel, that is not quite a semi, but close.  They are bigger than a medium duty truck and designed specifically for the mobile home industry.

I am not sure what these trailers weigh, but it must be significantly more than our RV's, because the tires are really crushed, even though they have three axles.  Like house trailers, they are set up on blocks, and in some cases the tires are removed to make the floors closer to the ground.  Once skirted, they seem quite permanent!

It is this permanence that we have trouble with.  May as well go ahead and purchase a sticks and bricks type of home.  I made this comment this morning, but the park man quite informed me that the park model is a lifestyle choice.  In other words there would be no activities and senior friends in a private home!

We are not very involved in the park activities, and usually do not spend much time with other folks at these parks either.  Loyce talks to all the ladies at the laundry, but that is about it.

So now that it is dark, and the rain has begun, it seems cold.  Its still in the early 60s, but they expect lows in the high 30s the next several nights.  Yep, its winter here on the desert.  Still no snow, no wind, and no shoveling.  Must suit Biscuit, as she is asleep at my feet here in the recliner!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Back across Phoenix

Today was a medical day, as I had to re drive out to Western Phoenix, to the town of Goodyear!  The procedure didn't take too long, and we returned.

The day was mostly overcast, and remained in the upper 60's.   We are approaching a cooler period in the mid winter, and today is the solstice or shortest day of the year, so from here on out, we can expect that longer days will make for better weather.  Well that's a plan anyway.

We didn't do much else after we returned home, other than go after some lunch, and hang around the RV.  A down day for sure, but it is almost 50 miles to where we went, and it makes for quite a commute.

On Biscuits day, she managed to get her mouth on the harness between her legs.  And in the process, she hooked her sharp baby teeth into the harness strap.  She couldn't get free, and began to scream, in the loudest yelp we have ever heard.  Loyce took the harness off for a while, but before we left, we put it back on her.

She went with us of course, but was forced to stay in the car while we were inside.   And naturally she was all tangled up in the stuff in the back seat when we returned.  It wasn't dangerous to her, but she was pretty much unable to get free of one of Loyce's bags that was back there.

As is always the case, we have to watch her almost all the time, because she gets into trouble so quickly.  Perhaps we will have to take the crate with us in the future, but it is bigger than the back seat of the car.  Always another problem!

Tomorrow and Wednesday, we are to have more rain again, so that may cramp our style on more motor scooter riding!

Retired Rod

Monday, December 20, 2010

No riding with the motorcycle group yet.

These days are getting away from us quite quickly.  I really don't know where they go, but today was enjoyable.  The weather was perfect, and the sun was bright!  Loyce went walking and I got cleaned up for the day.

After some breakfast and spending time on the internet catching up with everyone else, I uncovered the motorscooter.  It was now showing 80 degrees on the temp gage in the sun.  I rode around in the RV park.

Earlier, all of the motorcycle group had motored by our site on their way out for the day.  They go for all day, and I simply could not make more than about an hour or so with the surgery on my front side.   It just gets to hurting so I have realized that I can not go with them.

I did ride over to Wendy's for my value menu burger.  Again that gives me a break from riding for a while, that I wouldn't have if I was riding with the group.  From there, I went over to Petsmart, and shopped for a harness for Biscuit.

The vet had told us that she is too small and fragile for a traditional collar while we are teaching her to walk with us.  Of course she goes wild with excitement once we get out on the street.  She pulls so hard, and we have to tug back to try and correct her and help keep her walking by our sides.

So after selecting one and paying, I rode the bike back here to the park.  I spent the next half hour adjusting the harness, as I purchased a fairly large for her model.  I am hopeful that she will grow into the harness.  Had I purchased the extra small, she would grow out of it in the next few weeks.  But for now, she will grow into the small one in the next few weeks.

I tried walking with her, and she was even wilder, since the lead is attached in the middle of her back.  It seemed like I had less control of her, so this is still a work in progress.  Tonight she was rolling on the floor trying to get the harness off, so we decided to leave it on her for a day or two to see if she gets used to it.  This dog training thing has many corners, and this is another one.

Loyce decided that our bedding needed to be washed, so she spent some time over at the Laundry, and tonight we watched some TV.  Sarah Palin's Alaska  was one of the shows that had captivated our time.

So the day is gone and I need to go start the electric heater, as it is now about 60 inside, and it will be in the mid 40s before morning.

Retired Rod

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cruisin Phoenix

Ok it got a bit warmer again today, after the sprinkle rain that came while the sun was shining.  The sun was out right from sun up, but the sky was kind of obscured with hazy clouds and then the heavy sprinkles.

But by about 10 AM the sun burned it all off and we had the really nice day that topped out at about 70.  We went on a big driving tour of central Phoenix to find a Doctor's office that I need to go to next week. I have ongoing treatments to attend to, so now I know where to go here.

We drove 45 miles to the West side of town, and never left the city.  Don't ya just love these large cities.  We were on the interstate the entire time, and went around the center of town.  But on the way back we went right thru the downtown area, and came upon a wreck.

Somehow two cars got tangled up at freeway speed and one of them was on its top, laying on the hood and windshield.  This brought back memories of our rollover from two years ago.  The driver was out of the car, and the first responders had him on a back board, but he was moving all around and seemed fairly unhurt.  But I know from experience that he will be a mighty sore camper in the morning.

We headed up North to one of Loyce's favorite quilt shops Quiltz!  She didn't know exactly where we were going at first, but as we got closer, she guessed where I was heading.  I usually wouldn't do anything like that, but you know its Christmas and all!

Finally we headed to a Fuddruckers that was over in North Phoenix, only to find that it was non existent.  The next one I dialed in on the GPS was in Scottsdale, and was closed.  Permanently!  Oh Oh, my Fudds isn't too popular any more!  I think that $9 for a burger and fries is just more than the market will bear.  About double a McD's.  But it is fresh and on fresh baked bread!

So we drove back to Mesa, where I knew the local Fudds was still in operation.  And I had a Fudds burger for the first time since we left the Az valley last spring.  No wait, I think we had at least one in KC before they rolled up shop, but for sure that was the last time.

So we got back here almost after dark, and tonight we have been talking to a friend back in Des Moines on the Skype phone.  Man that is the best deal to talk to your friends for free!

Later tonight, I ordered a watch from Invicta on what they call the Sunday Run.  When it was midnight in Florida, where the company is based, they allow a special deal order on one of their watches that they are overstocked on.  For less than half of the price they go for  normally.  I was sitting here just waiting for it to be midnight eastern!

And just like that the day is gone.  Another one in the books!  Its amazing how fast our time goes by here when it is nice outside!  Loyce was freezing me out this afternoon with the AC in the car. But it is supposed to get cooler thru the end of the year.  Sometime in Mid January though it will warm up and not look back.  Last year we got a lot of rain in the first couple of weeks of the new year, so we have that to look forward to.

Looks like I had better get my fill of Fuddruckers, since the places are dropping like flies!  It is an older restaurant chain, and perhaps they have run their course.

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Laundry day and Friday night drive

I waited all day long for it to get over 60 degrees, and it finally made it at 4:30 just before the sun was going down.  We got to 61 on the car dash thermometer.  I never even looked at the official temp, I didn't want to be disappointed.  I know it was way warmer than back in Kansas, or at least I hope so.

It didn't rain any more after the middle of the night, but the cool temps kept everything wet and overcast all morning long.

We talked about the swap meet for a while this morning but decided that the laundry needed to be washed instead.  Loyce doesn't let me anywhere near her laundry, so I hung back here and sat with Biscuit.  Or was it played with Biscuit?

Much later in the day we headed out to Wal Mart for our daily trip.  Well it seems like we go everyday any way.  And as usual, we headed out on our early evening after dark drive about.  Tonight we went out to the South of Gilbert and Chandler, where we purchased our Toyota two years ago.  We drove thru the parking lot and half a dozen hungry salesmen came lurching forward closing in on the prey.  Us!  We didn't stop!  We drove over into the Honda dealer next door.

Now they let us drive around for a little longer, but then they came out on a golf cart, and tried to box us in, so we had to talk to them.  Didn't work, as I lurched forward headed for the exit drive.  Just didn't feel like dealing with a car salesman.

From there we went to the San Tan Mall and drove around.  We stopped for some chicken pieces at Wendy's, but otherwise decided not to go to any stores.

Once we were back here at the motorhome, we had to turn the heat back on, as it became quite cool inside after the sun was gone.  It reminds us that it is still winter here on the desert!

The sun was out in the afternoon, and tomorrow it is supposed to warm up some, and perhaps I will be able to ride the scooter again.  Ya, I was a weenie today and only rode it to the bathroom a couple of times!

Retired Rod

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bad Weather!

Well relatively bad anyway.  It was a lot colder and by noon we had rain.  Ya, rain in the desert!  At first it was just overcast and the Country Store was set up as usual.  The outside stuff was all around the pool, and the parking lot folks had all their tables set up.  Even the ones that weren't under a rain fly.

I went up about 11, and wandered around.  As usual, my major purchase was a sack of popcorn for 50 cents.  I looked over the outside stuff and went to the ballroom.  A lot of the function is just talking to the other folks.  Mostly the customers, but sometimes the vendors too.

But as I was inside, the rain began to spit from the sky outside.  Vendors were scrambling with tarps and plastic to cover stuff up.  Since the whole thing is over at 1 PM anyway, folks were scrambling to shut it down.

I had ridden the scooter up to the far parking lot, so I decided to head back home.  My popcorn was gone, and I wasn't going to eat lunch anyway.  Once back at the coach, I put the cover on the scoot and left it under the awning to boot.  The rain came in earnest.

Meanwhile Loyce was over at the local Vet here in East Mesa with Biscuit.  She needed the next of her series in puppy shots, and of course they don't do the series the same way that they do them in Kansas.  So some of what was already done, they don't do, and others that they don't do in Kansas, they really want done here.

So what are you going to do?  We drop back and get the shots that the Mesa Vet thinks are necessary, and then to boot, she diagnosed an infection in one of Biscuits ears.  That of course requires even more medicine.  It was over $200 to get out of the Vets office!  Ouch!  That's worse than if you took in one of your kids.

The worst of it, is that she will need to go back in another couple of weeks.  But also because she had to go see the Vet, she got a complete bath this morning and completely dried with the hair dryer and brushed with the slicker brush.  She was looking high style when she headed out.

Of course the rain was messing that up rather quickly once she returned.

So tonight it is in the 50s with a low forecast in the low 40s, which is more normal for these days in December.  We had to start the heat  around supper time.  We are still using a couple of electric heaters, and so far haven't needed to fire up the LP gas forced air monsters.

I do also have a blue flame style catalytic heater out in the trailer. And in many ways it is nicer than the forced air, but we both do not feel that we can use it with Biscuit on board.  For two reasons, one it depletes the oxygen in the air inside the coach, and secondly and more seriously since she is a puppy, she could easily upset it or start her tail on fire or who knows what else.  So lets not burn the RV down!

It finally quit raining after we ate tonight, but the weather guy thinks that a second front will come thru again tomorrow, so we are not out of the woods until Saturday.  Even then it will take a couple of days to warm back up to normal.  Normal being somewhere around 70 as a daily high temp.

Retired Rod

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hanging at the Motorhome

First off, for Taz, I considered some bully sticks, and I may purchase some in the future, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to start that so early in her life.  If I can get Biscuit to chew on the nylon bone then she won't get hooked on actual food products as her bone of choice.

Once she becomes older and minds a little better, perhaps we will get them for her.  But I am just afraid that we will start something we can't go back on.

Loyce wanted to go out on one of her shopping trips today, so I hung back here at the motorhome with Biscuit.  I buzzed off with the motor scooter for quick trips, but came back to let her out of the crate about every hour or so.

I went and bought some rope lights to put in the lemon tree at the front of our lot.  They are a lot more expensive than ordinary Christmas lights, but you can use them out on a campout in the state park or COE campground.  I did purchase all white lights so they will double for both purposes.

It wasn't as warm today, only reaching the early 70s and it is to be even cooler in the next few days.  It is still hot inside the motorhome with the front window facing South.  We have the windshield curtain drawn to minimize the heat, but still we can't leave the dog in here without the AC for very long unless the windows and door are left open.

Loyce came back somewhere after 4:30 and I had buzzed off on another Wal Mart run when I remembered that I was out of bread for breakfast.  That worked out about right, because she came just after I had left. So Biscuit was attended almost all the time.

She is so young, that she tends to freak out when we put her in her crate and leave her unattended.  So we have not done that too much.  Remember a few days back when she managed to drain her water bottle when we were gone for less than an hour.  So this is what we have gotten ourselves into with the new puppy.

But don't feel too sorry for us as we hang out in the sun under the awning drinking a cool refreshment reading a book or cruising the internet on the laptop.  Not a snow drift in sight.  Well unless Jenny manages to send us some from Central Tennessee!  LOL

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another nice day.

For once I didn't have anything to fix today.  No parts in the mail system and no computer classes up in the club house area.  It was warm here again as we recorded over 80 degrees on the scooter dash again.

The analog thermometer on our door is always in the afternoon sun which causes it to peg itself at 120 so we can't use it as official here at the coach.

At least today, we didn't turn on the AC in the mid afternoon, since it was only about 80 or so under our awning.  I'm sure the official was in the low 70s but I never checked.

We had ourselves a down day here of just hanging around the park and taking Biscuit for her walks.  She has learned to go up and down the stairs into the motorhome all by herself, so it is not necessary to constantly carry her every time we go out.  But this has some other consequences as well, as we have to be careful that she doesn't just run out the door.

She is now jumping down off of the sofa by herself as well.  But the one bad thing we have her doing, is chewing her nylon bone right off.  This bone is a puppy chew toy, and she is chewing big nasty chunks out of it.  I found her chewing something like she had gum in her mouth, and it was a chunk of this bone.

Since it is inedible, that is not good.  So mid afternoon, I went over to PetsMart and purchased the small dog version of this bone and the puppy version was tossed.  This newer bone is for the aggressive chewer, and is considerably harder nylon.  It is still chicken flavor but much more indestructible.

She isn't as fond of the new one yet, but the old one went out in the outside can, so she is looking all over for it.  Perhaps she will forget the old one and we will move on.

So a slow day here, just the way we like them, and the temps are still almost 80 on our patio,  and we haven't seen a snow drift yet!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Computer Club

I went up to the activity hall this morning at 10 AM for what was billed as a computer club meeting, but they wouldn't open the doors until exactly 10.  I was the only guy in a sea of ladies.  That makes me uneasy right then and there.

But come to find out what they were doing was selling enrollments in their classes.  They have limited seats or spots for these classes as everyone must sit infront of a computer in their lab.  You cannot bring your own laptop.  So when the class size equals the number of available machines, its full!

Since I didn't even know what they had available or what level the class was aimed at, I didn't register for anything.

But tonight at 7 PM we had a meeting of what can the computer club provide for you.  And during that meeting I learned that you don't join the club in order to receive training.  You join the club when you want to provide the training.  Club members provide the work and training that create the club services.  So I need to be a recipient of training and not a club member at first.  And if I can provide something that is worthy of becoming a club member, then that will follow.

It is a completely different philosophy than I thought I was dealing with.  Sometimes understanding how things are organized is the beginning of using the services provided.  I picked up several ideas tonight at the information meeting, so it was really worth my time.

On a second front, I went up to the mail boxes in our end of the park to find that I had a pink slip.  That would be a notice that I had a package at the main office.  Taking the slip up to the office determined that they had our box number recorded wrong and had changed the correct address on the package to a wrong address and then proceeded to loose the package. That took a while and several folks to straighten out.  Somehow I don't think that is the end of it either.

But the package was our new ice maker water valve for the Dometic fridge.   I held my breath as I opened the package that it would be the right part.   And low and behold, the folks in Red Bay came thru.  It was an exact replacement of the broken piece.

From there, I kind of chilled out and slowly reinstalled the valve.  It is made from plastic, and I didn't need to break it as I installed it.  Since the plastic is threaded, not over torquing the bolts is the order of the install.

It all went together and nothing was broken.  I bled the air and turned on the water and it didn't leak.  It  was time to just ignore the ice maker and see if we had ice later in the day, which we did, so its a done deal.  If we have a bunch of ice in the morning, I will have fixed it for about 50 bucks.

This afternoon, I went over to Wal Mart and bought a stretch web belt to begin using a belt in my pants again.  It has sort of been an OK deal, but not completely.  It brings back an amount of pain that was more than I was hoping for.  If it wasn't that the incision is right under where my belt goes, this wouldn't be such a big deal.   But by putting a belt on my incision that must be pulled tight enough to hold up my pants, that has recreated the pain that I thought was behind me.

But I did ride the scooter for a while this afternoon, as I chose a Wal Mart that was about 10 miles away.  I had the underseat storage chucked quite full on the trip back home.  You never go to Wal Mart without buying a lot more than you planned.  The $100 store!  Always!

Retired Rod

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not 85 MPH

I'm sorry to have been a little ambiguous about the temperature of 85 F.  While the bike would go 85 mph, I generally don't like that kind of speed on a motorcycle.  About 60 or so is my upper feel good speed.
On the curvy parts of the road, they have a 25 mph limit, and the local sheriff was out there with his radar gun making sure we were all good boys and girls.  I'm sure it can become unsafe quite quickly at higher speeds than that!

And the results are in!

And yes we do not miss the Select Comfort air mattress!  Our night on the new innerspring mattress was a resounding success.  Now remember that we sleep on an innerspring mattress at our home back in KC, which skews the results rather dramatically.

So with our bias for the selection clearly stated, lets decide why we think the innerspring is a clear winner.

With the air mattress, our weight causes the air to expand in the containment cell and fill the remaining area to the same pressure no matter what quantity of air we put in.  That causes the mattress to be the same pressure no matter where we set the comfort meter.  The only thing that changes is how high the center of the mattress rises.  Under our heaviest part, our bottom.  So a higher number translates to a higher and straighter back line.

But that isn't what was causing our distress.  For me anyway, the rubber ball sensation of the taught mattress under my torso was cutting off blood flow to the area where I was laying on the hard spot.  The spring mattress has the function of a uniform firmness under my body, and the weight of my behind doesn't cause the springs to become taught and increase the hardness in one area.

That is my way of saying that the mattress does not cause my backside to go to sleep from lack of blood flow.  I did not roll around from side to side all night because I needed to give an area a break from being in contact with the mattress.

The pillow top seems to be a cross between memory foam and regular foam with some conventional padding as well.  So on the first night, I didn't really miss the memory topper too much either.  Remember I put it under the new mattress thinking that we would test the product on its own merits first.

The one drawback for this new setup, is the fact that the mattress is 14 inches thick.  The bed box is almost twice as high as a normal foundation in your home, so the bed is quite high.  Almost requiring Loyce to hop up on it, rather than sitting down on the bed.  But she didn't complain once about the new bed today.  Not once!

In other happenings around here, I went out on a long motorscooter ride this afternoon, traveling up the Apache Trail highway towards Tortilla Flat.  This is a mountain road that has many switchbacks and climbs up rather smartly.  This is the most aggressive road I have ever ridden on.

I was surprised that I was calm and collected for this ride, even giving the hand outward wave to the other cycles as we passed.  Not in the middle of the switchbacks where some concentration is required, but almost everywhere else, I was enjoying myself.

I did not go all the way to the town of Tortilla Flat, but stopped at the overlook of Canyon Lake.  That was about 3 miles short of the town.  The sun was rapidly setting into the afternoon Western sky, and I felt that I had better head back down.

The mountain road is not the smoothest where the blacktop has been washboarded by the tires constantly braking as they go down hill and around the curves, and that was giving my repaired front muscle group heck. It will take a bunch longer for my stomach to become strong enough to take this rhythmic jostling.  So I am not fond of roads in bad repair quite yet.

But I had a gorgeous afternoon ride up in the Superstition Mountains, and weather permitting, I am ready to go do it again in the near future!  This afternoon, I saw 85 on the dash of the Scooter.  Of course the official temperature didn't get that high, but in ground effect over the asphalt, that was my official experience.  Not bad, on a day that saw the Metrodome in Minnesota collapse from high wind and too much snow.  17 inches I think!

Here's hoping that is was better than Minnesota's weather where you are!

Retired Rod

And to answer where is Froggy now, he is on our hearth next to the fireplace in our living room.   Froggy lived a bunch of the summer out on our front porch with a big flower in his open planter backside.  But when we leave, and when there is some possibility that vandals could come and damage him, Loyce brings him inside!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mattress arrives.

Its here!  The new mattress that is.  It arrived right on schedule about 10 minutes after 4 PM when the furniture man closed up his booth in the swap meet.  He keeps his inventory of new mattresses in the back of his Isuzu furniture truck.

It appears that he drives that back and forth to where ever home is here in the valley. So he just stopped by on his way home.  But he had his friend Don with him to help, as Loyce had informed him that I was not to lift anything because of the surgery.  And that discussion must have taken place when I wasn't with them because they wouldn't let me do a thing.

This morning, as I was getting up for the day, I put the air controls on 5 with me laying on the bed and a lot of the air was released.  You unzip the mattress topper and the inards of the bed are at your finger tips.  After unhooking the air lines, and removing the foam rubber side bolsters it was a matter of squeezing the rest of the air out and rolling up the rest.  It is all out in the utility trailer now, and the air pump has been unplugged from under the bed.  I didn't try to uninstall the corded controls, but rather just fed the extra wires underneath the compartment where the pump is stored.

We were ready for the delivery well before noon, and the guy wasn't to come until 4.

It was 73 here this afternoon according to the thermometer on the car dash and the sun was on the windshield of the motorhome which almost drives you out of the house.  We had all the windows open and the fantastic fans going in both the front and back.

After the furniture folks removed the plastic wrap and placed the new mattress on the bed box, they asked if that was all they needed to do?  Well yes that was all.  We stood and talked a while, and Biscuit had to jump up at them and try and lick them to death.  We grabbed her and just like that it was all over.

We have a 1 1/2 inch memory foam mattress topper, but for now we put it under the mattress, so we can see if it will be needed.  The new mattress has quite the pillow top, and perhaps that will be just fine.  Time will tell.

Oh, and I started up the motor of the motorhome and closed the back slides to see if the new addition bound up the slide closing somehow, and I was relieved to find that all worked fine.

It isn't often that something goes as planned without a hitch of some kind.  But this only required the strenuous action of getting the credit card out of my wallet!  Oh but the pain of that.

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I go swap meetin by myself

Loyce wasn't too interested in going to the swap meet today.  She had other plans to go out and shop some more.  And because I had sat in the car and waited in front of the stores yesterday, I decided that I would use the motor scooter and go to the swap meet.

I was looking for a new plastic license plate cover to put over my painted vanity plate on the front of the motorhome.  The plate is painted with the colors and pattern of the campaign ribbon from service in VietNam.  Most folks don't have any idea what it is or stands for, but every now and then you find a person that knows exactly what it means.

Since it is painted on an aluminum plate, it is protected with a thick plastic sheet that is mounted under the screws along with the plate.  Somehow the wind managed to get under this plastic and broke it in two.  So half of it is missing.  The little plastic sheet is only two bucks, so I bought one, and a Navy Seabee license plate frame to go over it and provide some additional protection.  As I sit here now and think about it I should have bought a second one as well just for a backup.

So then I was strolling around the swap meet, and went over to the entertainment area and watched a group of fellows play the pan flute along with a rhythm guitar.  They had the electronic bass and drummer machine as well, so it  was nice music.  They played Hotel California, and the flute player kept changing the flute size that he was playing.  He had a big around flute that had a very surreal bass sound that he would add at the proper times in the music.

But after a while, I left and went to talk to the fellow that sold us the froggy planter last year.  He had a number of new pieces this year, but the $150 tall chicken, just wasn't singing to me.  But then I went past the bedding booth.

The mattresses, while not the most expensive pieces in the world, actually were quite comfortable.  Loyce and I have not been overly happy with our Select Comfort air mattress that came with the motorhome.  It just doesn't support us large bottomed folks very well.  We blow the air mattress up all the way to 100 and it still sags.  We have a memory foam topper on it, and that doesn't add any support, it just makes the top softer.  I have several more pieces of foam under me as well, and I still wake with nasty back aches.  

So I made a deal subject to Loyce's approval.  I rode back home and got her.  We returned to the booth after discussing the purchase.  This time we both  laid on it together, and after finding out that they will deliver the mattress here to the RV, we bought it.

We will keep the select comfort, so that when we trade or sell the motorhome, the next owner will get it.  The select comfort is worth more than twice what we will pay for the inner spring mattress, but you know how that goes, different stokes!  And your mileage may vary.

So tonight, I have been sitting here wondering if I should have shopped around and found a better one than something from the swap meet, but then I have made bigger mistakes before! 

We'll know after one night!  LOL

Retired Rod

Friday, December 10, 2010

Valle del Oro Country Store

Today was our first Country Store here at Valle del Oro.  Country Store is a swap meet that is held here every week on Thursday morning.  It starts at 9 AM and goes to 1 PM.  We had a country store at Mesa Spirit in previous years on Friday morning, and I am sure that some of the participants are the same vendors.

The difference here is that the vendors inside are only about a third of the overall setup.  You can tell it is a lot bigger deal as you approach.  I parked the scooter about a block away, as that was all the closer I could get to the main dance hall.  There were 25 vendors set up outside along the sides of the parking area.  It was cordoned off with orange parking cones.  The vendors had the square dining fly type of roofs over their booths.  Wares were on display in every type of merchandise.  Mostly it is stuff for the gals, but I managed to find a claw hammer that I bought for under three bucks.

After going thru the inside display tables, I was surprised to find that it spilled out around the pool area in the center of the buildings as well.  There were atleast another 40 tables out there.

They also started serving lunch at 11 with a full menu of lunch items.  Special today was hot beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy over it all.  They also had all the hot dogs you could eat 1/4 lb regular or chili, and chili cheese coney islands.

I found hot popcorn in a machine next to the pool.  The soup was broccoli cheese, but kind of pricey at $3.25.  

We decided to pass on the lunch as Loyce is on a big diet, and the country store food didn't fit "diet" too well.

The rest of the day we went shopping, which kind of meant I sat in the car with Biscuit while Loyce went inside the stores.  And this was only Thursday!

Tomorrow the Mesa Swap Meet begins for the three day weekend.  Readers from previous years will remember that there are over 400 booths about 2 miles East of this park and will have every conceivable product that can be sold in a vendor booth.

I'm not sure we will go, but perhaps Loyce will think of something we need to go after.  Or perhaps we will just go because it is the first time for this season.  We'll see how we feel tomorrow.

Retired Rod

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nosey at the old park

Last night, we were out driving around for a while as we often do after dark has fallen.  I'm not sure why we do that, but I think our excuse was to go get some supper.

After going to the office supply place and getting one of the gate passes laminated so I can use it in the motor scooter without wadding it up completely, we headed West back into our old  parks area.  I kind of gravitate that way, as I am more familiar with the fast food joints that way.

But as we passed the front gate of Mesa Spirit RV Resort, our curiosity, or just plain noseyness got the better of us.  They have a gate guard until 11 PM so we couldn't just drive right in.  No pass!  So I went around to the back gate and sure enough just as I was approaching, a car from the on coming traffic turned and entered with an electronic gate pass.  We just followed him like we owned the place since there is no actual guard at this gate.

As we drove around, we noticed right away, that the attendance is down even more than last year.  The folks with park models are still there, and even more of the really old trailers have been removed.  By really old, I mean the ones from the 60s.  The old narrow ones with the tip outs that the couch sat in.  They have been notifying folks for years that these old units have to go.

Now, they keep track if they are occupied, and if not they have to be removed.  So you don't have to sell to be told to remove the old rig, just fail to come and live in it for a couple of years and your gone!  But many of the really oldest ones are being lived in by the less fortunate folks that occupy them full time year round.

The winter crowd is not there yet.  Or lets hope they aren't, or the park will fail to support itself.  Maybe we will sneak in again in the height of the season to see a few friends and report then.  

To our total amazement, the two rows in the very back of the park where it used to be a storage area, which have been remodeled with new concrete pads and deep and wider sites, is about two thirds full right now.  It is mostly new fifth wheels and motorhomes.  I'm sure that part of the park will be completely full again this year.  But it is only about 150 sites, and not enough to carry the whole place.  But still, if they had the money to completely remodel the sizes of the older sites, I'm sure they could do much better.  We both agreed again that our decision not to return even thou we have made some friends there was for the best.

Today here we again hung out during the morning, and I headed out in the afternoon on the scooter.  I spent about 2 hours going to various places including Wendy's for lunch.  I did much better being strong enough to not get tired as quickly and hurt up the front.  This is a positive sign!

Biscuit is again in her "Ramrod mode"  running around the motor home at full tilt.  She was in her crate for a while this afternoon as we were both gone for about an hour, and her drink water bottle began to leak.  It soaked her bed with about a cup of water, so she was a very unhappy camper when I came home.  So she got another training session with the hair dryer again tonight.

She really hates the thing, but she was cold from being wet, and the dryer was warm, so I think maybe its not as bad as the wind and noise from it would lead her to believe.  I can only hope she doesn't associate the wet with being in her crate.  We have worked so hard making her crate seem like her den and place of safety.  Perhaps that water bottle needs to be tossed!

She does try to be a good dog, and is so lovable, that we would never let anything deter us, in our quest to train her.  But remember we are her pack leaders!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Broken Ice maker.

Even though I pumped the pink stuff all thru the water system, and took the lines off of the fridge and tried to blow them out for the ice maker, we have a casualty!  When I turned the water back on, the plastic part of the valve body did not hold water!

Today, since it was sunny and nicely warm, I went out and attacked the back side of the fridge!  It has all these little screws and stuff, but eventually I got the valve off of the unit.  And yes the housing has a bundle of cracks in it.

So I thought for a while as to where I wanted to try and source the part.  I am sure it is available here locally somewhere, and I even looked up the Dometic brand in the yellow pages.  But that got me a bunch of local RV dealers, none of which sell the Tiffin brand.

So I opted to call Red Bay and see what they thought about the deal.  I asked for parts, and the fellow wanted to know the motorhome model, and the fridge model.  Then he asked if there were numbers on the part.  After he asked if I had it off yet.

He said let me do some research on some fridges we got in stock and I'll call you back when I know what to do.

In about 30 minutes the phone rang and he said he had just what it takes and would drop it into the mail yet today.  Price was under $50 shipped.  He copied the address and credit card info and thanked me for my business.  You just have to love the folks in Red Bay Al!  They want to be your RV company in the worst way, and if they don't, they won't work there for very long!

Of course it remains to be seen what parts I will get in the mail, but the fellow told me the numbers on the new valve matched the numbers on mine!  That sounds promising!

Otherwise we just hung out in the sun today.  Loyce had her sewing machine out and walked around the park for almost endless numbers of miles.  She even took Biscuit with her both this morning and tonight.  The walk tonight only served to wake her up more, as she went into her run all over the place in circles mode.

She ran back to the bedroom under the bed, and then up to the drivers seat.  Then back to the bed room.  Over and over.  I was tired just watching.  Now she is in her crate whining to be let back out.

But Loyce went to bed, and I am under strict orders to not mess with her.  Maybe after momma goes to sleep!!!  That could stir up some trouble alright!

Retired Rod

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warm here and our day

We have had beautiful weather since we arrived here on Friday, and I am almost embarrassed to mention the fact on the blog.  But perhaps it helps a bit for those that are caught up in the cold front that has made it to the East coast now to understand that it is warmer back here in the West.

Officially we reached 77 here this afternoon, but I did see 80 on the dash of the motorscooter this afternoon.  Yesterday we had 84 on that same dash, and I never did look up the official.  We have had some high clouds coming from California that have streamed from the Southwest.  Had they not obscured the sky somewhat, I think it would have been even warmer.

The worst of this is that the 75 day 45 night temps are forecast for the next ten days.  Oh My!  We are parked with our windshield facing South and the door side to the West.  It is quite sunny in the afternoon, and will help during the late Dec early Jan time frame when it reaches about 62 as a daytime high.  But even that will be quite welcome compared to our back home temps.

Our day here was one of odd jobs, like go over to the Lowes and get some nails to nail wooden blocks together for under the stabilizer jacks.  Then to learn that the wood that I sourced for free from the wood shop was too dry to be nailed, and split with number 10 nails.  I did get a couple of them nailed together anyway.

Then I took one of our dinette chairs over to the wood shop and used a brad nailer to put the fabric chair back onto the frame after it came loose.  The wood shop monitor came over and all but did the repair for me.  I think he was afraid that I might staple my fingers to the chair on his watch.  Of course he has no way of knowing what my skills with tools might be, so he was being doubly sure I wouldn't cause a problem.

After that, I rode the scooter out North of town on the rode up over Usery Mountain Pass.  This is just a small pass that goes back down into the Salt river valley on the other side.  But it is about 10 miles each way and a 45 mile an hour speed limit road with some twisties.  I was having fun, but I can feel the resection some tonight.  You use your stomach muscles more than you think while riding a bike.  So I was wise not to go on the all afternoon ride yesterday!

I will continue to ride shorter jaunts around the area here, and try and build up my endurance and stamina.  It isn't hurting the incision any more to do the ride, but it does cause the incision to hurt me later in the evening.  Slowly, is the by word here.

Loyce and I went over to the local Petsmart tonight and bought some all natural pet training rewards.  They are made with chicken livers and natural ingredients with the main cereal being rice.  But with the words all natural on the bag, they are more expensive by the pound than T bone steak.

But they seem to be working, as Biscuit goes out and goes potty and runs back into the RV right to the bag of treats.  Jumping up on top of her crate trying to get at the bag.  She knows that she will get a treat or two for her outside performance.  If she piddles on the floor we have been showing her the bag and then making a big deal out of putting it away where she can't even smell them.

We really think she will be a ideal little doggy for us once she grows out of the puppy stage, but we are not rushing that any.

Retired Rod

"December 7th, A day that will live in infamy"  FDR

My father's ship the Phoenix was in Pearl Harbor that day and was strafed by aircraft machine gun fire.  But it was two years later, before he was drafted and began to serve aboard her.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cleaning up inside!

Along with cleaning up the outside of the rig comes the inevitable inside cleaning.  I never think we are so dirty, but Loyce goes into the cleanup mode, and that's my signal to get scarce on outside jobs!  Since I was outside all day yesterday, I missed the big cleanup.

But today it was laundry day which is the second half of the big cleanup.  Since we have not stayed here before, it was a big test to see if Loyce liked the laundry.  A disappointing laundry is a deal breaker for Loyce.  We may as well just move on to the next park if the laundry is dirty.  So I kind of held my breath.  There are three outlying bathhouses as well as the main building here, and each has its own laundry.

I checked out our closest laundry yesterday and found that we have 16 washers and a like number of dryers.  And best of all they are only a dollar wash and fifty cents dry.  The place was nicely clean, including the inside of the washers.  Loyce spent much of the day at the laundry or driving back and forth as she claims the dryers run and run.  Don't ya just hate having to sit there and feed quarters into the dryers only to find they don't dry too well.

Here we are parked in a row with not many folks around us

So the day drug on, which let me head out on the scooter looking for some quarters.  Even Wal Mart wouldn't give me more than $3 worth.  I filled the motorscooter with gas and paid cash in order to ask the attendant for the change in quarters and only got a dollar more.

But with four dollars more, we got the job done.

I found out that the motorcycle group here in the park leaves on Sunday morning for a ride around 11 AM.  I went by and found out that they go all day.  Since I am still really tender inside as I ride, and Loyce was at the laundry, I passed on this weeks ride.  Maybe next week I will be able to go longer, but we will just have to see about that.

I should have explained my surgery to the ride leader, but they were ready to head them on out so I just told them I would be better planned out next week.

For Biscuit fans, I realize that it has been a few weeks since we have posted some Biscuit pictures.  She was luck enough to draw attention to how dirty see was this afternoon as well, and Loyce made her go thru the shower.  Our shower head is on a hose, so the shower floor is perfect as a dog wash!

So after the hair dryer treatment, which she doesn't like one bit, I took a couple of pictures.

                      I kind of look like a lady on a bad hair day!  It was just washed and I can't do anything with it.

                                      Why are you taking my picture again?

Our little girl is growing up quite quickly, as she is now about double the size she was four weeks ago when we bought her.  She is now adjusted to life in the RV, as she is sleeping mostly until morning.  She was awake about 7 AM this morning, but after going outside, she was back in her crate dozing with the door open.

I must admit that I took her for a walk this morning and the blacktop streets seem to get her really dirty.  She will need a haircut in the near future, but Loyce wants her to stay as puppy like as she can for a while.  But it is only a matter of time.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cleaning things up!

Blogger is up to its old tricks not posting scheduled posts!  And it did say scheduled, and not draft, so I do not know why it doesn't post at times. So I will post this now.

I'm a tired fellow tonight, as I started to wash the windshield of the motorhome this morning with a bucket of warm water and soap.  Our Diamond Shield bug protection film on the front of the rig requires that bug be washed off of it fairly quickly.  It seems that the liquids in squashed bug remains if very harmful to the vinyl in the Diamond Shield product.

So that started the process of washing the motorhome.  Slowly I proceeded to wash the three months of grime from the exterior of the coach.  While it hadn't been driven in the rain, the weather had deposited the grime that creates the black streaks on white coaches.  On dark colors, it is the brown streaks.  The grime runs down the sides.

Due to neuropathy from diabetes, I do not feel stable enough to get up on top of the coach and wash the roof.  So because it always remains dirty, a rain will cause the mess up on top to run down the side. Perhaps I will have to have some of the professionals here in the park do the job right one of these days.

Much later in the day, I did unload the motorscooter from the utility trailer and ride it around the RV park.  We have 1800 spaces here and the roads are a small city, so riding along at the 15 mph speed limit was kind of fun after so many weeks of a layup.

So our day here was getting settled into our site and setting up housekeeping that will not need to be packed away in a day or two in order to leave for another distant campground.  It is much different type of RVing when you are sitting still for longer periods of time.

Of course the water here in Arizona causes nasty white water spots and streaks as it dries.  The rig is clean, but looks nasty with the water spotting.  So it is now necessary to clean the water spots off with a polishing solution.  Or a dry wash product.  But that will have to come over time, since I am not up to polishing this entire rig in a single day again.

Retired Rod

Saturday, December 4, 2010

On the road to Mesa.

When you don't have to be on the road at any particular time, isn't it interesting that you are ready to go by 9:30.  We were up early with Biscuit, as her ability to stay in her crate with a full bladder is minimal.  She begins to put up a fuss, just as soon as she wakes up.

So that has us up and around more quickly now, and even taking as much time as we could, still didn't keep us behind.

We headed out to the South of Holbrook on the two lane roads that head up over the mountains.  It is much shorter that way, and we are familiar with the roadways.  Our GPS did not like this trip option at all. It kept screaming SHARP TURN! its way of asking for a U turn.  Go back to the interstate!  Drive thru Flagstaff, even if it is 60 miles farther!

Eventually it recalculated and decided that it was OK to go over the mountain to Payson.  But of course we had to run into signs for construction that encouraged us to take an alternate route.  But they didn't detour us, so I pressed on.  We never did see any workers, but did find the construction zone.  We drove right thru.

When we drove over the mountains, it is just like going to Colorado.  We were at 7,200 feet at the summit and the ponderosa pines are majestic. While there was snow in the ditches, the roads had melted several days ago.  They were still white with the road salt however.  The pine forest smell is intoxicating!  There are dude ranches and RV parks, but mostly they were closed for the season.

Once we arrived here in Mesa, I found a gas station that had diesel, and jockeyed back and forth to get the fuel fill door next to the pump.  It wouldn't be so hard, except we have the trailer on the back, and it makes us too long for the stations.  

So with a full tank, we came and got in line for the registration process here at Valle Del Oro RV Resort.  That would be valley of the gold in english.  Haven't seen any gold here yet! LOL

After paying for all three months up front, we were escorted to our site.  They stay with you and direct you as you park.  They want to make sure you are on your own lot, and that you do not run over the water and sewer pipes at the rear of the lot.  Also they make sure you are straight.  I am sure they are also looking over your rig to make sure it is acceptable.  No Conestoga wagons, LOL.  They have the 10 years or newer rule unless they agree that it is acceptable. 

During registration I was told that I couldn't have my utility trailer on the lot with me, but that it had to be put in dead storage.  Well, rules are rules, but the parker guy said that she was mistaken and that the rule had been changed.  If the trailer was small enough to fit in front of the car space, it could stay on the lot.  So I jockeyed carefully to get the trailer just like he liked it so we could keep it here. Whew!

So as I was setting up the water and sewer lines, it was 78 degrees outside, and it is only supposed to be 45 tonight.  So I think we have found that nicer weather that we were looking for! 

Retired Rod

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mesa Arizona!!!!

We have arrived and are parked on our lot for the next three months!  All done by 3:30 in the afternoon.


It wasn't nearly as cold in Albuquerque, as it was in Amarillo.  Perhaps that is because the front moved on to the East!  But for what ever reason, it was only 31 degrees last night.  That extra 10 degrees is a very large difference.  The heaters didn't struggle nearly as much.  They all cycled off and on and I slept much better, not keeping one ear open listening for their cycles.

The highway noise was fairly loud, but with the heaters running, I was able to tune the noise out.  We slept quite well considering.  Loyce is still struggling with the nasty cough that she got with the cold from thanksgiving.  So she wakes coughing.  We really need to find some warm weather!

So we left Albuquerque around 10:30 this morning.  Our plan, was to drive to Holbrook, Arizona, and that is only 230 miles, so that was not much of a travel day.  But it is about the right amount of travel!  I'm certain we are much less stressed if we limit our travel to that amount.

We rolled along and didn't push too hard, but the speed limit in New Mexico on the interstate is 75, so you do tend to roll faster just because everyone else is.  So we rolled between 65 and sometimes 70.  That's fairly fast for us, but still the trucks just roar by and act like we are blocking the road.  Every now and then we get some nasty gestures, from truckers that wish us to be out of their way.

We stopped in Gallup to fill up the motorhome with diesel, as the Arizona tax is quite a bit higher.  The truck stop was an absolute zoo!  So I opted to use the Indian station across the street.  Their price was higher, but the line was much shorter.  Getting the motorhome into the car pumps was a bit of a trick, but by using the end pump and heading outward rather than inward I made it.  I turned around in the side parking before going thru the pumps.  Still it seemed to take forever.

Then as we crossed into Arizona, I was unable to get into the rest area and welcome center. At least it didn't look like the exit was big rig friendly.  That caused a heavy discussion to take place on the two way radio.  But there were no trucks in the rest area, and there was a reason for that.  Perhaps Arizona doesn't want trucks in their welcome center.

But we did stop in a truck stop about 20 miles into the state and had some lunch, and rested for a while.  The day was sunny and bright, and the temps were in the early 60s.  We arrived here in Holbrook by about 3 PM and checked into the KOA.  The fellow looked us up on the computer and knew we had been here in March.  He gave us the same site since we are pulling the trailer and it tends to block the road.

I called the RV park in Mesa about 4 PM and announced that we would be there tomorrow, which is 2 days before our reservation on Sunday.  They looked it up, and our site is free, so come on in!!

We are at about 6,000 feet above sea level here, and it is naturally cooler most of the time.  And tonight is no different as we expect to have a low temperature of 27.  That is cool, but not as cold as the 21 we had in Amarillo.  But tomorrow we are headed over the mountains and into the valley.  As you come down the mountain from Payson, you can feel the temperature rise!  We can't wait!

Retired Rod

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Onward to Albuquerque!

Well it seems like its late at night, but looking at the clock says its not!  Since we drove into New Mexico today, we had to turn our clocks back the hour that makes it Mountain time!  That was particularly handy, because we lazed around and talked all morning with Mac and Lynette!

We planned on leaving, but had just one more story to tell!  You know, and that led to another story and then another.  But it was finally around noon, when the big wheels began to roll.  As you read this, Lynette will have had her knee surgery on Thursday morning, and we hope for her speedy recovery.

They are camped with some other friends and she also has family right there in town, so I'm sure she will be adequately fussed over while she recovers.  Get better soon Lynette!

So as we rolled into New Mexico at about 12:30, it was particularly nice to wind the watch back to 11:30 to make up for our late start.  We traveled 285 miles today and arrived here in Albuquerque around 4:30. Right in time for the evening rush traffic on I 40.  It can really get bad around the I 25 junction, as folks just pour onto the interstate at every intersection.

They zip out in front of the motorhome and never look a bit at it.  I wonder if they think I can just stop it on a dime?

We had a cool night last night, as we recorded the very coldest temperature we have ever experienced in an RV.  Well in modern times anyway, we used to have a popup years ago that we would camp in, in the snow.  But we were young and dumb back then.  It reached 21 degrees last night in Amarillo, and we had both propane heaters going and the electric space heaters were helping as well.

I stuck a light bulb into the water locker, to help warm up the underside as well. The propane heaters do have a duct under there, and it should work, but I was always a belt and suspenders type of guy!

So nothing was frozen, as we had not connected a hose the night before.  Now tonight here in Albuquerque, we are to have 25 degrees, which will almost seem warm by comparison.  But I put the light bulb back into the water locker just in case.  With the space heaters, the propane heaters don't run as much, so the lockers may not be adequately protected.

We are at the American RV park which is about 5 miles West of Albuquerque on I 40.  This is a nice place with all the amenities that any RV park would have.  Including free popcorn in the Happy hour, and a free continental breakfast.  I think that is a first on the breakfast in our travels for a RV Park.  At least for free anyway.

But the big drawback here is the Interstate traffic noise.  We are right along the frontage road on the South side of the highway.  I asked for a space closer to the back, and did get one somewhat farther away from the road, but the park is largely empty, so there are no rigs between us and the road.  But perhaps it is quieter! LOL.

Tomorrow it is to begin to warm up some across the Southwest, so we are looking forward to that.  It has been fairly warm during the day, but the nights have been quite cold.  So it is the minimum temps that we hope to have warm up!

Travel days all in a row, seem tedious, but we hope to get to Arizona and park the coach for a while anyway.  But remember last year, we got hitch itch and started traveling all over the Southwest.

Retired Rod

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finding friends, by accident!

The RV world is such a small place, as it seems everyone has met most everyone.  And as I read the blog comments from last night, I see that Lynette McHenry had left us a message that she and Mac were at the Oasis Campground in Amarillo and to stop by and see them.  But of course we had stowed the computer, and were on our way about 9 or so this morning, and never saw her comment.

But, since we all read each others blogs, we tend to use the same campgrounds automatically anyway, and that is just how this one played out!  As I was in the office checking into the campground for the really high price of $20 a night, who walks up behind me but Mac!  Small world huh?

We are parked on the East side of them on the very next site, and I am told that Rod and Deb Kendal just left the same site.  It truly is a small world.

It was about 29 degrees overnight in Oklahoma City last night, and since our water hose was stowed, we had no issues with the utilities.  But, RV's don't do colder than freezing very well.  At least none that I have ever had, liked ice much.  This rig tends to leak cold air around the slide gaskets, and especially back under the bed.  We do have double pane windows, so that helps insulate the loss of heat enough that the heater cycles, rather than run all the time.

Also we have a Blue Flame style propane heater in the utility trailer, but generally only use that if we are boondocking, or without electricity for some reason.  We do have some axillary electric space heaters as well, but they are not totally up to the task when it gets below freezing.  We have to use the propane heaters and the space heaters together.

With these thoughts, we expect to reach the forecast low tonight of 24.  We never even attached the hose for the water, as we will just use the onboard tank.  I did throw out the sewer and of course the electric cord.  We like our 50 amps!  LOL   50 amp Kings and Queens!

We headed off after getting set up to go to Home Depot, and then Lowes in search of a 1/2" female hose coupling.  Of course everyone had the 5/8ths but we drove all over town looking for the 1/2 and never did source one!  Finally I purchased a six foot extension hose that was complete. I use this short stub to  connect up under the water locker and extend the connection outside.  Our doors open upward and it is difficult to screw in a long hose while on your hands and knees under the doors.  The more expensive motorhomes have doors that open sideways, and really expensive coaches have doors that extend outward and then upward on arms. Ours are just hinged at the top.

We also went to Wal Mart looking for a replacement of our oil filled Honeywell space heater.  It seems that the older heater fell over while driving one too many times this past year and has broken the thermostat controls.  So if you could get it turned on, it would randomly shut itself down in the middle of the night.  Burr.....  Or the propane heater started running almost constantly.  So now we have a matched set of black oil heaters.   One that works and one that almost works, for a while anyway.

At least the winds here in Amarillo have died down to about 5 mph, and the slide toppers are not flapping as much.  And we are about a mile South of the Interstate so the highway noise is almost non existent.  This would be a nice place to stay for a while, and Mac and Lynette have family here so they plan on doing just that, but we need to get to Mesa, for that all important reservation, so we will probably press onward in the morning towards Albuquerque.  Hopefully we won't freeze down in place here.

Retired Rod

By the way Rick, if  you look at last nights shot of the jet stream, our cold comes from Canada, so please shut the door up there on that arctic deep freeze.  Will ya?